18 May 2015

THIS IS WHAT LOVE LOOKS LIKE


1 Thess 4:9-10

Have you ever said something you wish you could take back? And when your confronted and guilt sets in,  you say “sorry, please forgive me”, and they respond with “why should I forgive you?”  You answer with “I’m a Christian.” Wrong answer! Why? The name Christian is something that gets abused today by many in the church. When we use the term Christian to get ourselves out of a bind thinking everything is going to be ok and all were doing is destroying the name that has been given to us at such a high price [meaning the cross]. It’s one thing to say that you are a Christian; it’s another thing to prove you are a Christian by the way you live your life. There should only be one way in which we are to live! Godly for the glory of Christ, in the gospel. See, how we respond to the gospel and God’s word will directly and indirectly influence how we respond to others in the church and outside the church….even the ones who seem unlovable!
  • Just as we need the Spirit to show us ours sin and desperate need redemption.
  • Just as we need the Spirit to save us from the flaming judgement of God.
  • Just as we need the Spirit to sanctify us unto holy living and aspirations pleasing to God.
  • Just as we need the Spirit to keep us holy and blameless before a holy God.
The same rule applies when it comes to loving one another. You and I cannot love one another in our own strength! You will fail; you and I need to rely upon the Spirit’s work in our lives as we take this journey home. God’s ultimate goal and desire is that we reflect the image and likeness of God. See God’s glory is reflected in and through our lives. The Apostle Paul said “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.  Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,” Phil 2:12-15

Loving other is hard work! Spiritual sweat…….it’s something that each and everyone us need to submit or yield to; this is something the Spirit wants to see displayed in our lives. As the bible says when it comes to the idea of loving others! Because there is no room for “but I can’t love that person" Jesus said love your enemies…….Matt 5:43. Jesus said love those who hate you……Luke 6:27. Paul said love your wife…….Eph 5:25. Paul said love your children…….Eph 6:4. The Apostle Peter said love covers a multitude of sin…….1 Peter 4:8. Again, Jesus said they will know you are my disciple if you love one another…….John 13:35

When genuine love is on display for the whole world to see, then love has no limitations to what it can do outside the church in our communities. How do I know I love as the bible speaks of? First, are you born again under the saving grace found in Jesus Christ alone ?Secondly, is your passion for the church and others selfless for the glory of Christ? Paul leaves us bread crumbs to how we are to strive as God’s reflections in this kind of unlimited love.

YOUR LOVE SHOWS

Paul says you have had the greatest teacher, teaching you how to truly love others. “taught by God”  (v9) it’s the expression that conveys the idea of an inborn knowledge made available by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. See, the type of love the bible teaches is the characterized by God’s divine nature. What do I mean by that? The way we can understand true love is found in the attributes of God. Because God is love. We read in John’s epistle “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:8-11. This is where we are taught what true love is! Not some fabricated or emotional rush that makes us fell warm for a season or lusting over your boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s a love that is sacrificial, a character of who we are, not something we do ,but something we are. You can read a thousand books on the subject….but none will ever come close enough o truly explain what love is. Why? God is love and He is the plumb line in how were to love the ones sitting in the pews of our church. Genuine love is displayed outwardly, by inward change of heart….that only God can change and supply. As Ezekiel said “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Eze 36:26. Just as we lack the ability to abstain” from sexual immorality [sin] without the Spirits empowerment, we also lack the ability to love others without God’s sovereign help. God transforms our lives, not only to walk in holiness, but to love others as He loved us. Do you truly love those sitting in this sanctuary?

YOUR LOVES GOES

Not only did they outwardly display a genuine love [not manufactured] but a genuine love for their church family. They also loved the surrounding churches, which have been set apart from God. How does this work in the Christian life? Through the transforming work of the gospel. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Cor 5:17. Their new nature gave them the ability to not only to love their church family, but also the ability to love the surrounding churches that embraced the true gospel. It says “what you are doing to all the brothers’ throughout Macedonia” (v10a). What is Paul trying to say? They had a deep rooted relationship with God, which naturally gave them a deep rooted love for other believers in the surrounding churches. Such as Philippi and Berea as it says in the book of Acts. As one writer summed up this verse “their love for other churches literally went the distance.” Not only are we called to love our church, but God calls us to love His churches as well. Remember what Paul wrote in the beginning of his letter “your….labour of love”  (1:3). They genuinely and I mean they really cared for their surrounding brothers and sisters. Think about how important it is, that we do care about true evangelical churches that are filled with our brothers and sisters. These are hard days and troubling times for many churches……

  • Many churches are fighting for survival
  • A decline in membership
  • A decline is serving and helping where help is needed.
  • Internal conflicts, which needs forgiveness, repentance and restoration.
  • The strong influence from the world.
  • Financial struggles that have lead many …especially rural churches, to close its doors.
For some of us, we might think that is ok! We can drive down the road a little further and go to the next one, that is bigger and better and it a lot offers more for my family. Do you hear how that sounds? Its selfishness. Small rural churches that were established by a couple of families hundreds of years ago, that had a desire and a hope for reaching their community with the gospel. And for a season it does and then we see a massive decline.
Why? The next generation grows up and they see bigger is better and they forget the ones who founded the church for the purpose of the gospel. They don’t want to serve or give, to help keep the message going in their community. We live in a generation that is me centered, and me focused. We forget about those whom God has placed in our lives and we tend to seek what’s best for me. This is the exact opposite of the Thessalonica church! They loved with cared deeply about their surrounding brothers and sisters.The church was never intended to be an island in its own community or a Lone ranger when it came to the work of the gospel. He has called all true "BIBLE BELIEVING" churches to do His work together. We are not in competition with First Baptist in Arnprior, Nepean Baptist, Pineland, Potters House, Lyndock, Eganville, Purdy, and Community and so on! We are to work together to keep each other accountable and strong during these hard times….when the world is trying so hard to conform the church to its standards. We are to take interest, invest our lives into one another.

