Friday, June 20, 2014
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Living a Thanksgiving Life
What is the hardest thing in life to do? It might be trying to climb a fence that’s leaning toward you…or to kiss a girl who’s leaning away from you. But really, the most difficult thing in life might be to “give thanks always for all things.”
If Paul had simply said “Give thanks always,” we might be OK with this. But what bothers us is the next phrase, “for all things.” Many hearts are subdued because of tribulation and anguish. How can we come to the place where we give thanks “always in all things”?
Let me ask you a question. Do you have difficulty with bitterness, selfishness, self pity, negativism, or pride? An attitude of gratitude can change those things and literally transform your life.
There are four levels of living. People in the lowest level constantly complain. These folks are always griping and complaining. Rather than being humbly grateful, they're grumbly hateful.
The second level is just a bit higher. These are not people who are constantly complaining; they just never give thanks for anything. They take things for granted.
The third level are those who thank God for the obvious blessings, when things are going good and everything is fine.
But the fourth level, the highest level, are those who give thanks always for all things.
This is the attitude that will change your life. Today we are confronted by a passage that will profoundly change your life. Here is God's answer to a character that draws criticism and crankiness. Here is God's answer in how you can tune up your attitude, and make life bearable for those around you. I don't want to grow old to become a cranky bitter old man. You don't want to grow old and be someone that isn’t loved or respected. These three verses today will change your character.
Three things.. 1 Thessalonians 5 :16 Rejoice always!
17 Pray constantly.
18 Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1. Rejoice always!
What people need is JOY not happiness. Happiness comes from the word “hap,” which means “luck” or “happenings.” Happiness rises and falls with what happens in your life, but joy remains constant regardless of what happens. Joy is an inner attitude of cheer that manifests itself through outward celebration.
Joy is an important word in the Bible. Joy appears 158 times and “rejoice” appears another 198 times. In the Old Testament there are 27 different colorful words to describe joy. Some of the basic meanings are to “run around with delight;” “to shine like the brightness of the sun.”
Joy is really not a feeling; it’s an attitude. But when you experience real joy, you’ll rejoice, which is the expression of a feeling. At any time, you can choose to rejoice. You may say, “I don’t feel like rejoicing.” That’s okay; rejoice anyway. Paul was in prison when he wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord. I’ll say it again, rejoice.” He didn’t write, “Rejoice in the prison.” He said, “Rejoice in the Lord.” The Bible never says, “Rejoice in your bank account.” We rejoice in the Lord. The Bible never says, “Rejoice in your health, or your circumstances’. We rejoice in the Lord.
Are you rejoicing in the Lord? Here’s a test. Sometime this afternoon or this week, find someone who is close to you, your spouse or a good friend. Ask them, “When was the last time you saw me really rejoice?”
Today is Thanksgiving Sunday among our Life Anglican churches. It is a day we have set aside to reflect back on God’s goodness to us in the past year, and a day to reflect forwards on what God’s faithfulness will look like in the coming year. We have organized this week each year to occur before the end of the financial year, so that , as part of our thanksgiving, we may make a tangible statement of our thanksgiving to God for this past year.
We Rejoice always in the goodness of the Lord towards us His people.
We Rejoice that Jesus is the Lover of our Souls
Gal 2:20 the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
We Rejoice that Jesus is the Life of our Souls Col 3:4When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
We Rejoice that Jesus is the Liberator of our Souls John 8:32You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
We Rejoice that Jesus is the Lord of our Souls
2. Pray constantly.
17 Pray constantly.
18 Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Listen, friend, if you are too busy to pray, you're too busy. There is the problem of unoffered prayer, but what about the other problem, unanswered prayer? We do pray, we do seek God, we do beg, we do try to get right, and ask God according to his will and yet our prayer seems to be unanswered
You are to pray when you are adding up prices in the grocery store line. You are to pray when you are changing a tire. You are to pray when you are singing a song. You are to pray when you are teaching a little one how to read.
We are commanded to pray all the time. But how do we do this? Think of a mother who has a child who is ill with a fever. Finally, the fever breaks and the mother and child settle down for some much-needed sleep. Not a noise from the television, from the street, or from the phone could awaken that mother. But one whimper from her child and she’s awake, right? That’s because even when she is asleep, she is in tune with that child—just as we are to be with God…constantly communing and attuned to His voice.
It’s going to amaze you when you get to Heaven friend. I believe God’s going to call you over and open the door to his storehouse and say, “Look in there. Do you see those blessings that are soured, and spoiled, and rusty and mildewed? Those are your blessings. Those are things I wanted you to have, those are things that I wanted to load you down with, but I couldn’t give them to you. You went your own way warring, and scheming, and planning and conniving, and figuring and you have not because you ask not.”
Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry, Everything to God in prayer.
Oh, friend, the presumption of un-offered prayer. Did you know that prayerlessness is a sin? It’s a sin. The Bible says, “…God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you…” (1 Samuel 12:23). Did you know the Bible tells us that we’re to pray all of the time? The Bible says, very clearly in 1 Thessalonians, chapter 5 and verse 17 that we are to, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)The Bible says in Luke chapter 18, verse 1 that Jesus “spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1). And, so you see—look, when you don’t pray, you’re not just simply missing a blessing, you’re committing a sin. You’re doing without the things that God wants you to have, and you’re sinning against the Lord.
There is a great example of prayerlessness in the book of 2Chronicles in the life of King Asa of Judah.
2 Chron 15:2 So he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Asa and all Judah and Benjamin, hear me. The Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you abandon Him, He will abandon you.
3 For many years Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law,
4 but when they turned to the Lord God of Israel in their distress and sought Him, He was found by them.
5 In those times there was no peace for those who went about their daily activities because the residents of the lands had many conflicts.
6 Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every possible distress.
7 But as for you, be strong; don’t be discouraged, for your work has a reward.”
8 When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of [Azariah son of]Oded the prophet, he took courage and removed the detestable idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. He renovated the altar of the Lord that was in front of the vestibule of the Lord’s [temple].
9 Then he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, as well as those from [the tribes of]Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who had settled among them, for they had defected to him from Israel in great numbers when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.
2 Chron 16:1 In the thirty-sixth year of Asa, Israel’s King Baasha went to war against Judah. He built Ramah in order to deny anyone’s access—going or coming—to Judah’s King Asa.
2 So Asa brought out the silver and gold from the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and the royal palace and sent it to Aram’s King Ben-hadad, who lived in Damascus, saying,
3 “There’s a treaty between me and you, between my father and your father. Look, I have sent you silver and gold. Go break your treaty with Israel’s King Baasha so that he will withdraw from me.”
4 Ben-hadad listened to King Asa and sent the commanders of his armies to the cities of Israel. They attacked Ijon, Dan, Abel-maim, and all the storage cities of Naphtali.
5 When Baasha heard [about it], he quit building Ramah and stopped his work.
6 Then King Asa brought all Judah, and they carried away the stones of Ramah and the timbers Baasha had built it with. Then he built Geba and Mizpah with them.
7 At that time, Hanani the seer came to King Asa of Judah and said to him, “Because you depended on the king of Aram and have not depended on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand.
8 Were not the • Cushites and Libyans a vast army with very many chariots and horsemen? When you depended on the Lord, He handed them over to you.
9 For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are completely His. You have been foolish in this matter, for from now on, you will have wars.”
10 Asa was angry with the seer and put him in prison because of his anger over this. And Asa mistreated some of the people at that time.
12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a disease in his feet, and his disease became increasingly severe. Yet even in his disease he didn’t seek the Lord but the physicians.
Asa died a bitter old man.
How often do we rely upon our own wisdom and intelligence or powers, or ingenuity to get ourselves out of problems? We should seek the Lord first!
There is no sin in your life but what prayer would have prevented it. The Bible says in Mark 14, verse 38: “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation…” (Mark 14:38).
John Bunyan wrote in Pilgrim’s Progress, “Prayer will make a man cease from sin, and sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.” Are you praying? Most of us talk about prayer like we do the weather. I heard about a weatherman who had to leave town for health reasons. The weather didn’t agree with him.
Prayer is like the weather. We talk about it and don’t do much about it. There is no substitute for prayer. Not energy, not enthusiasm, not eloquence, not intellect. There is no substitute for prayer. My life is no greater than my prayer life. What I am that is important is not what I am on this platform, but what I am in the closet before I come here. What you are in your life when you teach your class is linked to your prayer life.
Oh, my dear friends, this church needs to learn how to pray. We are asking God to lead us into a program that is so immense, so big, so unbelievable, that it absolutely cannot be done—will not be done—unless we pray. I believe God wants us to reach the many many new people moving into our area, and we will pray that many will be saved. And many will be saved. I believe God wants us to have what we need. And, I believe he’s going to give it to us. And, I believe we’re going to be able to raise the money to build these buildings. But, I believe it’ll be God who does it. And, we will have because we shall ask. And, our Heavenly Father will answer that prayer. I’m telling you that if prayerlessness is a sin, then some of us need to repent. And, before you do anything else you need to repent of the sin of prayerlessness. We can do more than pray after we pray, but we can do no more than pray until we have prayed.
I got up early one morning and rushed right into the day.
I had so much to accomplish that I didn't have time to pray.
Problems just tumbled about me and heavier came each task.
Why doesn't God help me, I wondered. He answered, "ha, you didn't ask."
I wanted to see joy and beauty, but the day toiled on gray and bleak.
I wondered why God didn't show me. But He said, "but you didn't seek."
I tried to come into God's presence; I used all the keys on the lock.
God gently and lovingly chided, my son, you didn't knock.
I woke up early this morning and paused before entering the day.
I had so much to accomplish that I had to take time to pray.
3. Give thanks in everything
17 Pray constantly.
18 Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
We are reminded to give thanks in everything!
Giving thanks always for all things to God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. —Ephesians 5:20
Your Gratitude Is Proper
Anything good that you have has come from God. You didn't get it by luck, ingenuity, hard work, wit, or wisdom. It is proper to thank God for it.
Your Gratitude Is to Be Perpetual
You're not just simply to be thankful one day a year. One day is not long enough to thank God for all that He's given you. His blessings come daily. Psalm 68:19 says, "Blessed be the Lord, Who daily load us with benefits...." Every day God has brand-new blessings for you, and every day ought to find you thanking God. Every prayer that you pray ought to be salted with thanks.
Your Gratitude Is to Be Pervasive
In everything give thanks. Not in some things, but in all things. Every thing, every area of life is to be a the subject of thanksgiving. There's so much to be thankful for.
• Spiritual things — If you didn't have anything else but Jesus, you would have enough to praise God for all eternity.
• Simple things — You should be thankful for your families, health, food, and even a glass of water. Thank God for the simple things.
• Sorrowful things — You can even be thankful for the heartaches, the pains, and the sufferings. Romans 8:28 says, "...All things work together for good...." That is, the thing itself is not good, but it is God Who is working all things together for good.
Do you want to live on the highest level of life? Cultivate the attitude of gratitude always and in all things. I don't care how bad, difficult, dark, or mysterious things get; take the ultimate step of faith and say, "God, You're greater than this, and I thank You." You say, "Well, I don't feel like thanking Him." Don't thank Him by feeling; thank Him by faith. You're not told to feel thankful but to be thankful. Nothing shows your faith in the absolute sovereignty of God more than just simply thanking God in every situation.
