31 July 2012

THE GIVER OF GOOD IN ALL SITUATIONS



James 1:17-18

GOD IS ALWAYS GOOD AND THERE IS NO CHANGING HOW GOOD HE IS! despite what you see and hear on the news. Despite current events and the present struggle you are in ......GOD IS STILL GOOD. CAN YOU SAY THAT ABOUT YOUR LIFE TODAY? Maybe this will help you answer that question. LISTEN TO HOW GOOD GOD IS……..In the barracks where Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsy were kept in the Nazi concentration camp Ravensbruck were terribly overcrowded and flea-infested. They miraculously had been able to smuggle a Bible into the camp, and in that Bible they read that in all things they were to give thanks, and that God can use anything for good. Corrie's sister Betsy decided this meant thanking God for the fleas. This was too much for Corrie, who said she could do no such thing. Betsy insisted, so Corrie gave in and prayed to God, thanking Him even for the fleas. During the next several months, a wonderful, but curious, thing happened. They found that the guards never entered their barracks. This meant the women were not assaulted. It also meant they were able to do the unthinkable, which was to hold open Bible studies and prayer meetings in the heart of a Nazi concentration camp. Through this, countless numbers of women came to faith in Christ. Only at the end did they discover why the guards had left them alone and would not enter their barracks. It was because of the fleas.

We  hear that story  and say “how terrible “and yes rightfully so….but behind the fleas and suffering we see God’s goodness and providence in their lives. The same rule of thumb applies to each and every one of today! WHY ARE WE NEVER TO BLAME GOD WHEN THINGS GO WRONG OR BAD IN OUR LIVES? Well! According to James, it’s our desires that lead us to take our eyes of the vertical relationship that we with Christ; our desires are led by deception……and when we are hooked by the deception it gives birth to disobedience which brings about death according to James as we talked about last week. 

James continues with the same train of thought by saying“do not be deceived” which gives the idea that no one is immune to the deceitfulness of sin. I always remind myself what Jeremiah wrote “the heart is desperately wicked……” What James is telling us is, that we're not to be deceived when it comes to the character of God. He is always good in every situation and circumstance of life.  We see this in (v17a) God's perfection and completeness is displayed  in His character.

"Every good gift...."   (means) act of giving……And "every perfect gift..."   (means) the object given....“Comes from the Father of Lights" The very same Creator of Light and the Creator of the sun, moon, and stars………As it says in (Gen 1:14-19). IT ALSO SAYS IN……….Ps 136:1-9 “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever; the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever;…” We always need to remember that God is not some light……He is light itself, the Creator and all sustaining One…….nothing but good comes from God because Can’t do what is wrong or do what is evil. 

SO WHAT JAMES IS SAYING IS? God cannot change for the worse because He is holy! God cannot change for the better because He is perfect! And going back to last week GOD, HAS ABSOLUTELY NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR SIN! WHY? There is No Darkness or variation of shadow of turning in our sovereign Lord (v17b)
  • He is Changeless
  • He is Pure Light
  • He is Perfect
  • He is Sinless
  • He is Righteous
  • He is Just
  • He is Good
There is no darkness in anything God does, because pure Light is where Holiness and His glory is displayed, and it’s also the Light that reveals our sin. Because all sin is done in darkness and by us….NOT HIM! THE SCRIPTURES DECLARE WITHOUT A SHADE OF DOUBT......that GOD IS COMPLETELY PERFECT AND GOOD IN EVERYTHING HE IS AND DOES.

NOTHING CAN COMPARE TO HIS HOLINESS

Ex 15:11 "Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?”

IT’S DEMONSTRATED IN HIS CHARACTER

Isa 6:3 “And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

IT’S SHOWN IN HIS NAME

Isa 57:15 “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy….”

IT’S PROVEN IN HIS WORD

2 Tim 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."

IT WAS DISPLAYED ON THE CROSS

Rom 3:21-26 “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, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."


