Saturday, July 30, 2016

 

Its no longer I that liveth but Christ who liveth in me!


Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Ephesians 3:14-21

I and David, attended a funeral  yesterday for Jenny Wu, the mother in law of one of our students at Life Ministry College; a deeply godly woman who knew the strengthening of God through all of her life.  

Where do you get spiritual strength?

I chatted with someone we love dearly, and would love to come to know the Saviour. Struggling with cancer he said to me "how can I get through this?"

Where can we get the spiritual strength we need?
Isa 40:  28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?

The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He does not faint or grow weary;  his understanding is unsearchable.
 29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.
 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;
 31 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

I. We have, first, the prophet's appeal to the familiar thought of an unchangeable God as the antidote to all despondency and the foundation of all hope. The life of men and of creatures is like a river, with its source and its course and its end. The life of God is like the ocean, with joyous movement of tides and currents of life and energy and purpose, but ever the same and ever returning upon itself. Jehovah, the unchanged, unchangeable, inexhaustible Being, spends and is unspent; gives and is none the poorer; works and is never wearied; lives and with no tendency to death in His life; flames—with no tendency to extinction in the blaze.

II. Notice, next, the unwearied God giving strength to wearied men. The more sad and pathetic the condition of feeble humanity by contrast with the strength, the immortal strength, of God, the more wondrous is that grace and power of His which are not contented with hanging there in the heavens above us, but bend right down to bless us and to turn us into their own likeness. It is much to preserve the stars from wrong; it is more to restore and to bring power to feeble men. It is much to uphold all those that are falling so that they may not fall; but it is more to raise up all those that have fallen and are bowed down.   He is called:

  Jehovah-Rohi – The LORD My Shepherd

  Jehovah-Jireh – The LORD Will Provider

  Jehovah-Shalom – The LORD My Peace

  Jehovah-Raphi – The LORD My Healer

  Jehovah-Tsidkenu – The LORD My Righteousness

  Jehovah-Shammah – The LORD Is There

  Jehovah-Nissi – The LORD Our Banner

  Jehovah-M'Kaddesh – The LORD My Sanctifier

  Jehovah-El Elyon – The LORD Most High

 

III. The last thing in these words is, the wearied man lifted to the level of the unwearied God and to His likeness. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength." That phrase means, of course, the continuous bestowment in unintermitting sequence of fresh gifts of power; as each former gift is exhausted, more is required. Grace abhors a vacuum, as nature does; and just as the endless procession of the waves rises on the beach, or as the restless network of the moonlight irradiation of the billows stretches all across the darkness of the sea, so that unbroken continuity of strength after strength gives grace for grace according to our need, and as each former supply is expended and used up God pours Himself into our hearts anew. That continuous communication leads to the perpetual youth of the Christian soul.

Paul's prayer reveals the depths of his heart.  There is the Trinity here in Ephesians 3; The trinity indwelling.

16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

What does it mean for God to dwell in you?

1.    God wants you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit!

Being Strengthened through His Spirit is A Present Reality

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh

Ephesians 3:14 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

He gives that blessed sense of forgiveness, but he wants you to go on from this first wonderful blessing to something even  more.  God wants you to have the present experience that you be strengthened by His Spirit in your inner being.  Are you experiencing this? Is your Christianity real?

The word "now" gives emphasis to the reality of the believer's present condition. He is not dealing in strange mysteries for a few select saints. He is talking about the spiritual condition of all believers. As we come to understand more of the work of Christ on our behalf, more of what took place in justification, we will find ourselves living in greater dependence upon Jesus Christ in daily life. How are you living "now"? We are not in any respect bordering upon "New Age" thinking of god-consciousness or being a god. Paul says, 'No, I'm still living in this body. I am flesh and blood. But I am not living in this body the same way I used to live'. That is because of the reality that the old Paul was crucified with Christ. The old Paul with his animosity and hatred, with his pride and covetous spirit, met the judgment of God at the cross. There is a new resident in his life: Jesus Christ. "Christ lives in me!" God wants you to have this NOW!!!