Your Gratitude Will Be Pleasurable
Thankful people are happy people. "Well," you say, "if I had something to be thankful for, I'd be happy." You have missed the point! You do have something to be thankful for. You have life. You have Christ. You may say, "But my circumstance are not good." The apostle Paul was in prison when he wrote this, yet he was rejoicing in the Lord. Gratefulness turned his prison to a palace, but ungratefulness can turn your palace to a prison. I'm telling you, the attitude of gratitude will change your life.
Your Gratitude Is Possible
Living with gratitude is not a human way to live, not a natural way to live — it's supernatural. And this kind of thankfulness only comes out of a vital relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Whether you're in a prison, as Paul often was you can praise God. I'm telling you it will change your life. Bitterness, fear, self pity, ungratefulness, and negativism will go out of your life if you will practice the grace of gratitude. It's possible.
Why should you choose Jesus today?
He will give you Immediate Joy. 1 Thess 1:6 and you became imitators of us and of the Lord when, in spite of severe persecution, you welcomed the message with the joy from the Holy Spirit.
You face impending death. Death can be either a stepping into the joys of heaven for you or the woes of hell. Paul reminded the Thessalonians of this in chapter 4.. those dying as Christians go immediately to be with the Lord, and there is much joy there.
We await the imminent return of the Lord Jesus. This gave the early Christians great joy because they knew their Lord, their Life their Saviour was going to return to bring them home. Listen to the Joy in it.. 1Thess 5 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.
The insensitivity of your heart is a reason to choose Jesus right now. You may be thinking , what has this joy and thanksgiving got to do with me? The longer you put it off, the harder ot becomes to choose Jesus. Choose Him today and experience the Joy He promises.
Friday, May 23, 2014
Where is God Taking You?
1 Thess 3: 11 Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
Where are you going with your life? Is there any sense in which we can know God’s will for our lives? Sometimes we view God’s will as something that we hope God will just lower down to us one day so we will know where we are going.
I have learnt over the years that the Lord is concerned to take us to Heaven, by a route, holiness, and He Helps us with it.
Lets back into this short passage. My reversing and parking, you will be glad to hear, has much improved since I first visited the church here. I now no longer knock down walls. My car has a camera attached that allows me to back into car park spots safely.
This passage ends with Heaven
Isn’t it good to know that your destination is heaven. If you have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ to be your Saviour and Lord, you have entered a journey where
the Divine Destination is heaven.
This verse reminds us of three important truths.
i. There is An Appointment You Can’t Avoid.
ii. There is An Assessment You Can’t Evade
iii. There is an Assurance You Can Anticipate
There is An Appointment You Can’t Avoid.
so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
You will stand before our God and Father in heaven at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The return of the Lord Jesus with all his saints is a wonderful recurring theme in the epistles to the Thessalonians.
1 Thess 4: 13 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are • asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. 14 Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. 15 For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will always be with the Lord.
After the return of the Lord Jesus you will immediately stand before the God.
There is An Assessment You Can’t Evade
Other passages remind us of this. 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or bad.
1 Corinthians 3: 9 For we are God’s co-workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. 10 According to God’s grace that was given to me, as a skilled master builder I have laid a foundation, and another builds on it. But each one must be careful how he builds on it, 11 because no one can lay any other foundation than what has been laid—that is, Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, 13 each one’s work will become obvious, for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. 14 If anyone’s work that he has built survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, it will be lost, but he will be saved; yet it will be like an escape through fire
Romans 14: If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
9 Christ died and came to life for this: that He might rule over both the dead and the living. 10 But you, why do you criticize your brother? Or you, why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written: As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to Me, and every tongue will give praise to God.12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
There is an Assessment of your works as a believer that will occur after the second coming. There are rewards in heaven. How this works out I have no idea. This is not about heaven and hell. If we have believed in Jesus, Romans 8:1 says, Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, The Lord Jesus said John 5:24 I assure you: Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life.
This assessment is about rewards for believers.. Matthew 25: 21 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful • slave! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy!’
Luke 19:16 The first came forward and said, ‘Master, your mina has earned 10 more minas.’ 17 “ ‘Well done, good• slave!’ he told him. ‘Because you have been faithful in a very small matter, have authority over 10 towns.’ 18 “The second came and said, ‘Master, your mina has made five minas.’ 19 “So he said to him, ‘You will be over five towns.’
There Is An Assurance You Can Anticipate
so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
Phil 1:6 I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
The Lord intends to make you look good on that day.
The Divine Destiny of each believer is Heaven.
That’s where the Lord is taking you. But the route He is taking you is through Holiness.
12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness
The Divine Definition is Holiness
The Christian life produces the fruits of holy living. “Theology,” William Ames wrote in the opening words of his classic, The Marrow of Theology, “is the doctrine or teaching of living to God.[i]” God Himself exhorts His children, “You shall be holy for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). Paul instructs the Thessalonians, “For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification” (1 Thess. 4:7). And the author of Hebrews writes, “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). The believer who does not cultivate holiness diligently will neither have much genuine assurance of his own salvation nor be obeying Peter’s call to seek it (2 Peter 1:10).
Our tendency is to think of Holiness as a negative thing. We think immediately of austere puritans sitting in monastic sterility keeping apart from the world lest they be defiled by it. The New Testament speaks of holiness in a much more positive way, as being the way of love. As we love God deeply, and know His love deeply, we extend that love to other believers and then to a lost and sinful world.
The severity of holiness is lost in the joyful fruit of the Spirit, which engages with others in love.
In both biblical languages holy means separated and set apart for God. For the Christian, to be set apart means, negatively, to be separate from sin, and positively, to be consecrated (i.e., dedicated) to God and conformed to Christ. There is no disparity between Old Testament and New Testament concepts of holiness, though there is a change in emphasis on what holiness involves. The Old Testament stresses ritual and moral holiness; the New Testament stresses inward and transforming holiness Lev. 19:2 “Speak to the entire Israelite community and tell them: Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy. 1 Thess. 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Scripture presents the essence of holiness primarily in relation to God. The focus of the sacred realm in Scripture is God Himself. God’s holiness is the very essence of His being (Isa. 57:15); [ii] it is the backdrop of all else the Bible declares about God. His justice is holy justice; His wisdom is holy wisdom; His power is holy power; His grace is holy grace. No other attribute of God is celebrated before the throne of heaven as is His holiness: “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts” (Isa. 6:3). “Holy” is prefixed to God’s name more than any other attribute[iii].
Isaiah alone calls God the “Holy One” twenty-six times. God’s holiness, John Howe wrote, “may be said to be a transcendental attribute that, as it were, runs through the rest, and casts lustre upon them. It is an attribute of attributes ... and so it is the very lustre and glory of His other perfections.” [iv] God manifests something of His majestic holiness in His works (Ps. 145:17), in His law (Ps. 19:8–9), and especially at the cross of Christ (Matt. 27:46). Holiness is His permanent crown, His glory, His beauty. It is, says Jonathan Edwards, “more than a mere attribute of God—it is the sum of all His attributes, the outshining of all that God is.[v]” God’s holiness denotes two critical truths about Himself: First, it denotes the “separateness” of God from all His creation and His “apartness” from all that is unclean or evil. God’s holiness testifies of His purity, His moral perfection, His separateness from all outside of Him, His complete absence of sin (Job 34:10; Isa. 5:16; 40:18; Hab. 1:13)[vi].
Holiness, includes separation from sin, consecration to God, and conformity to Christ—make holiness comprehensive.
But the bottom line to these is love.
12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father…
Holiness of heart must be cultivated in every sphere of life: in privacy with God, in the confidentiality of our homes, in the competitiveness of our occupation, in the pleasures of social friendship, in relation with our unevangelized neighbors and the world’s hungry and unemployed, as well as in Sunday worship. Horatius Bonar writes: Holiness ... extends to every part of our persons, fills up our being, spreads over our life, influences everything we are, or do, or think, or speak, or plan, small or great, outward or inward, negative or positive, our loving, our hating, our sorrowing, our rejoicing, our recreations, our business, our friendships, our relationships, our silence, our speech, our reading, our writing, our going out and our coming in—our whole man in every movement of spirit, soul, and body[vii].
Thus, holiness is an inward thing that must fill our entire heart and an outward thing that must cover all of life. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23). “Holiness,” Thomas Boston maintained, “is a constellation of graces.” 14 In gratitude to God, a believer cultivates the fruits of holiness, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal. 5:22–23)[viii].
Calvin “we learn in what the perfection of the Christian life consists — in love and pure holiness of heart, flowing from faith. He recommends love mutually cherished towards each other, and afterwards towards all, for as it is befitting that a commencement should be made with those that are of the household of faith, (Gal 6:10) so our love ought to go forth to the whole human race. Farther, as the nearer connection must be cherished, so we must not overlook those who are farther removed from us, so as to prevent them from holding their proper place.
He would have the Thessalonians abound in love and be filled with it, because in so far as we make progress in acquaintance with God, the love of the brethren must at the same time increase in us, until it take possession of our whole heart, the corrupt love of self being extirpated. He prays that the love of the Thessalonians may be perfected by God, intimating that its increase, no less than its commencement, was from God alone. The end of the law is love, says Paul, (1Ti 1:5) yet he himself declares that it is a work of God. When, therefore, God marks out our life, he does not look to what we can do, but requires from us what is above our strength, that we may learn to ask from him power to accomplish it. Your hearts blameless in holiness: The heart must be made holy first. The devil wants us to develop a holy exterior while neglecting the interior, like whitewashed tombs, full of death (Mat. 23:27).”
“The unceasing and steady aim of every Christian should be perfection — perfection in all things and in his submission to the will of God. No man can be a Christian who does not sincerely desire it, and who does not constantly aim at it. No man is a friend of God who can acquiesce in a state of sin and who is satisfied and contented that he is not as holy as God is holy. And any man who has no desire to be perfect and who does not make it his daily and constant aim to be perfect, may settle it down as demonstrably certain that he has no true religion.” — Barnes.
12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness
Love . That’s where the Lord is taking us in Holiness. Love to one another who are Christians, and love towards others in our world, even those who hate us.
The Lord Jesus said Matthew 5: 43 “You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Perfection, Holiness is found in LOVE!
Phocus was a gardener who lived at Sinope, on the Black Sea, who used his crops to feed the poor and also aided persecuted Christians. During the persecutions of Diocletian he provided hospitality to the soldiers who were sent to execute him. The soldiers, not knowing that their host was their intended victim, agreed to his hospitality. Phocas also offered to help them find the person who they sought.
As the soldiers slept, Phocas dug his own grave and also prayed fervently. In the morning, when the soldiers awoke, Phocas revealed his identity. The soldiers hesitated and offered to report to their commander that their search had been fruitless. Phocas refused this offer and bared his neck. He was then decapitated and buried in the grave that he had dug for himself.
Could you love your enemies like that?
God is taking you to a destiny: HEAVEN
God is working to change you HOLINESS .. and that Holiness is LOVE!!!
