Monday, May 13, 2019

Building Your Personal Life on a Proper Foundation

House = building.  Home takes people.

Matt. 7:24-27
TEXT= Building your Personal life on Proper foundation  (ie:  the words of Christ and the Person of Christ)

Today: we use it to illustrate building your Family on a proper foundation.
(that is not the text, BUT the principles parallel and = excellent illustration)

The 4 Primary points for today:

#1.  You build your house (home)
on one hand, it is not all your doing, all in your control.  However, you are a builder!!

#2.  Storms will come because that's the world we live in -- fallen world

#3.  Your house will shake - regardless of how well you build!!

#4.  the foundation is critical because without a solid foundation NO building will stand!!!

I.)  IF the house = a home .. THEN You build your house.
  as a youngster.... you inherit a home - can be good, bad, in between
  as an adult --- you must build it!!!!   (can buy a house, must build a home slowly)

(1) nothing of consequence is build without the Lord's assistance --- Psm. 127:1, But we must do our part.
(2)  we don't all have access to the same building material ... (parents, background & raising, education, opportunities, talents, skills & ability, IQ, etc.)

Nevertheless, we are called to:
(1) WORK with what we have
(2)  cooperate with God's grace - 1 Cor. 15:10, Col. 1:28-29, Phil. 2:12-13
God is at work.  We are called to work WITH Him!!  Is no room for passivity, indifference, laziness, etc.

II.)  Storms will come  (regardless of your faith)
      (A)  Natural Storms (sickness, disease, accident, etc) - we live in a fallen world, Christians are not exempt.
     (B)  Man Made Storms  (created by ... spouse, kids, parents, in-laws, etc.)  - We're fallen people
     (C)  Self-made Storms - OFTEN = own worst enemy!!
     (D)  Super natural storms - Eph. 6:12, 1 Pet. 5:8 - Satanic, demonic.  They have a vendetta against Christ and God's kingdom, not you.    95% of the reality of the universe is invisible to us.

III.)  Your house will shake - AND experience damage!!  No matter how well build!!  - 1 Cor. 10:13,
1 Pet. 4:12 - because this is the world we live in.

IV.)  The Foundation is Critical  
The foundation = (A) the teachings of Christ - Matt. 7:24 - it is not something your build, but something your choose 
                      = (B)  The Practice of those teachings - Matt. 7:24, 26, John 13:17 - Church going just gives the knowledge.
                     = (C)  The Person of Christ - Matt. 7:21-23 - Can practice His teachings, but not have Christ.  If you don't have Christ, have missed the essential element.

(1)  You BUILD your house ... with the Lord's assistance
(2) You choose the foundation - you Decide .. (initially and continually)
(3)  Your choice determines your status!!
WISE man???  or FOOLISH man??   Prov. 14:1 - both are builders
Every individual must choose - no guarantee everyone will follow.

Closing Text:  Matt. 7:28-29
"NOT because He was loud, brash, dogmatic, but because He left the impression that He knew what He was talking about!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

The "40 Days" continued

Last week = "the 40 days" - Acts 1:3 - for 40 days between the Resurrection and Pentecost, Christ appeared to various people at various times.
Disciples were to be (1) faithful followers
                                (2)  bold witnesses (in Greek = martyr)
The 40 days helped equip them for that!!!

These appearances:
I)  Increased Confidence in the resurrection.
What if... there had ONLY been the Easter morning appearances?
Important because the Resurrection = the Proof!!  Rom. 1:4  that Jesus is who He said He was.

II.)  Additional Information about the Christian Faith
What questions were asked during this time?  What teachings during the 40 days?
Questions of history and doctrine and practice.
So --- Eph. 4:1

Jesus took this time to prepare these men to change the world.  The doctrine of the New Testament was built on the history of the Old Testament with new teachings and the result was practice (lifestyle)

Continuation from last week:
III.  Insights into our future state
Question?  After death - what??  (question is ancient and universal - everyone inherently knows there is life after death)
Problem:  Reliable witnesses?  (information)  - have those who supposedly died and came back - but
returnees = rare, questionable, fallible!