Being Strengthened through His Spirit is A Personal Reality

that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

Peter calls it the 'hidden man of the heart'

                             For your Soul

Maclaren "It is this inner self, then, in which the Spirit of God is to dwell, and into which it is to breathe strength. The leaven is hid deep in three measures of meal until the whole be leavened. And the point to mark is that the whole inward region which makes up the true man is the field upon which this Divine Spirit is to work. It is not a bit of your inward life that is to be hallowed. It is not any one aspect of it that is to be strengthened, but it is the whole intellect, affections, desires, tastes, powers of attention, conscience, imagination, memory, will. The whole inner man in all its corners is to be filled, and to come under the influence of this power, 'until there be no part dark, as when the bright shining of a candle giveth thee light.'"

There are no rooms of the house of my spirit into which He may not go. Let Him come with the master key in His hand into all the dim chambers of your feeble nature; He will strengthen your understandings, and make you able for loftier tasks of intellect and of reason than you can face in your unaided power; He will dwell in your affections and make them vigorous to lay hold upon the holy things that are above their natural inclination, and will make it certain that their reach shall not be beyond their grasp, as, alas! it so often is in the sadness and disappointments of human love. He will come into that feeble, vacillating, wayward will of yours, that is only obstinate in its adherence to the low and the evil, as some foul creature, that one may try to wrench away, digs its claws into corruption and holds on by that. He will lift your will and make it fix upon the good and abominate the evil, and through the whole being He will pour a great tide of strength which shall cover all the weakness.

For Your Struggles and For your Suffering

The parallel passage to this in the twin epistle to the Colossians is-'strengthened with all might unto all patience and long-suffering with gentleness.' We have all of us, in the discharge of duty and in the meeting of temptation, to face such tremendous antagonisms that unless we have grace given to us which will enable us to resist, we shall be overcome and swept away. God's power given by the Divine Spirit does not absolve us from the fight, but it fits us for the fight. It is not given in order that, holiness may be won without a struggle, as some people seem to think, but it is given to us in order that in the struggle for holiness we may never lose 'one jot of heart or hope,' but may be 'able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.'

                             For Your Service

Luke 24 "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and3  forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48  You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.

Acts 1:8  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

There is no such force for the spreading of Christ's Kingdom, and the witness-bearing work of His Church, as the possession of this Divine Spirit. the selfishness and the sloth, which stand in the way of so many of us, are all consumed and annihilated, and we are set free for service because the bonds that bound us are burnt up in the merciful furnace of His fiery power.

Why is your witness weak and feeble? You don't wait upon God. You don't know His Spirit strengthening you.

Lord, take my life and make it wholly Thine; Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine.
Take all my will, my passion, self, and pride; I now surrender, Lord—in me abide. —Orr

Being Strengthened through His Spirit is A Powerful Reality

that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

Sometimes we falter. I used to hear people talk years ago about whether one was doing this in one's own strength, and therefore failing, or in dependence upon the strength of the Lord.  Occassionally now I see strong Christians falter. Why? Perhaps we have forgotten that the Lord wants to strengthen us aaccording to the riches of his glory.

Phil 4:13 says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 

Isaiah 40 reminds us that they that wait  upon the Lord shall renew their strength.

Are you waiting on the Lord for your desperate situations? Are you finding His strength for your needs?  Waiting on the Lord is not an easy thing, nor a quick fix.. it takes time!!!!  Time reading God's word. How much time have you spent reading God's word today? Yesterday? This week? If you haven't waited on the Lord, don't expect His strength!

How much time have you spent this week in prayer?

Jenny Wu spent 2 hours every day reading God's word and spending time in prayer. She rose at 4 am to do this, and always had since she was a young mother, working three jobs each day. What about you?

Lord, grant me strength from day to day— How prone I am to go astray!
The passions of my flesh are strong; Be Thou, my God, a shield from wrong. —D. De Haan

2.     God Wants Jesus To Dwell in Your Heart so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

There is the Extinguishing of the old life

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

This is a past event. If and when you became a Christian you died!

Col 3:3  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God

Romans 6: 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self1  was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free2  from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

Donald Campbell "The self-righteous, self-centred Saul died. Death with Christ ended Paul's enthronement of self; he yielded the throne of his life to Another, to Christ. But it was not in his own strength that Paul was able to live the Christian life; the living Christ Himself took up His abode in Paul's heart: Christ lives in me."

George Mueller, when questioned about his spiritual power, responded simply, "One day George Mueller died. There was a day when I died, utterly died — died to George Müller, his opinions, preferences, tastes, and will; died to the world, its approval or censure; died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends — and since then I have only to show myself approved to God."

