Saturday, May 28, 2016

 

What The Church Should Be About!!!

I am often asked.. what do you do as a pastor? Each week people tell me what our church should do!
Once a couple demanded I close the church services down so that people could operate a soup kitchen for drug addicts who would rather buy drugs than spend theior money on food!
The question is not what you or I think the church should or should not be doing!! The question really is what God says you or I should be!!!   So many people want to improve on what God considers the real tasks of the church!  So many people want to get God on theior agenda, not them get on God's agenda!! The real issue is that they want to run the show!  They don't understand that when they try to run the show they set themselves up in opposition to what God wants. Don't ever find yourself in God's sights because you want to run the show. You might think you  have all the smarts to improve on God's plan... but you don't. And thinking that way gets you in God's sights!!

There was a woman in hospital. The doctor said "she is  improving". But she died the next day. Her family asked "What did she die of? Improvements?"   What is the church to do?  1 Timothy 3:14 tells us what  God considers to be the important stuff to keep in mind!!  "I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth."

God sets the agenda for His church! How will His church grow? When we do what He says is important!!

It is not about what we do, it's about who we are. What you are speaks so loudly I can't hear a word you say! You and I should be individually and corporately: Praying, Preaching, Sincere and Singing Saints!!!

1.         Be Supplicating Saints

Do we believe in revival? Do we believe in God?        Only God can save people!

Only God can save a politician!!  Prov 21:1, The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.   Dan 2:21 Daniel answered and said:  "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,  to whom belong wisdom and might.
 21  He changes times and seasons;  he removes kings and sets up kings;  he gives wisdom to the wise  and knowledge to those who have understanding;

Dan 4:34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever,  for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;  35  all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth;  and none can stay his hand or say to him, "What have you done?"   36 At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

We must pray!!  Do you want to see people saved? Pray! Do you want peace and safety and quietness? Pray!!!

2.         Be Speaking Saints

It's about seeing people saved! God is the Saviour. Jesus is the Saviour!

It's about truth : there is One God, and there is one mediator, there is one man  Christ Jesus, there is one ransom! "However expressed, whether as the Messiah of Old Testament expectation, as Lord over the demonic powers or whatever other category of interpretation was employed, the early preachers of the good news had one subject and one only, Jesus." Michael Green John 14:6, "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." Acts 4:12, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."  "Life is short, death is sure, sin is the cost and only Jesus is the cure."

Robert Coleman his classic The Master Plan of Evangelism writes, "The need of the hour is a return to the kind of evangelism which majors in people winning other people to Christ and building those they have won into disciples who can win and build others."   I believe this was Paul's strategy as well. Note in the text he identifies a 3-fold appointment from Jesus: 1) preacher (herald; kerux), apostle (apostolos); a sent one and a teacher (didaskalos) of the nations (ethnon).

Matthew Simpson caught a glimpse of the majesty and gravity of the ministry of the Word when he said of the preacher: "His throne is the pulpit; he stands in Christ's stead; his message is the Word of God; around him are immortal souls; the Savior, unseen, is beside him, the Holy Spirit broods over the congregation; angels gaze upon the scene, and heaven and hell await the issue. What association, and what vast responsibility!"

Martin Luther puts it in the correct context when he reminds us, "Let us then consider it certain and conclusively established that the soul can do without all things except the Word of God, and that where this is not there is no help for the soul in anything else whatever. But if it has the Word it is rich and lacks nothing, since this Word is the Word of life, of truth, of light, of peace, of righteousness, of salvation, of joy, of liberty, of wisdom, of power, of grace, of glory, and of every blessing beyond our power to estimate."

Note: Paul remnds us of the real essentials. He also remionds us of the importance of restricting the roles in the church setting. Verses 7-13

Don't be cantakerous men!

Don't be wishy washy men!

Don't overstep the mark ladies.

3.         Be Sincere  Saints

"The office of the Christian ministry, rightly understood, is the honorable and most important, that any man in the whole world can ever sustain; and it will be one of the wonders and employments of eternity to consider the reasons why the wisdom and goodness of God assigned this office to imperfect and guilty man!" (quoted in Stott, Between Two Worlds, 31).

a. Have Integrity pure. 3:1  "A faithful saying" or "trustworthy word" is unique to Paul and the Pastoral's (5X; 1:15; 4:9; 2 Tim. 2:1; Tit. 3:8). It always refers to an important, basic, and well-known truth. "desires (better "aspires") means reaches for; this is an outward aspiration for a "good work," not the ambitious pursuit of a prestigious office. The second "desires" means a passionate, consuming want: again its object is the "good work."   Bishop (episkopos) – overseer (cf. Acts 20:28-35; Tit. 1:5-9; 1 Pet. 5:1-4; also 1 Thes. 5:12-15; Heb. 13:7, 17; Jam. 3:1). Pastor, elder, overseer used interchangeably of those who lead the church of God.  John MacArthur, "The man truly called to the ministry is marked by both an inward consuming passion and a disciplined outwardly pursuit. For him the ministry is not the best option, it is the only option. There is nothing else he could do with his life that would fulfill him (1 Timothy, 96.)

Blameless (NIV "above reproach") – not open to warranted attack or justified criticism in terms of the Christian life he lives. In general and in particular he is blameless, not sinless; no accusation against his character will stick. This is his constant and consistent pattern of life.

John Chrysostom (347-407): "The minister's shortcomings simply cannot be concealed. Even the most trivial soon get known. … However trifling their offenses, these little things seem great to others, since everyone measures sin, not by the size of the offense, but by the standing of the sinner." Gregory the Great (540-604): "He who is required by the necessity of his position to speak the highest things is compelled by the same necessity to exemplify the highest things."

Temperate – clear headed, self-controlled, thinks wisely and with balance.

Sober-minded – prudent, thoughtful, well disciplined in mind. He sees life as God sees it and orders his priorities accordingly.

Of good behavior – (kosmios) well disciplined in life, respectable, well ordered (not chaotic); consistently has his act together.  Hospitable – lit. "lover of strangers," he has an open heart and an open home; friendly and approachable.  

Who we are on the inside will eventually make itself known on the outside. Integrity in character will show itself in integrity in conduct.

b. Have Authenticity: 3:2, 4-5

No area of life receives greater attention and experiences a more sustained assault than his marriage and family.  The simple truth is we do live in a glass house. We do experience a fishbowl type of scrutiny.  Be committed to your spouse.