God is our only Hope of getting there.
We need His HELP.
The Divine Design Is Help
We crave Love.
Marilyn Monroe, foster care one lady in a happy mood whilst putting makeup on, dabbed her with her rouge puffer. Marilyn Monroe said “for that moment I felt loved by her”
We crave Love. And our lives are not over filled with love.
And that love can be found eternally and powerfully in Jesus.
One of the beuties of this passage is it reminds us; may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you.
Wesley reminds us that it is the overflowing abounding love of the Lord Jesus that flows into our hearts and out to others. It was Keith Green who wrote
I found it hard to believe Someone like you cared for me
You put this love in my heart I tried but could not refuse
You gave me no time to choose You put this love in my heart
I want to know where the bad feelings go When I'm depressed and I get down so low
And then I see you coming to me and it's alright
I want to tell you right now I'm not afraid to say how You put this love in my heart
There are sometimes when I doubt But you always find me out You put this love in my heart
'Cause when I see all that you've done for me It's hard to doubt, I just have to believe
'Cause you followed and proved it all of your life
Well I know The loneliness I had before Is gone now I'll never feel it anymore 'Cause your love has released me
From all that's in my past and I know I can believe you When you say I'll never be forsaken Your love is gonna last
There's so much more I should say If I could just find a way
You put this love in my heart
Is all this real or a dream I feel so good I could scream You put this love in my heart
I want to know where the bad feelings go When I'm depressed and I get down so low And then I see you coming to me and it's alright
You put this love in my heart You put this love in my heart You put this love in my heart
“A heart in every thought renewed, And full of Love divine,
Perfect and right and pure and good A copy, Lord of thine.
“Give me a new, a perfect heart, From doubt and fear and sorrow free,
The mind which was in Christ impart, And let my spirit cleave to thee.”
And every virtue we possess, And every conquest won, And every thought of holiness, Are His alone.
Are you growing in Holiness?
Are you prepared for Heaven?
Are you growing in Love?
Are you drawing upon the Lord’s help to be all He intends you should be?
We need love. We need to give out that love. Is your life full of love?
[i] The Marrow of Theology, trans. and ed. John D. Eusden (1629; Boston: Pilgrim Press, 1968), 77.
Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1978), 13–14.
[ii] Otto, R, The Idea of the Holy, trans. J. W. Harvey (London: Oxford University Press, 1946).
[iii] Charnock,S The Existence and Attributes of God (repr. Evansville, Indiana: Sovereign Grace, 1958), 449.
[iv] The Works of the Rev. John Howe (1848; repr. Ligonier, Pennsylvania: Soli Deo Gloria,1990), 2:59
[v] The Works of Jonathan Edwards (1834; repr. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1974), 1:101; cf. R. C. Sproul, The Holiness of God (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House, 1985).
[vi] Finlayson,R.A., The Holiness of God (Glasgow: Pickering and Inglis, 1955), 4.
[vii][vii] Bonar, H, God’s Way of Holiness (repr. Pensacola, Florida: Mt. Zion Publications, 1994), 16.
[viii] Cf. George Bethune, The Fruit of the Spirit (1839; repr. Swengel, Pennsylvania: Reiner,1972); W. E. Sangster, The Pure in Heart: A Study of Christian Sanctity (London: EpworthPress, 1954); John W. Sanderson, The Fruit of the Spirit (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1972);
Jerry Bridges, The Practice of Holiness: Every Christian’s Calling (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1985).
Friday, May 09, 2014
Multiply Studies 19-24
Jesus the Messiah Read Mark 1
What are some of the answers people in our culture give to Jesus’s question “Who do you say that I am?” Why are these answers inadequate?
Why is it important to understand that Jesus was fully human and fully God? How should this reality shape the way you think and speak about Him?
What does Mark 1 indicate that Jesus has power over?
Why is it important to recognize that Jesus was fulfilling the promises and prophecies made in the Old Testament?
Based on what you studied in the session on the kingdom of God in the Old Testament, why is Jesus’s proclamation of the kingdom of God important? Mark 1:15
How should the concept of the kingdom of God and the reality of Jesus as the King affect your daily life now?
Carefully read Ephesians 2:1–10 and Colossians 2:13–15.
What do these passages say about the significance of Jesus’s death and resurrection?
Read Acts 3:18–21. How did the early apostles present persuasively that Jesus is the Messiah? Why was this important? Is it important to present this today?
Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18–20)
Read Luke 24 and Acts 1:1–11. As you read, place yourself in the scene and try to feel the significance of these events. How do the circumstances surrounding the Great Commission add significance to Jesus’s words?
We can get so caught up in our own personal relationships with God that we forget to think about the global implications of the Great Commission. Why is it important to see the mission of the church as a global calling? Revelation 7:9-17
Why do you think Jesus would give us the strategy of disciple making as the means for accomplishing our mission on earth?
Take a minute to consider the significance of baptism. Write down some thoughts below. If you have been baptized, include some reflections on your own experience with baptism.
What role should teaching play in our Christian lives and in the life of the church? And why?
Most likely, you already believe that God’s presence is with you as you seek to honor Him in this world. But take some time to meditate on that simple truth: “I am with you always.” How should this statement affect your daily life and the way you view your God-given mission?
Have you ever tried to follow Jesus apart from the power of the Holy Spirit? Why is this approach bound to end in frustration?
Given your specific setting, what would it look like to pursue the Great Commission through the power of the Spirit?
Consider the significance of the promise of the Holy Spirit in Ezekiel 36:25–27. Explain why this promise is so important in the history of redemption.
How should seeing the Holy Spirit as a person and as God Himself change the way you relate to Him?
Read Acts 2 carefully. As you read, pay attention to two things: (1) references to Old Testament truths and promises and (2) references to the Holy Spirit. What references do you see in Peter’s sermon to some of the key concepts you studied in the Old Testament sessions?
What does this passage say about the Holy Spirit? How was the Holy Spirit working at this significant moment in redemption history? John 16:5-15
Read Romans 7 and 8. What does Paul’s comparison of these two ways of living say about the role of the Holy Spirit and our need for Him?
How have you seen the Spirit of God working in the life of your church?
How are you partnering with other members of the body of Christ to be used by the Spirit in fulfilling God’s mission on earth?
Read Acts 2:42–47 slowly. After you read it, spend a few minutes meditating on what characterized this group of people. What stands out to you?
Why do you think the early church devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching? What implications does that have for the church today?
Why was fellowship so important for the early church? Why is it important for the church today?
In your own words, describe why the Lord’s Supper is significant.
Does communion carry this significance in your church? Why or why not?
Explain why prayer is essential to the life and mission of the church.
What would a devotion to prayer look like in the life of your church?
Read 1 Corinthians 12. How should Paul’s analogy of the church as a body affect the way we think about the church? In what ways are we more than individuals? Does the life of your church look anything like the body that Paul described in 1 Corinthians 12? How so? If not, why do you think this is?
What do you find most compelling about the way the book of Acts describes the life of the early church?
Does your church possess the compelling characteristics of being Generous, Holy, Fearless, and Multiplying? If so, briefly describe them and thank God for them. If not, why do you think these characteristics are lacking?
What do you think the Holy Spirit would want your church to do in an effort to fulfill the church’s mission in your unique setting?
How should God’s heart as revealed in the Old Testament and in Jesus’s ministry affect the way we think about and relate to those people who seem “unreachable”?
After He rose from the grave, Jesus announced to His disciples that the Holy Spirit would empower them so that they could be His witnesses “in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The rest of the book of Acts explains how this played out, beginning with the growth of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 2) and ending with Paul’s proclamation of the gospel from prison in Rome (Acts 28).
Read Acts 15. How is the global aspect of God’s plan of redemption demonstrated in this passage?
Take a minute to meditate on Galatians 3:28–29. Why do you think Paul made such a big deal about the relationship between Jews and Gentiles?
What does it mean to be a “fisher of men”? Is there anything about your life that would identify you as a “fisher of men”? If so, what? If not, what can you do to grow in this area?
How would you describe your church’s attitude toward and participation in spreading the gospel to all nations? How might you encourage your church to work toward this end?
What is your own involvement with missions? Are you at all involved in going, sending, training, supplying, praying, etc.? What changes might you need to make to this area of your life? Would you consider going on a short term or long term mission?
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Rev. 7:9–10)
Are we a multicultural church and what does that mean for us? Ephesians 2:11-22
Therefore [because of Jesus’s obedience and sacrifice] God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:9–11)
Have you done much studying or thinking on how and when the world will end? If so, what has been your impression of the end times? If not, why do you think you haven’t approached this issue in the past?
Read Romans 8:18–25. How does this promise affect your view of the world?
Read Revelation 1. Based on this description of Jesus, how will Jesus in His second coming be different from in His first coming?
Read Revelation 21–22. As you read this beautiful description of the New Creation, don’t get caught up in trying to interpret every detail. Instead, try to picture and feel the beauty and peace of the scene that awaits us. What stands out to you most from reading this account?
Based on what you read in Revelation 21–22 and what you read and discussed in the session on creation, how will God’s new creation reflect the reality of God’s initial creation before the fall? How will it be better?
How should the promise of judgment at Jesus’s return affect the way we think about and interact with the non-Christians in our lives?
Is there anyone in your life whom you need to be more purposeful in reaching out to? If so, spend some time asking the Holy Spirit to give you confidence and wisdom in reaching out to this person with the gospel.
Read 2 Peter 3:8-14 How should the end of the story affect the way we live today? Be as specific to your own situation as possible.
Sunday, April 13, 2014
Jesus Brings Forgiveness
We are living in a state of cultural chaos. And in a time of tolerance and chaos, how do we reach the lost today? 5 common characteristics of today’s lost:
Searching for a meaningful relationship. This is their number one desire. Dating websites are exploding, promiscuity
Want immediate gratification. Give it to me, and give it to me NOW.
Want something for nothing. There is an entitlement mentality that exists within today’s culture from all socioeconomic groups.
Want guilt-free living. This generation still has a conscious, and at the end of the day they strive to feel good about themselves.
Thirsty for prosperity, but not certain how to attain it.
1. Everybody Needs it
The spiritual paralytics
Guilt shatters the personality
Guilt paralyzes the body.
Guilt paralyzes the human spirit
Guilt paralyzes the relationships marriage
2. Anybody can have it
Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace
These are REAL riches. When we realize the grace offered to us, we realize that we have true wealth. It isn’t measured by what’s in our bank account, but by what God offers us!
He Can Forgive
Not what these hands have done Can save this guilty soul;
Not what this toiling flesh has borne Can make my spirit whole.
Not the labor of my hands Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know, Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone; Thou must save, and Thou alone.
Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Savior, or I die.
He Releases the Sinner (Aphiemi)
Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace
the answer to their deepest desire to have a meaningful relationship is given to us in Jesus Christ. we have 3 relationships in our lives.
Outward (relationship with one another),
Inward (relationship with self)
vertical (relationship with Christ.)
Successful relationship with one another and with self lies in having a successful relationship with Christ.
Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace
we have it RIGHT NOW! No waiting. When we accept Christ as our personal savior, the joy of Christ is within us. We don’t have to wait for our redemption, there is no initiation.
