Friday, June 30, 2006


Matthew 5:17-20 Jesus, The Fulfillment Of The Law

“Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For • I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished. 19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches people to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever practices and teaches [these commandments]will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the • scribes and • Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

An egotisticaluniversity lecturer hired a fishing guide to guide him to fishing sites around Foster on the Lake. “You think you know fish? Do you know anything about Biology?" "Not really, sir." “That’s too bad, you’ve missed an important part of life.”
“Do you know anything about Geology?" "Not really, sir." “That’s a pity son. Do you know anything about Botany?" "Not really, sir." “That’s too bad. Do you know anything about history?" "Not really, sir." “That’s too bad, You’re not very well educated son.” "Too bad," the professor smirked, shaking his head. Then he suddenly sat up as a fish tugged at his line. But in shifting his weight, he rocked the boat too hard and it turned over, starting toward the bottom of the lake. The guide, with long, powerful strokes, started making his way to shore. He noticed the professor coming up for air and he shouted, "Professor, what do you know about swimming?" "Nothing!" the professor called out. "Too bad," the guide said, swimming toward shore.
You can know all sorts of facts, but if you don't know the Lord, it's all wasted. You can understand biology, but if you don't know the giver of life, you're still uneducated. You can comprehend geology, but if you don't know the Rock of Ages, you don't really know anything of impor­tance. You can know all about botany, but if you haven't met the Lily of the Valley, your knowledge is useless. You can know all the facts of history, but if you reject the cen­tral figure of history, your time has been wasted. The wise man who doesn't know God is ignorant. The strong man who doesn't know God is weak. The rich man who doesn't know God is poor. Only the Lord can fulfill all our needs and answer all our questions. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (Matthew 5:17-18). Jesus came to fulfill all things.
He Fulfills the Scriptures Prophetically
The Lord said He had come to fulfill the prophets. The historical figure of Christ is the secret to understanding the Bible. He is the key that unlocks every door to the myster­ies of God's Word. Everywhere you look in Scripture, you see the writer pointing toward Christ. In Luke 24:27, after His resurrection, Jesus appeared to two forlorn followers and began teaching them the secret to Scripture. "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning him­self." The Old Testament points toward Jesus Christ. Every story and every event leads directly to the Savior.
In John 5:39, the Lord Jesus told His followers to "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." Of course, the New Testament had not yet been written, so Jesus is telling His disciples to explore the Old Testament writings, because they all point toward Him. Whenever you study prophecy, it is a study of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Acts 10:43, the apostle Paul said that all the prophets witness of Jesus. Any time you open the Bible, it is pointing toward the Lord. He fulfills the Scriptures. Christ is the seed of woman, and in Genesis 3:15, we are told He will one day crush Satan. In Exodus we find the story of the Passover Lamb, and Christ is the sacrificial Lamb given for us. In Leviticus we read of the high priests making sacrifices for the people, and Christ has become our High Priest, making the perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins. In Deuteronomy Moses prophesied of a prophet who would come that would be greater than himself. Jesus is that Great Prophet. In the book of Joshua, Joshua met the captain of the Lord's host. That man is Jesus Christ. The judges were leaders who delivered God's people, each of them typify­ing the Lord Jesus. Boaz, the kinsman who redeemed Ruth's inheritance, is a picture of Christ. So is David, the anointed one, and Jesus is described as being the Son of David. In 2 Samuel when the king is being enthroned, the entire scene is descriptive of the Lord Jesus. The books of Kings speak of the glory of God filling the temple, and the Chronicles describe the glorious coming king—both of these refer to Jesus, the King of Kings.
Ezra depicts Jesus as the Lord of our fathers, Job says clearly that the redeemer is coming, and Esther offers a picture of Christ interceding for His people. Christ appears time after time in the Psalms, including when David describes Him as "the Shepherd." Isaiah gives us the details of His glorious birth, Jeremiah reveals that He will be acquainted with sorrows, and Joel describes Him as the hope of His people. Amos tells us that Jesus is the judge of all nations, Obadiah warns of the coming eternal kingdom, Jonah presents a picture of Jesus being dead for three days, then coming back to life to preach repentance. Zephaniah says that He will be the king over Israel. Zechariah is the prophet who speaks of Jesus riding on a colt; Malachi is the one who calls Him the Sun of Righteousness. The entire Old Testament points toward Jesus as Saviour, and if you miss that, you've missed the entire point of the Scriptures.
If you take all the prophecies about the coming Messiah, you'll find that Jesus Christ fits them perfectly. No one else fulfills those prophecies. The Messiah had to be a man, had to be a Jew, had to be a descendant of David and of Noah's son, Shem. He had to come from the tribe of Judah and from the family of Jesse. He had to be born in the city of Bethlehem, to a young virgin, at a particular time. Peter Stoner, in his book Science Speaks of Probabilities, determined the possibility of any one man fulfilling eight of those prophecies. His reasoning claims that for any one man to do so would have the mathematical possibility of one in ten-to-the-seventeenth-power. Put another way, if you were to cover the state of Victoria two feet deep in 20c pieces, then add one gold coin to it and drop a blindfolded man somewhere in the state, he would have the same chance of reaching down and picking up the one gold coin as he would of meeting those eight prophecies. Jesus is the Messiah, the fulfillment of prophecy.
And He didn’t just fulfill 8 prophecies He fulfilled more than a hundred.
He Fulfilled the Law Personally.
The "Law" speaks of the righteous demands of God upon mankind. We have all failed His law. There is only One who completely fulfilled the law of God: Jesus. He kept the moral law perfectly, so perfectly that He could look His accusers in the eye and ask, "For what do you accuse me?" Sin is the transgression of the law, and Christ kept the Law perfectly. He obeyed in every point.
John 19:4 Pilate I find no fault in him.
Matthew 27:4 I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.
2 Cor 5:21 He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin.

He Fulfilled The Law Sacrificially
Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial law. All of those Old Testament laws pointed toward Jesus Christ. The taberna­cle was a depiction of His work. While the Bible describes the creation of a billion stars in just a few words, it takes over fifty chapters to describe the tabernacle. All that for a little tent in the woods. Why? Because the ceremonies that took place there offer a perfect picture of Jesus Christ. That's why the apostle John says that the Word was made flesh and "tabernacled among us." What took place in the tabernacle was a shadow of the One to come. We no longer need a high priest, for we have One in heaven. We no longer need a blood sacrifice, for Christ's blood has cleansed us from all sin. In His life, death, and resurrection,
He fulfilled the ceremonial law of God.
Hebrews 10: 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified.
Jesus fulfilled the judicial law. God's law says that the wages of sin is death. Anyone who sins must surely die. And the Lord laid down a law which said that blood must be shed to atone for sin. Jesus fulfilled all that. The Old Testament sacrifices didn't save; they simply got the people ready for the sacrifice that was to come. The per­fect Lamb came, was sacrificed, and took away our sins.
In teachers’ college I had to study the Russian psychologist Pavlov who explored the concept of conditioned response. He put some dogs in a pen and rang a bell before feeding them. After a short while, the dogs would start to drool any time they heard a bell, for they had been conditioned to respond to bells by expecting food. In the same way, every Old Testament sacrifice was part of God's condi­tioned response for mankind. The sacrifices became like a bell, getting us ready for the Messiah. Now we are no longer under the law. Galatians 3:13 says that Christ has "redeemed us from the curse of the law." He took my sin and paid my debt. God doesn't simply overlook my sin; He sees that my debt has been paid.
He Fulfilled the Law Practically
Jesus Christ fulfilled the moral law, the ceremonial law, and the judicial law of God. Therefore He is qualified to be called Savior of the world. Christ is the end of the law. According to Romans 10:4, He has become righteousness for everyone who believes.
He Fulfills the Word of God Perfectly
Jesus promised that not one "jot or tittle" would pass away until He fulfilled the Word of God. He starts that verse by saying, "Verily, I say unto you ..." which is a way of putting an exclamation point in the front of a sentence. He means what He is about to say. There is no stutter, no stammer, and no equivocation. Jesus promises that nothing in the Bible will fail before He fulfills it.
The jot and tittle are the smallest markings in the Hebrew alphabet. One is a little subscript, the other just a point. It's not just the big promises that are going to come true, Jesus says, but even the smallest markings. Nothing will fail before He fulfills the Word of God.
Jesus believed in the inerrancy of Scripture.
Jesus trusted in the infallibility of Scripture.
Jesus believed in the immutability of Scripture
. If you consider yourself a follower of Christ, His view of the Bible ought to be your view. Jesus and the Bible rise and fall together. Critics who have tried to attack the Old Testament are attacking our Lord, since Jesus is the very embodiment of the Scriptures. If the Old Testament has errors, then Jesus must not be Christ. For you see, if the Old Testament has errors, Jesus didn't know about it. He therefore would not be omniscient, so he could not have been God in human flesh. If the Old Testament has errors and Jesus knew but lied about it. He is a fraud and not wor­thy to be Messiah. Jesus believed the Bible to be the Word of God. Its authority and Christ's authority stand together. When you accept the authority of Jesus, you must also accept the authority of the Scriptures. The Bible is His book, and He claimed that it would never pass away until all had been perfectly fulfilled.
I know that Jesus is the Christ, because the Bible tells me so. I know He is coming back, for I am promised it in the Word of God. One of these days the heavens and the earth will pass away. But God’s Word will never pass away.
Psalm 119: 86 All Your commands are true 89 Lord, Your word is forever; it is firmly fixed in heaven.
89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
Jeremiah 33:20 Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; 21 Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne;
His Word is fixed. Are you looking for an anchor for your soul today? God’s Word presents to you the Great Fulfiller. The Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the great fulfiller. If you have a longing in your heart today, Jesus can fulfil it. If you are searching for meaning or happiness, you’ll never find it outside of Christ.
19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches people to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever practices and teaches [these commandments]will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
This speaks of the Imputed Righteousness of Christ.

