17 August 2010

What Are You Using it For?

James 3:1-12

The story I'm about to read is true........There was a happy little family, living in a small town in North Dakota, even though the young mother had not been entirely well since the birth of her second baby. But each evening the neighbours were aware of a warmth in their hearts when they would see the husband and father being met at the gate by his wife and two small children. There was laughter in the evening too, and when the weather was nice father and children would romp together on the back lawn while mother looked on with happy smiles.Then one day a village gossip started a story, saying that (the father) was being unfaithful to his wife, a story entirely without foundation. But it eventually came to the ears of the young wife, and it was more than she could bear. Reasons lefts its throne, and that night when her husband came home there was no one to meet him at the gate, no laughter in the house, no fragrant aroma coming from the kitchen, only coldness and something that chilled his heart with fear. And down in the basement he found the three of them hanging from a beam. Sick and in despair, the young mother had taken the lives of her two children, and her own. In the days that followed, the truth of what had happened came out, a gossip’s tongue, an untrue story, a terrible tragedy. John MacArthur says “the tongue is YOU in a unique way. It is a tattletale that tells on the heart and discloses the real person. Not only that, but misuse of the tongue is perhaps the easiest way to sin. There are some sins that an individual may not be able to commit simply because he does not have the opportunity. But there are limits to what one can say, no built-in restraints or boundaries." IN SCRIPTURE THE TONGUE IS VARIOUSLY DESCRIBED AS
 Wicked  Deceitful Perverse Filthy Corrupt Flattering Slanderous Gossiping Blasphemous Foolish Boasting Complaining Cursing Contentious Open grave Sensual Vile. See the tongue is a great concern for James and it should be for us today! Especially in the church......THE TONGUE IS CAPABLE OF 2 THINGS!  It's capable to be used to build up and it's capable to be used to tear down! JAMES SAID IN THE BEGINNING OF HIS LETTER “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4. The use of the tongue is another test of the Christian’s living faith. I HAVE 2 QUESTIONS FOR US THIS MORNING. 1. Are you displaying a proper us of the tongue according to what God expects from each and every one of us? 2. Are you always using your tongue to do evil which is what Satan wants? The tongue is capable to cause harm not only to ourselves, but to those who are around us!


James says the tongue is like a fire! (v6). Basically means those who misuse the tongue are guilty of spiritual arson! A mere spark from an ill-spoken word can produce a firestorm that can cause so much damage and devastation to whatever it touches. Take for example......"October 8, 1871, poor Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over the lantern as she was being milked, starting the great Chicago Fire. That disaster blackened three and one half miles of the city, destroying over 17,500 buildings and left 125 000 people homeless. The fire lasted two days and took 300 people’s lives." James is reminding us that there is great destructive power in the tongue and he uses the expression “fire” to help us understand the power of the tongue. The tongue is capable to reproduce itself in an almost unlimited way as long as it has fuel to burn...A wicked tongue corrupts the whole person. Why didn’t James us the word picture of water?...........Water causes a lot of damage as w...watch the news lately and see for yourself! But there is something we need to understand! Water cannot multiply....when it is poured out; no matter where it goes or what it’s poured on...... it never expands into a flood. But FIRE feeds on itself...if there is sufficient flammable material and enough oxygen to sustain combustion, it will burn on indefinitely.....Now put that in the context of this part of James letter! Is your fire still going or has it been put out? Is your tongue being used for evil? Lets' take a test and see if we are using it to good or evil...to tear down or build up!


Prov 16:27-28 “A worthless man plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire. A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends. "1Sam 24:9-10 “And David said to Saul, "Why do you listen to the words of men who say, 'Behold, David seeks your harm'? Behold, this day your eyes have seen how the LORD gave you today into my hand in the cave. And some told me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, 'I will not put out my hand against my lord, for he is the LORD's anointed.'”


Num 21:4-5 “From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food."


2Tim 3:1-5 “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”


Col 3:8-10 “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,”


Prov 10:31-32 “The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, But the perverse tongue will be cut out. The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, But the mouth of the wicked what is perverse.”


Acts 13:44-45 “On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming (defame, insult, speak evil) they opposed the things spoken by Paul.”

