Friday, December 28, 2007
Acts 28 The Unhindered Gospel
The award-winning Australian film, "SHINE" features Geoffrey Rush, Lynn Redgrave, Noah Taylor, Googie Withers, and Sir John Gielgud in the story of a brilliant Perth pianist who has spent much of his life in a psychiatric hospital. David Helfgott, was a young boy apparently pushed to the edge by an incredibly strong father who had survived the Nazis as a Jew living in Poland. David Helfgott was a child prodigy whose interpretative genius promised a brilliant concert career. He won scholarships to an American Music school and the Royal School of Music, London. His father refused him permission to go, but David rejected his father and went to London. The father-son relationship ended. At the point of brilliant international success as a concert pianist, David suffered a devastating mental and emotional breakdown that threw him into years of mental blackness. He went from psychiatric hospital and closed wards to obscurity and years of absence from music. But through some amazing co-incidences and some people who cared for him, this hyper-active, babbling, incoherent street person finds hope, love that leads to marriage, a return to music and a concert career, David Helfgott, with a little help from his friends, has triumphed over everything. It is one of the most amazing stories of triumph over tragedy and loss.
The Acts of The Apostles has set the theme: You can triumph over anything! It is the story of a little church, a small band, imprisoned, brutalised, attacked by the Roman army, persecuted in Judea, Jerusalem and Samaria and in the cities of Caesarea, Philippi and Corinth. Yet it ends in the centre of the Empire with citizens acknowledging Christ as Lord. It is triumph over tragedy, a little that became much, the weak that became strong.
How can You Conquer your Conflicts?
1. Recognise What Is Important.
28:14. "And so we came to Rome." Paul wanted to reach Rome and proclaim the gospel in the heart of the Empire. From there the good news would continue to spread. In the beginning, the church had been told, 1:8 "you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." The Acts of the Apostles recorded the spread of the faith. By the last chapter the message had run west to Greece, east to Persia, south towards India, north to Turkey, over to Macedonia, to Italy, Rome, and then to Europe. Such was the spread of the gospel in the thirty years of this book. Paul, in the last chapter, is on the final stage of his journey. After staying on the island of Malta, on March 6, 58 A.D., 28:11 "after three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island. It was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods "Castor and Pollux," two favourite gods of sailors. They reached the Bay of Naples. Rome was only 140 miles away.
12 "We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days. 13 From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli. 14 There we found some brothers who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome."
Acts 28:30-31 Then he stayed two whole years in his own rented house. And he welcomed all who visited him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with full boldness and without hindrance.
As we look at the 2 closing verses of Acts, we see the Apostle Paul busily engaged in the work of witnessing. He lays down the pattern that we are to follow as we live out Acts Chapter 29 in our day and time. You see, our duty in these last day is that we busy ourselves with spreading the Gospel and in winning the lost to Jesus. That is our mandate, that is our call and that is our mission in this world. Paul received "all" who came to him. He didn't discriminate, but shared Christ with all who crossed his path. If one will take a minute to look at the ministry of the great Apostle, it becomes clear that Paul was a witness for Jesus. He shared the Gospel with both great and small that he might win some to Jesus.
1. Acts 9:20 - The Jews in the synagogue.
2. Acts 9:29 - The Greeks
3. Acts 13:14-19 - To both Jews and Gentiles in Antioch.
4. Acts 16:12-15 - To Lydia in Philippi
5. Acts 16:23-33 - To the Philippian jailer and his family.
6. Acts 17:22-34 - To the Greeks in Athens.
7. Acts 24:22-25 - To Felix the governor.
8. Acts 26:1-32 - To King Agrippa
9. Acts 27:22-29 - To some sailors on a ship.
10. Philippians 4:22 - To those of Caesar's household.
Paul realized that every person he met was a candidate for salvation. Therefore, he did not discriminate, but reached out to all in the awesome love of God.
Those whom are lost are all around us, so finding people to witness to isn't a problem -
Chuck Colson tells the story of a Marine Corps commander in Korea named Chesty Puller. Puller's unit was frontally engaged in a fierce fire fight with a North Korean unit when word came that some of the enemy had slipped around onto his right flank. Then, a few minutes later, another scout radioed in that enemy troops had now moved onto Puller's left flank as well. Finally, the news came that North Korean troops had established a position behind Puller's unit: he was completely surrounded. Puller said, " they won't get away from me this time!"
2. Realise What Is Imminent
Paul spent his days pointing men to Jesus! He knew that the greatest need of their soul was for a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
But an unusual term is used here:
1. In the OT the kingdom of God was God's rule over all creation (Ps 103:19) and His kingdom in Israel (1 Chron 28:5; 2 Chron. 13:8). That kingdom was destroyed because of Israel's disobedience, but OT prophecies predicted that the kingdom would be established on earth by Christ, David's greater Son, and that He would reign in truth and righteousness (Isa. 9:6-7; Dan 2:44; 7:14).
2. Christ came to Israel and preached the kingdom. He said "repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Mat. 3:2). The kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven are synonymous in the Gospels. One emphasizes the fact that it is God's kingdom, and the other emphasizes that it is a kingdom that will come from heaven. Christ came to His own people but they rejected Him, and He warned them that the kingdom would be taken from them because of their rebellion and given to another nation (Mat 21:43). He taught His disciples to pray that God's kingdom would come to earth (Mat 6:10). He preached a literal glorious kingdom that would be established on earth. Peter, James, and John were given a foreview of it on the Mount of Transfiguration (Lk. 9:27-31). He said Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would be in the kingdom (Lk. 13:29). He corrected the view of those who thought the kingdom of God was going to be established at that time (Lk. 19:11-27). He said the kingdom would be established after the Great Tribulation (Lk. 21:31). He said He would drink the fruit of the vine with His disciples in the kingdom (Lk. 22:18). When the disciples were arguing about who would be great in the kingdom of God, Christ corrected their thinking about the nature of greatness but He also confirmed that the kingdom of God is a literal kingdom that will be established at His return (Lk. 22:24-30). Jesus plainly stated that His kingdom is not of this world NOW (John 18:36). His kingdom will come when He comes in power and glory to establish it.
3. The kingdom of God is in a mystery form during this present church age (Mat. 13:10-11).
A "mystery" is truth that was hidden in the OT but revealed in the New (Rom. 16:25-26). The OT did not see the church age in between Christ's two comings.
During the church age, the kingdom takes a strange form not described in OT prophecy. The king is in heaven and the kingdom is not yet established on earth. Instead, the kingdom of God resides in the small, despised apostolic churches, while the devil's false kingdom grows quickly and spreads throughout the world (Mat 13:31-32).
4. Believers enter a spiritual kingdom of Christ when they are born again (Col. 1:13). This is the kingdom comprised of all who submit to God's authority.
5. The kingdom of God will come to earth in its prophetic fullness at the return of Christ (Acts 14:22; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 1 Thess. 2:12; Jam 2:5; 2 Pet. 1:11; 2 Tim 4:1; Rev 12:10). Believers are not building the kingdom of God on earth today. They are snatching brands from the coming fire before the day of salvation is finished (1 Cor. 9:19; 10:33; 2 Cor. 5:11, 18-21; 6:2; Jude 23). Today the "whole world lieth in wickedness" (1 John 5:19), and the devil is its god (2 Cor 4:4). The apostles and prophets in the early churches (as described in the book of Acts and the Epistles) did not band together to accomplish grandiose social-justice projects; they did not pursue artsy activities; they preached the gospel and shined as lights in this dark world by their holy lives. Christ's Great Commission emphasizes gospel preaching (Mat. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15; Lk. 24:46-48; Acts 1:8).
A kingdom that is more powerful than Rome? Yes! God didn’t leave you here to enjoy the indulgences of this world but to bring the message of the gospel that translates people out of the Kingdom of this world into the Kingdom of God! Yes, at the heart of the mighty Empire of Rome, there was an even mightier kingdom at work, the Kingdom of God. You are an Australian citizen. But you are a citizen of the kingdom of God! The Kingdom of God is God’s inbreaking into this sinful world right now and taking out a people for Himself. As a consequence, Paul had full confidence in the power of God to break into the lives of those who were lost, and take out a people for Himself, who were both Jews and Greeks by nationality. The early church caught Paul’s confidence and courage.
For that early Church, was a passionately evangelistic Church. Its members rejoiced, and its persecutors complained, that its teachings spread like wild-fire. “We are but of yesterday,” wrote Tertullian, “yet we have filled your cities, islands, towns, and boroughs; we are in the camp, the Senate, and the Forum. Our foes lament that every sex, age, and condition, and persons of every rank, are converts to the name of Christ.” And in three centuries the Roman Empire itself capitulated unconditionally to the triumphant Church!
They realised what was imminent.
The word imminent means its at the door. its close at hand. the Kingdom of God is close at hand.
Its close at hand because this world is running out of time.
Its close at hand because the end of all things is near.
Its close at hand for the last chance for a soul to be saved is so close.
Its close at hand because the Lord is taking people out now from the dominion of darkness and transferring them into the Kingdom of His own Son. He is imminent, He is breaking into this world with the gospel!
And lo I am with you all always unto the end of the age. He is Imminent!
Our message isn't about this church, our denomination, or our personal opinions. Our message is about Jesus and His death, resurrection and love for sinners. After all, it isn't our persuasiveness, our wit, our wisdom or our familiarity with Baptist doctrine that saves, it is the Gospel of Christ and it alone that has the power of salvation.
Notice that Paul says in Romans 1:16, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel." There are times when you may have to be ashamed of your denomination or of your church, but you never have to be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. It never changes, never compromises, never weakens and never fails - Isa. 5:11!)
Let us learn that as we go through life, our highest duty before God and to our fellow man, is to share the Gospel of a loving Savior with a lost and dying world because His Kingdom is Imminent!
3. Revolutionise What Is Imposed
Your Circumstances Are Not Hindrances But Helps
Paul used his circumstances to reach his goal. Gordon Moyes led the Australian Olympian Betty Cuthbert to the Lord. Betty was a heroine to us at the Melbourne and Rome Olympics and again in Tokyo when she won more medals. But the race she is now running against multiple sclerosis brings from us a wave of admiration. She is using her changed circumstances to win another race and witnessing to her faith. Some plan that some day, somewhere, when the sun is shining, they will write a poem or compose a song. The best of poetry and music are not made like that. They come out of suffering. Acts 28: 20 So, for this reason I’ve asked to see you and speak to you. In fact, it is for the hope of Israel that I’m wearing this chain.”