This speaks of the Imparted Righteousness. Yiur life should be becoming like the righteousness Christ has imputed to you. Here is the standard! Jesus not only saves us from the penalty of our sins, but also from the power of our sins. He anticiaptes we shall become like Him.
Romans 8:1-4 says There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
This is God's goal for you.. not only to be freed from sins penalty , but also its power. You have not only the righteousness of Christ accounted to you, but your life is becoming righteous as His Spirit works in you.
Now,if that's not happening, its because you are not really His! You hve not allowed Him to be your Saviour from sin!

He came To Fulfil. The whole of Old Testament History pointed forward to the Fulfiller.
He Fulfills the Scriptures Prophetically You’d be a right nong to miss what God has so clearly set forth in His Word. God wanted it plain, so over an over and over again in the Old testament scriptures he puts signsa that pointed to this One Person. The Lord Jesus Christ. Have you gone to Him who is so clearly marked out for you?
The whole of History points to the Fulfiller.
He Fulfills the Scriptures Personally Never has anyone been able to find Jesus guilty of one sin! No one has ever pointed to one sinful thing Jesus did! He was not like us! This marks Him out as the Messiah! This marks Him out as the Perfect sacrifice for your sins! You’d be a real nong not to go to this Saviour, for He is the only one who could ever die for other people’s sins. He only was righteous enough! Everyone else that has ever lived had to die for their own sins. There was none other good enough to pay the price of sin, He only could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in!
He Fulfills the Scriptures Sacrificially The whole of your heart looks for Fulfilment. Do you have a whole in your heart from Guilt? He alone can bring forgiveness of your sin. He fulfilled the Law personally for you!
If Jesus has died for your sin, since He has died to take away all yor sin. Because He is the perfect sacrifice for all your sisn, why not let His forgiveness flow into your heart? Why don’t you let yourself know that you are pardoned healed restored forgiven!
He Fulfills the Scriptures Perfectly The Lord Jesus didn’t take away the Word of God. He brings us to understand it. He lets us see in it the Perfection of His holiness. He lets us see in it, the Perfection of its truth. He lets us see in it, the Permanence of God’s Word. Why wont you live by it? Why wont you bring your life under its rule? Why wont you read God’s Word for yourself? Do you have a whole in your heart because of lack of purpose? Well no wonder! You have left yourself absent from the Only One who could give meaning and purpose for your life! The only way your life can have purpose is if you are living your life according to the Divine Purpose of the One who created it! You’d be a real nong not to live under His Word! Why don’t you give your life back to the only one who can bring fulfilment to your life?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


“Spiritual Slumping” 1Samuel 27-30

Many NFL Football players fall into a slump – often the solution lies in getting back to basics, your running, catching , kicking, concentration… as a believer we also may get into a spiritual slump.
Do you ever feel like a Yo-Yo Christian? On top of the world one day then walking in the pits the next.
Maybe you’re struggling to live a consistent, Spirit filled life yet often finding it difficult.
The greatest men in the Bible experienced seemingly insurmountable difficulties, yet overcame them.
How? What was their secret? Where does God fit into the picture?
James 1:2-4 tells us our trials and difficulties should be producing greater maturity in our lives, is it?
Spiritual Slumping – Spirituality is NOT a matter of the absence or presence of Problems.
Its how you handle the promises before they handle you.
I. CAUSE of Spiritual Slumping… (Lasted 16 months with David, 27:7)
1 Samuel 27:1 But David thought to himself, "One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand."
SELF - Centred not GOD Centred “But David thought to himself…”
Humanistic viewpoint that began with David “thinking to himself”. Focusing upon himself and not Lord.
The essence of sin is basically “self-centeredness” Not trusting God but depending upon yourself.
FATALISTIC not Faith filled. “…One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul…”
David exhibited pessimistic reasoning, negative thoughts, I should just throw in the towel.
I’m tired, I’m sick of running, I’m weary, I quit, I, I, I, self-centred negative reasoning Sight NOT Faith!
As much as 77% of everything we think is negative and counterproductive and works against us. People who grow up in an average household hear “No” or are told what they can’t do more than 148,000 times by the time they reach age 18. Result: Unintentional negative programming. Shad Helmstetter in Homemade, Jan., 1987
CONVIENCE NOT COURAGE “…The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines…”
· In David’s thinking, I’m as good as dead with Saul hunting me down…I’ll go where Saul won’t – Philistines.
· David took (he thought) the “easy” way out – the easy way out lasted 16 months out of fellowship with Lord.
· We sometimes look for the “easy” way – the magic spiritual pill looking for convenience rather than standing.
The story of David is one of
Weakness by Discouragement
Look at how he fled from his situation.
Weakness by Backsliding
Look at how he used ungodly means to acheive what he thought would be the ends of security. He chose the wrong means for the right ends. he should have just trusted the Lord and seen where He lead him.
Instead he fled again to Achish. He went to Gath (the home of Goliath and his brothers).

False Sense of SECURITY 27:4
1 Samuel 27:4 When Saul was told that David had fled to Gath, he no longer searched for him.
After being hunted like an animal for possibly 10 years or so, coward Saul stayed clear of this region.
David’s self-deception and self-centeredness brought temporary relief from Saul’s pursuit.
Thinking we’re OK with God, yet our lives can be one big mess spiritually.
We may also have a false sense of security, I’m OK, I can get away with it, It’s not hat bad, Everyone is doing it mentality. I just “feel” peace all the while you’re violating God’s Word. A False sense of security!
A school teacher lost her life savings in a business scheme that had been elaborately explained by a swindler. When her investment disappeared and her dream was shattered, she went to the Department of Fair Trading.. “Why on earth didn’t you come to us first?” the official asked. “Didn’t you know about the Department of Fair Trading?” “Oh, yes,” said the lady sadly. “I’ve always known about you. But I didn’t come because I was afraid you’d tell me not to do it.” The folly of human nature is that even though we know where the answers lie—God’s Word—we don’t turn there for fear of what it will say.
COMPROMISE with the Enemy. 27:5-7
1 Samuel 27:5-7 Then David said to Achish, "If I have found favor in your eyes, let a place be assigned to me in one of the country towns, that I may live there. Why should your servant live in the royal city with you?" 6So on that day Achish gave him Ziklag, and it has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since. 7David lived in Philistine territory a year and four months.
David and his mighty 600 men packed up their families and possessions and went to king Achish of Gath.
David compromised his integrity, he yield to walk in the flesh not in the Spirit, walking in carnality/old nature.
David submitted to the enemy. Are we engaged in compromise with our enemy? The world, flesh, & devil.
Your dabbling with sin will be dealt with – either now or later after you die and you meet your Creator.
Sin is never satisfied – there will always be an attraction for more, it will always affect those around you!
Deception, Cover-up and LIES. 27:8-12
1 Samuel 27:8-12 Now David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites. (From ancient times these peoples had lived in the land extending to Shur and Egypt.) 9Whenever David attacked an area, he did not leave a man or woman alive, but took sheep and cattle, donkeys and camels, and clothes. Then he returned to Achish. 10When Achish asked, "Where did you go raiding today?" David would say, "Against the Negev of Judah" or "Against the Negev of Jerahmeel" or "Against the Negev of the Kenites." 11He did not leave a man or woman alive to be brought to Gath, for he thought, "They might inform on us and say, 'This is what David did.' " And such was his practice as long as he lived in Philistine territory. 12Achish trusted David and said to himself, "He has become so odious to his people, the Israelites, that he will be my servant forever."
David made Achish believe he was killing Israelites, in reality he wasn’t – David was deceiving Achish.
On the surface David looked good to Achish – while David lied, covered-up, and deceived.
David is in a spiritual slump – we don’t see praying, or much joy in his life for these 16 months.
Do we have a tendency to try to “look good” on the outside while inside we’re a mess with the Lord?
We’re trying to cover-up the truth of our lives while our little world around us falls apart.

