Monday, December 29, 2008

8 Words to Direct Your Life

As we begin 2009, it's time for resolutions, new starts, looking back, looking forward, re-evaluation, readjustment, etc.

For Christians, this should raise two questions:

1. How should I live? (what direction should I take, what should I embrace, what should I reject, et.c. this upcoming year.)
#2. How should I DECIDE how I should live? (what direction to take, what to embrace, what to reject, etc?)

Answers range from: upbringing (tradition), intuition (feeling), social pressures (this is how Americans, SE Oklahomans, Indians, Rednecks live), directives (the norm) Also: can be experience, reason, random want to's.....

For Christians, should add.... Revelation. God has chosen to reveal some things to us about how we should live.
A. General revelation: nature, science, reason, etc.)
B. Specific revelation: prophets, Christ, apostles, Scripture.

Based on Revelation, (without doing away with other considerations),
We must decide how to KNOW what is the foundation for how to live.

So, here are 8 words to direct your life.

#1. Consider (life) think about, examine, give thought to Prov. 14:8 & 15 Prov. 21:29
ASK YOURSELF: Where am I from? Why am I here? What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to do it?

#2. Choose (life) Deut. 30:11-15 & 19
Two words to consider: A. CHOOSE
B. LIFE - this is more than biological life. It is QUALITY of life.
John 10:10 Matt. 7:13-14
This INCLUDES choosing Christ. John 14:6
You cannot have the life God wants for you apart from Christ IN your life.

#3. Develop (your life) Check out Matt. 25, the story of the talents, and Matt. 5 about the steward.
1 Tim. 4:8 - includes moral, character development.
Matt. 4:19 Become "fishers" of men.

#4. Impact (lives) - life is more than YOU. We are to be salt and light, to make a difference, to "fish" for men. (reach others for Christ)

#5. Enjoy (life and God's blessings) - 1 Tim. 6:17 & 18
Context is to impact. Should be balance - impact AND enjoy.

#6. Prepare (for death) Luke 12:15-21 Story of the rich FOOL!!
This includes:
A. Reconcile with God
B. Prepare for heaven and eternity
C. Assure your family
D. mend relationships (w/your brothers and sisters)

#7. Revisit (these from time to time). The Bible uses: Remember - addressed to the people
Remind - to the prophets

#8. Readjust (as necessary). A guided missile locks onto the target, but is constantly readjusting it's position when blown off course by conditions.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas - More that His Birthday

John 8:42 Christmas is more that His birthday. It is His COMING!!

On on hand, He's always with us. BUT, occasionally He shows up in a special way. (As in the Exodus).

So...... Why did He come?
There are many reasons. Here are a few to consider.

He Came to Offer:

I. Eternal Salvation. Definition: a place, position of safety, security. John 11:25 & 26
Three tenses of salvation: Past - I've been saved, born again
Present: I'm being saved, transformed daily
Future: I will be made complete and totally transformed when Christ returns. Luke 19:10

II. Certainty of Salvation. 1 John 5:13

III. An Increasing Confidence in God. (a growing faith that everybody recognizes the compassion, care, concern. John 14:9 * John 14:1 John 3:16
*This is a visible statement of God's concern for you.

IV. Personal Transformation. Matt. 1:21 = ME!!!
This is more than "saved from punishment for sin." It is saved from the power of sin.
This transformation is not immediate and complete. "He's still working on me."

V. Social Transformation.
Matt. 1:21 - for individual and corporate! He offers to change you (individually). Also, offers to change society and the world.

VI. Divine Revelation.
John 1:18 John 12:46 When Christ is in your life, you can know origin, destiny, and purpose.

VII. A Chance to Know God. John 17:3 This is more than head knowledge.

NOTE: This equals A. Offer B. To you C. to the world through you.

So: #1. Receive Him
#2. Receive blessings He offers.
#3. Receive the challenge, responsibility, and charge that goes with it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lessons From the Magi

Prov. 13:20

Therefore: lessons from the Magi. Matt. 2:1-12 People were expecting hte Messiah to come.

#1. Light received increases light.
This is true in A. initial stages John 1:10-13 and B. through out Christian journey.

NOTE: You NEVER get enough light to answer ALL questions!! Ex. Good God. Why evil world?
You WILL just get enough light for the NEXT step!

#2. Light rejected increase darkness. Wise men give good counsel. WISER men take it!
Good example of light rejected is Herod. Rom. 1:21 & 22

#3. Light received is to be applied.
The Bible definition of "hear" is not only with ears, but with heart and hands as well. Matt. 25:28-29 The light is not to ponder but apply. We're to act with the light we've received.

#4. Light (truly) received equals life transformed.
NOT all at once, NOT in huge steps, but a continual, step by step process
"I'm not the man I should be/ not the man I'm gonna be, but NOT the man I was"

#5. Light received stirs up darkness. Matt. 2:13-18
Bible history shows that divine activity leads to demonic activity.
We needn't be conspiracy theroists (demons behind every bush), but, Rom. 7:21
Darkness doesn't want to be repelled or pushed aside by light.

#6. Light is often conveyed through unlikely channels. Biblical examples: moving star, gentile magician, talking donkey, potter's wheel, Jacob's angel, stable, couple from Galilee, etc.

#7. Light often leads to unlikely places.
Stable, carpenter's shop, Galilean fishing boat, Judean hillside, Roman cross....
NOT where you'd expect to find A. Eternal God B. Ultimate Truth.

Therefore: 1. let Him lead you where He will
2. look for light where you land
3. Remember, light received......????

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Christian Sacrifice

Christmas is the biggest celebration of the year in the U.S. BUT..... it hasn't always been so.

Once Upon A Time, When Christmas Was Banned.....
This ban existed as law for only 22 years, BUT disapproval of Christmas celebration took many more years to change.

The Puritans had several reasons for disliking Christmas.
First: it reminded them of hte Church of England and the old-world customs, which they were trying to escape.
Second: they didn't consider the holiday a truly religious day. December 25th. wasn't selected as the birth date of Christ until several centuries after his death.
Third: the holiday celebration usually included drinking, feasting, and playing games - all thing which the Puritans frowned upon.
Fourth: the British had been applying pressure on the Puritans for a while to conform to English customs. The ban was proabably as much a political choice as it was a religious one for many.

Christmas was outlawed by an act of Parliament in England in 1647. It was not declared a federal holiday in the U.S. until 1870.

BUT - look at us now!! The time, dollars, decorations, parties, effort, emphasis, etc.

