Bible Studies

Notes from Bible Studies

Stewardship Is Lordship

Wednesday Bible Study, 1/14/09

Stewardship Is Lordship

Larry Glander

Genesis 3:1-4
  1. Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
  2. And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
  3. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
  4. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

Obviously, that was a lie, because Adam and Eve aren’t around anymore. The scripture describes the devil as “subtil.” Do you suppose he stopped with Adam and Eve, or do you think he still messes with us the same way?

If you’ve got Lordship right, then everything else will follow. Satan can still try to mess with you, but if you’re prayed up and ready, he can’t do anything.

Not only is God no respecter of persons, but he is no respecter of time and place. You can worship and pray to God anywhere, no matter what.

Matthew 7:21
  1. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 6:21
  1. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

You’ve already read this scripture, but you might have forgotten it. If you put your treasure in heaven with God, then you’re going to be seeking him.

Say you’re going to buy that nice thingamabob, and you know you’re getting paid on Friday. When you get paid on Friday, you say “Yes! Now I can get that thingamabob.” Do you treat God that way? God is ready to deposit more into your account at any time, not just on Fridays. All you have to do is ask.

Let’s look at someone who got Lordship right.

John 9:13-23
  1. They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind.
  2. And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.
  3. Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.
  4. Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.
  5. They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet.
  6. But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight.
  7. And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see?
  8. His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind:
  9. But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.
  10. These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.
  11. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.

Did the parents have Lordship right? No. If they did, they would have just answered. But they said, “He is of age, ask him,” because they feared the Jews. They feared “the rock squad.”

But the blind man had it right.

It took Noah a hundred years to build the ark. Do you think he got ridiculed a little bit? Do you think he lost some friends along the way? But he got Lordship right.

Daniel 3:13-15
  1. Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.
  2. Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?
  3. Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

Earlier in the chapter you can read about the golden image that the king had set up.

Daniel 3:16-25
  1. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
  2. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
  3. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
  4. Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.
  5. And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
  6. Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
  7. Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
  8. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
  9. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.
  10. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

Lordship settles the position issue. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew their position. Lordship also settles the permission issue. Do you think they got permission from God to just stand there? Sure they did. I like the part in verse 16 where it says, “we are not careful to answer thee.” But they did answer him. They wanted the king to know about their position and permission. Was the king okay with that? Oh, no.

In Sri Lanka it is against the law to convert someone to Christianity, but they do it. They’ve got to have their Lordship issue right. They might even have to be careful how they answer when they’re questioned about it.

I had to go home and bury my father recently. Having the Lordship issue right doesn’t mean that your feelings and emotions go away. But it gives you the ability to cope with them.

Having that Lordship issue right doesn’t mean your co-workers won’t give you a hard time, but it gives you the strength to put up with it. It means that when they start their unrighteous conversation, the Holy Ghost will convict them. And if that doesn’t stop them, walk out. Silence can be very convicting.

Philippians 2:25-30
  1. Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.
  2. For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick.
  3. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.
  4. I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful.
  5. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation:
  6. Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.

We know that both Paul and Epaphroditus had their Lordship right, because Paul was able to send him. Obviously they knew and cared for each other, but you can’t let your feelings and emotions get in the way of your ministry.

Philippians 2:5-8
  1. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
  2. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
  3. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
  4. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

As God grants you favor, as you grow in your reputation, as long as you humble yourself and give glory to God, your blessings will continue to increase. Jesus humbled himself; he made sure that his flesh was subject to the spirit. That’s part of daily discipline.

Philippians 2:5
  1. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Stewardship

Wednesday Evening Service, 1/7/09

Songs

  • [ We Bring The Sacrifice Of Praise]
  • [ Made Me Glad]
  • [ When The Redeemed Are Gathering In]
  • [ I’m A Child Of The King]
  • [ Create In Me A Clean Heart]
  • [ Blessed Be Your Name]
  • [ Drop Your Nets]
  • [ Lift Jesus Higher]
  • [ How Great Is Our God]

Study: Stewardship

Bruce Avants

Stewardship
(3622 NT) administration (of a household or estate); specially, a (religious) “economy”

A “steward” is someone who is taking care of someone else’s belongings.

Psalms 24:1
  1. The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

You and everything you think you own belongs to God. While we’re here on earth, we’re just taking care of it, and then we’ll have to give account to God for what we did with what he gave us. Even the things that I think of as mine, like my car and my motorcycle, are just on loan.

Matthew 6:33
  1. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Look at the example of Abraham. Because Abraham offered even his son, he was blessed with great wealth. He had so many servants that he was able to destroy five kings in battle. He received all this wealth because he was doing what he was supposed to with what God gave him.

John 13:12-17
  1. So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
  2. Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
  3. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
  4. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
  5. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
  6. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

God has given us an example. He didn’t tell us to do something he hadn’t done himself. He even washed Judas’ feet, knowing where Judas’ heart was, and what he was about to do. So we need to be a servant to those around us, even the ones who aren’t doing what they should. Jesus said,

Matthew 23:11
  1. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.

We’ve got to watch that our pride doesn’t get in the way, so that we’re not doing things for the wrong reasons. It’s all about where your heart is. You can fool everyone else, but you can’t fool God.

Luke 16:10-15
  1. He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
  2. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
  3. And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?
  4. No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
  5. And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.
  6. And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

The things we think are so great and awesome are abominations to God. We’ve got to seek God to get our hearts and minds right, so we can be faithful to God. “I’m not going to mop that floor; I’m a Bible-study teacher!” If that’s your attitude, you won’t hold the position for long. Watch your pastors and leaders. They take care of the church for you.

Matthew 8:19-22
  1. And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
  2. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
  3. And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
  4. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

Consider what kind of attitude do you think you’d have if your Dad died and Pastor Paine said, “Let the dead bury their dead.” Yet that’s exactly what Jesus told this young man, because he needed to get off the fence and decide where his priorities lay.

In the “three chairs” sermon, we learned that chair-one people, the strict Christians, produce chair-one kids. But chair-two people, the easy-going Christians, produce chair-three kids, who don’t live for God at all.

Mark 10:42-45
  1. But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.
  2. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:
  3. And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.
  4. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

You’ve got to put yourself aside in order to be effective in the kingdom of God. You’ve got to allow God to establish his authority over you.

Romans 11:29
  1. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

If you have a talent or ability, you can’t repent of it. You can’t say, “I wish I didn’t have this talent.” Rather, you should say, “How can I apply this talent for God?” There’s a reason I can play a horn. So I set my mind to enjoy the blessings of God. If I were to grumble and complain about it, God would give that talent to someone else, and I’d be left wondering why I can’t do anything for God.

John 21:18
  1. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.