We MUST always be cautious of our tongue. Especially how we are to use it! Why? Listen to this profound warning by Jesus himself.....Matt 12:36-37 “But I say to you that for every idle (inactive, useless) word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." The tongue is evil and full of wickedness and untameable by man! (v8). We must have disciplined lives with the leading of the Holy Spirit....because it’s only by the help of God anyone of as are able to tame the tongue. We must be genuine in our speech not hypocritical (fake, two faced)........ when we are at certain places or around certain people! (v9-v12). DO YOU DISPLAY ANY OR MANY OF THESE CHARACTERISTICS? If you do, you need to check to see where you stand with the Lord Jesus Christ! Why I say this! The Genuine believer will not contradict his or her profession of faith........................... by regular use of unwholesome words Again listen to Jesus in (Matt 12:33) "Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. WHY DOES IT GET SO MUCH ATTENTION IN THE BIBLE? Because it is suppose to be used for: Praising God Worshipping Prayer Building up Encouraging Teaching Communicating true Biblical Love


We are to edify one another! Edify (means) “the act of building" ("to build") the promotion of spiritual growth. As Paul said to the church in Ephesus “from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” Eph 4:16. Now put that definition of edification into the context of James chapter 3....we see! The tongue must be used for the purpose of good not evil. We must bridle our tongues as James said in (v2). Bridle (means) "to lead by a bridle, to hold in check, restrain;" it is used metaphorically of the tongue and of the body" WE MUST USE IT FOR GOOD........How do I know it’s being used for good? Here is the second part of the test!


(Heb 13:15) "Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name."

Matt 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.


(1 Thess 5:12-15) We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.


Eph 4:14-15 “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.”


(1Peter 3:12) For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

If anyone knew what the tongue was capable of Peter was an expert in this area! The tongue is small and is capable of so much! May we always use it, for what it was intended for...........Bringing Glory to the One that saved us from the evil one! We are to look to God and His sovereign Power in help to overcome to tame the tongue. We must live disciplined lives under the control of the Holy Spirit. God gave us the ability for a new redeemed holy speech to speak ONLY that which is HOLY AND GOOD.......As Paul said “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Col 4:6. A HATEFUL HEART is an unconverted heart and it CANNOT and WILL NOT produce loving words or works.....A LOVING HEART is a regenerated heart and it CANNOT and WILL NOT produce hateful words or works.. As Jesus said in (Matt 7:18) "A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit." HOW DO WE ANSWER THE 2 QUESTION I MENTIONED EARLIER? 1. Are you displaying proper us of the tongue? 2. Are you always using your tongue to do evil? Only you can answer...But remember Jesus went on to say in Matt 7:19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire Thus you will recognize them by their fruits....” Can you leave here today with confidence that your tongue is being bridled by the Power of the Holy Spirit......DO WE HAVE A TONGUE THAT IS BITTER LIKE SALT WATER? OR DO YOU HAVE A TONGUE THAT IS PURE AS FRESH WATER?

Voddie Baucham on the providence of God in our trials & victories

09 August 2010

Bright Lights, Big City

Luke 15:15-32

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU GET INTO A BIG CITY FOR THE FIRS TIME!!! Let’s say a city like............ Toronto! Everyone wants to see the CN Tower! But there something else people want to see when they come into TO!!!Can you think of it? Answer: Yonge St................. the longest street in the world. It was formerly listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest street in the world at 1,896 km (1,178 mi) and is a national historic site. Yonge Street is home or close to many attractions in Toronto, including street and theatre performances, the Eaton Centre, Yonge-Dundas Square, the Hockey Hall of Fame and–at the very start of the road–'One Yonge Street', the offices of the Toronto Star newspaper.YONGE ST HAS SOMETHING ELSE AS WELL! EVERYTHING A PERSON NEEDS TO FULL FILL ALL OF HIS OR HER LUSTS AND PASSIONS..........YONGE ST IS FILLED WITH!

