29 July 2013

GOD SEES THROUGH THE DECEPTION


Prov 16:2

If you talk to most unsaved people about Jesus and the gospel they will usually say something like this “I don’t need to be saved, I’m alright, what’s wrong with me?” Or you can hear them say“I’m not afraid…..I’m an honest person, I don’t hurt anyone.” By our human nature [depravity] we tend to think the problem is outside of us when in reality the problem is in us. We think that we’re ok, but such a pre-mature opinion of oneself is adolescent and smug at best. The person may be far from pure when the Lord weighs the motives. Albert Barnes said “We are blind to our own faults; we do not see ourselves as others see us.” Remember the words of Jeremiah “the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked...” Jer 17:9. You talk to most religious people they will say “I’m alright, we just fine”

  • Ask a Mormon?
  • Ask a Jehovah’s Witness?
  • Ask a Jewish person?
  • Ask a Muslim?
  • Ask an Atheist?
  • Ask an Agnostic?
  • Ask an libertarian?
They’re no different than the unsaved man, deceived by their own understanding. There are even good intentional Christians who think their walk is perfect before God. But as the Proverb goes “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Prov 14:12. There is a question before this morning! 

How easily can we be deceived? Though that this is a fictitious story the point still hits home to body of Christ. “A story of a pastor who transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the 10,000 member church that he was to be introduced as the head pastor at that morning. He walked around his soon to be church for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for service....only 3 people out of the 7-10,000 people said hello to him. He asked people for change to buy food....NO ONE in the church gave him change. He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was asked by the ushers if he would please sit n the back. He greeted people to be greeted back with stares and dirty looks, with people looking down on him and judging him. As he sat in the back of the church, he listened to the church announcements and such. When all that was done, the elders went up and were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation........"We would like to introduce to you our new Pastor"....The congregation looked around clapping with joy and anticipation.....The homeless man sitting in the back stood up.....and started walking down the aisle.....the clapping stopped with ALL eyes on him....he walked up the altar and took the microphone from the elders (who were in on this) and paused for a moment....then he recited “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ After he recited the passage, he looked towards the congregation and told them all what he had experienced that morning...many began to cry and many heads were bowed in shame.... he then said....Today I see a gathering of people......not a church of Jesus Christ. The world has enough people, but not enough disciples...when will YOU decide to become disciples? He then dismissed service until next week.”

The church in general is full of stories like this! It’s sad, but there is some truth to this tale. The question is! What are we going to do about this? Is this story talking about me? The church for the greater part has come to a point where we’re satisfied with the status-quo in the Christian life. We know enough, saved enough and what we see as a standard may not be what God holds a standard. We need to hold up the mirror of the word of God to our lives and it will reveal that things are not quite right. That they may not measure up to God’s standards. Chuck Swindoll had a very provocative post this week that sort of ties in to what then Proverb is trying to tell us this morning. It’s one of those posts that make you say as Voddie Baucham says “you better say ouch, before you say amen! Amen” In his post he says in Larry Crabb's book titled “The Pressure's Off” speaks volumes to the church. Larry Crabb said “As a culture, present-day Christianity has redefined spiritual maturity. The reformers knew we were saved to glorify God. We moderns live to be blessed. The mature among us are now thought to be the successful, the happy, the effective people on top of things and doing well…We're more attracted to sermons, books, and conferences that reveal the secrets to fulfillment…than to spiritual direction that leads us through affliction into the presence of the Father.” 

We come to a Proverb that speaks not only to the conscience but also to the heart! That’s why the word of God is so powerful to correct, admonish, and comfort those in His truth through the work and ministry of the Spirit. Prov 16:2 “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit”. See, we can easily deceive ourselves into thinking everything is ok. The Lord alone can evaluate or behaviour because He knows our heart and our motives. And God by His Spirit and His word provides the penetrating evaluation. We have seen this deception throughout history….Beginning in the Garden with Adam and Eve, deceived to think they could be like God. After the flood the people were deceived by their own idea thinking that they knew better than God when they built a tower for themselves. Abraham thinking that if I say my wife Sarah is my sister then we will be ok. His Son Isaac did the same with his wife. Samson being deceived by Delilah and her girlish charm. The Israelites denying that they were in bondage, when they answered Jesus. We see a man who loved the Lord dearly, but was easily deceived by his own pride and arrogance. “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you...” Matt 26:35, but we all know what happened a few hours later! Many people today are being deceived, trying to get to Heaven by their own religious efforts. A good church attendance record so people can see your faithfulness. Always serving to look good; but not really caring about the people you’re serving. Going through the motions to appease your conscience. A person that says “amen” to the gospel message, but has never shared their faith with anyone or cares less too. 

I want us to look at church this morning that was deceived thinking that “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes…” A church that can represent a church of any age or generation; whether it’s past, present or future. A church that desperately needed to be shaken up in their deception and complacency, otherwise they were going to meet their demise very soon. Turn to Revelation chapter three! THE CHURCH OF LAODICEA! This church was so deceived and ignorant that the bible says “it sickens the Lord!” (v16). The Laodiceans were famous for 3 things! Wool, Wealth and Medical treatment of blindness. That’s why we see read the gentle rebuke from the Lord “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve [cream, or ointment], that you may see.” (v18). We need to understand.