He is completely trustworthy and unchangeable. The greatest gift came down from heaven to save sinners like us! This is why James is so concerned for his family “beloved brothers” this is a term of endearment. He’s displaying his love for the church and his desires for the church to stay strong and focused on the goodness of Christ even in midst of suffering. JAMES SAYS:
  • He is the Giver of good gifts.
  • He is the giver only good gifts.
  • He is the giver who constantly gives.
  • He is the giver who will never change
REMEMBER! God’s gifts are always better than Satan’s bargains. 

Satan never gives any gift for free……because you will end up paying for them dearly somewhere down the road. Prime Example! The book of Joshua where we see the outcome of a man named Achan. God is angry because “Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings.” Joshua 7:11 And in (v17) He tells Joshua to deal with the sin problem….....“Then Joshua said to Achan, "My son, give glory to the LORD God of Israel and give praise to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me." And Achan answered Joshua, "Truly I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and this is what I did: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath." Joshua 7:19-21

What was the outcome of his desire? Death! As we talked about last week.....sin always leads to death, nothing good comes form sin other than heartache and pain. Again "God’s gifts are always better than Satan’s bargains." “…And they raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from his burning anger. Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor.” [Which means: The Valley of Trouble] Joshua 7:26. It’s our sin that causes us the most pain! Not God. Israel was taught that victory is possible only where there are exact obedience and sincere dedication to God. We cannot cope with our adversaries [sin temptation], unless we live in unclouded fellowship with God. The tragic outcome is when our eyes are clouded we tend to take our eyes of the prize [Jesus Christ] the one who gives us everything we need…not what we want. 

The giver of good not only does this because He can He does it so the world can see an example of His love and for you see Him through the suffering. LOOK AT WHAT IT SAYS IN (v18)    "..... He brought (He begat, to bring forth) us forth by the word of truth"
  • His scripture
  • His word of truth
  • The Gospel which is the word of truth, and truth itself
  • It contains nothing but truth
  • By this souls are begotten and born again
  • He has given us His word (His promise) to see us through each and every trial which is the gift from above.
REMEMBER WHAT JAMES SAID “let the testing of your patience have its perfect work!” (v4) We are to be a "firstfruits" of creation. In the Old Testament this referred to the first and best harvest crops, which God expected as an offering. Deut 26:1-2 "When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance and have taken possession of it and live in it,  you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from your land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket, and you shall go to the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name to dwell there. Giving God that initial crop was an act of faith and obedience that He would fulfill His promise of a full harvest. This goes for the same today. We are the evidence of God's new creation that is to come. Rom 8:18-19 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.” The world will see Christ by your decisions…your behaviour….and your joy as you face trials and tribulations. The world will see who reflect God’s character and the coming hope of eternal things. Because! Nothing on the earth can separate that love…..that bond we have with the Giver of good gifts found in the GOSPEL.  

WHEN YOU FEEL THAT CHALLENGE AND YOU BEGIN TO QUESTION GOD WHY? Take a moment and remember the fleas of Ravensbruck; and thank God anyway. As A W Pink said “Divine sovereignty is not the sovereignty of a oppressive Tyrant, but the exercised pleasure of One who is infinitely wise and good! Because God is infinitely wise He cannot err, and because He is infinitely righteous He will not do wrong.” His providential love is being made perfect through your weaknesses and tribulation. Keep looking upwards and never take your eyes of the Light of grace found in Jesus Christ........... The Give of good.

23 July 2012

IT’S MY FAULT




James 1:13-15

THE WORLD IS FULL OF SIN AND SIN WANTS NOTHING MORE THAN TO REVEAL ITS UGLY HEAD IN OUR LIVES. This is where we need to put a caution sign around our lives, around our heart. We should never test the waters of sin and think that we won’t sink. AS THE STORY OF THE KING WHO WAS LOOKING FOR A DRIVER TO TAKE HIS SON! One of them would be chosen to carry the King’s children up and down a narrow, winding road leading up to the King’s mountain top castle. With dozens of steep drop- offs and guardrails, it was a daunting assignment. He king’s chief liveryman asked each candidate this question “How close can you get to the edge without going over?” The applicants offered various responses indicating their confidence and skill. One man boasted he could drive the horses at nearly full speed for entire length of the road, always keeping within six inches from the edge. The interviewer was unimpressed! Finally, one driver stepped forward and responded, “Sir, if it’s the king’s children, I want to stay as far from the edge as I possibly can.” He was hired. Sin is a dangerous game to be playing around with. We must never see how close we can come to edge before it gives to sin!! The bible tells us that we are to flee from every form of evil whether that’s false teaching….immorality, the passions and desires that cause us to fall into sin.......“abstain from every form of evil.” 1 Thess 5:22

THE BIBLE DESCRIBES SIN AS….