The chains they were imposed by God. One end may have been imposed by Rome, but the other end was held by the Lord’s hand. Here was a compliment from God. A handicap from heaven.
A handicap is a compliment in the athletic world -
(1) Runner - the race even, one handicapped.
(2) Golfers - the hard course with sand traps, lakes, dogleg greens that roll in every direction.
Tennis - “Why don’t they take down that net?”
A handicap is a compliment in the artistic world.
Michaelangelo’s “David.” From Top to bottom, it was made of rejected stone.
A handicap in life is a compliment of God.
What can a crippled man do? A blind man? A man in prison? A broken-hearted, afflicted man?
John Milton - “On His Blindness”, “Paradise Lost”
When I consider how my light is spent, Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present My true account, lest He returning chide--
Doth God exact day-labor, light denied? I fondly ask.--But patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replied, “God doth now need Either man’s work or His own gifts; Who best
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best: His state Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o’er land and ocean without rest; They also serve who only stand and wait.
John Bunyan, spent 12 years in Bedford jail for his faith and in there he wrote Pilgrim’s Progress.
William Cowper battled bi polar depression. And he wrote: “There Is A Fountain”
Robert Louis Stevenson battled tuberculosis. Robert Louis Stevenson - to George Meredith: “For fourteen years I have not had a day’s health. I have wakened sick and gone to bed weary. I have written in bed, written in haemorrhage, written in sickness, written torn by coughing, written when my head swam from weakness . . . My battlefield is this dingy, inglorious one of the bed and the medicine bottle.”
Because money was too scarce in the home of Pastor (Reverend) Clement Moore to buy Christmas gifts for his little daughters, he wrote for them the lines beginning “’Twas the night before Christmas . . . .”
Because a heavy snowstorm just before Christmas damaged the church organ in a little Tyrolean village, the pastor (Mohr) and the organist (Gruber) set to work to compose a carol their choir could sing without accompaniment -- so gave us “Silent Night.”
Because a mother had no soft bed for her baby, wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and placed Him in a manger – we have a high priest touched with the feeling of our infirmities . . .
Viktor Frankl. German concentration camp. “They took everything from me, my home my family they took everything from me but the one thing they couldn’t take from me, my right to choose my response. “
Joni Errickson Tada is a quadriplegic. David Helfgott was certified as insane. But they all used their circumstances to achieve their goals. Don't let your handicap or limitation or circumstance stop you from achieving what God wants you to accomplish.
Paul is imprisoned. He is in chains. Now he was in prison in Rome. Some said: "That is the end of his work!" Wrong! He would do his greatest work from there!
He would write His prison letters. He would witness to his prison guards.
He would invite people from all over Rome to meet him at his house for a quiet or not so quiet chat.
2 Timothy 2: 9 For this I suffer, to the point of being bound like a criminal; but God’s message is not bound. 10 This is why I endure all things for the elect: so that they also may obtain salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
God’s Message Is Not Bound!!!
It’s not bound in Paul’s circumstances. Its not bound in yours either.
Paul was successful and triumphed over everything because he recognised what was important and realised Who had imposed his handicaps. He used his circumstances, whatever they were. What are your circumstances? Some of you have been battling for years against some enemy, maybe drugs or alcohol. Some may be disabled physically, some have been scarred by war, physically, mentally, emotionally. Some here are unemployed, some lonely, some in advanced age. But there is nowhere that God cannot see you, hear you and use you, if you use your circumstances. God can use you and you can triumph over anything!
He Recognised What Was important.. proclaiming Christ.
He Realised What Was Imminent, The Kingdom Of God.
He Revolutionised What Was Imposed.
He was thought to be a prisoner, but he was setting the gospel free throughout the empire.
2 Cor 4:8 We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; 9 we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed. 10 We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
2 Cor 6:4 But in everything, as God’s ministers, we commend ourselves: by great endurance, by afflictions, by hardship, by pressures, 5 by beatings, by imprisonments, by riots, by labors, by sleepless nights, by times of hunger, 6 by purity, by knowledge, by patience, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, 7 by the message of truth, by the power of God; through weapons of righteousness on the right hand and the left, 8 through glory and dishonor, through slander and good report; as deceivers yet true; 9 as unknown yet recognized; as dying and look—we live; as being chastened yet not killed; 10 as grieving yet always rejoicing; as poor yet enriching many; as having nothing yet possessing everything.
There are always possibilities. We must find them, use them, and then maximise them. Even in prison Paul made the most of the opportunities presented to him.
So Paul preached boldly the Gospel. Paul could not go to the synagogues or to the few churches in Rome. But what happened? People came to him. They listened and some believed.
Paul wrote letters to Philemon and Timothy, the Colossians, Ephesians and Philippians. Much of the rest of the New Testament is taken up with the letters he wrote from Rome's prison. If Paul had been free to visit those churches, we would never have had been the riches of those letters. Paul had discovered a great secret. Your limitations do not matter, or your handicap or disability. You can do all things through Christ. Paul said Phil 4:12-13 "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Do not whine! Discover Paul's secret and triumph over any situation. No matter what life has dealt with you, you can still win with Christ!
1. Recognise What IS Important.. sharing Christ!
2. Realise What IS Imminent.. the Kingdom of God!
3. Revolutionise What IS Imposed, turns trials into Triumphs.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Discipleship And My Personality
Definition: “Temperaments are the combination of inborn traits that subconsciously affect our behavior.”
• History of the four temperaments :
• Hippocrates (5th Century B.C.)
Physical Health equals the balance of the body’s four liquids.
3. Chole (yellow bile)
4. Melanchole (black bile)
• Galen of Pergamum (2nd Century A.D.)
Used Latin terms for each fluid.
Imbalances caused effects in personality.
1. Sanguine- too much blood; warm lively type, cheerful and optimistic
2.Phlegmatic- too much phlegm; sluggish, slow and unemotional
3. Choleric- too much yellow bile; strong-willed, extrovert, often angry, and quick-tempered
4. Melancholy- too much black bile; gloomy, depressed, frequently introverted
• Jung, Myers-Briggs, Keirsey (1980)
The Four Temperaments : Choleric Phlegmatic Sanguine Melancholy
Do you have to be the way you are? NO!
Seven Factors Which Comprise Personality
1. Spiritual heritage
2. Genetic predispositions
3. Environmental factors
4. Inborn temperament
5. Birth order
6. Spiritual gift
7. Spiritual heart condition
The theory of Personality Types, as it stand today, contends that:
An individual is either primarily Extraverted or Introverted
An individual is either primarily Sensing or iNtuitive
An individual is either primarily Thinking or Feeling
An individual is either primarily Judging or Perceiving
Our Flow of Energy defines how we receive the essential part of our stimulation. Do we receive it from within ourselves (Introverted) or from external sources (Extraverted)? Is our dominant function focused externally or internally?
The topic of how we Take in Information deals with our preferred method of taking in and absorbing information. Do we trust our five senses (Sensing) to take in information, or do we rely on our instincts (iNtuitive)?
The third type of preference, how we prefer to Make Decisions, refers to whether we are prone to decide things based on logic and objective consideration (Thinking), or based on our personal, subjective value systems (Feeling).
These first three preferences were the basis of Jung's theory of Personalty Types. Isabel Briggs Myers developed the theory of the fourth preference, which is concerned with how we deal with the external world on a Day-to-day Basis. Are we organized and purposeful, and more comfortable with scheduled, structured environments (Judging), or are we flexible and diverse, and more comfortable with open, casual environments (Perceiving)? From a theoretical perspective, we know that if our highest Extraverted function is a Decision Making function, we prefer Judging. If our highest Extraverted function is an Information Gathering function, we prefer Perceiving.
Understanding How Others Misunderstand You Temperaments
The Four Temperaments : Choleric Phlegmatic Sanguine Melancholy
Carl Jung Myers-Briggs
Extraverted or Introverted Sensing or iNtuitive
Thinking or Feeling Judging or Perceiving
The Four Temperaments
SJ - "The Guardians"
ESTJ - "The Supervisors" ISTJ - "The Inspectors" ESFJ - "The Providers" ISFJ - "The Protectors"
SP - "The Artisans"
ESTP - "The Promoters" ISTP - "The Crafters" ESFP - "The Performers" ISFP - "The Composers"
NT - "The Rationals"
ENTJ - "The Fieldmarshals" INTJ - "The Masterminds" ENTP - "The Inventors" INTP - "The Architects"
NF - "The Idealists"
ENFJ - "The Teachers" INFJ - "The Counselors" ENFP - "The Champions" INFP - "The Healers"
D I S C
“A man’s wisdom gives him patience.” Proverbs 19:11a
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Some of you May have thought that you were useless because God can’t use your personality.
Romans 12:3 For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.
Some of you may not have realised what you are like as a person.
Psalm 139: Lord, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away. 3 You observe my travels and my rest; You are aware of all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue, You know all about it, Lord. 5 You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand on me. 6 This extraordinary knowledge is beyond me. It is lofty; I am unable to reach it.
13 For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise You, because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well. 15 My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.17 God, how difficult Your thoughts are for me to comprehend; how vast their sum is! 18 If I counted them, they would outnumber the grains of sand;
PERSONALITY TYPES – DiSC DiSC PERSONALITY PROFILE
D = Dominant i = Influence/Interacting S = Steadiness C = Cautious/Compliance
Mark 12:30 (NIV) Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
Memory Verse Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30 (NIV)
Spiritual gifts are divine enablements that God has given us to serve others in this world.
Everyone of us has a passion to help us to be motivated to do what God wants us to do.
You hear that in Paul, his passion for the lsot.
For some of us its preaching, teaching, music to point people to the Lord Jesus.
Everyone of us has abilities, differing abilities, to make a difference for the cause of Christ.
Shamgar had one ability to use an ox to plow fields. No matter how small or great our abilities are, God can use them to win people to Himself. i.e. Dave and Doug with surfing.
Personality is how we respond, to others, to God to situations.
Every one is different.
God can use our personality to make a difference to others.
Smalley and Trent use animal names, Beaver worker, otter party animal, retriever faithful one, lion the leader.
Tim Lahaye, Sanguine partier, choleric leader, melancholic artist emotional feeler phlegmatic, compliant. diplomat
DISC Dominant Influencer Steadiness compliant.
The more you understand the way you are, it helps you understand how others react to you.
If you are sanguine, and you are working with a choleric, then you will feel frustrated.
It helps you understand conflict.