  • This is a church that has people attending regularly because this is what good Christians do.
  • This is a church that gives there money to the church and charities as long as it doesn't infringe on their lifestyle or standard of living.
  • This is a church that chooses what is popular over what is right when they’re in conflict, they desire to fit in both at church and outside the church.
  • This is a church that rarely shares it faith with their neighbors, co-workers or friends.
  • This is a church that is moved by stories of people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act on it.
  • This is a church that gauges their morality or goodness by comparing themselves to the secular world or their neighbor.
  • This is a church that claims to have Jesus as a part of their lives, but only a part.
But, Isaiah wrote “And the Lord said: "Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,” Isa 29:13. I want us to look at the language John uses to describe their deception and complacency and how easily the North American church has bought into this philosophy! This scares me to death by the way! Not for me, but for so many who think they are in right standing, when in reality they are not. My wife and I know tons of people like this [I wish I didn’t have to say tons] and we pray for them daily.

Wretched in this passage means “miserable or despicable” They were so deceived by their ignorance they couldn't see their own wretchedness. They couldn't see the sentence of Judgment that awaited them if they continue down this road. This gives the implication that the people in this church were so blinded by their riches and status in life………. they missed what Christ truly came to do. “to save sinners". Thinking I’m not as bad as this guy “he’s wretched, I’m good” but in reality they were the ones who were wretched as well. They were so deceived to think that this what God wants for His church and for your life, but in reality they were the ones who were lost and desperately needed Him. I know I’m radically depraved and wretched! That’s what makes His grace seem more beautiful than ever, that a holy God would save a wretch like me! But as the Apostle Paul said “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 7:24-25

Miserable means “pitiable or disgraceful” See, a miserable person is one that neither knows their misery, nor their need of mercy. It’s that person that says “I’m alright” “or “I have need of nothing!” But we do need something! Christ Jesus………….it doesn't matter where you are in life! Whether you’re rich or poor, whether you live in a mansion or live in a cardboard box. Jesus came to save the lost, the pitiable from their bondage of sin. These people were so pitiable they didn't think they needed to be saved.

Poor which means “beggar” they were deceived that in their physical wealth they had security in eternal life. But what John is saying is that "they were poor in the law of God" What did Jesus say to rich young ruler?  "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." Matt 19:21. Our riches are in Christ, not in earthly possessions. My worth is found in Christ, not in what I’ve accumulated over my 43 years of life. As Don Moen said in his song “Give Thanks” “And now let the weak say, "I am strong" Let the poor say, "I am rich. Because of what the Lord has done for us"

Blind means “to inflate with self-conceit, pomposity or proud” They were so proud it made them blind to their spiritual state, it made them blind to needs of others! “Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit." Matt 15:14. The natural man is blind to the saving knowledge of God in Christ, as to the way of salvation by Christ, as to the blindness of their own hearts. So, in reality, if you are not a genuine child of God then you’re nothing more than a hater of God who desperately needs His saving grace as Paul said in the first chapter of Romans.

Naked means figuratively “they were nude” Sin has stripped man of his moral clothing; man’s own righteousness will never cover his nakedness; and whoever is destitute of the righteousness of Christ is a naked person. The church of Laodicea is like the story of the Emperor’s new clothes! “A couple of conniving men pretended to be tailors. Knowing the king’s vanity about his clothes, they began a scheme to weave invisible garments. And the king bought into it! He took off all his clothes and put on the invisible suit. He walked in a royal possession down the streets to show everyone his magnificent clothes. At first everyone exclaimed praises over what he was “wearing”. Then a little boy had the audacity to say “Look at the king. He is altogether as naked as the day he was born!” Just as God provided a sacrifice for Adam’s sin. Just as God provided a sacrifice for Abraham's sin. Just as God provided a sacrifice for our sin. Those who are in Christ Jesus are clothed with His righteousness, sealed by the Holy Spirit. See they were a people who were trying to attain eternal life through their own effort or goodness because they were blind to the fact they were wretched to begin with. And sadly in the end it leads to Judgement and eternal damnation.

A PERSON CAN BE SO EASILY DECEIVED TO THINKING THAT THEY'RE “alright, good enough, or ok”  but John begs to differ! This is the dangers of deception, they look good on the outside, but inside its full of dead men bones. You’re not alright and you desperately need to come to alter and confess. (v20-v22). THE SUNDAY QUESTION! Are we [you] satisfied being “godly enough”, to get yourself to Heaven, or to look good in comparison to others? Or do you want to say with the Apostle Paul “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” Phil 3:10. I found this Proverb to very convicting and challenging this week! Are we ok or are we just kidding ourselves in the church? It caused me to really exam my heart and motives when it comes to Christian life. This is my prayer for me and I hope you will pray this with me today! Lord, reveal to me where I’m lukewarm? Lord, please give me the strength in the areas that cause me to be lukewarm? Lord, do whatever it takes to get me on fire for you? If that means something has to go! Lord please, reveal that to me? You know my heart and I want my heart to say with Paul “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” Phil 3:10