That’s what Jesus told Peters: “When you were young, you did whatever you wanted, to, but not it’s time to get down to business.” Peter was crucified for his faith. Would you be willing to make that same commitment? I’m sure that Peter didn’t enjoy the experience, but he knew that his reward was in heaven. Where is yours?

Luke 17:7-10
  1. But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?
  2. And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
  3. Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
  4. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

We have duties and responsibilities in God. We have things that we have to get done for him. God’s going to reward us, but not until we have blessed him. He says, “I have a job for you, and the end of the job I’ll pay you.” Like most employers, God doesn’t pay in advance. And like most employers, he expects us to do our best. Your best might not be the same as someone else’s best, but God still expects you to do the best you can.

Ecclesiastes 9:10
  1. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

You only get one shot at each minute of your life. What are you doing with them? Nobody can lift their hands and say, “I always do my best.” But you only get one chance; there’s no reincarnation in this life.

1 Peter 4:7-10
  1. But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
  2. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
  3. Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
  4. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Be glad when you get the opportunity to help someone; there’s a blessing in it for you.

The Birth Of Christ

The Birth of Christ

> Pat Taylor

Have you ever felt like there’s not enough time to get everything done during the holidays? You’d think that this would be one of the most blessed, encouraging times, but studies show that this is one of the most depressing times. In the world, there is a sense of depression during this season. But Jesus didn’t come to bring depression; he came to bring joy and peace.

It’s good to visit with family and give gifts, but I think it’s important to take out time and study what God did for us.

We’re going to study:

  • Prophecy of Jesus’ Birth
  • Fulfillment of Prophecy
  • How the Birth of Jesus Affects Us Today

Prophecy of Jesus’ Birth

Genesis 49:10
  1. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

The word Shiloh is a name for the messiah. In this particular verse, Isaac is prophesying of the coming of Jesus.

Isaiah 7:14
  1. Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

I’ve quoted this verse a lot of times, but have you ever looked at the entire context of this verse? Isaiah was speaking to King Ahaz. There were other kings who were looking to make trouble with Israel. Isaiah wen to Ahaz to say, “Don’t worry.” He came to comfort him and tell him that nothing is going to happen. And just to show that it was from God, he told Ahaz to ask of him a sign. Ahaz didn’t want to ask for a sign, lest he tempt God. So the prophet said,

Isaiah 7:13
  1. And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?
Matthew 1:23
  1. Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Isn’t that an awesome sign, when you think of the big picture? What greater sign could God give? What greater thing could he do?

Isaiah 9:6
  1. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

I want to take just a minute on this. This is a short verse, but there’s a lot of meaning. What does it talk about? It talks about this son that is going to come. His name is going to be called “The mighty God, the Everlasting Father.” That goes right back to chapter 7, where he was called “Immanuel”, which means “God with us.”

God didn’t have to come down from heaven; he could have just started over. His gift to us is that we didn’t get wiped out like he threatened to do in Moses’ time. The Old Testament is a sign and likeness of the New Testament, right? So in the New Testament he brought mercy to us. He came himself; he didn’t send somebody else to do his business.

Zechariah 2:10-11
  1. Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD.
  2. And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee.

So there is some of the prophecy of the Old Testament, hundreds and thousands of years before Jesus came onto the scene.

Fulfillment of Prophecy

Now let’s fast-forward and look at how the angel came to Mary.

Luke 1:26-38
  1. And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
  2. To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
  3. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
  4. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
  5. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
  6. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
  7. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
  8. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
  9. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
  10. And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
  11. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
  12. For with God nothing shall be impossible.
  13. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

With God, nothing shall be impossible. Did you ever stop to just consider this? A lot of the time we read from the King James Version, and it’s very literary and poetic. But let’s consider the real-world aspect, and consider the humanity of what’s going on.

Is it surprising that Mary would be troubled by this? Even in my own life, when the General Pastor said, “We’re all moving to Virginia,” a lot of people were troubled by that. It’s not uncommon, that when God says what is coming to pass, that people would be troubled by it. So Mary started asking questions.

It’s okay to ask God questions, when God stirs you up and impresses upon you to do something that you’d rather not do. If you’re troubled about that, and start asking questions, God is okay with that. Notice that when Mary started asking questions, she got answers.

God is okay with asking questions, but ultimately, his goal is that we should answer as Mary, “Be it unto me according to thy word.”

Let’s look at Joseph’s part in all this:

Matthew 1:18-25
  1. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
  2. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
  3. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
  4. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
  5. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
  6. Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
  7. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
  8. And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

So here’s Joseph on the other side of the coin, and God needed to speak to Joseph, too. He needed to know and have assurance from God that this was from God.

I want to make a point. Every new translation gets this wrong. Every place I see the new translation, we see that Mary was “engaged” to Joseph. But “engaged” and “espoused” were two different things. If we read the text, we see that Mary was espoused to Joseph, and the angel said “Mary thy wife”, not “Mary as thy wife”, or “Mary to be thy wife.” If Mary was found with child before they were legally married, she would have been stoned.

This was a huge thing. This was God coming to live with his people.

1 Timothy 3:16
  1. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Read that again.

Manifest:
To make known.
  • God was manifest in the flesh.
  • God was justified in the spirit.
  • God was seen of angels.
  • God was preached unto the Gentiles.
  • God was believed on in the world.
  • God was received up into glory.

It wasn’t the third part of the Trinity; it was God.

Colossians 1:9
  1. For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

We’re talking about that body, that word of God that was made manifest to us.

John 14:7-9
  1. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
  2. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
  3. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

So here’s a pattern. Jesus, the light of the world, was made manifest. He revealed himself to Philip as the father. He said, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the father.”

How the Birth of Jesus Affects Us Today

In this next verse, the apostles have just been beaten for preaching Jesus and performing miracles in his name. And now they’re about to pray.

Acts 4:29-30
  1. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,
  2. By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.

So after preaching and performing miracles in the name of Jesus, they were praying for more boldness.

John 1:1-14
  1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
  2. The same was in the beginning with God.
  3. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
  4. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
  5. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
  6. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
  7. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
  8. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
  9. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
  10. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
  11. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
  12. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
  13. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
  14. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

That’s what it all boils down to. Jesus came that we could be the sons and the daughters of God, so that we could be redeemed. I know there’s a lot of controversy during Christmas, because people say that Jesus wasn’t born in December. Well, thank God that there is a time that we take out to remember our savior. While everbody else is running around to put up their Christmas decorations and buy their Christmas presents, let’s take out time to remember that we do have the spirit of God, and be thankful.

Every Need Is Met

Every Need Is Met

> Larry Glander

Philippians 4:19
  1. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

How many of you have needs? How many don’t? (That was a trick question.)

I looked up the four basic needs of a living organism:

  • Food
  • Air
  • Water
  • Shelter

So who is the living water?

