22 December 2011
21 December 2011
The family is a wonderful gift from God to this earth! But something tragically is happening to the family today! It’s falling apart because we are not listening to God and His instruction for the family. Just as men and women are not listening to what their roles are when it comes to the marriage and even as parenting. The foundations of our homes are falling apart due to the poverty in our hearts! Let me illustrate what that would look like! "While doing relief work in Haiti following the devastating earthquake there on January 12, 2010, one gentleman observed firsthand the tragedy of building a house with a lot of sand and not enough steel: There was a problem in Haiti. Houses were built with too much sand and not enough steel. Sand is cheap, so because of poverty, when many Haitians built their cement-block homes, they used more sand than they should have in their mortar mix. And because steel is expensive, they didn't use enough steel in the columns and ring beams. So when the ground quaked, homes crumbled; there was too much sand and not enough steel. It was a tragedy of poverty. In our own poverty of spirit, we try to build lives this way: We build reputations on too much pride and not enough humility … and they crumble. We build marriages with too much anger and not enough love … and they crumble. We build families on too much busyness and not enough time … and they crumble." Sadly, the family will continue to crumble if we don’t build our homes on the biblical principles found in Scripture. Last week we looked at the responsibility of the wife and husband and the important role each one plays in the marriage! Today, Paul continues by addressing the children and then the parents! Children, God is talking directly to you right now so I want your full abd undivided attention!
God is saying something that has been in place for centuries...it even goes all the way back to the time when Moses was alone with God on the mountain. This command is so important it was mentioned before murder, adultery, stealing, lying and covetousness! See, it’s the parent’s responsibility to teach their children about God’s commands and to display those proper characters to their children. Why? So that when they're old enough to have their own family they continue in the biblical foundation that has been handed down to them. But, the only way this is possible is for you [children] to listen to God’s plan for your life! And God’s plan for your life is found in (v20)
“children obey your parents in all things” Let’s stop there for a moment! Again this passage is parallel with Paul’s writings to the church at Ephesus! “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise), "that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land." Eph 6:1-3.......“Children” in this verse is a general term which is not limited to a specific age group! This passage is referring to any child that is still living at home and under parental guidance. “Obey” in this verse could be better translated “be obedient” which gives an understanding of a continuous action. It’s a readiness to “hear and carry out the order”....which is a habitual part of your life. This literally means “to hear under” that is, to listen with attentiveness and to respond with positively to what is heard. Children, you're to put yourself under the words and authority of your parents. This is something that you are to do all the time...... seven days a week! What this means is that children [you] are to listen to the instruction of their [your] parents. As Solomon wrote “Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching,” Prov 1:8. You have a responsibility to listen to your mom and dad....the reason for this is that they’re doing this for your understanding and future development. They’re doing it to help you draw closer to God and His beloved Son Jesus Christ! “Obey your parents in all things” ............not some of the time but at all times. Now again, this same principle applies as it did with the wives! As long as it was not opposing to God’s word. Jesus knew that some children would have to defy their parents to come to faith in Him......[look at many of the stories written by converted Muslim children]. Jesus said.....“Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law." Luke 12:51-53. He even said ....."If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26-27
God’s plan for the family is very important to Him! Why do I say that? Because “for this is well pleasing to the Lord.” This is praiseworthy before God....He is always pleased when you are obeying your parents! God is not pleased when you disobey your parents! God takes this very seriously......it says in Prov 30:17 “The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures.” In the New Testament it mentions the same thing in Matthew 15. It’s imperative that you listen and obey there instruction “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. Col 1:10. Why? He takes delight in your obedience. Remember obedience to your parents is a reflection of your obedience to God. If you chose to disobey your parents.....what you’re doing is sinning against the fifth commandment found in the bible. John MacArthur said “children struggle with knowing God’s will for their lives. Obeying their parents is the best place to start.”
As J.H Sammis wrote.....
When we walk with the Lord
When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still.
And with all who will trust and obey.
The greatest lesson you can learn children is to obey your parents for this is pleasing to the Lord. After Paul is finished addressing the children, he turns his attention to the fathers! I know the text says “fathers” but this doesn’t diminish or remove the mothers role or influence in the home! It could be better translated “parents” Reason being.....the Greek word for father “pateron” here in this text.....is the same the Greek word used in Heb 11:23 to describe the parents of Moses. So moms and dads there are a special word of caution for you and me! And that is “exasperate” “fathers [parents] do not exasperate your children,...” (v21)
“Exasperate” means to stir up, provoke, irritate, or to exasperate or to be embittered towards them. Basically Paul is telling parents “stop nagging” The late great preacher John Knox’s said this “you parents, must not rouse your children to resentment.”
JOHN MACARTHUR GIVES 10 WAYS PARENTS EXASPERATE THEIR CHILDREN.
1. PARENTS EXASPERATE THEIR CHILDREN BY OVERPROTECTION..... They have strict rules about everything....no matter what they do; overprotective parents do not trust their children. Parents are to provide rules and guidelines for their children, but those rules should not become a noose that strangles them to death. Communication of trust plays an important part in the developmental stages of a child.
2. PARENTS EXASPERATE THEIR CHILDREN BY SHOWING FAVOURITISM...... Comparing siblings with other siblings....making a child feel like the black sheep of the family, parents can create a terrible sense of frustration.
3. PARENTS EXASPERATE THEIR CHILDREN BY DEPRECIATING THEIR WORTH..... Many children have been convinced that what they do and feel are not important. Basically this kind of communication tells them that they are not significant......“what’s wrong with you are you stupid?”
4. PARENTS EXASPERATE THEIR CHILDREN BY SETTING UNREALISTIC GOALS...... Parents can do that by never rewarding them, or never letting them feel they have succeeded. Such parents are often trying to make their children into something they themselves were not.
5. PARENTS EXASPERATE THEIR CHILDREN BY FAILING TO SHOW AFFECTION...... Parents need to communicate love to their children both verbally and physically. John Newton, hymn writer and preacher said “I know that my father loved me...but he did not seem to wish me to see it.”
6. PARENTS EXASPERATE THEIR CHILDREN BY NOT PROVIDING FOR THEIR NEEDS..... Children need things like privacy, a place to play, clean cloths, a place to study, a safe environment and so on. By providing those necessities, parents show their respect and concern for their children.
7. PARENTS EXASPERATE THEIR CHILDREN BY LACK OF STANDARDS...... This is the flip-side to overprotection. When parents fail to discipline or discipline inconsistently, children are left on their own. They cannot handle that kind of freedom and begin to feel insecure and unloved.
8. PARENTS EXASPERATE THEIR CHILDREN BY CRITICISM.....Haim Ginott said “a child learns what he lives. If he lives with criticism he does not learn responsibility. He learns to condemn himself and to find fault with others. He learns to doubt his own judgment, to disparage his own ability, and to distrust the intentions others....” We as parents are to create in the home a positive, constructive environment.
9. PARENTS EXASPERATE THEIR CHILDREN BY NEGLECT.... The classic biblical example is Absalom. David was indifferent to him, and the result was rebellion, civil war and Absalom’s death. We as parents need to be involved in our children’s lives.....[no excuses they need you in their lives]
10. PARENTS EXASPERATE THEIR CHILDREN BY EXCESSIVE DISCIPLINE......This is the parent who abuses his child, either verbally, emotionally, or physically. Parents often say things to their children that they would never say to anyone else. They’re not your basement punching bag when you have had a frustrating day at work, in your relationship with your spouse or friend. We are never to discipline our children in anger. Rather parents should loving correct their children, just as their heavenly Father does them.