23 July 2013

GOD'S DAUGHTERS


Prov 18:22

I want to talk to the men this morning; but ladies I want you to hear this as well, because it involves you too. God has given us an institution of divine grace! An institution that causes us to leave selfishness and pride at the door. It's the institution of marriage [holy matrimony]. See marriage is beautiful covenant union that God has blessed us with. Not only has He saved us from our sins through the finished work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, He has also blessed with the gift of marriage as He gives us His daughters. So my question for you husbands is this! Have you thanked the Lord for your wife lately? Seriously, have you ever stopped and did that? Thank the Lord for your good wife, because He is the one who gave her to you. John Newton had these words to say when he wrote to his wife Polly “It is no wonder if so many years, so many endearments, so many obligations have produced such an uncommon effect, that by long habit, it is almost impossible for me to draw a breath, in which you are not involved.” I don't know if anyone has ever better summarized the beauty of marriage in one sentence. But sadly the flip- side is that we live in a culture that says “marriage is trouble” one lady wrote “The "Four D's of marriage" are "depression, despair, drink and divorce." So sad to read a statement like that, not only is it offensive and blatantly wrong…..it attacks the very fabric that God ordained for the marriage and the family. We live in a culture that parents can’t wait to get there children out of the house for good, and have no concern who they get shacked up with down the road. There are father’s out there, that have no problem allowing some strange young man, they don’t know, take out there precious gift from God, but will put up a fight  and say “over my dead body before I let you have the keys to my automobile, boat or fill in the blank yourself.” Does a father or parent realize what that says about their child? [Better yet, God’s daughter]. When a father makes a statement like that; what their really saying is“my material possession are more valuable to me then my child.”

May this never be men in our home! Girls, ladies, women are God’s daughters and we need to treat them as such! My lovely wife and I have 4 beautiful daughters, and the last thing I’m going to do is hand them over to man, a boy who doesn't know, honor, practice and love the Lord with all his heart, mind and soul through the gospel that saves to the uttermost parts. I refuse to listen to this culture when it comes to my family about when we are to let go of our daughters! We, meaning my wife and I will continue to follow the patriarchs found in Scripture! Why? God knows his daughters best and He has instilled this responsibility to me and my wife. These daughters are my gifts from God and they will be treated as such and when that time comes we will give them over to the person of God’s choosing. Remember these are God’s daughters [I want to you to think about that] and marriage is a divine ordained blessing from God!

God said “man can’t live alone”…….so He solved that problem by creating Eve [woman] a “Helper” out of a rib from Adam’s side! It’s interesting that God took a rib from Adam and not a piece from his foot like a heel…….because she was to be someone who Adam was to cling to not trample over. Men, our wives are a special gift from God……by God’s divine providence He has given you a wife. To make it planner for us! He has allowed you to take His daughters hand to care for, love and honor her whether by life or death. So I think its appropriate daily to thank the Lord [your Heavenly Father] for your wife. Prov 18:22 says “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD. This is not because of your good looks, fortune, or fame! But God knows what you need to glorify Him and He knows who suits you best. Unlike this fallen generation around us that gets married for all the wrong reasons and crumble apart. It is by the Lord that a man is matched with a woman." There is a special providence that watches over marriage.

See, we hear people all around us say “It’s a match or marriages made in heaven." "They were meant to be together!" But marriages of convenience, marriages made in consideration of worldly means, are a mere earthly arrangement, and claim no particular grace from God. Jay Adams said “Marriage is not a bargain in which each partner says, 'I will give so much in return for so much.' Each vows to give all that is necessary to meet his or her spouse's need for companionship, whether or not he or she receives anything in return. Therefore, the only question is, 'Are you fulfilling your vows?'" Many marry for what they can get out of the marriage; but that is lust, not love, and is biblically untenable.” This world is destined to fail, because this fallen world doesn't understand the blessed union of what marriage is for? For our good and proper foundation for the family and ultimately for God’s glory. Not to say our marriages won’t have rocky times…………………BECAUSE THEY WILL! The beauty of it all, is that during those rocky times we’re always reminded of the Cross, and the grace that flowed through Calvary somewhere along the road! Let’s be honest! You’re a sinner who married a sinner, but by His mercy and grace, you have been given something this fallen world can’t understand forgiveness and God’s blessing upon your life and marriage. She is a special gift of God, a proof of His gracious care for His servant. Do you hear that men! She is a gift from God! Not a burden, a ball in chain, an object to control or a second class citizen. She is a gift!

