Saturday, April 23, 2016

 

ANZAC

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

 

ANZACS are a people of Commitment 12

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

Remember Crete and the liberation of Greece!

 

ANZACS are a people Compassion 13

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

Sacrifice!!   PNG and the liberation of Asia

 

ANZACS are a people Concentration 14

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

 

ANZACS are a people For fulfillment  11

This outward focus on loving others is our fulfillment.


 

ANZAC

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

 

ANZACS are a people of Commitment 12

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

Remember Crete and the liberation of Greece!

 

ANZACS are a people Compassion 13

Remember Villious de briteaux  and the liberation of France

Sacrifice!!   PNG and the liberation of Asia

 

ANZACS are a people Concentration 14

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

 

ANZACS are a people For fulfillment  11

This outward focus on loving others is our fulfillment.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

 

Eglon and Ehud

How do we interpret the book of Judges?

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

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

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

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


Judges

Lawgiver judge governor liberator, deliverer

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

Keyword Failure 

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

False gods..Ball Dagon Astharoth 

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

A DOWNWARD CYCLE SPIRAL

An Apolgetic for David's Kingship

Davidic covenant  > Christ as King in Israel

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

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

Matthew and Kingship

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

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

Covenants of Promise

Abrahamic and Davidic   unconditional

Mosaic covenant.. administrative..

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sons: "house" never wiped out

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

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

Temple: Solomon will build it

Discipline: God will punish disobedient kings but still unconditionally keep

2 Ways to Live

God is King  Creation Creator

Sin

Promises of the covenant:

1.                     Sons (descendants)

2.                     Throne (right to rule)

3.                     Kingdom (country or land)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You Need Christ as Deliverer and as Director of Your Life

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

Ehud and Eglon

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

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

Romans 6   Jesus is the Stronger man

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

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

Unexpected deliverer because:

                        a. He breaks the power of cancelled sin

                        b. He sets the prisoner free

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

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

You Need a Deliverer  = Saviour.

You Need a Director    = Lord

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

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


Friday, April 15, 2016

 

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

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

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

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

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

If you turn from Jesus, where will you go?

Will you turn to atheism?

The intelligentsia of the ages have believed in God.

Socrates         Galileo         Newton        Pasteur      Einstein     Wernher von Braun

 

There are five  reasons why I believe in Jesus Christ.

PHILOSOPHICAL REASONS

Rational reasons

Christianity is Cohesive

Christianity is Cogent

Christianity is Comprehensive

Christianity is Corresponding to reality

Experiential  and Phenomenological reasons

 

 

HISTORICAL REASONS

Jesus is a fact of history.

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

HISTORICAL REASONS

Resurrection


Archaeology


Miracles


Prophesy

 

 

SCRIPTURAL REASONS

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

The Bible is the Word of God.

How do we know the Bible is true?

Fulfilled prophecy

The unity of the Bible

The longevity of the Bible

The accuracy of the Bible

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

Jesus is the central theme of the Bible.

His miraculous birth and life

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

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

SPIRITUAL REASONS

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

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

He witnesses to you.

He witnesses in you.

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

PERSONAL REASONS

The Lord Jesus Christ is Cohesive 

He is Cogent,

He is Comprehensive

He is Corresponds to reality

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

 

 

 


 

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

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

Monday, March 28, 2016

 

But go, tell His disciples and Peter,

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

Saturday, March 12, 2016

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

Monday, March 02, 2015

 

Removed from the BUNSW

Dear friends,

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

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

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

WOW thanks Baptist Union of NSW!!!

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


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

 

Lorelle is 50 tonight

Lorelle is 50 today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Saturday, October 04, 2014

 

A Theology Of Technology

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

Facts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.The Goal of Humanity and its Artifacts is Fruitfulness

Gen 1:26-30

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

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

Morally humanity was created with Conscience.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Abilities

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

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

Ambition

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

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

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

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

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

4. The Grace given to humanity is Forgiveness

God’s purpose for our humanity is restoration.

5. The Genuine Fruitfulness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does it make possible?

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

And what new culture is created in response?


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

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


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.
Rejoice always!
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

Rejoice always!
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

Wesley writes;

“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).


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