D. L. Moody was visiting New York City when he consciously died to his own ambitions.

And evangelist Christmas Evans, putting down on paper his surrender to Christ, began it by writing: "I give my soul and body to Jesus." It was, in a very real sense, a death to self.

Have you extinguished your old life by surrendering it all to the Lord Jesus? Does He dwell there unopposed as Lord of your life?

There is the Relinquishing to the new life

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith

This is a present event Col 3:3  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God Col 3:4 When Christ who is your  life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Hudson Taylor said that Galatians 2:20 taught what he referred to as "The Exchanged Life". Taylor understood that none of us can live the Christian life in our own strength or resist temptation by our own will power. He came to realize that only Christ can successfully live the victorious Christian life for it is, after all, His resurrection life which reflects His victory over the power of sin and death. Hudson Taylor understood that when one comes to Christ in surrender, Christ begins living His life through us. On one level Christ lives His life through the yielded believer, producing the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23 "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control..."), this "fruit" being essentially the character of Christ Himself! The other arm of "the exchanged life" is Christ working His works through us. Paul reiterates this same truth of Christ working through the yielded saint.

Lloyd Ogilvie, who has a powerful personality and an eloquent presence, tells about being in Scotland as a theological student. One day he was confronted by Thomas Torrence, the noted theologian. Torrence said to him, "Ogilvie, you've got to die." Lloyd was startled until he realized it is only in the surrender of death to self that we can give our spirits to God. Then the darkness vanishes, and His face shines upon us

Wesley wrote that "Christ lives in me" and as such...Is a fountain of life in my inmost soul, from which all my tempers, words, and actions flow.

Puritan Thomas Watson observes that..."Christ is the PRINCIPLE of my life. I fetch my spiritual life from Christ, as the branch fetches its sap from the root. "Christ lives in me."

One day Augustine had to attend to some business in his old haunts in Rome. As he walked along, a former companion saw him and began calling, "Augustine, Augustine, it is I!" He took one look at the poor, disreputable woman whose company he had formerly enjoyed, and he shuddered. Reminding himself of his new position in Christ, he quickly turned and ran from her, shouting, "It's not I! It's not I!" Augustine had found the secret of Paul's words: "I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me"

How is your Christian life? Are you a person strengthened by God's Spirit in the inner person? Are you experiencing the indwelling Christ in every area of your life? Have you died to the old life? Are you no longer the same?

Oh, to be saved from myself, dear Lord,  Oh, to be lost in Thee;
Oh, that it may be no more I,
 But Christ that lives in me.  —C. H. Forrest

In the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (1/17/98) Judy Zmerold writes:

Three-year-old Katie was taken to her pediatrician during a recent bout with the flu. As the doctor examined her ears, he asked, "Will I find Big Bird in here?"

Apprehensively, Katie replied, "No."

Then, before examining her throat, he asked, "Will I find the Cookie Monster in here?"

Again, "No."

Finally, listening to her heart, he asked, "Will I find Barney in here?"

With innocent conviction, she looked him directly in the eye and said, "No, Jesus is in my heart. Barney is on my underwear."
Let me put the matter this way: It doesn't matter who is on your underwear so long as Jesus is in your heart. A Christian is a person in whom Christ now lives. If we opened your heart today, would we find Jesus Christ there?

You need to be right with God!

Get right with God now and experience His strengthening, His indwelling.

 


Monday, July 11, 2016

 

1 Corinthians 6:12-7:16 A Christian View Of Sex

1 Corinthians 6:12-7:16   A Christian View Of Sex

12 "Everything is permissible for me," but not everything is helpful. "Everything is permissible for me," but I will not be brought under the control of anything.
13 "Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods," but God will do away with both of them. The body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
14 God raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.
15 Do you not know that your bodies are the members of Christ? So should I take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Absolutely not!
16 Do you not know that anyone joined to a prostitute is one body with her? For it says, The two will become one flesh.
17 But anyone joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
18 Flee from sexual immorality! "Every sin a person can commit is outside the body," but the person who is sexually immoral sins against his own body.
19 Do you not know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,
20 for you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body.[9]

 

Chapter 7

1 About the things you wrote: "It is good for a man not to have relations with a woman."
2 But because of sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.
3 A husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise a wife to her husband.
4 A wife does not have authority over her own body, but her husband does. Equally, a husband does not have authority over his own body, but his wife does.
5 Do not deprive one another—except when you agree, for a time, to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again; otherwise, Satan may tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
6 I say this as a concession, not as a command.
7 I wish that all people were just like me. But each has his own gift from God, one this and another that.