John 4:10
  1. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
Acts 17:25
  1. Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

God gives you breath.

John 6:51
  1. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

Sometimes we don’t think about the air we breathe. My Dad does; he has emphysema. But he still says that any day above-ground is a good day.

Did everyone eat today? I can look around and see that most of us are not malnourished.

We have water in abundance. We even baptize in water, don’t we? But you can drown in too much of a good thing.

Psalms 23:1
  1. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

There are things that I want in life, but they don’t come before my salvation. I want a big house, an island off the coast, a ship, a jet. But those are earthly things. What about your want for heaven? Does God supply that for you?

Do you need to go to heaven, or do you want to go to heaven? For me, it’s both. I need and want it.

Proverbs 18:10
  1. The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.

There’s your shelter. When you’re around people and there’s all kinds of emotion and turmoil and chaos going on, God can give you the protection and solitude you need. God will supply your needs. None of us go without. We might not eat steak every day, but we’re going to eat something. We might not wear the fanciest clothes, but we’re not naked.

1 Peter 5:7
  1. Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Give him those cares. As hard as it is to have faith, do it anyway. Build your faith. How do you increase your faith? By exercising it. How? By doing it. It’s like sit-ups. You get better by doing them, not by thinking about them.

Matthew 6:25-34
  1. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
  2. Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
  3. Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
  4. And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
  5. And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
  6. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
  7. Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
  8. (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
  9. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
  10. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Don’t fret about it; don’t let it consume your day. Don’t worry about what shirt you’re going to wear tomorrow; just wear a clean one. Figure it out and move on; don’t let it consume you. You’ve got enough evil to deal with during the day.

God knows and supplies your needs. So should we just wait for the supplies to arrive?

Hebrews 4:16
  1. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Boldly ask God, but be ready for his answer, too. If you’re praying for a ride to church, and a brother shows up with three other people in the car, maybe you shouldn’t wait for the next ride. If you’re hungry, and you find a can of beans, be thankful. There are people who go without.

Psalms 37:25
  1. I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

That’s powerful, if you really think about it.

Psalms 55:22
  1. Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Have you got your mind made up, really? I had to turn the radio off today, because it was full of too much negativity. Our God owns the cattle in a thousand hills. Gas prices just went down, didn’t they? Are things really all that bad, or is it just a bunch of hype? People are spending the Christmas season talking about how bad things are instead of rejoicing at the gift of salvation. The Lord is my shepherd; I don’t have to want. There are blessings raining down from heaven; so much that I can’t receive them, but I’m going to try.

God will meet your needs. Just don’t let the world distract you from hearing his voice.

Proverbs 10:3
  1. The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.

Your soul will get fed. We have a spiritual banquet here every time we come together. We have a cameraderie that the world wants to destroy. Those who don’t have it, see it and want it.

Yeah, I listen to KLOVE, and they try to be encouraging and motivating. But if you spend time with the Holy Ghost, that’s far more encouraging and motivating.

Psalms 34:7-11
  1. The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
  2. O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
  3. O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
  4. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.
  5. Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

God is there to protect you and meet your needs. It’s like that “Everything” video – all those things were trying to get to that girl, and God just pushed back and they all collapsed. God is doing that for you every day. If you don’t feel that it’s true, then don’t lean on your feelings. Start writing down the many ways in which your life is blessed. You woke up this morning with life and breath. Even better, you have spiritual food and living water.

Sometimes when people fall away and then come back, we almost smother them with love – we love them so much and we’re so glad they came back.

Romans 9:18-21
  1. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
  2. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
  3. Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
  4. Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

God made you who you are, and then he re-made you. That’s the death, burial, and resurrection as a new creature. You’re still the same person, but you can change. If that co-worker doesn’t change, don’t let it discourage you or stop you from growing. The only ground you control is the ground you’re standing on, and the only thoughts you control are your own.

Romans 9:21
  1. Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

Yes, he does. We’re here, aren’t we? Didn’t God harden Pharoah’s heart? Wasn’t that a bad thing? Probably Moses thought so. He’s the one who had to keep going back to talk to him again. But God met his need, and the outcome was freedom for the children of Israel. So what we might have thought was evil, God meant for good. Just because your co-worker won’t change, don’t give up on them. Maybe they won’t change, but maybe somebody else is watching. That’s your testimony.

God meets your needs, even when it’s just the strength to deal with hard-hearted and hard-headed individuals.

1 Kings 17:3-6
  1. Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.
  2. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.
  3. So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.
  4. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.

Did he have air? Water? Food? I’m going to have to say that God provided shelter, and his needs were met. Some of you might be saying, “Ooohh! It came out of the raven’s mouth, and had raven-spit on it.” Well, it’s like that can of beans. It may not be the steak you wanted, but it meets your needs.

So while you think about Christmas, and all the things you want to give and receive, don’t forget to thank your heavenly father for meeting your needs.

Love

Love

> Bruce Avants

We’re going to start with the “Love Chapter”, which is 1 Corinthians 13. When you get time, you should read the whole chapter.

1 Corinthians 13:1-2
  1. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
  2. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

You could have the power of God to move mountains, but if you don’t have love, then you’re nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:13
  1. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Charity is greater than faith. You can’t get into heaven without faith, but charity is even greater.

Hebrews 11:6
  1. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

What good is trusting in God to do something, if you don’t do it with charity?

John 1:12
  1. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

If you’ve received God, you’ve received power to become his son. It’s not automatic, but you can do it. How do you become his son? Through love. I have a boss who is beyond picky. He comes to tell me there are major problems with a report I turned in, and it turns out that I forgot to put “N/A” in an empty block.

John 13:35
  1. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Look around yourself and remember when you were lost. How many of these people would you have hung out with? We’ve got the geeks and the freaks and the jocks – they never got along with each other in High School, but God changed all that. It’s not enough to just understand the scriptures; you’ve got to apply them.

John 21:15-17
  1. So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
  2. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
  3. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Does anybody know why Jesus said that three times? He said it three times because Peter was still sitting there. You can’t feed his sheep while you’re just sitting there. And God is telling us the same thing. He says, “If you love me, prove it.”

Galatians 5:6
  1. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

Your background doesn’t matter. How religious you are doesn’t matter. Most of us tried to avoid religious people when we were lost, but now some of us are a little like that. We’ve got to reach out for a reason, not just to be “right.” We’ve got to do things in love, just like Jesus did.

Romans 12:9-10
  1. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
  2. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

“Without dissimulation” means you’re not faking it. You’re sincere. There will be some people who rub you the wrong way, but you’ve got to find something good about them. If you look for it, you’ll find it. I’ve never met anyone I couldn’t find something good about them.