The work of the devil………….. (1 John 3:8) “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”

The kiss of death…………… (1 Cor 15:56) “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.”

Coming from the heart…………… (Matt 15:19) “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”

Complete rebellion against God…….... (Deut 9:7) “Remember and do not forget how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness. From the day you came out of the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the LORD.”

The works of darkness…………. (Eph 5:11) “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”

Deceitful…………. (Heb 3:13) “But exhort [encourage] one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

An abomination to God…………. (Prov 15:9) “The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD…..”

See we need to understand when sin takes form its ugly and disgusting to a holy and perfect God! But! Sin will never give birth until we fall to the thing that caused us to sin in the first place. WE CALL THIS TEMPTATION! Temptation by definition is……Solicitation of the passions; enticements to evil proceeding from the prospect of pleasure or advantage. We know through Scripture that Satan is called the “Tempter” (Matt 4:3). THE ONE THING WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT TEMPTATION IS…….So long as we are in this world we are exposed to temptations, and need ever to be on our watch against them. LET ME ASK YOU AND I WANT YOU TO SEARCH YOUR OWN HEART THIS MORNING! What do you do when you are faced with temptation? Do you flee and run as far away from the temptation that is before you? Or do you entertain the temptation until it’s too late and it takes you over....which ultimately gives birth to sin!

SEE THIS POST-MODERN WORLD WE PRESENTLY LIVE IN SAYS…………
  • Go ahead; take what's yours because you deserved it.
  • How could it be wrong, if it feels so right?
  • Just this once I can handle it.
  • Nobody will ever know.
  • You only live once. [This by the way is the key phrase of the day] YOLO

SEE THE BIG PROBLEM IS THAT SIN LOOKS ATTRACTIVE AND OK! As John Blanchard said “Satan has no difficulty in making sin look innocent.” Thomas Brooks said “Satan promises the best, but pays with the worst; he promises honour and pays with disgrace; he promises pleasure and pays with pain; he promises profit and pays with loss; he promises life and pays with death.”

(v13) "Let no one say to himself” We call this Passing the Buck to someone else and not taking the responsibility for OUR OWN ACTIONS. We are amazing excuse makers! We live in a society that likes to pass the buck onto someone else. We play the blame game [it starts when we’re able to walk and never stops really until were put into a box and lowered into the ground. IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN YOU HAVE HEARD THESE FAMOUS WORDS “He did it! No, she did it!” Or the famous one when you get older “the devil made me do it”. 

You go back to the Garden and the first thing you see is Adam passing the blame unto his wife! "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." Gen 3:12. Then you see Eve passing the blame onto the Serpent "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." WHAT DO YOU THINK THE PROPER RESPONSE SHOULD HAVE BEEN? Well I think David said it best when he was caught in his sin.......Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.” Ps 51:4. We need to extremely careful when we fall into sin! It’s us who did it…and no one else. We are all accountable for our individual sins. God didn't make you do it and Satan can’t be everywhere at one time. James in this short passage helps us to understand that sin has a process before it comes full circle……..

DESIRE (v14)

The natural things like food, drink, even sexual passions (in confines of marriage of course) are all normal desires that God instills in our hearts. These are the blessings of God and the normal desires of life given to us by God. LET ME EXPLAIN: When we want to satisfy these desires outside of God’s boundaries or out of His will…..we are now entering the path of our own desires. Basically what we’re saying is “I’ m not satisfied with what God offers so I go outside seeking my desire.” This mindset is no different than eating the fruit! They went outside the boundaries of God commands because they weren't satisfied with just Him. For example: Eating is normal we would all agree on that! …………………..But gluttony is sin. Sleeping is also normal!...................But laziness is sin. The beauty of marriage and undefiled bed is normal!.................But fornication and adultery is sin. So sin begins with our OWN desires…….because when this happens we begin to take our eyes off the all sustaining grace found Jesus Christ.