Mark 12:30 We are all responsible to do these things, but some of us are inclined to emphasise one of these four aspects of life above the others. . Love God… we all tend to favour one of those 4 above others.
FOUR DIFFERENT TYPES OF PERSONALITIES
1. DOERS: LOVE GOD WTH ALL YOUR STRENGTH
Movers, shakers activists. Nehemiah heard that Jerusalem was oin decay and he ahd to do something. He couldn’t just sit around and think about it, or cry about it.
Franklin Graham is a doer. Samaritan’s Purse. We gotta do something.
We need people to get things done.
Oh, God, here I am, your servant, your faithful servant: set me free for your service! Psalms 116:16 (MSG)
Offer your bodies to him as a living sacrifice, pure and pleasing. That’s the most sensible way to serve God. Romans 12:1 (CEV)
It’s a physical thing and doing something getting your hands dirty.
Doers tend to be overworked. When you find someone that’s busy they have a tendency to get things done .It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones. Psalms 127:2 (NLT)
There’s a time for work and a time for rest. Workers doers need to do what matters most.
WARNING: You need to do what matters most
Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.
Proverbs 23:4 (NIV)
There are some things worth doing and some things not worth worrying about doing.
Being busy is not necessarily a sign of being godly.
We may need to look at our calendar and ask are we doing things that matter most.
DOERS: LOVE GOD WTH ALL YOUR STRENGTH
PERSONALITY TYPES -- DiSC
High D Traits
Direct Results Oriented Egocentric Daring Domineering
Demanding Forceful Aggressive Adventuresome Decisive Inquisitive
Self-Assured Competitive Quick Risk-Taker
Mark 12:30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
2. FEELERS: LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR SOUL
Soul often used for a synonym for emotions.
Feelers love the psalms because it is a book of emotions. Feelers wear their feelings on their shoulders a lot. They love to worship where there is a lot of feelings and emotions.
As the deer pants for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. Ps 42:1 (NLT)
Barnabas, a son of encouragement, compassion on Mark.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Eph 4:32 (NIV)
Feelers can be manipulated by their feelings and moods. I didn’t feel like I should do this or that. Sometimes our feelings lie. If our lives are based on our feelings we live a roller coaster life. Feelings can lie and are unpredictable.
Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 1 Peter 2:11 (NIV)
They can run from one high to another.
WARNING: You need to let God, not feelings, lead you. let the Spirit direct your lives, and you will not satisfy the desires of the human nature. Gal 5:16 (TEV)
I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
We need a better guide than our feelings, we need the Word of God to lead us.
2. FEELERS: LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR SOUL
High I PERSONALITY TYPES -- DiSC
High i Traits
Enthusiastic Gregarious Generous Influential Persuasive Affable Friendly Confident
Trusting Poised Charming Sociable Impulsive Sensitive Self-Promoting
3. TALKERS: LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART
What we say with our mouth has come out of our hearts. These people want to talk about stuff. When we have a critical tongue its because of our critical hearts.
I have not kept this good news hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness. Psalms 40:10 (NLT)
Sanguine, Influencer, Otters.
David was a heart person. Peter was a heart person. Said things he wished he hadn’t.
These people are great contributors to bringing healing to people. Wise words can help us avoid trouble, they are encouragers.
… there is healing in the words of the wise. Proverbs 12:18 (MSG)
The words of the wise keep them out of trouble. Proverbs 14:3 (NLT)
The more you talk, the more likely you are to sin. Proverbs 10:19 (TEV) When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise.
In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.
Its often better to keep your mouth shut and be thought dumb, than to open and prove it.
Often talking too much is a cover up for insecurity.
Those who are sure of themselves do not talk all the time. Proverbs 17:27 (TEV)
Confident people don’t need to be talking all the time.
WARNING: Talkers also need to act
Mere words are not enough—discipline is needed. Proverbs 29:19 (NLT)
20 Do you see a man who speaks too soon? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
1. TALKERS: LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART
High S PERSONALITY TYPES -- DiSC
High S Traits
Self-Controlled Easy-Going Non-Demonstrative Predictable Complacent Possessive
Patient Deliberate Amiable Group-Oriented
4. THINKERS: LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR MIND
Analytical thinkers. We don’t check our brains at the door.
Paul is a thinker, Jonathon Edwards, a great mind, CS Lewis, Lee Strobel, JI Packer.
Oh, how I love your law! I think about it all day long. Psalms 119:97 (NLT)
We need people who think about things, and innovate. We need people t ponder the deep things of life and reason those things out.
Instead, we should think about the way we are living, and turn back to the Lord. Lamentations 3:40 (CEV)
Thinkers love the scriptures, they love to read the Word and study it, and learn the languages, and mine the truths of God word.
Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 1 Corinthians 8:1 (NIV)
…Always studying but never able to recognize the truth. 2 Tim 3:7 (GW)
WARNING: You need to practice humility
Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Proverbs 3:7 (NLT)
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22 (NIV)
It’s not what you know, its what you do about what you know. Information without application is less than useless; it makes you responsible for not acting.
3. THINKERS: LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR MIND
High C PERSONALITY TYPES -- DiSC
High C Traits
Conscientious Evasive Precise Systematic Diplomatic Accurate Restrained
Sensitized Perfectionist Critical Factual Discrete Analytical
Realize your interdependence in Christ’s body
We really do need each other in the body of Christ. Our experience of the Lord is always partial and it is inevitably impoverished when we keep ourselves from the contributions that others could bring to us. Whatever differences of perception we may have, whatever difficulties in communication, whatever disagreements over courses of action that should be taken, we still need to share together in worship, fellowship and service with those of different temperament types. In this way our understanding and experience of God can be expanded. The communion that grows from such deliberate acts of commitment to one another is a witness to the whole world that Christ has come.
Appreciate the gifts of others
We can learn to view others from a gift perspective. This means that we will determine not to concentrate on those characteristics in them, which we like, but upon the qualities that they contribute. We will try to see how their differences can actually fill gaps in our own experiences and abilities. Since none of us are perfectly rounded persons, we will try to keep in mind those areas where we especially need the gifts that others can bring. We will appreciate how they may help us to see things to which we would have otherwise been blind, contribute strength where we would have been weak, be bold where we might have been conservative, or be cautious where we might have been foolhardy. Paul’s image of the body, with each organ and appendage working together in harmony is a powerful one.
Think of the persons with whom you seem to have the greatest difficulty relating. Often, though not always, these are persons who have temperament types which are across the chart or at least in a different quadrant from your own. Use this insight to guide you in considering their gifts, praying for them in their needs, and praising God for their ministries.
Respond to the needs of others
Loving implies that we will try to be aware and understanding of others’ needs as well as their gifts. We will try to grow in our respect for temperament differences, not demanding that others become like us, nor even that they must always adapt themselves to meet our own peculiarities. Rather, we will seek to know them well enough to understand what they need form us, and then try to meet them more than halfway. For example, in communication we will try to speak to the Sensing person’s need for concreteness and detail, or the Intuitive’s need to see the big picture and the guiding vision. Likewise, in decision-making, we will respect those whose Feeling orientation causes them to evaluate matters from the standpoint of personal values, or those whose Thinking orientation causes them to focus mainly on objective considerations. In group life, we will honor the more reticent members who tend to think things out before speaking, and we will try to create ways for making sure we receive their input, rather than allowing those who are more verbal to dominate the time. Paul reminds us that we are to think more highly of one another than we do of ourselves (Philippians 2:3).
Respect others when in conflict
Conflict is inevitable. Since we do have different perspectives, and since we often take very different things into account in our decision-making, we are bound to experience misunderstandings and differences of opinion. Christian unity does not mean the absence of conflict, but requires our willingness to lay aside defensiveness, the urge to protect our turf, and our anxious concern to assert our rights. (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Such attitudes enable us to be receptive to one another and to the Lord. A quiet and receptive spirit and the willingness to wait upon God in prayer are essential if we would discern the will of God together. Although there is such a variety of temperaments among us, nevertheless, there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism…one God and father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:5,6).
Allow for others’ growth
Love gives to others the same respect that it desires for itself. We would never want another to judge our abilities to perform in the future simply on the basis of what we did in the past. Each of us is on a journey. Each is in the process of growth. Understanding others’ temperament types is a way of honouring people because it shows our desire to understand what is important to them. However, our appreciation of their uniqueness should never be used to circumscribe our estimates of their capacities. Rather, we will seek to recognize growth and celebrate God’s ways working in both of us. (1 Corinthians 1:27-29)
SPIRITUAL PERSONALITY Romans 12:2,3 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
The Wonderful Gift
Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given” (Isa. 9:6). This prediction—most clear in application, most glorious in content, most consolatory in design, most gracious in purpose—points us to the time when God’s Son assumed our nature, entering the world in circumstances of deepest humiliation.
In the birth of Jesus, Heaven and earth meet. Coleridge, speaking of philosophy, said: “In wonder all philosophy began, in wonder all philosophy ends, and admiration fills up the interspace.” Thinking of Jesus’ natal night, of Bethlehem, of the angels, of the inn in which there was no room for the Prince of Glory, of the cattle stall in which He was born, of the fact that He was God held in a woman’s arms, of those who “wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds” (Luke 2:18), we say, in the words of Shakespeare: “O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful! and yet again wonderful.”
1. The Wonderful Gift Is A Person
2 Cor 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: although He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.
Our word grace comes from a family of words charis, largely translated love, mercy, kindness, favor, thanksgiving and pity. They reflect some aspect of "grace." The word charis always means love, charm and beauty. It is a lovely thing. A charming woman is a graceful loving person, the name Karen of course, comes from charis. Charis, grace, describes "a free gift freely given." It is something given in the overflowing love from the heart. The recipient does not deserve it, and could never earn, or achieve the gift. The "grace" is the "unmerited, spontaneous love" of Jesus Christ for the sinner. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is the basis of our salvation, a right relationship with God that comes to the believer as an unearned gift. It is the sheer generosity of the love of God to the believing sinner. Christ gave Himself for us.
He was Rich in His Possessions.
Jesus as the pre-incarnate Son of God had everything.
John 1;1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.
He was Rich in His Personhood.
Hebrews 1:1-3 Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. 2 In these last days, He has spoken to us by [His]Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things and through whom He made the universe. 3 He is the radiance of His glory, the exact expression of His nature, and He sustains all things by His powerful word. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.
Phil 2:5 Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, 6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. 7 Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, 8 He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross.
For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above
While mortals sleep the angels keep their watch of wondering love
Oh morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth.