III. CONSEQUENCES of Spiritual Slumping (Bring up to speed with the story)
David Lost His IDENTITY. 29:6-8a
1 Samuel 29:6-8 So Achish called David and said to him, "As surely as the Lord lives, you have been reliable, and I would be pleased to have you serve with me in the army. From the day you came to me until now, I have found no fault in you, but the rulers don't approve of you. 7Turn back and go in peace; do nothing to displease the Philistine rulers." “But what have I done?" asked David.
David found himself a man without a country – even the Philistines refuse to go to war with him (lacked trust)
Being in a slump will cause us to doubt our salvation, to question God, to trust in yourself, lose our peace.
Some here this morning may have lost your identity. Not sure if you were to die, if you would go to heaven.
A Spiritual slump will find you in limbo land – one foot in the world and one foot with the Lord. God doesn’t want fence straddlers but those who are fully committed to Him walking in confidence and assurance.
David Lost His PEACE. 29:8
1Samuel 29:8 “But what have I done?" asked David. "What have you found against your servant from the day I came to you until now? Why can't I go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?"
Disillusionment sets in he becomes grumpy, miserable, cranky, lacking true inner peace that only the Lord can produce. David’s life has more questions than answers… He lost his peace – God is distant to him.
Jessica Hawn, former church secretary who committed immoral acts with Jim Bakker (former host of the PTL Club), and later brought down the PTL empire, said today (9-28-87) that God gave her “real peace” about granting an interview to Playboy magazine and posing for topless pictures.
The Bible speaks of two types of peace: peace with God, Salvation and peace of God, comfort.
Away from the Lord we lose out identity, our peace…
Peace that Jesus gives is not the absence of trouble, but is rather the confidence that He is there with you always.
David Lost His PROTECTION. 30:1-4
1 Samuel 30:1-4 David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day. Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned it, 2and had taken captive the women and all who were in it, both young and old. They killed none of them, but carried them off as they went on their way. 3When David and his men came to Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.
His home front now is totally destroyed in flames; their families and loved ones are taken captive.
Can you see the heat being slowly turned up on the pressure cooker? All because of David’s rebellion to God
Exhausted, weeping with no more tears to weep… now see what happens next.
“Safety consists not in the absence of danger but in the presence of God.”
Weakness by Sorrow1 Sam 30:1 David and his men arrived in Ziklag on the third day. The Amalekites had raided the • Negev and attacked and burned down Ziklag. 2 They also had kidnapped the women and everyone in it from the youngest to the oldest. They had killed no one but had carried them off as they went on their way. 3 When David and his men arrived at the town, they found it burned down. Their wives, sons, and daughters had been kidnapped. 4 David and the troops with him wept loudly until they had no strength left to weep. 5 David’s two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelite and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had also been kidnapped.
Weakness by Rejection1 Sam 30:6 David was in a difficult position because the troops talked about stoning him, for they were all very bitter over [the loss of]their sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.
David Lost His RESPECT. 30:6a
1 Samuel 30:6 David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters.
David’s loyal followers now turn on him, grumbling in mutiny – Let’s kill David!
David’s sin not only affect him and his family but everyone around him.
There are consequences to your sin – it will destroy you and damn your soul to hell forever.
Don’t we have a great God!? He is always there to welcome us back to Him!
David RETURNS to the LORD. 30:6b
1Samuel 30:6b “…But David found strength in the Lord his God.”
When you experience forgiveness, it’s like having a new lease on life, the weight and burden of sin is gone!
David found strength, he found forgiveness, he found peace, he found meaning to life.
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.




God brings FORGIVENESS and RESTORATION. 30:18-20
1 Samuel 30:18-20 David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives. 19Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken. David brought everything back. 20He took all the flocks and herds, and his men drove them ahead of the other livestock, saying, "This is David's plunder."
Remember God will forgive the vilest offender, but there still will be consequences / scars from past sins.
David’s spiritual slump lasted 16 months, how long has it been for you? Tired of drifting? Lacking peace?
Who is in the driver’s seat of your life?
Lament. 3:40 Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Battle For The Family
Matt 5:27 “You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. 28 But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell!
31 “It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife must give her a written notice of divorce. 32 But I tell you, everyone who divorces his wife, except in a case of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
HISTORICAL TRIVIA: The most scandalous misprint of all time occurred 1631 edition in the hot-off-the-press King James Version. Because of a simple typesetting error, the word 'not' was accidentally left out, which left this verse reading 'Thou shalt commit adultery.' The printer was given a huge fine and this version became known as the "Wicked Bible." When God created Eve and brought her to Adam, He joined them together for life. That was the first marriage in human history. Since that time men and women have entered into a covenant relationship called marriage in which they have agreed to live their lives together as partners. In that committed relationship called marriage we share our lives together, face life together, reproduce and raise children together, share burdens together, and grow old together. And part of that relationship is sexual.
You see, sex is risky business. By it's very definition, it is one of the most intimate encounters two people can have. Because it is intimate, it places us in a very vulnerable situation. That is why God confines it to the committed covenant relationship of marriage. There, in the marriage relationship, trust can grow. There is love, devotion, respect, communication, confidentiality, and loyalty implied
in the covenant of marriage.
When someone violates that trust, they violate another person. Adultery is not merely a sin against God, it is also a sin against another person. Additionally it is a sin against yourself. We do not live in isolation. Adultery causes pain. It destroys our relationships and robs us of our self-esteem. Adultery devastates whole families as it crushes our mate and cripples our children.
His plan was for one man to marry one woman, till death do them part. He intended a man to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. He commanded that a man not commit adultery. But the devil has aimed the artillery of hell against God's plan for the family. Nothing tears at the fabric of society more than sexual immorality. When Gibbons wrote The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, the main reason he gave for its destruction was sexual and moral impurity. Societal breakdown occurs when there is no morality. It's a sociological fact that those who treat sex lightly will treat other human beings cruelly. In Matthew 5:27-28, Jesus says, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery; But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." The Lord knew the importance of purity, and He demands sexual purity of His followers. In Proverbs chapter five we are given some important guidelines for maintaining purity. These five factors will help build strong families, and their neglect will tear down families.

The Instruction Factor
"My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: that thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge" (Proverbs 5:1-2). Solomon wanted to talk to his son about sexual purity, so he starts by reminding him to listen to instruction. Every once in a while I'll hear somebody say, "What you don't know can't hurt you." That's both wrong and stupid. Sometimes what you don't know can kill you. We have families falling apart, often for lack of wisdom and knowl­edge. They don't know where to find instruction or even that instruction is available.
Where does a young person go to find instruction on sexual morals? Not from some humanistic lecturer. You can't find it from the money-grubbing moguls in Hollywood, nor from the popular trashy talk shows. Not even Oprah can give you a God-given morality! And certainly not Days Of Our Lives! Who is going to teach us? There is only one answer: God. God has a plan for our moral life, and we ought to follow it. Proverbs 6:32 tells us that "whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding." In other words, the person involved in immorality is ignorant. He doesn't know the truth, and his ignorance leads him to destruction. People today need instruction. They need to learn God's plan for sex. We're watching social engineers take the Bible out of our hospitals, distribute condoms, and provide abortions to young girls.. So we need to teach the truth to people through the church, and we need to do it clearly. Christian, God has given us an instruction manual for our lives. We need to study and apply His wisdom on morality. That's the first step in creating strong families.
The Deception Factor
Second, we have to be aware of Satan's snares. Proverbs 5:3-6 reads, "For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: but her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell. Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are movable, that thou canst not know them." Satan wants to deceive you and thereby ruin your life. He does it by bringing immorality into your life and making it seem fun and exciting. The devil is too clever to fish with­out bait on the hook, so he tries to deceive us with allure­ment, entrapment, and eventual enslavement.
Solomon says that the lips of a strange woman, an immoral woman, offer sweet words. The honey just flows from this gal. She makes fornication sound wonderful. To many people in our culture, immorality is a great idea. A young man once asked me how anything so wonderful as sex could be wrong. He was convinced that, since it seemed sweet, it must be good. But what seems sweet at first can become tremendously bitter over time. The sweet-talker offers flattery smoother than oil. She knows how to make a man take notice. And of course, if Solomon had been talking to his daughter, he would have warned her of the man who uses flattery and sweet-talk to deceive her into sexual activity. But Solomon goes on to explain that, even though the words sound good, they lead directly to death. Her steps take her straight to hell.
there is the eye gate and the ear gate. Both bringg thedeception of adultery into our hearts. When it gets into our hearts it can get into our actions.
Consider how Pornography works. the Lord Jesus spoke of this in verse 30.
There is the fascination stage
The desensitisatiion stage
the addiction stage
and the action stage.. where we act out what we see.

