29 March 2011

"There Will Be A Day" Jeremy Camp




In light of what Paul said to the church of Philppi, this is where our hope lives and waits with eagerness........This is where He is and this is where the Christian presses on for.........to be with the One who saved me from myself. SDG

True Joy Is Found Where He Is



Phil 3:17-21

What kind of person are you drawn too? Are you drawn to people who live and display a life that loves our Savior Jesus Christ? Do you find yourself drawn to the things and people of this world? Which of the 2 are easier? Answer: It would have to be following after the world pursuits of life. It’s much easier to hid yourself in this world than it would be to stand out.The culture tells us that we need to accept all things and people in order to have a stable society.......But biblically that’s a wrong philosophy that leads to loneliness and frustration "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Matt 6:24. Paul was a man who stood out. Paul was a man who displayed the love for the Gospel. Paul was a man who live for the things of Heaven and not for the things of this world. Can we learn from Paul’s life? Yes! We certainly can especially after what we have learned in the previous portion of his letter. Paul was the prime example of a person who had everything (mammon) and counted it as loss because it separated him from the love that is found in Jesus Christ . “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.” 1 Tim 1:12-16. Is there someone you know today that has influenced your life?That someone who continually is helping you get through the good times and the bad times? That someone who leads a Christ exemplified life not just in private or at church but in the community? “We need to understand that Godly people will always reproduce other godly people.” If you have a desire to grow in your Christian walk you will want to stay close to godly people. Read books by godly people and their passion for truth found in the Bible. Listen to messages by godly people and hear the Lord speak through them as they expound on the Scriptures. You will find that same passion to serve Jesus and His precious church. Why? Because godly people will always reproduce godly people and the same rule applies to the opposite of this! Ungodly on the other hand will always produce ungodly people and behaviour! SO WE MUST LISTEN to what Paul is telling the church this morning. Paul finished telling us that we are to look ahead and not back! “Press on” We are to press on in our sanctification....as we grow closer everyday to our Lord Jesus Christ. So we need to ask ourselves.......How does a Christian press forward in a world that is so inviting?

1. WE MUST PRESS ON BY FOLLOWING OR IMITATE THOSE WHO LIVE AN EXEMPLIFIED CHRISTIAN LIFE (v17)

Nothing is better than an instruction manual or a guide, when you are trying to put something together. “Join in” What Paul is saying........... Be an imitator of me! Christ is the perfect model, but Paul was the best imperfect model to follow.......Paul was a devoted Christian who pursued Christ. Paul was a model for us to follow as we continue our pilgrimage home. Paul displayed a life that Christ honours. REMEMBER WHAT PAUL SAID IN 1THESS 1:5-7 “You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord....” We must follow that same example!

1. PAUL’S LIFE WAS TO MAGNIFY THE GOSPEL WHETHER BY LIFE OR DEATH. THE GOSPEL WAS HIS PRIORITY. “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.” Phil 1:20

2. PAUL'S LIFE WAS A MODEL OF PRAYER FOR THE CHURCH “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,” Phil 1:3-4

3. PAUL WAS A MODEL OF OVERCOMING THE FLESH “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” Phil 3:3

4. PAUL WAS A MODEL OF PATIENCE AND ENDURANCE OF SUFFERING “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,” Phil 3:10

5. PAUL WAS A MODEL OF VICTORY OVER TEMPTATION “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:13-14

Can you think of a person like that here in this church or person that displays those kinds of characteristics? There have had a great number of men who have impacted my life to where I’m today! Men like:

• John Piper
• Matt Chandler
• James MacDonald
• David Platt
• John MacArthur
• Francis Chan
• My mentor John Mank
• My best friend Trevor Peck

All these men and more have played an important part to my ministry and my personal walk with Christ! They all have one thing in common!.......They love the Jesus of the Gospel. So why would Paul start off his sentence with this? Paul knew how important it is to have a proper foundation in your Christian life. Without a proper foundation or example we are susceptible to fall into a pattern of : Legalism, false teachings and self religion “God needs me and my help.”...... Self centered worship “it’s all about me”......Easy believism philosophy “what’s in it for me?” ........ A greater risk to biblical error “a doctrine made in the image of man”.......A watered down Gospel “the less offensive approach." This is a growing problem with our churches across North America! John MacArthur says “the church’s adoption of the need mentality of humanistic psychology leads to a man centered theology, a man centered quais-salvation, and a man centered substitute for sanctification. For many the goal of Christian living is getting their needs met, being filled, being happy, having a good self-image, and eliminating all of life’s problems. The focus is on people, not Christ.” Paul says it’s happening here in this small town of Philippi. Paul displays his concern and broken heart over the false teachers of his day and he pleads with the Philippians believers. To imitate those who keep the faith and avoid those who imitate the World

2. WE MUST PRESS ON NOT BEING CONFORMED TO THIS POST MODERN WORLD (v18- v19)

Look what Paul says here........Do you see his heart concern for the church? Paul’s heart was grieved with great sadness and anguish. Weeping (means) “Of uncertain empathy; to sob, that is, wail aloud." It’s the same kind of weeping you would find over a loss of a loved one. Why? They were “enemies of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v18). Paul knew the end result for this kind of behaviour would be devastating to say the least. Look what he writes!