He Announces the Sinner Released!
(“. . . through His blood. . .”)
The gift of salvation is just that – a GIFT. It is something for nothing. We cannot earn it or deserve it. We don’t have salvation because of the life or works of Jesus – we have it because of His BLOOD.
(“. . . according to the riches of His grace.”)
When we confess our sins to God, he is faithful to forgive us. The Bible says He remembers them no more. Sin will haunt you, but God will forgive you! We need not live in guilt, because we have the forgiveness offered through Jesus.
He Receives the Sinner
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Grace upon Grace
The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 (John testified concerning Him and exclaimed, “This was the One of whom I said, ‘The One coming after me has surpassed me, because He existed before me.’ ”) 16 Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness, (HCSB)
The words of John 1:14 are overwhelming.
The news is tremendous. Here is the Glory of God, the Shekinah Glory of the presence of the Lord, here in human flesh.
Here was the shatteringly new thing--that God could and would become a human person, that God could enter into this life that we live, that eternity could appear in time, that somehow the Creator could appear in creation in such a way that men's eyes could actually see him.
So staggeringly new was this conception of God in a human form that it is not surprising that there were some even in the church who could not believe it. What John says is that the word became sarx. Now sarx is the very word Paul uses over and over again to describe what he called the flesh, human nature in all its weakness. The very thought of taking this word and applying it to God, was something that their minds staggered at.
Yet there is more.. for this passage goes on to tell us that He brings us grace.. and not just grace.. more and more grace...
Martin Luther said of this grace...“If any one is to obtain grace, His fulness must do it: our crumbs and morsels, our tiny drops and bits, they verily will not do it. All, whether Jews or Gentiles, if indeed they would obtain grace and be really found before God, are required (and indeed they can do no other) to fill their little flasks from this well--a well which flows and overflows for ever and ever; they must drink their fill from this fountain-head of living water, springing up into eternal life. In short, His fulness is without measure or end; therefore draw manfully and without fear, and drink with pleasure and joy! For here is overflowingly enough, even into eternal Life; in this you will have enough to praise and thank God for to all eternity.”
What do you need for Christmas?
Immediately we think of the things we could buy that would somehow meet our cravings for stuff.
And then the divorcee or widow thinks of that which she might never have .. the love of someone close… the man thinks of that which he has really desired but never achieved, the love and respect of his father.. the person who has through his own foolishness lost his family may think of that which he needs most.. even his own self respect, for he hates to see his face in the mirror.. there are so many deeper unspoken needs that grip the human heart. Perhaps one may feel her need of peace in a very unhappy household.. another the need of gentleness and communication from an isolated spouse… another feels the need of that smallest piece of respect from another…
What are your needs this Christmas? What are the needs of your neighbor?
For some of us our greatest need may be forgiveness.. from a spouse.. a family member… a friend… For others the greatest need this Christmas may be the need of security.. that it will all end well in the end.. others of us need a good conscience… others of us need …
Will those deep personal needs ever be met?
These few verses from John’s gospel could never be completely mined for all the riches that there in them. But what ever your need is today, this week, this Christmas… these verses have your answer to your deepest needs.
Fullness is Found In Jesus
Fullness is Available in Jesus
Fullness Abounds in Jesus
What did you get for Christmas? Everything!!
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Francis Drake’s Prayer
Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.
Wednesday, October 02, 2013
Decisions Determine Destiny.
Todays message is about Choice.
Matthew 7 tells us about some choices… narrow gate or wide gate, narrow way or wide path, truth or error, good foundations or poor foundations.
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it.
14 How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.
15 “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves.
16 You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles?
17 In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit.
18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit.
19 Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but [only]the one who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22 On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’
23 Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’
The Two Foundations
24 “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock.
25 The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock.
26 But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.
27 The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!”
We like choice. Did you know that, if you want to get a soft drink, you can get Pepsi; you can get Coke; you can get 7-Up; you can get something else? You can get caffeine-free or with caffeine. You can get sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened. You can get small, large, medium. We just like choices.
Sow a thought, and you reap an act; Sow an act, and you reap a habit; Sow a habit, and you reap a character; Sow a character, and you reap a destiny. Charles Reade
Reade was correct. Choosing to think certain thoughts leads to choice of action from which habits form. In the furnace of your habits your character if forged and your character, the kind of person you are, determines to a large degree your destiny.
Let me help by giving you some principles of choice. Your choices — your decisions — will determine your destiny.
1. You Are Free to Choose
Every day God gives us the freedom to make choices about what we think is going to be good, or even best for us.
2. You Are Not Free to Not to Choose
To decide not to choose is a choice. Am I making any sense? Let me make it very clear — to decide not to choose good is always a choice tochoose evil.
Jesus said, “He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad” (Matthew 12:30). If you do not crown Jesus, you crucify Him. There is no middle ground.
David Clarke Then, I asked him again. I said, “Would you like to pray and receive Christ?” he said, “No sir, I’m not ready to do that.” I said, “Well, don’t you realize that if you do not say yes to Christ, you’re saying no to Christ, that you’re rejecting Him, that you are saying, ‘I don’t want You, Lord Jesus?’” “I just want to go to this party next weekend, then I’ll do it!” David died on the way to that party in a horrendous car crash.
3. You Are Not Free to Choose the Consequences of Your Choice
Stand beside an open window on the tenth floor of a building. You’re free to jump. Now, that’s a foolish thing to do, but if nobody is there to restrain you, you can choose to do so. Stay in the room or jump out. Now, if you decide to jump, then you must be ready to face the consequences of that choice.
4. One Big Choice Will Take Care of a Lot of Little Ones
How does this work? We see it played out every day.
Let’s say you are a man who has made up his mind that you’re going to be loyal to your wife. Then, you see, you don’t have to worry when you check into a hotel whether to watch pornography or not. You don’t have to be concerned whether you’re going to flirt with another woman.
You don’t have to keep making that decision to be loyal to your wife. You already made that decision, and that one big decision takes care of a lot of the other little decisions.
5. The Day of Choice Is Passing Away
Don’t think that you have forever to make up your mind whether you’re going to be a follower of Jesus Christ or not. Make your eternal salvation secure today.
Choose Jesus because…
1. You can know immediate joy. Why wait to have joy when you can have it right now? I’d be a Christian if there were no heaven or hell for the joy that I have today in Christ.
2. You may die tonight. These may be the last words you ever read about salvation in Jesus Christ. After you die, there are no second chances to get saved. Choose life.
3. Jesus Christ is coming back. Matthew 24:24 says, “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” If you don’t think He’s coming, then that is a fulfillment of this verse because He’s coming when you least expect Him.
4. Each time you decide against Him, you harden your heart. Hebrews 3:7-8 says, “Today if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts.” A person becomes proficient at anything he does for a long time. You can become a professional Christ-denier.
Dear Friend, the day of choice is today. Your decisions will determine your destiny.
What is a Christian?
The term Christian turns up just 3 times in the Bible; Acts 11, Acts 26 and 1Peter 4. Acts 11 says the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
A Christian is Someone Saved By Christ.
They were proclaiming the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.
They would have proclaimed the really important stuff about the Lord Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15: 1 Now brothers, I want to clarify for you the gospel I proclaimed to you; you received it and have taken your stand on it. 2 You are also saved by it, if you hold to the message I proclaimed to you—unless you believed to no purpose. 3 For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4 that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day...A Christian is Someone who has HEARD BELIEVED, and TURNED to the Lord.
A Christian is Someone Standing For Christ.
Acts 11:22 Then the report about them reached the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to travel as far as Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he encouraged all of them to remain true to the Lord with a firm resolve of the heart.... and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
A Christian is a Disciple..... it takes
Have you decided to follow Jesus?
Direction Are you following Him in a daily discipleship relationship, fellowshipping with Him daily by reading His Word and praying?
Devotion When we know how much He has loved us by giving Himself for us, we say as all Christians have said in all ages, “All this You did for me, what can I do for Thee?”
Denial It takes discipline to be a disciple. When the Lord Jesus called Levi, this si what happened. Luke 5: 27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” 28 So, leaving everything behind, he got up and began to follow Him.
Death For some this can mean physical death. Jesus called us to take up the cross and follow Him. At the least it means putting to death our selfish desires to do whatever He wants with our lives. Have you surrendered all to Jesus?
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Mission –Moving from inreach to outreach
Life Anglican Church -Riverstone
The majority of people in our world have no idea about their need for God or how to deal with the sin that separates them from God.
In our world today people live and die without hope.
It is estimated that 95 percent of the current Australian population is lost without Christ.
“All authority has been given to Me
in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20).
Two important promises:
We will have His power.
We will have His presence.
Moving Toward Spiritual Dialogue
Jesus was intentional in His approach.
Look for Opportunities
Search for common areas of interest.
Listen for what the person already knows about spiritual matters.
Discover details about a person’s church background.
Let your friend talk.
Ask open-ended questions.
Let people tell their stories.
When Making a Home Visit
Look for clues about the family when you arrive.
Identify yourself as being from your church.
Make sure you know the full name of the person.
Express interest in the things important to the person.
As often as possible and appropriate, call persons by name.
USE Your Testimony of Conversion
Your evangelistic Preconversion experience:
Select a time in your life that illustrates what it was like without the assurance of heaven.
Be as specific as possible.
Keep this part of the story to one minute or less.
Your Conversion experience:
You may want to use the statement “I had a life-changing experience” to describe your conversion.
The purpose is to create a desire in the person to know how to have heaven.
Ask A Key Question
You are seeking to find a way to introduce discussion about Jesus.
The Key Question
In your personal opinion, what do you understand it takes for a person to go to heaven and have eternal life?
Could one reason we have difficulty sharing Jesus with others be that we have lost our love for Him?
F Is for Forgiveness
Everyone has sinned and needs God’s forgiveness.
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
God’s forgiveness is in Jesus only.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.”
All humanity was created to be in relationship with God.
We are separated from God by sin.
By using the word forgiveness for the letter F, you have the opportunity to remind people of their need for forgiveness and to establish the fact that only God can provide it.
No one can obtain that standard and is therefore already a condemned person.
Sin results in broken fellowship with God.
Anything that disturbs, distorts, or breaks this fellowship is sin.
God’s Forgiveness Is in Jesus Only
Forgiveness is based on the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for our sins when He died on the cross.
A Is for Available
God’s forgiveness is available for all.
“God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
God’s Forgiveness Is Not Automatic
God’s forgiveness is available but not automatic.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven.”
I Is for Impossible
According to the Bible, it is impossible to get to heaven on our own.
“By grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
Because of who God is
Because of who we are
T Is for Turn
Question: If you were going down the road and someone asked you to turn, what would he or she be asking you to do?
Turn means repent. Turn away from sin and self.
“Unless you repent, you will all perish as well!” Luke 13:3
Turn to Jesus alone as your Savior and Lord.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
Our choice is a simple one: we can keep trusting ourselves and living the way we are living, or we can give our lives to Christ and begin to follow Him.
H Is for Heaven
Heaven is a place where we will live with God forever.
“If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.”
Heaven is the epitome of beauty, glory, and joy.