Sexual sin has a deadly power. Nothing is more destruc­tive. It fascinates, then assassinates. It thrills, then kills. It leads directly to death—the death of joy, the death of purity, the death of your spiritual life, the death of your marriage, and eventually physical death. The only way to stay away from Satan's deceit is to fill your mind with Scripture. You need a quiet time, where you spend time with the Lord before going through your day. Nothing will offer you bet­ter protection from immorality than to load up on the Word of God. "For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: to keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman" (Proverbs 6:23-24). If you want to develop a strong home, first search for godly wis­dom and then become aware of Satan's deceit and how you can protect yourself.
The Protection Factor
The third step is to protect yourself by avoiding danger­ous situations. "Hear me now therefore, 0 ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth. Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house" (Proverbs 5:7-8). Sexually immorality is not a sin we are called to fight; it's a sin we are called to flee. We are to stay away from her door. Don't even walk past her house. That's why Paul told Timothy to "flee also youthful lusts" (2 Timothy 2:22) and the Corinthians to flee immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18). Don't worry about being called a coward; just stay away from her door. Don't put yourself in a situation where you know you're going to be tempted.
1 Corinthians 10:13 promises us that you'll never be tempted beyond what you can resist. With every tempta­tion there is a way out, and often that escape is on two legs! Just get out of there; get away from the temptation. Don't hang around a spot that you know will tempt you. Don't hang around the places that foster immorality. Don't spend time around magazines or movies that cater to sex­ual sin. When Potiphar's wife tried to seduce Joseph, he didn't hang around offering excuses to her. She took hold of him, and he ran out the door. He went so fast he left his coat in her hands. He might have been cold, but he was still holy. He didn't try to fight the temptation. He didn't sug­gest they kneel down and pray about it. He simply fled in order to protect himself.
He who would not fall down ought not to walk in slip­pery places. Brother, don't visit the opposite sex alone in their homes. Don't counsel the opposite sex alone in your office. Don't go to lunch alone with the opposite sex. Never discuss sexually detailed problems with the opposite sex, or say cute things to them, or flirt, even if it seems good-natured and innocent. It plants a seed in your mind that Satan wants to water and cultivate. Be very careful what you put in your mind. What you put in your mind stays there, and it's almost impossible to get rid of it. So protect yourself. Give temptation a wide berth.
The Destruction Factor
Keep in mind that sin has consequences. We sometimes think we can sin and no one will know, but God knows. All sin has consequences. Solomon warns us not to go near the doorway of sin, "Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel: Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger" (Proverbs 5:9-10). Sin doesn't pay—it costs.
A friend of mine began to flirt with a woman in his gym. Soon he was involved in deep sin and immorality. He lost his job. He lost his home. He lost his family. He lost his repu­tation. Today somebody else works his job, somebody else lives in his home, and his children call somebody else "Daddy." It breaks my heart, but that's the destruction fac­tor of sin. Many ministers have ruined their careers due to sexual sin. Sin simply dissipates your life. It may seem like it pays you the dividend of pleasure, but it costs far too much.
Sexual sin can also lead to disease, something Solomon knew about, for he says, "And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed" (v. 11).
Sexually transmitted diseases are the consequences of sin. For all the research and discussion about a cure for AIDS, I contend that we already know the cure: live according to God's plan. For all the social engineers running around looking for creative answers to AIDS, we already know the solution: one man marries one woman, and they remain true to each other. You may think that's too simple, but it's God's plan. Sexual sin leads to dissipation and disease.
It also leads to disappointment, which Solomon talks about in the next few verses: "And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; and have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me! I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly" (w. 12-14). This world is full of plenty of disappointed people, who ask themselves, "Why didn't I listen?" Why didn't they listen to their pastor? Why didn't they listen to their Christian friends? Why didn't they listen to the wisdom from the Word of God? They think they've found the path to joy, but it's a path to death, and it is filled with disappointment. Sex doesn't liberate—it enslaves. Thus the sinner is exposed and disgraced, which is the meaning of the words that speak of being "in the midst of the congregation." In other words, your sin is going to be exposed. God is going to allow everyone to know about your sin, and you will no longer be able to hide it. I once read a newspaper whose motto was, "If you don't want it printed, don't let it hap­pen." Everyone will know of your sin, and you'll face dis­grace.
"His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be held with the cords of his sins" (Proverbs 5:22). Sexual sin not only disappoints and disgraces, it dominates. It enslaves a person. I have counseled men living an immoral life, and they see that what they're doing is wrong.
They know God loves them and that He has the power to deliver them. They want what's best for their family and they are willing to repent, but soon they are involved in the same old sin. Sexual sin puts people into bondage. Like links in a chain, every act binds them, forged on the anvil of lust, tempered in the bellows of a hard heart. The very chain they created binds them. Thus Solomon ends his proverb with the words, "He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray" (v. 23). The warm flame of lust leads to the fiery flame of hell. You cannot live this way and strut into heaven. "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate . . . shall inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
The Intention Factor
If we are to have strong families, we must understand God's intention for us. He intends for us to have lasting marriages. "Let thy fountain be blessed," Solomon says in Proverbs 5:18, "and rejoice with the wife of thy youth." The woman you married when you were a young man ought to continue to be your wife when you're an old man. God's intention is that your marriage should last a long time. And it should not only be a lasting marriage, but it should be a loving marriage. "Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love" (v. 19). Don't think that by living according to God's laws, you're going to miss out. You'll miss out if you live according to the world's standards. You'll never know fulfillment and joy until you obey His Word.
God's laws are for your welfare. He would never ask you to do something less than the best. The Lord isn't trying to keep sex from you. He's trying to keep sex for you. That's why He calls us to flee fornication. He wants you to have something much greater: a happy marriage. Keep yourself pure. God has something wonderful in store for you.
Well how can you sort out this sisue in yourr life?

1. Admit your problem to the Lord And Get Clean
1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Affirm your desire to Stay clean
Psalm 119 :10 How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping Your word.
Cut off the addicition straight away.Cut off the sinful relationship
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell!
Assimilate The Promises
Psalm 119:10 I have sought You with all my heart; don’t let me wander from Your commands. 11 I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You.
How are you going at treasuring God's word in your heart?
How are you going at memorising God's Word?
How are you going at internalising the promises of God.
These promises will keep you from sin!
2 peter 1:3,4 For His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. 4 By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Matthew 5:20 –26 Managing Your Emotions

“You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder,and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. 22 But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brotherwill be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Fool!’will be subject to the • Sanhedrin. But whoever says, ‘You moron!’ will be subject to • hellfire. 23 So if you are offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Reach a settlement quickly with your adversary while you’re on the way with him, or your adversary will hand you over to the judge, the judge tothe officer, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 I assure you: You will never get out of there until you have paid the last penny!

By 1924 Howard Carter had worked in Egypt for 31 years before he found King Tut's tomb. When the fourth shrine was disassembled, the king's sarcophagus was revealed. The sarcophagus was yellow in color and made out of a single block of quartzite. The lid did not match the rest of the sarcophagus and had been cracked in the middle during antiquity (an attempt had been made to cover the crack by filling it with gypsum). But what lay underneath? The tackle for raising the lid was in position. I gave the word. Amid intense silence the huge slab, broken in two, weighing over a ton and a quarter, rose from its bed. The light shone into the sarcophagus. A sight met our eyes that at first puzzled us. It was a little disappointing. The contents were completely covered by fine linen shrouds. The lid being suspended in mid-air, we rolled back those covering shrouds, one by one, and as the last was removed a gasp of wonderment escaped our lips, so gorgeous was the sight that met our eyes: a golden effigy of the young boy king, of most magnificent workmanship, filled the whole of the interior of the sarcophagus. A gilded wooden coffin was revealed. The coffin was in a distinctly human shape and was 7 feet 4 inches in length. A year and a half later, they were ready to lift the lid of the coffin. Conservation work of other objects already removed from the tomb had taken precedence. Thus, the anticipation of what lay beneath was extreme. When they lifted the lid of the coffin, they found another, smaller coffin. The lifting of the lid of the second coffin revealed a third one, made entirely of gold. On top of this third, and final, coffin was a dark material that had once been liquid and poured over the coffin from the hands to the ankles. The liquid had hardened over the years and firmly stuck the third coffin to the bottom of the second. The thick residue had to be removed with heat and hammering. Then the lid of the third coffin was raised. Tutankhamun had been about 5 feet 5 1/8 inches tall and had died around the age of 18. Certain evidence also attributed Tutankhamun's death to murder.
Its not what’s outside that counts, but what’s inside.
Pharisees had been happy with an outward adornment of supposed righteousness. They went to synagogue regularly. They did their duties. They sang their psalms. They looked outwardly to be righteous. But inside.. the Lord Jesus said Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every impurity. 28 In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
6 illustrations that rip away the façade of self righteousness to expose the human heart.
Matt 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. These things should have been done without neglecting the others.
6 carefully chosen examples that show the depth of the human heart.
Today we will consider the first of "Six Antitheses" to pharisaical understandings of certain deuteronomical laws presented by Jesus during what is called the Sermon on the Mount. The subject is the Sixth Commandment.
1. The Malice Of Murder
not against capital punishment God Himself ordained and established capital punishment as part of His "new world order" after the Flood. This is recorded in Genesis 9:1-6
This Commandment Is Not against war
This Commandment Is Not against self defence
This Commandment Is Not against killing animals
This Commandment Is Not against, it is for. This commandment tells us the value of human life.
No Homicide
Sometimes we may be tempted to think, "He had it coming" or "She deserved what I said." Hang on. If we really want to live a Christ-like life, we should never strike out in anger. Clarence Darrow, a famous criminal lawyer, once said, "Everyone is a potential murderer. I have not killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction out of obituary notices." 1 John 3:15 says, "Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."
No Infanticide
No Suicide

2. The Acid Of Anger

Beyond the act to the attitude. Beyond murder to the motive.
psychiatrist, named Redford Williams, who's a professor at Duke University Medical Center, said it like this: "Anger kills. I'm not speaking about the anger that drives people to shoot, stab or otherwise reek havoc on their fellow humans. I mean, instead, the everyday sort of anger, annoyance and irritation that courses through the minds and bodies of many perfectly normal people."
Child’s school project “What causes people to go to war?”
Dispute between parents over it. “Don’t worry I know now.”
James 4:1 What is the source of the wars and the fights among you? Don’t they come from the cravings that are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and don’t receive because you ask wrongly, so that you may spend it on your desires for pleasure.
A psychiatrist in Michigan said, "People will be murdered today because of someone's anger. Others will die from physical ailments resulting from or aggravated by anger. Many people die in anger-related auto accidents, while others carry out the angriest act of all: suicide. Countless relationships die little by little as resentment gnaws away at the foundations of love and trust. Anger is a devastating force and its consequences should sicken us." You see, the Scriptures tell us that anger opens the door to a greater evil in our lives. Someone said it like this: "An angry person does foolish things" - (Prov. 14:17). He goes on to say, Proverbs 25:28 says it like this: "He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls." "A hot-tempered man commits many sins" - (Prov. 29:22).
A. Caustic Anger
22 But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brotherwill be subject to judgment.
I want to measure your IQ (Irritability Quotient).
1. You unpack and appliance you just bought, plug it in and discover that it doesn't work.
2. Being over-charged by a repairman that has you over a barrel.
3. Why you are struggling to carry four cups of coffee to the table at a cafe, someone bumps into you spilling the coffee.
4. You car is stole at a traffic light, and the guy behind you keeps blowing his horn.
5. You accidentally make a wrong turn into a parking lot and somebody yells out at you, where did you learn how to drive?
B. Contemptuous anger
And whoever says to his brother, ‘Fool!’will be subject to the • Sanhedrin.