1. THE DOOM THEY FACE “Whose end is destruction." This is a rejection of the one and only truth of salvation...the cross of Christ. “End” refers to their ultimate destiny, which is the great judgement that sends a person to Hell for all eternity. The beginning of torment for all eternity in the Lake of Fire.

2. THE DEITY THEY SERVE “Whose god is their appetite." It was not mere pleasures of the stomach that was their god.....but there fleshly passions and desires that became their deity.......their master. As Jude said “ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” Satan had this appetite “I will be like the Most High” (Isa 14). The rich fool who built bigger barns (Luke 12:18-19) "And he said, 'I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build large ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry."

3. THE DISGRACE THEY BEAR “Whose glory is in their shame” They loved glorying in themselves....”me worship” the very thing God said He would never share with anyone. Again as Jude said “following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.” Look at me and be impressed because I’m better than you. Boasting in themselves .......boasting in their rubbish. What they thought of themselves was the worst perversion that a person could ever do.

4. THE DISPOSITION THEY DISPLAY “Who set their minds on earthly things” They love the world more than they love GOD. The world is there oyster or pearl of great price because it fulfills the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life” As John said “if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father in not in him” 1 John 2:15. James said “.....Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:4. These are the enemies of the Cross whether they add to the Gospel or take away from our wonderful gospel.............there end is destruction. “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Rev 22:18-19. This is why we are to imitate godly people......so that we don’t become worldly people. People who have awe and reverence for our Lord. People who are not complacent in their Christian life with the status quo but a passion that pursues Heavenly riches. People who put their hope in the blessed coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

3. WE MUST PRESS ON BECAUSE THIS IS NOT OUR HOME (v20- v21)

"Citizenship" (refers) to a colony of foreigners; it is used to describe a capital city that kept the names of its citizens on a register. Our citizenship in Heaven (John 14:2-3) "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." But in the mean time we eagerly await for this day to come. "Eagerly" expresses the idea of waiting patiently, but with a great expectation of things to come not things that pasted. As Paul said “we ourselves........groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” Rom 8:23. See we need to understand our Salvation involves far more than mere deliverance from HELL. God’s ultimate goal in His redeemed children is to transform our bodies one day. We will be conformed into the image of His Son one day, we will have heavenly bodies. But until that happens we are to eagerly wait and press on for the Gospel that saves (1John 3:2) "Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see Him as He is." As Jonathan Edwards said "I went on with my eager pursuit after more holiness and conformity to Christ. The heaven I desired was a heaven of holiness." George Whitefield says “How sweet is rest after fatigue! How sweet will heaven be when our journey is ended”. We don’t stop pressing on until we reach Heaven call! We don’t stop pressing on until we hear Jesus say “well done know goo and faithful servant”

So church family until that day press on........find godly people and camp where they camp. As I said earlier “Godly people will always reproduce other godly people" So follow after people who resonate or permeate the glory of God in their lives. Focusing on the Expectation of future things, on the glorious hope on the return of Christ. We must continue to press on in our sanctification because Christ is our strength through the Spirit to press on! Our duties as Christians are to be prepared for His glorious return as we press on......

• By being Saturated our time in His word
• By Praying without ceasing
• By loving the Gospel of Peace
• By Caring for one another
• By Living a life that is holy and acceptable in His sight.......not ours.

Why? Because there is power in the Cross...............there is fellowship in His sufferings. Paul’s last words to Timothy where these encouraging words to press on! “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 2 Tim 4:8-9. The Sunday question is! Are we going to continue fighting the good fight? The only way to do that is by imitating Christ and not the world!

21 March 2011

True Joy is Found in a Life that Exemplifies a Life of Christ


Phil 3:12-16

What does an exemplified Christian Life look like? It’s a Christian life that is not an imitator or actor playing a role but the mind and heart of Christ. It’s a Christian life that is sensitive to lost people around them. It’s a Christian life that displays Christ as their greatest treasure. It’s a Christian life that will never compromise for the sake of fitting into this generations mold......Eric Liddell a Scottish Athlete During the summer of 1924. The Olympics were hosted by the city of Paris. Liddell was a committed Christian and refused to race on Sunday, with the consequence that he was forced to withdraw from the 100 metres race, his best event. The schedule had been published several months earlier, and his decision was made well before the Games began. Liddell spent the intervening months training for the 400 meter, an event in which he had previously excelled. Even so, his success in the 400m was largely unexpected. The day of 400 meters race came, and as Liddell went to the starting blocks, an American masseur slipped a piece of paper in his hand with a quotation from 1 Samuel 2:30, "Those who honor me I will honor." Liddell ran with that piece of paper in his hand. He not only won the race but broke the existing world record with a time of 47.6 seconds. This is a prime example of what a Christian looks like when they are faced with a choice. This is a prime example of someone who wasn’t going to compromise for the sake of a Gold Medal........Here is an example of a more resent account! A standout Iowa high school wrestler refused to compete against a girl at the state tournament on Thursday, relinquishing any chance of becoming a champion because he says wrestling a girl would conflict with his Christian beliefs.Though this is a minor account.....we see that this is a young man who wants to exalt the Lord over personal glory! Paul continues in his letter from the previous verses.....counting all things a waste in comparison to knowing Christ personally. Paul wanted more of the Lord and less of Paul and this should be our desire and pursuit of life as well. (Look at v12)Paul says “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfect” What does he mean? Paul is saying he hasn’t reached that point in life where he knows everything.... or he is like his Lord yet! This is a very humbling statement....especially coming from a godly man like Paul.........Paul is saying “I’m still learning as I progress in my sanctification” Are you still learning or do you think you know enough; and are you satisfied with that? “There is nothing in Scripture quite like this explosion of spiritual longing. And Paul’s passion longing is meant to serve as an example for all Christians. We are called to make his passion for Christ our own. Dare we ask of this? Will we pray for it? That remains the great question for every Christian.” Kent Hughes. I guess it comes to this question! What are you striving for? .................................What is your ultimate goal in this life? If it’s to make yourself feel fulfilled and satisfied and important, then you are on the wrong road! And you truly don’t understand what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ! A Christian life is to walk worthy.....count the cost.......self sacrifice as a drink offering.....a life that honours our Lord and to seek the interest of others first. If you disagree with me...listen to what the Word of God says about our lives! Maybe this will help you change your mind! The goal of my life and your life should be like Christ!