Prov 12:4 says “An excellent wife is the crown [a joy and gladness] of her husband…” A wife that is loving and pure, constant and faithful, submissive to him; that is diligent in the affairs of her house. Takes care of her family, brings up her children, and keeps up a good order is an honor and credit to her husband. And what’s more amazing is that it “comes from God” The Bible says that a prudent wife comes from LORD……… in Prov 19:14. It means that God has done such a work in her heart, and because she's a born-again Christian and loves the Lord. God has entrusted you to lead His daughter daily back to Him, and we find it through the expression of how Christ loved the church. Turn in your bibles to Ephesians chapter 5


SIMPLY LOVE YOUR WIFE (V25)

This is a self-sacrificial love [unconditional love] without all the huffing and puffing and thinking that’s not a manly thing to do; but in all honesty, this is exactly what God is telling you do as man of God. It’s the same sacrificial love that Christ showed the church. Christ gave everything He had for the church and we are to do likewise for her. Why? She is God’s daughters!


SET HER APART BECAUSE SHE IS SPECIAL AND PRICELESS. (V26-V27)

Not only are we display sacrificial love but we are also commanded to care for her with a purifying love. Since Divine love seeks to completely cleanse those of sin, we should do the same. Husbands shouldn't bear the thought of anything sinful in the life of his wife that displeases a holy God. Husbands it’s our responsibility that we help to encourage her to conform more into the image of Christ. We are never to be a hindrance or and obstacle to her obedience to God. Why? She is God’s daughters!


HUSBANDS WE ARE TO CULTIVATE AND TREASURE HER (V28-V31)

Provide for her every need as a help to see her grow in her Christian walk. Proved affection that gives her not only comfort but security. A Christian husband is to care for His wife the same devotion that he naturally displays for himself. We are to show them honor as people and not things to control, have at our disposal or to abuse and exploit. This would be very dangerous for your soul. Peter said “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” 1 Peter 3:7. The best wife is a woman who loves God more than her husband….Why? The more she loves God the easier it is to love the sinner that God has placed in her life. Everything begins with our vertical relationship….not horizontally. Remember she is God’s daughter.


SO THE WARNING FOR US MEN  IS THAT WE HAVE A BEEN GIVEN THE RESPONSIBILITY HANDED DONE WITH DIVINE PROVIDENTIAL CARE FOR HIS DAUGHTERS HERE ON EARTH. May we never take this wonderful responsibility lightly with our lack of care, selfishness or laziness! God has chosen this daughter for you and He expects you to live up to your responsibility as a leader in your home under all circumstances of life whether good or bad. We are not to follow after the culture that says “when times get tough or boring and you don't feel that spark and it’s time to move on.” Jay Adams calls this philosophy “flower flitters” He said “It’s that Playboy philosophy, love is getting; it means getting what one can of another person, using the person as an object for love. It means grasping and holding and satisfying oneself by using another. And when he [or she] is through using that person, well fine, she’s been used…up! That’s it. When there is no more nectar in the flower, the bee must flit to the next, and to the next, and one after that. Hollywood has taught this, too, not only by film but also by the way in which so many of the stars themselves have been notorious “flower flitters”. May this never be men in our marriages…….Why? They’re God’s daughters.

SO THE SUNDAY QUESTION IS! Why should I thank the Lord for my wife? Here is my list and I want you to do the same this week and read it to your wife......... the daughter of God.
  • She is the one who is the love of my life.
  • She is the one who is always faithful.
  • She is the one who keeps me humble.
  • She is the one who listens to me ramble on about things.
  • She is the one who isn't great at sports
  • She is the one who tries her best at them though
  • She is the one who watches hockey with me "Go Leafs Go"
  • She is the one who likes to be around me the most.
  • She is the one who makes me frustrated sometimes.
  • She is the one who makes me smile and laugh.
  • She is the one who makes my favorite dish (English pasties).
  • She is the one who goes above all that I could ask or think.
  • She is the one who loves me unconditionally.
  • She is the one who cares for me.
  • She is the one who cares for our 5 beautiful children.
  • She is the one who cries during the movies like "UP".
  • She is the one who I couldn't live without.
  • She is the one who I get to grow old with.
  • She is the one who bares my sorrows and tears.
  • She is the one who knows me best next to God.
  • She is the one who loves the Lord with all her heart.
  • She is the one who the bible speaks of in the Proverb's.
  • She is my BEST FRIEND.
  • And most importantly! SHE IS MINE. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for this gift of love in marriage.

Husbands love your wife as Christ loved the church! Husbands love your wife because she is the one whom God ordained for you! Husbands love your wife because she is special and precious in your life! Husbands love your wife because she is God’s daughter! If your a hurting wife………can I encourage you to always remember God never forgets a sorrow or tear, stay strong and wait upon Him in your marriage, and saturate your time in worship and prayer by praying for your husband. Single person…… be patient and wait on God’s leading in your life, He knows exactly what you need. Be patient and never lean on your own understanding, but trust in the Lord and He will bless you beyond your wildest dreams. Never rush into something that God hasn't prepared for you by His divine time table in your life. He knows you better than you know yourself. As James said in 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” Remember that truth this morning husbands! Your wife is that perfect gift God gave to you from above……so treat her the way they’re supposed to be treated! I'm so thankful for the gift of marriage, He gave me a wife who loves me so much! A sinner undeserving of her love. Remember they’re God’s daughters and He has instructed us to love and care for them as Christ loved the church!