• Drunkenness
• Fashion and covetousness
• Lewdness
• Pornography
• Drugs
• Prostitution
• Disease
• Crime
• Homeless
• And dreamers

THE OLD TESTAMENT SPOKE OF THIS KIND OF CITY. Jer 51:7 “Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD's hand that made all the earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; Therefore the nations are deranged.” PAUL SPOKE ABOUT THESE KINDS OF PEOPLE THAT LIVE THERE! Rom 3:10-18 “As it is written: "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NO, NOT ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS; THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS AFTER GOD. THEY HAVE ALL TURNED ASIDE; THEY HAVE TOGETHER BECOME UNPROFITABLE; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, NO, NOT ONE." "THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN TOMB; WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY HAVE PRACTICED DECEIT"; "THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS"; "WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS." "THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD; DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR WAYS; AND THE WAY OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN." "THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES." The city is an easy place for people to find out how low they can really become....because it’s easy to get lost in the city under the bright lights and big building! Jesus spoke a parable about a young man....a father and older brother....it’s a story that speaks volumes to my heart because I can relate to the young person in this story. I grew up in a small town (Tweed Ontario) with very little to do!! I used to think about going into the city and doing what I wanted to do and not have to worry about anyone!! It's interesting to note that Jesus tells this story in three parts! 1ST PART............A story about a young man who lived for self, who wanted what was coming to him, who was very impatient and not content with his present situation. A story about a man who said in his heart “I must have it now”. Does this sound a bit like you and me sometimes? I know it does me sometimes. 2ND PART.............A story about a father who loved his son dearly and had a heart of forgiveness and a joy that only can come from God. 3RD PART..............A story about an older son who did everything to gain favour with the father and had no true relationship with him or anyone else for that matters. This is a story about God’s mercy and grace to any lost sinner. This is a story about you! It’s a story about me! It’s a story about the true Gospel that saves to the uttermost!

1ST PART...............THE YOUNG MAN (V11-V16)

We see many things this young man does, that each and every one of has done, at some point in time in life or at least wanted to!

• A life of living for self! Getting what is mine....
• Whether it’s freedom from living under your parent’s roof or a life that is waiting for retirement!!
• I want what’s coming to me!! Blatant (open) sin without any regards for anyone else

HE WAS ONLY THINKING OF HIMSELF........Look at (v12) “give what is mine” Basically he was saying “I want what you were going to give to me when you die” Something is intersing here! The father isn’t dead yet! So the young man is really saying “I wish you were dead, so that I could have my portion of the inheritance”

HE IS ONLY THINKING OF HOW HE IS GOING TO SATISFIES HIS CRAVINGS AND PASSIONS...........Look at (v13) “prodigal living” Jesus explains how he used the money ...... “the prodigal son” The Greek word for “prodigal” means dissolute, it conveys the idea of an utterly immoral lifestyle.

HE PRODIGAL LIVING ENDS WITH HUNGER AND DISAPPOINTMENT......... Look at (v14) “there arose a severe (powerful, mighty) famine” The people listening to this story would have understood what it means to go through a severe time of no food!! God allowed many famines to come upon the land during Abraham's time.......Joseph......Naomi and Ruth......and also in 2 Kings 6:25-29 where the women made a pack, or a promise to cook their babies for food. They actually ate one the babies......... until the mother of the other child wasn’t hungry anymore............and she refused to give up her child (2 Kings 6:29). See a severe famine makes people do some strange and unusual things! You become desperate and utterly helpless and you flee to forrign lands or make bad choices.....For example! William Manchester writes about the famine that hit Europe in the Medieval Era. “The years of hunger were terrible. The peasants might be forced to sell all they owned....In the hardest times they devoured bark, roots, grass, and even white clay. Cannibalism was not unknown. Strangers and travelers were waylaid and killed to be eaten, and there tales of gallows being torn down...as many twenty bodies would hang from a single scafford.....by men frantic to eat warm flesh raw.” In the mid-nineteenth century Ireland.......a million people more than 10 percent of Ireland’s population at the time died of starvation over a three year period.....this was called the “Potato Famine” More recently in the Ukraine in 1930s, when multiple millions died of hunger.....that famine believed to have been deliberately caused by Stalin as an act of genocide. This young man was hungry and helpless because he spent it all on pleasures “Thinking that the high life was the good life.” He finally realized that lifestyle was a lie and worldly lie that society is trying to you and your young ones even today! Look at (v16) and see how he realizes the life he is living is a mess and an abomination to the jewish culture....because he was living with the pigs (unclean and forbidden animal to the Jews). He say “my father’s help live better than me” He goes on to say “I’m hungry and empty but my father’s servants are doing better than me” Slavery is better then this! This is how I felt about my life when I was in my 20’s! Lost and going all direction which in reality only leads me around in circles!! This is what a person looks like without Christ........lost and utterly helpless......broken and penniless (not physically, but spiritually)
This why Jesus came! To save lost and broken sinners! Matt 9:12-13 “When Jesus heard that, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I DESIRE MERCY AND NOT SACRIFICE.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." This was a young man who was broken.......here was a young man who thought he could find love or fulfillment by finding it from something else....like so many people today!Pleasure consumed......remember what he said! Look at (v14) “he spent in all” He was hungry! He had no food...........no money.............. Or a job!! This is what it took for this young man to see that he was utter broken......sick......poor.........Look at (v17-v19) This is what happens to a sinner who needs a Saviour.....a Physician.... Because as Peter wrote he said in 2Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