• All our service
• All our dedication
• All our actions
• All our relationships
• All our praise is to be directed towards Christ and displaying His character in our lives

Everything we do should spin off of being like Christ Jesus. IF I’M TO BE LIKE CHRIST I WILL SERVE GOD IN THE WAY HE SERVED GOD “So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” John 13:12-15. IF I’M TO BE LIKE CHRIST I WILL RELATE TO PEOPLE IN THE LOVE IN WHICH HE RELATED TO PEOPLE “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” Matt 9:36. IF I’M TO BE LIKE CHRIST I WILL PRAISE HIM AS HE PRAISES “At that time Jesus answered and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.” Matt 11:25. The simple focus of my life is to be like Christ!! THAT IS WHY “I must let the word of Christ dwell in me richly in all wisdom...” (Col 3:16). THAT IS WHY “If I say I abide in Him I must walk the way He walked,” (1 John 2). I'm to be like Christ. This is the goal of my life and yours. This is a life that exemplifies the Lord Jesus Christ to a broken and fallen generation. Kay Arthur says “The will of God for your life is simply that you submit yourself to Him each day and say, "Father, Your will for today is mine. Your pleasure for today is mine. Your work for today is mine. I trust You to be God. You lead me today and I will follow." Again look at v12....We are to “press on” which means to run...follow after, this speaks of an aggressive passion for something! As Paul said to the church at Corinth “Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” 1 Cor 9:24. What are we to strive for or attain to? To have a life that exemplifies the Lord Jesus Christ

• We have been taken, possessed by a God who loves us through Jesus Christ.
• We have been brought into a relationship with the Father through His precious Son.
• We have been given eternal life and forgiveness of sins by Jesus Christ.
• We are secure in the hands of a Holy God by the finishing work of Jesus Christ.

That’s why Paul said what he said in (v7-9) It is our obligation or it should be every Christian’s obligation to follow to press forward to be like Christ...NOT to be Christ but to be like our Master. Our pursuit in life should involve laying hold of Christ in every aspect of our lives (v12b). Whether it’s in our marriage or raising our children, in our relationships with family and strangers, in our decisions personally and for the family, in our business, our education, our conversations, even when we rise and lie down and everything in between.“Lay hold” means to make one’s own possession. Christ chose Paul for the ultimate purpose of conforming Paul to His glorious image and that was the very goal Paul pursed to attain, to lay hold of Christ. Is this your goal in life this morning? Is it your passion and desire to grow more into the image of the Son? Or is this to overwhelming because it makes you feel defeated like doubting Thomas or pessimist Phillip?  Is this you? If we’re going to die let’s go get it over with! There is no way I will ever be like my LORD! Your right, I will never be like my Lord! But we must take hold of it and pursue to our dying breath.....Paul knew this as well.....Paul says I haven’t reached Christ-likeness yet nor will I ever on this earth but while I’m here on this earth I will pursue it none the less! (Look at v13-14) What is Paul saying here!! Do we live in the past? No! We are not to look at our past virtuous or deeds or achievements or dwell on our sins and failures....Paul looked at his assets and accomplishment and saw them as manure remember. Paul says we (Christians) are to run towards what lies ahead........which is Christ likeness. We are to run towards the prize........which is Christ likeness in Heaven. All our pursuits should be to glorify our father who is Heaven and to make much of Christ on this earth as lights to fallen generation. HOW DO I DO THAT?

1. BY SATURATING MY LIFE IN HIS WRITTEN WORD

“Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation” 1 Peter 2:22

2. BY SATURATING YOU LIFE IN A DEVOTION TO PRAYER (PERSONALLY AND CORPORATELY)


“praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, Eph 6:18

3. BY FOLLOWING AFTER THE GODLY EXAMPLE OF GENUINE PEOPLE WHO ARE RUNNING THE RACE, NOT THE ONES WHO SLOW DOWN OR GIVE UP HALFWAY THROUGH.

“For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me.” 1 Cor 4:15-16

And this same truth can be found here (v15-16)....Find those who are spiritually mature.....not by age but by the intimate relationship they have with Christ. Remember what I said before! “it’s not how long you have been a Christian, it’s how in love you are in with Christ that really demonstrates your true heart.” Find people who are in that same pursuit as you are and strive together to grow closer into the image of the Son. That’s what Paul is referring too here!! Those who have a passion and a fire for the Gospel and Jesus Christ. HOW DO I RECOGNIZE A PERSON LIKE THIS?