C. Condemning Anger
But whoever says, ‘You moron!’ will be subject to hellfire.
fool "To call a man moros was not to criticize his mental ability; it was to cast aspersions on his moral character; it was to take his name and reputation from him, and to brand him as a loose-living and immoral person." - William Barclay: Matthew
Prov 12:18 There is one who speaks rashly, like a piercing sword; but the tongue of the wise [brings] healing.
Ephesians 4:29 No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear. 30 And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit, who sealed you for the day of redemption. 31 All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness. 32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
You cannot be right with God without being right with others.
When Leonardo da Vinci was painting the Last Supper, he had an intense, bitter argument with a fellow painter. Leonardo was so enraged that he decided to paint the face of his enemy into the face of Judas. That way the hated painter's face would be preserved in the face of the betraying disciple. When Leonardo finished Judas, everyone easily recognized the face of the painter with whom Leonardo quarreled. He continued to work on the painting. But as much as he tried, he could not paint the face of Christ. Something was holding him back. Finally he decided his hatred toward his fellow painter was the problem. He worked through his hatred by repainting Judas' face, replacing the image of his fellow painter with another face. Only then was he able to paint Jesus' face and complete the masterpiece.

A little girl was seen scowling at a bulldog. Her mother walked into the room and scolded her for being so rude. "Well, he started it!" the girl explained. That's funny. Most of the time, though, anger is no laughing matter. Anger is a lot like fire. It doesn't take much to get it going; it grows by leaps and bounds when we feed it; and the searing flames can ruin everything around.
Anger is very common. I don't need to explain what I mean when I'm talking about feeling angry: you've been there, you know what I'm talking about. Somebody does something wrong. You know the surge of adrenaline in your body as you get ready to fight back; the blood rushing to your face, turning it red; the heart pumping faster and the blood pressure going up. We all know what this feels like.
Now just stop and think about what I just said: * the surge of adrenaline * the face turning red * the heart pumping faster.
All of these are automatic reactions. We have no control over them. Feeling angry is a normal, automatic reaction in the human body, just like any other feeling: feeling sad when someone dies, feeling happy when the sun shines, feeling afraid when danger approaches. With each of these feelings come corresponding physical changes in our bodies. Again, all of this is automatic, and we have no control over it.
What we DO have control over - and are responsible for - is how we respond to these feelings, what we do with them. When Jesus is commanding us here to not be angry, I think he is talking about the latter, how we respond:
"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment." [Matthew 5:21-22, NIV].
After all, what causes murder? Anger. Deal with our anger, and we won't commit murder. But that's just the beginning. Deal with our anger, and we'll feel better inside, and we'll get along better with others. Some people let their anger control them, instead of the other way around. A woman once apologized for her frequent flare-ups by telling the preacher Billy Sunday, "Yes, I have a bad temper, but it's always over in a minute." "So is a shotgun blast!" replied Sunday. "But look at the damage it can do in just a split second!"
Some people dwell on their anger, feeding it, encouraging the fire to grow bigger and hotter, until it explodes. In that case, anger is like a bomb ticking away, ready to explode. What we need is to learn how to drown the fire, and defuse the bomb. That's why I've called this sermon "Defusing Your Anger."
1) RECOGNIZE THE FEELING Jesus spoke plainly about anger. It's real. It happens. So when it happens to us, don't pretend that it's not there. If you're at home and you smell smoke, you look for a fire. You don't say, "Oh, it's nothing to worry about. I can handle that." When you're angry, deal with it - before the fire gets out of control. Some people hold their anger in. They smolder and seethe inside, but deny it on the outside. Someone else comes along and asks, "Are you upset about something?" "Of course not!" they snap back. This is a dirty way to fight. It's actually much easier to get along with someone who gives you a blast of honest anger, than with someone who is like walking acid.
As I said earlier, we are responsible for how we behave. For instance, you can still love someone you are angry at. Charlie Shedd, a minister and writer, found this note on the kitchen counter after a fight with his wife: Dear Charlie, I hate you. Love, Martha.
Later on in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives a specific command about controlling our anger: If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. [Matthew 5:39, TEV].
John Selwyn was a prize winning boxer, who became a missionary, spending his life building up the Church in the South Pacific. In one of the congregations was a man who was leading an immoral life, and Selwyn gave him a firm but loving rebuke. The man was outraged, and punched Selwyn violently in the face. The missionary merely folded his arms and humbly looked into the man's blazing eyes. With his boxing skill and powerful rippling muscles, he could easily have knocked out his attacker. Instead, he turned the other cheek and waited calmly to be hit a second time. This was too much for the man to handle, who became greatly ashamed and fled into the jungle. Years afterward, the man accepted the Lord as his Savior and gave his testimony before the church. It was customary at that time for a new believer to choose a Christian name for himself. When asked if he wished to follow this practice, he replied without hesitation, "Yes, call me John Selwyn! He's the one who taught me what Jesus Christ is really like!"
If you are angry, do not sin by nursing your grudge. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry - get over it quickly; for when you are angry you give a mighty foothold to the devil. [EPHESIANS. 4:26, Living Bible]. Again: it is not a sin to be angry. The sin comes in how we respond to the anger. If we feed the anger by dwelling on it, getting madder and madder, then we have sinned.
An ancient legend tells how Hercules became greatly irritated by a strange-looking animal that blocked his path in a threatening manner. In a fit of anger he struck it with his club. As he went on his way, he encountered it again several times, and in each instance the beast grew larger and more fearsome than before. At last a messenger appeared and warned Hercules to stop his furious assaults, saying, "The monster is Strife and you are stirring it up. Just let it alone and it will dwindle, and cease to trouble you." This fable underscores the truth that unless sinful anger is curbed, it will lead to menacing situations that become unmanageable.
You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God's righteousness. [James 1:19-20, NRSV]. Go slow. Find out the facts, not just the gossip. Don't jump to conclusions. Put yourself in the other person's shoes. This is so obvious, it hardly needs to be said. But when people are listening to their anger, they are not thinking clearly. It's all part of the process of how we handle our anger.
The New Testament book of James provides us with some very simple and helpful ways to regulate our anger. In the first chapter of James, he writes, "Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger...." (James 1:19) Of course, one has to, first of all, acknowledge one's anger, which is a big chore for some. Some of us are blithely unaware of our own anger. Some of us are frightened of our own anger. The Apostle Paul says an interesting thing in our Ephesians passage; he writes, "Be angry but do not sin...." (4:26), suggesting that anger may be expected, but that it becomes sin only after we pay it sufficient mind to develop it into the beautiful work of indignation we'd like it to be!
"Be...slow to anger," says James (1:19) In other words, hold back your anger. This is the one time that it's appropriate to procrastinate. It used to be that we were all under the spell of the notion that repressing your anger was the unhealthiest thing we could do. I'm not sure that's any longer the conventional wisdom. ("It's better to bottle up your anger," Ottawa Citizen, May 9, 1999) Plutarch, the Roman playwright, had one of his characters say to the emperor, "Remember, Caesar, whenever you are angry, say or do nothing until you have repeated the four-and-twenty letters (of the alphabet) to yourself." The time-honoured expedient of taking a few deep breaths and counting to ten may still be good counsel. We need to give ourselves time to think, for as C.S. Lewis said, "Anger is the anaesthetic of the mind."
James also says, "Be quick to listen (and) slow to speak...." (1:19) Good advice! Our tongues are usually the first thing out of the gate when we are angry. If we could slow down our tongues and speed up our ears, it would go a long way toward regulating anger.
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother or sister; then come and offer your gift. [Matthew 5:23-24, NRSV]
Go and speak directly to the person you're angry at. This is so important! Jesus gives the example of a person walking out of a worship service because they need to first go and make up with someone. The only way to get past the gossip, the misunderstanding, and the questions, is to go and see that person.
There is perhaps one time when we should wait before going to see someone: when the anger has just started, and we're boiling mad. Take some time first to cool off.
There's a story of a young man who had been cruelly insulted by a coworker. Full of anger, he determined to go at once and demand an apology. A wise gentleman laid his hand on his shoulder and said quietly, "Son, let me give you a word of advice. An insult is like mud: it will brush off much better when it is dry! Wait until you both have cooled off, and then the thing can probably be settled quickly. If you go now, you'll quarrel even more."
Sometimes we think, "Why should I go to see her? She started this; she should come to me!" Friends, forget it. It's not worth it. Don't let our pride destroy the little that's left of a relationship.
"A soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger." [Proverbs 15:1] Yes, go and see the person we're angry with. Yes, tell him or her we're angry. But don't make it even worse.
One of the most effective ways to do this is to use what counsellors call an "I statement." A "I statement" focuses on how I feel, rather than what YOU did.
But when you are praying, first forgive anything you may have against anyone, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins. [Mark 11:25, TEV].
It's clear that Jesus teaches us to forgive others, even our enemies. It's also common sense: it would be impossible to have any kind of polite relationship - let alone friendship - with someone we feel bitter towards. But why seek forgiveness for ourselves? Simply this: anger is a sword with a blade at both ends. We may hurt the other person with one end, but we injure ourselves just as much, if not more.
We may find that we have trouble praying, until our anger is dealt with. Jesus tells us that when we pray, the first thing we do is to forgive others. Indeed, if we don't, then our heavenly Father will not forgive us for our sins!
Finally, after we've dealt with our anger, then drop it. Leave it behind. Don't carry any more heavy burdens than we need to.


1 Samuel 24 “Revenge?”

The greatest scene I have seen in a movie was from one of the old "Smokey and the Bandit" movies.
Three burly fellows on huge motorcycles pulled up to a highway cafe where a truck driver, just a little guy, was perched on a stool quietly eating his lunch. As the three fellows came in, they spotted him, grabbed his food away from him and laughed in his face. The truck driver said nothing. He got up, paid for his food, and walked out. One of the three cyclists, unhappy that they hadn't succeeded in provoking the little man into a fight, commented to the waitress: "Boy, he sure wasn't much of a man, was he?" The waitress replied, "Well, I guess not." Then, looking out the window, she added, "I guess he's not much of a truck driver, either. He just ran over three motorcycles."