Why are we not to exasperate our children? Because Paul says they will become “discouraged”
“Discourage” means to lose heart, to be without courage, or spirit.........The result of exasperating our children has devastating results. We as parents can be too demanding and have unrealistic expectations for their ages! We want them to be something that their not! Christians. Parents should create an atmosphere which makes obedience an easy and natural matter...namely the atmosphere of love and confidence. Parents are to train and properly discipline their children in the instruction of the Lord. Don’t ever expect a child to live for Christ and to make selfless decisions when you lifestyle is no different than the unsaved people around you! You are to be their example and guide...not their nemesis and resentment in the home. The home is to be a safe environment....not a hostile one! Our children need to be able to find comfort in trust in their parents above everyone else that comes into contact with them......Whether it is: at school, their friends, an employers and so on. Parents we have one job to do and that is “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Eph 6:4
As Dorothy Law said in her book “Children Learn What They Live”
If a child lives with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive,
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves,
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
But do not despair ...
If a child lives with tolerance, they learn to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If a child lives with praise, they learn to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, they live with justice.
If a child lives with security, they live to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, they learn to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship they learn to find love in the world.
It’s time for the family to reclaim the home back and start listening to God. Wives submitting loving to your husbands......Husbands love your wives and treat them with love and care.....Children love your parents by obeying them for “this is the first commandment with a promise” Fathers [parents] love your children with unfailing love that desires them to see Jesus! The family is a wonderful thing but we all have a role to play! So start playing your role giving thanks to Him for His great love for the family.
17 December 2011
11 December 2011
What is the number one problem with the family? I Googled that question this week and here is what I found! [There were over 400 million responses or hits on this topic] The most common answer was the breakdown of marriage through divorce.
• Money ran a close second [and you could probably associate this with most divorces]
• Domestic problems or violence in the home
• Drugs and alcohol
• Inability to manage or resolve conflicts
• Over-dependency or extreme autonomy
• Communication and trust
• Even In-laws to name a few are a cause for family breakdowns!
Patrick F. Fagan, Senior Director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute said this........”In 1950, for every 100 children born, 12 entered a broken family. Today, for every 100 children born, 60 will enter a broken family. Each year, about one million children experience the divorce of their parents, 1.25 million are born out of wedlock, and another 1.4 million are aborted.” Why do we have this breakdown or dysfunction in the family? The underlining problem is that people are not listening to God’s plan for the family! Not just in the unsaved homes...but also in evangelical homes as well! The stats at Barna Research show no difference between to two groups when it comes to the breakdown of the family. The family is falling apart and I’m deeply concerned about and so should you! The world and the church are not listening to the instructions that God has put in place for each individual that makes up the family unit! God put these guidelines in for our understanding so that we could fulfill His will for the family!
This is an area we have tuned Him out off! Even, in our evangelical homes! What do you mean by that? We trust Christ enough for our salvation..... But we tend to think we have it all under control when it comes to the family. But look around! We know that’s a wrong philosophy; because if we were in control and have it all together! Then we would see......A decline in adultery, a decline in divorce, a decline in abuse, a decline in teenage suicide, a decline in abortion, a decline in single parent families, a decline in same sex parenting and a decline in all dysfunction in the family! But the sad reality is that these things are getting worse, not better! Kent Hughes said this! “marriage has fallen into disrepute [which means disgrace], as with a seven year old girl who had just seen the movie Cinderella and was testing her neighbour, anxious to impress the little girl. Said “I know what happens at the end.” “What?” asked the girl? “Cinderella and the prince live happily ever after.” To which the girl answered, “Oh no, they don’t. They got married” This response is most common among young people and even people who are of age!
• Marriage is a waste of time!
• Marriage only leads to problems
• Marriage is anchor to my sail
• Children are time consuming
• Having a family doesn’t give me the freedom I need
• The world is already over-populated
• Families are too expensive
William Congreve said “Every man plays the fool once in his life, but to marry is playing the fool all of one’s life.” This isn’t true and it’s a lie from the pit of Hell! The family....the marriage....children are a blessing and not a curse as the world would picture it be today! Why? In fullness of time Christ Jesus came to show how important family truly is! By giving His life for His beloved and holy children [You and me]. God stands behind the family and He has a plan and purpose for the family. Abraham knew this.....Jacob knew this and Joshua stood by it! “...........But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15. If the patriarchs knew the importance of the family and the plan God had for His chosen people, shouldn’t we hold to those same principles as well in our homes? This has been echo throughout scripture, God’s plan for the family to follow His instruction. He didn’t leave this area of our lives to think it through on our own....He gave us His word and instruction for the family! The same love and care He gave to each individual Christian and the body of Christ.... [the church] God addresses four key players in Paul’s letter to the church of Colosse! This passage is parallel with what Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus in Ephesians chapter 5.
LOOK WHAT HE SAYS TO THE WIVES (v18) “wives submit to your own husband”
This is passage and many like it are a major problem for today’s generation! Many generations have accused Paul’s writings in this area as being chauvinistic! They say “this isn’t what God really wants women to do”......But if that were true!...then (v19) wouldn't really apply either! God’s not really telling the husband to love his wife or anything! That’s not what God is really saying! Give me a break! The reason for many of the breakdowns in the family is due to this kind of thinking and behaviour. Women usurping roles that were never intended for them to take because the man won’t MAN UP! Submit means “to subject oneself” it has the concept of putting oneself under not by force, but willingly. It’s the same term referring to Jesus with His parents “And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them.” Luke 2:51. As John MacArthur says “they do not submit to some detached, impersonal authority. Rather they submit to the man with whom they are intimate, personal, vital relationship.”
Eph 5:22-24 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
IT’S HELPFUL TO NOTE SOME MISS-CONCEPTIONS ABOUT SUBMISSION.
1. It doesn’t imply inferiority [weakness or low standard of life]. Spiritually there is no difference between male and female. ”There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal 3:28. We are both equally wretched sinners but as God has ordained, His design for each role in the family they all have responsibilities in the home. Another example is Jesus submitted to the Father, during His earthy life.....but was in no way was He inferior to Him. It’s a loving submission to the one she loves [her husband]
2. Submission is not absolute.......Obedience in this passage is reserved for children......there may be times when a wife must refuse to submit to her husband’s desires [if they violate God’s word] As Peter said before the high priests "We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29
3. The husband’s authority is not to be exercised in an authoritative, overbearing manner. The wife’s submission takes place in the context of a loving relationship. R.C Sproul said “To submit to anyone less than Christ is difficult in a marriage. Yet it is Christ who commands women to be submissive to their sinful, fallible husbands. In this sense Christ is the silent partner of the marriage. It is hard for a wife to submit when she disagrees with her husband. But when she knows her submission is an act of obedience to Christ and honours Christ, it is much less difficult.” Peter wrote “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 1 Peter 3:1-2.
This command for the woman is very important for marriage and the family! Why? Because the verse finishes by saying “fitting to the Lord”. The Greek form in this phrase expresses an obligation....a necessary duty! This is how God designed and commanded the wife to operate in the context of His word.