• They always have a passion about the saving grace in their own lives and they treat their salvation as the greatest gift they could ever have.

• They never waste their time on personal pursuits; make excuses! They are always seeking the interest of those around them.

• They are honest in their dealings with others because it’s their passion to please Christ above all things.

• They walk as a light in a fallen world with the Gospel that saves to the uttermost and they display that by making much of Jesus Christ.

Remember what the Hebrew writer wrote “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 12:1-2. Believers are to have the attitude of pursing the prize of Christ likeness.  Paul says if you think that’s not possible.......he writes “God will reveal (uncover or unveil) even this to you” (v15b). If you’re a person who dwells on the past and looks back at his life then you are a person who is not pursuing the prize of Christ likeness and God is still is working on you in this area of your life. Whether He does this through conviction or He will soften your heart to understanding. I don’t know! But according to what Paul writes here in (v15) God will show you that it’s possible to walk.....run....press on.....look ahead to a life that exemplifies Christ likeness. God is doing this every day until He reveals this in glory (1:v6) and remember what Paul said in (2: v13). As John MacArthur said “at the foot of one the Swiss Alps is a marker honoring a man who fell to his death attempting the ascent. The marker gives his name and this brief note: “he died climbing.” The note of every Christian should be that they died climbing the upward path toward the prize of Christ likeness.” Let me as you this one simple question..................................................What does the marker say about your life........today?

15 March 2011

True Joy Is Found When We Put No Confidence In The Flesh (Part 2)



Phil 3:1-11

Do you wish you could go back to the way things were in your life? Do you wish you could have your old life back again? Are you constantly looking back into the past because you miss the way things where? If that’s the case then what does (v7-8) really mean to you at this point in your life? Paul look back at all his accolades........all his trophies and lined them up beside God and realized that none of them would ever give him credit to enter Heaven! Instead he calls them for what they are!! “Rubbish” is the Greek word for “garbage” or “waste”, and can even be translated “dung” or “manure”. Apart from Christ and His finishing work on the cross, do you count your life as loss because of what you gained in Christ Jesus our Lord? Again salvation is by graced through faith...not works, accolades, trophies or your good intentions. Paul counted all his treasures and works as worthless in comparison to Jesus Christ! Look what he says next (v8) I give everything up or count them as manure for one treasure! “Excellence of the knowledge of Jesus Christ” What is Paul saying? To know Christ is not some intellectual knowledge.....it’s that personal relationship you have with Him at the point of conversion and so on. This is what Paul desired above everything!! That intimate, everlasting relationship with the Jesus that came to save sinners! So let me ask you the hard questions! Everything you have in your life at this moment do you count it all loss in comparison of knowing the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you desire that relationship you have with Jesus over everything in your life or do you miss your old friends.......the parties......the lifestyle of living free?We see examples of this in the Scriptures! Lot’s wife as she loved her life and lifestyle.......Jesus said ".......No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Luke 9:62. We are told to deny ourselves………..pick up our cross…………..and never look back to Sodom! We are always supposed to fixed upon Jesus and seek His wonderful face. Charles H Spurgeon says “Are you satisfied with Christ? If you are not, you have not really got Him. If you have got Him, He is everything to you.” Can you answer that question with “I’m completely satisfied with Christ?” Paul finally counted everything loss (all things loss) for the excellence of the knowledge of Jesus Christ! What did he count as loss?

• His religion
• His rituals and traditions
• His self righteousness
• His deception by believing a lie
• His delusion to biblical truth
• His confidence in the flesh
• His sinfulness and wretched standing to a holy God.
• His pride and ignorance to the beauty of Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Why does Paul count all those things as loss? Look what he says in (v9) “Righteousness which is from God” This only comes from God to repentant sinners at the point of your conversion....becuas eit's all about Him and His saving grace. James Boice said “you cannot fool God with human righteousness”. What Paul is saying is it’s a right standing with God and acceptance by Him through His grace and mercy. Sinners have their sin imputed to Christ and His righteousness imputed to us which is the heart of the Gospel.  Paul wrote in 2Cor 5:21 “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” This means you have no part in your salvation........This means you can’t do anything to attain salvation.......This means you are dead apart from His wonderful saving grace. Why? He gets the glory in your salvation!God knows the flesh is weak and it will take every opportunity to glory in itself!! Paul knew this wonderful truth! We are dead to self and alive in Christ Jesus our Lord.“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),” Eph 2:4-5. As Paul continues this letter reminding the church that it’s not by our flesh or our legalistic behaviour that helps enter Heaven and into the fellowship of Jesus Christ! It’s through His death and resurrection (v10-11). There are THREE THINGS that Paul touches on here in this part of his letter! THREE THINGS we can benefit from when we but no confidence in the flesh. THREE THINGS we can count as gain, when we deny ourselves and hide ourselves in Christ. As Paul Washer says "the roaring lion is not afraid of the sheep, it is afraid of the Shepherd ….so stick with the Shepherd!”