Be in control of your children. 3:4-5   Paul employs an argument from the lesser to the greater, establishing the point that the family is the proving ground for leadership in the church.  Rules – "to direct, lead, preside" (cf. 5:17)   Well – "with excellence"  Submission (hupotage) – military term meaning "under control"  Reverence – "dignity," proper respect  Warren Wiersbe, "If a man's own children cannot obey and respect him, then his church is not likely to respect and obey his leadership" (Be Faithful, 41).

c. Have Dependability Words and works match up! John Calvin would add, "If a preacher is not first preaching to himself, better that he falls on the steps of the pulpit and breaks his neck than preaches that sermon."  Teach by example. 3:3  Not given (addicted) to wine – not one who sits long at his wine / not a slave to drink. In our day, abstinence would be my counsel.  Not violent – not a giver of blows, a fighter physically; one easily angered; but is cool and calm even in tough situations. He is not the guy who will fight at the drop of a hat and is willing himself to drop the hat. Wiersbe says, "short tempers do not make for long ministries." (Be Faithful, 41).  Gentle – considerate, kind, gracious, one who easily forgives.  Not quarrelsome – peaceful, uncontentious, one who is willing and ready to listen. One who avoids, if possible, disunity and disharmony.  Not covetous – lit. "not loving money," not greedy (cf. 6:9-10). Few get into ministry for money but too many later become overly concerned with money. Never let money be your priority, your passion.  A. W. Tozer understood the importance of the life we live, the example we set, and the message we must proclaim.  "We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports, or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise, but an ultimatum."

d. Have Reliability  3:6-7 The ministry has suffered in public opinion because the public life of too many Christians has been scandalous and shameful. Adultery, involvement in pornography, financial scandal, divorce and simple rudeness has marred the reputation of those who herald the gospel. This ought not to be.  

Avoid the places of temptation. 3:6   Grow up! – lit. "newly planted," e.g. a new convert. Why? The danger of "pride," the root sin which captured the heart of the devil and brought him down.  Christian maturity requires time and experience. The process cannot be rushed.  Have a good testimony. 3:7  Jonathan Edwards said it well; "I go out to preach with two propositions in mind. First, every person ought to give his life to Christ. Second, whether or not anyone else gives him his life, I will give him mine."

4.         Be Singing Saints

Is your heart taken up with the big things on God's agenda? Sining  is the heart of a person expressed!!

a. Sing About The Incarnation of Our Lord.

b. Sing About The Resurrection Of Our Lord.

David MacLeod writes,  Christ's earthly manifestation ("in flesh") culminated in a criminal's death, accompanied by horrible violence. But the Cross was not a defeat; it was a triumph over death and hell. By His death He defeated death, and His resurrection was His vindication. He was shown to be the Christ, the Son of the living God. He experienced the curse of sin as the great Sin-Bearer. And His resurrection vindicated His claim that He is the sinless Son of God.

c. Sing About The Ascension of Our Lord.  "One can well imagine the tremendous interest with which these angelic potentates followed the steps of Christ's humiliation from the throne of awesome majesty to the cross of agonizing shame. And as the infernal plot against Jesus thickened, they must have witnessed in amazement the nonintervention of God the Father on His behalf. Far more than twelve legions of angels (Matt. 26:53) must have waited breathlessly for a signal to flash across the sky for them to snatch the Son of God. They must have stood in stunned silence as God the Father allowed His Son to be nailed to a tree. Surely, therefore, the angelic host shouted for joy at the sight of one of their number rolling away the stone, and later escorting Him to glory!

e. Sing About The Salvation of Our Lord.  Revelation 7:9-10 contains a promise that should inspire us to go and compel us to preach: "After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"  In heaven they sing about the salvation of our Lord. On earth, we must do no less. Indeed with the angels above we join our voice and sing Revelation 5:12, "Worthy is the lamb who was slain, To receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing"

f. Sing About The Exaltation of Our Lord.   Phil. 2:10-11. Paul writes, "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

You and I should be individually and corporately: Praying (supplicating) , Preaching (Speaking), Sincere and Singing Saints!!!  What is in your heart? Has the goood news of the gospel, of Jesus, our Saviour changed your heart? is He what it is all about for you? If He isn't then He must be!!




Saturday, April 23, 2016

 

ANZAC

John 15 : 9 "As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love.
10 If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commands and remain in His love.
11 "I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.
12 This is My command: love one another as I have loved you.
13 No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.
14 You are My friends if you do what I command you.

 

ANZACS are a people of Commitment 12

Love… An Army of Liberation    Remember Beersheba and the liberation of Palestine!

Remember Crete and the liberation of Greece!

 

ANZACS are a people Compassion 13

Remember the 24 April 1918, 1200 Australians died liberating the village Villers-Bretonneux. In WW1 of  300,000 Australians, almost 60,000 Australians died after sustaining injuries or illness. Most of these deaths (45,000) were on the Western Front. A further 124,000 were wounded 

Sacrifice!!   PNG and the liberation of Asia

 

ANZACS are a people Concentration 14

Keep at it. Don't stop.  Remember Tobruk!  Whatever the odds against us we do not give up.

 

ANZACS are a people For fulfillment  11

This outward focus on loving others is our fulfillment.


 

ANZAC

John 15 : 9 "As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love.
10 If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commands and remain in His love.
11 "I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.
12 This is My command: love one another as I have loved you.
13 No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.
14 You are My friends if you do what I command you.

 

ANZACS are a people of Commitment 12

Love… An Army of Liberation    Remember Beersheba and the liberation of Palestine!

Remember Crete and the liberation of Greece!

 

ANZACS are a people Compassion 13

Remember Villious de briteaux  and the liberation of France

Sacrifice!!   PNG and the liberation of Asia

 

ANZACS are a people Concentration 14

Keep at it. Don't stop.  Remember Tobruk!  Whatever the odds against us we do not give up.

 

ANZACS are a people For fulfillment  11

This outward focus on loving others is our fulfillment.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

 

Eglon and Ehud

How do we interpret the book of Judges?

It is a book that, if we interpret it very shallowly, we would assume it endorsed genocide.

We would assume that we should go and do likewise. However that is not what the book of judges is about in its location with the Bible. Sometimes knowing about the author and his intent helps us understand why a historian tells us the stories he does.

Someone said History is written by the victors, and to some extent its true. Some History is really good to read.. some is really really boring. the book of Judges is well written history. It tells us some great stories.. but we have to interpret them in the light of the author's intended purpose.

Some great historians have written history from their own perspective. I like Manning Clark's History of Australia. Some have said it isn't history ,its story telling. Another historian I like is a fellow named Macauley. He later become Prime Minister of England. He wrote a history in the light of the good news and growth of the gospel. I like his perspective. Who wrote Judges and why was it written will inform us much about the book itself and how we are to understand it. And how we can apply it.