One objection is: the biggest part is secular with little or nothing to do with Christ!!
Granted...... BUT much of the 'secular' is "Good Stuff". For example: family gatherings, gift giving, days off, a festive spirit, goodwill toward others, generosity to less fortunate, recognizing our blessedness, enjoying our blessings....
This results in good stuff regardless of the time of year or the motive behind it.

Another objection: so much commercialization!!!
True, BUT Jesus gets a lot of "air" time here as well!!
For example: Christmas hymns playing in Wal-Mart; on TV "A Charlie Brown Christmas" with a very plain gospel presentation in it; Nativity sets on sale; Christmas cards with Christ-centered messages.
Phil. 1:15-18

So: The Christian Sacrifice.

Deut. 16:16-17 "not empty handed"
Contrast "bring/offer" with today's concept of worship - receive. What can it give/do for me. There's nothing wrong with receiving, but we should come to give.

So, what should we BRING?? Here's some suggestions.

#1. A Sacrifice of Praise. Heb. 13:15 Psalm 100:4 1 Thess. 5:18
Praise Chorus: "We bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. And we offer unto You, the sacrifices of thanksgiving. And we offer up to you, the sacrifices of joy."

#2. A Sacrifice of Giving/Sharing. Heb. 13:16 Luke 14:12-14 - blessing someone just for the sake of blessing. Prov. 19:17 Matt. 25:40 Acts 20:35

#3. A Sacrifice of Confession. Psalm 51:16 &17.
Hosea 14:1-2 1 john 1:9 - God honors confession when brought with a humble, repentent heart as He used to honor the sin offering.

#4. A Sacrifice of Obedience. 1 Sam. 15:20-22
A Sacrifice is only as acceptable as the Sacrificer. Example: Cain Gen. 4:6-7

#5. (Summary) A Sacrifice of Self. Rom. 12:1
In the Old Testament, they did animal sacrifice. This was visible, tangible, and the sacrifice "stayed" sacrificed.
New Testament sacrifice is our selves. A It's voluntary and B. It's continual. We have the ability to change our minds, and take it back.

#1. to sacrifice is to honor God BUT, WHO BENEFITS? Ans: we do!
#2. Deut. 16:17 - "a gift in proportion to blessings"

SO..... how much should YOU be giving????

Monday, December 1, 2008

Developing Confidence In God

Prov. 3:5-6 Easy to say, tough to do.
Psalms 62:5-8
Isaiah 26:3-4
All these are easy said, easy read, easy claimed, easy sung about. Easy enough in easy times.


What if God asked you to: build an ark? leave your country? confront a king? fight a giant? faithfully preach to an unrepentant people for 40 years? feed 5,000 with one small lunch? step out of the boat on stormy seas? Etc......
We all wish we had more confidence in God, and cite Noah, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, David, Jeremiah, Peter, Paul.... and say, "I wish I had THAT confidence." They didn't have it either!

Observations about trusting God.

#1. What these people display is not SELF confidence, but GOD confidence.
Heb. 11:1
They did not have confidence in self, in the decision, in hte outcome, but in GOD!!
For example: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Dan. 3:15-18 This is not what usually happens.
Most Christians who come up against this kind of trial, die in the midst of it, but retained their confidence and faith in God.

#2. God-confidence is not so much FEELING as DOING.
Examples; Moses and the Exodus Gideon and Midian Jeremiah and Judah
1 Cor. 2:3-5
Heb. 11 - "by faith they DID , not "by faith they FELT.

#3. The doing (obeying) leads to an APPEARANCE of self-confidence.
Note: God-confidence does not mean that you will never struggle with doubt, questions, fear.
But, you obey in spite of these doubts, questions, and fears.
The point is: You wish you FELT more confidence? So does everyone ELSE!!!

#4. In the New Testament this God-confidence is extended to Jesus Christ.
John 14:1
(Matt. 3:17, Matt. 17:5 "my beloved Son..... Hear Him!")

So, How to increase your confidence in God!!

#1. Pray for faith.
(but remember that faith is usually found in the fire!!) So understand what you are praying for.

#2. Study the Word.
The more you know of God, the easier it is to trust Him. The best place to learn of Him is in His Revelation. Rom. 10:17

#3. Obey what you know.
Obedience leads to experience which leads to confidence. Mal. 3:10

#4. Remember and recall His faithfulness in the past.
to others, to you. Read Christian biographies and learn how He's worked in others' lives as well.

#5. Hang out with faith people. Rom. 1:11-12 You have more chance of getting to know God and developing God-confidence if you are getting together with fellow Christians than if you are hanging out in a club or a bar.

#6. Experience His presence.
This is NOT something you can fabricate, conjure up, or control, but you CAN put yourself in positions and places where you are most likely or experience Him. ie: worship, Bible Study, prayer, Christian groups, etc.

#7. Share your faith.
Faith is like a hole: the more you take away, the bigger it grows.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Profile of A Christian

As we categorize and describe types of Evangelical Christians, we find that they are a group that consider themselves: saved, baptized, seldom doubt their salvation.
BUT, they are NOT satisfied with their spiritual walk or their spiritual growth.
On a scale of 1-10, they feel they should be a 7. Instead they feel they are probably a 5 or even a 3.

This group or type of Christian is haunted by feelings of :
A. guilt - due to constant failures - in spite of good intentions
B. unworthiness - feel unfit to be called a Christian - much less be a role model
C. Inadequacy - i.e. unable to live the Christina life beyond superficial appearances.

This Christian's self-assessment is: "I don't pray enough". "I don't witness for Christ enough."
"I don't have a consistent time with God."

This Christian also wishes he had more Bible knowledge and wishes he could better discern God's will in every day matters. He would like to experience more joy and excitement in his Christian life BUT in fact his Christian life is generally routine.

This Christian thinks that he could do better if he could only stay focused on Christ and be consistent (not up and down).

The biggest problem is simply 'trusting' Him, surrendering to His will, practicing submission (or practicing it on a daily basis), and trusting and really believing beyond the head - in heart and hands as well.

Is this your profile? Does this description fit you?


#1. This is everybody's profile. Because this describes:
A. Our human nature Rom. 3:23 (if you are honest in your assessment)
B. Our dual nature Rom. 7:15, 18, 19, 22-23
C. The world we live in - "between Eden and Eternity" We live in a fallen world.
Rom. 8:19-21 Rom. 7:21
D. Life - is a roller coaster. (up and down, fast and slow, ascend and descend). It doesn't get perfect this side of heaven for anyone.