Have you heard the old saying, “Don’t get mad...get...even?!” That statement summarizes the spirit of our culture. Revenge is on our minds today. Osama bin Laden. Revenge is not only on our minds, it’s big business today! Eg: Movies have been released about the subject of revenge. If you are a fan of Star Wars, you might remember “The Revenge of the Sith.” All kinds of material is available for science fiction fans about the subject of revenge. “Don’t Get Mad, Get Even: And now just a phone call away, revenge ala carte.” The article described how you can get even with people for just a few bucks. For $ can send them flowers...that are dead, of course. There is even a web site called “Revenge Unlimited.” It asks the following questions: “Have you been wronged, mistreated, annoyed, or ignored? Is someone tormenting you beyond what you can bear? Are you ready for some pay back?! Revenge Unlimited believes that there are people in desperate need of a good dose of humility.” Look at what you can buy on this site:
Be Your Own Undertaker - How to dispose of a dead body GET EVEN 2: More Dirty Tricks from the Master of Revenge How to Irritate People Make My Day! Screw Unto Others - Revenge Tactics for all Occasions Tenant's Revenge The Womans Book of Divorce Your Revenge is in the Mail
In his book, The Great House of God, Max Lucado tells about a visitor who went to Yellowstone Park and saw a grizzly bear feeding on some discarded food near a campsite. For several minutes, he was all alone--no other animal dared to get close. But after just a few moments, a skunk walked toward the food, took his place right next to the grizzly, and started eating, too. The bear didn’t seem to mind, and the visitor said, “Apparently, the grizzly knew the high cost of getting even.” That’s something a lot of us don’t’ really understand. There is a high cost that comes with revenge. One author said it like this: “The problem with revenge is that it never gets what it wants; it never evens the score. The chain reaction set off by every act of revenge always takes an unhindered course.” “It ties both the injured and the injurer to an escalator of pain...and the escalator never stops, never lets anyone off.” That’s what happens if we let vengeance get the best of us. Yet I believe that the temptation to get even is life’s most subtle temptation. And all of us battle it. All of us can think of people who have wronged us. So when we come to the story of David, it shouldn’t surprise us that he dealt with this same temptation...the temptation to get even. This morning we want to examine two insights that will help us overcome life’s most subtle temptation--the desire to get even. If you have a copy of the Scriptures, why don’t you turn to I Samuel 24? Now the trap of revenge is as old as the story of Cain and Abel. Cain was jealous of his brother and wanted to get he killed him. And life’s most subtle temptation has been a trap for every single man or woman, boy or girl since then. Eg: Did you ever watch children arguing with each other? The desire to get even is at the core of most arguments that kids have. “Why did you take that?” “Because it’s mine!” “No it’s not, [whack], it’s mine.” “It is not, it’s mine! [whack]” And some of us never grow out of that pattern.... So with that in mind, first of all I want you to see...

The Bible says it best. “Resentment kills a fool” (Job 5:2). The problem is that our desire to get even shows up in all areas of life. It might be aroused by an employer who treats us unfairly...or a teacher who won’t listen...or a coach who puts us on the bench...or a friend who turns into an enemy...or a spouse who walks out...or a parent who abuses us. The problem with revenge is that we often...
A. CALL IT BY A DIFFERENT NAME. Sometimes we refer to revenge as... “My Rights.” We think, “Nobody is going to walk over me. I’m not a doormat. I’m not going to lie down and just take this.” Sometimes that’s the way we look at the subject of revenge. And sometimes we call it... “Justified Retaliation.” We think, “What I have done is right...what he has done is wrong...and I’m going to get even.” Well God calls it something else. He calls it vengeance. And we get some insight into...
Now as we come to this section of Scripture, understand that David had been chosen by God as the new king of Israel. King Saul had disobeyed the clear instructions of the Lord, so his days were numbered as the king. David’s popularity was growing, so Saul was doing everything possible to wipe David off the earth. He was out for blood! In fact that Scripture tells us that Saul sought to kill David every day. The first thing that leads to revenge is...
Injury. The fact of the matter is that David was a fugitive running for his life. With about 600 of his loyal men, he fled to the desert south of Jerusalem. Verse 29 in the previous chapter tells us that David and his men lived in an oasis in the desert called En Gedi. Well Saul found out that David was near En Gedi, so verse 2 tells us that he “took 3000 chosen men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men....” Now En Gedi hasn’t changed much since the days of David. It’s an oasis in the middle of a wilderness with waterfalls and lush vegetation and countless caves where David could hide. Apparently David and his men took refuge in these caves of En Gedi. The caves pockmarked the cliffs and were ideal places to camouflage their presence. Even though Saul wanted to kill him, David was protected in this unique place. With that setting in mind you’ll notice that the story tells about a...
Moment of Vulnerability. The Bible is a real book, and this story is living proof. In his rush to capture David, the Scripture tells us that Saul apparently had to answer the call of nature. Read verse 3: “He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave.” Apparently Saul tramps right into the mouth of the cave where David and his men had been hiding. Talk about being vulnerable. It was bad enough for the king to be seen at that moment, but to be in the very presence of the enemy! If you ever want to test your own character, ask yourself what you would do when your enemy is vulnerable. David’s men recognized that King Saul was a sitting duck. They said to David: “This is the day the Lord spoke of when He said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’” They were saying, “Here is your opportunity, David. Here is God’s way of providing you a chance to become the king. Go get ‘em. This is it!” And that led to...
A Moment of Depravity. The Scripture says: “David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.” For just a moment, David capitulated. Can’t you see him? Saul is there on his haunches looking out of the cave, and David sneaks up right behind him and--snip--ever so silently cuts off a piece of his robe! You see, that’s the way we rationalize the temptation to get even. “Who cares if you take a little bit from the company, they’ve got so much? They won’t miss these stamps or a few pieces of stationery.” Let me tell you now, there is no such thing as a small step on the path to revenge. Even a small step is the wrong step. And David surrendered in his own moment of depravity to the temptation to get revenge. So when we feel the urge to get even...When we feel the temptation to strike back at somebody who has hurt us, what should we do? What’s the...
There are 4 things that will help you overcome the temptation to get even...
Jesus said it like this: “In this world you will have tribulation.” It’s going to happen! After all, the book of Romans describes people around us in this world like this: “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” If we live in a world like that, you can be sure mistreatment is going to happen. That doesn’t make it right. That doesn’t make it easy. But it will happen. Just expect it. Life isn’t fair.
B. RECOGNIZE FEELINGS OF REVENGE for what they are. As soon as David cut off the piece of Saul’s robe...his conscience bothered him. He could have killed Saul, but he didn’t. All he did was cut off a part of the king’s robe. So what was the big deal? Who would notice? Here’s the point...There’s no such thing as a small step on the road to temptation or the path to revenge. Even a small step in that direction is a wrong step! You see, when you know God, you’ll be bothered by things like this. David said to himself, “That wasn’t right. I shouldn’t have done that. Saul is the king.” If you and I are going to deal with life’s most subtle temptation--we need to recognize feelings of revenge for what they are.
C. REFUSE TO RETALIATE. That is why David came out on top. His men said to him, “You’ve got Saul right where you want him, David.” And he almost did. But when he came near the king, instead of plunging his knife into Saul’s back, David refused to retaliate. Think about that for a minutes. Are you resentful because of the way someone has treated you? Are you holding a grudge against that person, hoping quietly to retaliate? You need to ask God to free you from that bondage. Do you know why? It’s only hurting you. Many years ago, two comedians Abbot and Costello, Costello wore a bottle around his neck. Abbot asked him, “What’s in the bottle?!” “Nitroglycerine.” Abbot was stunned that Costello would be wearing a necklace of nitro, so he asked for an explanation. Andy told him about a guy who had a bad habit of poking people in the chest when he was speaking. “This guy drives me crazy. I’m wearing this nitro so the next time he pokes me, he’ll blow off his finger.” That’s the way it is with revenge. When I choose to harbour resentment and try to get even, it only hurts me. And I am here to tell you, it’s THE MOST subtle temptation in life. I know from experience. Now I don’t know what it is for you. You might be tempted to get even with an employer who promised you something that didn’t come through. You might be tempted to get even with a spouse who walked out in a moment of crisis. You might be tempted to get even with your mum or dad or a friend. The Scripture simply says: “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.” How often should I get revenge? God says, “Never. That’s my job.” Romans 12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Now we’re not talking about our national defense here. We’re not talking about defending our shores when the enemy comes. We’re talking about a personal harm that is done to us that we didn’t like. Refuse to fan the flame of resentment. “Never repay evil for evil.” Realize that mistreatment is inevitable. Recognize feelings of revenge. Refuse to retaliate. And...
D. REMEMBER THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS. Do you know what Jesus did when He was mistreated? Do you know what He did when He was falsely accused? Do you know what He did when He was put to death? He refused to retaliate. Look at these words from 1 Peter 2: “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead he entrusted himself to Him who judges justly.” (I Peter 2:23) SO, WHAT TO DO? So what should you do when others attack and slander you? Can you trust God or is it required that you take things into your own hands? Years ago the great Missionary/statesman Oswald J. Smith had this slogan, “No defence. No attack.” It means that whenever another person attacks your character and conduct, don’t defend yourself. Commit it all to God. Conversely whenever another Christian was seen to be in the wrong, don’t attack them. Make no personal remark but allow God Himself to deal with the situation. Oh how different that is from our day, where we see Christians rushing into print to attack one another. They seem to delight in repeating slander and gossip; two things which God calls an abomination. (Proverbs 6:19) This is not the way of Christ. This is not the way of love.
Charles Spurgeon was the most eminent and successful preacher of his time, yet he suffered great persecution and criticism from other churchmen. Maybe they were jealous of his success. Be that as it may, his response was to tell of a Scottish castle, which has these words carved in the beam over the entrance gate. “They say. What do they say? Let them say it.” Some people will always find fault with what you do, no matter how and why you do it. Ignore them and carry on. Remember you serve the Lord Christ alone. Besides, just who are ‘they?’