Judges

Lawgiver judge governor liberator, deliverer

Author Samuel  between coronation of saul and david's conquest of Jerusalem  1043 BC -1004BC

Keyword Failure 

Key verse  Judges 17:6; 21:25  In those days Israel had no king;  everyone did as he saw fit (what was right in his own eyes)"

False gods..Ball Dagon Astharoth 

Judges cycle  Sin > Servitude > Supplication > salvation > Silence >Sin

A DOWNWARD CYCLE SPIRAL

An Apolgetic for David's Kingship

Davidic covenant  > Christ as King in Israel

Kingship ..do we think of Christ as King today?

A Key theme in Isaiah and Matthew  Political, Physical, emotional Intellectual, Spiritual

Matthew and Kingship

Big Idea .. God desires to glorify Himself by establishing His kingdom

Davidic covenant  2 samuel 7:13  When your time comes and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up after you your descendant, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.
13 He will build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
14 I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to Me. When he does wrong, I will discipline him with a human rod and with blows from others.
15 But My faithful love will never leave him as I removed it from Saul; I removed him from your way.
16 Your house and kingdom will endure before Me forever, and your throne will be established forever.' "
17 Nathan spoke all these words and this entire vision to David.[

Covenants of Promise

Abrahamic and Davidic   unconditional

Mosaic covenant.. administrative..

And when your days are fulfilled and you sleep with your fathers, I will set up after you YOUR OFFSPRING who shall be born to you, and I will establish HIS KINGDOM.

 He shall build a house for My Name [and My Presence], and I will establish the THRONE of HIS KINGDOM FOREVER.

I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. When he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the stripes of the sons of men.

But My mercy and loving-kindness SHALL NOT DEPART from him, as I took [them] from Saul, whom I took away from before you.

And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before you; YOUR THRONE shall be ESTABLISHED FOREVER.

What did God promise David in 2 Samuel 7:12-16?

Sons: "house" never wiped out

Kingdom: political dynasty (each Jerusalem king will be one of his direct descendants)

Throne: As an eternal covenant (v. 16), the right to rule will remain with his family forever

Temple: Solomon will build it

Discipline: God will punish disobedient kings but still unconditionally keep

2 Ways to Live

God is King  Creation Creator

Sin

Promises of the covenant:

1.                     Sons (descendants)

2.                     Throne (right to rule)

3.                     Kingdom (country or land)

Nine times Jesus is called "son of David" in Matthew (compared to twice in Mark and Luke and none in John).  David is referred to 59 times in the New Testament (NIV).

Jesus' birthplace, Bethlehem, is recalled as "the city of David" (Matthew 2:1; 1 Samuel 20:6)

Joseph and Mary went to "the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he [Joseph] was of the house and family of David" (Luke 2:4).

Like the Davidic Messiah, Jesus is called God's "beloved son" at His baptism (Matthew 3:17; Psalm 2:7).

Zechariah 9:9 notes that He will enter Jerusalem as a KING, riding on a donkey.  "Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Jerusalem!  See, your KING comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey"

Matt. 21:7-9…  The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, 'Hosanna to the SON OF DAVID!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!"

Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."

"You are a king, then!" said Pilate.

 Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."

Isaiah 9:6-7      He will reign on DAVID'S THRONE FOREVER. "For to us a child is born, to us A SON is given. ... And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ... He will rule on DAVID'S THRONE and over HIS KINGDOM, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and FOREVER"

Luke 1:31-33      And listen! You will become pregnant and will give birth to A SON, and you shall call His name JESUS. He will be great (eminent) and will be called the SON of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the THRONE of His forefather DAVID, And He will reign over the HOUSE OF JACOB throughout the ages; and of His reign there will be NO END

You Need Christ as Deliverer and as Director of Your Life

"In those days Israel had no king;  everyone did as he saw fit (what was right in his own eyes)"

Ehud and Eglon

Judges cycle  Sin > Servitude > Supplication > salvation > Silence >Sin

Steven's cycle    Sin > Servitude > Supplication > salvation > Silence >Sin

Romans 6   Jesus is the Stronger man

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

Supplication    Romans 7:24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Unexpected deliverer because:

                        a. He breaks the power of cancelled sin

                        b. He sets the prisoner free

2. Jesus' message for Satan is put to death the flesh (Rom 8) 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God.

Jesus is Christ and King.  The Messiah, the Eternal King will reign on David's throne "forever"     (2 Sam 7: 13, 16; 1 Kings 2:45; 9:5; 1 Chron. 22:10; 28:4-7; Jer. 30:9; Ezek. 34:23-25; 37:24-28; Hosea 3:5; Ezek. 34:23-25; 37:24-28; 43:6-9; Dan. 3:5; Amos 9:11-12).

You Need a Deliverer  = Saviour.

You Need a Director    = Lord

Acts 2: 36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified." 

Ask Him to be your deliverer and the Director of your life.. Lord and Saviour


Friday, April 15, 2016

 

John 6:41-69 Why I Believe in Jesus Christ

John 6:66-69 Why I Believe in Jesus Christ

65 He said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted to him by the Father."
66 From that moment many of His disciples turned back and no longer accompanied Him.
67 Therefore Jesus said to the Twelve, "You don't want to go away too, do you?"
68 Simon Peter answered, "Lord, who will we go to? You have the words of eternal life.
69 We have come to believe and know that You are the Holy One of God!"

I Peter chapter three and verse fifteen. It says this, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you. Be able to do it with meekness and fear." If someone were to ask you why are you a Christian, could you give a good answer. Why are you excited about the Lord Jesus? or Why you believe you believe in Jesus? I want to talk to you tonight on this subject Why I believe in Jesus Christ. Why I am a Christian. Now are Christians fools for believing in Jesus? Are we mere sentimentalists or do we have reasonable reasons for believing in the Lord Jesus Christ? Now may I tell you that everybody is a believer. People just believe different things. Some for example believe in atheism. They are believers; they just believe there is no God. Now if you do not if you don't believe in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, then you must believe in the beginning the heavens and the earth made themselves and then they created man. Now if you won't to believe that as far as I'm concerned you've got rooms to rent upstairs unfurnished but you can believe that if you want. May I tell you this don't get the idea that atheism is the sign of intelligence. It is not a sign of intelligence. Socrates believed in God. Lord Bacon believed in God. Galileo believed in God. Sir Isaac Newton believed in God. Pasteur believed in God. Albert Einstein believed in God. The space scientist Vernor Von Bron believed in God. I mean it's not a sign of intelligence that you don't believe in God. Well, you say I believe in God but I am more of a philosopher. I wouldn't say that I'm a Christian. Well, dear friend, if your a philosopher and you don't believe in the Lord Jesus do you think that philosophy has the answer to life? Scopenhour was a great philosopher and he said that life is a curse of endless cravings and endless unhappiness. I'm glad that's not my philosophy. Huxley said as he looked around at human beings he was a great philosopher, but he said it seems that we talking of human beings, we are a cancer on the globe. That's you, that's me. Bertram Russell, oh they study him in college, but he said of philosophy, "Philosophy proved a wash out to me." I like what Dr. Robert G. Lee said about philosophy. He said it was a chunk of cloud bank buttered with the night wind. Dear friend, is that what you're going to turn to. Oh, well you say, I I'm not necessarily a philosopher or an atheist. I am ugh very religious. 