16 July 2013

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST


Prov 15:1

When you think of the word “hot tempered” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? See the major problem with a hot tempered person is that they like a good fight and they will never back down! They will always insist upon having the last word in every argument. And the sad reality is that it can be very dangerous for them-self and others. There is a poem that my dear wife brought to my attention…..It’s about a dog and a cat that don’t see eye to eye, and neither one of them is willing to back down! And the story is narrated by a Chinese plate after he was told by the Old Dutch clock on the wall.

The Duel by Eugene Field

The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
'T was half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t' other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
(I wasn't there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)

The gingham dog went "Bow-wow-wow!"
And the calico cat replied "Mee-ow!"
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
(Now mind: I 'm only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)

The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, "Oh, dear! what shall we do!"
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfullest way you ever saw---
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
(Don't fancy I exaggerate---
I got my news from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning, where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about the cat and pup
Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(The old Dutch clock it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.)

See,the natural bent in society is to feed the flame, than to quench the angry fire with water. Bible talks about this! “But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” Gal 5:15. Conflicts only destroy the spirituality and happiness of each other…and sadly this is destroying the home and the church family. As Charles Bridges said “pride and passion on both sides strike together like two flints; and behold how great a matter a little fire kindles.” Anger by definition is “a violent passion of the mind excited by a real or supposed injury; usually accompanied with a tendency to take vengeance, or to obtain satisfaction from the offending party. This passion however varies in degrees of violence, and in ingenuous minds, may be attended only with a desire to reprove or chide the offender.”


THE BIBLE HAS A LOT TO SAY ABOUT AN ANGRY MAN OR WOMAN!


ANGER MAKES YOU CARELESS

Prov 14:16 “One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.” They don’t stop to think how their angry outbursts affect those around them. They "blow up" all over everyone, leaving them upset and perhaps fearful. Then they go along their merry way not paying any attention to the havoc they caused.


ANGER LEADS YOU TO MAKE WRONG CHOICES

Dan 3:19-22 “Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated. And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace. Because the king's order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.” He lost some of his top military men because he was so angry with three Hebrew teenagers who would not bow down and worship his idol.


ANGER HAS NEGATIVE SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES

Prov 22:24-25 “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.” Nobody enjoys being around an angry, bitter, hateful person. They are depressing to be around and draining. They drag you down. Anger warps the personality and squeezes the joy out of the angry person’s life, replacing it with a "sour grapes" attitude.


ANGER HAS AND CAN HAVE NEGATIVE HEALTH CONSEQUENCES.

1 Kings 21:4-6 “And Ahab went into his house vexed and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him, for he had said, "I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers." And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and would eat no food. But Jezebel his wife came to him and said to him, "Why is your spirit so vexed that you eat no food?" And he said to her, "Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, 'Give me your vineyard for money, or else, if it please you, I will give you another vineyard for it.' And he answered, 'I will not give you my vineyard.'" Do you know that studies on anger suggest that 60% to 80% of illness results from hostility? Emotions such as anger, envy, resentment, worry etc. can cause ulcers, colitis, high blood pressure, strokes, heart trouble, headaches, hardening of the arteries, kidney disease, arthritis and more according to medical studies.

Anger solves nothing…all it does is fuel the fire in your heart and cause nothing but headaches for both parties involved. This morning we learn a great “truism” a practical fact from the wisdom found in the Book of Proverbs! This is a truth that we all should apply day by day when we’re face diversity and conflict with others. As one writer wrote this verse “Angry words answered with a loud voice and accusation, just adds fuel to the flame of anger. Gentleness and sympathy puts water on the fire of one’s angry heart. Once I had this scripture in my head and learned to use it in many relationship situations, I saw how effective this piece of wisdom was—all of us desire, in our frustration, to be honored.” As we all know, it is natural to react in like—anger to anger. However, it is supernatural to react in love. The Apostle Paul wrote; Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. ( Ephesians 4:29 ). Further warning comes from James, the half-brother of Jesus “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. (James 3:10). 

“Stir up” is literally “make to ascend” and pictures anger, like a fire, being fanned into an even greater fire. Soft words, is like oil on a wound, having a soothing effect. This Proverb isn't saying that we can’t disagree, but it must be done with humility and grace without confrontation. Basically, discussing things like adults and not like children fighting over the swing at recess. You will get nowhere with a person who has a temper tantrum and is unreasonable! We are simply to use words that do not uselessly antagonize him or her, for if we do this, we lose all opportunity to declare truth to them, for they will close their mind to all we say! And that speaks volumes when we share the gospel with lost sinners. Jesus set the standard in how we address people who seem hostile towards us. “Revile not” which mean to “abuse; attack with evil words.”He took the hostility, the beating, and the punishment without attacking back. Paul reminds us of this biblical truth in how we’re to live with those around us! Rom 12:18 “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” We must be peacemakers even if others refuse to be. Obedience is our job; the rest we leave to God.

SO HOW CAN WE DO ALL THIS, WHEN WE’RE FACE TO FACE IN CONVERSATION THAT LEAVES BOTH OF US FEELING HOT TEMPERED? HOW CAN WE APPLY OR DEMONSTRATE THIS PROVERB TO OUR LIFE?