Contrast Jesus:  He Returned ... (1) As He Predicted
                                                 (2)  In a glorified state - totally different state but still the same
                                                 (3)  having overcome death (contrast Lazarus - released, escaped)

Example:  Luke 24:36-43  - (post-resurrection appearances:)

  • appeared, suddenly..... in closed, locked room
  • also, disappear!  vanish!  (example:  Emmaus Road disciples)
  • Sometimes recognized immediately!!  Other times NOT recognized  (at least not immediately)
  • Cooked breakfast & served it!  & ate with them!! - Acts 1:4 - "on 1 occasion while eating with His disciples"
  • All with (1) real, physical body
  •             (2) His own body
  •             (3) yet a glorified body!! - Luke 24:36-43  more than restored.  = Renewed!!  improved, better!  The same yet very different!!!
1 John 3:2 - We will be like Him in His resurrected state.

IF His Resurrection is true,
IF John is correct,
Then it necessitates a GENERAL RESURRECTION!! - Not just historical, but coming event.

1 Cor. 15:20-23
Rom. 8:18-23
1 Thess. 4:13-18
These mean:  (1)  a physical body
                     (2)  your body  (identity!)
                     (3)  absolute (complete) redemption

How???  1 Cor. 15:35-38, 42-44, 51-52
Impossible!!! Try creation!! - verbal/ ex nihilo!!  (out of nothing!!)

Which leads to:
IV.  Confidence in the Face of Death
ie:  He defeated death --- for us!
on one hand, we will still die.  however, death does not have the last word, final state - is a defeated foe
1 Cor. 15:24-26, Rev. 20:14, Rev. 1:18

Must distinguish between  (1) process of dying and (2) the state of death - example:  martyrs can have FEAR and still have courage!!
Note:  your greatest battle, struggle, issue with DEATH may Not be your own!!!
So " the Christian Hope" based on "THE Resurrection" - ! Cor. 15:19-20

Like the disciples, we are called to be:
(1) faithful in our walk (lifestyle)
(2) bold in our witness
in spite of ... (1)  the delay of 2000+ years
                    (2) world's view  (skepticism, mockery, hostility)
                    (3)  life's difficulty

Christ gave the "40 days" to help equip us for this!!!!

Closing Scripture:  Rom. 8:31-32, 38-39

Monday, April 29, 2019

Benefits of the 40 days

Cross --> Resurrection (happened on First Fruits) --> 40 days -->10 days --> Pentecost (beginning of the harvest)

Today = The 40 Days

Last week = 1) women at the tomb
                    2) disciples on road to Emmaus
                    3)  Disciples in Jerusalem - Sunday evening locked in a room (w/o Thomas) - Jesus appeared suddenly
                    4)  Disciples in Jerusalem 7 days later with Thomas - Jesus appeared again

Additional appearances - on shore of Galilee - John 21:1-14
                                    - James!! & others  1 Cor. 15:3-8
                                    - before Ascension - Matt. 28:16-20 - (Great Commission)
                                    - for 40 days - Acts. 1:1-3

Jesus appeared to different people, groups, size groups, different times, locations, settings - don't know how many times He appeared during this 40 days

Then - The Ascent - Acts 1:4-11

The Significance of the 40 days??
Especially - benefits FOR us today??
How to Apply what we learn there?

So..... Benefits of the 40 Days
Disciples received (1)  additional confidence in the Resurrection ( by many infallible proofs)
                            (2)  additional information concerning the Christian faith
                            (3)  insights into their future state
                            (4)  confidence (boldness) in the face of death

As for them,  so for us!!!

Christ's appearance for 40 days should (can!) result in.....

#1.  Confidence in the Resurrection - apostles needed that.  all will die a martyr's death with exception of John.
Note:  the importance of the Resurrection - 1 Cor. 15:17-19 = historical, actual, real event
and so the confirmation of the Resurrection - Acts 1:3  This is ESSENTIAL.  Without the resurrection, we have nothing!!!