Proverbs 15:1
  1. A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

You don’t have to be someone’s welcome mat, but even when someone else is wrong, there’s a diplomatic way to tell him – you don’t have to rub his nose in it.

Proverbs 17:9
  1. He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

Gossip is spiritual murder. When you engage in gossip, you cause division, and some people never recover from that. Sometimes it’s best to just keep silent. Don’t tell anybody else but God.

Matthew 7:3-5
  1. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
  2. Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
  3. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

We used to have a mirror that said across the top “Find fault here first.” When you look in the mirror, you’ll see the person who causes most of your problems. But when you’ve got issues, you can be more considerate and compassionate of someone else who has issues.

Romans 15:1-3
  1. We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
  2. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
  3. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

Jesus took it on the chin for us; we ought to do the same for others. If a person has a problem or an issue, you ought to bear that infirmity. Clarence and I get along great now, but when we were living in the same house, we used to be at each others’ throats. After a long time, I realized that most of the problem was me. But Clarence dealt with it and dealt with it and dealt with it. And that’s how we’ve got to be with our younger brothers, or even our older brothers who don’t have a clue.

Galatians 6:1-3
  1. Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
  2. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
  3. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

If you’re spiritual, it’s because you’ve got the Holy Ghost in your life. It’s not because you’re better than someone else. It says, “lest thou also be tempted.” You may not be tempted to do what they’re doing; you may be tempted to look down on them. And then you’re playing “holier than thou.” But tomorrow, you may be at a weak point where that person is at a strong point. If he’s got a burden, help him out. Because tomorrow, he may be the one who is helping you out.

Isaiah 64:6
  1. But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

We’ve all been in this situation. Nobody is excused. When we realize that, it’s easy to help someone else. And when we help someone else, God may be able to let us realize things that we never understood before. Just remember that it’s God who gave that understanding; you didn’t obtain it by yourself. You’ve got to stay humble to be used of God.

1 Thessalonians 5:11-13
  1. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
  2. And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
  3. And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

It’s important to know those who labor among you and those who are over you. How well do you know your pastor, your department-head? When you really understand someone, it’s easier to pray for them. Your pastors carry a heavy load; they need your help.

1 Peter 4:8
  1. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

There are a multitude of sins in the world, even in the church. But charity will over them, because it helps restore your brother back in the faith. Have fervent charity. Fervent means without stopping. So have that love among yourselves, and it will cover a multitude of sins, even yours.

Daily Dedication

Daily Dedication

> Pat Taylor

What sort of things can you be dedicated to in life?

  • work
  • family
  • hobbies
  • values
  • drug addiction
  • relationship
  • sports
  • weight-loss

If you’re dedicated to weight-loss, and every day for a week you weigh everything you eat. Let’s see, three peas, and four carrots, and four ounces of meat… Is it dedicated if you do that for a week and then pig-out at McDonalds? No. I think we have a basic understanding of

Dedication
A renewal of consecration
Consecration
To make or declare to be sacred, to appropriate for sacred used, to set apart, dedicate, or devote to the service and worship of God.

I’d take that one step farther, to consecrate ourselves, because we are the church, right?

2 Chronicles 6:20
  1. That thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward this place.

You see where Solomon is coming before the people; they’ve just built the temple. He says, “The heaven of heavens cannot contain God, let alone this building. But if you turn your hearts toward God in this place, he will hear you.”

In another example, Hannah was desperately praying for a child. She promises God that if he gives her a child, she would dedicate him to ministry. God did, and she was faithful to keep her end of the bargain. After he was weaned, she took him to the temple, and he became one of the mightiest prophets in the Old Testament.

Psalms 61:8
  1. So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.

Being a Christian, living and having a relationship with God, is more than just checking a box. It’s a continual effort. If you have a relationship with your Mom, you don’t call her once and then never again. But imagine on the day you got baptized, and you had that communication with Jesus, but afterward you never listened to God, obeyed God, or had any kind of relationship with him. That doesn’t sound like dedication, does it?

Ecclesiastes 5:3-6
  1. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.
  2. When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.
  3. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.
  4. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?

When we commit something to God’s hand, God expects us to come through with our part of the covenant. Let’s look at some people who have made vows of consecration to God. Let’s look at Jonah. He had made some bad choices, then come to his senses, had a prayer meeting with God, and here we read the conclusion:

Jonah 2:9
  1. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

A lot of people think that sacrifice is something from the Old Testament; now that we’re under grace we don’t need it.

Romans 12:1-2
  1. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
  2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Wow. This was Paul, basically begging the church. “I beseech you … to present your bodies a living sacrifice.” The term sacrifice means “to slaughter, or to kill”. So you’re living, yet dead. Dead to the world, yet living to God. It’s your reasonable service, not something up and above. And he says to not be conformed to the world. The world wants us to conform, doesn’t it? There’s a lot of pressure to behave a certain way.

Luke 9:23-26
  1. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
  2. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
  3. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
  4. For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.

So Jesus is telling us to forget about everything else. How many people here have been saved for over ten years? And of those, how many people are living a life that we couldn’t have even imagined when we started? How many people have changed their plans in life?

When we get saved, God has a plan for our life.

Pastor Thomas tells of a time when he attended a city council meeting, and he heard them pray, “God, bless our decisions.” How many of us are like that? We went to make or own plans, and then have God bless them. But we should say, “God, I have a plan. But if it’s not the right plan, if it’s not your plan, I ask that you change it.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
  1. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
  2. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
  3. While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

So in the big picture, though it seems outwardly that we give up a lot of things to come to Christ, our inward man is renewed day by day. Paul calls it “our light affliction,” because he had his eyes on “a more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

1 Corinthians 15:31
  1. I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our LORD, I die daily.

There seems to be a pattern in Paul’s writings about the death of the natural man. I’m sure that Paul had plans for his life before he became a Christian. He was like a Harvard graduate in today’s terms. He said that he profited much in the Jews’ religion. But when he became saved, he realized that there are far higher goals to be obtained.

1 Peter 2:5
  1. Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

So, built up as lively stones, a spiritual house. You are priests in your own household, and what you offer up are spiritual sacrifices. In the Old Testament, we know they had animal sacrifices. They took a bull or a calf and hacked them up, and offered them up to God. We know that sacrifice is killing or slaughtering. A sacrifice isn’t just painful to the one being sacrificed. In the Old Testament, it was also painful to the one doing the sacrificing. That bullock or cow could have been very valuable. God wanted the very best. So usually, a sacrifice is osmething that we’d really rather not do. That’s what makes it a sacrifice.

1 Peter 2:9-11
  1. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
  2. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
  3. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

So there’s that word again: “beseech.” The apostles and elders wanted us to understand that there’s some sacrifice that needs to happen in our lives.

So how do we do this sacrifice? How do we stay on track?

Luke 21:36
  1. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

We need to watch and pray always.