As one writer said “one of the true tests of our love for others is our ability to rejoice when God chooses to bless others more than He blesses us….God’s love in us enables us to love others the way that God loved us – unconditionally. When we willfully withhold our love from others, especially those who belong to God’s church, we rob others of the love they deserve, and we rob ourselves of the joy that comes from loving others.” Nothing thrills me more as a pastor to know that the churches we support and churches I love, are preaching the truth this morning. It reminds me of what Paul wrote to Philemon. “I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.” Philemon 1-7. The churches in Thessalonica were on a journey together and they wanted their fellow brothers and sisters to know they cared and that they were here for them.

YOUR LOVE GROWS

Just as we are to grow in our relationship with God, we are to grow in our relationship with one another. This is something that needs to be done and happening more and more in our lives. However, as exemplary as the Thessalian’s love was, it was not perfect! And Paul wanted them to grow more and more…..striving each and every day for the glory of His name. See, loving one another is not an item you check off your list of things I did today. It’s not I said “I love my wife already” so I don’t have to say it anymore. It’s not that I was kind to my neighbor and I can be miserable with rest of my community for the remainder of the day. Loving others is an ongoing activity in the life of a child of God. Just as God is progressively sanctifying us minute by minute, we are to progressively [meaning actively] loving others more today than you did yesterday. Loving others is to become easier, not harder, as we walk the road to Heaven. Why? This is a sign you are genuinely growing in your Christian life. One of the greatest examples of that love is found in John’s gospel in the 13th chapter when Jesus washed the disciples feet. And what’s amazing about this portion of scripture is that it starts off with wonderful truth about God’s everlasting love for His set apart children. “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” John 13:1. God’s love is endless and his love for them knows no end! And He gives us a truth that we are to do the same…..  “For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” John 13:15. Loving, sacrificing and serving one another in the same love that never ends. It’s called pursuing love for the glory of His name. It’s the idea of excelling more and more” this should be our virtue as a church and as individuals under the gospel. Where have we seen this kind of growing love displayed?

HOW ABOUT……In the life of Joseph…… “And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them. After that his brothers talked with him.” Gen 45:15. Jonathan…..  And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul.” 1 Sam 20:17. In the purpose of Jesus Christ….. “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” Rom 5:6-9. In you and me…… “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Heb10:23-25. Love is not, an emotion or a flash in in the pants, but a deep rooted joy, that only comes from the gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit. This is what we are to be pursuing as we strive in holiness and walking in purity. A love that super exceeds for the glory of His name. A love that as Jesus had that went both deep and wide. Our love must have no limits or boundaries. As one writer said “we cannot obey God’s command to love one another “even more” if we selectively choose whom we will and will not love.”

Let me leave you one more example! David finally became king over all Israel, he inquired if there were any left of Saul’s house or family by saying“Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake” 2 Sam 9:1. Normally, this would be bad news for the former king’s family because the new customarily killed all remaining relatives to remove the threat of any of his heirs from retaking the throne or stirring up trouble in the kingdom. “…And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, ‘Mephibosheth!’ And he answered, ‘Behold, I am your servant.’ And David said to him, ‘Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.’ And he paid homage and said, ‘What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I'” 2 Sam 9:5-8. And David responds with “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson.  And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master’s grandson may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth your master’s grandson shall always eat at my table” 2 Sam 9:9b-10. 

What a picture of God’s love. We are all helplessly crippled by sin. We must humble ourselves before our king as Mephibosheth did before David. Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson, who for years relentlessly pursued and tried to kill David was provided for and placed at the king’s table as David graciously said he “shall always eat at my table.” Mephibosheth was treated like the king’s son, he was accepted graciously at the king’s table, he was able to be in the king’s presence, and he was able to be provided with all that he needed for the rest of his life even though he was helpless to do anything else.  Mephibosheth couldn’t even provide for his own living. Wasn’t that us before we were saved?  To know that we can dine at the Lord’s Table, someday at the great marriage feast with the King of kings, and we will forever abide with Him, even though helpless, cripples (by sin) who could never survive in our own strength or by our own means. When I read about this account!  I think remind myself of the grace that He has shown me! Can you and I, love others here, and in the true church like that?