3. THE PERVASIVENESS OF REVENGE. David wasn’t finished with the problem of revenge. It took a little incident with an arrogant man to stir his own heart to hatred and revenge. 1 Samuel 25 tells the story of Nabal, a foolish kind of fellow. A man in Maon had a business in Carmel; he was a very rich man with 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats and was shearing his sheep in Carmel. 3 The man’s name was Nabal, and his wife’s name, Abigail. The woman was intelligent and beautiful, but the man, a Calebite, was harsh and evil in his dealings.
Every one knew about Nabal. Including David. However it was a feast day. David’s men had helped Nabal make a packet of money. So david’s request was more than fair: “Please give whatever you can afford to your servants and to your son David.’ ”
But Nabal treated them rudely: Nabal asked them, “Who is David? Who is Jesse’s son? Many slaves these days are running away from their masters. … David got pretty mad!
21 David had just said, “I guarded everything that belonged to this man in the wilderness for nothing. He was not missing anything, yet he paid me back evil for good. 22 May God punish me, and even more if I let any of his men survive until morning.”
But before David can get there, all shook up! Abigail Nabals wife turns up.She cools David down over compensates for Nabal’s foolishness, and encourages David to wait for God’s timing.
28 Please forgive your servant’s offense, for the Lord is certain to make a lasting dynasty for my lord because he fights the Lord’s battles. Throughout your life, may evil not be found in you. 29 “When someone pursues you and attempts to take your life, my lord’s life will be tucked safely in the place where the Lord your God protects the living. However, He will fling away your enemies’ lives like [stones]from a sling. 30 When the Lord does for my lord all the good He promised and appoints you ruler over Israel, 31 there will not be remorse or a troubled conscience for my lord because of needless bloodshed or my lord’s revenge. And when the Lord does good things for my lord, may you remember [me]your servant.”
Do you see the final principle here?
1 Peter 2: “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead he entrusted himself to Him who judges justly.” (I Peter 2:23)
37 In the morning when Nabal sobered up, his wife told him about these events. Then he had a seizure and became paralyzed. 38 About 10 days later, the Lord struck Nabal dead. 39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Praise the Lord who championed my cause against Nabal’s insults and restrained His servant from doing evil. The Lord brought Nabal’s evil deeds back on his own head.”
The Lord dealt with the problem in ways that only the Lord could know to do.
We cannot change people’s minds about the injury they want to do to us. But we can commit ourselves to Him who Judges justly. My purposes for me aren’t worth anything. But God’s purposes will stand. And they are the only ones that matter.
Sometimes the temptation to avenge a wrong is the very thing that the Lord is teaching us. He may be teaching you to lay aside your rights, and accept His Lordship over your conditions.
Sometimes I am tempted to lay awake at night nursing a grudge. The more you nurse a grudge the more its likely to eat you up. Somebody wisely said, that Its not what you eat that is the problem, but what’s eating you.
You need to release this problem to the Lord! Psalm 37
1 Do not be agitated by evildoers; do not envy those who do wrong. 2 For they wither quickly like grass and wilt like tender green plants. 3 Trust in the Lord and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely.4 Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires. 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act, 6 making your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like the noonday. 7 Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him; do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way, by the man who carries out evil plans. 8 Refrain from anger and give up [your] rage; do not be agitated—it can only bring harm. 9 For evildoers will be destroyed, but those who put their hope in the Lord will inherit the land.10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for him, he will not be there. 11 But the humble will inherit the land and will enjoy abundant prosperity. 12 The wicked schemes against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him. 13 The Lord laughs at himbecause He sees that his day is coming. 14 The wicked have drawn the sword and strung the bow to bring down the afflicted and needy and to slaughter those whose way is upright. 15 Their swords will enter their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.

Do you realize that the God of Heaven has been mistreated by every one of us in this room. We have caused the death of the Son of God by our own sinfulness. And the Father in Heaven chose for the Son to die in our place so that we could experience His forgiveness. He set the pace for us. My friend, it is no wonder that Jesus said: “Love your enemies!” He has already done that. All of us who were separated from God because of our own willfulness have experienced the incredible love and grace of God. He refused to condemn us all to eternity apart from Him the moment we sinned one time. We are alive today because Jesus didn’t retaliate. And He offers every one of us the opportunity to respond to His love and grace right now. You can do that in your heart of hearts if you will come to Him just as you are. Would you seek His forgiveness? Would you ask Him to take the resentment that you feel toward someone this morning? Would you ask Him to take control of your life and be the One who is in charge. You will never regret forgiving someone who doesn’t deserve it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Exceptional Salty Saints Matthew 5:13

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:13-16 NASB)
A Peanuts cartoon, showed Peppermint Patty talking to Charlie Brown. She said, "Guess what,
Chuck. The first day of school, and I got sent to the principal's office. It was your fault, Chuck." He said, "My fault? How could it be my fault? Why do you say everything is my fault?" She said,
"You're my friend, aren't you, Chuck? You should have been a better influence on me."
While Peppermint Patty was seeking to pass the buck, she was in a very real sense right. We should be a good influence on our friends. We certainly do have an influence, for good or for bad.

I heard of a minister who was making a wooden trellis to support a climbing vine. As he was pounding away, he noticed that a little boy was watching him.
The youngster didn't say a word, so the preacher kept on working, thinking the lad would leave. But he didn't. Pleased at the thought that his work was being admired, the pastor finally said, "Well, son, trying to pick up some pointers on gardening?" "No," he replied. "I'm just waiting to hear what a preacher says when he hits his thumb with a hammer."
People are watching you! What do they see? What they see has an influence on them. And it should. You see, Jesus told us that we would have an influence in this world.

The Romans believed, for instance, that there was nothing as valuable as salt, except for the sun. Many Roman soldiers received their pay in salt. Some have said that it was from this practice that the phrase "not worth his salt" originated.

Did you know that salt is a miracle? It’s composed of 2 poisons: chloride and sodium. If you ingest either by itself, you’ll die. But put them together and you have common, ordinary salt, and that which used to bring death somehow comes together to bring life, and that’s a miracle!
So it is w/ the Christian life, poisoned by sin, w/ death looming in the shadows, but it’s confronted by the grace of God in His death, and those 2 negatives merge to form a positive redemption!
“It took a miracle to put the stars in place; It took a miracle to hang the world in space.
But when He saved my soul, Cleansed and made me whole, It took a miracle of love and grace!”
So, what does Jesus mean by calling us salt in His illustration?
1. The Dynamic Power Of Salt
· Salt irritates. [in a wound]
And Christianity rubs many the wrong way, because it’s irritating to their wounds of sin. We shouldn’t purposefully try to be irritating, but also not surprised when it happens.
· Salt seasons.
Before I got married I loved salt so much, that I may or may not decide to add some food under it sometimes! But getting married, Lorelle weaned me off salt. I’m the opposite.
But Christians ought to add zest and tang and some good flavour wherever they go. Your workplace should be better because you’re present. You may be the only Christian in your house, but you should be having a positive effect. Kids, your public school needs some salt, and you can be the one!
Everywhere Jesus went on this earth a good spirit followed, and overtook those in attendance, which always grew, and even some had to enter thru the roof!
Some Christians think they have to be bland to be right w/ God, but no, we should be like salt!
· Salt creates thirst.
And our job as Christians is to make others thirsty for God. In John 4 Jesus compared Himself to a drink of living water.
But we won’t create thirst unless we are a salty saint…walking to the beat of a different drum. We also have to be ‘out there’…in other words, not just hiding in here in church, which is the ‘shaker’, but getting the salt out of the shaker, and living it even when it’s not as popular!
Like a zebra in a herd of horses…a salty saint will stand out, and get noticed, and make others long for something different as well.
· Salt cleanses and heals.
Salt in a "Water Softener" cleans the lime deposits out.
And a salty gospel will convict and cleanse people of the deposits of sin.
These things are all true in application, but I believe the primary interpretation to be different:
Jesus is speaking to the original disciples, many of whom were fishermen in the Sea of Galilee. And how did they keep it from spoiling when ready for transport? They would salt it down!
As newsman Clarence W. Hall followed American troops through Okinawa in 1945, he and his jeep driver came upon a small town that stood out as a beautiful example of a Christian community. He wrote, "We had seen other Okinawa villages... down at the heels and despairing; by contrast, this one shone like a diamond in a dung heap. Everywhere we were greeted by smiles and dignified bows. Proudly the old men showed us their spotless homes, their terraced fields... their storehouses and granaries, their prized sugar mill." Hall said that he saw no jails and no drunkenness, and that divorce was unknown in this village. He was told that an American missionary had come there some 30 years earlier. While he was in the village, he had led two elderly townspeople to Christ and left them with a Japanese Bible. These new believers studied the Scriptures and started leading their fellow villagers to Jesus. Hall's jeep driver said he was amazed at the difference between this village and the others around it. He remarked, "So this is what comes out of only a Bible and a couple of old guys who wanted to live like Jesus. The missionary probably never knew the extent of his influence."