Responses usually are: "But I'm a Christian!"
Compare to a Christian and a lost person on a roller coaster. Both go up, both go down, both go round and round, irregardless of spiritual state.
"That's very discouraging." - depends how you look at it.
On one hand it's discouraging that this is so. BUT, you're not alone, unique, at the bottom of the spiritual ladder, etc. 1 Cor. 10:13
We're all dealing with the same stuff.

#2. God is not through with you. He still loves you, He won't leave you, He can still develop you and use you.
Example: John 21:15-17 "After Peter's declaration and then denial, A. How do you think HE felt? (like the typical profile)
BUT, B. How did Christ deal with him? He didn't ignore the sin or the failure, but He loved him and forgave him and chose him and used him.


We must recognize our sins and failures and the seriousness of them.
BUT, we must not let them crush and cripple us. Phil. 1:6 - He never gives up on us.

#3. It'll get better (if you hang in there) - as you gain knowledge, understanding, and experience; as you grow.
Life won't change but you can!! We do better because we are better.

When does this happen? Eventually. How does this happen? A tiny step at a time amidst a thousand more ups and downs. Eph. 4:11-15
The specific text reads "not be blown about by false teachings or doctrines." But the principle is much broader - when we mature we'll not be blown about by life's storms.

Using the ship illustration: A. as the captain gains wisdom and knowledge, he's NOT blown off course by every squall.
B. Hie may be blown off course by a hurricane!! BUT, even then after the storm, he checks where he is, gets his bearings, and gets back on course!


#1. The Christian life begins with Christ (accept Him) and a commitment to Him.

#2. That commitment will be constantly tried, tested and challenged..... by your human nature, the fallen world, life's unpredictable fluctuations.

#3. You will often fall and fail.

#4. So will everybody else.

#5. Your options are : Give Up or Get up - continue to try to live for Christ, overcome, grow, and mature.

#6. God's will is that you get up. (grow up and go on)

#7. The blessings you desire are found (only) when you get up and go on.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Methods of Personal Evangelism

Matt. 28:19 - The Great Commission. Reads "make disciples", which (by necessity) includes Evangelism.
And this is more than "get a profession", "get a baptism", "gain a church member".

Did you know?
  • The U.S. is the third largest unchurched nation in the world.
  • North America is the only continent where Christianity is not growing.
  • Seven out of 10 people in North America do not know Christ.
  • More than 70% of all churches in the United States are plateaued or declining.
  • Half of all churches last year did not add one new member through conversion growth.
  • While the U.S. population grew by 11.4% over the last 10 years, church growth declined by 9.3%.
So - Some Methods of Personal Evangelism

#1. Preaching Evangelism
Today in the U.S. only 1 in 10 people who make a decision to follow Christ do so in a church setting.
Why? 1 reason is that the lost don't come to preaching anymore.
Example: 85% of the more recent responses in a Billy Graham Crusade are made by churched people!

#2. Confrontational Evangelism. One on one. Face to face.
Traditionally this is recognized as the form of personal evangelism.
This is effective for those who are geared and gifted for it.
BUT, it is ineffective for most Christians because it's NOT their gift and they're NOT going to do it!! This kind of evangelism is very uncomfortable for most Christians.

#3. Teaching Evangelism. Examples: Sunday School, AWANA, Bible Time

#4. Testimonial Evangelism (Personal testimony)
Example #1 - the Blind Man - John 9:25 - what I know
John 9:17 - what I think (believe) about what I know

Example #2 - Legion Mark 5:18-20
Testimonial evangelism is usually used in combination with other methods

#5. Ministry Evangelism - in two forms
A. Ministry to the lost - in a crisis, funerals, weddings, etc.
NOTE: We minister without strings, BUT NOT without purpose!!

B. Ministry with the lost - involving people in social impact work (volunteer work). This is one of the most effective ways of reaching them today. Especially the Busters and on down!

#6. Relational (friendship) Evangelism.
Today this type equals A. the most decisions and B. the best results.
70% of active Christians accepted Christ due to some form of Relational evangelism.
87% of inactive Christians accepted Christ due to some form of manipulative monologue.

Note: it's OK to befriend for the purpose of evangelism.
BUT, it is NOT OK to de-friend because they don't respond!

#7. Family Evangelism. Win your kids, spouse, siblings, etc.
This is undoubtedly the most effective fomr when:
A. it's applied early
B. used properly and consistently
C. in conjunction with #8

#8. Lifestyle Evangelism. Means living in such a way as to encourage people to inquire about your faith.
BUT, you can't witness without words!! Rom. 10:13-15 Nobody is saved by your lifestyle.
For example: What good is a governor's pardon if left signed on the desk, not delivered to the condemned?

#9. Discipling Evangelism. (mentoring)
Traditionally, the view was WIN them, then disciple. BUT, this works well in reverse. Disciple and as you do, they are won! Person can become aware of their lostness by being discipled.

#10. Conversational Evangelism. Bring up during a casual conversation. Some have a real gift for this. If don't, shouldn't force it.

#11. Invitational Evangelism. - inviting people to church, events, etc.
NOTE: While only 10% of decisions are made in a church setting, 77% said, "attending church" was a contributing factor.

#12. Tract/Literature Evangelism. (this is shown to be a contributing factor)

#13. Child Evangelism.
In the USA, 64% of those who accept Christ did so before the age of 18. (43% before age 13)
Another 13% between 18 and 21.
Only 23% accept Christ after age 21.
ALSO NOTE: people who accept Christ before teen years are:
a. more likely to remain committed to Christianity
b. more likely to embrace Biblical theology

#14. Prayer Evangelism. James 5:16


There is no wrong way to lead people to Christ. (if it's truly leading them to salvation - not just a profession)

No single approach is universally effective. (usually conversion is a result of combined influences)

Any method works better if used intentionally (with focus on the purpose)

We are not expected to win them - just to witness to them. John 6:44, 65
Only Jesus can convert. Unless the Father draws them, they cannot be saved.

God doesn't expect us to do it alone.
Matt. 28:19 Therefore, go.....
Matt. 28:20 and surely I am with you.....

Monday, October 27, 2008

Judging Joe

After hearing the testimony of our candidate for office of deacon:

3 Areas to Measure (Character, Competence, Calling)

I. Character. In this case, "godly" character.
1 Tim. 3:8-12 Is this a check list? OR, a description of character? Meaning the type of man this person is.