8 I say to the unmarried and to widows: It is good for them if they remain as I am.
9 But if they do not have self-control, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with desire.

10 I command the married—not I, but the Lord—a wife is not to leave her husband.
11 But if she does leave, she must remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband—and a husband is not to leave his wife.
12 But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has an unbelieving wife, and she is willing to live with him, he must not leave her.
13 Also, if any woman has an unbelieving husband, and he is willing to live with her, she must not leave her husband.
14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the Christian husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.
15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let him leave. A brother or a sister is not bound in such cases. God has called you to peace.
16 For you, wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Or you, husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife?

 

 

 

We're beginning what seems to be a very strange series today: God Loves Sex. I have to admit that this reminds me a story that has nothing to do with sex, thankfully. I was helping an old friend with a building task. Why he would tolerate my help I have no idea, I think he was trying to help me get a bit more savvy on little jobs that were beyond my competence level ( I have a competence level of zero, and a confidence level just a little above that), he was helping me gain confidence. The ladder was against the wall, and very near the attachment that brings the power into the house. He asked, "Is my back touching the main electrical wire?" You know, the one that carries all the electricity into the house. I looked and said, "Yes, you are." He was fine, by the way, but it was a moment that I imagined someone getting cooked.

It feels a little like this today. As we talk about sex — in church! — it feels like we're perched right at the edge of the roof, and touching a live wire that could zap us if we're not careful.

In my role as SRE advisor for west Sydney I advised the SRE teachers not to discuss sex in the classroom, because no matter what you say someone will hear it differently and report you!

There are some issues here we MUST discuss!

Sex is powerful and intense. It is both beautiful and powerful, maybe even dangerous. It's like this across all cultures, and it's been this way through all of history. Sex is powerful.

But sex is also complicated. Because sex is so powerful, it impacts us in very significant ways. And because we live in a broken world, and we're imperfect people, all of us are complicated when it comes to sex. We have histories. We have hurts and regrets, and some of them are deep. We have longings. We want to love and be loved, and we know something of the beauty and power of sex, but we've also been hurt. We want to enjoy the beauty of this powerful part of our lives, and we also need understanding for our complicated feelings. And we also need healing.

Not only that, but we're taught all kinds of things about sex every day. We live in a sex-crazed world. It's in TV, movies, music, and greeting cards. It's in our conversations. Sadly, it's also been trampled and abused through things pornography, sexual abuse, human trafficking. It's a huge part of our culture

Sex is powerful, we are complicated, and it's all over culture. Then to top it off — what are we doing talking about it in church? Couldn't we talk about something else?

You can't avoid being sexual, so we have to figure out how to be sexual in the right way, so we can truly flourish. Sex and spirituality overlap in a powerful way.

Tim Keller pastors a church in New York. He was once asked to identify a few obstacles to revival in the contemporary church. Drawing on his experience in Manhattan, Keller started with one issue: the fact that almost all singles outside the Church and a majority inside the Church are sleeping with each other.

Some years ago I met the top Christian relationship counselor in the USA.  His name is Jim Talley. He told me of his technique in helping young adults through the tough issues.   He'd ask them to grab coffee with him to catch up on life. When he'd ask about their spiritual lives, they'd often talk about the difficulties and doubts they were experiencing.. and how it all started to shake the foundations. They had started to struggle with their faith. At that point, he'd look at them and ask one question, "So who have you been sleeping with?" Shocked, their faces would inevitably fall and say something like "How did you know?"

When he met with couples for counseling prior to their wedding, he would take out a card to surprise them. It was pretty frontal. Where are you up to on this scale.  

 

Sexual intercourse

Petting

Caressing Breasts

_______________________

Kissing

Hand holding

 

I have used this often, and found only a few who had not gone much further than they should.

If the Church is going to see serious spiritual renewal, especially among the younger generations, we need to present an alternative view of sex that is beautiful, but different than the one offered in the dominant cultural narratives; a view of sexuality that affirms its goodness while placing it within God's intended framework.