I think the answer can be found in life of a woman named Abigail. Abigail was a woman who was caught between two angry men one of them being her foolish rich husband Nabal. The other being a prideful soon to be King named David. We see something amazing as the situation was about to spiral out of control. Turn to 1 Samuel chapter 25! A situation that was going to leave Abigail a widow. For what reason? David was displeased with the compensation and response by Nabal….especially after guarding over Nabal sheep (v4-v14). So Nabal this pompous and arrogant man is about to see the wrath of David very shortly, but word gets to Abigail’s ears and this is where Prov 15:1 comes into play. First the bible says Abigail “made haste” (v18) which means to hurry, rush, to stop this terrible scene from taking place. What does she do? (v18-v19) she delivers a peace offering of food for David and his men, and when she sees David………. this is where we see the truth of that Proverb. She humbly speaks the truth in love for Her future King and stubborn husband. She ceased the opportunity to reason, and understanding to the table. She could have come and said “how you dare speak to my husband this way” or “who do you think you are.” Which in reality would have only fueled David’s rage……but she didn’t! No! She knew her husband all to well, but she also knew this David. A man who was anointed by God, a man of honor and strength, a man after God’s own heart! She knew he was a reasonable man who was having a moment of prideful rage, and the only way to communicate to a hot tempered person is through humility. (v32-v34).

We’re all susceptible to heated moments, or moments of rage! I’ve found through my many failed experiences that I wish I spoke more from my heart instead of my head. I wish I approached a situation seasoned with grace. Abigail displays for us what Solomon would write many years later! A gentle answer will turn away wrath. Approaching every situation looking through the eyes of Christ, by asking myself “What would Jesus do at this moment?”  He would choose the right over the wrong which at times feel so right in our own minds. The power of words to build up or to destroy relationships! Which one, will you chose? Remember a sound heart is a quiet heart that seeks peace….not a clanging cymbal that wants to be heard.

For example!

A man goes to the doctor and says, “Doc, my wife’s hearing isn’t as good as it used to be. What should I do?” The doctor replies, “Here’s a test so you can find out for sure. The next time your wife is standing in the kitchen making dinner, move to about 15 feet behind her and ask her a question. If she doesn’t respond, keep moving closer and asking the question until she hears you.”

The man goes home and finds his wife in the kitchen. So, he moves to about 15 feet behind her and asks, “Honey, what’s for dinner?”

There’s no response, so he moves closer. “Honey, what’s for dinner?”

Still no response, so he steps even closer. “Honey, what’s for dinner? “Nothing.

Now he’s standing directly behind her. “Honey, what’s for dinner?” “For the fourth time, I said chicken!”


See, in order to properly communicate to someone else in same way Abigail did, we first need to listen, and then respond! As James said “quick to hear….and slow to speak”. Remember:
  • You can defuse arguments when you are humble.
  • You can handle unfair treatment peacefully when you are humble.
  • You can respond to unfair treatment without being overcome by bitterness
  • You do not have to put on a "false front" when you are humble.
  • You can eat "humble pie" without being crushed when you are humble.
  • You can ask forgiveness when you are humble.
  • You can talk with the right attitude when you are humble.

When we can humbly do that, we will be able to apply this Proverb correctly to our lives. This is a battle church family….a battle I wish I say “I’ve conquered”, but that would be a lie. But by God’s grace and His ever present Spirit, I’m able to preserver through it; learning and growing in the area of communication with anothers. And beauty of that…..so can you!

11 July 2013

I HAVE CHOSEN YOU!




I HAVE CHOSEN YOU!
George Mylne, "Fear Not!" 1854

"Fear not, I have chosen you!" Isaiah 41:9, 10. Christian reader, God says to you, "I have chosen you!" This is a great mystery--but it is a comforting truth. God does not tell you WHY He chose you. He only tells you the simple fact. It is not for you to question it, or to shrink from it--but to receive it, and be thankful.

God was free to love you--or free to loathe you.  He was free to choose you--or free to reject you. He says, "I have chosen you!" Believe what God says, and rejoice. "Before the mountains were brought forth, before He had formed the earth and the world," God had chosen you! "From everlasting to everlasting, He is God." From everlasting to everlasting He loved--He chose--He delighted in His people. Fellow-sinner, if God says, "I have chosen you," He says it . . .
  • to encourage you;
  • to strengthen you;
  • to sanctify you;
  • that you may rest upon the everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure,
  • that you may look away from self, and see that salvation is altogether of the Lord.


God chose you, "not according to your works; but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given you in Christ Jesus before the world began." (2 Timothy 1:9.) Fellow-sinner, you are . . .
  • loved in Christ;
  • chosen in Christ;
  • called in Christ;
  • saved in Christ!


Here is your foundation; here your hope; here your safety--you were "chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world!" This is to humble you--as well as to exalt you. This is to make you weep--as well as cause you to rejoice. You are vile in yourself--but chosen to indescribable honor! You are poor in yourself--but chosen to unspeakable riches! You are naked in yourself--but chosen to eternal glory!