WHICH BRINGS US NOW TO THE HUSBAND? (Look at v19) “husbands, love your wives”
Let’s stop there for a moment! If he [your husband] is not fulfilling this major command in the home then there is no possible way a wife will ever truly submit out willingness. The reason? She doesn’t feel secure and comforted by his leadership. The wife must be the object of his love..............and you can put a big fat juicy period at the end of that statement! “Love” in this verse indicates a continuous action “agape love” This involves the husband to express unceasing care and love towards his wife. The verb itself is expressed as a willing love, not the love of passion or emotion, but the love of choice. The same covenant love that God displayed to us through His Son Jesus Christ. This portion of the verses could be better translated “keep on loving” The same love that existed at the beginning is to continue until death due you part. This love that Paul is writing to the husbands is a self-sacrificing love! Again! The nature of this love is clearly described in Eph 5!
Eph 5:22-28 “.........Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
This is the kind of love that a wife will willingly submit too.....If you don’t believe me! Ask my wife about what happened in our home after my conversion. The wife has their own responsibilities towards the family!......and they don’t need to be worried about doing yours as well...God has given us both roles for the family....... the woman is to loving submit to the husband and the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church.
But not only are we to continually love them...... we are not to be “embittered towards them” “Embittered” means or could be translated “stop being bitter or do not have a habit of being bitter” As John MacArthur said “husbands are not to call their wives honey and then act like vinegar.” We are not to display a harshness of temper or resentment towards them. We are called to a love them as the weaker vessels [tea cups] not like dogs [coffee mugs] Men we are to give them an environment that is safe and secure....Not one that is hostile and in competition with everything else for your affection. Men we really need to examine our leadership in the home as it pertains to the word of God!
ASK YOURSELF! Am I directing and guiding my wife closer to Lord because of my love for her? Or am I a hindrance to her walk with the Lord? The reason I ask these questions is..........Kent Hughes said “The man who sanctifies his wife understands that this is his divinely ordained responsibility... Is my wife more like Christ because she is married to me? Or is she like Christ in spite of me? Has she shrunk from His likeness because of me? Do I sanctify her or hold her back? Is she a better woman because she is married to me?” These are serious questions! Men, don’t ever expect her to loving submit if you are behaving in an ungodly manner! God has given us a major responsibility as the leaders in the home to provide just that, loving leadership in the home. John MacArthur said “Marriage itself is consummated with the literal bodily union of husband and wife. From that point on, the husband should regard the wife as his own flesh. If she hurts, he ought to feel the pain. If she has needs, he should embrace those needs as his own. He should seek to feel what she feels, desire what she desires, and in effect, give her the same care and consideration he gives his own body” This is what we as husbands joyfully labour for! Solomon said “Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun.” Eccl 9:9
These are some radical requests from God for selfish sinners to obey! Wives submit to your husbands......husbands love your wives as Christ loves! But remember! None of this is remotely possible without the saving grace of the new nature found in the Gospel. We can try but it will be a massive struggle. You must realize it will never become a blessing until we submit under His love found in Christ. We can call up! Doctor Phil, the New Age Guru Orprah or write to Anne Landers about our marriages and why they are failing..... but until the grace has taken a hold of your life the family will continue to struggle in this area... Each individual will have a tendency to be selfish and NOT selfless! Each individual will not understand or care to fulfill their God given role in the home. We must listen and obey God’s word.......it’s that simple! Wives........husbands........fulfill your God given roles unto the HEADSHIP of Christ! THE SUNDAY QUESTION IS......Are you fulfilling your God given role in the family?
09 December 2011
07 December 2011
06 December 2011
We’ve been looking at the character of the old nature and the new nature these past weeks! The sons of Adam versus the sons of Christ! The putting off; to the putting on. The question I asked last week was.....Are you a child of Adam or a child of Christ? The sons of Adam [the old nature] our wicked unregenerate self in which we once walked.....the vile and wicked passions of our former hearts (those former passions found in v5 and v8). Which only leads to death and judgement for the sons of Adam [the unregenerate one in which you once walked](v6- v7). The sons of Christ [new nature] regeneration by putting on Christ which is a compassionate heart, kindness, meekness and so! (v12). Not just putting on Christ in His humanity.......but the fullness of Christ found in His sovereign election through the grace found in the gospel! (2:10; 3:12). When a child of Christ is called out of darkness and brought into His glorious light, they’re not only given a new nature but they're also given a lifestyle change, a character change for the things of Christ! What I’m trying to say is that!......We look at things differently then we used to......for example!
• We look at our finances differently [money isn’t the most important thing in my life]
• We look at our personal goals differently [the gospel and the service to Christ is more important than my career or my personal achievements]
• We look at marriage differently [as sacred and gift from God to the man and woman]
• We look at children differently [as blessing and not an expense or hindrance to our lifestyle]
• We look at the unmanageable circumstances of health or tradgedy differently [cancer, Autism, Parkinson’s disease, natural disasters....even death]
• We look at people around us differently [lost people groups who desperately need Jesus]
What is the reason for this change of attitude? Answer: The Lord Jesus Christ, who is the captain of lives! [the UMPIRE of our souls]. Let me explain why I say “umpire of our souls”! Look what Paul writes in the (v15)...... “let the peace of Christ rule in your heart”
Peace means an agreement, treaty, bond and an attitude of rest or security. It’s also referring to God-given harmony, which comes from the surrendering and yielding of ourselves to our Lord. Remember what Jesus said to His disciples [His called out ones] in John 14:27 ”Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Rule means to arbitrate, it’s used to describe the activity of an umpire in deciding the outcome of an athletic contest. When Christ is in control, we have peace because He is the source, the umpire of ultimate peace! This is achieved when we’re in relationship with Christ and He umpires the very fabric of our lives! Our attitude and composure. The closer we are to Christ, the closer we are to contentment and what is really important in life. Because Christ’s peace allows for wisdom and peace, it promotes virtue and love and forgiveness. As we have already seen (v13- v14). As one writer put it “Peace is a Fruit of the Spirit that comes from the tree of love that is fruited with wisdom, pruned with virtue, watered with forgiveness, and produces the sweet fruits of “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” It’s the peace that guards our hearts! “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:7
Not only are we to let the peace of Christ UMPIRE OUR HEARTS. We are to saturate our lives in the word of God! (v16a) “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”
"the word of Christ” refers to revelation...which is the scriptures [His 66 book love letter]. Referring especially the teachings of the Gospel message “the word of Christ”
“dwell” which means “to live in” or “to be at home” this is how the word governs and controls the life of the new nature.
“richly” could be translated “abundantly” or “extravagantly rich” It’s the richness that comes when we yielded to the Holy Spirit! This is passage is parallel to what Paul tells the believers at Ephesus.....Eph 5:15-20 “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Paul is calling upon believers to let the word of God take up residence and be at home in their lives...which is filled with the riches of God’s love. Let it become so deeply implanted in our Christian lives that it controls all our thinking. The truth of God’s word should permeate every aspect of the Christian’s life. Hence the fact..... we look and act differently, in this world because Christ is the umpire of our souls! Also, look what happens when we are at peace in Christ through salvation and when the word of God is dwelling, richly within us! (v16b)
The WORD brings wisdom and counsel........which is the plumb line [God’s truth] of how we are to live the Christian life. But in order to do this! We must begin to read it. The bible is not too complicated to understand, though there are admittingly some very difficult passages to understand at times. So don’t let this discourage you or become your excuse all the time when comes to reading and understanding Scripture. But! Mark Twain said it best “Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture which they cannot understand; but as for me, I have always noticed that the passages in Scripture which trouble me most are those which I do understand.”
The WORD admonishes.......which has a negative side of teaching. It means to warn people of the consequences of their behaviour. It shows you and me our sin! The bible is understandable and we need to read it! We need to both be comforted and troubled by it daily. The power of God word is what confronts convicts and conforms us into the image of Christ day by day!