It is best understood as the place where God’s holy presence dwells.
Heaven is the future home of believers.
The Reality of Hell
Hell is a literal place. It is described as a place of constant fire and torment.
Enjoying a Bit of Heaven Now
Eternal life begins now with Jesus.
“I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.” John 10:10
How? Making the Transition
The letter H can also stand for how—how God took the initiative to save us through the death of His Son, Jesus, and how a person can have God’s forgiveness and eternal life in heaven.
How can a person have God’s forgiveness, eternal life, and heaven?
Understanding what we have shared, would you like to receive this forgiveness by trusting in Christ as your personal Savior and Lord?
With this question the conversation moves into the Invitation—when someone has the opportunity to receive personally the truth you have shared.
Understanding what we have shared, would you like to receive this forgiveness by trusting in Christ as your personal Savior and Lord?
Leading to a Response
“Is that something you would like to do?”
“Have you ever thought about making this kind of commitment?”
Let the person respond.
Ask God to help you know what to do next.
Do not rush them or appear pushy.
At times it may be necessary to continue the conversation on another day.
Continue to depend on the Holy Spirit, listening to Him every step of the way as you share.
Leading someone to pray a prayer of salvation becomes a meaningful expression of that person’s decision to accept God’s offer of forgiveness and salvation and to begin following Christ.
Discovering Your Ministry
Have you considered your place of ministry at Life Anglican Church -Riverstone? (Please circle the items you feel you would like to do)
The Magnification Shift - from Self to God
Worship Ministries: Worship leading,
Reading , Prayers Other
Ministry Shift - from consumers to contributors
Service Ministries: Pastoral care giving
meals Visiting set up, mowing,
cleaning Life group hosting computer
helps caring for the poor and the sick other
Maturity Shift - from Disciple to Disciple-Maker
Teaching Ministries: Life group leaders Preaching, teaching
The Membership Shift - from events to relationships
Incorporation Encouragement Ministries: Encouragers who bring people to church etc
advertising Leading Membership classes;
follow up. other
The Mission shift - from Inreach to Outreach
Evangelistic Ministries: Evangelistic work in scripture, children’s’ work, youth work
Service Ministries: Treasurer, minutes secretary, church warden
DISCOVERING YOUR MINISTRY
STEP 1: DEDICATE YOURSELF
"I urge you... to offer yourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God -- which is your spiritual worship." (vs. 1)
STEP 2: ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." (vs. 2)
STEP 3: EVALUATE ACCURATELY
"Don't cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith God has given to you. (vs.3 Ph)
STEP 4: COOPERATE WITH OTHERS
"Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one Body and each member belongs to all the others." (vs. -5)
* Every member is a minister in Christ's body.
* Every member has a different function.
* Every member's ministry is important.
* Every member belongs to the others.
STEP 5: ACTIVATE GIFTS IN MINISTRY TO OTHERS
"We have different gifts, according to the grace God has given us.. prophesy... serving... teaching... encouraging... contributing... leadership... showing mercy..." Romans 12:6-8
I believe God has equipped me to do these ministries in this local body, the church. ________________________________________
I will look for ways that I can help this church grow by serving Him and serving others at Life Anglican Church Riverstone
Spiritual Gifts I believe I have:
I feel I may have these gifts because:
1. What I have a heart for, or what motivates me most:
I LOVE TO :
I LOVE TO :
I LOVE TO:
2. Who I love to work with most, and the age or type of people:
3. Church issues, ministries, or possible needs that excite or concern me most:
1. My current vocation is:
2. Other jobs or skills I have experience in:
3 . I feel my most valuable personal asset is:
This is how I see myself: I am mainly (circle one)
Extroverted or Introverted
Routine or Variety
Self-controlled or Self-Expressive
Cooperative or Competitive
MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY
This is how and when I became a Christian, and what it has meant to me since:
Times when I have felt closest to God, and meaningful spiritual experiences that stand out in my mind:
MY PAINFUL EXPERIENCES
These are the kind of trials or problems I could relate to and encourage a fellow Christian who is going through them:
MY EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCES
Seminars or training that has been meaningful to me:
MY MINISTRY EXPERIENCE
Where I have served in the past (if applicable):
Name of Church, what position of service and how many years involved:
Discovering A Growing Relationship With God
Commit to being a growing member of Life Anglican Church Riverstone
Have you considered your growing your Christian life at Life Anglican Church –Riverstone?
HOW TO BEGIN A DAILY QUIET TIME
1. SELECT A SPECIFIC TIME.
The best time to have a quiet time is when I am ______________________!
Reasons for considering an early morning quiet time:
1. The example of Bible characters.
Daniel -Daniel 6:10 “The windows in its upper room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”
Jesus -Mark 1:35 "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went to a solitary place, where he prayed."
2. It seems logical to begin the day with it.
”The best time to tune your instrument is before you play the concert, not after!”
3. It demonstrates that meeting with God is your first priority. You give him the first part of your day!
4. You are likely to be more rested, your mind is less cluttered, and it’s often the
Whatever time you set,
HOW LONG SHOULD A QUIET TIME BE?
Start with 15 minutes and let it grow.
Don't watch the clock!
Emphasize quality, not quantity!
2. CHOOSE A SPECIAL PLACE.
"Jesus left the city and went, as he usually did, to the Mount of Olives ... to pray."
Luke 22:39 (GN)
The Important Factor:
"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went to a solitary place, where he prayed." Mark 1:35
3. GATHER THE RESOURCES YOU'LL NEED.
1. A Bible - with readable print.
2. A Notebook - to write down what the Lord speaks to you about, and to keep your prayer
3. A Songbook - if you want to sing.
4. BEGIN WITH THE RIGHT ATTITUDES
"Be still, and know that I am God." Ps. 46:10
"Open my eyes to see wonderful things in your Word." Ps. 119:18
“The thing you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what God wants” Matt 6:33
"FIFTEEN MINUTES WITH GOD"
(A Plan To Get You Started)
Be still and quiet! Slow down! Prepare your heart. Take a few deep breaths and wait on God.
Begin reading where you left off the day before. Read until you feel God has told you something.
Then stop and think about it.
See the section on "How To Meditate on God's Word".
Think about what the passage means to your life. Write down your thoughts. Part of reflecting is memorizing verses that speak to you in a special way.
Write out a personal application statement that is practical, passable, and measurable.
"Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and the fingertips."
Conclude our Quiet Time by talking to God about what He has shown you and making your requests from our prayer list.
HOW TO OVERCOME THE
WITH YOUR QUIET TIME
1. THE PROBLEM OF DISCIPLINE
Your first problem in establishing a quiet time will face you the moment you wake each morning:
Am I going to get out of bed? ("The Battle of the Blankets")
1. Go to bed ______________________.
2. Get up ________________________.
3. Be aware of quiet time _____________.
4. Fall asleep thinking ______________.
2. THE PROBLEM OF DISTRACTIONS
Satan will try to use anything to get your mind to wander during a quiet time.
Get out of _____________________.
Get thoroughly _________________.
Read and pray __________________.
___________ during your prayer time.
Keep a ________________________.
3. THE PROBLEM OF DRYNESS
Sometimes you will feel like you're not getting anything out of your quiet time. (“The Battle of
Never judge your quiet time by your
Possible Causes of Spiritual Dryness
1. Your physical condition.
2. Disobedience to God.
3. Rushing your quiet time.
4. Getting in a rut.
5. Not sharing insights with others.
4. THE PROBLEM OF DILIGENCE
Your greatest problem will be your struggle to stay consistent. I find Satan fights nothing harder than my quiet time.
1. Make a vow to God.
2. Schedule it on your daily calendar.
3. Be prepared for Satan's excuses.
4. Leave your Bible open at night to the passage for the next day!
Discovering A Relationship With God
Become A Member of Life Anglican Church Riverstone
Why Does Life Anglican Church –Riverstone Exist?
WE EXIST TO CELEBRATE GOD’S PRESENCE
“Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” Matt. 4:10
“...The Father seeks worshipers...and His worshippers must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” Jn 4:23-24
Life Anglican Worship Style
“Celebration” Psalm 122:1
“Inspiration” Isaiah 40:31
“Preparation” Eph. 4:11-12
WE EXIST TO COMMUNICATE GOD’S WORD
“His intent was that through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known...” Eph. 3:10
“Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But who can ask Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells him?” Rom. 10:13-14 (LB)
WHY OUR CHURCH MUST NEVER STOP GROWING
“The Lord...is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but wants everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Pet. 3:9
2 Cor. 5:14, Luke 15:3-10,
“Go out into the country...and urge anyone you find to come in, so that My House will be full.”
Luke 14:23 (LB)
“...you will be my witnesses...” Acts 1:8
“Under Christ’s control, the whole Body is nourished...and grows as God wants it to grow.” Col. 2:19 (GN)
“(Jesus) I will build my church.” Matt. 16:18
WE EXIST TO EDUCATE GOD’S PEOPLE
“Let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity...” Heb. 6:1
“Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18
“(God has given)...some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of ministry, so that the Body of Christ may be built up until we all...become mature...like Christ.” Eph. 4:11-13
WE EXIST TO DEMONSTRATE GOD’S LOVE
“By this shall all men know that you are my disciples — that you have love for one another.” John 13:35, 1 John 3:16-17, Matt. 25:34-40, Heb. 13:16, Rom. 12:13
“Now God gives us many kinds of special abilities.. and there are different kinds of service to God(ministry)... All of you together form the one Body of Christ and each of you is a separate and necessary part of it.” 1 Cor. 12:4-5, 27 (LB)
OUR STATEMENT OF FAITH
What We Believe
• In essential beliefs — we have unity.
“There is one Body and one Spirit...there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of us all...” Eph.4:4-6
• In non-essential beliefs — we have liberty.
“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters... Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls... So then each of us will give an account of himself to God... So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.”
• In all our beliefs — we show charity.
“...If I hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but also the very secrets of God, and if I have the faith that can move mountains — but have no love, I amount to nothing at all.” 1 Cor. 13:2 (Ph)
THE ESSENTIALS WE BELIEVE:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ,
his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father;
from there he will come to judge
the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
WHAT DOES GOD WANT ME TO DO?
1. Admit THAT GOD HAS NOT BEEN FIRST PLACE IN YOUR LIFE AND ASK HIM TO FORGIVE YOUR SINS.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from every wrong.” 1 John 1:9
EASTER, AND IS ALIVE TODAY.
“If you confess that Jesus is your Lord, and you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name (Jesus) by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
3. Receive GOD’S FREE GIFT OF SALVATION. DON’T TRY TO EARN IT.
“For it is by grace you are saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9
Our relationship to God is not restored by anything we do, but on the basis of what Jesus already did for us!
4. Ask JESUS CHRIST TO COME INTO YOUR LIFE AND BE THE DIRECTOR (“LORD”) OF YOUR LIFE.
“To all who receive Him, He gives the right to become children of God. All we need to do is to trust Him to save us. All those who believe this are reborn! — not a physical rebirth...but from the will of God!” John 1:12-13
YOU CAN TAKE THESE STEPS BY PRAYING A SIMPLE PRAYER OF COMMITMENT TO GOD:
“Dear Jesus, thank you for making me and loving me, even when I’ve ignored you and gone my own way. I realize I need you in my life and I’m sorry for my sins. I ask you to forgive me. Thank you for dying on the cross for me. Please help me to understand it more. As much as I know how, I want to follow you from now on. Please come into my life and make me a new person inside. I accept your gift of salvation. Please help me to grow now as a Christian.”
“Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13
Discovering A Relationship With God
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Some Outlines in the Sermon On The Mount
Making A Lasting Impact Investing for the Future Matthew 6:19-24) Your life has eternal purpose.
Your life has eternal potential.
You must decide whether you are going to indulge your life resources in yourself or invest your life resources in eternal purposes
It takes faith to invest your life in eternal treasure rather than indulging your life in temporal pleasure.
A self-indulgent life is a wasted life.
Giving and Worship
Giving our offering is an act of worship because our money represents a distillation of our entire lives.
Giving our offering is an act of worship because it is a tangible expression of trust.
Giving our offering is an act of worship because it is a tangible expression of thanksgiving.
I. The Abuse Of Our Life-Investments (Mt. 6:19)
Accumulating "earthly treasures" gives a false sense of security.
Accumulating "earthly treasures" creates an insatiable desire for more. (Ecc. 5:10)
Accumulating "earthly treasures" is costly to maintain and protect.
II. The Assets Of Our Life-Investments
We all possess the asset of time. (Ecc. 5:15-17)
We all possess the asset of talents. (I Cor. 12:4-7)
We all possess the asset of treasures. (II Cor. 9:6-11)
III. The Action Of Our Life-Investments
We "lay up treasures" in heaven through service to people. (Mt. 25:31-46)
We "lay up treasures" in heaven through sharing the gospel. (Ph. 4:1; I Thess. 2:19-20)
We "lay up treasures" in heaven through our steadfast commitment to God's purpose for our lives (II Tim. 4:6-8)
We "lay up treasures" in heaven through stewardship of our money. (Mt. 6:21)
IV. The Affection Of Our Life-Investments (Mt. 6:21)
How you spend your money tells the truth about your love for Christ....no matter what you say.
Proverbs 4:23-27 The Law of Life In Old Testament psychology and theology the heart was the center of the human personality, intellectual activity, and thought life. The New Testament word "mind" is interchangeable with the Old Testament usage of the word " heart." Consider:
I. The Centrality of the Thought Life (v. 23) This emphasizes two things: 1) The Importance of Thinking (v. 23) Only something of true value or importance needs to be guarded. God has made us in His image: to think, to love, and to act. 2) The Immensity of Thinking (v. 23) The exercise of thinking suggests infinity and eternity. Who can measure the boundaries of thought when we consider the giant minds of the centuries?
II. The Consequences of the Thought Life (v. 23) To think is to shape character and conduct. The passage before us illustrates this perfectly. Having declared that "our of the heart are the issues of life," Solomon goes on to reveal that our thought life determines: 1) The Purity of What We Say in Life (v. 24) If the fountainhead of the thought life is pure, the stream of speech life will be pure. If the thought life is defiled, so will be conversation. In other words, what is heard is only a sample of what really exists within the mind. 2) The Clarity of What We See in Life (v. 25) When a man has thought out life's purpose and problems, he knows how and where to look and is seldom bothered with side issues. In New Testament language, it is looking to Jesus (Heb. 12:2), seeing Him in every situation of life, and therefore triumphing by faith. How we
think determines what we see. 3) The Mastery of What We Seek in Life (vv. 26-27 Once the thinking is right, the pathway we tread is not only open to us, but ordered for us. The thought life matters, not only because of its centrality but also because of its consequence in our daily experience. III. The Control of Our Thought Life (vv. 23) If our thought life is to be all that God desires for us, then we must learn the secret of controlled thinking. The key to such controlled thinking is clearly set forth in the New Testament. It involves: 1) The Mind Under the Discipline of the Son of God (v. 23) If we are to know the conquest of evil thinking and the control of good thinking, then our minds must be brought under the discipline of the Son of God. The Savior's disposition, thought patterns, and mental outlook must replace our imaginations, high thoughts, and every thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. 2) The Mind Under the Direction of the Word of God (Phil. 4:8) If the Son of God disciplines our thought life, then it follows that the Word of God must direct our thought life. We are told to think on spiritual, moral, cultural, and practical things. In the area of practical things there are many things in the world which can be redeemed, transformed, and employed for the Christian gospel because of thinking which is under the discipline of the Son of God and the direction of the Word of God. But the final secret of all great thinking is that our minds must be brought under the discipline of the Son of God and the direction of the Word of God.
The Critical and Hypercritical Matthew 7:1-6
1. Apply Wise Discrimination
6, 15-20, krino means select, seperate, choose, determine, evaluate or condemn. Context determines limits. 1Cor 215 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 1Jn 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2. Avoid Wicked Condemnation
Romans2:1 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things.3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?
We Are Critical Of Others Because Of Our Iniquity
Lk 18 Pharisee and Publican, People find what they are looking for.. Pussycat, where have you been? I've been to London to visit the Queen. What did you there? Looking for mice, found mice! Send a buzzard and it'll find carion!
We Are Critical Of Others Because Of Our Insecurity Procrestis's bed
We Are Critical Of Others Because Of Our Ignorance Plane trip in Denver, biscuits, man sast down and ate my biscuits, left 1/3rd! indignant. till I found my bag in carryon luggage!
1Cor 4:3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God.
Romans 14:4 Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.
We Are Critical Of Others Because Of Our Insensitivity Jn.3:17 "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. i.e. Zacheus Michelangelo's last Supper, enemy's face...
3. Appreciate Willing Cooperation
Highway to Heaven
Matthew 7:13 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
1. There Is A Decision To Face
A. There Is The Freedom to Decide
B. There Is The Forcing of A Decision
C. There Are the Fruits Of A Decision
2. There Is A Direction To Follow
A. A Disciplined Way
B. A Different Way
C. A Delightful Way
3. There Is A Destiny To Find
A. A Fearful Destiny For Some
B. A Fixed Destiny For All
Matthew 7: 15-23 Beware The Wolves
Satan's methods: Persecution (Romania, 2nd baptist ch. Timosea, Ceausescu); Or Infiltration: 2 Cor 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Acts 20:29 "For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 "Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
1. The Fleece They Wear Jude 11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.
The Perverter Cain Offering 2 types of religion, man-made/Christ made.
The Prostituter Balaam Num.24 24,000 d. 2Peter 2:1-3 orthodox but greedy 2 Cor2:17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; for prestige, popularity or power.
The Protester Korah. Titus 3:10,11
2. The Fruit They Bear Prov.30:12 There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness.13 There is a generation; oh, how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up.
Make Sure You Are Right In The Academics
Make Sure You Are Right In The Actions
Make Sure You Are Right In The Attitudes
3. The Fate They Share
Their Delusion Expressed 21 confident academics, actions.. Hos 8:2 Israel will cry to Me, 'My God, we know You!' 3 Israel has rejected the good; James 2:19
Their Delusion Exposed Lord!? Matt21:28-31"What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first.. Matt 12:50"Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother" Lawlessness Such people preach a gospel of antinomianism
Their Delusion Expelled their defence, the verdict, no appeal. known 2Tim 2:19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity." Never Jn10:27 My sheep..
Psa 26v2"Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind," or Psalm 139: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
Matthew 6:13 Victorious Praying
13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
1. Recognise The Sinister Person of Evil
Created In Perfection
Ezekiel 28:11 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 12 "Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created. 14 "You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.
Corrupted In Pride
Ezekiel 28:16 "By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones. 17 "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you.
Isaiah 14:12 "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.' 15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit. 16 "Those who see you will gaze at you, And consider you, saying: 'Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms,
Continues In Power
The apostle Paul wrote about the warfare we wage in Ephesians 6:10-18:
Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Our struggle is against Satan and his demonic hordes. Did you know that there is a demonic hierarchy, much like a military or governmental organization, even now in place, organized to promote the agenda of Satan himself? It is true! When Ephesians 6 speaks of rulers, powers, and forces it is referring to the organizational structure of Satan's hierarchy. The word which is translated "world forces" is kosmokratoras. A more recognizable anglicized rendering would be cosmocrats. Many, like Professor F. F. Bruce, think that these terms refer to the hierarchy of fallen angels. i.e the angel-prince of Persia who hindered the angelic messenger sent to Daniel.
Rev 12:3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.
4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth.
The demonic cosmocrats of Satan's army are deployed everywhere in our culture. Infiltrating every segment of society, both secular and ecclesiastical, their one purpose is to destroy God's work. Directly and indirectly, they attack God's work. They are after you and your walk with God. They are after your family and your relationships with others. They attack you through your emotions and your circumstances. And they do not sleep. It is a very real and personal struggle. In our own strength we are over-matched. To attempt to fight in our own strength would be like attacking a forest fire with a squirt gun. It would be like attempting to slay
a lion with a fly swatter. To attempt to defeat the devil in our own strength is like attempting to catch an elephant with a butterfly net. So we are exhorted to be strong in the Lord and operate in the strength of his might.
Condemned To Perdition
Rev 20:10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
2. Realise The Seductive Power Of Evil
And do not lead us into temptation,
Satan is Malicious and Diligent
Rev 12:12 Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time."
1Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
He Tempts Us
Timely (upon conversion, when unemployed, when under stress, upon experiencing blessings, when alone, when at hour of death,)
With Partial Truths In His Mouth
3. You Must Rely On The Sovereign's Protection From Evil
The Ground Of Our Victory
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
1Peter 5:9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
The Grace For Our Victory
Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.
The Pieces of The Armour
The Placing of The Armour
The Position Of The Armour
"Supernatural Forgiveness" -
Corrections are the most read section in the newspaper. We all have to correct wrongs in our life - to make right a wrong. A good pilot needs to monitor his altitude and his attitude. The attitude is a flight term for whether the plane is climbing/descending - banking left/right - or flying level. There are controls that monitor various aspects of the plane's attitude. Today we look at one of the controls in our life that help us monitor our attitude and maintain stability. The spirit of forgiveness. The head of a large British hospital said: "I could dismiss half my patients tomorrow if they could be assured of forgiveness." It's no wonder a well-known author wrote: "Nothing greater can happen to a human being than to be forgiven." It's the greatest gift we can give to someone . . . and to ourselves. Today we discover four essentials we must understand about forgiveness.
A. The SIGNIFICANCE Of Forgiveness
1. Because God offers FORGIVENESS TO US "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Eph. 4:32 Who comes to your mind who has hurt you and needs forgiven?
2. Because resentment DOESN'T WORK "Resentment kills a fool . . ."Job 5:2 "Another man dies in bitterness of soul . . ." Job 21:25a Resentment only hurts the person holding it. Like Curly of the Three Stooges strapping a stick of dynamite on his chest and saying "The next time Mo hits me, he's going to blow his hand off!" It's not so much what you eat, as what's eating you that determines your health.