There’s a lot in the Bible about helping each other through the daily battles and trials.

Hebrews 3:13
  1. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

That means that we need to encourage one another. We need to encourage and exhort one another daily.

Hebrews 10:25
  1. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

I never thought I’d get out of the Navy before the world ends. I figured that in four years, it’d all be over. But that’s how the early church thought, too. Even today, every time I pick up the newspaper, I think, “How much farther can it be down the road?” But it doesn’t matter whether it’s ten years or it’s ten thousand years.

Let’s look at the book of of Acts. That’s the “acts” of the disciples, what they did after the great commission.

Acts 2:46
  1. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

When I was looking for a church, I remember praying and reading this scripture. I remember reading how the people lived, and saying to myself, “Where are these people?” I used to get in my car every Saturday, and drive twenty or thirty miles from my house, visiting one church after another. And every church said that they were right and everybody else was wrong. But I couldn’t find a church that had this daily communion with God. I asked God, “Hey, were are these people?” And God sent me here.

These people were continuing daily in one accord. There was no division, no arguments. First it says, “in the temple,” because they were Jews. But then they continued “breaking bread from house to house,” exhorting and encouraging one another.

2 Corinthians 6:14-17
  1. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
  2. And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
  3. And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
  4. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

Be not unequally yoked toegether with unbelievers. A yoke is what they used to connect two oxen together so they could plow the field or perform some other task together. Imagine some big, strong, muscle-bound dude pulling together with a scrawny weakling like me. If we’re both pulling on the same chain, trying to get a car out of the ditch, who is getting the better deal, and who is getting the short end of the stick? The scrawny weakling isn’t going to be working as hard, that’s for sure.

If we’re connected together with spiritually-weak people, we’re getting the short end of the stick. So if you want the long end of the stick, you need to surround yourself with spiritually stronger people, who will help you to grow stronger, too.

People who really want to excel in sports seek out a coach that really pushes them, one that won’t take wimpy excuses. If you have a coach that you can call up an hour after training started with some weak excuse like you were tired and decided to take a rest, that coach won’t take you to the Olympics. How important is it to you to make it to heaven? Paul likened our spiritual walk with God to preparing for a physical contest. This is the apostle Paul, a man with a powerful walk with God. But he looks at it like a race, where only one person can win the prize.

1 Corinthians 9:19-27
  1. For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
  2. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
  3. To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
  4. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
  5. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
  6. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
  7. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
  8. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
  9. But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

This is the message that Paul sent to a man while in prison:

Colossians 4:17
  1. And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.

That is the same message we need to receive today. We need to have a daily dedication to God, and fulfil it.

A Christian Testimony

A Christian Testimony

> Larry Glander

Being “instant in season and out of season” doesn’t always mean picking up a Bible and teaching a study.

We were all born human, and had to learn to feed and dress ourselves, but most of us were adults by the time we learned the gospel.

This study is about how we should behave as Christian adults.

Philippians 2:15-16
  1. That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
  2. Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

Do you think that was just talking about 2,000 years ago? It sounds pretty modern-day to me. If somebody lays blame on you as a Christian, then rejoice! But also be aware of what you’re doing, because people are watching you. If you’re standing near a conversation that’s ungodly, people who watch will assume that you’re taking part in that ungodly conversation.

Matthew 10:16
  1. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Who said that? Jesus. It’s a promise. “I’m going to send you out there as sheep among wolves. You’re gonna be in danger. But be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove.” I don’t want to mess with a snake. If you’re wise, you’ll patiently wait for the right time to speak and the right thing to say. You’re not out there swinging your Holy-Roller sword preaching “You’re a sinner and you’re going to hell!” Would that encourage someone to seek God or to seek your demise?

I was in the Navy. People would come to me with questions about scriptures, or for prayer. Why? I wasn’t out there condemning them.

Ephesians 4:25-27
  1. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
  2. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
  3. Neither give place to the devil.

Don’t give the devil any glory; don’t say “The devil made me do it.” He didn’t. You did it yourself. You know, one of the hardest things is to go and apologize to a lost person because they were right and you were wrong. But if you do, you’ll earn his respect.

Galatians 6:10
  1. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

That verse doesn’t say we have to do bad to the lost. How can we “compel them to come in” if we’re mean to them all the time?

1 Thessalonians 5:14-21
  1. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
  2. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
  3. Rejoice evermore.
  4. Pray without ceasing.
  5. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
  6. Quench not the Spirit.
  7. Despise not prophesyings.
  8. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

There’s a list of things to do. These are normal Christian things to do.

1 Thessalonians 5:22
  1. Abstain from all appearance of evil.

Yeah, we’re in the year 2008, almost 2009, but we’re still human. We have to eat, sleep, go to work, make a living, and interact with lost people. There will come a time when you’re at the end of your rope, ready to blow your cork. You start thinking, “how close to sin can I come…” Why get that close? Why do you let Satan get you that angry? Are you not prayed up? I have a temper; I have flesh that gets in the way, but I seek God.

Romans 14:12-23
  1. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
  2. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
  3. I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
  4. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
  5. Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
  6. For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
  7. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
  8. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
  9. For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
  10. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
  11. Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
  12. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Sometimes we may do something that annoys somebody, but to offend them? That’s bad. If I know that Ken Marshall just hates the smell of onions, and I chopped some up and ate them, and then got really close to Ken Marshall saying “Hhhhiii, Ken! HHhhhhooow’re ya doooooooing?” Would that be right, if I know that it offends him?

Romans 15:1-2
  1. We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
  2. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

How many of you have neighbors? Do good to them! Even if you’re in the Navy, you still have neighbors. If the guy in the next rack leaves his wet towel on the floor, hang it up for him. If he leaves his boondockers out, put them away with your stuff and get them back to him later. If you do the little things with a right heart, they’ll come back to you later.

1 Corinthians 9:19-22
  1. For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
  2. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
  3. To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
  4. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

People who sign up for the Boston Marathon, no matter how hard they train, won’t win a prize if they stay at the starting line after the gun goes off. And how hard is it to run this race we’re in? It’s as easy as breathing, unless you have emphasema.

Galatians 5:7-9
  1. Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
  2. This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.
  3. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

How many of you who were invited to this church, the person who invited you is no longer attending? About half. Wow. Why are you still here? Because it’s not about the person who invited you; it’s about the spirit you found when you got here. About six months after I got saved, the person who invited me said “Oh well,” and gave it up. I’m not saying “Oh, well”; I’m not giving up! Some people complain that they can’t live a Christian life because they don’t have enough “free time.” Well, I was an indentured servant in the Navy for twelve years, and I didn’t lack for “free time.” And when you think about it, it’s all God’s time.