But not only that.......The WORD also opens the heart to sing to Him..........singing the beauty of the Psalms and the compositions of our praise music from the past and present! It’s the expression of song that fills the heart with joy for what He has done for us. Singing is to be directed to God as praise and worship offered to Him for His pleasure and glory! All our worship whether its reading our singing is to be vertical not horizontal.
And this is all to be done with thankfulness... (v16c) a thankfulness that is amazed every day that He would save a wretch like me and you! Which is the beauty of His grace found in the Gospel...... the power that makes my heart desire His word and sing with joy. Meditating, admonishing and singing with a heart of thankfulness......
• for His salvation
• for His word
• for His called out ones [the church]
• for His great love found in the fullness of Christ.
Remember.......be thankful in the fullness of Christ that you have peace between you and God! Be thankful in the fullness of Christ that you the riches of His word dwelling in you! Be thankful in the fullness of Christ that you the privilege [not a rite] to worship Him the way He desires you too [for His glory]
All this is for His glory and honor and praise! (v17) “giving thanks to God the Father through Him [Jesus]” What Paul is saying is that.......Everything that passes our lips, even unguarded moments. Everything we do inside our homes and outside our homes are to be done in the name of Jesus Christ! My life consists of this one simple principle! Our lives are to reflex Christ at all times....These things are the obligation of every Christian.......no buts or excuses! Why? Kent Hughes said “Our actions must say that Jesus is and does exactly what he claims! Just a few seconds of sin can disgrace the greatest name.”
To put on the new lifestyle is to put on Jesus Christ! Everything the new nature brings is for His glory and His good pleasure. When people look at your life and actions they should be able to see a sinner saved by the grace of God for the glory of God! Guy King related the following story! Years ago I was leading the Children’s Special Service Missions at one of our South Coast holiday resorts. As I was approaching the beach one morning, this little fellow was going along there too, as he caught sight of me, he said, “mummie, here comes JESUS man.” He only meant that I was the man who spoke to the children about the Saviour; but his remark meant far more to my heart that day. What right had I....... have I...... to be called a JESUS man? What degree of resemblance is there about us? Can people say that about your life?" Ask yourself! Can people see a peace, a joy, a love for His word and a thankfulness in your heart always making melodies in your heart to Him and His glory? It comes down to this underlining truth!
Are you a son of Adam? Which is umpired by Satan........ in the end, the wrath of God still abides on your life!
Or are you son of Christ?
Which is umpired by Christ’s righteousness.......in the end, leads to eternal life basking in the glory of the Son?
As it says in John’s gospel “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” John 3:36. So my question for you is......Who is the umpire of your life?
05 December 2011
02 December 2011
What does a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ look like? How can you tell if someone is truly born again?
• Do they talk different?
• Do they handle situations and finances differently?
• Do they dress different?
• Do they respond differently?
• Do they look at this world different?
• Do they treat people different?
• Do they treat the marriage and the family different?
You could put a RESOUNDING YES to all things mentioned above!
• A Christian will talk differently.
• A Christian will deal with adversity and finances differently.
• A Christian will dress modestly so that they will not draw attention to themselves.
• A Christian will make different choices as they see according to the word of God.
• A Christian will look at this world differently because they see things as Christ sees them.
• A Christian will treat people differently [hopefully with a selfless attitude and not a selfish one].
• A Christian will preserve the beauty of marriage as a gift and not a car loan.
• A Christian will protect and raise their children differently because of His promises to the family.
This is the beauty of the Gospel! The bible say when someone is born again they are a new creation. And we know from what we looked at last week a born again person is NOT someone who practices such things found in the early part of chapter 3. Why? By what we read in the scripture “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. See! The old nature is.......the unregenerate self, the former manner of existence in Adam...it’s the old wretched, depraved sinful self! But! The new nature is....... the regenerate self, it’s what believers are in Christ, it’s the new nature that walks differently from the world.....How?
• By His divine love
• In light of God’s truth
• In wisdom and knowledge
• Loving God’s word and God’s Son [Jesus Christ]
• Hating sin and preserving righteousness
The Bible declares very clearly that all men [meaning mankind] as either a child of Adam [which is a fallen race] Or a child of Christ [His redeeming love found in the Gospel]. There is no middle ground or fence to sit on! Why? Turn to Romans 5:12-21....(v12) “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man [Adam], and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned".....(v15) “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And Paul summaries or drives the point home in (v18-v21) “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Which brings us to the question you need to ask yourself? Am I a child of Adam who is still under the wrath of God according to what we read last week in (v6)? Because they refuse to put to death those things in (v5) and they are not willing to put off the things of the natural man and woman. (v8) Or am I child of the Living God through the precious Gospel that saves? Because they see their sin nailed to the cross and they know that all these things must be put to death! (2:v13-v15). They know they are to put away...discard those dirty old clothing (v8-v10)
Let me ask you! What does a person do when they come out of the shower after drying themselves off? They put on fresh cloths to cover their clean body! This is exactly what Paul is telling you and me a born again Christian does! When you remove something of our old nature...God knows it needs to filled with something else! So those things that we are to kill and discard are to be filled with God’s richness and goodness through the Holy Spirit.
But before we look at those things that that Paul tells us to put on...Look at the opening remarks and blessed assurance to those who have truly put their faith in trust in Jesus Christ through repentance and faith in Him. (v12)
“therefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved” I don’t know about you! But this speaks volumes to my heart right now as I read this! Election is God’s sovereign calling on your life! If you’re a person saved by His grace you were called by Him personally...He drew you to Himself so that He could save you. In John’s gospel it say “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:10-13. Later on in Jesus’ ministry He said “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44. He also said in the same conversation with His disciples "......Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father." John 6:65.........Have you sat back and wondered!
• God, why did you save me?
• God, why me and not my family or my friends?
• I’m amazed every day that He saved this sinner named Mike Andrews through His precious Gospel.
• He called me out of darkness into His glorious light found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Again in John gospel Jesus said “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” John 15:16. But not only are you His elect, His chosen child...He looks at you as holy, and His beloved child. These are favoured positions the Christian have in Christ, as the nation of Israel had in the Old Testament! We are not the replacement for the nation of Israel. God’s grace has been extended to us gentle people the uncircumcision... because of their disbelief and misunderstanding of the Messiah Jesus Christ. He declares us in His written word as.....Holy means set apart, this is one of God’s defining attributes! And He sees you as He sees His Son....holy and set apart because of the Gospel. Beloved is a special expression of that personal love God has for His sanctified [born again]children, a beyond your understanding special love that He only has or reserves for His elect. And as His special chosen people who are seen as holy and beloved we are to put on the clothing that Christ purchased for us with life! Which is.....
A HEART OF COMPASSION.....heart means the inward parts of the human body and.......... compassion means pity, mercy, sympathy. Literally you could put these two words together and say “put on heartfelt compassion” or “have a deep, gut-level feeling of compassion. This was perfectly exhibited by Jesus.....”When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matt 9:36. We must have the same compassion and concern to meet people’s needs!
KINDNESS.....refers to grace that pervades [a quality] in the whole person. It’s not harsh or hard to others. A kindness that is displayed to a person whether their good or bad. A prime example of this quality is found in Luke 10:25-37 “And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?" And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live." But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" “Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise."