Child of God, never lose your hold of this precious truth. God has revealed it, that you might delight in it. Let this be the brightest jewel in your crown--this the sweetest cordial to your heart--that God says to you, "Fear not, I have chosen you!"


As you sit at the feet of Jesus; as you lay your mouth in the dust, and cry, "Unclean, unclean! As you take all the shame to yourself, and give all the glory to God, let this comfort delight your soul--God has said, "Fear not, I have chosen you!" "God chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world!" Ephesians 1:4 

08 July 2013

COVENANT EYES


Job 31:1

In today’s technological age we are bombarded with all kinds of ways to cause us to stumble, especially in the area of sexual immorality. Everywhere you turn we are faced with the temptation of lust or sexual immorality! In his book Eyes of Integrity, Craig Gross contends that our battle with sexual immorality (and other sins) often begins in the mind. He went on to share the following personal story about identifying the battle for our mind:

“It was spring break in New Orleans, the streets were packed with college-age partiers, and the debauchery had reached an all-time high. My friend Donald and I ... had no idea we were going to be stepping into a raucous street party. A few minutes of the madness swirling around us, and both of us knew we needed to get out. Quick. The smell of beer infused the air, and high above the street level, lined along the apartment balconies, women revelers danced, flashing the crowd. Spontaneous applause and cheers erupted in every direction every few seconds. Waiting for a cab, I was torn as thoughts of these women flooded my mind. I was thinking about who they were. I thought of my own little girl at home and wondered if any dads knew their little girls were here, dancing. But while one side of me wanted to pray for the lost little girls, I felt the other side being drawn in, tempted to stop and stare. I was engulfed in a war of conscience and conviction, between my commitment to guard my mind and a strong call to take mental snapshots…….” As the Apostle said "Take every thought captive" Why? He knew the mind is the root issue, the systematic cause of all moral failures.

Craig went on to say “The mind begins the process of every action we take, and I had to ask myself: Am I willing to arrest these thoughts that are producing an insane magnetism towards unhealthy action? When I sat in the taxicab with my mind on erotic autopilot, I had to make a decision …. [Thankfully], God was faithful and really did provide a way out for me.”

Whether it’s through…..


  • I phone
  • I pad
  • Lap top
  • Desk top
  • Ps3
  • Xbox
  • Television
  • Bill board ads
  • Check-out lines
  • Walking down a busy city street
  • Going to a baseball game! Yes, even going to a baseball game

Everywhere you look, men and women of all ages are faced with the temptation of the eyes. This is a battle field that many Christians are losing these days…..and it’s going to hurt if you fall to this form of behaviour. Porn is reported to be a 12 billion dollar industry in the U.S alone. 50 percent of men viewed pornography within one week of attending a Promise Keepers stadium event. In a 2003 Focus on the Family poll 47 percent of respondents said porn is a problem in their home.The use of pornographic material among Christians continues to rise, reaching near rampant proportions in the church. Shocking statistics released by Net Accountability reveal that 50 percent of evangelical pastors viewed pornography last year.  Focus on the Family recently reported that one in seven calls to their pastoral care line concern Internet pornography. According to a study cited in the Washington Post, more than 11 million teenagers view Internet pornography on a regular basis. 30 percent of women are addicted to porn and it’s increasing daily. 67 percent of men say they look at it at least once a month.

These startling statistic is an indication at just how deeply the church has been affected by porn. No matter where a Christian is in their walk with Christ, these numbers reveal that he or she is still susceptible to these sins. Influential pastor Chuck Swindoll has called porn "the #1 secret problem in your church.” "It’s ruining marriages, destroying relationships, harming youth, and hurting the body of Christ," he has lamented. "Our churches are in trouble. This is no time to simply wait and pray." The problem lies here! When something is forbidden, or banned on grounds of morality, it becomes taboo. Nothing in the church is more taboo than sexual sins. Indeed, the hallmark of Christian virtue is sexual purity. The Bible repeatedly tells us to abstain from sexual immorality and pursue purity.

Proverbs 4:23 “We are to guard our hearts. It is the core of who we are. When you join together with another person sexually you become one. You can't separate from another without leaving part of yourself with them.”

Ephesians 5:3, 2 Timothy 2:22 “There is to be no hint of sexual immorality among us.”

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 “God's will for us is that we be sanctified and avoid sexual immorality and control our bodies in a way that is pleasing to God.”

So what are we to do? Set a high biblical standard of sexual purity and condemn sexual sins in our lives. But the church faces another problem! When we hammer away on the evils of sexual sins people decide not to talk about them at all. And since it’s not talked about, everyone assumes there is no problem. Or, if there is one, it’s with other people……. not you. We know there is tons of help aids out there for computer blockers [Covenant Eyes, Net Nanny, K9 Web protection, Get Cold turkey] to name a few. All these are excellent resources to get if you struggle in this area, but they doesn't protect you [us] from all other resources that tempt our hearts like TV, magazine racks, school campuses, the work place or people just walking around you in general. If you think this doesn't concern you! Think again……there is not one man or woman exempt from this problem. They just come in different packages…….SEE!
  • Men tend to be aroused visually, women through touch and hearing.
  • Men give love to get sex, women give sex to get love.
  • Men usually initiate and women respond; men are excited by pursuit, women by being pursued.
  • Men are tempted by the pleasure of lust, women by the power of lust.
  • Men are often motivated by physical desires, women by emotional and relational longings.