DECEPTION (v14)

The beauty of sin is that it has the baiting effect that truly caters to our natural desires.....Like fishing or hunting! I`m no expert or good at either of them……… but they both use methods of deception to achieve their goal or prize. Think about it! Fishing uses the art of deception, by hiding the hook with this beautiful image or array of colours to make the prey find it irresistible or pleasing to the sight. The same principle can be applied to sin as it deceives our eyes thinking that it’s ok. Again I pick on King David! DO YOU THINK DAVID WOULD HAVE DONE WHAT HE DID WITH BATHSHEBA IF HE KNEW THE FUTURE AND THE OUTCOME OF THAT EVENT?
  • The violation of a daughter
  • The death of a husband
  • The death of a child

See we always need to be careful! Sin has a way of looking innocent, pleasing without realizing that there is a sharp hook at the end of the line. Again the bait keeps us from seeing the consequences of sin. HOW CAN WE DETECT DECEPTION? I think the greatest example is our Lord Jesus when He was in the wilderness….being tempted by the Tempter. Jesus used the Word to detect the deception of sin! 3 times Jesus said “It is written” This same rule or principle can be applied to us today! The more you’re in that intimate relationship with Christ through His word the easier it will be able for you to detect the deception before it becomes sin. That’s why Paul wrote “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” 1 Cor 10:13

DISOBEDIENCE (v15)

This is the reason why we are in such a mess in the first place. Disobedience is rebellion against the one who created us…..The living God of the bible. This is the stage where it’s too late!  The hook has already snagged you ……The baby is born…………meaning sin has appeared! Basically! Your desire for the bait is so intense that it causes you to lose caution and overlook or ignore the trap or the hook until it’s too late. This is why we need to put walls around our hearts……
  • When we start up the computer
  • When we turn on the TV
  • The movies we watch by ourselves and with our families
  • The books we read
  • The people we call friends
  • The conversations we have the community in our churches
Remember what Paul wrote in the book of Romans “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.  So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.`` Rom 7:18-25. We need to be careful what were feeding! Warren Weirsbe said “Christian living is a matter of the will, not the feelings. I often hear believers say “I don’t feel like reading my bible.” Or, “I don’t feel like attending prayer meeting.” Children operate on the basis of feelings, but adults operate on the basis of will. They act because it is right no matter how they feel. This explains why immature Christians easily fall into temptation: they let their feelings make the decisions. The more you exercise your will in saying a decisive no to temptation the more God will take control of your life…...” As Paul said “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Phil 2:13

DEATH (v15)

Our desires….our ignorance and disobedience always leads to death not life. It may take years before a person realizes that they are full of sin……. as I look at my life and see that it took 30 years to break this self-righteous and disobedient heart. But the tragic flip side to this is that for many it will be too late for others! When death comes it’s to late to repent and ask the Lord for forgiveness......SEE GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF EVIL! Otherwise this statement is false “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” Eze 18:23. He is the all-powerful, all knowing and beautiful Creator of the universe. He is the almighty King whom I read to you about in the Psalms last Sunday. When sin is birth we only have one hope and that is Jesus Christ and the finishing work on the cross. Outside of that hope you will die in your sins as Jesus said to the Pharisee’s because of their disbelief and deception towards their own sin.

SO BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO POSSIBLY BITE INTO THAT APPLE LIKE EVE OR THAT THING OR PERSON THAT IS BEFORE YOU! STOP! By getting your eyes of the bait and look ahead to see the consequences of sin? Which is? The Judgement of God “For the wages of sin is death” Rom 6:23…………..Because there is nobody else to blame but yourself! As John Owen said “A man may 'enter into temptation' and yet not fall under temptation. God can make a way for a man to escape, when he is in; he can break the snare, tread down Satan, and make the soul more than a conqueror, though it have entered into temptation. Christ *entered* into it, but was not in the least *foiled* by it." Sin is a choice a person makes. WHAT DOES YOU’RE HEART DESIRE TO DO? Entertain it, blame it or flee from it?