HUMILITY means a lowliness of mind; it’s looking upon oneself as the chief of sinners, and less than the least of all saints! It’s esteeming others better than themselves; in ascribing all they have, and are, to the grace of God; in doing works of mercy and righteousness without showiness, and boasting of them, or depending on them. This was used to describe Christ’s humility “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Phil 2:8. Christians are called to serve God in this way “serving the Lord with all humility” Acts 20:19. Christians are called to serve one another in this way as well “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,” Eph 4:1-2
GENTLENESS is closely related to humility or meekness....it’s the kind of quality that is not a weakness or spinelessness, but rather the willingness to suffer injury instead of inflicting it. It’s a quality that seems soft, but behind the gentleness is steel like strength! Numbers 12:3 tells us that Moses was the meekest man on earth! But at the same time Moses was a man who could act decisively, be as hard as nails, and rise in anger at the proper time.
PATIENCE is a quality that does not get angry at others....patience is the opposite of resentment and revenge. This was a characteristic of Jesus! Paul wrote to Timothy “But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” 1 Tim 1:16. Were it not for God’s patience none of us would ever be saved “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation......” 2 Pet 3:15. God is patiently waiting to judge this world because of the salvation found in His Son.
And what’s amazing is that when you put on these qualities you will be able to fulfill the next portion of Paul’s letter! (v13) “bear with one another” which means to endure, to hold out in spite of persecution, threats, injury, indifference, or complaints and not retaliate. It’s the same thing that Paul said “........When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure;” 1 Cor 4:12 “forgive one another” literally means in the Greek “to be gracious” The body of Christ is to be gracious. Why? For the simple reason! YOU HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN. When we realize that kind of grace we will be able to understand the next fundamental piece of clothing! (v14) “above all these put on love which binds everything together”
LOVE which is the Christian’s caring love, the same kind of love that God displayed by giving us His Son as our sin substitute “agape love” this the belt that holds everything together...for without this kind of love we will never be able to fulfill the above list! Remember what Paul said about the gifts! “but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Cor 13:13. Love leads the list of “the fruits of the Spirit” Gal 5:22. Paul preached to the church “that your love may abound more and more” Phil 1:9. Love dominated the writing of John’s letters. Love is the hub of the Gospel and we are to put on the same love that was demonstrated to us through His Son. Remember nothing is acceptable to God if it’s not motivated by love! Love is the underlining beauty of the believer found in the Gospel!
MY SUNDAY QUESTION IS........Are you a child of Adam? Or are you a child of the Christ? The only way you can answer those questions is by examining your own life in light of scripture! “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” 2 Cor 13:5. Here’s the test!.......Have you truly put off the old nature and put on the new nature found in the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Now let's get straight to the topic, God's love is weighty to process
And apart from the Holy Spirit, we're unable to digest
Because man's depraved in his logic, so God's haters will mock it
But inter-trinitarian love should make us astonished
Imagine the Son enjoying the embrace of His Father
Eternally paying Him homage as He bathed in His knowledge
Equally faithful and sovereign, gracious, patient and honest
Cosmic greatness blazing with radiance- conscious
Holy Spirit also present, full display of His God-ness
No creation could watch this- it wasn't safe for their optics
What an awesome scene in heaven with all esteem and reverence
It's Psalm 16:11 as conveyed through the prophet
Overflow of joy and love, the Father made Him a promise
To give His Son a people to liberate from their bondage
So they're no longer slaves and hostages, but blameless and spotless
Consequence of eternal love- our salvation's accomplished!
Love so perfect
Unchanging, Holy, Righteous Love
Transcends our understanding
But in Your nature there is perfect love
Love so perfect
Unchanging, Holy, Righteous Love
Transcends our understanding
But in salvation there is perfect love
Now it's one thing to consider God's love that's within
But how could God's love extend to men corrupted with sin?
Because we certainly don't deserve it, He's perfect and we're imperfect
What's lurking beneath the surface? His mercy and deeper purpose
Made in His likeness, installed with reminders of His law
Despite our blindness from the fall, His kindness reaches all
The fact He allows the sun to rise on this evil planet
Means that His love is such that we can't even understand it
In other words, don't let traditions fool ya, gotta let them Scriptures school ya
As a matter of fact, see how Christ reacted when it came to the rich young ruler
Love explicit, if it isn't His love, what is it
Restricting Him from inflicting His vengeance on the wicked?
Some call it common grace, but I'm inclined to state
that it's the love of God shining from a place that beyond time and space
They say, "If God is love, what's eternal torment for?"
Well, He loves the world for sure, but He loves His glory more!
Perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of this subject
Would be the love of God that He expresses towards the elect
And the second some people hear that, they get mad inside
But it's a special kind of love the Husband has for His Bride
It's a love that distinguishes her and sets her apart
No other woman could ever have the same effect on His heart
Because this Groom is not adulterous, this marriage has no openness
His devotion is traced back to when the world was motionless
In love we were predestined for adoption as a son
Not for anything that we've done, check Ephesians chapter one
Look, when we lived as God's opponents, He gave His only Son for atonement
So we've got to see He can't possibly love us more than He does this moment
In love, He justified us, in love, He sanctifies us
So we don't have to jump through hoops to try to make Him like us
One thing we truly cannot fathom- we're stunned
The Father loves us with the very love He has for His Son!
27 November 2011
21 November 2011
There’s a story about Raynald III, a fourteenth-century duke in what is now Belgium. Grossly overweight, Raynald was commonly called by his Latin nickname, Crassus, which means “fat.” After a violent quarrel, Raynald’s younger brother Edward led a successful revolt against him. Edward captured Raynald but did not kill him. Instead, he built a room around Raynald in the castle and promised him he could regain his title and property as soon as he was able to leave the room. This would not have been difficult for most people since the room had several windows and a door of normal size, and none of the windows or the door was locked or barred. The problem was Raynald’s size. To regain his freedom, he needed to lose weight. But Edward knew his older brother, and each day he sent a variety of delicious foods. Instead of dieting his way out of prison, Raynald grew fatter. When Duke Edward was accused of cruelty, he had a ready answer: “My brother is not a prisoner. He may leave when he so wills.” .....History tells us that Raynald stayed in that room for ten years and wasn’t released until after Edward died in battle. By then his health was so ruined he died within a year. . . a prisoner of his own appetite.
This may sound comical, but it's a sad reminder to the reality of so many people today....they love their sin so much they are clueless to the tragic outcome that lies ahead, a world that is blinded by the sin that binds their hands in Hell! Steve Farrar sums up the terrible price of sin "Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you're willing to pay.” Church family sin is so powerful ...it has the power to destroy families, marriages, churches and many nations. This is why it’s important to understand the truth that Paul is telling us in the letter! The world wants to suck you back in...but Christ is sanctifying you not to! [like a tug of war].....because of His finishing work on the cross, the genuine Christian has freedom and victory over the tug of war of sin! “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” Rom 6:6.