2ND PART...........................THE FATHER (V20-V24)

We see a loving father “full of compassion”.........Look at (v20) We see a loving father who doesn’t wait, but he runs to rescue as if you were a person drowning in the water.....he comes with urgency and joy! He couldn’t contain his affection towards his lost son. This is a wonderful picture of our God who loves lost sinners! Micah 7:18-19 “Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea.” God is a just God......God is a loving God.....who delights in mercy! That’s the Gospel! AS PAUL WROTE! Rom 5:8-11 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” That’s the Gospel and His great salvation plan for sinners!! The Gospel reconciles us back to that relationship mankind once had back in the garden. When the Lord our God walked with Adam in the coolness of the day......Look at Jesus says in (v22-v24)

Robe......reserved for only a special occasion. Specially reserved for a master’s child..........(today’s terms the equivalent of a tuxedo).....this is like the robe of righteousness that we get through Jesus Christ.......salvation is a special occasion to any believer!
Ring.......a signet ring that had the families crest or seal, so when the ring was pressed into melted wax on a formal document.......a symbol of authority and honor........seal of approval.
Sandals........these were not usually worn by slaves. Only the masters and their children wore footwear......and therefore signified his full restoration to sonship. The Forgiveness of sins!

Fattened calf.......reserved for only special occasions.....a feast for a great celebration. Salvation is a wonderful celebration for the sinner and the Heaven’s.....Look at (v10.....v24) That’s salvation....that’s the Gospel!

What’s even more amazing is, the prodigal son did nothing to earn or work for those items...they were freely given by the father who loves lost sinners.......you and me!! Eph 2:8-10...."it’s by grace you are saved....not of works...that any man should boast”

Jesus could have ended the story right there! but he didn't! Why? There were certain men (pharisee's and Scribes) who needed to hear this part the most! The third person in this story! Equally as lost as the younger son, but doesn’t realize it! Jesus says something here that would make His listeners disgusted or uneasy (in this case the Scribes and Pharisee’s) ...............going back to (v2) and (v14 of chapter 16). Sadly this isn’t new teachings of Jesus.........this goes back the Sermon on the Mount and many other occasions, when he spoke to the multitudes. EVEN THE PROPHETS OF OLD AND THE APOSTLES WARNED US AGAINST THESE TYPES OF PEOPLE!

• The False worshippers
• The Ravenous wolves
• The Empty confessions
• The Empty tombs
• The Deceiving hearts
• The Religious

3RD PART........................................THE OLDER SON (V25-V32)


• Self centeredness
• Bitterness and resentment.........
• Self righteousness........
• Hatred towards another person
• Pride and arrogance
• Slanderous
• The closet sinner...outwardly good inwardly rotten to the core (the Pharisee’s)