Jesus had just fed the 5,000 with a few fishes and loaves. Many followed Jesus because of the miracles He performed.  But as Jesus preached to them a challenging message, the multitudes began to leave Him.

If you turn from Jesus, where will you go?

Will you turn to atheism?

The intelligentsia of the ages have believed in God.

Socrates         Galileo         Newton        Pasteur      Einstein     Wernher von Braun

 

There are five  reasons why I believe in Jesus Christ.

PHILOSOPHICAL REASONS

Rational reasons

Christianity is Cohesive

Christianity is Cogent

Christianity is Comprehensive

Christianity is Corresponding to reality

Experiential  and Phenomenological reasons

 

 

HISTORICAL REASONS

Jesus is a fact of history.

John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

HISTORICAL REASONS

Resurrection


Archaeology


Miracles


Prophesy

 

 

SCRIPTURAL REASONS

John 6:44-45  No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.
45 It is written in the Prophets: And they will all be taught by God.Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to Me—

The Bible is the Word of God.

How do we know the Bible is true?

Fulfilled prophecy

The unity of the Bible

The longevity of the Bible

The accuracy of the Bible

The power of the Bible  (John 6:63) The Spirit is the One who gives life. The flesh doesn't help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

Jesus is the central theme of the Bible.

His miraculous birth and life

His sacrificial death  Acts 10:43  All the prophets testify about Him that through His name everyone who believes in Him will receive forgiveness of sins."

John 6:45  It is written in the Prophets: And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to Me—

SPIRITUAL REASONS

John 6:63  The Spirit is the One who gives life. The flesh doesn't help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

If you sincerely seek the truth, God the Holy Spirit will speak to you and confirm that Jesus is the Christ.

He witnesses to you.

He witnesses in you.

1 John 5:  10 (The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. The one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given about His Son.)

PERSONAL REASONS

The Lord Jesus Christ is Cohesive 

He is Cogent,

He is Comprehensive

He is Corresponds to reality

John 6:68-69  Simon Peter answered, "Lord, who will we go to? You have the words of eternal life.
69 We have come to believe and know that You are the Holy One of God!"

 

 

 


 

John 6:641-69 Why I Believe in Jesus Christ

John 6:66-69 Why I Believe in Jesus Christ 65 He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted to him by the Father.” 66 From that moment many of His disciples turned back and no longer accompanied Him. 67 Therefore Jesus said to the Twelve, “You don’t want to go away too, do you?” 68 Simon Peter answered, “Lord, who will we go to? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and know that You are the Holy One of God!” 1Peter chapter three and verse fifteen. It says this, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you. Be able to do it with meekness and fear." If someone were to ask you why are you a Christian, could you give a good answer. Why are you excited about the Lord Jesus? or Why you believe you believe in Jesus? I want to talk to you tonight on this subject Why I believe in Jesus Christ. Why I am a Christian. Now are Christians fools for believing in Jesus? Are we mere sentimentalists or do we have reasonable reasons for believing in the Lord Jesus Christ? Now may I tell you that everybody is a believer. People just believe different things. Some for example believe in atheism. They are believers; they just believe there is no God. Now if you do not if you don't believe in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, then you must believe in the beginning the heavens and the earth made themselves and then they created man. Now if you won't to believe that as far as I'm concerned you've got rooms to rent upstairs unfurnished but you can believe that if you want. May I tell you this don't get the idea that atheism is the sign of intelligence. It is not a sign of intelligence. Socrates believed in God. Lord Bacon believed in God. Galileo believed in God. Sir Isaac Newton believed in God. Pasteur believed in God. Albert Einstein believed in God. The space scientist Vernor Von Bron believed in God. I mean it's not a sign of intelligence that you don't believe in God. Well, you say I believe in God but I am more of a philosopher. I wouldn't say that I'm a Christian. Well, dear friend, if your a philosopher and you don't believe in the Lord Jesus do you think that philosophy has the answer to life? Scopenhour was a great philosopher and he said that life is a curse of endless cravings and endless unhappiness. I'm glad that's not my philosophy. Huxley said as he looked around at human beings he was a great philosopher, but he said it seems that we talking of human beings, we are a cancer on the globe. That's you, that's me. Bertram Russell, oh they study him in college, but he said of philosophy, "Philosophy proved a wash out to me." I like what Dr. Robert G. Lee said about philosophy. He said it was a chunk of cloud bank buttered with the night wind. Dear friend, is that what you're going to turn to. Oh, well you say, I I'm not necessarily a philosopher or an atheist. I am ugh very religious. Jesus had just fed the 5,000 with a few fishes and loaves. Many followed Jesus because of the miracles He performed. But as Jesus preached to them a challenging message, the multitudes began to leave Him. If you turn from Jesus, where will you go? Will you turn to atheism? The intelligentsia of the ages have believed in God. Socrates Galileo Newton Pasteur Einstein Wernher von Braun There are five reasons why I believe in Jesus Christ. PHILOSOPHICAL REASONS Christianity is Cohesive Christianity is Cogent Christianity is Comprehensive Christianity is Corresponding to reality Experiential reasons Rational reasons Phenomenological reasons HISTORICAL REASONS Jesus is a fact of history. John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. Resurrection Archeology Miracles Prophesy SCRIPTURAL REASONS John 6:44-45 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: And they will all be taught by God.Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to Me— The Bible is the Word of God. How do we know the Bible is true? Fulfilled prophecy The unity of the Bible The longevity of the Bible The accuracy of the Bible The power of the Bible (John 6:63) The Spirit is the One who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. Jesus is the central theme of the Bible. His miraculous birth and life His sacrificial death Acts 10:43 All the prophets testify about Him that through His name everyone who believes in Him will receive forgiveness of sins.” John 6:45 It is written in the Prophets: And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to Me— SPIRITUAL REASONS John 6:63 The Spirit is the One who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. If you sincerely seek the truth, God the Holy Spirit will speak to you and confirm that Jesus is the Christ. He witnesses to you. He witnesses in you. 1 John 5:6-10 Jesus Christ—He is the One who came by water and blood; not by water only, but by water and by blood. And the Spirit is the One who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and these three are in agreement. 9 If we accept the testimony of men, God’s testimony is greater, because it is God’s testimony that He has given about His Son. 10 (The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. The one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given about His Son.) PERSONAL REASONS The Lord Jesus Christ is Cohesive He is Cogent, He is Comprehensive He is Corresponds to reality John 6:68-69 Simon Peter answered, “Lord, who will we go to? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and know that You are the Holy One of God!”