10 May 2015

MOTHERS ARE A BLESSED PEOPLE


There was a Greeting Card video that went viral about a job posting online and in the newspaper looking for a “Director of Operations” so they held real interviews    online through Skype chat with potential applicants looking for a legitimate job. And they described this job to the applicants as one of the hardest jobs in the world. They went on to say….. It’s a position that requires more than 135 hours per week, constant mobility, keen coordination and adept communication. There are no breaks, no holidays off, and there is no pay. As a matter of fact the work load gets even greater around the holiday season. You need to be able to work standing up most of the time. You will be consently on your feet, bending, a high level of stamina. You must be able to work in a chaotic environment. You are to have degree in medicine, finance and the culinary arts. And he finishes by saying “there are billions of people who hold this position! ………..MOMS

Moms are such a blessing and a blessed people group! Don’t get me wrong as we open God’s word…..every one of us are a blessed people whether single, married or barren. But today I want to give a special honor to the mother! According to the bible she is a blessed person who wears many hats. But let me clarify by saying this first! The Bible never states that every woman should be a mother. However the bible does say that those whom the Lord blesses to be mothers should take the responsibility seriously…...And this message is for you moms. As one writer said “Mothers have a unique and crucial role in the lives of their children. Motherhood is not a chore or unpleasant task. Just as a mother bears a child during pregnancy, and just as a mother feeds and cares for a child during infancy, so mothers also play an ongoing role in the lives of their children, whether they are adolescents, teenagers, young adults, or even adults with children of their own. While the role of motherhood must change and develop, the love, care, nurture, and encouragement a mother gives should never cease”

Take for example several things are commanded of Christian mothers in God’s Word: Availability – morning, noon, and night (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). Involvement – interacting, discussing, thinking, and processing life together (Ephesians 6:4). Teaching – the Scriptures and a proper biblical worldview (Psalm 78:5-6; Deuteronomy 4:10; Ephesians 6:4). Training – helping a child to develop skills and discover his/her strengths (Proverbs 22:6). Discipline – teaching the fear of the Lord, drawing the line consistently, lovingly, firmly (Ephesians 6:4; Hebrews 12:5-11; Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:15-17). Nurturing-  by providing an environment of constant verbal support, freedom to fail, acceptance, affection, unconditional love (Titus 2:4; 2 Timothy 1:7; Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:1-2; Galatians 5:22; 1 Peter 3:8-9). Modeling Integrity – living what you say, being a model from which a child can learn by “catching” the essence of godly living (Deuteronomy 4:9, 15, 23; Proverbs 10:9; 11:3; Psalm 37:18, 37).

Why would God put such emphasis on the mother? I came across this in my studies that a university 600 students were asked to write on a piece of paper the most beautiful word in the English language. 422 wrote the word MOTHER and 112 wrote the word HOMEWhy those answers? Home is where you will always find mom. I want us to look some important characteristics that get overlooked or minimized by our culture and the church at times when it comes to role of the mom.

HOME-MAKING IS GOD’S DIVINE ASSIGNMENT

Titus 2:3-5 says Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Keeping the home is God’s assignment to the wife-even down to changing the sheets, doing the laundry, and scrubbing the floors. Paul admonishes the older women to teach the younger women, among other things, “to love their husbands and children, … to be busy at home” which literally means in the Greek “home-workers”. Being a homemaker is very hard at times and sometimes unrewarding but in all reality it’s very rewarding because you are fulfilling your God given call! So teach this to your daughters and prepare them for their God given role as a wife and a mother if the Lord choses to give them a family.

HOME-MAKING IS A NOBLE POSITION OF GREAT WORTH.

Proverbs 31:10 we read “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.” Women join men in the search for accomplishments and positive assessments. We all have an inherent desire to have worth. God’s ideal woman has such worth…we as husbands and you children should tell or express that truth daily to them. Their job nine times out of ten goes unnoticed and unthanked for. She is so worthy in the family you can’t even put a price on her worth to the family. John MacArthur says "one of the unique features of the bible is the way it exalts [elevates, praises] women. Far from ever demeaning or belittling women, Scripture often seems to go out of the way to pay homage to them, to ennoble their roles in society and family, to acknowledge the importance of their influence, and exalt the virtues of women who were particularly godly examples" In fact, her worth cannot be fixed or estimated-it is “far more than rubies”The question is, of course, clear……. Who has such worth? The Hebrew word hayil, translates “virtuous” but more literally “strength,”. This means the general character of a mother is…..
Strong and full of mental energy. She is invaluable (extremely useful); her price is far above rubies (priceless). No quantity of precious stones can be equal to her worth…..not Gold, not silver, diamonds or rubies. She is truly a lovely wife and mother and a blessing to the family. This is found also in Proverbs 12:4 “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband..” and in Ruth 3:11 we read what Boaz said to Ruth’s worth“ And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.” Never, ever think being a homemaker as something to be ashamed about! I hold you with high honor.

HOME-MAKING IS YOUR GOD GIVEN OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE.

Genesis 2:18 we read Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." The wife was created by God to be her husband’s “helper” in the Hebrew, literally “a help like or corresponding to himself,” There is nothing demeaning about being a helper. It is very challenging and rewarding responsibility as we see also in the wonderful passage of Proverbs 31. The bible declares that…..
  • A mom is gifted with her hands and willingly works using them (v13)
  • A mom collects the best for her family (v14)
  • A mom labours hard for her family (v15)
  • A mom provides food for her family (v15)
  • A mom is resourceful (v16 - v17)
  • A mom knows how to budget wisely and she knows what to invest in that is going to benefit her family
  • A mom helps others (v20)
  • A mom anticipates the seasons, and prepares for them (v21)
  • A mom makes clothing and sells things from her handy work (v22-v24)

In the end though all that hard work and physical sweat she receives the greatest earthly reward! We read “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all." (v38-v39). Moms are extremely blessed and praised through their service to their family and others.