This doesn’t mean we are exempt from the temptation or the reality of sin in our lives ...Positionally we are no longer slaves to sin according to Romans chapter six; but this must be worked out in the believer’s practical living from the point of conversion. As John MacArthur said “there can be no holiness or maturity in a life where sin runs unchecked.” and Paul gives a pretty clear in your face detailed list of things that should be dead or not evident in the life of the believer! From the point of your conversion in Christ these are the things that should not be evident in your life! Look at what Paul writes in (v5) He’s opening sentence is giving us an understanding to the importance of what’s about to be said.......“put off” this literally means “kill” or “to put to death” some translations say “consider the members of your earthly body as dead...”We are to kill [put to death] the sin..... by bringing ourselves under submission to the Spirit-filled new character found in the Gospel. Jesus spoke very clearly on this issue [meaning sin] “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. Matt 5:29-30. This doesn’t mean we literally start cutting parts from bodies! Thinking that this will stop the sin! Centuries ago in England if a Pick-pocket was caught and convicted, his or her right hand was cut off. If that person was caught again, their left hand would suffer the same fate. There was once a pickpocket who lost both hands and continued his occupation with his teeth! Physical dismemberment cannot change the heart! Sin pierces the heart as Jesus and Paul says here in this portion of scripture! We are to discard evil practices as literally cutting them off from our lives. BUT! Realizing, the battle of sin is common for all believers! As Paul wrote chapter 7 to the Roman believers, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” Rom 7:24-25. Sin is a continuous battle we all face on a day by day....minute by minute basis....but we don’t need to feel defeated! Why? Paul knew where his life was hidden.....were he found grace, peace and victory! This why he started with the word “therefore” referring to what was previously said in (v1-v4) Therefore since you have been purchased...declared righteous and set apart by the Gospel we are to cut the ties of our sinful patterns that we formally lived according to (v5-v11). Paul groups these sinful practices into THREE CATEGORIES!
THE FIRST CATAGORY (V5) – SINS OF A SEXUAL NATURE:
1. Sexual immorality – Greek word “porneia” from which we get the English word “pornography”. Every kind of sexual sin, prostitution; images; any sexual relations whither visual or physical!
2. Impurity – indecent- explicit imagination, speech, a deed of a sensual heart or filthy mind
3. Lust - unrestrained appetite for sexual things; passion that makes you do foolish things...e.g. internet, adult magazines, night clubs and so on.....
4. Evil desires - desire for something that is forbidden to you, self serving and self satisfying or a gluttonous lust. A prime example of this nature is found in Paul’s letter to the Romans! “For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” Rom 1:26-28
5. Greed - the desire to have more, but it is almost always used in connection with someone in a position of power using their position to get sex from someone. Boss/ co-worker etc. And all of these were IDOLATROUS, which would have been a big deal for the hearers because all Christians – whether from a Jewish background or Gentile – knew that God has no toleration for idolatry! Remember when you’re fulfilling the desires of your flesh....what you’re ultimately doing is.... committing idolatry on the very One [the Saviour] who told you and me to put these things to death [to kill it]! Why? As John MacArthur said .....”When people sin, it is at its basis their doing what they desire. Rather than what God desires. That is, in essence, to worship themselves instead of God, and that is idolatry.”
The Apostle Paul is telling the church that we must kill these passions of the flesh that world so desperately want you to embrace with open arms! This is a command not a request! Why do I say that....but what we read in (v6-v7) Paul wrote these sobering words in Rom 2:5 “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.”
THE SECOND CATAGORY (V8-V9) COMES TO THE SINS OF ANGER:
Paul says “Put off” instead of put to death! It’s like taking off your dirty cloths at the end of a busy or hard day at work! We are to discard the filthy, tattered rags of their old life! What are we to discard....?
• Anger – literally wrath, but a wrath that has the intent of bringing public judgment on others or a resentful bitterness that has an unsettled heart of an anger person.
• Rage – a quick temper; responding badly, unexpectedly...sudden outburst of anger......There is no place for this in the life of Christian! James wrote we are to be “slow to anger...for the anger of a man does not achieve righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20
• Malice – spitefulness; being ill-willed toward someone; doing what you can to hurt them...unkind words!
• Slander – slandering someone; wilfully destroying their character...talking about person or persons behind their back with someone else.
• Filthy language – abusive speech; made up word that means “filthy talk.” It is the kind of talk that leads to filthy action against someone
• Do not lie – don’t lie; literally, “STOP lying” What is Paul saying!.......When a believer lies they are imitating Satan [the father of lies] , and not their Heavenly Father!
AND FINALLY THE THIRD CATAGORY THE SINS OF DISCRIMINATION (V11)
• Greek or Jew: both thought everyone else was a different race of people and both looked down their noses at all of the people that were clearly of a different race.
• Circumcised or uncircumcised: the distinction that was the most obvious between these two groups
• Barbarian: the Greek name for everyone that didn’t speak Greek.
• Scythian: the rowdiest, smelliest, most dangerous of hillbilly types
• Slave: 1/3 of all people were slaves/ freedom was what all slaves wanted and could earn through years of hard labor and favor from their masters
• Free: many freed slaves looked down their noses at slaves hoping to earn their freedom.
You have a new life in Christ, so live like it! Pursue God and LIVE DIFFERENT! Christ Jesus came to sinners.....wretched lost people! NOT good people. No one is good in this room, outside this room.... apart from Christ and His sustaining grace found in the Gospel. Christ knows you are going to fail on your own. Christ knows the power of sin over His creation. Christ knows the battle you're going to face each and every day....That’s why He went to the cross to save the perishing....to save the dying! We are full in Him and we are to put to death the flesh that wants to continue in the passions before you were saved. The chains have been broken....we can put these things to death by kicking it to the curb!
As Paul writes we are to put on the “new man” who is renewed! “Renewed” describes a new quality of that never before existed...just as a baby is born complete but immature without understanding. We are new [born again] babies who are capable of growing in the knowledge of Him as He conforms us more and more into the image of His blessed Son (v10). But in order to grow we have to put to death the passions and the desires of our old nature! As Peter said as new born babies desiring the pure milk of the word!
So how do we have victory over these kinds of sins that plague our fleshly desires? The simple answer to that question is..........Stop feeding it....starve it to death and you can leave those prison walls! Do not feed anger or resentment....do not cater to sexual lust or covetousness...When you discard something you need to fill it with something else! So Fill or saturate your life in the living water found in the Word of God! As Paul said “......whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Phil 4:8. Put to death those things that lead to death and eternal torment and embrace the truth found in forgiving blood of Jesus Christ! My only question for you this morning is and it ties in with last week! Are you still embracing the things that lead to His righteous wrath? Or are you embraced the unlimited grace that flows from Emmanuel’s veins Put to death this world and begin living for Him as a new creation found in the Gospel that saves to the uttermost! SDG
16 November 2011
The Christian life is very much like a marriage! You bonded together by God....It’s a commitment that lasts the remainder of your earthly life...It’s a life empting of one’s selfishness through submission to one another...It’s a life that is built on trust, honor and most of all love that God supplies....It’s a life that completely changes the way you use to live before you were married. The Christian life is very similar to gift of marriage! But.....How quickly we are to break the vows we made as we live in a world that wants us to divorce the very One [Jesus Christ] the Saviour [the Groom] who came to save our wretched lives [the bride] through the gift of salvation. So that we can embrace this world and all its pleasures. It boils down to this one question! Do I love this world more than Jesus? Before you answer that question.... take this test with me keeping in mind what makes you more upset!
• A soul lost in Hell....or a scratch on your new car?
• You’re missing the worship service....or missing a day’s work?
• A sermon 10 minutes too long...or lunch half hour late?
• A church not growing...or your garden not growing?
• The church work being neglected...or housework neglected?
• Missing a good bible study...or your favourite TV show?
• The millions who do not know Christ...or your inability to keep up with your neighbours?
• The cry of the multitude for bread...or your desire for another piece of German chocolate cake?
• Your children late for Sunday school and Church...or late for school?
Which really disturbs you most? The answer to those questions will determine what you the love most! Who are you divorcing in your life? Is it the world or Jesus? Because! We must never forget what Christ did in order for us to divorce this world and all it has to offer. “who gave himself [Jesus] for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age....” Gal 1:4. We need to understand that Christians are of Christ’s kingdom and not this world. This is not our home and we sometimes constantly need to be reminded of this wonderful truth!