And praises sing to God the king, and peace to men on earth.
Here is an amazing thing : Christ was born of Mary. The eternal one born of a mortal. The infinite one, takes residence in the finite.
He was Rich in His Position
He was rich in glory which He had with the Father (John 17:5). The angels were "constantly bowing down" to worship Him and crying, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts" (Isa. 6:3). As the Son of God, the Second Person of the Godhead, Jesus was rich in "the actual and constant possession of all divine prerogatives" (Charles Hodge). Jesus became poor in the act of becoming man. Paul has in mind the incarnation of Christ, and probably including His death. The greatest of His condescension is in the fact that He should have been born. "Though He shared the Father's glory before the world was created (John 17:5), nevertheless He temporarily laid aside this glory in order to 'be found in fashion as a man'. He did not lay aside His divinity; for there is no doctrine of kenosis, or emptying of His Godhead, to be found here any more than in Philippians 2:7" (R. V. G. Tasker, p. 115). Jesus laid aside the glory of His divine majesty. He did not lay aside His deity. He was fully God; He was fully man; He was God-man. Jesus laid aside the constant use of His divine attributes, not their possession. "He so far laid aside the glory of His divine majesty, that He was to all appearance a man, and even a servant, so that men refused to recognize Him, as God, but despised, persecuted, and at last crucified Him, as a man. He who was rich in the plentitude of all divine attributes and prerogatives thus became poor, "on your account," out of love to you" (Charles Hodge, p. 201).
He was Rich in His Power
He was rich in power. He could do anything with the universe He had created.
Oh little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by
Yet in they dark streets shineth, the everlasting light
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
2. The Wonderful Gift Is Purchased
2 Cor 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: although He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.
The picture here is ogf a guarantor on a loan.
If you get a mortgage, to buy a house, and your dad goes guarantor he will not be too pleased if you default on the loan.
There is a debt that we all owe. The sin debt.
For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. No matter what language you speak, tjat word all means all.
And as such we are debtors.
Debtors to god’s Law.
God demanded 100% righteousness.
How many of you have lived a 100% righteous life this year? None! We are all debtors
We owe. And the wages of sin is death.
We don’t have that which we can pay to cancel that debt.
We had a debt we could not pay. He paid a debt he did not owe, We needed someone just to take our sins away! And He did!
Its amazing grace all the way. God graciously has done that because he paid the debt we could not pay. At the cross He bore our sins. He took the penalty for our sins so we would never have to bear it.
This gift is purchased.
There is a demand : 100% righteousness.
There is a Debt: we are sinners.
There is a Guarantor who has paid the debt for you and me.
2 Cor 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: although He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.
3. The Wonderful Gift Is A Present
He Is A Practical Gift
When we go Christmas shopping for those we love, it doesn’t have to be the best or the most expensive gift, as the old saying goes ‘it’s the thought that counts’. Our gifts should be practical, not as one lady said to her husband, “This year let’s give each other more practical gifts like socks and jewellery.”
Two young boys were discussing the upcoming Christmas season and all of the toys they hoped to receive. One kid explained to the other, “Money can’t buy happiness, you know. To be happy, you have to convert the money into toys.” You know what it’s like to get a gift that you really don’t want or can’t use. You see them in the stores. All of us have got them. Sometimes we just repackage them from Christmas gifts to Birthday presents. If its not perishable, you don’t even have to take the Christmas wrappings off! Sometimes you can just switch the name tags!!
But the Lord Jesus Christ is a gift that is practical gift. He came to save us from our sins. It has to work down here, for us to have any confidence that it will work out for eternity. And it does. When a person receives the Lord Jesus Christ, they receive the most practical gift possible. Forgiveness of sins, peace with God, a joy that continues throughout life whatever the circumstances of life. The presence of God through all life events!
He Is A Pleasing Gift
The gifts that we give should be something that would please the one we are giving the gift to. I wouldn’t want to give my daughter a Bible Commentary because I know that is not a gift that would please her. We all know what happens to gifts that we don’t really care for-they get put on a shelf somewhere. God gave me an unspeakably pleasing gift in Jesus. What more could I ask for? Matthew 7:9-11 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Jam 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father...
Jesus gave it all up. Instead of being worshipped, "He was despised and rejected by men . .. we esteemed Him not-- he was stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted" (Isa. 53:3-4). Jesus was obedient to death. There were "no reserves, no half-measures, no conditions, no holding back."
Jesus held nothing back. He poured out everything He had on the cross at Calvary. All that He could call His own He gave up for you and me. "Having loved His own [disciples], He loved them unto the end" (John 13:1). "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8-10). We were God's enemies, we were helpless sinners and He came to give Himself for us.
He Is A Permanent Gift
The gift that we give should be something that is permanent and of lasting value. Not something cheaply made that will break the first day it is used. A woman kept a very tight lid on the amount of money she spent on Christmas gifts. Each year when her family gathered with other relatives she always made sure the purchasing cost remained a big secret. This worked fine until her daughter was old enough to start talking. On this particular Christmas the little girl’s uncle started prying for the price. The young niece told her uncle, “I’m not allowed to tell you how much we paid, but I can tell you we got it at the Go Lo.” Also it should be something that will at least keep the interest beyond Christmas day alone. We have all seen children who get all kinds of nice expensive gifts for Christmas and by the end of the day they are playing with the boxes and paper. God gave us the permanent Gift of eternal life (John 10:28-"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”) There is really nothing else that we could ever ask for or desire that is higher than this gift. Jesus laid down His own self so that we could have this permanent gift. He wrapped himself in human flesh and took on man. He bore our sins and took our shame. The King of all Kings was born in a little stable. What a welcome to our earth. He did all this so that we could have this permanent gift.
He is A Personal Gift
The purpose of Jesus' poverty was to make paupers rich.
"Though He was [exceedingly] rich, yet for your sake He became [extremely] poor, so that by His poverty you might become [exceedingly] rich (v. 9b, c). "Believers have become rich in the possession of that glory which Christ laid aside, or concealed" (Hodge). It was by His poverty that we have been made rich. You have become rich.
When we shop our gift should be a personal gift. We are not shopping for ourselves. I usually head straight to the second hand book shop. But my wife would not appreciate it if I got her a book on theology. The next door neighbour decided to get his wife a mulch bin; she said he if he did, he’d be the first thing in it!
A gift that fits the person you are shopping for. God gave a personal gift by giving his Son to die for our sins (John 3:16). He came for everyone. He came for you! He did not just come for the rich. He did not just come for the poor. He did not just come for white people or black. He came for everyone. Red, yellow, black & white. He came and died for you personally.
When Jesus came to this earth He became human. He didn’t have to. He was God. When He lived here on earth He was completely human. He felt heartache. He knew loneliness. He was tempted. He felt hunger. He knew what it was like to be tempted. Tho’ 100% God, He was completely human as well. The nails hurt His hands just like they would hurt yours. So why did He do it? He did it because he looked across time and he saw you. He saw your heart, He saw how you needed a Savior. So He gave the gift of Himself. His gift is personal, for each and every one of us.
How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven
No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin
Where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in.
At this Christmas season, every heart ought to say, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (II Cor. 9:15). You did not ask God for this gift; it was freely bestowed.
At this Christmas season, will you receive presents from earthly friends and reject the gift of God? Base ingratitude! You can commit no greater sin than that of rejecting Jesus Christ. Everything you ever did fades into insignificance in the face of your refusal of the gift of God. Confess your utter worthlessness and simply accept the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s “unspeakable gift.”
At this Christmas season, we may not bring Him as costly a present as the Magi brought, but we can bring to His feet and cradle the frankincense of our joy, the pearls of our tears, the kiss of our love, the prostration of our worship; we can move someone to faith in Him, and give testimony that Jesus, our Saviour, our Lord, is Son of Man without sin, Son of God with power and glory, whose name is ceaseless music at the throne which overlooks the world.
Oh holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today
We hear the Christmas angels, the great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us, our lord Emanuel.
Monday, December 24, 2007
WHY I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST
James S. Stewart tells of 2 English-men who met after many years. One as a sailor spent his life with famous sea captain, Sir Frances Drake. The other stayed home and had grown prosperous. As they chatted the rich man said, “You have not made much out of all these years.” “No, I’ve not made much. I’ve been cold, hungry, shipwrecked, desperately frightened often, but I’ve been with the greatest Captain who ever sailed the seas.”
How do you evaluate your life? Is it by the wealth you’ve accumulated? Or by the person you serve?
I have read Mark’s gospel where Peter reminds the Lord
Mark 10: 28 Peter began to tell Him, “Look, we have left everything and followed You.” 29 “I assure you,” Jesus said, “there is no one who has left house, brothers or sisters, mother or father, children, or fields because of Me and the gospel, 30 who will not receive 100 times more, now at this time—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and eternal life in the age to come.
Peter does a fair thing. He asks the hard questions. As Christians we give up so much that the world counts important; we don’t live for fortune (we tithe and give to gospel ministries),
We don’t live for fame (if you are a Christian you won’t be known as one of the go-getters, being a go getter is so alien to the Lord’s own attitude Mark 10: 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.”
We don’t live for the fleshly pursuits of pleasure, we deny ourselves and take up the cross to follow the Lord Jesus Christ,
We don’t live for influence and power, the servant of the Lord is more impressed with the Lord than himself.
But is it worth it all?
How do we know that Jesus is the Son of God come into our world to die for our sins? How do we know it is best to lay aside everything to follow the Lord Jesus Christ?
There is nothing more important for a person for the life that now is and for the life that is to come than a faith in Jesus Christ that is intelligent, clear and firm.
I. I Believe in Jesus Christ first of all because of the remarkable Fulfillment of His prophecies.
Jesus Christ was a prophet. He made some astounding predictions regarding the future. Predictions that seemed incredible and in some cases absurd, but which history has fulfilled to the letter. Take for example His prediction of a world-wide conquest by His disciples. Luk 19:41-44 41 As He approached and saw the city, He wept over it, 42 saying, “If you knew this day what [would bring]peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come on you when your enemies will build an embankment against you, surround you, and hem you in on every side. 44 They will crush you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave one stone on another in you, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”
Luk 21:20-24 “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that its desolation has come near. 21 Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains! Those inside the city must leave it, and those who are in the country must not enter it, 22 because these are days of vengeance to fulfill all the things that are written. 23 Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days, for there will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
The Lord prophesied of things only God could know.