1 Timothy 4:12-16
  1. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
  2. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
  3. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
  4. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
  5. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

That’s powerful, the whole thing, but especially the last verse. You’ve got to get out there and share the word. None of us know it all. (We may think we do, but stand by; God will humble us.) Paul was writing to Timothy telling him to do these things, but also to go out there and tell others to do these things.

God will bless your life, and in time, people will walk up to you and tell you “God has really blessed your life.” Or maybe they don’t understand what a blessing is, so they’ll say, “You’re really lucky.” That’s your opportunity to tell them how and why God has blessed your life and made you “lucky.”

1 Peter 2:9-16
  1. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
  2. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
  3. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
  4. Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
  5. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
  6. Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
  7. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
  8. As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

Sometimes the acts that you do in faith will cause people to wonder about their own lives.

Colossians 3:15-17
  1. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
  2. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
  3. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Brotherhood

Brotherhood

> Jay Ugali

How many of you have brothers? I was thinking that it’s a blessing to be here. We’re all different. Anybody from Guam? I’m the only one. It’s a miracle that we’re all here together. When I first got to this church, I thought it was amazing! There were black people talking to white people, just like they saw each other every day. I thought to myself, “This must be a Sunday thing.” But no, it wasn’t.

Luke 17:1
  1. Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!

How many of you know that your brother is going to offend you?

Luke 17:2
  1. It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

Sometimes, you just want to throw him in the ocean.

Luke 17:3
  1. Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

Notice that it says to take heed to yourself. Another scripture says:

John 13:35
  1. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Luke 17:4
  1. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

Has anyone actually been offended by the same brother seven times in a day? What do you want to do about it? You want to smack him. And the disciples heard this and said:

Luke 17:5
  1. And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

It’s like, “Man, we’ve got to put up with all this?” Yup. This is a temporary condition, but while we’re here on this earth, we’ve got to put up with each other.

Luke 17:6
  1. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

Jesus was looking to help them increase their faith.

Luke 17:7
  1. But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?

You don’t tell your servant, “You can come and sit down with me.”

Luke 17:8-9
  1. And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
  2. Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.

Have you ever seen those millionaires who have butlers? How many times does he thank the butler? He doesn’t. Why? Because it’s his job.

Mark 12:30-31
  1. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
  2. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
Luke 17:10
  1. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
Romans 12:1
  1. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

What was the problem with Job’s friends? They were miserable comforters, because they thought Job had sinned. They just looked at the outward appearance.

Job 16:2
  1. I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.

The devil knows this, and he tries to use it to divide us.

1 Peter 5:8
  1. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
1 Samuel 17:17-18
  1. And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren.
  2. And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge.

So he’s going to carry all this food. Sometimes a brother has an attitude like, “Can you take that, and that, and that.” Maybe you’ve got something else to do. Do you suppose that a brother is happy when a brother says, “Hey, that trash needs to be taken out!” Yet he doesn’t do it himself. But here is David, and he didn’t complain. No wonder he was made a king at such a young age. Do you suppose he woke up that morning and said, “I’m going to fight Goliath today.” No, of course not!

1 Samuel 17:19-24
  1. Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.
  2. And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle.
  3. For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army.
  4. And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren.
  5. And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them.
  6. And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid.

What is wrong with this picture? Like, what’s the whole job of the army? They should be protecting Israel. But David was already getting pumped up, saying “Did you hear what he was saying?!!”

1 Samuel 17:25
  1. And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father’s house free in Israel.

And the army is still shaking in their boots. The only reason David stepped up to do the job is because the army wasn’t doing theirs. He wasn’t called to be in the army; he was called to watch sheep. But because of his heart, God chose him. If he had been afraid like all the rest, then God no doubt would have chosen someone else.

We’re in the army of the Lord. It’s our job to get out there and fight those battles.

1 Samuel 17:26-28
  1. And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?
  2. And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him.
  3. And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.

Wait a minute! Now they’re concerned about who’s doing his job. See how the accusations come up? Understand that we come together for a purpose. We can’t be picking on every little thing someone else does. You’ve got to focus on your own walk with God.

1 Samuel 17:29
  1. And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?

So not only was his brother against David, but the whole army was against him! Anybody could have gone out there and fought Goliath, if they had faith. They should have been building up David, not tearing him down. And we should be building one another up. We’re not here to build the bricks of the building; we’re here to build one another up.

Matthew 5:23-24
  1. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
  2. Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

First notice that it’s not you having ought against your brother; it’s a brother having ought against you. What is Jesus saying? He’s saying, “I don’t want your gift. Go and be reconciled with your brother.” Sometimes that’s pretty humbling.

2 Chronicles 7:14
  1. If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

After God rebuked Job, who did he get mad at next? The miserable comforters.

Job 42:7
  1. And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.

Wow! Now watch; it gets funnier.

Job 42:8
  1. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.

You guys see what’s going on here? God is saying, “I don’t want to hear from you guys. You give it to Job and I’ll take it from him.” Are you a miserable comforter? It’s like what Jesus said to Peter:

Luke 22:32
  1. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Back to Job:

Job 42:9-10
  1. So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job.
  2. And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

So God turned the captivity of Job when? When he prayed for his friends. It’s like the scripture that says,

Matthew 5:25
  1. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.

Sometimes your adversary may be your brother.

Matthew 7:1-3
  1. Judge not, that ye be not judged.
  2. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
  3. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

What is a mote? It’s a little, itty-bitty thing. But you want to take that little, itty-bitty fault that brother has, and explode it into a big thing. You should love your neighbor as yourelf. How would you want to be treated? If that person has a mote in his eye, what do you have in your eye?

You know, amongst the brothers there are going to be wheats and tares.

Matthew 13:24-30
  1. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
  2. But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
  3. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
  4. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
  5. He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
  6. But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
  7. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

When I read this, I had to ask myself: Am I a wheat, or am I a tare? Am I only here because if they pulled me out, somebody else would leave? If you take up the tares, the wheat will also come out. So examine yourselves: Are you a tare, or are you a wheat? I said to myself, “I’ve got to make sure I’m a wheat.” It’s like, “Are you a goat or are you a sheep?”

Matthew 25:31
  1. When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

Is this a parable? No, he’s talking about future events.

Matthew 25:32-39
  1. And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
  2. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
  3. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
  4. For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
  5. Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
  6. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
  7. When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
  8. Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

You see what’s going on here? They’re scratching their heads, saying “Uh… Jesus? When did we do this to you?”

Matthew 25:40
  1. And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

If you do it to your brothers, you do it to Jesus. So however you treat your brothers, you treat Jesus the same way. You can’t tell which ones are wheat and which ones are tares, so you’ve got to treat them all the same way.