1. THERE IS POWER IN HIS RESURRECTION


"power of His resurrection" (v10).....This was the most powerful act performed by the Godhead. There is no power in the Law except showing us our sin. There is no power in the flesh except the bondage of sin and Satan. We have been given the gift of life through the same spiritual power that raised Jesus from the dead. Remember what Paul said in Rom 6:4-6 "We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin." There is cleaning power in the cross of Jesus Christ. There is newness of life through the power of His completed work on the Cross. Jesus died and lay in a tomb completely dead and on the 3rd day He rose again so that we could find redemption power through His life.
God is the only one who can transform a self righteous person who seeks the flesh to see Christ the fulfillment of the Gospel! How? By God’s life giving power found in the Gospel ...that same power that saved our wretched souls from the gates of Hell, if you are a child of the living God.

2. THERE IS FELLOWSHIP IN HIS SUFFERINGS

“fellowship of His suffering” (v10) Better translated “may share in His suffering” This brings us into a deeper partnership and communion with Christ in sufferings. John MacArthur says “the deepest moments of spiritual fellowship with the Living Christ are at times of intense sufferings; sufferings drives believers to Him” Remember He is our.........Merciful High Priest........a Faithful Friend..............A God who sympathizes with our present situation. He is not a God who is a far off and who doesn’t care about His sanctified children.“For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Heb 4:14-15. The spiritual reality for each and every one of is that suffering is part of the true Christian life (Again going back to v28-v29 of chapter 1) Ask yourself......did the people accept Jesus?.......And if not! What did they do to Him? We can find joy in our sufferings because Jesus suffered for you and me!! As Paul said “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor 12:10. We have no confidence in the flesh

3. THERE IS LONGING TO BE WITH CHRIST AND TO BASK IN HIS GLORY

“I may attain (arrive at) to the resurrection from the dead” (v11). Paul looked forward to his death! Paul looked forward to the day he would be able to spend eternity with Christ. Paul didn’t care how God brought it to pass, but longed for death and for the fulfillment of his salvation in his resurrection. “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” Rom 8:23. Paul said all this because he came to a point when he opened his ledger and looked at his life. And asked the question.......what worth can I bring to the cross and my salvation? Nothing! He looked into his past to what he had accumulated by his inheritance........by his efforts and reflected on them as loss! Realizing this life he lived kept him further away from Christ Jesus our Lord. So ask yourself......Have you exchanged your assets or your past in for Christ? Or Do you put your trust in your flesh and goodness, which will never be accepted by God! ..........Because if you are doing that your goodness will take you to HELL for all eternity! Remember God didn’t come to save good people; He came to save bad people like you and me! So lay your goodness, your righteousness aside, counting it all loss for the personal relationship found in Jesus Christ! God will credit Jesus Christ to your account and save your soul by His everlasting and merciful grace! Jesus Christ, the ONE who has become our wisdom and righteousness, holiness and our perfect redemption......1Cor 1:30-31 "He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." (NOT IN SELF)......Listen to this wonderful hymn

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress,
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die
Rock of ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee
If this is your heart cry this morning?

God will provide the washing and Christ will be reckoned as your one sufficient asset forever. You have no reason to look back or be sad when Christ is everything to you!We do not attain anything in this life by means of self worship, legalism or religious traditions, following the Law or the Flesh and your self- righteousness.The bible says in Rev 21 “But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.” It’s not Jesus plus....it’s Jesus only! As Peter proclaimed “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12. It is only by His grace that we are saved though faith in Him........ The Lord Jesus Christ! We are to count all things as loss for the wonderful intimate relationship that is found in the shedding blood of Jesus Christ!! There is power in the death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour....There is power in the Gospel, but there is no power in you and your good intentions execpt His saving grace! SDG 