 

1.      Sex Is a very Powerful thing.

It is Pervasive

I'd then explain that there were a variety of sexual views back then, just as there are now. Some believed that sex was for procreation. Some saw sex as recreational, and had no problem with men having sex outside of marriage with household slaves, prostitutes, or other people from lower classes. There was a huge double standard. Married men were allowed to have sex outside of marriage; adultery only happened when a married woman was involved. Men typically got married in their late twenties, but they were expected to be involved in various sexual experiences once they became adolescents. Homosexuality was also part of life in the Roman world, including Corinth. Same-sex marriage isn't a completely new thing. The Roman emperor Nero married two men on two different occasions. Don't get me wrong. There are some differences in the way we think about sexuality now compared to the way that they thought back then. But in other ways, things are just the same. We live in a sexual culture now; they lived in a very sexual culture then.

And that sexualized culture can be quite preoccupying for many.

We are built with desires. Look at what Paul says of these desires in 7: Satan may tempt you because of your lack of self-control. …  9 But if they do not have self-control, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with desire.

Burning desire. Difficult challenges to our self-control!!

It can be Preoccupying

I asked an elderly man whether it got any easier to control our sexual desires? As an 85 year old man he said "I hope it will one day!"

Let's just look at one example: porn. According to stats, porn is a huge issue, even in the church. There is a high percentage of both men and women using porn.  Talking with the assistant to the Bishop earlier this year, he mentioned that this issue is causing pastors to drop out of the ministry. It is so addictive that godly men are finding themselves unable to control the addiction.

 And it has a number of negative effects. In 2012, Men's Health magazine — which is not a Christian magazine the last time I checked — summarized eight harmful effects of porn. It's progressive. It creates unrealistic expectations. It can lead to casual sex. It amplifies emotional problems. It creates unhealthy sexual bonds. It counterfeits intimacy. It disrupts real relationships. It hurts your spouse.

And yet people know this and cannot break the habit! Why?  Major recent research suggests that pornography cuts a channel in our neural pathways, even causing physical changes in our neural pathways. It is extremely hard to beat.

It can be Persuasive

Paul is quoting slogans or beliefs that people held. Here it is: "All things are lawful for me." Or, as the NIV puts it, "I have the right to do anything." In other words, "Freedom is doing what I want."

These slogans then, as now, are nothing more than an excuse for those who find themselves sexually addicted. They are an excuse to give in to their lustful desires.

Our society values freedom and personal choice. We think that the good life comes when we get to decide what's right for ourselves. Nobody can tell us that we're wrong, because that's infringing on our freedom. You need to decide what's right for you without anyone telling you what to do. There are only two rules: don't hurt anyone else, and do what is best for you.

Not only is this view still present today, but it makes some pretty big promises. It tells us that sexual freedom, doing what want, is the path to happiness.

All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be dominated by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12)

Paul repeats this phrase twice, and gives us two problems with the view that we can do anything that we want:

First, some things we want to do just aren't helpful. Actually, it's the very opposite. Some things that want to do are harmful. Doing what we want looks good, but it can actually be quite damaging.

Second, doing what we want can lead to addiction and a loss of control. I hope you catch the irony here. Paul says that sexual freedom actually leads to being dominated by sex. In other words, sexual freedom isn't freedom at all. It's more like being imprisoned in a prison of our own making. Sexual freedom isn't freedom at all.

verse 13: "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food." That's a little confusing at first, so let me see if I can explain what he's saying. If I'm walking down the street one day and I'm especially hungry, and I just happen to come across a Burger's Priest, I might look at the burgers that people are eating in the window, and then think about my mouth and my stomach, and think, "Burgers are made to be eaten, and I'm made to eat burgers." It's just natural. The reason that hamburgers exist is to be eaten. There's no other reason. And we were made to eat food. It's just natural. You can see how this would apply to sex. It's as natural as eating and drinking. It's natural. You eat when you're hungry; according to this saying, you have sex when you have urges. It's completely natural. The worst thing is to deny your urges. Besides, they thought, it doesn't matter what you do with your body, because it's just your body.

But sex is not just physical. Its not just a physical thing with no long term consequences.

2.      Sex is a very Passionate thing.

There IS the burning desire. 7:9  for it is better to marry than to burn with desire.

Sometimes some folks just regard it as a purely physical animal thing. Its not!! It's a very important part of a very intimate relationship. Look at  how Paul describes it in 1 Corinthians 6.