Let me ask you something! Why didn’t the father rush to tell his older son that his brother has come home? Answer: He has no real relationship with the father otherwise he wouldn’t have asked the servant the question in (v26) The same relationship the Pharisee’s had with the true Living God of the Bible.....no true genuine fellowship as Abraham, Moses, David and the prophets of old had or you. See the father knew he had no real relationship with his older son...God know's the secrets of your heart. I say all this...... because, the older son if he had a true relationship with the father, he would said something to the younger brother for being so disrespectful to their father, when he asked for his inheritance. As the oldest...the first born! Should!....No, instead he did what any self righteous person does! ......."Woe always me". The older son was angry (v28-v29).........I’ve been serving.....slaving for you for so many years” What I find amazing and interesting is the father didn’t scold him for his behaviour, but he pleads with him in (v28). The older brother is so disgusted with this whole situation he doesn’t even acknowledge his little brother as a brother! (v30) “.........this son of yours...” Look what else he says to his father! How can we rejoice when he as used inheritance for “prostitutes and wicked living” look at (v30). BUT I LOVE HOW THE FATHER RESPONDS TO HIS WICKED AND SLANDEROUS SPEEECH! Don’t worry you to will get what’s yours in this meaning his inheritance. Which in reality the older son would get more! He is the oldest...and his birth right entitles him to 2 thirds over his younger brother who would have been given 1 third.....Deut 21:17 “But he shall acknowledge the son of the unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.” BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS.....it’s what the father said after this! Look at (v32) This verse literally means “it was necessary to celebrate” WHY? He was dead and now is alive......he was blind.....but now he see’s! THAT’S THE GOSPEL THAT SAVES TO THE UTTERMOST! That’s the God I serve the One who ran to my rescue and saved me from myself! I thought the world was what I wanted!!.....but in reality it only left me empty and lost like both of the brother’s in this parable.....The world wants you to want her! William MacDonald said “the world cries out for all that we have and we are....our time, our evenings, our weekends, the time that we should be giving to the Lord.” The Bible says “were your heart is.....there your heart will be also.” This story tells us about one loving and forgiving father who desires that nobody perishes...........Two lost sons.............But only one is found!Jesus said “there is more joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents than ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance” (v7)

02 August 2010

Please Pray

Have you prayed for your pastor today? Because he (we) needs them!! Here are 12 questions a good friend (an elder of my church) gave to me. I thought, I would share them with you....With the hopes of course that you would put this to practice each and every day for your pastor....SDG and God bless   (add your pastors name on the blank)

1. Lord, I pray that ____________ would be strong in you and in Your mighty power (Eph 6:10).

2. May ________________ 's wisdom begin with an awesome fear and reverence for Your holiness and power (Prov 9:10).

3. I pray that ______________ would stand firm against the enemy's schemes to sabotage the work that You are doing through him (Eph 6:11).

4. Father, please continue to renew _______________ daily in Your holiness. Keep him from growing weary, reminding him that his labour is not in vain (Isa 40:31; 1 Pet 1:16; 1 Cor 15:58).

5. Lord, set Your angels around _________________ and his family, guard them in all their ways, that no harm will befall them (Ps 91:10-11).

6. Lord, I pray for ______________ to have men of faith who would come alongside him, giving him wise counsel and providing accountability (1 Pet 5:5; James 5:16).

7. Bless_____________ with a rich study time, opening the eyes of his heart to Your wisdom and knowledge, that he would never compromise Your truth (Eph 1:18).

8. Father, keep _______________ pure by obeying the truth, so that he would have a deep love for his flock, a love from the heart (1 Pet 1:22).

9. Bless ________________ with fruit from the words You speak through him, Lord. May his words be by the power of  Your Spirit, reaping a bountiful harvest of people coming to know Your salvation (John 15:16).

10. Give ______________ a bold vision as he leads his flock to reach out to people in this community (Isa 40:11).

11. Lord, allow ______________ and his church to be a beacon of hope in the midst of the darkness, that the lost will be drawn to the Light of the world (Acts 13:47; John 8:12).

12. Thank you, Lord, for the gifts of wisdom and spiritual insight that ________________ brings to the church. Raise up an army of prayers warriors from within this church who will surround him with prayer (James 5:16b).

So let me ask you the question again!! When was the last time you prayed for your pastor?_____________. Please pray for them (us)! We need them desperately each and every day....To God be the glory for giving us each other and the privilege of prayer. SDG