Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Sense of God's Presence

My testimony: I was drawn, convinced by God's Presence. It was inaudible, undeniable, personal, and transcendent (beyond the preacher, beyond the text) But a real "sense of God's presence."

Since then: the sense of His presence has become less and less. Result: reliance on the Scripture more. This is OK BUT the danger is that we can sterilize the Gospel by ignoring the Presence of Christ.

Jesus said a lot more than listen to, heed, obey MY TEACHINGS.

He also said, "come to ME", "believe in ME", "follow (after) ME", "serve ME".
These are relational terms and suggest a PERSONAL presence and an ONGOING presence.

"Come to" - John 5:39 & John5:40 John 6:37 & John 6:45 Matt. 11:28 & 29
"Believe in" - John 6:29 John 3:16 & John 3:36 John 11:25 & John 11:26
"Follow after" - John 10:27 John 12:26 John 21:22 - this as Jesus was leaving.

#1. These are all relational terms. - Serve ME. Learn from ME. Obey ME. Know ME. Don't be guilty of leaving out the personal relationship with Christ. He IS with us.

#2. These terms suggest a PERSONAL presence and an ONGOING Presence. Christ is God and is everywhere. He CAN be with you.

#3. This is in keeping with:
A. God's character and nature - He's omnipresent.
B. God's Word
C. Christ's promises - "lo, I am with you."
D. The Resurrection - "I will not leave you orpans. I will COME to you."

#4. This does NOT mean you always will, can, or should sense His presence.
In Acts and in the Epistles - there was a waning of appearances and miracles
In the Exodus and the conquest - there was a waning of appearances and miracles

Scripture never suggests He's less Present, only less Perceived. Psalm 88:13-18
An example: Gideon - Judges 6:12-16 Job Christ on the Cross

#1. Consider your faith more than an allegiance to Biblical truths, but allegiance to a Living Lord.
(this does not negate, devalue, or contradict Scripture.)

#2. Seek Him. Deut. 4:29 This does not mean seek an experience.
If you seek the experience, then the experience becomes Lord.

#3. Be aware of His presence. (whether you feel or sense it or not)
REST on Bible promise and what you KNOW.

#4. Acknowledge His presence. (whether you feel or sense it or not.)
Example: in worship, prayer, confession, seeking counsel, comfort, assistance....

#5. Be satisfied with His presence. (whether you feel or sense it or not.)
That is: if you are truly doing YOUR part in the relationship.

this is offered with some reservation.
BUT: if illness can be His will (example: Paul's thorn)
then WHY CAN'T darkness be the thorn? (Job, depression)

#6. Respond to His directives (whether you feel/sense His presence or not.)
Example: when you have an argument and are ready to snap back, and Prov. 15:1 comes to mind, is this YOUR recall? OR His presence?

#7. Remember, He is always right there with you.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Why A Skit on Sunday Morning??

This AM during the worship time, our 5 "skitters" from Bible Release Time presented their most recent skit to the congregation - complete with the sound (loud) of breaking glass, screaming kids, and a Bible lesson about the Unmerciful Servant.

So, why a skit on Sunday AM?

#1. Just for fun.

#2. To give the audience a taste of Bible Release Time. This is just one of many OBC ministries.

#3. To illustrate the relevance of Scripture. 2 Tim. 3:16 It's useful for...... 2 Tim. 3:17 - specific principles are in God's Word.

Scripture may be old and other cultural, but
A. It contains eternal principles
B. It has universal application

Therefore, if you are exposed to scripture and open to the Holy Spirit, it will result in conviction.

#4. To encourage you to use your gifts. 1 Pet. 4:10 1 Cor. 12:4-7, 11
All God's people have God-given gifts and talents and we are to use them intentionally.

But, remember, do "ministry without strings" BUT "not without purpose."
Everyone can be used, but you have to be doing in order to be used.

#5. To remind us that reaching children must remain a priority at Octavia Baptist Church.
This doesn't mean everyone should be involved in children's ministry.
But, you should be aware of the need and support the efforts.

Statistics show that, worldwide, between 60 & 80% of respondents to the gospel are under the age of 12.

A child is 8 times more likely to accept Christ at age 5-12 years than as a teen.

Researchers claim that moral and spiritual development begins as early as 2 years of age.

Moral and spiritual foundations generally are determined by the age of 9.

Spiritual identity is largely established by the age of 13.

This doesn't mean that a person can't change after 13, but the point being, they MUST change - their lifestyle, way of thinking, way of doing things, etc. Which is difficult.