See, the bible is very clear when it comes to family and their roles in the home! Moms have a very special role and bond that no man could have or truly understand. What I mean by this is that they experience something we as men will never get the privilege too. The feeling of a child swimming around in her stomach for 5 months. The feeling and the warmth of that child when he or she is born. The feeling of responsibility that has been placed on her shoulders to care and nurture this blessing from God. As the Psalmist says “Children are a gift from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3-5). Moms are great model of servant hood and grace. To the moms here you are amazing women, who do amazing things! Don’t ever consider being a homemaker a menial and unworthy job that is only suited for the uneducated woman who can’t get work. Because let me boast to you about the mother of my children as it says in Prov 31:28 “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her

My wonderful house wife…….
  • Has a degree in law.
  • Has finished her education in the top of her class.
  • Has ran multi-million dollar inventory across Canada at Sear’s Canada
  • Is a school teacher of 5 and a devoted woman who loves the LORD with her heart, mind and strength.
  • Is selfless in everything she does, and we love her for that and we as a family continue to thank God every day for her.

I know for a fact that our family will always come first to her no matter what………even if it would cost her life for her child. Just like this story…..I came across about a young mother who was making her way across the hills of South Wales, carrying her tiny baby in her arms, when she was overtaken by a blinding blizzard. She never reached her destination and when the blizzard had subsided her body was found by searchers beneath a mound of snow. But they discovered that before her death, she had taken off all her outer clothing and wrapped it about her baby. When they unwrapped the child, to their great surprise and joy, they found he was alive and well. She had mounded her body over his and given her life for her child, proving the depths of her mother love….”

Moms around the globe are amazing and we need to remind them of that daily! To the entire mom’s around the globe who takes their God’s plan seriously for the family! Thank You a million times over. Gospel Coalition had a wonderful blog post about moms last year “8 Things I Want My Toddler to Thank His Mom For in 20 Years
  • Thank you for putting Christ before me.
  • Thank you for showing me grace, not works.
  • Thank you for showing me repentance, not false perfection.
  • Thank you for caring more about my character than my abilities.
  • Thank you for knowing that gospelling me was your and Dad's job.
  • Thank you for loving Daddy.
  • Thank you for giving me chances to serve.
  • Thank you for showing me what sacrificial love is.

As Ruth Graham said “As a mother, my job is to take care of what is possible and trust God with the impossible” Remember what the polls said about the most beautiful word in the English language………….MOTHERThe Sunday Question for us husbands and children. Have you shown her how much you truly value her role today? 



Thank You MOM! :)



04 May 2015

DON’T DO IT PLEASE!


1 Thess 4:1-8

There’s a story about a group of coach drivers applying for a job. One of them would be chosen to carry the king’s children up and down a narrow, winding road leading up to the king’s mountain-top castle. With dozens of steep drop-offs and no guardrails, it was a daunting assignment. The king’s chief asked each candidate this question: HOW CLOSE CAN YOU GET TO THE EDGE WITHOUT GOING OVER? The applicants offered various responses indicating their confidence in skill! One man boasted he could drive the horses at nearly full speed for the entire length of the road, always keeping within 6 inches from the edge. The interviewer was unimpressed. Finally, one driver stepped forward and responded, “Sir, if it’s the king’s children, I want to stay as far from the edge as I possibly can.” This man was hired for the job.” This should be our answer when we are faced with a decision that will affect our Christian walk with a holy a merciful God! Shouldn’t it? As we look into the scriptures this morning let me ask you a question: HOW CLOSE DO YOU WANT TO THE EDGE......BEFORE FALLING OVER THE CLIFF? 

See....There is nothing more I want in life....than to please the God of the Bible. The same God who saved me from what I was.......lost and without hope! The same God who picked up this lost soul wandered in the desert for 30 years. Shouldn’t that be enough to make me live my life to please Him? The question that always comes to my mind is: “WHAT MORE DOES HE NEED TO DO, IN ORDER FOR ME TO LIVE MY LIFE THAT IS PLEASING TO HIM?” He has given me a new life these past 14 years. He has given me the ability to glorify His name by living my life for Him...Because He is worth it! As we look into this letter this morning! We see Paul shifting gears from a personal side to a warning (a cautious) side! Because we all face this each and every day (men, women, young and old) no one is immune to this. This is what any good shepherd does......He care about the flock so much to warn them about any a danger that might lie ahead. Paul requests (humbly suggests, exhorts) the church to strive in holiness (v1) Paul requests the church to strive for spiritual excellence (to excel) which means to abound, to overflow) in their Christian life

How does a Christian do that? By walking in the holiness that Christ Jesus gives us through the Holy Spirit. But understand, God has to be the benefactor for this work in our lives. Why is this important for a Christian to walk in holiness? Because the Bible says so! “Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God. And you shall keep My statutes, and perform them: I am the LORD who sanctifies you.” Lev 20:7-8. As Peter said “ but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY." 1 Peter 1:15-16. And here in our text! (v7) “For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.” Paul was telling that they were (we are) to walk in holiness because it will helps us to do; helps us to stand strong to what the Lord says next! Look at (Verse 3-4).