· Salt preserves.
That says something about our society…it is rotting and decaying as there is less and less salt being shaken on it.
Just look at music over the last 50 years. It used to be that Brian Henderson’s Bandstand was considered the music of rebellion. But look at RAGE on the ABC and you’ll think Mr. Henderson was a s.s. teacher!
Just look at television. 1 swear word brought people up in arms at the end of Gone With The Wind, but today’s kids cartoons have more than that!
President Woodrow Wilson told the story of one such encounter. He said: "I was in a very common place, I was sitting in a barber chair, when I became aware that a powerful personality had entered the room. A man had come quietly in upon the same errand as myself to have his hair cut and sat in the chair next to me. Every word the man uttered, though it was not in the least didactic, showed a personal interest in the man who was serving him. And before I got through with what was being done to me, I was aware that I had attended an evangelistic service, because Mr. D.L. Moody was in that chair. I purposely lingered in the room after he had left and noted the singular effect that his visit had brought upon the barber shop. They talked in undertones. They didn't know his name but they knew something had elevated their thoughts, and I felt that I left that place as I should have left a place of worship."
Our lives should be lives that reflect something more than the world has, because we have more than they have, we have Jesus. He has saved us, forgiven us, changed our hearts, given us hope, put His love in us, given us joy, set our feet on the rock which cannot be shaken. If He does not make a difference in your life, then you either need to be born again or you need to repent of sin and allow Him to rekindle the fire of your first love.

2. The Dissipated Presence Of Salt

George Barna's research has shown that the average Christian in the average evangelical church is almost indistinguishable from the rest of society. He is not talking about being different in some artificial and outward way that you might see in some legalistic churches. Rather, he is talking about the fundamental moral and ethical difference that Christ can make in how we live. When our teens, supposedly saved, get pregnant and do drugs at the same rate as the general teenage population - when our marriages end in divorce at the same rate as the rest of society - when we cheat in business, or lie, steal, and cheat on our spouses at the same statistical level as those who say they are not Christians - something is wrong. Perhaps that is the reason why our influence has not been felt in a way that points people to Jesus.
The Roman Emperor Julian described Christians in this way: "They brood all their lives away, unspurred by ambition; the sun shines for them but they do not see it; the earth offers them its fulness, but they desire it not; all their desire is to renounce and to suffer that they may come to die."

Now, what is this losing of the savour? It’s the tang, the zip, it doesn’t mean losing salvation…it’s still salt, but it’s lost it’s influence / testimony. This happens when you stop trying to influence the world and the world starts influencing you!
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. --Ephesians 5:3-4
It's impossible to be a man or woman of honor unless you heed the call to moral purity and make a commitment to stay sexually pure. And while many followers of Christ aren't engaged in adultery or in overt acts of sexual immorality, many times we often settle for less than holiness when it comes to purity of mind, purity of heart, and purity of body.
Remember, your private world is your real world with God! And if you want to enjoy the fellowship and power of God, this is an area you must radically deal with, according to the Scripture.
“BUT I’M AN EXCEPTION!” Bill Hybels April 1, 1988
One evening I stopped by the church just to encourage those who were there rehearsing for the spring musical. I didn't intend to stay long, so I parked my car next to the entrance. After a few minutes, I ran back to my car and drove home. The next morning I found a note in my office mailbox. It read: A small thing, but Tuesday night when you came to rehearsal, you parked in the "No Parking" area. A reaction from one of my crew (who did not recognize you until after you got out of the car) was, "There's another jerk parking in the 'No Parking' area!" We try hard not to allow people-even workers-to park anywhere other than the parking lots. I would appreciate your cooperation, too. It was signed by a member of our maintenance staff. I'm sorry to report this staff member is no longer with us. He was late coming back for lunch the next day, and we had to let him go. You have to draw the line somewhere . . .
No, I'm kidding. Actually he's still very much with us, and his stock went up in my book because he had the courage to write me about what could have been a slippage in my character. And he was right on the mark. As I drove up that night, I had thought, I shouldn't park here, but after all, I am the pastor. That translates: I'm an exception to the rules. But that employee wouldn't allow me to sneak down the road labeled "I'm an exception." I'm not the exception to church rules, nor am I the exception to sexual rules or financial rules or any of God's rules. As a leader, I am not an exception; I'm to be the example. According to Scripture, I am to live in such a way that I can say, "Follow me. Park where I park. Live as I live."
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by men.
And one blueprint to perfect holiness in your life is found in the acronym PURE:

Prepare for spiritual attack. No one is above this, including me and including you! First Corinthians 10:12 says, "Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall."

Unfasten defiling associations. Biblical separation is positive. It's not simply not doing something or isolating yourself from the world. It means we turn from sin and turn to God and receive His power for living.

Remember the consequences of fatal attractions. Yes, as believers, Christ has taken our sin. But our God is a God of holiness and purity and righteousness. Sexual sin can create such a bondage in our life.

Engage in positive spiritual activities. It's not just no, no, no, no, no! But rather if you really want to defeat the power of sin in your life, then engage in positive spiritual activities like Bible reading, prayer, and fellowship with other believers.
Remember Lot? He was saved, but not living it. He was supposed to be salt, but he lost his savour, and instead of influencing he was influenced, and couldn’t even win his own family over to the truth in the end! They laughed at him. God spared that city for a long time for his sake, but eventually the sky fell, tho’ Lot was delivered.
Remember Lot’s wife? The Bible says to! She was so influenced that she looked back, and became salt herself! And that pillar stands to this day as a reminder of the fact that we are salt, but we need to hold onto that savour, and get it out of the shaker!
3. The Demand For Preserving Salt
Have you seen this formula? No its not the formula for salt! HP + CP + CC = MI
High Potency plus Close Proximity plus Clear Communication equals Maximum Impact. Okay, fellow multipliers, let’s use the remainder of our time together this morning to study this formula so that when we leave here we will have a very clear understanding of how to share our faith in a way that will make it possible for us to fulfill this GREAT Commission.
1. “H.P.” which stands for HIGH POTENCY.
By H.P. we mean that in order to fulfill the Great Commission, we must have a highly potent relationship with Christ, a vibrant walk with our Lord that is obvious to all who know us. That’s why Jesus described us as SALT in this text. When salt is salty, it’s presence is always recognizable. In Paul said, “...Let your conversation...your always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” In other words, to have an impact on the lost world around us we must have a relationship with Jesus that is so deep and real that every moment of our lives, even our daily conversation, is “salted” with the love of God. Verse 16 of our text says that this relationship must flavor everything we do so that people watching us “see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven.” They see the way we live and recognize us as God’s children. So, this portion of the formula states that to lead others to follow Christ, we must convince them that we follow Him. We must spend so much time with Jesus, communicating with Him through regular prayer and Bible study, that the result is a life that is clearly recognizable as being one of an authentic disciple. That’s what Jesus meant when He said, “If a man abides in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.” Maybe that is why Jesus was so critical of Christians who were not authentic....He described them as salt that lost it’s savor... “no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by men.” Do you remember His words to the flavorless Christians who made up the church in Laodicea? To these bland, lukewarm followers He said, “I wish you were cold or hot....because you are lukewarm...neither hot nor cold...I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” In other words Jesus said he would rather they were not followers at all than to be inconsistent, lukewarm followers. You see Christians who have a shallow faith---Christians who are halfhearted and inconsistent do more harm to the kingdom of God than would be done by non-Christians.
2. ...CLOSE PROXIMITY.... You see, it doesn’t matter how POTENT our relationship with Christ is if we never get close to people who don’t know Christ themselves. Salt does no good if it is left in the shaker. So if we are going to impact our world for Christ, the most effective approach will be through friendships with those who need to be reached. You know statistics show that within 2 years of becoming a Christian most people have no significant relationship with a lost person. They get so involved in the church that they center nearly every free moment of their lives within the church and have no time left to develop relationships with lost people---the salt stays in the shaker. And many evangelistic efforts are not fruitful is because they end up being focused around inviting lost people to come into the church building. But to really influence the lost in our community we must leave the church and go out there, making friendships with people through which we can share our faith.
A recent study asked 10,000 Christians how they came to Christ and their church....
.5% said they did so as a result of a revival service... 2% said they went because they had a special need...
3% went because liked the church programs 5% liked the Sunday School
6% liked the minister.... 79% came to Christ because they were invited to do so by a friend!
This means that almost 80% of the people who respond to Christ do so through an already established relationship. And here’s some more pertinent info. A recent article in LEADERSHIP JOURNAL revealed that 80% of the people won to Christ through relationships become actively involved in a local church...they become multipliers themselves! On the other hand 80% of those won in a one-time witnessing encounter (say on a street corner or in a door-to-door witnessing campaign) 80% of these people never become actively involved in a church. So, how do we win the world to Christ? One life at a time by putting ourselves in CLOSE PROXIMITY to lost people!
3. ...which stands for CLEAR COMMUNICATION. In our text for today Jesus says that if light is to have it’s intended effect, it must not be covered up or obscured in any way. And in order for us to have the powerful influence on this world that God desires, we must know the gospel message cold and be ready to communicate it concisely and clearly. It only makes sense that any time we have a message to communicate we must do so in a way that it is clearly understood by the people with whom we are communicating.
Don’t be like the professor that was talking to a man whose car had evidently broken down beside the road. The professor said, “Your tubular air container has lost most of its rotundity.” The motorist replied, “What did you say?” The professor restated, “The cylindrical apparatus which supports your vehicle is not longer inflated.” The motorist answered, “I beg your pardon?” The professor tried one more time, saying, “The elastic fabric surrounding the circular frame whose successive revolutions bear you onward in space has failed to retain its pristine roundness.” Finally a little boy came to the rescue and said, “Hey mister, you have a flat tire!”
Keep your message simple and clear. In Paul wrote, “When I came to you brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Paul was saying that his message was not fancy or complicated. It was simple and he explained it concisely and to the point. And if we are to do our part to win the world to Christ we must know how to verbalize the central truth of the Gospel simply and clearly.

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