08 March 2011

True Joy is Found when we put No Confidence in the Flesh



Phil 3:1-11

I know Mike Andrews.....I know him really well...and I’m sure you can say the same thing about yourself!
  • I know what my passions are.
  • I know what my desires are.
  • I know what I like and dislike.
  • I know what I’m capable of.
  • I know what can so easily distract me.
  • I know that I am a sinner who needs to be put into submission every day by a holy God.
  • I know that in me nothing good dwells!
The Apostle Paul penned these words! “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.” Rom 7:18. To the church at Corinth he said! “For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” 1 Cor 15:9. He also told Timothy! “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” 1 Tim 1:15. Even listen to the heart of Job about his flesh! “therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Job 42:6. The soon to be apostle Peter “But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." Luke 5:8. We live in fallen world that is directed by the flesh! Why I say that? Because if we didn’t live by the flesh then Adam and Eve would still be in the garden and Jesus wouldn’t have to hang on the tree for our sins! All of humanity is stained with sin and guilt! And this world desperately needs Jesus Christ. We rely so much on our flesh at times the end result is failure or bitterness and sadness and depression. I think Martin Luther said it best "The first thing I ask is that people should not make use of my name, and should not call themselves Lutherans but Christians. What is Luther? The teaching is not mine. Nor was I crucified for anyone... How did I, poor stinking bag of maggots that I am, come to the point where people call the children of Christ by my evil name?"We come to a part in Paul’s letter where he warns the Christian of certain behaviour or people. He starts off by saying “rejoice in the Lord” Why? Because He is the one who saved you from yourself....your flesh.......He has saved you from destruction and judgement! Don’t just rejoice and be happy.....rejoice because of the Lord’s work in your life.........This is where true joy is found in God and not in the flesh “Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!” Ps 32:11. John MacArthur calls this joy “the sphere in which the believer’s joy exists...a sphere unrelated to circumstances of life, but related to an unassailable, unchanging relationship to the sovereign Lord.” Love the Lord your God with all heart......mind and soul....but Paul changes from a command of love and dedication to a very important warning to all professing Christians. (v2) Why? Well if you back to his letter to the church of Galatia he addressed some important issues amoung the people! There were men who causing problems and trying to cause division amoung the church, which brings us to (v2). He uses some strong language or examples “Dogs” are referring to the wild scavengers that plagued ancient cities. These dogs roamed in packs, feeding on garbage and occasionally attacking humans. Biblical times the Jews commonly referred to Gentiles as “dogs”......It’s also used metaphorically. Which we see here in this verse....A dog refers to a type of person, a Pharisee, Judaizers (legalist), a false teacher, any form of evil.....Dogs were unclean creatures by the law. In 2 Peter 2:22 "What the true proverb says has happened to them: "The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire." Those who reject the way of righteousness after an experimental knowledge of it. Hearing the Gospel and saying that's OK for you, but I will find my own way to attain Heaven. The flesh is so weak and we should never put our confidence in so often or so much. Paul describes the evil workers ................as false teacher........... as dogs who come to devour the flesh of weak people......(Rom 16:17-18) “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.” (the innocent, the simple, the sheep). Paul’s words seen rather harsh and unloving in today's day of tolerance and diversity. Many churches consider it to be unloving and intolerant to point out doctrinal error! Yet God commands us that truth and love are not mutually exclusive. You cannot have truth without love and you cannot have true love without truth! We as Believers are called to both “that we may no longer be infants, being tossed as by waves, and being carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in regard to deceitful scheming, but speaking the truth in love, we may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ;” Eph 4:14-15. We must never put stock in our flesh because it only leads to deception and a false sense of security and hope...a gospel hat is created by man and for man!
It makes us depend on self instead of God......Jerome says “A false interpretation of Scripture causes that the gospel of the Lord becomes the gospel of man, or, which is worse, of the devil”. We are to rejoice in the Lord always!! And we watching or looking out for dogs who are evildoers. Now Paul turns to himself! Why Because He knows Paul.......just as I know Mike! Paul gives us 7 reasons why we should never put our faith in the flesh especially when it comes to salvation and eternal life!

1. THE FLESH WILL NEVER ATTAIN SALVATION AND ETERNAL BY RITUALS

Paul was circumcised which was a major issue for the Judaizers “circumcised on the eighth day” (Gen 17:10-11) This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. Paul was a Jew by birth and followed the Jewish rituals from the beginning. Following rituals does not make you a Christian any more than Paul did by following the rules and regulations. Being of the circumcision on the eighth day does not make you a Christian. Coming to church every Sunday does not make you a Christian. Why? Because “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,” Col 2:11. He even says it here in the passage of scripture "we are the true worshipper"

2. THE FLESH WILL NEVER ATTAIN SALVATION AND ETERNAL LIFE BY RACE

Paul was born a Jew “of the people of Israel” All true Jews were descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.........Paul’s Jewish heritage was PURE! But race does not matter where you are from, you do not have to be Jewish in order to attain Salvation. You win no favour with God by who you are born into WHERE A Jewish family or Christian family. Remember what Paul wrote in Romans 3:9-12 “What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one."

3. THE FLESH WILL NEVER ATTAIN SALVATION AND ETERNAL LIFE BY RANK

“of the tribe of Benjamin ” Paul came from the line of Benjamin, he came from one of the elite tribes of Israel. One of the most prominent tribes in Israel, the direct line from the last son of Jacob, the second son Rachel......Benjamin. Israel’s first king came from the line of Benjamin (1 Sam 9:21). But see it does not matter who you are born into too! Again being brought up in a Christian home does not make everyone in the house a Christian. Again going back to what Paul the believers in Romans 3:20-23 “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in His sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

4. THE FLESH WILL NEVER ATTAIN SALVATION AND ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH TRADITION

Paul stayed and remained a Jew following all the tradition of the Hebrew culture according to the Old Testament Law “a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law” But again this does not bring salvation....because no one can fulfill the Law of God.....(Rom 3:20) "For by works of the law no human being will be justified in His sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin."

5. THE FLESH WILL NEVER ATTAIN SALVATION AND ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH RELIGION

“as to the law, a Pharisee” Paul a Pharisee of Pharisee’s a devout man of the Law.....Pharisee’s were known for their legalistic Judaism. “Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat." He answered them, "And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Whoever reviles (speak evil of) father or mother must surely die.' But you say, 'If anyone tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from Me is given to God, he need not honor his father.' So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: "'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" Matt 15:1-9

6. THE FLESH WILL NEVER ATTAIN SALVATION AND ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH SINCERITY

“as to zeal, a persecutor of the church” Paul’s zealous but misguided love for God caused him to hate and persecute the Church “though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” 1 Tim 1:13-15