Do you realize that society teaches us (men and women)?
  • To test drive a car before purchasing it
  • Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free
  • Live together before you decide to tie the knot
  • Sow your wild oats before you get the ball and chain
  • Casual sex is lots of fun ...........everybody is doing it
  • If it feels good!  How can it be wrong?
  • It won 10 Day Time Emmy Awards
  • Go ahead! Your one click away from paradise
  • This is the number one best selling romance novel
  • It won’t hurt.....Nobody will ever know
In reality these things leave a person empty and wanting more, which ultimately it leads to Hell and the wrath of God. Paul was deeply passionate for his spiritual babies a s they grow in their sanctification. Paul knew that the times were very tough when it came to this issue of sexuality. The city was filled with:
  • Fornication
  • Adultery
  • Men dressing like women (transvestite)
  • Homosexuality
  • Pedophilia
  • A wide variety of pornographic and erotic perversion
What made it worse was this was being done by a seared conscience and a society that accepted, embraced this form of behaviour. “Seared conscience” by definition means “The conscience is the God-given moral consciousness within each of us. If the conscience is “seared”—literally “cauterized”—then it has been rendered insensitive. Such a conscience does not work properly; it’s as if “spiritual scar tissue” has dulled the sense of right and wrong. Just as the hide of an animal scarred with a branding iron becomes numb to further pain, so the heart of an individual with a seared conscience is desensitized to moral pangs.” Remember they didn’t have an influence of Christianity on its institutions. As John MacArthur said “….The Thessalonians grew up with no Christian traditions to support laws and standards that forbid the grosser manifestations of immorality. Pagan Greek society apparently did not have civil laws to prohibit immoral behaviour.” We don’t have that problem today in North America, do we? Listen to these extremely saddening statistics (across Canada and the States)
  • 59% believe its ok to have sexual fantasies or thoughts about someone.
  • 60% believe its ok for someone of the opposite sex to live together before marriage.
  • 42% believe its ok to have sexual relationship with someone of the opposite sex to whom you are not married too.
  • 38% believe that looking at pictures of nudity or explicit sexual behaviour is just fine.
  • 30% believe a sexual relationship with someone of the same sex is a morally acceptable behaviour.
  • Hollywood produces about 400 films a year to the porn industry’s 11,000.
In 2008 a study was done of undergraduates and graduate students ages 18-24.....it showed: 69% percent of men and 10% of women viewed pornography more than once a month. In 2009 the most searched word on the internet for kids ages 7 and under was “porn” according to data by OnlineFamily.Norton.com. For all kids.....those up to 18.....”Sex” was number 4, and “porn” was number 5, most searched words. In a Time Magazine story about a 2003 meeting of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, where of the 350 attendees, 62% said  of them said “the internet played a significant role in divorces in the past year, with excessive interest in online porn contributing to more than half of such cases.” Dr Land said “I’m convinced that millions of men and boys are being destroyed by pornography, and statistics show that women and girls are joining their numbers” Daniel Weiss of Focus on the Family agrees with this statement by Land! He says “the church really needs to be concerned about this “Why?

Leadership magazine commissioned a poll of a thousand pastors! 12% of the pastors indicated that they had committed adultery while in the ministry (that’s 1 out of 8 pastors) 23%  of the pastors said “they had done something they considered sexually inappropriate”. Christianity Today surveyed a thousand of its subscribers who were mostly: Church leaders, Deacons, Sunday School Teachers and they found the figures to nearly double. 23% saying they had extra martial relations, 45% indicated that they had done something they themselves deemed sexually inappropriate, 1 out of 4 Christian men are unfaithful and nearly one half have behaved unbecomingly.

Can I boldly say without you getting angry with me? The church has lost its grip on what it means to live holy and set apart unto the Lord, when we read statistics like this. Can I say, it’s no wonder society is in the shape it’s in, when we see what our Government trying, and succeeding,  to pass immoral laws for the greater good of a few people. Canada has is becoming “cauterized” to the moral standards in which God placed for our lives.

Remember Society teaches and promotes openly by the way to……
  • Just do it!
  • Don’t worry, be happy.
  • Do it your way as Frank Sinatra sang it.
  • Mind your own business and tolerant of me and my lifestyle.
  • I’m not hurting anyone!
Paul was so concerned for his spiritual children that they didn’t fall to the perversion of that day. The same can be applied to us today in this present perverse generation. The simple truth is "Don’t Do it". What should be our (your) number one desire.....goal.....in our daily walk ....Christian? To walk and grow in obedience to Him. This is His will for our lives............... which He set apart for His glory! (Look at the first part of v3). If you are a born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ He has set you apart (By His divine power and providence). “Sanctification” includes the ideas of consecration, purification, dedication and holiness. The dominant idea of sanctification is separation from the secular and sinful and setting apart for a sacred purpose, for God’s special use, all made possible by the atoning work of Christ. We are sanctified by the finishing work on the Cross which is our position in our sanctification. Heb 10:10 “By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”  1 Cor 1:2 “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus,...” There is another part of our sanctification that most Christians take for granted or forget sometimes. It’s called progressive or practical sanctification! Practical godly living (walking in holiness). Which requires? You (me) to separate ourselves from all forms of sin! Before this can work! We need to learn to trust the Holy Spirit to make us holy. Holiness is not produced by personal passivity or just letting go and letting God, as some have taught. This is a process that each and every one of must go through until the believers death or the Lord’s  Return. We all have different struggles and things that we need to separate from in our lives, but we must preserver none the less.