Monday, March 28, 2016

 

But go, tell His disciples and Peter,

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so they could go and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they went to the tomb at sunrise. 3 They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance to the tomb for us?” 4 Looking up, they observed that the stone—which was very large—had been rolled away. 5 When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; they were amazed and alarmed. 6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he told them. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has been resurrected! He is not here! See the place where they put Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples and Peter, 7 But go, tell His disciples and Peter, Did you ever consider why the angel, sent by the risen Lord Jesus, reminds the ladies at the empty tomb to "7.. tell His disciples and Peter" ? Why Peter? Peter got into trouble with his words. We all do too. A little girl wanted to say grace at the meal table in front of a family invited to lunch. There was silence.. and then nothing... "Just say what mummy says honey" "Lord why did I ever invite these people here for lunch today?" Jesus and His disciples had just finished the Last Supper in the Upper Room. They sang a hymn and then went out to the Mount of Olives. There, Jesus told His disciples that they were fast approaching the “showdown” and in that crunch moment they would all fall away. They would all deny Him, they would all forsake Him. But boldly, Peter said to Jesus, “Not me Lord. All the rest of them may fall away but not me. You can count on me. I would never fail you. I would never deny you. I will go with You to prison and even to death. The others may become weak in the crisis, but not me. I will stand tall. That, You can count on.” And Jesus said, “Simon, Simon, I know you mean well, but the truth is that this very night before the cock crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And of course, Jesus was right. That is precisely what happened… and Peter was emotionally and spiritually devastated by his failure to live up to his bold words. How could he face Christ again after falling on his face so completely? How could Peter be redeemed from this tragic failure?
WHEN WE MOST FEEL DESPAIR THE RISEN CHRIST BRINGS HOPE
Peter... never forgotten by the Lord.. never left to His stupidity. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, He is Risen, the risen living Lord brings followership.
WHEN WE MOST NEED LOVE, THE RISEN CHRIST COMES TO LOVE US.
Peter... never forsaken by the Lord... loved when we need it most. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, He is Risen, the risen living Lord brings fellowship. 1John 1:1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have observed,and have touched with our hands, concerning the Word of life— 2 that life was revealed, and we have seen it and we testify and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us— 3 what we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may have fellowship along with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing these thingsso that our joy may be complete.
WHEN WE MOST NEED FORGIVENESS, THE RISEN CHRIST COME TO FORGIVE US
. Peter.. forgiven .. the Lord says.. "He's with me!" But go, tell His disciples and Peter, He is Risen, the risen living Lord brings forgiveness. 1John 1:5 Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him. 6 If we say, “We have fellowship with Him,” and • walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. Why do you get a receipt from a shop? 2 reasons.. 1. so you can take the product back when it doesn't work. 2. As a proof of purchase. The resurrection is the proof of purchase. The Son's death at the cross has purchased your pardon. The resurrection is the Father's receipt that the sacrifice is accepted. Do you want to feel the forgiveness of your sins afresh? confess them to the Lord. The risen Lord is ready to hear your prayers. and He applies your forgiveness that He purchased for you at the cross.
WHEN WE MOST NEED DIRECTION, THE RISEN CHRIST COMES TO DIRECT US.
Peter.. Jesus asks the question, "Are you with Me?" But go, tell His disciples and Peter, go to Galilee! He is Risen, the risen living Lord brings a new sense of call for your life. He wants you to follow Him again. Note this in the meeting with the resurrected Lord with Peter at the sea of Galilee. John 21:12 Jesus *said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples ventured to question Him, "Who are You?" knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus *came and *took the bread and *gave it to them, and the fish likewise. 14 This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead. The Love Motivation 15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?" He *said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He *said to him, "Tend My lambs." 16 He *said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" He *said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He *said to him, "Shepherd My sheep." 17 He *said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus *said to him, "Tend My sheep. 18 "Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go." 19 Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He *said to him, "Follow Me!" 20 Peter, turning around, *saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, "Lord, who is the one who betrays You?" 21 So Peter seeing him *said to Jesus, "Lord, and what about this man?" 22 Jesus *said to him, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!" But go, tell His disciples and Peter, He is Risen, the risen living Lord brings followership.
WHEN WE MOST NEED ASSURANCE, THE RISEN CHRIST COMES TO ASSURE US.
A dear Lady was dieing. She had walked with the Lord for many many years.SHe asked me.."But Did He die for me?" I reminded her how the Lord had touched her heart many times in her life to remind her that her sins were pardoned at the cross when the Lord Jesus died. The Risen Lord comes to people personally. He speaks to your heart that your sins are forgiven. Even yours! Even Peters. Even ours. She said to me.. "Yes I see it now. He died for my sins and He is risen and thats all that counts." Do you know He died and is risen.. Has He spoken peace to your heart? He can. Right now..Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved! Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed." 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." Will you do that right now?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