A prime example can be found in the fall of David, Samson! But what we should remember is the example of Joseph when he was faced with the temptation of lust! “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Gen 39:9. See Joseph was a man who I want to follow after, with my eyes, body and heart daily. A man who desired to please God over himself and his lustful passions. But there is another example of a man who felt the same as Joseph? His name is Job and its found in the 31st chapter of Job in versus one. 

See, Job makes a covenant promise with his eyes under God’s grace in his life.What Job is really saying is….. He would not allow His eyes or thoughts to endanger him by improperly contemplating a woman. Basically! I want to serve God with all my actions and aspersions. I want to look upon women as God’s daughters and not as things or objects that fulfill my obsessions. I want to treat women as God treats them…..with high honor and not as second class people. This is a covenant that not only men young or old should apply, but women as well. 

A covenant by definition is…….a contract or agreement between two or more parties. Job makes this covenant with God because he wants to honor God with his life. As Jesus said “blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” Job wants to see God and we should have that same passion and goal as well. HERE ARE SOME HELPFUL THINGS WE [YOU] CAN APPLY TO YOUR LIFE ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF GOD!


1. DON’T THINK YOU’RE IMMUNE FROM SEXUAL TEMPTATION.

1Cor 10:12 “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” Establish wise boundaries: for example, don’t talk with a man out of eyesight or earshot of others, avoid personal online communication with men or women…..and steer clear of private places with your boyfriend or girlfriend or someone of the opposite sex.

2. CUT  THE TEMPTATION OUT OF YOUR LIFE.

Matt 5:27-30 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” If you love certain music, romantic movies or novels are encouraging you to be dissatisfied with your singleness or unhappy with your husband or wife, perhaps it’s time to give them up. It’s time to do some spring cleaning in your life. If something causes you to stumble then it has to go; because it’s far better to obey God, then your lustful passions.


3. FILL YOUR MIND WITH GOD’S WORD AND THE THINGS OF GOD.

Ps 119:9 “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” When impure thoughts enter your head, repeat a Bible passage so there’s no room for sin. If you’re married, get to know the Song of Solomon and bring it to mind when you’re feeling unenthusiastic or your thoughts stray during relations with your spouse. If your single or thinking of dating….stay pure and honor God with your life until the appropriate time [Marriage] As the Hebrew writer said in Hebrews 13:4 “Marriage is to be honored by all people. The marriage bed is to be kept pure. God will judge the sexually immoral and the adulterer.”


4. USE YOUR BODY TO SERVE THE LORD AND KEEP YOUR BODY CLEAN AND PURE AS A TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

1Cor 6:13 "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food"—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” Though God made an appetite for food, and provided food for that appetite, yet he has not made the body for any uncleanness, nor indulgence in sensuality; but he has made it for Christ and His glory. Use your body to serve your marriage and your purity before God as Job did with his covenant.


5. Hate evil and put to death earthly desires at work in me for sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil passions and greed.

Ps 97:10 “O you who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.” As Paul said in Col 3:5 “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Run, sprint, speed walk for all I care, but flee from all forms of sexual immortality. If that means you can’t go to certain places like: Malls, Department stores, events, and so on. If that means your wife needs to put on passwords that she only knows on the TV, computer, even your cell phone it’s all worth it. Flee from the council of the ungodly and hate the sin which held you captive for so many years. And always remember your victory lies in the finished work of Christ on the Cross of Calvary. John MacArthur said “A believer’s struggle with sin is like getting rid of weeds from a garden. If you keep cutting the weeds off at the ground level, they will keep growing and coming back. If you want to remove the weeds permanently, you must kill them below the surface of the ground—at the root level. That is how it works with sin. You must see your sinful tendencies as dead remnants of your past life that must be rooted out, as Colossians 3:5 teaches: “Therefore, consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.” If you try to stop sinning merely in an external way—not dealing with the root problem at the heart level—you will not develop long-term holiness. As the great Puritan preacher John Owens wrote, “Be killing sin or it will be killing you.”

Job intended to live a chaste life! Shouldn't this be the pattern of our livesWhether your male or female, young or old this should be our covenant, our children’s covenant and grandchildren’s covenant. Why? It brings glory to God and a joy and peace in your heart. Joseph said “how could I do this evil, wickedness and sin against God” Let it not be true of us! But always remember this problem of sexual immorality isn’t going away anytime soon. At least not until Christ comes back and judges this earth of its wickedness and depravity! But until that day comes….He has given us His Spirit to direct, convict and keep us alert in His righteousness. Remember “For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.” 1 Thess 4:7. Use your body, your marriage, your singleness for His glory and the gospel, not for sexual immorality.