16 July 2012

WHAT DETERMINES MY WORTH?



James 1:9-12

God is so awesome…… we should be amazed every day and thankful for a new day such as this!
  • A new day to be with our spouses!
  • A new day to be with our children!
  • A new day to be with the people we consider close friends!
  • A new day to shine the light of the gospel message in our homes and workplaces!
  • A new day to forgive and move on!
  • A new day to make things right in our relationship with the LORD!
  • A new day learn and grow from His word.
  • A new day to bring God glory despite what the day may bring!
  • A new day to breath the free air that only God can provide
  • A new day to be completely satisfied and fulfilled in the gospel that saves to the uttermost!

See! God is worthy [the center] of all our adoration and praise as the Psalmist said “Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts! Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the LORD! For he commanded and they were created. And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away. Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word! Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds! Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! Young men and maidens together, old men and children! Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven. He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the LORD!” Ps 148:1-14........Then Psalm 150 ends with this wonderful declaration of our love to such an awesome God! “let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!”

When we can sing like that from our heart……. nothing is too hard to overcome whether it’s something small or big. In all accounts of my life I will praise His name because He is the most important person in my life; and in Him is where I find my worth. 

Let me ask you this morning! Is He the most important person in your life? Are you willing to be content and satisfied if you were at a fork in the road that required you to go without or if you lost it all? That required you to choose between what is right and wrong? What is my purpose and what is my heart focused on? Is it for the glory of God to shine into our hearts or is it for personal gain and pleasures of this life? Think about this and compare it to your life now…..possible this morning! Do life pleasures and life luxuries bring us true joy and happiness? the world seems to think so. Does wealth make you feel closer to God or more independent? According to the Scriptures we can only be truly satisfied in Christ and Christ alone. Phil 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

As we continue to understand and unfold the fact that trials are a part of the Christian life….we see James shifting gears to another issue that plagues even the most veteran Christian! Wealth and pride. See the first thing we need to understand is that wealth or money isn't the problem. It’s the attitude towards one’s wealth! Another wrong attitude is the person who says “I just stay poor and then I’ll be ok!” But again that’s a wrong thinking because a poor person is just as guilty for wanting but unable to have….just as a rich person who has everything and wants more because their never satisfied. Sin is sin and both are equally guilty if handled in a wrong manner. WHY? Christ is sufficient in all aspects of my life! This world only offers temporal fulfillment which leads to broken hearts and frustration. See! We need to understand that happiness comes and goes….but true joy lasts for all eternity; because Christ is author of that joy.

Ask yourself? Do I measure a person’s worth by who they are or what they have? Do I measure my own success by that standard?............ Because the world does! If that’s so in your life……... then I’m here to tell you that you’re missing the mark in finding your true worth and true joy! James said they wither and die and amount to nothing in comparison to grace and beauty that is found in the Gospel. James address this 2 types of individuals   the poor and the rich man! LET’S LOOK AT THE RICH MAN FIRST!  [BECAUSE IT’S MORE OF A NEGATIVE REBUKE]

"...Because, as the flower of the grass he shall pass away" (v10) “Pass away” (means) shortly, and suddenly; either he himself by death, or his riches at death, or before, and therefore are not to be gloried in. The rich man needs to be reminded that earthly possessions are not the mark of true wealth. Why? (v11a) “…..its beauty perishes” 

“beauty perishes” means the appearance of beauty won’t last forever…….they will eventually be destroyed, or die. I can buy flowers for my wife and they only last for a very short time. I can buy a new vehicle eventually it will need repairs. I can buy the latest and greatest gadget and in 6 months it’s like a purchased a 8 track player. These things can appear to be beautiful and very distracting at the time but they will wither and fade away. 

And what’s worse is in the end (v11b) “the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits” If our pursuits are not Christ centered and Christ motivated then who is it centered around? “ME!” This means! The life of the “rich man” comes to an end while he is busily engaged in making money. His riches are unable to prolong his life, for he departs and leaves his possessions behind. Striving to pursue the American dream instead of living a Gospel saturated life that brings true joy. See the rich man should glory in knowing that wealth is temporary and unimportant and that one’s hope is in the LORD. Paul reminded Timothy of this important truth…………..1Tim 6:17 “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty [proud, arrogant], nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”


NOW! WHAT DOES JAMES SAY TO THE POOR MAN TO DO?

“Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation” (v9) The poor man can glory in the salvation that he or she attains from a Holy and Perfect God who gives freely to sinners like us. As it says in 1Peter 1:4 “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,” This is should be enough for anyone to rejoice in! We are to glory in our exaltation or high position. Even the most poor and destitute Christian can glory as a child of God in the countless blessings that position brings.......When the world determines a man’s worth by how they live and what they possess as worth. See!

THE POOR MAY BE HUNGRY, BUT HE HAS THE BREAD OF LIFE!

John 6:35 "...Jesus said to them, "I Am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst"

THE POOR MAY BE THIRSTY, BUT HE HAS THE WATER OF LIFE THAT OVERFLOWS HIS CUP!

John 4:1-14 “Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
  
THE POOR MAY GO WITHOUT, BUT HE HAS ETERNAL RICHES!

Luke 6:20 “And He lifted up His eyes on His disciples, and said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”

THE POOR MAY HAVE NO HOME ON EARTH, BUT HE HAS A GLORIOUS HOME IN HEAVEN!

Rev 7:16-17 “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."


We need to understand when God takes something away from you. It has the purpose of making you more spiritually mature, Which is something that is more valuable than anything you have lost here on this earth we must invest our riches in the things above? Why? James gives the perfect answer in (v12) “he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” This is where our riches lay….the promise of our saving Lord who gives eternal life to those who have been called out of darkness into His glorious light whether you’re rich or poor. This exceeds anything and everything we have on this earth! Augustine said "A man may lose the good things of this life against his will; but if he loses the eternal blessings, he does so with his own consent." There is nothing wrong with wealth or things but remember if it taken away rejoices in it, because they are only temporal treasures.

Remember......Every soul is priceless and precious to a holy God. Your salvation, relationship, and communion with God is more precious and far greater than anything that riches can buy……… it’s not about what you have, it’s all about Christ Jesus our Lord. Genuine happiness and your true worth depends on the true riches of God's grace, not earthly wealth or lack of wealth. John MacArthur said “When you lose a daughter, son, wife, husband, or other loved one, wealth is no comfort. When you lose your health, are betrayed by a friend, or are wrongfully maligned, money cannot buy peace of mind or decrease the pain. Trials are the great equalizer, bringing all of God’s children to dependence on Him. Wealth does not bring God closer, nor does poverty keep Him further away.” 

As Peter said “And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory” 1 Peter 5:4. Again! It’s not what you or have or don’t have that determines your worth or position in Christ. It’s Christ! And Christ alone. To be with Him is far greater than anything this world offer, whether your rich or poor! Christ is enough. SDG

LEANING ON THE EVERLASTING ARMS OF GOD






James 1:5-8

I came across a story by a well know preacher who said he had a gifted secretary who was going through some great trials…….She recently had a stroke, her husband had gone blind, and then he had to be taken to the hospital where [they] thought for sure he would die. This well-known pastor saw here in church one Sunday and said with assurance “I’m praying for you” Which seems normal coming from a shepherd of the church right? But what she said to the preacher stopped me to ponder what James is trying to tell us here in his letter. 

She said to the pastor “what are you asking God to do? Here question startled the pastor…so he said “I’m asking God to help you and strengthen you.” She responded with “but pray one more thing. Pray that I’ll have wisdom not to waste all of this!” 


This lady knew what James meant when He said “if those of you lack wisdom ask God” [paraphrasing]. There are a lot of people out there who are very knowledgeable but lack wisdom. See as one writer put it! Knowledge is the ability to take things apart, while wisdom is the ability to put them together.” Wisdom is the right use of knowledge [hence the fact] that this dear lady said give me wisdom to get me through so that grow through this present trial in my life. Wisdom by definition is the trait of utilizing knowledge and experience with common sense and insight. Biblical wisdom is strong faith wisdom which is not based on feelings but on knowledge and understanding of the promises of God’s truth found in His word.