In the book of Isaiah the Lord demonstrates the truthfulness of Himself by saying that the fact that He fulfills what He prophecies sets Him apart from false prophets.:
Isaiah 44: I am the Lord, who made everything; who stretched out the heavens by Myself; who alone spread out the earth; 25 who destroys the omens of the false prophets and makes fools of diviners; who confounds the wise and makes their knowledge foolishness; 26 who confirms the message of His servant and fulfills the counsel of His messengers;
Prophet Phil Pringle. "I believe New Zealand is about to have in 2005 a revival that will eclipse any kind of revival it has ever had in the history of that nation. I believe by the power of the Holy Spirit New Zealand is about to have a touch from Heaven. A touch from Heaven and the finger of God is poised in the heavens. I see it I see lightening bolts coming out of the Long White Cloud. I see feet running through the streets to get to meetings. I see things happening that have never happened before people running to church in New Zealand. I see them running through the streets of Wellington. I see them running down and the wind is blowing. They are pushing against the wind they are trying to get to churches. There are people running in Auckland down Queen Street to get to church. People are running They are desperate, some are full of fear some are full of faith. But they are running to church. This is going to happen in New Zealand 1000's and 1000's of people running to church - running It's probably not ever happened in New Zealand before. Amen Here endeth that prophecy.”
I guess the difference between false prophets and the Lord is that the Lord’s prophecies come true.
II. I believe in Jesus Christ because of His Fulfilled Promises.
Jesus Christ was not only a prophet but a promiser. He made promises of a most extraordinary character, but promises the truth of which any man could test for himself, and all who have tested the promises have found them true.
E.g., Mat 11:28; “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Acts 1:8; But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
John 7:17. If anyone wants to do His will, he will understand whether the teaching is from God or if I am speaking on My own.
III. I believe in Jesus Christ, in the third place, because of the Character of His Laws.
It was the Philosopher Emanuel Kant who recognized that there could not be a moral principle in man without the Creator putting it there. The sense of oughtness, rightness, inside a person is a sense put there by God. The sense of conscience comes from a Creator who has instilled morality into mankind.
Romans 1:18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, 19 since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them.
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.
The character of the Lord’s morality taught in the sermon on the mount reaches the pinnacle of what morality should be like, touching to the deep core of the human personality. No other moral teacher has understood the inner workings of the soul as did our Lord, displaying His divinity by that knowledge.
IV. I believe in Christ again because of the Way He Fits into and Fulfills all O.T. Types and Prophecies. What is Prophesied of the Messiah in the Old Testament.
1. His family. Jer 23:5-6 “The days are coming”—[this is]the Lord’s declaration—“when I will raise up a righteous Branch of David. He will reign wisely as king and administer justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. This is what He will be named: The Lord Is Our Righteousness.
Jer 33:15-16 In those days and at that time I will cause a Branch of righteousness to sprout up for David, and He will administer justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely, and this is what she will be named: The Lord Is Our Righteousness.
Of the family of David. He was to be born at a time when that family had been cut down and lost its glory.
2 State of family at His birth. Isa 53:2 He grew up before Him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground. He had no form or splendor that we should look at Him, no appearance that we should desire Him.
Isa 11:1 Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
3. The time of His appearing. Gen 49:10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, or the staff from between his feet, until He whose right it is comes and the obedience of the peoples belongs to Him.
Hag 2:7-9; Daniel 9:25 Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince will be seven weeks and 62 weeks. It will be rebuilt with a plaza and a moat, but in difficult times.
26 After those 62 weeks the Messiah will be cut off and will have nothing.
4. The place. Mic 5:2. Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; One will come from you to be ruler over Israel for Me. His origin is from antiquity, from eternity.
5. His nature.
(a) Divine. Mic 5:2; Psa 45:6 Your throne, God, is forever and ever; the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of justice.
Psa 110:1 The Lord declared to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
Psa 2:7 I will declare the Lord’s decree: He said to Me, “You are My Son;today I have become Your Father.
Isa 9:6 For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
(b) Human. Isa 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like one people turned away from; He was despised, and we didn’t value Him
6. His character.
(a) Meek. Isa 53:7. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth.
(b) Gentle. Isa 32:3.
(c) Retiring. Avoiding notoriety. Isa 42:2. He will not cry out or shout or make His voice heard in the streets.
(d) Full of the Spirit. Isa 42:1 This is My Servant; I strengthen Him, [this is]My Chosen One; I delight in Him. I have put My Spirit on Him; He will bring justice to the nations.
Isa 11:2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him— a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, a Spirit of counsel and strength, a Spirit of knowledge and of the • fear of the Lord.
(e) Persevering. Isa 42:4 He will not grow weak or be discouraged until He has established justice on earth. The islands will wait for His instruction.”
(f) Righteous and faithful. Isa 11:5 Righteousness and faithfulness will be a belt around His waist.
(g) Absolutely sinless. Isa 11:5, Isa 53:9 They made His grave with the wicked, and with a rich man at His death,although He had done no violence and had not spoken deceitfully.
7. Manner of birth.
Born of a virgin. Isa 7:14 Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.
8. How treated by men.
(a) Despised and rejected. Isa 53:3; Psa 118:22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
(b) Kings of the earth, etc. Psa 22:3.
(c) Scourged, insulted, spit upon. Isa 50:6 I gave My back to those who beat Me, and My cheeks to those who tore out My beard. I did not hide My face from scorn and spitting.[
(d) Sold for thirty pieces of silver. Zec 11:13 Throw it to the potter,” the Lord said to me—this magnificent price I was valued by them. So I took the 30 pieces of silver and threw it into the house of the Lord, to the potter.
(e) Details of His death. Isa 53:7-8. Killed. Zec 13:7 Sword, awake against My shepherd, against the man who is My associate— the declaration of the Lord of Hosts. Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; I will also turn My hand against the little ones.
(a) Pierced. Isa 53:5 But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.
Zec 12:10 Then I will pour out a spiritof grace and prayer on the house of David and the residents of Jerusalem, and they will look at Me whom they pierced. They will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child and weep bitterly for Him as one weeps for a firstborn.
(2) Psa 22:14,17.
(3) Mocked while dying. Psa 22:7-8 Everyone who sees me mocks me; they sneer and shake their heads:
8 “He relies on the Lord; let Him rescue him; let the Lord deliver him, since He takes pleasure in him.”[
(4) Garments parted while dying. Psa 22:18 They divided my garments among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing.[
(5) Given gall vinegar. Psa 69:21 Instead, they gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.[
(6) Made intercession for transgressors when He bore their sins. Isa 53:12 Therefore I will give Him the many as a portion, and He will receive the mighty as spoil, because He submitted Himself to death, and was counted among the rebels; yet He bore the sin of many and interceded for the rebels.
(7) Heartbreaks. Psa 69:20; Psa 22:14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
(8) Numbered with transgressors, made His grave with wicked and with the rich. Isa 53:12 Therefore I will give Him the many as a portion, and He will receive the mighty as spoil ,because He submitted Himself to death, and was counted among the rebels; yet He bore the sin of many and interceded for the rebels.
Isa 53:9 They made His grave with the wicked, and with a rich man at His death, although He had done no violence and had not spoken deceitfully.
(f) His people will offer, etc., Psa 110:1,3 Your people will volunteer on Your day of battle
(g) His Resurrection. Isa 53:10-11; Yet the Lord was pleased to crush Him, and He made Him sick. When You make Him a restitution offering, He will see [His] seed, He will prolong His days, and the will of the Lord will succeed by His hand. 11 He will see [it] out of His anguish, and He will be satisfied with His knowledge. My righteous servant will justify many, and He will carry their iniquities.
Psa 16:10. For You will not abandon me to Sheol; You will not allow Your Faithful One to see the • Pit
(h) Ascension and seating at the right hand of God. Psa 68:18 You ascended to the heights, taking away captives; You received gifts from people, even from the rebellious, so that the Lord God might live [there].
(i) Two advents.
(1) Once born as a man to be cut off. Mic 5:1-2; Dan 9:26 After those 62 weeks the Messiah will be cut off
(2) Once coming in clouds. Dan 7:8, Dan 7:10, Dan 7:13-14 I continued watching in the night visions, and I saw One like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was escorted before Him.
14 He was given authority to rule, and glory, and a kingdom; so that those of every people, nation, and language should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.
Psa 2:8-9 Ask of Me, and I will make the nations Your inheritance and the ends of the earth Your possession.
9 You will break them with a rod of iron; You will shatter them like pottery.”
(j) His work.
(1) He should die in the place of others. Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isa 53:8 for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
Isa 53:12 and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Isa 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
(2) He should be made a guilt offering for sin.
(3) Isa 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord God is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and freedom to the prisoners; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of our God’s vengeance; to comfort all who mourn, 3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair. And they will be called righteous trees, planted by the Lord, to glorify Him.
(4) To reign as king and to execute judgment and justice in the earth.
Character of His reign. Zec 9:9 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout in triumph, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your King is coming to you; He is righteous and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey
a. Eternally. Psa 45:6 Your throne, God, is forever and ever; the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of justice.
1 God, give Your justice to the king and Your righteousness to the king’s son. 2 He will judge Your people with righteousness and Your afflicted ones with justice.
3 May the mountains bring prosperity to the people, and the hills, righteousness. 4 May he vindicate the afflicted among the people, help the poor,and crush the oppressor. 5 May he continue while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations. 6 May he be like rain that falls on the cut grass, like spring showers that water the earth.7 May the righteous flourish in his days, and prosperity abound until the moon is no more.8 And may he rule from sea to sea and from the Euphrates to the ends of the earth.9 May desert tribes kneel before him and his enemies lick the dust.10 May the kings of Tarshish and the coasts and islands bring tribute, the kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts.11 And let all kings bow down to him, all nations serve him. 12 For he will rescue the poor who cry out and the afflicted who have no helper.13 He will have pity on the poor and helpless and save the lives of the poor. 14 He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious in his sight.
(5) A priest. Psa 110:4. The Lord has sworn an oath and will not take it back: “Forever, You are a priest like Melchizedek.”
(6) A prophet. Deu 18:15-18 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.
16 This is what you requested from the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, ‘Let us not continue to hear the voice of the Lord our God or see this great fire any longer, so that we will not die!’
17 Then the Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well.
18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. I will put My words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.
(7) A light of the Gentiles. Isa 42:5 This is what God the Lord says— who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and life to those who walk on it— 6 “I, the Lord, have called you for a righteous [purpose],and I will hold you by your hand. I will keep you, and I make you a covenant for the people [and]a light to the nations, 7 in order to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, [and]those sitting in darkness from the prison house.