 
The Paradoxes of Christian Fruitfulness I’ll never forget the short tribute one on large tombstone. A man’s name was listed and then it said, “He was a great man.” I often wondered what criteria did they use to determine that this was a great man? The word “great” is probably the most overused word in the English language. When you Google the word great there are 5.5 billion links. And we not only have great, we have greater, and greatest! There were three restaurants on one city block. The first restaurant had a large sign that said, “The Greatest Restaurant in the city.” The second restaurant had a larger sign that said, “The Greatest Restaurant in the county.” The third restaurant had a small sign that simply said, “The Greatest Restaurant on this block.” But the word “great” can also mean just the opposite. If you get in your car to crank it up and the battery’s dead you might say, “Well, that’s just great!” No wonder it’s hard to learn English! In 2001, Jim Collins wrote a bestselling management book entitled Good to Great. The subtitle was “Why some Companies take the leap and others don’t.” Collins studied a number of successful companies like Nucor and Walgreens and presented management principles on how to take a good company and make it great. I’ve entitled this message From Great to Good. I don’t think a business book with that title would sell many copies. But when it comes to our personal relationship with God and with others, Jesus taught that personal goodness is more valuable than personal greatness. Let’s unpack this truth by exploring three principles from this episode. But Jesus is omniscient—He knows all things—so He knew exactly what they were arguing about: Who was the greatest. We all have to deal with the temptation of our flesh to think we are great. We have an “I” problem, and it has nothing to do with sight. I’m talking about the big “I” that represents your ego. It wants to be great. I can remember boxer Muhammad Ali brashly declaring, “I am the greatest!!” We say so many things are “great” that the word has lost its power. We talk about the Great Lakes, Great Britain, the Great Plains, the Great Wall in China; and the Great White Shark swimming in the Great Barrier Reef. And history has dubbed certain leaders with the title “great.” You’ve probably heard of Alexander the Great, Herod the Great, and even Catherine the Great. Wikipedia reports there has been at least 114 world leaders who had the word “great” used with their names, all the way from Albert the Great to Xerxes the Great. HE WHO WOULD LIVE MUST DIE Mark 8 34“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. The essence of sin is self-centeredness. And a person who suffers from selfish pride places their ego at the center of their own personal universe and everything and everyone revolves around them. They don’t know much about theology, but their favorite topic is Me-ology. They love to talk about “me” and what “me” likes or “me” doesn’t like. And drumroll please; now we have the ability to take pictures of our favorite subject—me!! According to a CBS report, we are taking 93 million selfies a day. The Bible teaches that we must resist this temptation for self-promotion. The Bible says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Phil 2:3 There’s nothing wrong with having ambition—ambition for your family, your church, or your business can be a good thing. The Bible warns about the kind of SELFISH ambition that causes you to consider yourself better than everyone else. In His book, Good to Great, Jim Collins points out a surprising discovery. The leaders of these great companies were actually humble men and women. He wrote: “The best CEOs in our research display tremendous ambition for their company. Yet at the same time they display a remarkable humility about themselves, ascribing much of their own success to luck, discipline and preparation rather than personal genius.” Dr. Jim Henry served as Pastor of FBC Orlando for almost thirty years before he retired in 2009. He is a great guy. He is a genuinely humble servant of God. He tells the story on himself about the time when he was attending a graduation ceremony in the football stadium at his alma mater, Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky. He was receiving the outstanding alumnus award. He was sitting up on the platform with the president and the faculty in his dark robe. And for a few minutes he was feeling pretty good about himself. Just before he got up to get the award he was thinking, “When I was a student here, I was a nobody. Nobody expected me to succeed. Nobody knew that I would be the pastor of one of the largest churches in the Southern Baptist Convention. But here I am. Getting the outstanding alumnus award. Not bad, Jim, old boy.” Then Jim said, just as he walked to the podium to get the award, he said a large bird flew over him and bombed him from his head down the shoulder of his black robe. He started laughing and everyone else started laughing. And Jim was thinking, “God sure has a since of humor. And He has a way of humbling us when we start thinking too highly of ourselves!” 1. THE WAY UP IS DOWN Mark 9:33-37 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” In this world, everyone is trying to make it to the top. They want to get to the top of the corporate ladder, or the top of the heap, or the top of the list of richest people. But God’s kingdom is a reverse kingdom. In God’s kingdom, the way up is down and way down is up. The Bible says in James 4:6, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Then a few verses later in James 4:10, “Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.” The way down is up and the way up is down in God’s kingdom. In Isaiah 14 we read about the selfish ambition of an angel named Lucifer. He said, “I will ascend to heaven; I will place my throne above the stars of heaven…I will make myself like the most high!” (Isaiah 14:13-14) Satan said, “I’m going up, up, up. The sky’s not even the limit for me!” But God said, “No way. You’re going down, down, down.” And Satan has been going down since that day, and one day he’ll go all the way down to the bottomless pit. Because in God’s kingdom. The way up is down and the way down is up. He that is down needs fear no fall, He that is low no pride; He that is humble ever shall Have God to be his guide. I am content with what I have, Little be it or much; And, Lord, contentment still I crave Because Thou savest such. Fulness to such a burden is That go in pilgrimage; Here little and hereafter bliss Is best from all to age. In God’s eyes, greatness isn’t determined by how many servants you have; but by how many people you serve. 2. TO LOSE IS TO WIN 10:29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” 3. To SERVE IS TO REIGN 10:35- 42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus demonstrated a servant’s heart when He washed the disciples’ feet the night before He was crucified. They all thought they were too important to wash feet, but Jesus showed them what servanthood is all about. He was the Son of God, but He didn’t lead with a fancy title, He lead with a foot towel. Here’s a point for you to consider: In God’s eyes, greatness isn’t determined by how many servants you have; but by how many people you serve. In Hollywood there is the Walk of Fame, where stone and brass stars in the sidewalk honor the stars of entertainment. There are 2,500 stars all the way from Bud Abbott to Keenan Wynn. But God has another list of stars and they are the ones who serve. The world values greatness by how many servants a person has, but God assigns value according to how many people we serve. "Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy. O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled as to console, To be understood as to understand, To be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life. Wess Roberts wrote a book called "Leadership Secrets of Attila The Hun" (New York: Warner Books, 1987), 26 Listen to his advice... “Lust for Leadership: ‘You’ve got to want to be in charge. Above all other traits, one who desires to lead must possess an intrinsic desire to achieve substantial personal recognition and be willing to earn it. You must have the courage, creativity and stamina to focus on accomplishing your responsibilities through the directed, delegated efforts of subordinates.” Stacy T. Rinehart wrote a book titled "Upside Down" that describes the difference between the world's view and the Christian view... “Jesus contradicted everything I had thought, learned and experienced concerning the subject of leadership. Leading from a position of authority and power might be the accepted way of the world, but Jesus said it must not be so among His people.” Calvin Miller, made the following statement in a book called The Empowered Leader, (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1995), 40. "Once we have given up all rights to reputation, we may begin the walk of faith with nothing crucial to be lost!” And Gene Wilkes put it this way... "The disciples learned that servant leadership ultimately means giving up yourself... so that others can have the life God desires for them.” Hans Finzel a leadership expert said this...“Nothing destroys morale more than a ‘control freak’—the old-fashioned kind of leader who still wants to make all the decisions, call all the shots, and be the sole captain of the ship." 4. TO GIVE IS TO GAIN 12:41- 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” We know exactly where this took place because Josephus provided a detailed description of the Temple during the time of Jesus. The treasury was actually thirteen offering shofars build into a wall running beside the Court of the Women. Seven shofars were for tithes and six were for freewill offerings. They were called shofars because they resembled a horn made from a ram’s horn that the Jews would blow to signal religious holidays. The religious show-offs were mostly interested in what they could GET out of life. And the poor widow as interested in all she could GIVE. Passover Festival, so there would have been thousands of pilgrims in the city and almost all of them would have been making offerings. Mark 12:28Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. Max Lucado put it this way... “When our deepest desire is not the things of God, or a favor from God, but God Himself, we cross a threshold. Less self-focus, more God-focus. Less about me, more about Him.” Isaac Watts wrote a beautiful song in 1707 The first verse says, “When I survey the wondrous cross; on which the prince of glory died; My richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride.”, “Were the whole realm of nature mine; that were a present far too small; Love so amazing so divine; demands my soul, my life, my all!” Bill Hybels stated it this way in his book, "Descending into Greatness" (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993), 22. “God asks us to lose so we can gain. He makes a hard request, then offers a promise. Lose your selfish ambition; I will honor you for loving others. Lose your addiction to things; I will provide for you if you seek Me wholeheartedly Lose your obsession to be in control; I will give you power as you follow Me Lose your appetite for thrills; I will startle you with pleasures you could never have found on your own. Lose your life; I will give you eternity.”