John 14:21
  1. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

So we’ve got to do his commandments and keep him. Then Jesus will manifest himself. Does that mean he’ll appear like a burning bush? No, but sometimes you’ll have a prayer, and a brother will say, “Wow. That’s just what I needed to hear.” If you prepare your heart before God, then God will give you all the tools you need to complete your ministry. How is your ministry doing? Do you even have a ministry? You should.

How many know that Paul was on fire for the church?

Acts 20:17
  1. And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.

Who did he call? The elders of the church.

Acts 20:18-20
  1. And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,
  2. Serving the LORD with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:
  3. And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,

See, Paul is sharing his testimony and his love for the church. He’s talking to the elders, saying “Hey, you guys know this.”

Acts 20:21-22
  1. Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:

That’s faith. He didn’t know what’s going to happen. How many of you that moved here knew exactly what would happen? But we do it because we have faith, we love God, and we love the brethren.

Acts 20:23-24
  1. Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.
  2. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Sometimes you just want to read this with a little passion. “But none of these things move me,…” How many of you like to see a miserable Christian? I remember seeing a guy back when I was in High School, and he was going from person to person, talking to them about God. And he was doing it with joy! I thought to mmyself, “That takes some guts. That takes some real conviction.” It’s like, “What is this dude smoking?” It really convicted me, because I went to church, but I didn’t do anything like that guy did.

Acts 20:25-28
  1. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.
  2. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
  3. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
  4. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

That scripture really convicts me. You’ve got to take heed to yourself and to the flock. We’re bought with a price; he purchased it with his own blood.Feed the church, just like Jesus told Peter:

John 21:17
  1. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

How many times do we rub each other the wrong way? I do it to Pastor Taylor all the time. All the time, he says, “Some people’s kids!”

Acts 20:29-31
  1. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
  2. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
  3. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

He had the church on his mind all the time. He really cared.

Acts 20:32-38
  1. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
  2. I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.
  3. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.
  4. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
  5. And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.
  6. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him,
  7. Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.

That’s an example to us of a man who truly loved God, and was addicted to the ministry, like Stephenas:

1 Corinthians 16:15
  1. I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)

So when you see one another in need, I appreciate it when you help it out. That’s love in action. Jesus is still working with us, right? How many of us are perfect? So help build one another up.

Holiness

Wednesday Evening Bible Study, 11/05/08

Holiness

> Pastor Paine

I heard someone say that when you’re writing notes, you should write not just what the person is saying, but also what you’re thinking. You might hear something tonight in addition to the scriptures.

Titus 2:11-12
  1. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
  2. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Whose responsibility is it to deny ungodliness? It is my responsibility. There are ungodly influences out there, and it’s up to us to deny it, reject it, refuse it out of our lives.

Let’s spend a moment on worldly lusts. We don’t have to be taught those. A dog doesn’t have to be taught to eat meat. It doesn’t have to go to school for that. It’s natural. We sometimes talk about our society being so corrupt, and that’s the influence. And that’s true. But worldly lusts are natural; they don’t have to be taught.

So how do we live soberly, righteously, and godly?

Titus 2:13
  1. Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Sometimes the way to live spiritually victoriously in the moment is to look beyond the moment. Both “that blessed hope” and “the glorious appearing of our Great God and Savior” look beyond the present moment.

Put one hand close to your face with the thumb up, and put the other hand straight out in front of you with the thumb up. Now focus on the thumb that’s close to your face. Can you see the other thumb? Is it in focus? Now change your focus on the thum that’s at arm’s length. Can you see the close thumb? Is it in focus?

As silly as it may seem, that’s an exercise to demonstrate our focus. We have to focus on that blessed hope and glorious appearing – that’s how we can live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present moment.

Now some of you are saying, “But there’s grace.”

Romans 6:1-4
  1. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
  2. God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
  3. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
  4. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

We weren’t baptized into his death so that we could live the same way we were living before we were baptized. We were baptized into his death so that we could be raised to walk in newness of life. It matters how we live.

So saints, this message tonight is about holiness.

Titus 2:14
  1. Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

We’re not supposed to be like the world. We’re supposed to stand out, not peculiar in a negative way, but peculiar in a positive way. My neighbor asked me the other day, “Are you always this happy?” I answered, “Yes.” Then he asked, “How does your wife put up with you?” It isn’t something that you put on like a hat. It has to be part of our nature. We have to deny, to starve our human nature and let the spiritual man prosper.

Yes, I’m living right here on planet earth, the same as you. But I don’t want to please everybody around me; I want to please God.

I remember a command party back in the 70’s when everybody was asked to contribute five dollars to pay for the alcohol. So I went to talk to my chief and said, “Chief, don’t misunderstand me; I’m going to give you my five dollars, because you’re asking everybody to contribute. But I’m not going to drink. He said, “Oh yes you will! I’m in charge of this party, and you’re going to drink at my party.” I stood up to him and said, in front of all his gold stripes, “Chief, with all due respect, there are many things you can do to me; there are many things you can make me do, but drinking at the command party isn’t one of them.”

God expects us to stand out.

Titus 2:15
  1. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
1 John 2:15
  1. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

We have to make a choice; it’s a mmatter of prioirities. I’m a “car guy”. I’ve been known to say, “I love that car.” Ladies, have you ever said, “I love this dress.” or “I love these shoes.” It’s about priority. It’s about what you put first.

Matthew 6:33
  1. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
1 John 2:16-17
  1. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
  2. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Focus on the right thing. Focus on that which is godly. Yes, you’re in the world, and it’s in your view, but focus on that which is godly.

James 1:12-15
  1. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
  2. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
  3. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
  4. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

The devil will tell you that there is no consequence to sin. But there is a consequence to sin. If you’re not living a godly life, you don’t have the testimony you want to have. Have you ever wanted to give somebody a gift, but you couldn’t afford it? Spiritually, not living a godly life puts us in that kind of position, when we want to be a spiritual blessing to somebody else. You say, “Well, I wish I could make a difference,” but you’re not living a godly life, so you don’t have the resources.

Romans 12:2
  1. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Some of you want to live a spiritual life, and you’re so close to your victory, there’s not twenty-eight things you have to give up; there’s just once.

When I was sixteen years old, I wanted to borrow the family car one Friday night. Dad said, “No, I already told Jim he could use it.” I asked him, “Why did you tell Jim he could use it?” He said, “Jim waxed it the other day.”

Are you preparing for your blessing? I’m not talking about earning it. A gift is a gift is a gift. But are you preparing for it?

Romans 8:4-5
  1. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
  2. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

We want the spiritual blessings, but if we mind the things of the flesh, we’ll never be prepared for them.

Romans 8:6-7
  1. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
  2. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

What did Jesus say when he found the disciples, and it was time for them to leave the life they had behind and embrace the life he had for them?

Matthew 4:19
  1. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

He didn’t say I’ll make you fishers of men, and then you can follow me.