Paul wanted his loved ones to understand that this was God’s will for their lives! Don’t do it I love you and want you to know that sin tears at the heart of God, before it tears at ours. God loves us and desires our complete dependence upon Him and cares for His children deeply to walk in the light where He is. Sin is devastating and it leaves permanent marks on a person’s life. Sadly for many, it leads to death and judgement. As John Owen said “be killing sin or sin be killing you.” Remember that a major problem for the early church was maintaining sexual purity. Paul mentions one particular sin they drew deep concern and it’s something that has many perversions attached to it! (v3-v4)

We are to abstain (means) complete self-discipline....in this case staying completely away from any thought or behaviour that violates the principles of God. It implies a rupture from a former association. “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Rom 8:13-14. In Rom 6:19I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.” Though you once walked according to the flesh, now walk in the Jesus’ righteousness. Never put yourself in any situation that is going to cause you fall into sin! Especially this sin! Don’t go, hang out, or touch something that is going to cause you to fall in sin. 

“Sexual immorality” it’s a term that describes any form of illicit sexual behaviour; this includes unclean thoughts and intentions whether their physical or mental.....Sexual immorality in the Greek here means “Porneia” this word was originally was used especially to describe the practice of consorting with prostitutes (porneis = “prostitute”) and eventually came to mean “habitual immorality.” Porneia is the comprehensive term denoting any and every form of sexual practice that lies outside the circle of God's revealed will, including adultery, premarital and extramarital physical relations, homosexuality, bestiality and any other perversion of God's design. Sadly we are guilty of this! "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matt 5:27-28. This is one of the hardest things to hurdle over for most men and some women! In light of what I told you about a few minutes ago! Especially when it comes to marriage...any sexual relationship that deviates from the monogamous relationship between a man and a wife is immoral by God’s standards! “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb 13:4). God takes this issue seriously...this is no laughing matter especially in the church. This is just the tip of the iceberg...it goes much deeper than that!

We are to....

  • Flee
  • Run
  • Turn around
  • Turn it off
  • Throw it out
  • Go in the opposite direction
This is supposed to be done at ALL TIMES when there is any form of illicit sexual behaviour!
  • What about T.V? TURN IT OFF          
  • What about the movie I rented? REVIEW FIRST ON CHRISTIAN WEBSITE (Plugged In by Focus On the Family is a great resource)
  • What about the internet? DISCONNECT OR PUT A FILTER ON IT (USE COVENANT EYES)
  • What about the magazine racks at the grocery store? LOOK THE OTHER WAY
  • What about the people I hang out with in school? FIND NEW FRIENDS
But, I can’t do Pastor Mike….I'm not strong enough, I always fail! Your right in saying that. We can't do it in our own strength, we need Christ to see us through our temptation of sexual sin by the work of the Holy Spirit. We need to be focused Heavenward and be more concerned about disobeying God's will for our lives, than fulfilling my lusts and passions.Think about Joseph for a moment! Here was a young boy whose hormones were probably going a mile a minute. Here was a young boy who worked for a very powerful man named Potiphar. Here was a young boy who was face to face  with a beautiful older woman who had no problem with what she was doing when it came to sexual  immorality. She was the same kind of person Paul spoke about in (v4) not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who did not know God”. Which means:  uncontrollable desires; compelling feelings; out of control craving. Unregenerate people practice this as a way of life, all sorts of immoral sexual behaviour just as Potiphar wife try to do with Joseph on numerous occasions according to Genesis 39. What did Joseph do in this situation? HE RAN THE OTHER WAY FROM ALL FORMS OF SEXUAL IMMORALITY.  In Gen 39:8-9 we read "Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" He heard that voice behind him saying “Don’t Do it! And in (v12) “But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside.” The Word of God says we are to present our bodies as living sacrifices unto God which is our reasonable service. Joseph knew what was most important to him “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" The Word of God says we are abounding more in more by walking in holiness which pleasing to God! Not man or selfish desires. Look what Paul says in the end of (v4) “You should know how to posses his own vessel”

What does that mean?  To gain mastery over. We as believers are personally responsible to control his or her body! (Before God) don’t say “the Devil made me do it.” Believers are to maintain self-control (the fruits of the Spirit). You know what your weaknesses and strengths are better than anyone else. You may think you know what you can handle...... “but the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked” Jer 17:9. We are to keep (abstain) our bodies from all forms of sexual immorality at all costs! Paul uses the term “vessel” which means “body” Some theologians said this meant wife! Because of what Peter said in his epistle “the weaker vessel”  Others theologians say this means you, and me! By what Paul says “Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonour?” Rom 9:21. I tend to sway to the camp of its speaking to you and me! Why? Because Paul gives such high honor for the wife throughout his writings to the churches! Especially to the church in Ephesus. I agree with Leon Morris when he said “it’s a very low view that thinks of the wife as no more than a vessel for gratifying the husband’s sexual desires” She is much more than that! Paul said we are to posses our bodies with self control and walking in holiness which is our sanctification! Paul goes even further to say “Don’t even do this to you brother or sister” (v6)