Monday, March 02, 2015

 

Removed from the BUNSW

Dear friends,

I am pretty distressed today. After serving in Baptist churches as pastor and church planter (I planted Kiama Baptist church and also South Western Baptist Church), I received notice from Births Deaths and Marriages that I am no longer a Baptist Minister and that the Baptist Union of NSW has removed my accreditation.

Arriving home I received this letter from the Baptist Union of NSW.

"as you are aware the Committee for the Ministry extended a period of grace to you until the end of 2014 to find a suitable Baptist ministry role. As this period of grace has now expired and you are still not in an approved ministry position, the committee has decided at this meeting held on 9 February 2015 to remove your name from the Register of Accredited ministers for the time being."

WOW thanks Baptist Union of NSW!!!

You have always treated your pastors so kindly and graciously!  I have yet to speak to anyone regarding this matter by either phone call or in person. I guess they couldn't afford the call.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

 

Lorelle is 50 tonight

Lorelle is 50 today.

Proverbs 31: 10 Who can find a capable wife? She is far more precious than jewels. 

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11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will not lack anything good.

12 She rewards him with good, not evil, all the days of her life.
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13 She selects wool and flax and works with willing hands.

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14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from far away.

15 She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and portions for her servants.

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16 She evaluates a field and buys it; she plants a vineyard with her earnings.

17 She draws on her strength and reveals that her arms are strong.
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18 She sees that her profits are good, and her lamp never goes out at night.

19 She extends her hands to the spinning staff, and her hands hold the spindle.

20 Her hands reach out to the poor, and she extends her hands to the needy.

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21 She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all in her household are doubly clothed.

22 She makes her own bed coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple.

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23 Her husband is known at the city • gates, where he sits among the elders of the land.

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24 She makes and sells linen garments; she delivers belts to the merchants.

25 Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come.
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26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue.
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27 She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle.

28 Her sons rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also praises her:
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29 “Many women are capable, but you surpass them all!”
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30 Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who  fears the Lord will be praised.

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31 Give her the reward of her labor, and let her works praise her at the city gates.

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Saturday, October 04, 2014

 

A Theology Of Technology

We have entered a whole new world. Truly a brave new world, a digital world, completely new to the human experience. Possibilities are endless, as are the pitfalls.

Facts:

· Children aged 8-18 consume 7 hours and 38 minutes of media per day.

· Teens 13-17 send an average of 3,364 texts per month.

· Facebook is cited in almost 1/3 of divorce filings.

· First exposure to internet based pornography is age 12 (and falling).

Technological advancement is chaotic. Not all of it is good. Some of it is quite vile. It is alarming that he deeply unloving acts of soliciting sex with children through internet web sites has been perpetrated by those whom we trust. Teachers and others have been jailed for obscene photos of children.

Often television series are based upon real life experiences recorded by book authors. One young U.S. pioneering family had a daughter; Laura Engles-Wiilder( of “Little House on the Prairie” fame) was born in 1867. Later in life, she wrote about being a pioneer girl. She died in 1957 – the year the Boeing 747 went into the sky, before man landed on the moon, the year before Lennon met McCarthy. She wrote about the steam engine like it was some magnificent invention. However since 1957 technological change has been enormous.

And yet the pace of technological change has not slackened, but rather technological change increases remarkably. The impossibilities of the 1968 Star Trek series have largely become realities; such as the hand held communicator, or the computer screen.

1980 brought about the digital divide. Computers, once the province of big businesses such as IBM, have been displaced by Microsoft and Apple, as computers could now be brought into our homes.

1990 saw the commencement of the internet age. Knowledge, information became available to all at minimal costs. The prophecy of Daniel 12 is being fulfilled. Verse 4 reads about the end of time, “But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase."ESV 4many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase." NASB

Life has changed. The role of the university as the resource for knowledge has been replaced by the portable laptop. Encyclopedia’s, once highly valued as the source of all knowledge, venerated in the reserved public space of the household, has been replaced by, first of all, cheap, then free digital editions, and finally displaced by Wikipedia, the “primary source” for all PhD’s papers.

But how now shall we live? Such an information explosion resourced through new technologies, has changed the way people live. The multiple waves of technological innovations have so crashed repeatedly into human life, that rather than respond wisely to the new innovations with rigorous thought and concern, rather , humanity welcomes all new technologies with an enthusiastic embrace: We are led to assume by the unrelenting pressure of unsought technological innovation that technology is neutral, neither moral nor immoral, and that it is only people who give moral value to things. We are then led to give all technologies unqualified, unthinking acceptance.

Some would distance themselves from all technologies with a strict separation: Like the Luddites who resisted the depersonalizing technologies of the industrial revolution in England, we could distrust and resist anything new.

Or we could use some disciplined discernment: Embrace the virtuous, reject the unwholesome.

Malcolm Gladwell (author of “The Tipping Point”) – was recently asked as to the reason for him writing books? He replied, “Because we are experience rich and theory poor. We don’t think about why things work the way they do. We all have the experience of it, but we never think about the theory behind it.

We tend to think that new technologies are primarily beneficial. We aren’t preparing our hearts for the risk of the not so good things, nor have we duly considered the unexpected outcomes of the technology upon our humanity. The benefits of technology are usually immediately apparent. The risks of a technology are usually only apparent over time. We all have experience with technology; every time we check email or watch television or answer a call on a cell phone we further develop that experience. Many of us have some theory of technology. Perhaps we’ve read a book by Neil Postman or we’ve seen a TV special on the subject. Along the way most of us have picked up some theory of technology. But what few of us have done is consider the biblical perspective on technology, which means that few of us have a theology of technology.

A Theology of Technology cannot be separated from a theology of all things, rather it finds itself imbedded in a theology of all things.  Particularly, our theology of humanity and what it means to thrive as a human being is associated to our theology of technology.  Any and every technology is an artifact of humanity.  It both impacts and is impacted upon by what it means to be human.  What does God say about how humanity shall thrive or fail?

1.The Goal of Humanity and its Artifacts is Fruitfulness

Gen 1:26-30

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”
27 So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.
28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.”
29 God also said, “Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth, and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This food will be for you,
30 for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the earth—everything having the breath of life in it. [I have given]every green plant for food.” And it was so.
31 God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. Evening came, and then morning: the sixth day.