B. The STRUGGLES Of Forgiveness * Forgiveness is not . . .
1. RATIONALIZING the offense
2. RESTORATION of trust instantly
3. RESUMING THE RELATIONSHIP without change
C. The SECRET Of Forgiveness cf. John 13:3-5,8, * Realize you will never FORGIVE ANYONE more than Christ has FORGIVEN YOU
D. The STEPS Of Forgiveness
1. RECOGNIZE we're all IMPERFECT "There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins." Ecc. 7:20
2. RELINQUISH my right TO GET EVEN "Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath . . ." Rom. 12:19a
3. RESPOND to evil WITH GOOD "Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you." Lk. 6:27,28 "Love keeps no record of wrongs." 1 Cor. 13:5
4. REFOCUS on God's PLAN FOR MY LIFE "Devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him." Job 11:13 If you have someone to forgive . . . DO IT NOW!
1. Name one person or organization toward whom you feel most bitter 2. List the reasons why you should feel bitter. 3. List the reasons why God should be displeased with you on the basis of your actions. 4. Read what God has done for you in light of the things you listed (Rom. 5:1-8; Eph. 1:3-7)
1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 "Staying Pure in a Polluted World" -
PURSUE GOD'S STANDARD "How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word." Psalm 119:9 Myth: The Bible is outdated and irrelevant. Fact: God knows best.
UPHOLD RIGHT THINKING "For as he thinks within himself, so he is." Proverbs 23:7 (NASB)
1. Monitor my media intake. "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him." Matthew 12:35 TV - even prime time shows are filled with examples of implied sex outside of marriage. Internet - people who would never walk into a shop that sells pornograhy are now bombarded by e-mails trying to entice them to view pornography in the privacy of their home.
2. Manage my thought processes. "Finally, brothers, whatever is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Philippians 4:8
3. Make no excuses. "No temptations has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." 1 Corinthians 10:13 Myth: Lust will spice up my life. Fact: Lust will poison my life.
RUN FROM TEMPTATION "Flee from sexual immorality." 1 Corinthians 6:18a "Even if you think you can stand up to temptation, be careful not to fall." 1 Corinthians 10:12 "'Bad company corrupts good character'" 1 Corinthians15:33 ines. "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity." Ephesians 5:3 Myth: I can handle temptation. Fact: Flirting with temptation will take you down.
INSULATE YOUR MARRIAGE "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." Hebrews 13:4 "Enjoy life with your
wife, whom you love." Ecclesiastes 9:9 "The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband… Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time… Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." 1 Corinthians 7:4,5 Myth: The grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Fact: Only grass that's not maintained turns brown.
TALLY THE COSTS "But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself." Proverbs 6:32
1. Physical Cost - diseases - some are untreatable, some are deadly.
2. Spiritual Cost - your Bible reading, prayer time will diminish.
3. Emotional Cost - crushed self esteem, guilt, suspicion.
4. Final Cost - God standards have not changes.
"God will judge the sexually immoral" 1 Corinthians 10:13 Myth: It's not that big of a deal. Fact: The stakes are very high.
YIELD TO GOD "Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life." Romans 6:13
Psalm 15 - "Overcoming the Integrity Crisis" - Culture is in big trouble! Our society is experiencing a slide away from integrity. Even casual observers can see the integrity crisis in our nation in recent years - from Congress to the White House - even to churches. Today we examine three principles that will help us build lives of integrity in a world that lacks that quality. Note: Several statistics were given from a book called "The Day America Told the Truth".
A. The BASICS Of Integrity (whole like an integer is a whole number) "Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?" (v.1)
1. In the SPIRIT of his life "He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous.." ( 2a)
2. In the SPEECH of his life "Who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman. . ." (vv. 2b-3)
3. In the STANDARDS of his life "Who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken." (v. 4-6)
B. The BEHAVIOR Of Integrity
1. PREPARE your heart before God "Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright." Prov.14:9 *Three crucial questions: 1. When am I dishonest? _____marriage _____ work ______friends _____myself _____ lifestyle ______ God 2. How am I dishonest? ____ protecting others _____ slander _____ exaggeration ____ cheating _____ deceit _____ shading the truth ____ use of time _____ flattery _____ justifying 3. Why am I dishonest? ____ fear ______ insecurity ______ personal gain ____ greed ______ pride ______ outside pressure ____ anger ______ jealousy ______ convenience
2. PURSUE a relationship with God "You desire truth in the inner parts. . ." Ps. 51:6 "The upright will live before you." Ps. 140:13b
3. PRACTICE integrity before God "Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like." Js. 1:23,24
C. The BENEFITS Of Integrity
1. God's PROTECTION "He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless" Prov. 2:7b
2. God's DIRECTION "The righteousness of the blameless makes a straight way for them." Pr11:5
* What blocks integrity in our lives?? Rom 3:13 Write on a piece of paper what keeps us from a closer walk with the Lord, and then the opportunity to come up front and place those papers in a trash can signifying our giving that over to God.
Mark 3:25 - "How to Deal With Conflict" -
6th grade studes were to finish the sentence "I wish...". 20+ of the 36 students finished the sentence referring to their families. I wish... dad would come home. I wish... my parents wouldn't fight so much. I wish... I didn't have 3 mothers and 3 fathers because they are messing up my life. I wish... I had a father so kids wouldn't make fun of me. I wish... I had an M-1 so I could shot people who make fun of me. The family today is in a world of hurt. Conflict is producing instability in our homes as never before. Top 10 reasons God created Eve. Conflict can kill a relationship. Yet in any close relationship, conflict is inevitable. The real issue to face in every relationship is how to deal with conflict. Therefore, we turn our attention to three important guidelines to follow if we are to deal with conflict in our relationships in a God-honoring way. "If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand." - Mark 3:25
A. The REASON For Conflict "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?" James 4:1 * We experience conflict because of COMPETING desires! * The #1 motivation for marriage: To have MY NEEDS MET Three months ago they got a little puppy .. no matter how cute it is .. it creates conflict. Who is going to feed it, take it for a walk, take care of it, etc. Innocent/loveable children can also cause conflict because we have competing desires.
B. The RESPONSES To Conflict "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts." Psalm 139:23 * Note five responses to conflict: 1. MY way 2. NO way 3. YOUR way 4. HALF way 5. OUR way
C. The RESOLUTION Of Conflict
1. EXPERIENCE THE PEACE of God "We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Rom. 5:1 "Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death, and our hostility toward each other was put to death." Eph. 2:16 (NLT) My relationship with Christ SETS THE TONE for how to handle conflicts.
2. EXPRESS YOUR THOUGHTS to God We need to learn to VENTILATE vertically!! "Stay away from dad/mom because he/she is ready to blow" we are good at ventilating horizontally. "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." James 1:5 Ruth Bell Graham: "It's foolish to expect from one another that which Jesus Christ can be." Two common myths: 1. "If I could JUST GET MARRIED, all my needs would be met." 2. "If I had JUST MARRIED THE RIGHT PERSON, all my needs would be met."
3. EMPATHIZE WITH THE NEEDS of your spouse "Don't be selfish . . . Don't think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing." Phil. 2:3a,4 interested - scope out (like using a telescope to study the stars) "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" Matt. 7:3
4. ESTABLISH ground rules When countries go to war, they set ground rules. We could drop a nuclear bomb on Serbia and wipe out everyone, but there are rules even for warfare. The same is needed for arguments between spouses. In a Peanuts cartoon Lucy is quoted as saying "If I can't be right, I'm going to be wrong at the top of my lungs!" "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice." Eph. 4:31 Proverb: "When you throw mud, you lose ground."
5. EXCHANGE CONFLICT for peace "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift." Matt. 5:23,24 * Choose THE RIGHT TIME Wait for the adrenalin to go down, but do it soon. * Choose THE RIGHT PLACE
6. EXAMINE godly advice "Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice." - Prov. 13:10 * Agreement: I resolve to . . . 1. Commit MY LIFE to Jesus Christ. 2. Commit MY ATTITUDES to Jesus Christ. 3. Commit MY WORDS to Jesus Christ.
"Overcoming Materialism" - Proverbs 27:20;
We live in the greatest age of materialism that our world has ever seen. News reports constantly remind us that the average American isn't concerned about what our governmental leaders do as long as the economy is healthy. That attitude has been fostered by advertisers who constantly remind us that we need more of what we already have. Today we examine two principles that will help us conquer the spiritual disease of materialism.
A. The MYTHS That Lead To Materialism
1. Having MORE THINGS will make me MORE HAPPY"Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. . . As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them?" Ecc. 5:10,11
2. Having MORE THINGS will make me MORE IMPORTANT
3. Having MORE THINGS will make me MORE SECURE "The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it an unscalable wall." Prov. 18:11 "Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint." Prov. 23:4 Job 31:24,28
B. The METHOD That Overcomes Materialism
1. RESIST comparing "People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction." 1 Tim. 6:9 But . . . some of the wealthiest men in the Scriptures were the godliest!!
2. REJOICE in what you DO HAVE "Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite." Ecc. 6:9 Question: Is the DESIRE TO ACQUIRE out of control in my life? "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, becaue God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'" Heb. 13:5
3. RETURN AT LEAST 10% to the Lord The purpose of giving is to teach me to put God first! "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment." 1 Tim. 6:17
4. REFOCUS on permanent VALUES "Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things." Col. 3:2 Matt. 6:24 What will determine my lifestyle??
Ephesians 4:26,27,31 - "How to Handle Anger Before it Handles You"
Someone said, "He who loses his head is usually the last to miss it!" That's true! When we lose our temper, we lose our ability to think rationally and make decisions. Anger can be devastating . . . not only to those who receive it, but also to the one who becomes angry. In fact, one psychologist suggested that anger is "involved in 80-90% of all counseling." Lloyd John Ogilvie wrote, "Tell me what ticks you off, and I will tell you what makes you tick. Today we turn our attention to four lessons need to learn that will help us conquer the problem of anger in our lives.
A. CONFESS It - (Admit that it is there!) "Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor . . . Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry." Eph. 4:25a,27a There's a CONSTRUCTIVE way and a DESTRUCTIVE way to deal with anger. The Old Testament talk of God's anger or wrath 375 times. The New Testament records that Jesus got angry. They remain sinless because of how They express it. The #1 cause of DEPRESSION is anger! Doctors estimate that 80-90% of conseling is due to unresolved anger. Many medical problems are caused by repressed anger - headaches, nausea, ulcers, etc.
B. COMPREHEND It Two groups of people . . . 1. SKUNKS - (stink up the whole place when angry) 2. TURTLES - (crawl in their shell and withdraw when angry) People respond in one of three ways - against others in anger - away from others in fear - work with others in love "A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly." Prov. 14:29 "A man's wisdom gives him patience . . ." Prov. 19:11a
2. Three phases of an argument: 1. RECOGNITION - (feel things are getting warm) 2. REACTION - (things get loud) 3. RESOLUTION - (hang in until root problem is identified)
3. Five causes for anger: 1. When we feel UNACCEPTED.
2. When we feel UNAPPRECIATED. 3. When we feel UNSUPPORTED. 4. When we feel UNPROTECTED. 5. When we feel UNCERTAIN.
C. COPE With It Immediately "Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." Eph. 4:26b-27 This does not say do not let the sun go down while there is still a problem because some problems can not be solved in one evening. What it does mean is to deal with your feelings of anger before going to sleep. Note the difference between ANGER and DANGER Anger is a LEARNED RESPONSE
You learn how to express anger from your family. You CAN change with God's help.