7. THE FLESH WILL NEVER ATTAIN SALVATION AND ETERNAL LIFE BY LEGALISTIC RIGHTEOUSNESS

Paul was a model Jew who lived by the Law and was about to die by the Law until the Holy Spirit showed him his true heart “What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet." But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. Apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me.” Rom 7:7-10. See we need to understand what the flesh does to person!
  • It leads to self righteous good intentions
  • It leads to a false view of Scripture and His salvation by grace alone through Christ alone
  • It leads to me centered worship
  • It deceives the mind and consequently damns the soul to eternal punishment
Cursed is he who hangs on the tree! Right? Jesus is our salvation our righteousness and hope for eternal joy. The same joy Paul said at the beginning of this portion of his letter! (v1) and for what he says in (v8-9). So what must we do so that we do not fall to the Flesh? Put no confidence it!! Put no confidence in your own ability and achievements apart from God’s saving and sanctifying work in your life! Am I seeing God anew in the Word through discovery and meditation so I am compelled to draw near to Him and not my flesh? Am I being sincere? Is my heart fixed on Him and undivided or have I allowed the flesh to direct my path? Am I fully assured that only faith in Christ can bring me to God’s throne not by my flesh? Am I coming humbly, realizing I can draw near only because of what Christ has done for me? Only you can answer those questions!! Do you know yourself well enough to answer those questions

01 March 2011

True Joy is Found in Devotion to the Gospel



Phil 2:17-30

Sometimes things can be a really overwhelming! So overwhelming you begin to think about quitting the very thing that is causing you so much pain and agony. Even people can cause you to feel overwhelmed by expecting so much from you at times! Let me explain.........You’re a person working on the farm and you’ve worked really hard and the boss comes out at the end of the busy season and says “you did such really good; we are up 60% over last year’s totals. So I think we should try and strive for 65% next season.” You say to yourself that’s doable, I can work towards that goal without changing too much of my work habits, or rearrange my personal life! Then the year comes to an end and the boss comes out again and says “awesome, we did it again, so let’s say we should strive for a 90% increase for the next year!” Your heart begins to race.....you feel light headed and overwhelmed, then worry and doubt sets in! Because you know what this means! Less time for you, family and friends, it means changes to my holidays and vacations......It means a lot more work and a lot less time for play and sleep! So what do you do? You say “what do they expect from me, I can’t do this...I will never reach that goal for this farm!” It can be really overwhelming! The same thing can happen in the Christian life. You find salvation and you think everything is great......you begin reading the bible, you get plugged into a church family, and you get involved in areas that you can help out in! You say to yourself “I can do that no problem; I can make (or squeeze that somewhere) in my life” But as you read the word of God and grow in understanding something happens to that excitement you first started out with at salvation!You begin to realize that God wants you to be conformed to the image of His Son on a daily basis! You begin reading and you see His love, His holiness, His sovereignty and all His other perfection and you begin to say “That’s impossible for me to achieve in my life.” Why? Because that means I have to spent more of my time in the word.....in prayer.....sacrifice and service for the Gospel! It means less time for fun and my pleasures, less time for my laziness and comforts of life. We say “I can’t do that, so I will be content in what I’m capable of doing so that it doesn’t disrupt my life to much” That’s the wrong answer! It’s true none of us are capable of being exactly like Christ........and much of our sanctification process will consist in realizing in how much unlike we really are to Him. But we are to strive....to be devoted to Him none the less with our lives and character. James Boice said “the bible teaches that although God’s standards are high, and thus seems impossible, God provides supernatural resources to them. God helps the Christian to put the highest of these principles into practice.” The central theme of this book is how to find joy in the midst of a broken and fallen world. But this chapter is about the joy found in the Christian life....the walk we all must travel

• Is the Christian life demanding? Yes
• Is the Christian life going to be hard at times? Yes
• Is the Christian life worth all this? Yes

We can find great encouragement here in this portion of Paul’s letter........because Paul tells us that yes it’s hard but with it’s not impossible. Why do I say that? We see three men who demonstrated that a devotion to Jesus Christ that it is possible to achieve that likeness. Remember what Jesus said ......."With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matt 19:26. So you ask yourself! What will it takes to have a life devoted to Christ and His Gospel?

1. A DAILY SELF SACRIFICE (v17)

When Paul said this......all cultures or nationalities would understand what he meant. The Jews knew what this drink offer represented going back to the Moses’ writings. Num 28:6-8 “It is a regular burnt offering which was ordained at Mount Sinai for a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to the LORD. And its drink offering shall be one-fourth of a hin for each lamb; in a holy place you shall pour out the drink to the LORD as an offering. The other lamb you shall offer in the evening; as the morning grain offering and its drink offering, you shall offer it as an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD.” The Greeks and Romans Christians that came out of their pagan culture would understand what a drink offering was as well. The Greeks and the Romans performed such rituals as an offering! They would first kill a valuable animal then burn it on the altar. Following the sacrifice the ancient worshippers would in additional offering called “libation” meaning “drink offering”. They would take a cup of wine and pour it on the already burning sacrifice, and the libation would immediately disappear into a puff of steam. Even though Paul might be poured out! Whether by life or death on a pagan alter in Rome ......they were not to worry about his death, because their faith was more important to the church in Philippi. Paul was placing his own achievements, even his possible martyrdom at a very low point on the scale of Christian service. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Rom 12:1. Paul turns from himself to two faithful servants of the Gospel that were devoted to Christ and the blessed Gospel (v19-30). We see Timothy the devoted preacher to the church of God, and Epaphroditus the devoted layperson to the body of Christ. What will it takes to have a life devoted to Christ and His Gospel?