Isa 49:6 He says, “It is not enough for you to be My servant raising up the tribes of Jacob and restoring the protected ones of Israel. I will also make you a light for the nations, to be My salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Isa 60:1-3 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord shines over you.2 For look, darkness covers the earth, and total darkness the peoples; but the Lord will shine over you, and His glory will appear over you. 3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your radiance.
Is Jesus of the New Testament this Prophesied Christ of the Old Testament?
V. I believe in Jesus Christ because of the Fact of His Resurrection.
VI. I believe in Jesus Christ because of the Uniqueness of His Claims and the Way in which He Substantiates Them.
His claim to be divine is substantiated by the miracles which He performed.
VII. I believe in Jesus Christ because of His Demonstrated Power to Save.
I believe that Jesus can save because He does save. I believe that Jesus can save because I have seen Him do it.
He has power to forgive sins.
He has power today to set Satan's victims free.
It is not necessary to go back to the miracles of Christ when upon earth to prove this. He has divine power. He exercises this power today and any one can test it.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
The Purpose Of Christmas Day
Someone told me that they overheard someone say last week: They Should Have Killed The Guy Who Invented Christmas
They responded: They did! They hung Him on the cross.
The frustration that we feel at Christmas time is directly relate4d to the stress and pressure that this season brings. The way for us to move from stress to substance, from frustration to fulfillment is to rediscover the Purpose of Christmas Day.
At Christmas we often hear what various people around the crib thought of Christmas Day. What you think of Christmas Day will largely govern your enjoyment of Christmas Day.
We hear of what the Wise men thought of Christmas Day: Matthew 2:3 “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”
We hear of what the Angels thought of Christmas Day: Luke 2:10But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: 11 today a Savior, who is • Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. 12 This will be the sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”
We hear of what the Shepherds thought of Christmas Day: “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough.
17 After seeing [them], they reported the message they were told about this child,
We hear of what Mary thought of Christmas Day: Luke 1:38 “I am the Lord’s • slave,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her.
46 And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, 47 and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior, 48 because He has looked with favor on the humble condition of His • slave. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 because the Mighty Onehas done great things for me, and His name is holy.
What did the Lord Jesus think of Christmas Day?
Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
The Lord Came To A Lost World.
Geographically? No.. the geographical centre of the world.
Politically? No, the government of the Romans over the region was pretty secure.
"The world is lost without a sense of God. Men and women everywhere desperately need to know that there is Someone in charge of life, and that there is a Source to whom they can turn for help and for deliverance. The world needs to know that Jesus Christ is God. If Jesus is not God, then I do not have a Savior." -- Dr. Bruce Waltke
1. The Lord came to a lost world
While I was driving home the other day, I saw the ugliest car I have ever seen. This car wasn't just ugly--it was ugly on top of ugly. It had a large gash on its side; one of the doors was held together with baling wire; and several other body parts were almost completely rusted out. The car's muffler was so loose that with every bump, it hit the street, sending sparks in every direction. I couldn't tell the original color of the car. The rust had eaten away much of the paint, and so much of the car had been painted over with so many different colors that any one of them (or none of them) could have been the first coat. The most interesting thing about the car was the bumper sticker: "THIS IS NOT AN ABANDONED CAR."
We live in a fallen world, and sometimes it looks as ugly as that car. Almost everywhere you turn, you can see tragedy and heartache.
The unsaved person is lost. That is, he is lost in that he cannot find his way to heaven. He is lost to God's purpose for him. He is so lost that he can't even find how to be saved without the help of another. A person may not know they are lost until they need God, then their condition becomes evident. "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10)
Not only is there a separation between us and God, this has also resulted in problems in our interpersonal relationships.
Our interpersonal relationships need to be reconciled. God can heal our bitterness.
Cyprian, who was Bishop of the church at Carthage in the third century, once wrote to his young friend, Donatus:
"This is a cheerful world as I see it from my garden under the shadows of my vines. But if I were to ascend some high mountain and look out over the wide lands, you know very well what I should see: brigands on the highways, pirates on the sea, armies fighting, cities burning. In the amphitheaters men murdered to please applauding crowds; selfishness and cruelty and misery and despair under all roofs. It is a bad world, Donatus.... It is an incredibly bad world."
The unsaved person is travelling to hell and the lake of fire. Not only are the unsaved lost and blind, they are stumbling down a road that will end in hell. You have the words of the Lord Jesus on it. "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Mathew 10:28) "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." (Revelation 20:13-14)
Perhaps you have been saved from personal tragedy. You may know of someone who narrowly escaped disaster. They were saved from it. To be saved spiritually means that your body, soul and spirit will not go to hell because of your sins. Hell is the penalty for all sinners. But that is not the will of God for you. God's desire is that all be SAVED from hell.
Personally slaves of sin.
I heard about a guy when went to the doctor’s office for a physical. The nurse asked him his weight and he said, “170 pounds.” She had him step on the scales and she said, “You weigh 200 pounds.” The nurse asked, “How tall are you?” He said, “Six feet.” She measured him and said, “You are actually five feet, nine inches.” She started taking his blood pressure and he said, “How can you expect my blood pressure to be normal? I came in here as a tall, slender guy, and you’ve already made me short and fat!”
We may like to think we are doing OK. But the truth is we are lost!
2. The Lord Came To Save
A long time ago, in a manger, a baby was born. He was a sign to us. His presence read, "THIS IS NOT AN ABANDONED WORLD." For unto us a child is born." We have not been abandoned.
Christ, by highest heaven adored, Christ, the everlasting Lord!
Late in time, behold him come, offspring of the virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the God-head see; hail the incarnate deity,
pleased as man with us to dwell, Jesus, our Immanuel.
Jesus Christ, God's only Son, born in the likeness of man as a baby, grew to be a man, God in the flesh, to die on a cross, shedding His blood for our sins. At His sacrificial death our sins were atoned and forgiven. Man through the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was justified of his sins and reconciled ... the relationship reestablished, sin's difference settled through the price of the Son, and is now made acceptable to God.
Yes you and I can be saved now. We can be restored to a real relationship with God.
Our sins have made a separation between us and God, but He came to be the One Mediator.
1 Tim 2: 3 This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, a man, Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself—a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time.
You Can Be Saved Relationally
In Craig Nelson’s book The First Heroes, we read about the Doolittle Raiders who launched the first major counterattack on the Pacific front during World War II. Not all of the “raiders” returned from their bombing mission. Jacob DeShazer was among those who was captured and held in POW camps under difficult and painful circumstances. DeShazer later returned to Japan after the war, but not to seek revenge. He had received Jesus as his Savior and had come back to Japanese soil carrying the message of Christ. A former warrior who was once on a campaign of war was now on a campaign of reconciliation. DeShazer’s mission to Japan mirrors the heart of the Savior, who Himself came on a mission of love and reconciliation. Luke reminds us that when Christ came into the world, it was not merely to be a moral example or a compelling teacher. He came “to seek and to save” the lost (19:10). His love for us found its expression in the cross, and His rescue of us found its realization when He emerged triumphantly from the tomb in resurrected life. In Christ we find forgiveness, and that forgiveness changes our life and our eternity—all because Jesus came on a campaign of reconciliation.
You can Be Saved Eternally
Romans 5:10-11 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
There was a group of pioneers who were making their way across the prairie to one of the central states and to a distant place that had been opened for homesteading. They traveled in covered wagons drawn by oxen, and progress was very slow. One day they were horrified to note a long line of smoke in the west, stretching for miles across the prairie and soon it was evident that the dried grass was burning fiercely and coming toward them rapidly. They had crossed a river the day before and soon the flames would be upon them. One man only seemed to have understanding as to what should be done. He gave the command to set fired to the grass behind them. Then when a space as burned over, the whole company moved back upon it. As the flames roared on toward them from the west, a little girl cried out in terror, “Are you sure we shall not all be burned up?” The leader replied, “My child, the flames cannot reach us here, for we are standing where the fire has been.” What a picture of the believer, who is safe in Christ?
On Him Almighty vengeance fell, Which would have sunk a world to hell. He bore it for a chosen race, And thus becomes our Hiding Place?
You can Be Saved Personally
A Parisian painter in 1875 named Marcel de le Clure wrote a love letter to his beloved. Though that doesn't seem so strange, it is. In this love letter, he repeated three words 1,800,000 times: "I Love You." No one knows how she responded, but I have a guess.
What would you do differently if you knew God loved you? Most of us think of God as someone to be feared. There's some good in that: God is big and scary. But what would you do if you knew, really knew, that He loved you--no ifs, ands, or buts?
During his long trek to faith, the eighteenth-century founder of Methodism,
John Wesley, asked his counselor, Zinzendorph, a lot of questions. One time Zinzendorph asked Wesley a question: "Mr. Wesley, do you believe that Christ died for your sins?"
Wesley answered, "I believe that Christ died for the sins of the world." "But, Mr. Wesley," Zinzendorph said, "I didn't ask you that. Did Christ die for your sins?"
Every person will go out from here today either saved or lost.
3. The Way To Be Saved Is To Believe On Him
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18.
The failure to put faith in Jesus Christ is not a misfortune, it is a sin, a grievous sin, an appalling sin, a damning sin.
A. Unbelief in Jesus Christ is an Appalling Sin Because of Whom Jesus Christ is. Because of the Dignity of His Person, Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
A dignity attaches to Jesus Christ that attaches to the person of no angels, or archangel, to none of the principalities or powers in the heavenly places. His is the name that is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. An injury done to Jesus Christ is, then, a sin of vastly greater magnitude than a sin done to man.
B. Unbelief in Jesus Christ is an Appalling Sin not only Because Faith is the Supreme Thing Which is Due to Him.
Jesus is worthy of many things. But first of all, underlying all else, Jesus Christ is worthy of faith; man's confidence is due Jesus Christ.
C. Unbelief in Jesus Christ is an Appalling Sin Because Jesus Christ is the Incarnation of all the Infinite Moral Perfections of God's Own Being.
"God is light and in him is no darkness at all." This infinite absolute light which God is, this infinite holiness and love and truth, is incarnated in Jesus Christ; and the refusal to accept Him is the refusal of light and choice of darkness.
D. Unbelief in Jesus Christ is an Appalling Sin Because it is Trampling Under Foot the Infinite Love and Mercy of God. John 3:16.
Jesus Christ is the supreme expression of God's love and mercy to sinners.