There's a popular view that our bodies are just our bodies, so that sex can take place that's just a hookup, but that doesn't involve our souls. Again, the problem is that we have too low a view of our bodies. We are not just souls that live in this physical container. We are united, body and soul, so that what happens to our body is inseparable to what happens to our soul. Look at what Paul says:

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, "The two will become one flesh." But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. (1 Corinthians 6:15-17)

Here's the deal: sex involves giving not just our bodies but all of ourselves to another. Lewis Smedes, a Christian ethicist and theologian, put it really well when he said:

There is more to sex than meets the eye—or excites the genitals. There is no such thing as casual sex, no matter how casual people are about it…No one can take sex out at night and put it away until he wants to play with it again, nobody can go to bed with someone and leave his soul parked outside.

Something happens in sex. As much as one would like to, he or she can't ever go to bed with someone and leave his or her souls parked outside. There's no such thing as sex that's just physical. It's always more than that. In fact, verse 18 says that when we sin sexually, the impact on our souls is more profound than other kinds of sin. There's no such thing as just physical sex. It always has a profound impact on our souls.

Sex is about Intimacy

It has a profound impact about intimacy. Intimacy is something that is reserved in scripture as being between one man and one woman.  If the intimate relationship is widened to others, it isn't that we experience more intimacy with more people, we experience none!! It reinforces that selfish side to our nature's when sex becomes about us and our personal fulfillment. 

When it is about us and our sexual fulfillment, the purpose of sex in being one flesh, one soul with another is lost.

Sex is about Unity

You can lose not only your relationship with your spouse, but also your relationship with the Lord!!

Unbridled sexual passion (outside of the marriage relationship) can cause you to lose your intimate relationship with the Lord.

1 Cor 6:14-20

14 God raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.
15 Do you not know that your bodies are the members of Christ? So should I take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Absolutely not!
16 Do you not know that anyone joined to a prostitute is one body with her? For it says, The two will become one flesh.
17 But anyone joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
18 Flee from sexual immorality! "Every sin a person can commit is outside the body," but the person who is sexually immoral sins against his own body.
19 Do you not know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,
20 for you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body.[9]

 

Unbridled sexual passion (outside of the marriage relationship) can cause you to lose your united relationship with the Lord.

 

 

Unbridled sexual passion (outside of the marriage relationship) can cause you to lose your intimate relationship with the Lord's people.

Sometimes people complain about the fellowship in a church being cold. Guilt can freeze over our relationships. Our relationships are always fragile because of our own sinfulness in all our relationships. But sexual relationships outside of marriage bring their own special guilt and their own special guilty behaviours; the person who exhibits over activity, compensating for their guilty conscience by doing things in the church; or the person who treats others with disrespect because they really disrespect themselves; or the person who cannot accept others because in fact they cannot accept themselves.

 

 

3.      Sex is a very precious thing.

God made sex for joy. He made it to be more than just physical. And he made it to be powerful. In many ways, sex is a window into the transcendent. I love how one book puts it: Sexual desire is not so much the desire for orgasm as it is the desire to be caught up in the sensuality of beauty that transcends the here and now for a timeless, undivided, unsoiled innocence. (Dan Allender and Tremper Longman, God Loves Sex)  Sex is a foretaste of what we all really want, and one day will be ours: to know and be known; to be utterly loved; to be united to another. It may sound strange, but I think this statement is right: "Sex is a foretaste of what it's going to be like to know God in heaven" (Tim Keller).

 

In its Suitable Place

There is a suitable PLACE FOR EVERYTHING.  Christ should be the centre of your life.

Do you not know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,  20 for you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

 

 

 

In its suitable Priority

Christ must be first. Your relationship with God counts as number 1. He claims not  only first place, but only place.

The spouse He gave you is the one who must be integrated into your life. Not your work!!! Not any other relationships. No one else matters but he or she!


Thursday, June 30, 2016

 

My thoughts on the intracomplementarian battles over the nature of the Trinity

"No Corrugated Iron"

My grandpa said that to me one day!  "No Corrugated Iron"

I was frowning and he was reproving me. The frowns on my forehead formed the shape of Corrugated Iron, and to an  old surly builder, he could not tolerate the thought that the furrows on my forehead reminded him of corrugated iron.

 

Frowns are unhelpful things in life and in theology, and in childhood they are just plain perplexing.