This is Important because: a deacon leads, serves, AND represents our church, the faith, and the Lord.

On one hand, we can't expect perfection - Rom. 3:23
, there should be high expectations as this is a Biblical office.

II. Competence. Needs to have ability to perform the tasks and fulfill the charge.
Should be looking for a man already competent and serving.
But also want someone who is willing to serve.
A. Someone who recognizes his incompetence to represent Christ or do His work.
and, therefore, B. continues to develop his competence.

III. Calling This is an internal certainty that God has called him to serve.
Question: Should a deacon experience a call?
Answer: Yes & No
On one hand, some experience the call to deaconship.
But, on the other hand, all Christians are called to serve (according to need, opportunity, gift package, etc.)

Eph. 2:10 John 13:14-15 Matt. 28:19-20
Therefore: we need: A. recognition of a call
B. response to that call

For deacons, add IV. Church Approval

What God Expects of deacons He also expects of YOU. There is no double standard.
Specifics may vary, but principles do not!!


#1. Accept Christ
A. As Savior
B. As Lord

#2. Pursue Godly Character
1 Cor. 6:9-11 2 Pet. 1:5-7 Eph. 4:1 (hinge verse0

#3. Answer His calling (to ministry)
Eph. 2:10 Eph. 4:11-12
We're to be "salt and light" and "Make a Difference"

#4. Develop your Competence
Principle of.... 2 Tim. 2:15

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Restoring the Wayward (the wanderer)

Luke 15:1-7, 8-10, 11 - story of the Prodigal Son.
This couples with James 5:19-20

On one hand we have a problem here because it implies a loss of salvation! (KJV says "save a soul", NAS reads, "save his soul form death".
This can be argued from now on, and there is no certain answer.
BUT, something we can know from these verses: when a brother or sister wanders, it is our job to attempt to bring them back.... Compare Gal. 6:1-2


#1. We are not responsible for their sin (wandering)
We are responsible for our response to their wandering! (ie: responsible for our actions, reactions, inactions) Ezek. 3:17-21

#2. We are not responsible to bring them back
We are responsible to attempt to bring them back.
Question? Why are we not more diligent in our attempts?

Some possible answers:
it's very unpleasant (confrontation is not fun)
I might make the person mad. BUT, we probably upset more people by NOT going (not showing concern!!)

it's none of my business. This is the 21st. century "tolerant" society.
Contrast that with "am I my brother's keeper?" - as Christians, it is our business.

it takes time and effort .... it costs me to do it ...

it's just easier not to!

who am I to go and confront someone? I'm no better..... If you are a child of God, you are capable and have the responsibility.

we don't realize it's Biblical

We're not sold on the benefits of it

It doesn't seem to do any good (long term.... because, even if and when they are brought back, they tend to re-wander.)

Or, maybe, it's just a lack of concern.

Gossip is more fun than restoration.

These are just some reasons why we are not more diligent in our attempts to restore a wanderer.

#3. This work is NOT easy for anybody, but it is the responsibility of all.

#4. You are not responsible for everybody (who wanders)
But you are responsible for somebody!
Therefore, you need to be open to the Holy Spirit's leading and willing to respond.

#5. the object (point/purpose) is not to bring them back to church! But to bring them back to TRUTH! In other words, an active lifestyle that is in line with truth. Therefore, if they, for some reason, can't stomach your church, send them to another church)

#6. We'd have less wandering if we had more attempts at restoring.

#7. This work (ministry) is very close to the hear of Jesus. Luke 19:10

#8. If you go (in the power of the Spirit, the proper way, for the proper reason), He'll go with you. "Go, and I'll go with you."
This is HIS work. You don't do it alone.

Monday, October 20, 2008

When Others Judge You

What to do? How to respond? (A lesson from Proverbs)

#1. Get used to it.
A. You're gonna be criticized and scrutinized. There are 6 billion people on the earth with opinions and eyeballs. You WILL be scrutinized and criticized some time in your life.
B. the more you do, the more you'll be criticized. In particular, the more you do for Christ, the more you'll be criticized.

#2. Listen
Prov. 12:15 - The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.
Prov. 13:1 - A wise son heeds his father's instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.
On the one hand, there is a time to say "enough!", but there is also a time to listen!!

#3. Bite your tongue
Prov. 10:19 - When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.
Prov. 18:13 He who answers before listening--that is his folly and his shame.
Even a fool who holds his peace is thought to be wise.

#4. Control your temper.
Prov. 14:29 A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.
Prov. 29:11 A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.
James 1:19-20 (applies to #3 & #4) - we typically act in an unrighteous manner.

#5. Consider the criticism. There is a need for balance here.
On one hand, don't let man decide your course. But, realize that God may speak to you through man! He may direct you, correct you, teach you through them. REMEMBER, God spoke to Balaam through a donkey!! Num. 22

So, don't let men and their opinions decide, for you, But you might let God use them to direct you or correct you.
Contrast Col. 2:16 and Gal. 2:2

1 Cor. 4:3-4 On one hand, I care little for man's opinion, (or my own opinion!), BUT I care a great deal for God's opinion.

Therefore, I need to listen to man's criticism and consider it.
A. In the light of God's Word.
B. In a spirit of humility and prayer.
C. In the counsel of a wise friend.
All these lest I reject God's message!!

REJECT a "what right has he to judge me?" attitude. Truth is truth regardless of the source from which it comes, and regardless of the intent. (Balaam's donkey)
The source is NOT the issue, but is it truth!

Prov. 26:12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.


#1. Give a controlled response or no response.
Prov. 15:1 A gentle answer truns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Prov. 21:23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.
There is a time to explain or defend, but there is also a time to be silent!

#2. Let it go
Prov. 12:16 A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.
Prov. 19:11 A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.

#3. Continue to be open. There is a danger of becoming calloused, bitter, vengeful, unreceptive, unresponsive, or critical! Judgmental!!!


#1. Admit it.
Prov. 17:10 A rebuke impresses a man of discernment more than a hundred lashes a fool.

#2. Make appropriate response, change, amends
Prov. 14:9 Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright.

#3. Learn from you rmistakes.
Prov.26:11 As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. "Everyone stumbles and falls, so, while you're down there you might as well pick something up"

#4. Grow!
Prov. 15:31-32 He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be a t home among the wise. He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding.

God's purpose is to develop God-like character in you!! Don't waste your sorrows.