D. CONTROL It "A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control." Prov. 29:11
1. REALIZE the cost Story of a man who "killed" his car when it got stuck in a snowbank. He smashed the windows with a tire iron - shot out the tires and shot the engine. A very expensive price for uncontrolled anger. "A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a hot-tempered one commits many sins."Prov. 29:22
2. REFLECT before reacting " . . . Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." James 1:19 "The best way to cut your own throat is with a sharp tongue."
3. RELEASE anger appropriately "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs." Eph. 4:29 This verse will help us control our dialog when we are angry. * Seven rules for a "fair fight:" 1. Never COMPARE - (with others) 2. Never CONDEMN - (don't us words like ALWAYS, NEVER) 3. Never COMMAND - (don't _________ ) 4. Never CHALLENGE - (don't _________ ) 5. Never CONDESCEND - (don't play amature psychologist) 6. Never CONTRADICT - (don't interupt the other person) 7. Never CONFUSE - (don't change the subject)
4. RELY ON Christ's Help
How does Christ help me deal with anger?? He deals with ROOT CAUSES! We are all a little like a tube of toothpaste - when we are squeezed, whatever is inside comes out.
- Hebrews 13:4 - "How to Avoid a Moral Disaster"
We live in a world that rationalizes anti-marriage activity. Many factories and offices are filled with people looking for a relationship - regardless of its morality. How do we counteract that kind of environment? Today we examine four Biblical principles that will help affair-proof your marriage. "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." - Hebrews 13:4
A. The CAUSES Of An Immoral Relationship "The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit . . ." Prov. 22:14a "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation." Matt. 26:41a "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." - 1 Peter 5:8
1. UNMET NEEDS ... for men it is usually sexual for women it is emotional
2. UNFULFILLED EXPECTATIONS ... when you start comparing your spouse to someone else, you are on a slippery slope
3. UNDEVELOPED SELF-ESTEEM ... emotionally immature - used to get attention for athletic ability or attractiveness
4. UNRESOLVED CONFLICT ... Satan will bring someone "who understands" into your life
5. UNCONTROLLED THOUGHTS ... we are bombarded by our culture with immoral information
6. UNPROTECTED LIFESTYLE ... when you have improper relationships with members of the opposite sex, when you are tired your defences are down or-when you have had a recent success "The heart is deceitful above all things . . ." Jer. 17:9
7. UNRELIABLE COMMITMENT ... you made a contract with God at your marriage - a non-negotiable contract
B. THE CHARACTERISTICS Of An Immoral Relationship "Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown gives birth to death." James 1:14,15
1. REVIEW SINFUL THOUGHTS in your mind "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." ... this is where the battle starts
2. RISK EMOTIONAL involvement ... adultery begins long before the bedroom ... a woman starts fishing for compliments or ... a man starts providing excess gifts or attention
3. RESPOND BY PHYSICAL involvement
4. RATIONALIZE the affair ... if only my spouse would meet my needs ... God will forgive us ... it won't happen again
C. The CORRECTION For An Immoral Relationship
1. ACKNOWLEDGE THE SIN "For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight." Psalm 51:3,4
2. AGREE TO END the relationship IMMEDIATELY "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts . . ." Heb. 3:15
3. AVOID ALL CONTACT with that person from now on "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." 1 Cor. 10:13
D. The CURES For An Immoral Relationship
1. MAKE A COMMITMENT to God's standard of morality "How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word." Ps. 119: Solomon 8:6 ... most people think they can play with fire without getting burned.
2. Maintain your MARRIAGE "Drink water from your own cistern . . . May you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love." Prov. 5:15a, 18,19 * Your marriage is WHAT YOU MAKE IT!!
3. MANAGE YOUR MIND ... if we were to put all the thoughts you have had this week on the screen, would you be uncomfortable? ... change the radio or TV station, put down the book or magazine, avoid the web sites ... it's a good movie "except for a few scenes" - your mind records these as well ... sex is used to sell everything from bananas to batteries in our society ... "Oh be careful little eyes what you see - Oh be careful little ears what you hear - Oh be careful little hands what you do." "Do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature." Rom. 13:14b Don't RESIST IT rather REPLACE IT
4. Monitor your MEDIA INTAKE "I will set no wicked thing before my eyes." Ps. 101:3 "I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil." Rom. 16:19
5. MINIMIZE THE OPPORTUNITY to be tempted "So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall." 1 Cor. 10:12
6. Maintain the proper relationships with THE OPPOSITE SEX "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality . . ." Eph. 5:3 ... don't participate in workplace flirting ... don't listen to complaints about another's spouse ... be conscious about how you dress
7. Magnify the CONSEQUENCES "But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself." Prov. 6:32 .. the less you follow God's rules, the more trouble you will run into to "Through the fear of the Lord a man avoids evil." Prov. 16:6 Three groups of people:
1. Those who FALLEN ... there is hope, God gives us a second chance, take steps right now, start over today by declaring that the relationship is over and avoiding all future contact 2. Those who are SINGLE ... by God's grace determine that you are going to save your purity for the person you may marry ... sex outside of marriage ALWAYS causes heartaches 3. Those who FAITHFUL ... make your marriage affair proof - make the grass on your side of the fence look so green that the grass on the other side of the fence looks brown. For some marriages the grass on the other side looks greener because the grass on their side looks like asphalt.
"What's That in Your Eye?" - Luke 10:25-37
Martin Luther King - born in 1929 during the depression. In 1963 he gave the "I have a Dream" speech that still echos today describing a world where there is no prejudice. There is one thing to say that all Americans are promised Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness - but it is quite another thing to stepping across society's boundaries and impact people with the love of God. When Jesus came to earth He experienced the impact of prejudice. He was born in Galilee, poor, with little formal education and knew the religious leaders were thinking "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" - John 1:46
We would like to think it doesn't exist anymore. We assume that our society is too educated, too sophisticated to show signs of blatant prejudice. But it's not true. Prejudice still exists all around us . . . because it grows out of who we are. Today we examine three insights that will help us overcome one of the world's oldest sources of conflict.
1A. The PLAGUE Of Prejudice * Luke 10:25-37 Jesus wanted to show how deep the root of prejudice runs in each of our lives.
1B. RACIAL 30 to 100 million Africans were captured and sold into slavery just in America alone. During World War II - the Nazis killed 6 million Jews for "ethnic cleansing". Thurgood Marshall "Racism is has always been obsolete - it serves no purpose in civilized society - but the problem is convincing people that it is obsolete." Ron Sider: "Racism in the church is a denial of the Gospel. It is a heretical, disobedient rejection of God's purpose in Christ . . . . Racial reconciliation in the church is a visible demonstration of the Gospel."
2B. RELIGIOUS "Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem." John 4:20 Priest might claim he thought the man was dead - the law of Moses prohibited him from touching a dead body. Unity in the body of Christ is growing - Promise Keepers has helped promote this.
3B. SEXUAL "They were astonished to find him talking to a woman." John 4:27 Everyone is equally significant to God. Where the Gospel is preached, the value of women is increased.
4B. SOCIAL "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is - that she is a sinner." Luke 7:39 "Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in.  If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet,"  have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?" - James 2:2-4
2A. The POWER Over Prejudice "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.  For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,  by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,  and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.  He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.  For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit." - Ephesians 2: 13-18
1B. He BROKE down the walls! "He has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility . . ." (v. 14)
2B. He BRINGS us together! "His purpose was to create one new man the Father by one Spirit." (vv. 15,18) What do you think of when the term "communist" is used? Today we have with us a man who grew up as a member of the communist party in China. He came to America to further his studies and though the outreach of this church, he has accepted Jesus Christ as his saviour and become a brother in Christ. That's the power of the gospel - the ability to cross racial, religious, sexual or social barriers and draw people together.
3A. The PREVENTION Of Prejudice * We must TOUCH those in pain! Story of a young toddler who locked himself in his room in the dark. He was separated by his mother who encouraged him to jiggle the door knob. When this failed, panic set in. His mother did the only thing she could do, she reached under the door and touched his hand. At the touch, his crying stopped and after some time he jiggled the door knob again and the locked popped out and the door was opened. "Who touched my clothes?" - Mark 5:30b
CONCLUSION * Why not ask God to uncover the HIDDEN prejudices in your heart
- "The Nightmare of Pornography" - Matthew 5:27,28;
We live in a "throw away world." In just a couple of minutes you can "have it your way" at a fast food restaurant and toss away the wrappers for the food. Microwave technology has cut the time of food preparation to a fraction. Pornography is another example of the quick fix mentality. For just a few dollars our lust can feed on sexual images. But the lingering impact destroys countless relationships and lives. Today we examine this rampant problem in our society and how to deal with it in our homes.
1A. A DESCRIPTION of Pornography -A-PORN
2A. The DANGERS of Pornography es of CHILDREN
3A. The DEFEAT of Pornography * Recognize the following: "The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame." Gen. 2:25 e.g.. Song of Solomon UTSIDE OF marriage. "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." Heb. 13:4 "But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea." Matt. 18:6 "Since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband." 1 Cor. 7:2
CONCLUSION - Words of encouragement: 1. To non-users . . .DON'T START! - Phil. 4:8 2. To light users . . .BEWARE! "So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall." 1 Cor. 10:12 3. To addicts . . .BREAK THE SILENCE!
DO POINTS 1. Determine that you will express your objection to pornographic materials in places of business which you visit. 2. Begin a Scripture memory program for the renewing of your mind in this area. 3. Join an accountability group and be honest about your struggles with others.
PRIMARY RESOURCES Christians in a Sex-Crazed Culture by Bill Hybels Moral Catastrophe by David Hocking Men's Secret Wars by Patrick Means
SECONDARY RESOURCES The Christian in an Age of Sexual Eclipse by Michael Braun and George Alan Rekers Christians in the Wake of the Sexual Revolution by Bruce Alcorn Generation at Risk by Fran Sciacca
The World’s Favorite Scripture” Matthew 7:1-6 1.
We Should Not Enjoy Hurtful Judgement
Matthew 7:1 - Matthew 7:3 - 2. We Should Not Engage In Hypocritical Judgement
Matthew 7:3-5 - Matthew 7:5 - 3. We Should Not Exercise Holy Judgement
Matthew 7:6 - Matthew 7:5 - 1 Corinthians 2:15 - Leviticus 19:17 - John 7:24 –
“Don’t Sweat The Big Stuff” Matthew 6:25-34
Matthew 6:19 –
Matthew 6:25 –
Matthew 6:28 –
Matthew 6:34 –
1. Admit The Sinfulness Of Worry
Matthew 6:25, 31, & 34 –
2. Acknowledge The Senselessness Of Worry
Matthew 6:25 –
Romans 8:32 –
Matthew 6:27 –
Matthew 6:28-30 –
3. Apply Steadfastness To Worry
Look One Way At A Time – Matthew 6:31-33 –
Live One Day At A Time – Matthew 6:34 –