Some of you are so close to your breakthrough, but the devil keeps tripping you at every corner. It’s time for you to say, “I’m not going to trip over the same stumblingblock again.” It’s time for you to pray it through and say, “God, show me what I need to do to have my breakthrough.”

Romans 8:9-14
  1. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
  2. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
  3. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
  4. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
  5. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
  6. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
1 Thessalonians 5:21-23
  1. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
  2. Abstain from all appearance of evil.
  3. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
James 4:17
  1. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18
  1. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
  2. And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
  3. And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
  4. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
  5. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Romans 13:9-11
  1. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
  2. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
  3. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

Somebody here tonight is going to wake out of your sleep and step forward saying, “God, you can count on me. I’m going to turn my back on the world and I’m going to embrace what you’ve got for me, God.” You can’t have it both ways.

When the comedian Jeff Foxworthy was asked how marriage had affected his life, he answered “In my dating habits.” Well, marriage is supposed to affect your dating habits!

How has Christianity affected your life? If you’re living the way God wants you to, you’ll be victoriously. I’m talking about holiness, living a life that matters, living a life that God can bless.

James 4:1-4
  1. From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
  2. Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
  3. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
  4. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

I’m teaching this study because we’re about to have some miracles in this ministry. Ralph Howarth was healed of a serious back condition this Sunday. Is anybody here ready for a miracle, a healing, a breakthrough? Some of you are just “marking time” here in church. It’s time for somebody to stop marking time and start marching.

(Pastor Paine starts marching in place, with an increasingly loud step.)

Monday! Tuesday! Mark-time, march! Mid-week, Service! Mark-time, march! Thursday, Friday! Mark-time, march! Saturday, Sunday! Got to go, to church! Monday, Tuesday! Mark-time, march! Got the, same problems! I had, last week! Time to, stop marking time! Time to, start marching!

(Pastor Paine starts marching around the sanctuary, and one by one, people begin to march behind him.)

Stop marking time! And start marching! Stop marking time! And start marching!

Profit and Loss

Profit and Loss

> Pat Taylor

I was thinking about God’s economy. “So much, I can’t contain it; so much, I’ve got to give it away.”

If you read the newspapers about what’s going on in our economy, it seems to be going down the tubes. The president of the Federal Reserve Bank was quoted as saying “The United States appears to be in a recession.” Well, thank you for that information.

Jesus put worldly gain in perspective.

Matthew 16:24-26
  1. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
  2. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
  3. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

A lot of the times you’ll find things in the Bible to be just the reverse of our worldly perspective. In Godly terms, loss equals profit. If we lose our lives for his sake, that’s gain. Of course, we’re talking about spiritual, not worldly currency.

There are places in the world where people are happy because the dollar is plummeting. But spiritual currency never loses its value; it’s good for eternity.

Some people invest their entire life into living a few good years after age sixty-five. And a lot of them never live to see it. (Forty-nine percent of all men, in fact.) But Christians are looking way past sixty-five, eighty-five, a hundred-and-five.

Matthew 6:19-21
  1. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
  2. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
  3. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Where’s your heart? Where are you laying up your treasures? Where is your focus? I know people who have lost fifty thousand dollars in one day. I know other people who have lost their entire savings in a week. There’s a lot of people walking around unhappy because they stored up their treasure in the world.

There is a lot of opportunity to talk to people about spiritual things today, because they’re looking for an answer in their lives.

James 1:12
  1. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Ecclesiastes 5:15
  1. As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.

Is that wisdom? If you’re just working for this life, you’re going to carry nothing away. So why do we put so much emphasis on investment plans? Life is a vapor.

Matthew 6:33
  1. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

If you look at the context, God knows what we have need of.

1 Timothy 6:8
  1. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

So what investment tools do we have?

  1. Prayer
  2. Fasting
  3. Studying the Scriptures

I like lists. I like knowing what I have to do. Where can I find a concise list of what I need to do as a new Christian? Here’s a good start:

2 Peter 1:4-10
  1. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
  2. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
  3. And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
  4. And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
  5. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  6. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
  7. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

What a promise! If you do these things, you shall never fall! There’s a promise. If we follow this diligently, there’s a template. Now, there’s a lot of endurance, a lot of trials and temptations that go into this. But the end of doing those things is, “ye shall never fall.” You can take the Bible seriously. When Jesus says this is the way it is, that’s something you can put some stock in.

James 1:27
  1. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

I know this is a silly idea, but Jesus used a lot of worldly examples to keep things simple for simple people like me. Can you imagine if every time you did something on the list, like prayer, a gold bar fell in your lap? But if you think spiritually, when we invest in our spiritual future, we’re investing in our enternal future. Nothing can take it away. We don’t have to worry about the bankers on Wall Street taking it away.

Matthew 25:14-30
  1. For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
  2. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
  3. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
  4. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
  5. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
  6. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
  7. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
  8. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
  9. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
  10. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
  11. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
  12. And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
  13. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
  14. Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
  15. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
  16. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
  17. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

I don’t think God was trying to teach us an example of what we should do with our money; I think the example goes deeper than that. The example, in the context of profit and loss, teaches us that God expects a return on his investment. He demands that we do something with what he has given us. Woe be unto us if we hide what the Lord has given us under a rock.

Proverbs 24:20
  1. For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.
Luke 12:16-21
  1. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
  2. And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
  3. And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
  4. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
  5. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
  6. So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

I don’t want to be quoted out of context. I’m not counseling everyone to go and cash in their 401k’s or anything. But this last line says,

Luke 12:21
  1. So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

Jesus called that man a fool. I don’t want to be a fool. I want to be a wise and prudent investor of God’s resources.

Matthew 7:21
  1. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Obviously there is something for us to do; there is a plan for us to follow.

Titus 3:8
  1. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

This is the retirement plan that Jesus has in store for those who stick it out with him. I’ve never heard of anything better. Even governemnt workers don’t get anything like it.

Revelation 21:21-27
  1. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
  2. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
  3. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
  4. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
  5. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
  6. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.
  7. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

I suggest that you read this a few times, that you post it somewhere so that you see it from time to time. They say that if you’ve got a goal in this life, you should get a picture of it and post it somewhere so that you can remind yourself what you’re working toward. It’s easy to say, “Yeah, but that’s a long ways away.” There are two kinds of investments: short-term, and long-term. People who are looking at long-term investments sacrifice a lot of things in the short-term. Spiritually, we can do the same thing. Moses was invested for the long term; he looked at the big picture:

Hebrews 11:24-26
  1. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;
  2. Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
  3. Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

We have a great future for us and for those we hope to lead for Christ. We could be focused on the pleasures of sin for a season, on what’s pleasant right now, but there is a great day of reckoning coming.

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