SUMMARY: Prov. 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid. (and is likely to remain so)

1 Cor. 11:31 This doesn't mean wouldn't be criticized, but does mean wouldn't need (so much) correction.

Monday, October 13, 2008

When Judging Others Is Appropriate

As with the morning's message, there is no list to determine when and when not to judge. Therefore, we must gather principles form Biblical texts and examples.

When Is it Proper and appropriate to Judge Others?

#1. When an action is unquestionably wrong.
1 Cor. 5:1-5 Note: the Standard. Therefore, the homosexual lifestyle.

#2. When a situation or behavior is threatening or damaging to others. Rev. 2:14-16 & 20 - not done out of meanness but for the good of the body.
Example: an amputation for protection

#3. When spiritual leadership is involved. Tit. 1:5-9
Requirements to get in.
Requirements to stay in. Church discipline starts here!!

#4. In matters of stewardship.
2 Thess. 3:6-15
Acts 6:1-4
We need to determine who is needy, and who is worthy. Many times there are legitimate needs but judgment needs to be made as to whether it's a worthy need.
Example: a family has a need for electric bill money, rent, etc. Legitimate need but perhaps the need is there, because when the government assistance money was received, it was blown at the casino, so now no money left for the bills. You have to make a judgment call.

#5. When a person, action, situation is dishonoring, discrediting, grossly misrepresenting God, Christ, the Church, the Cause.
2 Sam. 12:13-14

Again, you don't have a list to go by. We must gather principles from Biblical texts and examples by which to measure, determine, decide when to judge.

#6. When it's yourself!! Matt. 7:3-5 1 Cor. 11:31

When Judging Is Inappropriate

The question: To judge or not to judge?
Matt. 7:1 - "don't"
Matt. 7:6 - "do"
John 7:24 - "get it right"

So, when is it proper & appropriate to judge another?
Answer: there is no list. Therefore you must use scripture and scriptural examples to determine the principles by which your determine or decide .
Generally speaking, we're to judge actions, behavior, lifestyle, not the person himself.

It Is inappropriate to judge others when:

#1. You are exercising a fault finding spirit. - nitpicky, hypercritical, fault-finding.
Matt. 7:1
The Greek word that is translated judge -
a. consider, as in judge in a courtroom
b. criticize, as in judge character by hairstyle

#2. The judgment is nothing more than gossip.
tale-bearing, backbiting, slander James 4:11-12
Slander = A. talking trash that isn't true. - technical slander.
B. talking trash that may be true but isn't necessary to say!!
Question: Why do we delight in putting people down? to lift self up? which= pride?

#3. When the judgment is a screen for a personal agenda.
John 8:2-6 This should be beneath moral and ethical character of Christians.
Vs. 6 - the Pharisees' motive? John 8:6
Compare this to: presidential elections, character assassinations
Contrast: Lev. 19:15 - "get it right"

#4. You are passing judgment on disputable matters.
Rom. 14:1-6, 10, 13
Context? - "Disputable matters" - ie: questionable, debatable, uncertain,
Examples: hairstyle, dress code, musical preference, tattoos

Be careful here. Different people draw the line in different places.
Observation: don't assume because you've got scripture, you are right. The Pharisees new the scripture inside and out and they were dead wrong in many of their judgments.

Don't assume wan can't get it right! That's the point of scripture! 2 Tim. 3:16
Remember, we can get it right in letter and wrong in spirit, and therefore, Be wrong.
Example: the Pharisees and the woman caught in adultery.

#5, You assume more than God reveals.
Example: Job's friends, their assumption. Job 42:7
Compare this to the statement that "aids" was God's judgment on the homosexual community.

#6. You have major sins in your own life.
2 Sam. 12:1-10 The problem was not David's judgment or verdict. The problem was His sin.

On one hand, don't wait until you're perfect to judge others. You'll never get perfect.
But, don't judge others if you're unwilling to judge Yourself!!

So...... judge yourself, score yourself on #1 - #6.
What's your score? What's your need?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Judging: How to do it properly!

Several scriptures give clear direction: don't judge. Matt. 7:1 Rom. 14:4 & 13

Then there are scriptures that say: do judge. Explicit direction: 1 Cor. 5:12
Implicit direction: Matt. 7:6 Matt. 7:15 Titus 3:10
There are more scriptures telling us TO judge than NOT to judge.

Compare: James 4:12 with Lev. 19:15

PROBLEM: on one hand the Bible says don't judge. On the other hand it demands that we do!

Either the Bible contradicts itself, OR we need a fuller, broader, more Biblical view of judging others.

#1. The Greek word for judge has BROAD application with various shades of meaning. The word is also translated: to think, to examine, to investigate, to weigh, to form an opinion, to discus between , to decide, to determine, to try, to conclude, to pronounce judgment, to pass sentence, to discriminate between, to decree, to vindicate, to condemn.

#2. We must examine the word in the contact and usage INTENDED by the passage. We must NOT determine the meaning based on:
A. one scripture alone
B. 21st. century century use of the word
C. current cultural trends/notions
D. personal preferences
God's word is NOT a smorgasbord where you get to pick and choose what you like.

The Biblical view says (mostly) that we are not to judge people, but actions of people.

We can't know the heart, motive, intent, reasons. And we mostly can't determine a person's value, worth, and goodness.

However, we CAN judge action, behavior, a statement, a decision, a lifestyle, a choice, a situation, a philosophy.

Touchstone verse: John 7:24 paraphrased: "get it right!". Every thinking adult has to make a judgment call now and then. For Christians we have Biblical guidelines.

HOW TO JUDGE PROPERLY. 5 necessary elements in making a proper judgment.

#1. A Proper Standard.
A. Word of God
B. Proper interpretation of God's Word
C. The Spirit of Christ to weigh it out.

The Word without the Spirit equals harsh legalism
The Spirit without the Word equals mushy liberalism.

NOTE: Many people will not accept your standard.
#A. Pre-modern age - standard that said "this is truth". Truth equaled revelation.
#B. Modern age - said "is this the truth?" "how can we be sure?" "What is truth?"
This was the 18th. century Enlightenment age of reason and rationalism.
#C. Post-modern age says "there is no truth". rejection of absolute truth.

A. Pre-modern - "these are the rules, by these we judge"
B. Modern - "I'm not sure those are the rules, so how can we judge?"
C. Post-modern - "there are no rules therefore we cannot judge!"

PROBLEM: In the 21st century, instead of Christianity affecting our culture (thinking), we've allowed the culture to affect the church (think for the church). Our salt has lost it's savor in this area!