For them, for us, should result in:
          (1)  a steadfast walk - (in times of trial/confusion
          (2) a bold witness (testimony) - going to need this even more today when not just skepticism about Christ but hostility.

SO ... 1 John 1:1-3 - not just theory    2 Pet. 1:16-18   this is fact

#2.  Additional information about our Faith - to help us walk the walk
Example:  Luke 24:25-27

during the 40 days ... what questions posed?  teachings received?
This information = IMPORTANT!!!  Because Christianity is not a belief system, religious practice.  It is (intended to be ...) a LIFESTYLE  (based on truth!!)

Contrast:  Pagan gods --- not concerned with daily life of followers!  don't care about moral life.
Compare common "religious" views today!!!

2 valid questions:  (1)  do you believe?  accept the Faith?
                           (2)  do you practice the Faith?  if you don't practice the faith, you don't believe.

Colossians - "as received... so walk!!!
James - "show me your faith without works!!
Jesus - "by their fruits you'll know them"
Jesus - (John 13)   "now know ... blessed if DO!!

To be continued next week ...........

Monday, April 22, 2019

Trusting the Risen Christ

The disciples believed until the cross -- led to grief, doubt, great fear.  All they had believed was shattered.- John 20:19

Then the Resurrection ... (+ 40 days with the risen Christ and Pentecost) -- Acts. 2:36
Transformed the disciples completely.

POINT = Their Belief became TRUST!!
Example:  Demons believe but don't rely on, put their fate in His hands

Clarify:  After the Resurrection - disciples still confused!!
BUT now TRUST Him - in spite of situations, circumstances
                                    - in spite of confusion
                                    - in spite of His physical absence.

NOW = "I still don't understand!! BUT ... I'll trust you ... with my life, my fate, my future ... come what may!! 

To this ALL disciples are called (US)
But how to get there?? Develop that trust??

So... Look at some of the realizations that helped the disciples come to that degree of trust.

After the Resurrection, + 40 days + Pentecost, the disciples came to fully recognize:

I.  His Authority - essential, primary thing   
Definition:  The power or right to give orders and enforce obedience

On one hand, they'd seen that (examples:  miracles, demons, death - Lazarus)
However, death had triumphed over Him!!
UNTIL the Resurrection!!! --- Matt. 28:18

II.  His Ability displayed .. All Authority and All Power - Omnipotence
Problem:  IF able to produce good, prevent evil, correct wrongs, THEN why doesn't He??

On one hand the disciples didn't necessarily have answer to that ...
However, they had also learned to trust in.....

III>  His Goodness - examples:  John 3:16, Rom. 5:8, 1 John 4:10
Still faced grief, suffering, evil, opposition, death!!!
But now convinced ... He's deal with it ... in His way!!   in His time!!!

Also convinced by:
IV.  His Concern - not just for "sheep" plural  (John 3:16), also for "sheep" SINGULAR!! - Matt. 10:29-31 - every single sheep

Examples:  lost sheep?  (go find it)  lost coin?  (search for it)
And so..... 1 Pet. 5:7

V.  His Presence - Matt. 28:19-20 = last words!!
Example:  Job - never got answers, but Presence was enough!!

VI.  His Involvement
more than a present observer ... = active companion!!
So Paul ----  Rom. 8:28, Phil. 1:6

And (of course)
VII.  His Return 
when He'll dispel all darkness, correct all wrongs

Objection!!  if I had their experience(s)
Partial Answer ... John 11:38-40
  We say  "show me your glory and I'll believe"
  He says - "believer and I'll show you my glory"

Doesn't mean IF you believer, you'll get the sign, miracle you desire - no guarantee will get
Does mean believe and you'll see, perceive, experience glimpse .. all you need to TRUST!!