Socially humanity was made for Community fellowship with God and fellowship with humanity, and fellowship with the created natural world

Morally humanity was created with Conscience.

Mentally humanity was created with Creativity subdue.. to place in order. As God created everything out of nothing, He put in order creation out of chaos. In a similar way humanity exercises creativity in many ways to bring order to his world. Oorder is differentiated here from control.

2. The Guilt of Humanity (and its artifacts) is found in our Fallenness

Socially, humanity created for community experiences isolation and separation. There is a tendency to subordinate relationships to tasks in order to control. Gen 3:8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
9 So the Lord God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
10 And he said, “I heard You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”
11 Then He asked, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I had commanded you not to eat from?”
12 Then the man replied, “The woman You gave to be with me—she gave me [some fruit]from the tree, and I ate.”

Community has been lost, communion with God has been replaced with separation from God.

Tim Challies writes; “The cell phone, a device meant to enhance my communication with others, can increase my ability to communicate with those who are far from me, often at the cost of communication with my own wife and children – those closest to me.[i]

Walls separate humanity. Social isolation has overwhelmed much of humanity. Everyone feels someties the depth of loneliness that separates people.

We have more and greater means of communication than any other age, yet find ourselves experiencing greater social isolation than any other age. We gather together at family and social functions so that we can sit alone and check our facebook updates on our mobile phones.

Morally Conscience set as a guide for humanity, finds itself confused. Man’s creativity in technology provided him the means to cover-up his guilt with things that would never satisfy the depths of his need. Gen 3: 6 Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate [it]; she also gave [some]to her husband, [who was]with her, and he ate [it]. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

Mentally humanity was created to be creative, however now creativity is used to control our world and the people in it.

Humanity’s fallenness produces a change in the way people are valued. No longer is fruitfulness in community of relationship the main purpose of humanity, rather it is the tasks whereby are ascribed monetary value to the person; their worth.

Worth is assessed by a person’s ability to “work like a machine”. Vis, Lucy as a factory employee.

Technology is more than just the mobile phone – it includes very artifact of humanity’s culture, whether it be beautiful, artistic, functional, or industrial. Technology is the creative activity of using tools to shape God’s creation for practical purposes.

Efficiency is the new word for worth. Myers staff are made to feel “unworthy” by being reminded that their sales figures are down. They are urged to use relationships as means of being more productive, developing relationships for purely mercenary goals of customer loyalty. I was invited to renew an old and valued friendship, along with several others. We very soon discovered that our desire for friendship had been used for mercenary measures when we discovered we were subject to an Amway sales pitch by our friends. Our souls had been commodified.

No wonder Peggy Lee could croon, “is that all there is?” and the Rolling Stones could complain “I can’t get no satisfaction, though I try and I try and I try.”

Humanity’s fallenness allows humanity to create artifacts with the creativity he has that is marred by his fallenness so that humanity’s artifacts now reflect that fallenness. Some created technologies reflect that fallenness; atomic bombs and hand grenades and explosive mines have only one purpose, the undifferentiated taking of human lives.

When worth is assessed by productivity, then both abortion and euthanasia become meaningful possibilities.

But, still, the heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart.

Many years ago I was confronted with a way side pulpit sign I have never forgotten. It asked the question “Do you love things and use people or do you love people and use things?”

The heart of the human problem is the tendency that we have to subjugate people to ourselves, using whatever means we can to control our environments and control those in them.

3. The Growth of Humanity (and their artifacts ) has been by Force

Individuals have always been the key to human development. Historically a key typological figure occurs in the book of Genesis very briefly, yet the results of his technological ability is still felt today.

Genesis 10: 8Cush fathered Nimrod, who was the first powerful man on earth. 9 He was a powerful hunter in the sight of the Lord. That is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a powerful hunter in the sight of the Lord.” 10 His kingdom started with Babylon, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11 From that land he went to Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-ir, Calah,

Arrogance Nimrod was known as an arrogant man. He was going to make his way in an unknown world. He would boldly go where no man has gone before. And he built himself cities there. A powerful man. It was no wonder that the families that followed him imitated his prowess.

Gen 11: 1 At one time the whole earth had the same language and vocabulary. 2 As people migrated from the east, they found a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 They said to each other, “Come, let us make oven-fired bricks.” They had brick for stone and asphalt for mortar. 4 And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky. Let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise, we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

Abilities

Nimrod and his people were people of grat technological ability. Even God recognized their ability.

5 Then the Lord came down to look over the city and the tower that the men were building.
6 The Lord said, “If, as one people all having the same language, they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.

Ambition

The problem was not that they were ambitious, but that they were ambitious without respect to God.

They lived independently of God and His plans. And as such, their conscience’s no longer provided them that balance between morality, community and creativity that would allow them to flourish safely. Consequently, rather than punish them, God scatters them, so that their technological advances may be slowed.

7 Come, let Us go down there and confuse their language so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord scattered them from there over the face of the whole earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 Therefore its name is called Babylon, for there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth, and from there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

Does this provide us warning that technological advancement is not always in the interests of human flourishing?

There is a sense in which we know this already inwardly.

4. The Grace given to humanity is Forgiveness

God’s purpose for our humanity is restoration.

5. The Genuine Fruitfulness

Genuine Fruitfulness is found in reconciliation in our relationships in a new community, with God, and with others.

For us as individuals we cannot allow the time that could be used in developing our relationship with God through His Word, and the time that we should spend in relationship with others, to be swallowed up in time we spend “playing with” technologies. We must never value things more than people. We must live counter culturally. Genuine Fruitfulness is experienced when we value relationships more than productivity.

Genuine Fruitfulness is found Morally by keeping a good conscience about the things that are important. Our conscience allows us a sense of balance. 1 Timothy 1:5 states something of this balance. Now the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.

Genuine Fruitfulness is found Creatively by discovering the beauty of our ordered world, rather than attempting to impose control and order over our world.

God has given us a beautiful natural world, yet humanity so often surrounds itself with a plastic world, a world designed to control our beautifully ordered natural world. Through technology we may attempt to control our world, in ways which ultimately pollute it. Respect for the beauty of our natural world is a value quickly being forgotten in our plastic technological society. And it is a value that is perishable.

Andy Crouch [ii] encourages us to ask these questions of ourselves about every cultural artifact:.

What does this artifact assume about the way the world is?

What does it assume about the way the world should be?

What does it make possible?

What does it make impossible, or at least a lot more difficult?

And what new culture is created in response?


[i] Challies,T. (2011) The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion

[ii]Crouch, A, (2008)Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling IVP Books


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