#2. Proper Information (about a person, situation, etc.)
Problem is: A. we can't get all the information
B. if we could, it would be distorted by sin, and bias prejudice

Therefore: we must 1. go slowly 2. listen A LOT 3. ask others 4. be open

#3. Proper Motive
A. correction - example: Nathan by David
B. instruction - Eph. 4:17-20 this condemns the Gentiles to instruct the Christians.
C. restoration - Gal. 6:1 2 Thess. 3:14-15
D. protection - Rev. 2:20
Condemnation is God's perrogative, not ours!

#4. Proper Timing the truth is always true. But, there is a proper time to present it.
Example: Jesus and the woman caught in adultery.

#5. Proper Heart
Matt. 7:3-5 This is not a vision problem, it is a heart problem.
Matt. 9:10-13 the problem is NOT logic and reasoning
Proper Christian judgment calls for truth tempered with mercy, grace, and humility.
Micah 6:8 Gal. 6:1

As a human adult, you cannot avoid making judgment calls.

As a Christian, you can strive to "get it right". John 7:24

Monday, September 29, 2008

What Does A Christian Look Like?

Acts 11:25-26 – the word Christian is only used 3 times in the New Testament.

The early Christians called themselves brothers, disciples, believers, saints, The Way, and finally Christian.

In the past weeks we’ve looked at Assurance of Salvation and Security of the Believer.


What does a Christian look like?

1/3 of the world (2 billion) plus 80% of Americans identify themselves as “Christian”.

But…. What constitutes Christianity? What makes one a Christian?

Answers from the person on the street include:

I’m a Christian because….

1. I choose Christianity as my religious preference (as opposed to Jew, Islam, etc.)

2. My family is or has ben Christian (roots/tradition)

3. I live in the USA – which is a Christian nation

4. I attend church (in contrast to synagogue or mosque) when I do worship.

5. I belong to a church or have been baptized in a church, etc.

6. I read the Bible

7. I believe in the person and teachings of Jesus

8. I believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ

9. I’ve accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior

There are many definitions. Which is correct? How do we decide or “measure”?

Answer: We don’t have a New Testament definition.

However, we do have a New Testament description!

This description is not found in any one text , BUT if we take in the New Testament, here’s what we’ll find.

Summary statement: A Christian is one who identifies with: Jesus Christ.

A. as Savior

B. As Lord

and C. with Christ’s people

D. with Christ’s cause

I. A Christian identifies with Jesus as Savior.Luke 2:11 Matt. 1:21 Luke 19:10

(using the bridge illustration – a Christian believes in the bridge, and a Christian crosses the bridge.)

This means recognition of self as:

A sinner

In need of salvation The cross is central in the New Testament message

In need of correction – we are seriously flawed Rom. 3:23

In need of instruction – how am I supposed to live? What am I supposed to do?

This leads to:

II. A Christian identifies with Jesus as Lord. (Master, leader, boss, one in charge) He has the wisdom and answers that I need.

This includes: A. Universal Lord – He is Lord over everything. He chooses now to only be King and Lord of those who accept Him.

B. Personal Lord – which means that I recognize:

1. His authority over me

2. my accountability to Him. If He is my Lord, then I am personally responsible to His authority over me.

NOTE: Personal Lordship requires: 1. Knowledge of His Word. Hos. 4:6

2. Response to His Spirit

We can accept Him as Lord without knowing His will, but we cannot follow Him without knowledge of His Word. We can’t do His will if we don’t know what that will is.

III. A Christian identifies with Jesus’ People. Matt. 16:13-18 Eph. 4:4-6

New Testament experience was when people believed, they gathered to fellowship, learn, teach, pray, worship, reach others. The “Lone Ranger” Christian is totally NOT scriptural.

New Testament description of a Christian is, or includes:

A. association with other Christians

B. affection for the body/group/gatherings

C. Cooperation with the others for ministry

IV. A Christina identifies with Jesus’ Cause. (kingdom) Matt. 28:19-20 Acts 1:8 Matt. 5:13-16

The Cause is: reveal God, reconcile men, change hearts, transform society, promote His teaching, establish His Kingdom….

In the New Testament view, A. Christianity is more than good for some. It is essential for ALL. That is God’s will.

Therefore, Christianity which is NOT evangelical is NOT the New Testament description.

If, consequently, it is narrow and exclusive, so be it. That is the design, not the intent.

ADD: V. (according to the New Testament description) A Christian is one who is serious about this!. (It’s more than a head nod or verbal assent.)

QUESTION: If a person doesn’t meet these criteria, does that mean he’s not Christian?

Answer: #1. All are sinners – none “measure up” 100%.

#2. We have no “Christometer” to measure with

Therefore, #3. External (fruits) is all we have to measure by. James 2:18 & 26

So, #4. This is the criteria we should look for.

#5. This is the criteria we should strive for.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Security of the Believer

The Security of the Believer (perseverance of the saints, once saved always saved, etc.)

Once saved, once reconciled, never rejected!!

Springboard scripture: John 10:27-29

I. New Testament Scriptures supporting eternal security:

John 6:37-40

Phil. 1:6

2 Timothy 1:12

Hebrews 13:5

Question – are there scriptures to the contrary?

Answer – Yes. Some can be explained, some seem to support loss of salvation.

BUT, the majority of scriptures indicate that once you have been truly born again, you cannot lose that standing.

II. New Testament Pictures/Analogies

A. The New Birth – John 3:3-7. We can die. We cannot be unborn!!!

B. Sonship - John 1:12-13 still your parents’ child whether owned, disowned, disinherited, etc. The fact of sonship remains steadfast.

C. Adoption Romans 8:15-17 Galatians 4:4-7
In Oklahoma law and in Roman law back in Jesus’ time, an adopted child cannot be disinherited or disowned.

D. Earnest – Eph. 1:13-14 2 Cor. 5:5

E. The Prodigal Son – Luke 15 Note: lost sheep, lost coin, lost SON. He lost his direction, his discernment, his good sense. BUT, he did NOT lose his name, his father, his family. He was still a SON.

III. The Nature of Salvation – A Gift of Grace. By definition – undeserved, unmerited favor

A. Saved by Grace - Eph. 2:8-10

B. Cleansed by Grace – I John 1:8-9

C. Kept by Grace – Jude 24-25 Rom. 8:35-39 – We’re kept by His goodness

IV. Old Testament Pictures

A. The Abrahamic Covenant – an unconditional, one-sided covenant. Only God walked! The covenant was not based on Abraham’s deeds but on God’s promise.