Pre-Christian - Salvation simple as ABC - Rom. 10:9-11
    Admit - you = sinner in need of Savior
    Believe - He died for sin, rose to life
    Confess - Him ... AS LORD, as your LORD!!

Christian :  Col. 2:6  - "as received, so walk"

Closing Scripture:  Eph. 3:14-21

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Lord's Supper Preparation

John 19:28-30 - What is finished?
Answer:  the WORK necessary for our salvation.

Question:  Before the cross, how could man approach an unapproachable God?

Answer:  Old Testament Pictures  (picture prophecies)

I.  Mediator and Substitute Sacrifice.  Sacrifice brought to the altar, priest offered it to God on person's behalf.  Made him 'right' with God.
Christ was the PERFECT mediator.

II.  Temple Barriers -

When Christ died,
#1.  barriers were removed  - Matt. 27:50-51, Heb. 10:19-20

#2.  Sacrifices were fulfilled - Heb. 7:27, 9:11-12, 9:25-26 - "once for all"

#3.  The bridge was built - 2 Cor. 5:18-19

Note:  the work was extensive.  It required MANY pictures to describe it/illustrate it.

Another picture:

III.  Layer Cake - the cake = salvation (in broadest sense)
                        - the layers - individual aspects of salvation or of His work)
(Words used by Christian Apostles, Theologians to describe toe work of Christ/Cross)

Ransom = purchase freedom  example:  kidnapped
Mark 10:45

Redemption = buy back  example:  Pawn shop  But!! Sold 'Self!! 1 Pet. 1:18-19

Substitution - in place of /stead of.  3 Cor. 5:21

Remission, Forgiveness, Cleansing - a debt resolved, pardoned, excused, satisfied
1 John 1:9

Propitiation = to appease (satisfy) wrath, anger.
1 John 1:2  (atoning sacrifice)

Expiation = more than forgiven = Removed!!  Example:  Scapegoat

Justification - act by which declared NO longer guilty.  Therefore, in right standing - Rom. 4:25

Sanctification - separated, set apart ... from and to

Reconciliation = relationship restored!!

Glorification - the eventual and final state of the believer

All adds up to:  SALVATION  (layer cake)

Add  (1)  Efficacious - having the power to produce the desired effects - Heb. 7:25 - Able to save completely, to the uttermost, totally!!!
The Resurrection was the proof that He was who He said He was and did what He said He did

 and   (2)  Voluntary - Christ didn't have to do this.

The "Layers" should lead us to:
(1)  a Recognition  ... of the extent of His work(s)
(2)  an Appreciation ... for what He's done for us.

(3)  an approach .. come the 1st time.   Then, come often times.

One more picture:  ie:  Example:  On the TABLE!   The bread, the juice, the crown of thorns.  Matt. 26:26-28
This we commemorate, celebrate tonight.  1 Cor. 11:27-28

(1)  how we do it.
(2)  who should do it - Christians
(3)  note of "worthiness" - 1 Cor. 11:27-28  None are worthy.  Speaking of "unworthy" manner!!

Closing Scripture:  Heb. 4:14-16

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Christian Wealth Ethic

Spent 2 weeks on WORK ETHIC  (moral views of work)

This week = WEALTH ETHIC  (moral view of wealth, money, possessions

Are many scriptures that address this:
The Bible devotes approximately 500 verses to prayer, BUT over 2,000 verses to money & possessions

One of every 10 verses in the Gospels deals with money (in some form) and over half the parables have money as their theme.

The recorded sayings of Jesus deal with money more than any other subject except the Kingdom of God.
Question:  Is money that important to God??  Answer:  No.  BUT, (a) it's important to us (materialism)
                                                                                           and     (b)  WE are important to God!!