Don’t sin against and take advantage of other believers! A Marriage that is on the rocks and you come in as a knight in shining armour to sweep her off her feet and she begins to have feelings for you.... DON’T DO THAT! I like to spend a lot of time with the pastor…… DON”T DO THAT! My parents don’t understand me like my coach or my favourite teacher does....... DON”T DO THAT! I feel special when I’m alone with him or her.....DON’T DO THAT! Can I ask you a personal Sunday question! Are fleeing or are you staying? The Lord Jesus bought you with a great price.........All He asks of you is? Separate yourself from the former lusts of your heart and flee all forms of sexual immoral behaviour. If you don’t believe me! You’re only rejecting God; this is His will for you! Not mine (v8). One day you won’t be standing in front of Paul or me....You will be standing before Almighty God who wills that you be set apart for Him.....by abounding more and more in your sanctification....in your holiness unto Him! God’s desire is to produce holy people who would walk worthy of the divine call into the Kingdom and glory! Not sexual immoral children who desire to feed their selfish passions: As the Gentiles did....As Potiphar wife did....As Delilah did. As Watchmen Nee reminds us men “An affection which is not inspired by the Lord will soon be transformed into lust. Samson is not alone in the history of man in failing in this regard. Delilah is still cutting the hair of man today!” SO CHURCH FAMILY I LOVING WARN YOU.....Don’t Do it! He calls you to holiness and as He set you apart for Him! “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision (no excuses, or buts) for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” Rom 13:14. SO! Flee and run to the Saviour for He is our only means of victory over sexual immorality! Every time you do.......He is whispering into your ears, into your conscience…… DON”T DO IT!


27 April 2015

CAN YOU TRULY PRAY THIS PRAYER?


1 Thess 3:9-13

Prayer, what is it? And what is good for? Before we try and answer those questions, let’s look at what the bible says about prayer. First, it’s a command from God….. “Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.” Isaiah 55:6. Second, it is to be offered by us to a holy God…… “Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and my God, For to You I will pray.” Psalm 5:2. Third, we have the privilege to pray only through the saving grace of Christ…… “For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” Eph 2:18. Fourth, it is to be done through the Spirit…… “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” Jude 20-21. Fifth, it’s lifting up one soul to God…….. “Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven.” Lam 3:41. Sixth, it’s to be offered with sincere lips…… “ O LORD, attend to my cry; Give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips.” Psalm 17:1. See prayer is something that we have as a privilege, not a right but a blessing that has been freely given to us by a holy God through the finishing work founded in the gospel. That’s what prayer is church family; a command, recognizing who is our God, a privilege through the saving work of Jesus Christ, a genuine desire through the work of the Spirit and its exalting God because we desperately need Him for everything.

So what is prayer good for! The answer is found in this portion of Paul’s letter! Let’s read (v9-v13). We need to understand as we read any letter by Paul that he is a passionate, zealous, loving and jealous man of the gospel, who is very transparent; whether he is speaking, writing or praying. This is how we are to be in the church! Transparent and open [an open book] not to gossip or point fingers but to come along side and help and lift each other up to a holy God who desires His children to walking together  hand in hand in the gospel. The prayer that Paul gives here in these short sentences is something I want you to think about as we dissect this beautiful prayer. Can you pray this prayer for those in this sanctuary? Paul exemplifies for us that we can and should pray this for one another. Why? Paul knew prayer is a vital piece to the Christian life and its one of the pillars of the church.

As Luke penned these words “And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Acts 2:42. So I ask you again! Can you truly pray this prayer, for those who are seating in this sanctuary? Paul was a man who willing shared…. his doubts, hopes, concerns, joys, sorrows and weaknesses. But the most profound thing Paul loved to share was his prayer life. Through his prayers we can see into the heart of a man’s love for God and his love for God’s elect children. As one Theologian said “a genuine love for Jesus produces a profound love for the church, and you cannot love God’s church if you do not love God’s people." Paul shows us how you and I ought to pray for one another…the reason we pray! So we are going to see how you and I can answer that question that I put before you this morning! Can you pray this prayer?

WE ARE TO BE PASSIONATE IN OUR PRAYERS FOR ONE ANOTHER.

Paul’s loved those people dearly and praying for these people meant the world to him. (v9-v10). The emphasis in (v10) “day and night” is not so much on what time of day he prayed, but rather on how fervent he was in praying for them. E. M Bounds spoke of this kind of passion when praying! “The praying which makes a prayerful ministry is not a little praying in as we put flavor to give it a pleasant smack, but the praying must be in the body, and form the blood and bones. Prayer is no petty duty, put into a corner; no piecemeal performance made out of fragments of time which have been snatched from business and other engagements of life; but it means that the best of our time, the heart of our time and strength must be given” We often don’t take prayer seriously and we sometimes –pass it off as meaningless and why bother! Paul’s fervency in prayer is the pattern we should be following, whether it’s privately and corporately. Think about when you child asks you for something, you will never hear them beat around the bush when they make their request. They let their parents know exactly what they want and how badly they want it. But given the lack of fervency and passion in some of our prayers, no wonder many of them go unanswered. We lack the zeal and passion when we pray and we treat as a duty, rather than a passion to lift each up, to a holy God. Are you prayer constantly for one another on a daily basis? If you’re not…… you better keep listening to this letter from Paul. If you are…….you better keep listening to this letter from Paul.

WE ARE TO BE PERSISTENT IN OUR PRAYERS FOR ONE ANOTHER.

Praying earnestly or exceedingly helps us to understand the intensity or the focus of our prayers as we see here with Paul. It’s the idea of not being distracted or wandering in your thoughts as the disciples did in the garden. Jesus said this “And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, "So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matt 26:40-41. The emphasis of Paul’s prayer resolves around his “need” or desire for God to “direct” his way back to them. Again as we read here in (v11) “….direct our way back to you” we have already seen in the previous chapter (2:18) “…we wanted to come to you.” What I find amazing with this prayer is that Paul didn’t have a long list of things or names to fill the air with his prayer time. He had one desire! To be with them. As one writer said “Paul’s prayers were specific, persistent and always focused.” 