Paul wrote these words “and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” Eph 2:6....The Apostle John said “we have overcome this world through Jesus Christ” 1 John 5:4-5. The Hebrew writer said “we are strangers and exiles on the earth” Heb 11:13
Our Christian purchased lives, require us to have a proper perspective of this world. Our Christian lives require us to live in such a way that we are always focusing Heavenward. Everything I want and need is found in Him and all I want is Him. But this is a daily battle for [everyone, including myself] This world is always working 24 hour a day 7 days a week, tempting us all to focus on self and the things that bring us pleasure over Christ and His sufficient work found in His death and resurrection. R.C Sproul said "We can serve Satan, the interests of this world, or we can serve the Living God & be servants of Christ." What’s it going to be? Him or this world? This is why Paul continues in his letter reminding the church about who is and should be supreme in our lives CHRIST! Satan hates this and he will do whatever it takes to see as many people go to Hell and he also desires to see the testimonies of the faithful crushed underfoot. This why we must be vigilant and sober in a perverse and fallen generation! This is why we must be living Heavenward and not for this world.
Look at (v1a) “if then you been raised with Christ..” Let’s stop there for a minute! “If” is better translated “since” which speaks of something already done [past-tense]. Referring to our resurrection.....which is an accomplished fact? So since we have been raised with Christ through the Gospel that saves, we enter into this at the point of conversion! “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me” Gal 2:20. This is the reality in which we must wake up to each and every day! This is our victory song. (Col 2:13; and 2:20-21). This present world doesn’t control us and we need stop thinking it does! Christ has broken that chain by His death and resurrection. We need to keep our minds focused on Christ at all times. This is the only path in which we are to take....not through the things mentioned earlier in Paul’s letter
• False philosophy
• Doctrines of men
We have been raised with Christ and we are to daily remind ourselves of this wonderful truth. Why? Because we will be able to seek the things above more clearly!
Look at (v1b) “seeking those things which are above...” Let’s stop there! “Seeking” in this text is a continuous action, an ambition, one’s attitude. It’s the same continues action that Jesus said in His sermon on the mount! “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matt 6:33. All our choices and decisions we make here on this earth should done with Heaven in view of our earthly responses. “seek His kingdom” Making right choices because we are children of His kingdom and everything should be done with this in mind. John MacArthur said in his commentary on this passage.......“To be preoccupied with Heaven is to be preoccupied with the One who reigns there and His purposes, plans, provisions, and power. It is also to view things, people, and events of this world through His eyes and with an eternal perspective.” If we look at everything through a here and now as the world wants us too.....we lose focus of what’s most important. Which is Christ first and foremost and secondly the blessed gospel that saves to the uttermost....So “seek” here in this text literally means “keep seeking”
What are we to keep seeking? “Those things which are above” (v1b-v2) This is that inner disposition [character or by nature] that we are to have daily...minute by minute! What does it look like to set your mind on the things above? There was example a came across in my study! About a man who recently played catch with his dog named Bozie....“After spending forty-five minutes tossing the ball for Bozie, he came to the conclusion that when she dies an autopsy will reveal she has a tennis ball for a brain! Bozie sleeps with her tennis ball, carries it to her water dish, and she can find it wherever it is thrown. Her mind is constantly set on the tennis ball.” This story tells us that we are to regard the things of Heaven in the same way! So let me ask you! If they did an autopsy on your brain this morning what would they discover? A worldly perspective or a Heavenly perspective? The Bible says “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt 6:21. Paul is reminding us that we are God’s possessions for His glory and we are to seek and pursue the things that are above.
Where! Jesus is seated at the right hand of God. (v1c) again let’s stop there! This is a statement we tend to read over so quickly...but we need to stop and read this carefully. We have already been told that we have been raised with Christ! We have already been told to keep seeking the things of Heaven! Because this of this wonderful truth about our Lord and Saviour “He is seated at the right hand of God” this is a place of honor and majesty. This is a place of extreme privilege and divine authority. When we picture Christ seating down at the right of the father, this tells us that redemption has been completed in the Son. When you look into In the Old Testament we always see the Priests job was never done. Why? Because they were always sacrificing animals as an offering to God for the sins of the people, and if you took a look inside the tabernacle you find a piece of furniture missing! A chair.The sacrifice the Levites did on behave of the people..... was a foretaste of what Christ would complete on the cross once and for all. How do we know this is true? He is seated at the right hand of God in all His glory and splendour. “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,” Heb 10:12. When you come to passages like this you really need stop and praise His name for such a great love He has for sinners.
Look what Paul writes next (v3) “for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” “Death” refers to the death to self at the point of salvation. “If any man is in Christ.....he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Cor 5:17. Your penalty of sin has been paid for and you are dead to sin so don’t let sin reign over you! Remember the wages of sin is?........................Death. This is exactly what the world wants you to do ....this is exactly what Satan wants you to do! Though sins presence and power still affect us, but understand this! It cannot condemn us! Why? Our death and new birth is hidden in Christ! That’s the gospel truth. “Hidden” gives the idea of protection from spiritual foes...enemies. The blessing of salvation is that we find rest and security because our lives are hidden in Christ It’s like the T-Shirt with the arrow that says “I’m with Him” and it points to the person beside you! The Christian is hidden in Christ and nothing can separate that love and hope we have in Christ Jesus our Lord. Who are hidden? “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." John 10:27-30. Those who are truly born again through repentance and faith in Christ alone! If this is you? You are hidden in his protective arms .....That’s a great comfort especially when we are faced with so much whether they are good or bad! No matter what has happened or what will happen we are hidden in Jesus our Lord!
Paul puts the icing to the cake.... to bring this point home! Look at (v4) “when Christ is revealed” is referring to His second coming! John paints the scene for us in Revelation 19:11-16...“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” When He is revealed in His second coming so will we! The King of Kings will be accompanied by the saints [Christians]
This portion of Paul’s letter should motivate, stimulate or confirm what we always knew to be true. That we are to look this life differently more and more each day to live vertically and not horizontally! Our lives are completely full and hidden in Christ and we are to look at his world through eyes of the new birth not the old self!
• Live for Christ
• Proclaim the good news of the Gospel
• Walk in holiness
• Deny this world and the lies they are trying to sell
• Keep focusing on the prize which is Christ
• Never look down because all it leads to is ........doubt and despair!
My only question is! Who are you divorcing in your life?....... Is it the world or Jesus?
07 November 2011
Legalism by definition is..... the attempt of self-atonement for the purpose of self-glorification and ends up in self-worship. A legalist is anyone who behaves as if he can win favor with God through his own personal performance. Basically legalism in a nut shell is..... an attempt to earn your salvation by contributing your works to the work accomplished by Jesus on the cross. In others works, it's a "Christ-plus" message. This is something that has plagued the church for centuries........Why do I say that? We can see throughout the New Testament this happening all over the place; especially in the church! A prime example of this found in scripture is in Acts 15:1. "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." There is hree things legalism leads a life to........First, legalism ultimately is a joyless life....because you live by this critical lifestyle that is so demanding because you need to win God’s favour all the time. Second, legalism demands uniformity......when you find legalism you will find people who dress the same way and use the same speech, posture, and manners......sometimes even the same facial expressions......it’s almost cultish. Third, legalism produces a surface faith.......because its adherents emphasize the things which are not really important....which leaves one to a shallow self righteousness, which has damnable consequences. Charles Swindoll said these words about legalism.....“You want to mess up the minds of your children? Here's how - guaranteed! Rear them in a legalistic, tight context of external religion, where performance is more important than reality. Fake your faith. Sneak around and pretend your spirituality. Train your children to do the same. Embrace a long list of do's and don'ts publicly but hypocritically practice them privately... yet never own up to the fact that its hypocrisy. Act one way but live another. And you can count on it - emotional and spiritual damage will occur.” Paul Tripp said “Human legalism leads to human self-righteousness. Human self-righteousness denies the need for the saving, enabling grace of Christ. Human righteousness embraces the cruelest of Satan's lies, that a person can be righteous by keeping the law. If that were true, there would have been no need for the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ.” The Pharisee’s were prime examples of a legalism and it has continued to permeate throughout church history!