The New Covenant doesn’t depend on me but on Him!!

B. Israel in the Wilderness – they wouldn’t see the Promised Land, but they were led, protected, cared for

C. Israel in Exile – they where there as punishment because of their sins, but they were not disowned or abandoned, etc.

V. Character Studies

A. Adam and Eve – Gen. 3 – they were exiled but not abandoned

B. David and Bathsheba – 2 Sam. 11-12 Psalm 51:12

C. What about Judas Iscariot? - John 6:70-71 John 17:12 This was not a falling from grace. Never was in grace.

VI. False Conversions

A. 2 Pet. 2:20-22 – didn’t lose it, but were on the brink and turned back.

B. 1 John 2:18-19 - “never of us”

C. Matt. 7:21 – “not everyone who says to me…..”

It’s a matter of profession vs. possession.

Some Objections to "once saved, always saved".

1. It seem unreasonable.- yes, it does, except in the light of grace. Example: Matt. 20 – parable of the 12th. hour worker

2. It’s a license to sin. Not when properly taught and applied. Jude 4

Nobody properly handling these scriptures believes this. No more than a “get resaved” doctrine.

3. There are scriptures that teach otherwise.

Granted!! But some can be explained, some appear to teach the possible loss of salvation. (addressed in evening service) The bulk of scripture supports eternal security.

A. the danger of “once saved…” – belief that you are all right because of a profession and a prayer.- therefore you are safe and secure. That’s putting your faith in a teaching, not Jesus Christ. 2 Cor. 13:5 A profession and prayer doesn’t save us. Christ saves us. You cannot bank of security of the believer if you are not a believer!!

B. The importance of “once saved…” – you have trust, confidence, security in Christ.


1. Know what you believe and why

2. Recognize and allow a scriptural alternative (PM service)

3. Don’t make this a test of fellowship

4. Focus on “believer” rather than “security”

5. Put your faith in Christ, not in a teaching

6. Commit yourself fully to the Lord – your past, present, future – and trust Him. Psalm 121:1-8

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sources of Doubt & Uncertainty Re. Salvation

Review Scripture: I John 5:11-13 – Summary – “That you might know

Last Week – Being Sure of Your Salvation”. Where then do these doubts come from?

It’s true that ultimately they come from Satan. He WANTS you to be UNSAVED first of all, and UNSURE if you are already saved.

HOWEVER, he cannot create these things that cause doubts out of nothing. He can ONLY use tools supplied to him. And many times we supply him with these tools.

As stated last week, those who most question their salvation are Christians. Before salvation, Satan wants you to be secure in your lost-ness. After salvation, Christians tend to develop a disease called “yeahbuts”. This is an affliction of a great number of Christians. “Yeah, but, I don’t feel saved.” Yeah, but, I still do bad things, so I must not be saved.” Etc., etc.

Here are 11 possible sources of doubt concerning your salvation.

#1. A Lack of Biblical understanding.

Romans 10:17

You can know scripture through memorization, study, etc. but not understand it. It is IMPORTANT to be in a good, Bible-teaching church. You MUST have Biblical understanding ( know what the scriptures mean.)

#2. A lack of counsel. Shared wisdom, knowledge, experience, discipleship, mentoring, etc.

Prov. 11:14

Prov. 24:6

#3. A lack of growth (maturity)

Without growth, you get confused which leads you to pull back and sit down so you don’t grow and that leads to more uncertainty.

Eph. 4:14

A good way to offset this cycle = stay hooked up and continue to learn and thereby grow.

#4. A lack of experiences. You don’t see or have any things happening in life, so doubt the reality of your salvation.

BUT NOTE: A. God gives enough evidence Mark 8:11 & 12

B. Experiences don’t convince, and won’t solidify our faith.

Examples: a. Israel and the exodus. They saw miracle after miracle, but when things got rough, they didn’t believe God would take care of them.

b. Jesus and signs. The people wanted signs and more signs. But, in spite of all the signs and miracles He’d already performed, they still didn’t believe Who He was.

#5. Response to feelings. Emotions are NOT a reliable measure!!! Don’t measure reality by your feelings.

Some Christians are like an emotional roller coaster – feel saved when they are up and don’t feel saved when they are down.

Some Christians are an emotional freight train (stoic) – these are the ones who keep plugging along but NEVER feel saved.

#6. Repeated failures.

Especially: A. Moral failures

BUT even B. amoral failures (financial, relational, career, etc.)

John the Baptist had doubts when he was in prison; Paul had apparent failure with the churches at Galatia and Corinth. Does that mean that those two weren’t saved???

Romans 3:23

Romans 7:21

#7. A faulty view of yourself. – I’m not good. I keep messing up. I’m a failure and a screwup. I must be inferior. (Inferiority complex).


HOWEVER, you are lovable, valuable, and salvageable.

John 3:16

Phil. 1:6 - “will continue” if YOU let HIM!!

#8. A faulty view of others. – Assume they are better! Doing fine!!

The FACT is: Every Christian is Struggling! Regardless of appearances!!!

Romans 3:23

There is a great need for Christian transparency. To share with each others our troubles and doubts and struggles. We ARE NOT ALONE in our struggles.

#9. A faulty view of salvation. (Refer to point #1)

Eph. 2:8 & 9

What is it? - “gift”

How do you get it? – accept

How do you keep it? - You don’t! God keeps it for you!

#10. Any combination of the above. (As Satan sees the opportunity to use these.)

One more totally separate from these first 10.

#11. The Holy Spirit. Perhaps there IS a lack of salvation. It is His job to convict and convince you of that fact.

So, How should you respond? Combat?

#1. Recognize it’s God’s will for you to know your standing – lost or saved.

#2. Examine yourself. 2 Cor. 13:5

#3. Get counsel (if needed) from pastor/leader/teacher/friend, etc.

#4. Get Christ (if necessary)

#5. Establish your standing (determine it) Know where you are.

#6. STAND THERE! I Pet. 5:8 & 9

Monday, September 8, 2008

Being Certain of Your Salvation

I John 5:11-13

Statistics show that most people believe in heaven and believe they’ll go there.

The Surprise is how many people struggle with and doubt their salvation AFTER accepting Christ.