 

I wonder why the grass is green

And why the sky is blue,

I wonder why the Painter should

Have chosen just these two

Instead of all the other ones,

I wonder why-don't you?

I wonder why the stars are there

And why they don't fall down,

And why the moon some night will make

Queer faces like a clown,

And when I ask my Nurse these things

Why ever does she frown?

 

I do not understand the world,

For I am very new;

I only wish the People saw

Things from my point of view;

They must have had their nursery days

When they were babies too;

I wonder why they have forgot,

I wonder why-don't you?

 

They are difficult in life, and put up barriers between neighbours and friends.

And I went homeward to our quaint old farm,

And he went on his way;

And he has never crossed that field again

From that time to this day.

I wonder if he ever gives a thought

To what he left behind

As I start sometimes, dreaming that I hear

A footstep in the wind.

If he had said but one regretful word,

Or I had shed a tear,

He would not go alone about the world,

Nor I sit lonely here.

Alas! our hearts were full of angry pride,

And love was choked in strife;

And so the stile beyond the yellow grass

Stands straight across our life.

Sometimes they come through the unpleasantnesses of life. But that need not be.

 

You're beaten to earth? Well, well, what's that?

Come up with a smiling face;

It's nothing against you to fall down flat,

But to lie there, that's disgrace.

Oh, a trouble's a ton, or a trouble's ;

Or a trouble's what you make it,

And it isn't the fact that you're hurt that count

But only how did you take it?

 

My Theological friends : "No Corrugated Iron!"


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

 

I Know Whom I have Believed Thanksgiving!


2 Timothy 1 8-12

 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to  a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,  10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. 13 Follow the pattern of the sound4  words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.



Thanksgiving is about God.

The whole Christian life is one big thank you. The living expression of our gratitude to God for His goodness. But we take him for  granted and what we take for granted we never take seriously.

Col 1: 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks4  to the Father, who has qualified you5  to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

Col 2:7 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Col 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Col 4: 2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving broadens our perspective on God's sovereign work on our lives.  Telephoto lens versus wide angle lens for perspective.  .. realestate.com… rooms seem bigger.. dads backyard was positively huge… but really not much more room than you could swing a cat.. and my brother and I did that a few times.  Telephoto lives are self-centred..

Luke 1717 Then Jesus answered, "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?"

 Romans 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened

2 Chronicles 20 Judah assembled to seek help from the LORD; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.  5 And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, 6 and said, "O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. 12 O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you."

19 And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.  And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the LORD and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, "Give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures forever."

 1 Thess 5: 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit.

 

Thanksgiving is about God  And you and I!!

Not what but Whom I have believed

And when Dr. Alexander, of Princeton, was dying, a friend endeavoured to fortify his faith by reciting some of the most familiar passages and promises. Presently he ventured upon the words:

'I know in whom I have believed, and — '

But the sick man raised his hand.

'No, no,' exclaimed the dying Principal, 'it is not "I know in whom" but "I know whom"; I cannot have even  the little word "in" between me and Christ. I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to  keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day!'

John Oxenham has expressed the same thought with an accent and emphasis well worthy of the theme:  Not What, but Whom, I do believe. That, in my darkest hour of need. Hath comfort that no mortal creed To  mortal man may give.  Not What but Whom. For Christ is more than all the creeds. And His full life of gentle deeds Shall all the  creeds outlive.  Not What I do believe, but Whom. Who walks beside me in the gloom? Who shares the burden wearisome?  Who all the dim way doth illume. And bids me look beyond the tomb The larger life to live?  Not what I do believe. But Whom Not What, But Whom

It was a Person, a Living and Divine Person, of whom Faraday was so certain and on whom he rested so  securely at the last.   I know whom I have believed. '

Pascal had the words engraved upon his seal; Canon Ainger left instructions that they should be inscribed on  his tomb at Darley Abbey; b, Michael Faraday wove them into the very warp and woof, the fibre and fabric of his daily life.

'Speculations!' he cried in dismay, 'speculations! I have none! I am resting on certainties! For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day!'

I know Whom I have believed.   I know God!  Can you say that with me?  I know God!!

I know not just about God. I know not just about Jesus  But I know God I know Jesus Christ.  Experimental religion!  It is about God and it is about you and I!!

I know God chose me

The Lord "who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,"

Ephesians 1:4 he chose us in him before the foundation of the world,

I heard the gospel.. I understood the gospel. I trusted Jesus Christ.