  • The Bible deals with the proper attitude toward money and the proper acquisition OF money.
  • It instructs us concerning borrowing, lending, signing for other people's debts, charging interest and paying taxes
  • It talks about financial planning; saving, investing and sharing our money.
  • It addresses earning an honest wage and paying and honest wage.
  • It instructs us to honor our personal debts, to give assistance to the poor and pay a tithe to God in support of His work.
  • It applauds the wise use of money and condemns the foolish use of money.
  • Scripture contains financial advice for the rich, the poor, the middle class.
  • It talks of wealth being both a blessing and a curse.  (depending on how you handle it...)
  • And says the way we use our money can lead to eternal rewards ... or eternal losses.
That = reason enough to give the subject consideration!!

Old Testament View = mostly positive  examples:  Job, Abraham, King Solomon  Prov. 10:22

New Testament View = never condemns but .. are many warnings!!!
Examples:  Rich Fool, Rich Young Ruler - Matt. 19:22-23, Luke 16:13  -  Doesn't mean can't have money

So.... views vary!!
#1.  "Wealth is bad" - it seduces  1 Tim. 6:9-10 - "love of" not $$ itself.
hence, Vow of poverty/ monasticism

#2.  "Wealth is good" = example:  health and wealth message - Matt. 7:7-11
This rose at a time when we are most blessed, wealthiest, mainly in US

#3.  Wealth is neutral - amoral - neither good or bad - it's a tool.
Can be a blessing, can be a curse 
Reformers - "a wonderful servant, a terrible master"

So... how should we approach wealth??
Answer:  there is a Biblical Principle to cover all views... ie:  Stewardship 
Definition = manager - comes from two Greek words meaning house law, house rule, govern household
English equivalent = "economy"  New Testament Greek = Stewardship!

Concept is ancient - introduced in Garden of Eden  Gen. 2:15, 1:28

Implies:  (1)  WORK  (labor, effort, diligence)
              (2)  RULE  (have dominion, take charge, manage - take care of, not abuse)
              (3)  RESPONSIBILITY - (comes with privilege) but when they violated trust - removed
              (4)  PRIVILEGE - the manager benefits from the estate
              (5)  PRODUCTION - fruitfulness.  Example:  parable of talents

            #1.  You have been given a garden - an estate - a house to rule (govern) a stewardship position
God has granted you great blessings.

           #2.  It is sizable  Example:  household income stats:
Your household (annual) income ______
compared to:  Russia   $11,700
                    Mexico   $11,700
                    Brazil      $ 7,500
                    China      $ 6,100
                    Egypt      $ 3,100
                  Philippines $ 2,400
                  Kenya        $ 1,900
                  Rwanda    $ 1,100
                  Liberia        $   781
                  Burundi       $  673
Poverty level - USA - 2018 = family of 4 - $25,100
Worldwide median household income = approximately $10,000

          #3.  it consists of more than money
talents, abilities, opportunities, children

          #4.  You are to MANAGE it - 
                A.  according to His directives
                B.  whether large or small -
Example:  contrast lottery winners, etc.
Oddly, the more you win (lottery), the more likely to end up bankrupt
Study from 3 Universities (Vanderbilt, U. of Kentucky, U. of Pittsburgh)

If won less than $10,000, no issue
if won $50K to 150K, bankrupt within 5 years!

Compare National Endowment of Financial Education estimates:
70% of people who come into large sums of money unexpectedly = broke within 7 years
70% of NFL players broke within 5 years
60% of NBA players broke within 5 years
Bigger the pot?  More likely to bankrupt!!

Stewards are expected to be:
(1)  hard working
(2)  trust worthy  - 1 Cor. 4:1-2
(3)  productive  (parable of talents)
(4)  SAVVY  ( parable of 'unjust steward')  commended for his SAVVY, practical knowledge, ability to handle situation - Luke 16:8

Christian Stewardship requires you:
I.  Know the Master - His directives work for all, however, Matt. 7:21

II.  Know the Master's Will - ie:  manage according to His Word(s) - not world's!!

III.  Respond as He directs
(example:  Tithing.   Make good economic sense???  We don't work on immediate economy or immediate return

IV.  Don't forget who owns the estate  (parables of the 'absent master')

On one hand, He'll not ask you to serve beyond your ability, means
However, Luke 12:48

Summary Application:  (1)  Accept the Savior - you can't work, buy, manage your way into heaven.