So –

The 4-H test of Eternal Life (credit to Gaylon Kemp)

I. The Head Test - examine your decision.
Rom. 10:9 & 10

A. is the Bible trustworthy?
B. have you done this?
C. Is God faithful?

On the one hand it IS more than a verbal claim.
Matt. 7:21

James 2:19

But, it is as simple as deciding and crossing the bridge
John 1:12

John 5:37

What if ????? I don’t feel saved? Example: just because sometimes you don’t feel the passion, does that mean you’re not married?
I wasn’t sincere? Are you sincere NOW?
I can’t identify the time? Place? Question: Do you remember your physical birth? Just because you don’t actually remember being born doesn’t mean that you are NOT here.


II. The Heart Test – examine your affections

I John 2:9

I John 3:14

I John 4:7

The point is: Do you love God? Do you love the things of God?

Examine your love for God’s Word, teaching, people, church, work and mission, kingdom.

III. The Hands Test – examine your actions (lifestyle)

I John 2:3
I John 3:6
I John 3:17-19

The point is: internal change should equal external evidence – FRUIT

IV. The Health test – examine your growth (progress)

I Pet. 2:2
II Pet. 3:18

Point: “new birth” leads to “new life” and that leads to “growth and development”


#1. There should be some evidence in all 4 categories.

Example: the “good man/good old boy” – has fruit/actions. BUT no decision? No affection? No growth?

#2. You’ll never score perfect in any category. We’re sinners and faulty and imperfect.
Rom. 3:23

#3. Your heart will condemn you. I John 3:19 & 20

Don’t measure only by the failures! Note the successes also!

#4. The struggle is often evidence of salvation. (or a willingness to receive it)
Rom. 7:15-24 – The description of a saved person, not a lost person.

#5. Change, Growth, and Transformation is a process.
A. it happens slowly
B. it happens in small increments
C. it is hard to measure
D. it is especially hard to measure by “self”.
The Christian tendency is to measure where we are by where we should be!! Instead of where we’ve come from!

#6. God wants you to be confident in your relationship with Him.
I John 5:13

#7. You can have this confidence – this is God’s will.

1. Consider this material and these tests. Examine your standing 2 Cor. 13:5
2. Accept Christ if necessary
3. Ask for help if uncertain
4. Stand firm if you pass the test.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Christian Pay Ethic

Scripture says when you hire someone, you should pay them properly.

Lev 19:13 “You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning.” Pay when pay is due. Don’t withhold. Workman is worthy of his due.

Deut. 24:14 & 15 “You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy,……Each day you shall give him his wages, and not let the sun go down on it,…”

Deut. 15:12-15 “If your brother is sold to you, ….in the seventh year you shall let him go free….. you shall not let him go away empty-handed; you shall supply him liberally….” God took care of them, now God was going to take care of these people through them.

Mal. 3:5 “And I will come near you for judgment,….against those who exploit wage earners….” Express God’s love and generosity by dealing well with laborers

I Cor. 9:9 & 10 “For it is written……”You shall not muzzle the ox while it reads out the grain.” ….he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should partaker of his hope.” Moral principle: if you are benefiting from other’s labor, they should share in the benefiting.

The world says: Love things and use people to gain those things.

Christian philosophy says; love people and use things to help them.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Christian Work Ethic

NOTE: Labor Day was begun in 1882 as a day to recognize the common worker/laborer.

In 1894 it was designated as a Federal holiday.

The Christian Work Ethic – Moral stance on working based on Scripture

2 Thess. 3:6-15 A warning against idleness.


#1. God intends us to work! Gen. 2:15 “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden o Eden to tend and keep it.” – before the fall.
Gen. 3:19 ”In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread….” after the fall

#2. “Work” is not just physical labor. It also includes mental and spiritual labor.

Ex. Farm, craft,business/home (Mom), temple/church, mission field

#3. in the Old Testament:

A. the skilled worker was highly esteemed

B. Common labor was considered honorable

C. Idleness/laziness was considered a disgrace!

Prov. 10:4 & 5; 12:11; 14:23; 18:9

#4. Same work ethic carried into the New Testament

A. Jesus – born into working class/trained as a carpenter

B. evident in His stories/parables “wicked lazy servant”.

C. was part of Jesus’ moral makeup. John 4:34; 4:15 & 17; 17:4

D. embraced by Christians as part of who we are and what we do!


#1. This is an important issue.

A. 2nd. Only to the 2nd. Coming (in the # of verses in this letter.)

B. It’s also addressed in the 1st. letter!

C. Serious enough to merit (light/mild) church discipline! “do not associate with!”

#2. This is no merely a Thessalonian issue.

Vs. 6 refers to Christian teaching and Christian tradition – it’s for all Christians!

#3. This is a spiritual issue!!!

Vs. 6 “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you….”

Vs. 12 – same


Why is it so important for Christians to work hard and well?


#1. To provide for your own. 2 Thess. 3:8 – “..not to be a burden”

A. Your family is your responsibility. I Tim. 5:8 “But if anyone does not provide for his own…..,he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

B. There is no free lunch! (Somebody pays for it)

#2. To be able to help others. Eph. 4:28 “…let him labor …. that he may have something to give him who has need.”

Acts 20:34 & 35 “…I have shown you in every way that you must support the weak. …..”It is more blessed to give than to receive.” “

#3. For personal satisfaction and fulfillment.

Eccles. 2:24 “ Nothing is better for a man ….that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.” / 3:12 & 13 “….and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor – it is the gift of God.”

#4. To set an example. 2Thess. 3: 7, 9 (see original text) Acts 20:35 “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this,….”

“always preach a powerful sermon, when necessaryuse words. It’s much more powerful when lived rather than just said!

#5. To honor God. Col. 3:23 & 24 “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,…”

We honor obedience. For example: the Puritan thought was Work is a form of Worship.

#6. To reflect God’s character. Ie: to reveal/manifest/glorify Him so people can see Christ in us. Christian means “little Christ”.

John 5:17 “But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” “ 17:4 “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.”

#7. To share Christ. 1 Thess. 4:11 & 12 “……to work with your own hands….. that you may walk properly toward those who are outside,…”

Earn respect to earn the opportunity to share the message in order to WIN Souls.

#8. To keep you out of trouble. 2 Thess. 3: 11 & 12 “….there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. ….”

“idle hands are the devil’s workshop”

If you are busy with the “shoulds”, you won’t have time for “should nots”


Important point: It is true that we should work hard and well and that honors God and commends you to God…..

BUT.... it does NOT save you. It is not the bridge or the pathway to God.

Eph. 2: 8 & 9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

If you embrace the teachings why not embrace the Teacher???