• How dare you heal this man on the Sabbath?
• How dare you eat with unclean people?
• How dare you sit with sinners?
• How dare you?
We still see this happening around us today in different ways! Especially in the Roman Catholic circles......works based salvation...their Worship of Mary. In the United Church of Canada, The Salvation Army....with their works based salvation. Seventh Day Adventist with their special dietary foods and their Saturday worship. Even in some Baptist circles...especially down in the East Coast with their KJV only churches. But! It comes down to this underlining truth! A wrong view of God and a twisted understanding of scripture. A major unawareness or ignorance to the truth of the Gospel message. I don’t say these things to make myself feel big......but until my last breath I will warn and expose anyone who does not hold to the true Gospel. Why? Remember what Paul said to the church of Galatia? “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” Gal 1:8-9.......And as we have seen over the past few weeks! We know that Christ is the only way to find freedom over life and death. [The supremacy of Christ found in the Gospel]. Paul reminds the church and us that we are free and complete in Christ alone! (2:6-15)......This is the Gospel promise! We have been freed from the bondage of sin, legalism, regulations made by the traditions of men which is empty and worthless. Look at what Paul writes next........ (2:v16-v23) Paul mentions things like.......
• Food & drink......as seen in (Leviticus 11)
• Special feasts....... as seen in (Leviticus 25)
• New moon celebrations....... found in (Num 28:11-14)
• The Sabbath...... as told in (Exodus 20:9-11)
What is Paul saying? These Jewish religious festivals are not important or never where important? No......These laws were given to mark Israel as God’s distinct people and to discourage them from intermingling with surrounding nations. What Paul is saying is......For example! We no longer celebrate the Sabbath, because we worship on the Lord’s Day! This is the first day of the week. (Rev 1:10). In Luke 24:1-3 it says “Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.” Sunday is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ! (John 20). Another example of why these are not central anymore! Jesus [Himself] specifically said when it came to the matter of food or drink “thus he declared all food is clean!” (Mark 7).
We need to embrace and realize that when Christ came, He fulfilled them all! The Gospel is complete in Christ. That’s why Paul said “these are the shadow of things to come....” (v17) The word “shadow” is where we get the English word for “photograph” As John MacArthur said “a shadow has no reality; the reality is what makes the shadow. Jesus Christ is the reality to which the shadows pointed.” Which means.......all the rituals of the Law in the Old Testament were like a negative or a picture. They were just pictures of Christ.....Now that Christ has come, we have the reality and we don’t need the picture anymore. So my question is......Why should we go back and look at a picture? This is what the religious where trying to make Gentile Christians do! When we are forced to keep traditions and rituals in order to find favour with God, all its doing is separating us further from His grace found in the complete work of the cross. A prime example is Paul as he pours his heart out in the third chapter of Philippians (Phil 3:1-15).......Legalism only leads to one thing and that is a dead end! Why? Because we are trying to be righteous in our own strength....we are trying to win His favour or His love by our duty! Look at what else Paul warns the church about.......(v18). Asceticism means..... One who retires from the customary business of life, and devotes himself to the duties of piety and devotion; a hermit.......a monk type lifestyle! It’s a self righteous humility that Paul is saying! I deny myself certain things because I’m trying to please God! It’s a self-abasement. Which in reality it’s a false humility or a bogus humility it’s fake! It’s what we would call today “spiritual snobs”.......Sadly this delusion leads them to the worship of angels? .......But the bible is very clear about the worship of angels! Jesus said "'.....You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'" Matt 4:10. The apostle John was rebuked for this very thing.....by an angel “I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, "You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God." Rev 22:8-9. See, to worship angels is to deny the truth that Jesus is not our mediator between God and man...which is clearly found in (1 Tim 2:5).
Not only did they worship angels! They believed by their self humility that they received special revelation or visions from God which ultimately it brings you into a [so-called] higher level of spirituality. And in order to find true salvation! They needed have those special visions as well! [Jesus plus message]. But the sad reality is that..... it was never real [truthful] (v18c) “vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind” . A prime example...... Joseph Smith in his visions when he translated the twisted tail found in the Book of Mormon. Oral Roberts when he said Jesus told him to build the City of Faith Medical and Research Center........Which by the way went bankrupt in 8 years after the built was finished in 1981.
Let me ask you! Why do you think people who are void of the Spirit seek after such people or such practices?They fear they are missing something! The glue that holds their salvation together. They need something else to make their salvation seem real! Go to your Heresy Christian book store and see for yourself the books written on a higher power of spiritual living or mystical experiences! This is what the false teachers were spewing out their mouths! We see it all the time in North America! It’s that I have entered into that deeper stage of spirituality [whatever that is] This is a false teaching and should be rebuked right away! Because this form of so-called Gospel truth is a lie from the pit of Hell.....and sadly we have had this warning for the past 2000 years.
2 Peter 2:1-3 “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep."
The root problem of all this can be found in (v19) It’s entirely a man centered gospel and not the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because....“he or she has lost their connection to the Head” Who is the Head? The answer can be found back in chapter one (1:v18)........Christ is the head! Our death in Christ has freed us from “elemental spirits” the demonic powers of this world. Paul has sounded a clear warning calling us the true church to look at things as they really are! (v20-v23). There is an article that Royal Robbins [a professional mountain climber] wrote for Sports Illustrated about seeing things as they are! “If we are keenly alert and aware of the rock and what we are doing on it, if we are honest with ourselves and our capabilities and weaknesses, if we avoid committing ourselves beyond what we know is safe, then we will climb safely. For climbing is an exercise in reality. He who sees it clearly is on safe ground, regardless of his experience or skill. But he who sees reality as he would like it to be, may have his illusions rudely stripped from his eyes when the ground comes up fast.”
The reality is this! In Him we have been made full......but we can lose the benefits of that fullness very easily.....but being deceived into..... Legalism.....self righteousness and mysticism. We do not have to follow this path in order to win God to find salvation. This unspiritual and puffed up way of thinking leads a person to believe in themselves over Christ. Which is a false profession leading to God’s pure wrath and judgement for all eternity? As I said in my title.....”Legalism can be lethal” This form of worship or lifestyle is nothing more than broken cisterns that cannot hold water. Remember what Jeremiah wrote....“for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jer 2:13.....As Horatius Bonar said “The gospel is the proclamation of free love; the revelation of the boundless charity of God. Nothing less than this will suit our world; nothing else is so likely to touch the heart, to go down to the lowest depths of depraved humanity, as the assurance that the sinner has been loved - loved by God, loved with a righteous love, loved with a free love that makes no bargain as to merit, or fitness, or goodness.” The Gospel is complete in Christ and we must hold fast to Christ in whom we have been made complete.