                                  (2)  Surrender to the Master
                                 (3)  Manage HIS estate (as a steward)

                                 (4)  (Periodically( revisit, re-access  this issue

                                 (5)  Remember - earthly wealth is temporal,
                                                         heavenly wealth is eternal!!

Closing Scripture:  Matt. 6:31-33

Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Christian Work Ethic - Pt. 2

Last week = 2 Thess. + the Christian Work Ethic
Def. - Work Ethic = a moral view of work (right/wrong)
Adjectives = strong, positive, solid, poor, faulty, insufficient

For Christians should be - "Biblical (Scriptural, Christian) Work Ethic".
We will spend roughly 1/3 of our life on work.
ie:  God sets the standard for us.
     God reveals the standard to us!! - Heb. 1:1-2

BUT the Biblical Work Ethic is more than "work hard"
It includes:  honesty, integrity, quality, productivity
Also addresses frugality, management, stewardship, which is the absolute center of the work concept.- because is related to money!  Could be borrowing, lending, saving, investing, etc.

QUESTION:  Why adopt a Biblical Work Ethic?  (over other Work Ethics?)
Examples = work to get by, because have to, to get stuff, to get rich.  OR don't work if don't have to..

ANSWER:  .IF this = God's standard (will)
                    THEN this = (1) morally right - work is not an amoral condition
                                        (2)  practically best
ie:  most likely to produce what God desires FOR you and,
most likely to result in what God expects FROM you.

IF the Christian Work Ethic = morally right and practically best, let's look for some specifics!
Why embrace this Work Ethic?  What is it designed to do?
Should be able to see a moral reason why to embrace Christian Work Ethic in following verses.

#1.  To Provide for Family - 1 Tim. 5:8 - talking about people who are capable
Obviously about $$, material things..... but is MORE than money!!!
example:  term "home MAKER" = (1) WORK  (2) with a Product
Prov. 31:10-31 = stay at home mom with a Biblical Work Ethic!!

#2. to Provide beyond the family  Acts 20:33-35 -   Eph. 4:28
Examples:  Old Testament - "poor tithe" - additional 10% given every 3rd. and 6th. year to provide for the poor.
                field gleaning - only go over field once when harvesting.  anything left behind was for the poor to gather.  Someone worked hard to make that crop, but leavings for the poor.

#3.  to benefit society - especially own community.  Prov. 19:17

#4.  for personal satisfaction/ fulfillment
Work is NOT the curse!!!  Gen. 2:15, 3:17-19 - curse affected our work

Christian Work Ethic does not remove the toil from work.  BUT can certainly add a level of satisfaction!!
Eccles. 2:24, 3:12-13

#5.  to honor God by obedience, by job well done.  Matt. 25:21, John 17:4, Col. 3:23-24
"God called/gifted/enabled me.... therefore I honor Him with this..."

#6.  to expand His Kingdom - (here/now "on earth")
Example:  1 Thess. 4:11-12
ie:  earn respect --> gain favor --> gain a hearing! --> win a soul  (or at least "make Him known")

#7.  to lay up treasure! - Matt. 6:19-21

We (Christians) are called to:
(1) adopt a Biblical Work Ethic  (embrace, pursue)
(2)  develop that Work Ethic - which requires knowledge of God's Word.
(3)  Practice a Biblical Work Ethic - ie:  act on it/ live it out
(4)  model a Christian Work Ethic - 2 Thess. 3:7-9
(5)  teach a Biblical Work Ethic  (a) especially to young ones (children and grandchildren)                                    in more than Sunday School lesson

IF you have a degree of success, should talk to your kids about HOW it's done!!

NOTE:  Success doesn't necessarily mean rich!!
             May be survival!!

AGAIN:  Work (alone) does not commend you to God, does not give you salvation!!

Closing Scripture:  1 Cor. 15:56-58