It is as clear as day that unbelief in Jesus Christ is an appalling sin. Theft is a gross sin, adultery is worse, murder is shocking, but all these are as nothing to the violation of the dignity and majesty of the person of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, by our unbelief. Give up your awful unbelief in Jesus Christ and accept Him tonight.
Clovis Chappell tells the story about one of the shepherds who heard the proclamation of the angels about the birth of Jesus but did not go to Bethlehem to see for him-self. Decades later, as he held his grandson on his knee, he told the child the stirring story about Jesus and the angels.
"Is that all?" asked the boy. "What did you do when you heard the good news? Was it true? Was the Christ child really born?"
The old man replied, with some sadness, "I never knew. Some say it was true; some say it was only a dream. I didn't take the trouble to go and see."
. "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved..." (Acts 16:31) You can have assurance and you should. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:9-13)
Bishop Bruce Baxter once told of a boy that a stranger rescued from drowning. After artificial respiration, the lad was brought back to consciousness. He looked him in his face, “Thank you, sir, for saving my life!” “That’s all right, son, glad to do it. But see to it that you’re worth saving.” The boy never forgot his words. The admonition rang in his mind and heart, “That’s all right, son, glad to do it. But see to it that you’re worth saving!” That boy was Bishop Baxter, a Methodist minister. Every Christian should respond, “Thank you Lord for saving my soul.” He may answer, “That’s all right, my child, glad to do it. But see to it that you’re worth saving.”
Friday, December 21, 2007
Discipling Bible Studies
Discipleship–The Forgotten Commandment
Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
A. In Matthew 4:19 what did the invitation Jesus gave mean to His first followers?
And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
B. Why do we say that every believer has the responsibility to be a disciple, and also make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20)?
C. How do we make disciples?
I. Discipleship Defined
A. Luke 6:12-13 shows us the Lord’s priority on earth. What does this say to us? And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. 13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
B. What was Jesus really telling us to do in Matthew 28:19?
C. Matthew 4:19 and Mark 10:28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.
What is taught about the method of discipling that Jesus used?
Mark 3:14 what was Jesus giving to His disciples?
He also appointed 12—He also named them apostles—to be with Him, to send them out to preach,
II. Discipleship and the Disciple Maker
A. From John 14:7-9 what role was Jesus playing in the lives of His disciples?
“If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.” 8 “Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been among you all this time without your knowing Me, Philip? The one who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
1 Corinthians 11:1. Be imitators of me, as I also am of Christ.
B. Matthew 28:19-10, why did Jesus give us this command? How will we fulfill it?
C. What young man did Paul invest his life in (Acts 16:1-5)?
Then he went on to Derbe and Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a believing Jewish woman, but his father was a Greek. 2 The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him. 3 Paul wanted Timothy to go with him, so he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, since they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they traveled through the towns, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem for them to observe. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and were increased in number daily.
D. What final words did Paul leave to Timothy, 2 Timothy 2:1-2? You, therefore, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
What Is Discipling?
1 Thessalonians 2:7 instead we were gentle among you, as a nursing mother nurtures her own children. 8 We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. 9 For you remember our labor and hardship, brothers. Working night and day so that we would not burden any of you, we preached God’s gospel to you. 10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how devoutly, righteously, and blamelessly we conducted ourselves with you believers. 11 As you know, like a father with his own children, 12 we encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you to walk worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
How are the following descriptions of discipling practically experienced?
Discipling is becoming a model for those we influence 1Cor 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I also am of Christ.
Discipling is motivated by love.
Discipling has as its foundation the gospel of the grace of God.
Discipling involves encouraging people.
Discipling involves comforting people.
Discipling involves urging people.
Discipling is rewarding
1 Thess 2:19 For who is our hope, or joy, or crown of boasting in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you?
20 For you are our glory and joy!
Discipling is a completing of faith
1 Thess 3:8 For now we live, if you stand firm in the Lord. 9 How can we thank God for you in return for all the joy we experience because of you before our God, 10 as we pray earnestly night and day to see you face to face and to complete what is lacking in your faith?
Discipling is undergirded with prayer
1 Thess 3:12 And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone, just as we also do for you. 13 May He make your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. Amen.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Acts 27 What to Do In A Storm
In his book Horns and Halos, Dr. J. Wallace Hamilton tells about one of the weirdest auction sales in history; and it was held in Washington, D.C., in 1926, where 150,000 patented models of old inventions were declared obsolete and placed on the auction block for public auction. Prospective buyers and on-lookers chuckled as item after item was put up for bid; such as a "bed-bug buster" or an "illuminated cat" that was designed to scare away mice. Then there was a device to prevent snoring. It consisted of a trumpet that reached from the mouth to the ear; and was designed to awaken the snorer and not the neighbours. And then there was the adjustable pulpit that could be raised or lowered according to the height of the preacher. Needless to say, this auction of old patent models was worth at least 150,000 laughs; but if we would look into this situation a little deeper, we would discover that these 150,000 old patent models also represent 150,000 broken dreams. They represented a mountain of disappointments. It may seem inappropriate to talk about broken dreams and disappointments this close to Christmas. After all, this is the season to be jolly. But it's not jolly for everybody, is it? For those who have lost loved ones this is the loneliest time of the year. And in a world that glorifies materialism, those who are struggling financially may find it to be most disappointing.
The passage of scripture before us details a terrible situation that confronted the apostle Paul. He was at sea. He had to go to Rome, he had appealed to Ceasar, and Rome was the next stop.
He is on his way there, and the Centurion in charge is looking after Paul. They had set sail from Sidon on the East end of the Mediterranean, and were heading Westwards across the Mediterranean. They went first to Cyprus, they got a nice warm breeze from the South and thought all was going well. Until the Euroclydon blew down ( like our Southerly buster! )
In literature poetry parable life is a voyage upon a vast sea. lyric drama simile song metaphor
But those of us who never wrote a line of poetry, find ourselves speaking of life in terms of Acts 27. We put out to sea in our little boats, hoping to drop anchor in some heavenly port.
We can so easily be caught up in the fury of the terrible storms of life.
Acts 27:14, 15 Euroclydon euras - east wind kludon - waves tempestuous waves
Life is not often sailing under fair skies, across tranquil seas to drop anchor in some fair haven
Life is not often a yachting excursion thru a many-islanded Mediterranean around bays of lovely shores or sailing up, down some romantic Rhine or Blue Danube. Life means being out on the open sea with its roaring reefs, Its sunken shoals and it’s storms and fury.
There is no one of us but has or shall experience that tempestuous journey over life’s sea. Things we never looked for, Never planned for, Never prepared for, Never thought for; And how overwhelming they sometimes are.
Sometimes we endure real storms, as some of us did in June in losing houses and cars.
Others experience storms among family and friends. Relational storms. Stresses from sickness. Storms of fear in work.
Sometime our storms are too real. As a young 18 year old I used to surf a lot. I remember surfing at Cronulla beach for about 3 or 4 hours one afternoon. I grew tired, but looked forward to just one more wave. And I waited and waited for that one more wave. “Strange” I thought,, “no waves for half an hour? I wonder where I am in relationship to my car?”
I looked towards the beach and could see it way in the distance. I was closer to Bundeena than to Cronulla! A rip had dragged me out to sea, and a current had dragged me further and I wasn’t even aware of it. And now my greatest fears surfaced. Noah’s Arks! Sharks! I was maybe 2 kilometres out to sea. And there are no waves breaking out there. Ever. I tried for half an hour to paddle against the current but didn’t gain any ground. Now I knew that my life could be over very soon. There was only another half hour to dusk, and feeding time for the big fishes!
I prayed. “Lord if you can’t get me in to the beach, I guess I’ll be coming home real soon.”
Thank fully, within seconds a wave loomed and I caught it and came in a good half kilometre, and then its brother took me in another ¾ quarters of a kilometre. And I paddled in the rest of the way. Oh bye the way.. did you notice the last verse of Acts 27 introduces us to the first surf boards in history?
Acts 27:44 And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.
When you are in a crisis, there are some things you need to do.
When you are in a storm, you need to do what Paul did.
Paul’s Strategy for Survival
Step One: Exercise Common Sense. That is, try to avoid foul weather (Acts 27:9-10). Paul was no stranger to the sea. He knew how unpredictable the Mediterranean could be at that time of the year. “The day of the fast [the day of Atonement which comes at the end of September or early October] had passed” (Acts 27:9). Sailing on the Mediterranean in the latter part of October could be treacherous. Come November shipping stopped completely. No captain with any concern for the safety of his passengers, crew and cargo would put his ship to sea until the following March when spring came. Based on his personal knowledge of the Mediterranean Sea and common sense Paul sought to avoid danger and advised against leaving Fair Havens Harbor. Dealing effectively with winds which blow against us calls for an intelligent use of intuition, knowledge of God’s word, memory, the counsel of others and common sense all aimed at avoiding danger and staying clear of foul weather whenever possible. There wasn’t anyone on board that ship who wanted to get to Rome as badly as Paul. He was on an errand for his King. But common sense told him not to be brash or hasty but to play it safe because surviving adverse winds begins with intelligence, not endurance.
Do the Obvious
If, after we’ve done everything we can to avoid it, danger still presents itself, Paul’s experience reveals a second step we can take to survive adversity: do the obvious. Sadly, the centurion did not heed Paul’s counsel but listened to the captain and owner of the boat who wanted to find a more suitable harbor in which to spend the winter. A gentle south wind lured them out to sea but they hadn’t gone far when “a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land; and when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven” (Acts 27:14, 15). They were helpless!
They had one short respite from the wind as they passed under the lee of Cauda, a tiny little island off Crete, during which they did the obvious. “We managed with difficulty to secure the boat” (Acts 27:16). That is to say, they pulled in the dinghy they had been towing because it was about to swamp. “[The crew also] took measures to undergird the ship” (Acts 27:17a). Pictures of ancient Egyptian sailing ships show sets of huge ropes running from stem to the stern and under the keel at midship.
When a severe storm arose those cable-like ropes were drawn taut around the ship by wenches to keep it from breaking up when buffeted by the sea. Then “they [dropped a sea anchor]” (Acts 27:17b). If the northeast caught them broadside it could drive the ship across the Mediterranean to the coast of North Africa and dash it against a treacherous reef known as the Syrtis. So they lowered a huge hunk of canvas aft of the ship to act as a drag against the current. They probably raised a small storm sail to help position them in the wind, and otherwise powerless, they “were driven [by the storm]” (Acts 27:17c).