THE BIBLE DECLARES THAT A HIGH VIEW OF GOD IS THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM

“…….Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.'" Job 28:28

THE BIBLE DECLARES THAT WISDOM HELPS US TO MAKE GOOD USE OF OUR TIME

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Ps 90:12

THE BIBLE DECLARE THAT WISDOM HELPS US TO UNDERSTAND OUR COMPLETE DEPENDENCE UPON THE LORD

“Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?" 1 Kings 3:9
  
THE BIBLE DECLARES THAT GODS WISDOM IS PURE AND ABOVE ALL THINGS

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17


As we continue to apply the truth of this letter to our lives that we are to have pure joy when we are faced with trials of all kinds……because it produces fruit of maturity to handle what lies ahead. James now tells us the secret ingredient to doing that! Which in reality is only possible way we will ever find true joy?  (v5a). As Christians! When we are in hardships and when the weight is too much to bare James says you only have one option! Call upon the Lord.

See we sometimes forget that……..
  • He is the one that called us out of darkness
  • He is the one who keeps and does the saving
  • He is the one who knows the beginning to end
  • He is the one who is writing the script of your life
  • He is the only one who can help you.


Don’t get me wrong! Family is great and so are friends but He surpasses each and every one of you.
Why do I say that! Because…………..

“Wisdom” in this verse is referring to the kind of wisdom which they [you and I] would need in their trials, to enable them to bear them in a proper manner. Why? For there is nothing in which Christians more feel the need of heavenly wisdom than in regard to the manner in which they should bear trials. God is the only one that can deliver! And to receive wisdom from a holy God is a blessing and a privilege.

Look what James says next, when we seek Him for wisdom (v5b) “who gives generously” “Generously” which carries the idea of singleness of heart, openhandedly, doing something unconditionally without bargaining. This is a beautiful picture of the mercy that flows from our God! Just as He generously gave us salvation, He does the same thing when it comes to wisdom as you face today’s obstacles. When we come to Him with our trials he immediately and unwaveringly gives it to us generously. Jesus said "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matt 7:7-11. All we need to do is ask! Not only does He do this with unconditional love……. He does this without reproach! 

“Reproach” means “to scold, to severely reprimand or rebuke” John MacArthur said “the Lord will never cast even the mildest reproach on a child of His who comes seeking wisdom in time of trouble and testing. He will not remind us of how undeserving and unworthy we are, obvious as that might be. Nor will He chide us for not asking sooner, fully understanding that “spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”……Without hesitation, reluctance, or reservation. His divine wisdom will be given to us in generous abundance.” The same abundance of grace as he said to the Israelites......“I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Ps81:10. So we read God’s willingness to give us wisdom as we face each trial or temptation of life and all we need to do is ask Him! But James now turns to waiting child that there is something that is required of us! “Ask in faith”

What is James saying to us if we lack faith……….God doesn’t listen? No! Is the trail I’m going through because I lack faith? No! Trials are a part of life according to the opening verses (v2-v3). But God requires something to help us get through them “ask in faith without any doubting” (v6a). In other words this request must be backed by genuine trust in God’s character, purpose and promises. See many doubts that God is able to help….so they rationalize their doubt in countless ways. They say “I’m too unworthy or underserving to get His help" Or  “God’s too busy to help me with my problem”. See this is why James goes even further to say if you’re a person like that, then you’re a "double minded man” (v8)

"double minded man" (means) having one's mind or soul divided between God and the world. It is applicable to a man who has no settled principles; who is controlled by passion; who is influenced by popular feeling; who is now inclined to one opinion or course of conduct, and now to another.
  • This is someone called a hypocrite
  • Who occasionally believes in God but fails to trust Him
  • When faced with trials they seek the wisdom of this world instead of going to the Lord.
  • They become bitter or resentful and seek no help at all.
  • There whole life is like a roller coaster ride up and down, up and down.
  • He doesn't renounce God, but he acts as if God doesn't exist at this moment in time.
  • He says God doesn't care, or isn't capable of delivering me from trouble.