Matthew 11: 25"I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.7  27  All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

I heard the voice of Jesus say, "Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down Thy head upon My breast."
I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place, and He has made me glad.

I know God saved me

This is all about the Lord Jesus Christ coming into our world to die for our sins.  I have been made to trust in Christ alone.

My brother," said the devout and simple-minded man whose counsel he had sought, "I must ask you one or two questions: Do you know Jesus Christ?" "I know," replied Wesley, after an awkward pause, "I know that he is the Savior of the world." "True," answered the Moravian, "but do you know that He has saved you?" "I hope He has died to save me," Wesley responded. The Moravian was evidently dissatisfied with these vague replies, but he asked one more question. "Do you know yourself!"

"I said that I did," Wesley tells us in his journal, "but I fear they were vain words!" He saw others happy, fearless in the presence of death, rejoicing in a faith that seemed to transfigure their lives. What was it that was theirs and yet not his?" Are they read in philosophy?" he asks. "So was I. In ancient or modern tongues? So was I also. Are they versed in the science of divinity? I, too, have studied it many years. Can they talk fluently upon spiritual things? I could do the same. Are they plenteous in alms? Behold, I give all my goods to feed the poor! I have labored more abundantly than they all. Are they willing to suffer for their brethren? I have thrown up my friends, reputation, ease, country; I have put my life in my hand, wandering into strange lands; I have given my body to be devoured by the deep, parched up with heat, consumed by toil and weariness. But does all this make me acceptable to God! Does all this make me a Christian? By no means! I have sinned and come short of the glory of God. I am alienated from the life of God. I am a child of wrath. I have no hope." It is a great thing, I say, for a man who has been brought within sight of the kingdom to recognize, frankly that he is, nevertheless, still outside it.

 "I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation," says Wesley, in his historic record, "and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine!"

Luther's commentary was being read aloud at Aldersgate Street that night. Forty-five years afterwards Mr. Wesley was taken very ill at Bristol and expected to die. Calling Mr. Bradford to his bedside, he observed: "I have been reflecting on my past life. I have been wandering up and down, these many years, endeavoring, in my poor way, to do a little good to my fellow creatures; and now it is probable that there is but a step between me and death; and what have I to trust to for salvation? I can see nothing which I have done or suffered that will bear looking at. I have no other plea than this: 'I, the chief of sinners am, But Jesus died for me.'"

"Dost thou believe," asked Staupitz, the wise old monk, "dost thou believe in the forgiveness of sins?"

"I believe," replied Luther, reciting a clause from his familiar credo, "I believe in the forgiveness of sins!"

"Ah," exclaimed the elder monk, "but you must not only believe in the forgiveness of David's sins and Peter's sins, for this even the devils believe. It is God's command that we believe our own sins are forgiven us!" "From that moment," says D'Aubigne, "light sprung up in the heart of the young monk at Erfurt." "I believed," says Luther, "that my sins, even mine, were forgiven me!" "My sins, even mine!" says Luther.
"My sins, even mine!" says Wesley.

I know God called me

 

I know God changed me

How do you know you are converted? I was there at the time.

John 9  24 So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, "Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner." 25 He answered, "Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see."

I know God defeated death for me

Job 19:  25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.  26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God,  27 whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.

I know God shall keep me

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,8  for those who are called according to his purpose. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

He is able to keep!' That was the sublime confidence that won the heart of John Newton. It came to him in the form of a dream on his voyage home from Venice. 'It  made,' he says, 'a very great impression upon me!' 'He is able to keep'— as a shepherd keeps his sheep.  'He is able to keep'— as a sentry keeps the gate. 'He is able to keep'— as the pilgrims kept the golden vessels on  their journey to Jerusalem, both counting and weighing them before they set out from Babylon and again on their arrival at the Holy City. 'He is able to keep'— as a banker keeps the treasure confided to his custody.

'I know whom I have believed,' says the margin of the Revised Version, 'and I am persuaded that He is able to  guard my deposit against that day.'

'I know in whom my trust reposes,' says Dr. Weymouth's translation, 'and I am confident that He has it in His  power to keep what I have entrusted to Him safe until that day.'

'I know whom I have trusted^ says Dr. Moffatt's version, 'and I am certain that He is able to keep what I have  put into His hands till the Great Day.'

He will guard my treasure!

 


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