The next day they did another obvious thing. “As we were violently storm tossed, [the crew] began to throw the cargo overboard” (Acts 27:18). A day later extra tackle and sailing gear was tossed into the sea (Acts 27:19). Even so, when they were without sun by day or stars by night, nothing but driving wind and rain, completely at the mercy of the elements for “many a day . . . all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned” (Acts 27:20).
Step 2. Exercise Faith. TRUST GOD
The life of faith is lived in a life of struggle.
Living by faith must have the proper basis of faith.
His life was in the hands of God.
The Basis of Faith (Acts 27:21-26). For this night an angel of the God I belong to and serve stood by me,
25 Therefore, take courage, men, because I believe God that it will be just the way it was told to me.
Biblical faith not just positive thinking, or positive speaking.
Not just trusting in miracles to get you out of tight spots. Does Paul believe in miracles? Yes. Had he done some ? yes.. Acts 20, raised the dead. I trust God and His Word!
He believed God because of whose he was: The God whose I am ...
For this night an angel of the God I belong to and serve stood by me,
He recognised he beloinged to a mighty God redeemed, bought purchased and you are His. He can do whatever He wants with those who are His.
He understood that whether he lived or died that was not the issue. Phil 1:21 My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all boldness, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For me, living is Christ and dying is gain.
22 Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. 23 I am pressured by both. I have the desire to depart and be with Christ—which is far better—
living or dieing?
He can take us through whatever circumstances He wants to because we are His., Romans 8:32 He did not even spare His own Son, but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything?
He will do for you everything that needs to be done for you. It may neot be the way you want or desire. But your life is in His hands.
My times are in Thy hands O lord we wish them there A Father’s heart will never bring his child a needless tear.
He believed God because of who He served.
The God whom I serve ... Acts 27:23 For this night an angel of the God I belong to and serve stood by me,
In the story of Paul’s conversion, there were two questions that he asked: Lord who are you? Lord what would you have me to do? The life of faith continually asks Lord what would you have me to do to serve you and please you to honour you and give you glory?
It’s not passive, a “let go and let God” attitude. It’s a life of serving God. Col 1:9 For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, 10 so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing [to Him], bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light.
My prayer is that for you Colossians, and you Baptists, trusting God means serving God. I’m going to serve Him. Its not a passive faith, its an active faith. A life of faith means serving the Lord.
He Believed God Because He Believed His Word.. The God whom I believe ...acts 27:25
What is more firm than an angelic encounter? The Word of God.
Peter reckons the Word of God is more secure than any supposed angelic visitations.
2 Peter 1: For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; instead, we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, a voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!18 And we heard this voice when it came from heaven while we were with Him on the holy mountain. 19 So we have the prophetic word strongly confirmed. You will do well to pay attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dismal place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. 20 First of all, you should know this: no prophecy of Scripture comes from one’s own interpretation, 21 because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, moved by the Holy Spirit, men spoke from God.
God hasn’t promised that every shipwreck you’ll survive. He has promised you a home in heaven. He ahs promised to be with you no matter what. He has promised to strengthen you for whatever trials you face.
This was a treacherous storm, but at the height of it God spoke words of encouragement to Paul. “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and [I have] granted [safety] to all who sail with you” (Acts 27:24).
When the storm struck the little boat on the Sea of Galilee, the Lord Jesus was walking on the water. And the disciples were affrighted thinking they had seen a spirit.
And the Lord said: Be of good cheer. It is I. Be not afraid.
And do you remember how that incomparable 14, 15 and 16th Chapters of John ends, the discourse in the upper room? The last sentence is this: The Lord said: In the world ye shall have tribulation. But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
There are no problems for which he does not have an answer. There are no darkened ways for which he is not the lamp of light. There are no providences that, that he cannot deliver from.
Do you remember this beautiful and moving poem by Henry Van Dyke?
Or maker of the mighty deep
Whereon our vessels Fair
upon our lives Adventure keep
Thy faithful watch and care.
In thee we trust What err befall,
Thy sea so great Our boats so small.
We know not where The secret tides
Will help us or delay.
Nor where the lurking Tempest hides
Nor where the fogs are grey.
We trust in thee What err betide,
Thy sea so great And our boats so small.
Beyond the circle of the sea,
When voyaging is past,
We seek our final port in thee.
O bring us home at last.
In thee we trust What err befall,
Thy sea so great, And our boats so small.
There were roughly 476 miles from Cauda to Malta. When the storm died down and they were powered by a small storm sail, one of the few they had left, they moved through the water at about one and a half knots per hour, so it took 13 days 1 hour and 21 minutes from point to point. Interesting! Because Luke writes, “when the fourteenth night had come” (Acts 27:27) the practiced ear of the lookout sailor on the bow of the ship heard a familiar sound. It was the rhythmic beating of waves on rocks signalling they were nearing land. They began to take soundings. First, twenty fathoms. A short time later, fifteen fathoms. They were being relentlessly driven toward some unknown shore. Hastily they let out four anchors to stop the progress of the ship, pulling the bow toward whatever shoreline lay ahead, and “prayed for day to come” (Acts 27:29).
Step 3: OBEY GOD
Identify Character Flaws At this point Paul demonstrated the fourth quality required to survive adversity: identify character flaws in the people around you because only then can you can take corrective action to avoid the harm those flaws might bring you and others. Under the pretext of putting out anchors on the bow, several sailors started to lower the dinghy. Intuitively Paul recognized their evil intent and took corrective action. “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved,” he told the centurion (Acts 27:31). Simply put, there won’t be anybody on board who knows how to get us to safe harbor. Unfortunately, some of the Roman soldiers acted as impetuously as did the Egyptian sailors. They got in the boat and cut it loose (Acts 27:32) leaving Paul and the others “in the soup.” Now, if they were going to get to shore they’d have to swim.
Eat Something At this point Paul took charge of the situation and demonstrated a secret to surviving adversity: get some food on your stomach (Acts 27:33-38). I think we’d all agree the world looks a lot better when our tummy is full. A wise mother whose daughter was about to get married gave her some sound advice: “Give your husband lots of love and a hot breakfast.” Well, they didn’t have a hot breakfast that day, but Paul saw to their need for food. They had gone 14 days without eating. Many had been seasick. Some were depressed. One of the symptoms of depression is a loss of appetite, and one of the results of a loss of appetite is depression! So Paul said, “Take some food, it will give you strength” (Acts 27:34a).
As day was dawning they looked through the mist and saw what is now called St. Paul’s Bay.
At the far end of the bay was a beach. Their plan was to sail through a narrow opening into the bay, but they didn’t realize high tides had deposited a sand bar across the middle of the bay. So when day dawned they did three things in rapid succession (Acts 7:40). They cut the ropes and left the sea anchor behind. They loosened the steering paddles so they could manoeuvre. They raised the foresail which gave them a little power and made a break for the beach. Everything was going great until they hit the sand bar. The bow stuck in the mud and the beating of waves on the aft of the ship caused it to begin to break up. Then, as if Paul was not in enough trouble, some of the Roman soldiers threatened to kill all the prisoners. Roman law required that any Roman soldier who allowed a prisoner to escape had to bear the penalty assigned to that prisoner. It was a workable way of discouraging soldiers from taking a bribe. Fearful that in the melee and confusion Paul and the prisoners might swim away, some of the soldiers planned to kill them. Julius, the centurion, wanting to save Paul, put a stop to that and once again nonbelievers survived because, in their midst, there was a man for whom God had a purpose and over whom God was watching. Paul ordered those who could to jump overboard and swim to shore. The rest clung to bits of wreckage and “so it was that all escaped to land” exactly as God had promised (Acts 27:44).
Prayer and Prudence. We use the means God has given us. Ian told me a good story:
Man in Maitland flood. The waters up near the roof of his house. “Hop in the boat, we are here to save you?” “No I trust God.”
A helicopter came along. “Hop in we are here to save you!” “No I trust God.”
He drowned entered heaven “God why didn’t you save me?” “What do you mean? I sent you a boat and a helicopter!”
Charles Spurgeon used to tell this story. He said in a certain nation years ago, a conquering army would go out to conquer, and its leader, when he would meet the enemy, would tell one of the soldiers to put up a white flag. The white flag was placed out there so that the enemy would see it waving in the wind. This meant if the enemy would surrender while the white flag was up there, mercy and grace would be given them. They would be given their lives and their freedom. As the battle would ensue and time would pass and the fighting would become more fierce, more were wounded, and some were killed, then another order finally would be given if the enemy would not surrender: "Put up the black flag!" A soldier would go out and replace the white flag with a black flag. The black flag meant that no one now would live: "When we conquer you, everyone of you will die; there is nothing but judgment for you now."
I am saying to you that God's white flag with love and grace and mercy is up, but there will be a time when God's black flag will be up and there will be no mercy and no grace. God's love will continue but it will not touch you, it will not effect you. You have turned Jesus down for the last time. Nothing but judgment now! I am talking to unbelievers.
Jesus said one day, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Matt. 11:28,29). He says to all men, "Come." Over seven hundred times in the Bible the invitation "COME" is given. Finally, in Revelation 22:17, "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.
The white flag is still up. The black flag has not replaced it as yet. Life's sea is stormy and rough. But today there is grace; tomorrow it could be judgment. The Heavenly Father wants you to come. The Saviour wants you to come. The Spirit wants you to come. There is nothing cheap about all that the Father, all that the Son, all that the Spirit have done to make ~very provision for a safe landing. He wants sinners to come home more than they could ever desire to come.
A minister was riding on a train. The only occupant of the coach except himself was a young man who seemed exceedingly ill at ease. The young man would sit in one seat, get up and go to another, take up a book and drop it again. The minister went over and sat down beside him, asking what was wrong. At first the boy would not answer, but at last the dam broke and he burst forth with this story:
"I've run away from home, and I've been away for a long time. I wanted to go back, and I wrote my father asking if he would take me back. I told him that I would not wait for a reply but would start for home, and if he wants me back to hang a white rag on the crab apple tree near the railroad tracks so that I can see it when the train goes by. If the white rag is not there, I shall understand and go on by. We are getting near and I am afraid to look-afraid the white rag won't be there."
The minister told the lad that he need not look-that he would look for him. The boy sat with his eyes closed, the hand of the minister resting on his knee. As they drew near to where the tree was, the hand of the minister closed tight on the boy's knee as he said, "My boy, there is a white rag on every limb of that tree!"
God wants you to come home even more than those parents. Will you come home to Him now?