But that’s the exact opposite of the loving God we serve. His grace overflows with His love as He takes great interest in you and me and what seems big or small to us, He chooses to help us get through it generously and without guiltThat’s why James says this kind of person is “is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind” (v6b). Have you ever gone into the water at the lake and lay on your back and let the water move you around and when you stop after a while you are amazed at how quickly you have moved away from shore. The same principle can be applied to the Christian life if where not looking vertical [looking onto Jesus].
James is telling [warning ] us that the person who doubts will be easily led astray, and easily led to believe that God isn’t interested in his or her lives.

Just as it was so easy for Peter to doubt when he was sinking after the Lord upheld him on the water. Let me tell you! If God wasn't interested or investing His time with His creation……then we would still be lost and without a hope or prayer. The gospel is our proof and the only proof we need to get us through that we serve a holy God. He is a God who does care about His children and He says “don’t doubt, but believe and seek My face for help.” This is so important to understand……..because this can happen to best of us! Yes even veteran Christians! It doesn't take much to slip up…our slip ups are so bad it required someone to die in our place……..none of us in this room are exempt. That’s why James talks to the double minded man or woman at the end of his letter. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8.

This is why trials come into our lives to see who have Genuine Persevering Faith as they call upon God for wisdom to get through each trial, not the world. Church family! Seek God with a believing heart and not with doubting one. Never shake your fist and question God “Why me?” The question you need to ask is “Why not me?”And when you can ask the question that way you will be able to endure whatever the Lord allows to enter your life. Why? Because it’s for your own good…for our maturing. (v4). There is no such thing as chance only opportunities to seek His face to embrace the everlasting arms of God. Remember! He gives freely because the great desire of God’s heart is that we love Him and trust Him with all of ours. WILL YOU NOT TRUST HIM? Are you praying that "I’ll have wisdom not to waste all of this!

12 July 2012

JESUS' DOCTRINE OF SCRIPTURE



Jesus’ Doctrine of Scripture avatar


On Sunday I finished an eight week sermon series on the doctrine of Scripture. In this last sermon I encouraged the church to have the same doctrine of Scripture that Jesus did. If he his our Lord and our Master—even if he were only a great teacher—surely we want his view of the Bible to be our view of the Bible.


After working through four main texts (John 10:35, Matthew 5:17-19; 12:38-42; 19:4-5) I provided a summary of Jesus’ doctrine of Scripture.
Jesus held Scripture in the highest possible esteem. He knew his Bible intimately and loved it deeply. He often spoke with language of Scripture. He easily alluded to Scripture. And in his moments of greatest trial and weakness—like being tempted by the devil or being killed on a cross—he quoted Scripture.
His mission was to fulfill Scripture, and his teaching always upheld Scripture.
He never disrespected, never disregarded, never disagreed with a single text of Scripture.
He affirmed every bit of law, prophecy, narrative, and poetry. He shuddered to think of anyone anywhere violating, ignoring, or rejecting Scripture.
Jesus believed in the inspiration of Scripture, down to the sentences, to the phrases, to the words, to the smallest letter, to the tiniest mark.
He accepted the chronology, the miracles, and the authorial ascriptions as giving the straightforward facts of history.
He believed in keeping the spirit of the law without ever minimizing the letter of the law. He affirmed the human authorship of Scripture while at the same time bearing witness to the ultimate divine authorship of the Scriptures.
He treated the Bible as a necessary word, a sufficient word, a clear word, and the final word.
It was never acceptable in his mind to contradict Scripture or stand above Scripture.
He believed the Bible was all true, all edifying, all important, and all about him. He believed absolutely that the Bible was from God and was absolutely free from error. What Scripture says God says, and what God said was recorded infallibly in Scripture.
Jesus submitted his will to the Scriptures, committed his brain to study the Scriptures, and humbled his heart to obey the Scriptures.
In summary, it is impossible to revere the Scriptures more deeply or affirm them more completely than Jesus did. The Lord Jesus, God’s Son and our Savior, believed his Bible was the word of God down to the tiniest speck and that nothing in all those specks and in all those books in his Bible could ever be broken.
By Kevin DeYoung 
http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2012/07/11/jesus-doctrine-of-scripture/