“direct” is the idea of conducting one straight to a place, and not by a round-about course. He didn't ramble on or have a list to go through as you would if you went shopping. He was focused [persistent] on this burden and the burden he had for this church. It’s the same way we should approach prayer for one another. Where have we seen this kind of persistence? In Luke chapter 11 we read “And he said to them, "Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves, or a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him'; and he will answer from within, 'Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything'? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" Luke 11:5-13

Persistence conveys the idea of “urgency, earnestness, boldness and relentless” It’s the idea of someone begging on the streets for food or money. Jesus, always taught a healthy prayer life is persistent and specific. We come boldly, not arrogantly! But boldly to the throne with our praise and petitions. We are to do the same when we pray for one another. Though we may not get the answers right away, we must preserve with the specifics and wait for His good timing.

WE ARE TO BE PURPOSEFUL IN OUR PRAYERS FOR ONE ANOTHER

Spiritual growth was Paul’s deepest desire for these young in the faith Christians. Even though this was a faithful church and walking in the right direction, Paul was always concerned for the spiritual well-being with his prayer focused that they would grow deeper and stronger each and every day. We see that in (V10) “that we may see your face, and perfect what was lacking in your faith?” It’s the idea that I “might render it complete, or fill up anything which is missing.” It’s not that Paul thought the church was wishy-washy; he just wanted to see them grow stronger spiritually. So he prays this very specific and purposeful prayer! (v11-13). That you may increase more and  more by His sovereign grace…“abound in love”  gives the idea that their love to be enlarged and made abundant, taken together gives the meaning of"increase to overflowing"! “Agape love” by definition is….. the love of choice and of serving with humility. It is the highest kind of love, the noblest kind of devotion, the love of the will (intentional, conscious choice) and not done for appearance or motivated by emotional attraction. Clearly this was not a loveless church, as we read in the opening remarks of Paul’s letter. (1 :3)

Can you pray this prayer for one another?

Remember what Jesus said “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 1:34-35. In John’s small letter he said this “If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” 1 John 1:20-21. Though this is something will never reach this side of Heaven, but it’s something we need to strive for and pray for each and every day. As you grow in your relationship with Christ, you will also be growing in your love for one another. “May the Lord cause you, may the Lord make you increase” in your love for one another.

Charles Swindoll, identifies at least four ways that we can express this kind of love to one another.
  • Listen to others, including those who hold viewpoints with which you disagree.
  • Demonstrate grace by looking past people’s “faults” to see their strengths.
  • Recognize the value and dignity of other human beings, regardless of their background [But I would also include age]
  • Show God’s love by selflessly serving and sacrificing for others.

That’s how we can increase in loving one another! Seeking the interest of others over ourselves. That’s what it mean s to love others as Christ loved you! But Paul also prays that the Lord would “establish your heart blameless in holiness” This is an example of a walk worthy of the Lord Jesus Christ. That you may be established, and be without blame in the Day of Judgement. Can you pray this prayer for one another? This world wants to conform and entice us into its mold…..so this is where we need to purposefully pray for one another…fervently as Paul did for these believers. The world says “in order to get along you must go along” And Paul cry’s out in his prayer that the Lord “establish their hearts” by not being conformed to this present evil world system. It’s the idea of walking worthy for the glory of Christ, not man. Paul wrote this to the church in Rome. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Rom 12:2. In 1 John 2:15-17 we read this “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

In order to walk worthy, your heart needs to be established, it needs a daily helping from God. Remember, this isn't the process to becoming holy or some formula to achieve sinless perfection. Why? To everyone who is of the Elect, is seen by God, as holy and blameless. This is only made possible through the finished work found in the gospel. We see that truth in letter of Job “There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” Job 1:1. Believers are to walk (live) in such a manner that we will not justifiably produce the reproach of others. As one writer said “Even if a charge would be made against us, that the charge could not be maintained.” Our position in Christ before God is blameless but Paul's prayer speaks of our daily walk and his desire for it to be blameless in holiness. So the purpose of Paul’s prayer is that they “Stand”, that they “Live” in the light of their holiness. And the motivation for doing this is the reminder in (v13b) “at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all the saints.” This should be our motivation for “faithful living" This should be our prayer for one another each and every day to live faithful for Him and His glory. Instead of fearing His coming as so many will, our lives are to exemplify His return and we should stand with joy and rest knowing His return is imminent. Walking worthy as we await our King. This was Paul’s desire that they would excel more and more in their walk with Christ. Our pattern and purpose of prayer for one another shouldn't be any different than Paul’s. This is how we should be praying for one another! Sadly though, we tend to tear each other down more than lift each other up! This is where you, this were we, need to change.

So again I ask! Can you pray this prayer? Do you truly love the people that fill this sanctuary? Do you truly love one another enough to make time daily and intercede to a holy God on behalf of someone? Do you truly care more about the soul rather than trying to out spiritualize someone who is lesser than you? Do you care at all?

Can you pray this prayer!

Our Heavenly Father,

“Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” 1 Thess 3:11-13


I pray these things in Jesus Name……..AMEN!