2. LIKE-MINDEDNESS (v20)

Timothy was a man of kindred spirit........this phrase that Paul says literally means “equalled souled or one souled which refers to like mindedness. The true goal of a disciple of Jesus Christ is reproduction. Jesus said “it is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master” Matt 10:25. Paul and Timothy had a great relationship form the time of Timothy’s conversion to be responsible for the family God. Paul trusted in Timothy because they had the same passions and concerns for the church. This goes back to what Paul has already said in his letter (1:27)

3. A SINCERE HEART FOR OTHERS (v20)

This is a strong expression of feeling for something or someone.......it’s being burdened to the point that you must do something about it. A true shepherd and lay person are always concerned for the church because he knows what lurks outside your doors.You might be thinking to yourself! I don’ have that same kind of burden and I don’t know why? Answer: It’s because you’re still a baby and God can’t trust you with burden.......you can’t trust a child with jewels they are to precious...they will break. Again! If a person doesn’t have a burden for the church or for the people outside these doors then they are not really listening to what Paul wrote in the previous portion of his letter. (2:1-5)

4. PROVEN TESTIMONY (v22)

This is where the world see’s if you’re really different! Are you truly a Christian? 2Cor 13:5 “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.” This speaks of someone who has proven his or her character, because you’re lining yourself up to what Scripture says not your neighbour or your friend. Timothy was tested many times in his service for the Lord going back to Acts 17 as he went to the churches on Paul’s behalf. Timothy and Epaphroditus had that heart to serve to the point of exhaustion even to the point of death (v30) and this should apply to you and me as well without excuses. Again going back to what Paul said (v14) Our character and our actions should line up according to God word says, not according to the flesh (not according to selfish me)!! What believers are to be is BLAMELESS and INNOCENT children of God, who are above REPROACH. This means we live out our lives in such a way that the world or our community has no room to speak ill of your present behaviour. Why? Because we are children of the living God who is sanctifying us daily by His good pleasure! (v13). We are to be a light, an influence to a godless generation, by fulfilling the Great Commission, a life that is pursuing obedience and godliness.

5. DEDICATION TO THE GOSPEL MESSAGE (v22)


This is someone who is submissive to the Lord and His message of hope. It’s that life that giving God the glory in every situation whether good or bad. It’s that life that eats and breaths the gospel because they know the power it has to change a sinners life. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Rom 1:16. So let me ask you! Are you ashamed of the gospel or afraid of what might happen if you express your love for it? We are to be dedicated to Him above all else....whether it is family....church...career or pleasure!
We are to proclaim Christ crucified and Christ resurrected, until the day we depart this world. That’s why Paul had confidence in Timothy and Epaphroditus because of their love for the Gospel and the power it brings. John MacArthur says in his commentary “from the time the apostle chose him to serve alongside him, Timothy surrendered any personal plans he may have had for his life. He began a non-stop adventure that would bring him great fruitfulness and spiritual satisfaction, but that would also involve suffering and sacrifice.”

6. A SERVING SOLDIER (v25)

It’s that idea of standing on the front lines side by side. Working together as a team, striving to keep the church together as we reach for the goal of unity and joy for furtherance of the Gospel to the surrounding area. That light in a dark and sinful world., it’s that soldier that won’t retreat when times get tough or awkward. It’s not going AWOL on your church family because of selfish reasons or laziness. Solomon wrote "The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.” Prov 20:4. Lazy Christian’s reap nothing for the Kingdom of God. Paul said “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” 2 Tim 2:3-4. Charles Spurgeon said "My brethren, let me say, be like Christ at all times. Imitate him in "public." Most of us live in some sort of public capacity—many of us are called to work before our fellow-men every day. We are watched; our words are caught; our lives are examined—taken to pieces. The eagle-eyed world observes everything we do, and sharp critics are upon us. Let us live the life of Christ in public. Let us take care that we exhibit our Master and not ourselves—so that we can say, "It is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me."

7. PERSERVERING LIFE WORTHY OF HONOR (v28-30)

“Esteem” means: “to honor according to their value; to regard highly or favourably; regarding someone with respect or admiration.” Paul says “Esteem those who live for others and their well being, acknowledge there service and sacrifice” This is a life that is concerned for the souls around them despite what they are going through in their own personal life. (v27). Acknowledge their hard work and sacrifices they make for the church and for others. Sometimes it can be a simple word of encouragement. Maybe a little note of thanks for their dedication. Praying for the strength and protection of those who serve diligently in the church and the community.

• Esteem those who fears the Lord
• Esteem those who are partakers of the Gospel
• Esteem those who adorns the doctrine of God
• Esteem those who serve heartily unto the Lord
• Esteem those who will receive the crown of life! As James said “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

The Christian life is difficult at times but by the example of these men we can find encouragement and comfort in our storms or dry seasons of life, or when things seem overwhelming. Remember, we serve an amazing God who will always help us when things seem overwhelming and when we feel like throwing in the towel (or giving up). We serve a God who has defeated the grave and Hell. We are His workmanship, His elect children who are saved for His good pleasure........He is our refuge each and every day. As John Piper puts it "God is not an employer looking for employees. He is an Eagle looking for people who will take refuge under his wings. He is looking for people who will leave father and mother and homeland or anything else that may hold them back from a life of love under the wings of Jesus." THE QUESTION YOU NEED TO ASK YOURSELF IS.........Do I really want to change and live a life of devotion?