Someone who is brought up in a Christian home and who has been trained in the Christian faith from early on, still has to make a conscious decision to accept Christ, but their lifestyle and way of thinking won't have to change very much or at all, because they are already following Godly principles and a Godly life style.

What is God's Will for your life?
That you be:
1. in Christ
2. In fellowship - with God and with other believers
3. in church
4. in-volved - in promoting the Kingdom
5. in-tense.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pursuing Practical Righteousness

We get into positional righteousness when we come to God through Jesus Christ, admitting our sins, asking for forgiveness and cleansing, and accepting the free gift God has offered to us.

Last week we looked at the three types of righteousness. This morning we focus on Practical Righteousness. (the PRACTICE of doing right) Psalm 18:20-24

QUESTION: What's right?
The Christian view is: there is a Creator/Lawgiver who...
A. IS right
B. DOES right
But... D. Not Arbitrarily - but in accord with His character, His nature, Truth - eternal and forever
Deut. 32:4 Psalm 97:2 The rules always existed because God has always been.

QUESTION: Can we know what's right? How?
Many measure by: intuition, conscience, reason, consensus...
But these all are flawed - Rom. 3:23

Therefore: We can know by REVELATION!
Through the prophets - Heb. 1:1 Through His Son - Heb. 1:2
John 1:18 2 Tim. 3:16-17 John 14:25-26

(granted - revelation requires reception, interpretation, application, etc. which can become flawed by man)

QUESTION? Can we DO what's right? (assuming we know)
Answer is mixed. A scriptural dilemma.
On one hand we have some ability, capacity for good. Eph. 2:10
Maybe a lot of capacity for good 1 Cor. 10:13 Matt. 5:48

On the other hand we are plagued with a sinful nature and sinful tendencies.
Rom. 3:9-12 & 23 Rom. 7:15-24

S, even when it's hard to know what IS our capacity for good/righteousness, here's what we CAN DO in light of what we DO KNOW!!


#1. We must recognize what is right. through revelation - God's will, God's Word.

#2. We must recognize (when we're wrong, where we're wrong, that we're wrong) we are NOT right.
Rev. 3:17 Prov. 30:11-12 Rom. 3:20

#3. We must admit (confess - say the same thing God says) our un-right-ness.
As Individuals
As a group

#4. We must submit to Him Rom. 10:3-4
This text is talking about POSITIONAL. Yes!! Positional righteousness IS necessary for the PRACTICE of righteousness.
John 15:4-5

Then: #5 (with His presence, help, guidance, Spirit) We must pursue (practical) righteousness. Regardless of our continual failures - individual and corporate

Simple Summary: what should I do?

#1. Obtain Positional Righteousness. - need Jesus Christ in heart and life.
#2. Pursue Practical Righteousness.
#3. Promote both.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Introduction to Righteousness

We have a problem (dilemma). Rom. 3:9-12 & 23 This doesn't mean that there's NO good in anybody. There is good in everyone. We are made in the image of God.

YET - Matt. 5:20. The definition of righteousness = being right on with actions, deeds, relationships.
Job. 8:20 & Job 9:1-2
How can anyone be righteous? We all come infinitely short of what we should be.

So, how are we to BE righteous? Live righteously? Know you're righteous?

There are three kinds of righteousness in Scripture.
1. Self righteousness 2. Positional righteousness 3. Practical righteousness.

Rom. 3:20-24 Rom. 4:3

God said He "revealed" Himself through nature, conscience, reason, prophets, Holy Spirit, His Son. Getting in to right standing (righteousness) with God comes from faith in Jesus Christ.

Now, must accept, recognize, follow, serve ON THESE TERMS! (All who come through Jesus (the right way) are declared righteous in God's sight.

If your answer is "Yes", you HAVE Positional Righteousness. If "No" - you made the wrong choice and DO NOT have that righteousness.


Deut. 6:25 1 John 3:7
There are two aspects of practical righteousness.
A. Internal (attitude, heart) Matt. 23:25-28
B. External (actions, hands) James 2:20-26
This is more than either or. Practical rightousness is BOTH!!

We're obligated to try to live rightous, do right, etc.

QUESTION? When I sin what happens to righteousness? 1 John 1:9 The relationship remains, fellowship is restored. Example: the prodigal son.

III. Self Righteousness. Luke 18:9-14 - acknowledging God, but trusting in own goodness. "Why should I let you in to my heaven? " Self-righteous answer: "because I'm a pretty good person, I've done, etc., etc, etc."
Contrast this with: Jer. 19:23-24

Observation application: 1. recognize and forsake SELF righteousness.
2. Pursue Practical Righteousness
3. Don't miss Positional Righteousness.