Monday, December 19, 2011

God With Us (Emmanuel)

Matt. 1:23

We know God has always been with His people. Because He's A) omnipresent - everywhere at once - and B) He's faithful to His promises.

There for the Old Testament is full of "God With Us" episodes and promises.

BUT NOW - He's come physically! John 1:1, 14 - incarnation (took on flesh) - lived as a man, died as a man. That's what Christmas is about.

Could argue "what new developments?" - concerning "with us".
But all agree the Incarnation led to new insights and better understanding.

Because of the Incarnation we know God is with us......
AND with us in new and different and fuller ways.

#1. Actually (in reality, in fact, in truth) - this is more than theory or supposition.
1 John 1:1-3 (a) - He came and resided with us to show that He is truly with us!!!!

#2. Personally (in other words, with me, not just us, corporately) - John 15:15 Eph. 1:17
This is not uncommon in the Old Testament.
However, it is emphasized in the New Testament.

#3. Constantly - John 14:16 Matt. 28:20 (b) Heb. 13:5 (b)
Old Testament - argument if Holy Spirit can come and go.
BUT, New Testament - promises constancy and Holy Spirit stays with us.

#4. Internally ( definition? meaning?)
Col. 1:27 Eph. 3:16-17 (a) - feel at home in heart

#5. Equally (no preference based on race, sex, social standing, etc.)
Jesus' ministry was to any and all who would come and receive. Gal. 3:28
"the ground is level at the foot of the cross." This does not mean all are saved. It is through Christ we are saved, and Christ alone.

So, on one hand we know God is transcendent (untouchable, incomprehensible, beyond us...)
but, in the Incarnation we learn He is also close by, within reach, "with us!!" (whether perceived or not)

Because we are confident of His Presence, we can also be confident of.....

#1. His Assistance (ie: help in daily life, daily struggle(s)
Isa. 41:8-10 Haggai 2:4-5
Note: presence does not mean a pain-free path!! Isa. 43:1-3 (a), Isa. 43:5 (a)
His presence means we're never alone, without His Presence and Assistance. Psalm 23:4

#2. His guidance (ie: insight, directing, attempt to steer you...)
Psalm 139:7-10
Isa. 30:20-21
John 16:13 (A) - He wants to guide us.
We may not always be aware of His guiding hand, But it's always there!!!

#3. His goodwill (ie: "God with us" is synonymous with "God for us")
He wants and desires best for you. Jer. 29:11 (more pointedly - Rom. 8:31)

Point: whether you perceive His assistance, guidance, goodwill because of the Incarnation,
you can be sure of these things....

This is called Faith, confidence, certainty, and He desires it for you.

Whether you experience it or not, (ie the presence, assistance, guidance, goodwill), because of the Incarnation, you can 1) know it and 2) act on it.

So, the challenge for the day, season - do you know this to be true? And then, what do you need to do? Receive Christ, reconnect, confess, return, etc.

Monday, December 12, 2011

When Others Judge You - Part 4 in Series


What to do?? How to respond??

#1. Get used to it. There are roughly 7 billion people alive here on earth - all with opinions and fallen natures! Do you really think that you are going to live without criticisms and problems????

#2. Listen. Generally speaking. Should take the time to hear them out.
Prov. 12:15, Prov. 13:1 (a)
On one hand, there is a time to say "enough!", BUT, there is also a time to listen!

#3. Bite your tongue. Prov. 10:19, Prov. 18:13 It may be legitimate advice.
James 1:19-20

#4. Control your temper.
Prov. 14:29, Prov. 29:11

#5. Consider the criticism. There is need for balance here.
On one hand, don't let men decide your course (right/wrong)
But, remember that God often speaks through men. (prophets, apostles, etc.) Therefore, a wise man will consider what people have to say.

Example: Paul - Col. 2:16 - "don't let men decide for you..."
But, Gal. 2:2 - recognize that God might use them to direct you, to correct you!!

1 Cor. 4:3-4 - Paraphrase and application:
On one hand I care little for man's opinion......
On the other hand, I care a great deal for God's opinion!
Therefore, I should listen to (consider) man's opinion (criticism) because it could be God speaking through them!!!
(remember Balaam??? - Numb.22)

This does not mean you give equal time to all criticisms.
It means reasonable consideration to reasonable criticism!
A. in light of God's word.
B. in a spirit of humility and prayer.
C. in the counsel of wise Christian friends.

Prov. 26:12 - he's below a fool.

1. Give a controlled response or no response.
There is a time to explain and defend yourself. There is also a time to be silent!!
Prov. 15:1 (a)
Prob. 21:23

2. Let it go! -- refer back to first point!!!
Prov. 12:16 (a)
Prov. 19:11
A. don't let others' criticisms rule you.
B. stewing silently is not letting go!!

#3. Continue to be open - to correction.
There is danger of becoming calloused, indifferent, bitter, vengeful, etc.

1. Admit it! The Greek word doesn't mean agree with man, but does mean agree with God!!
Prov. 17:10

2. Make appropriate response, change, amends - look for ways to correct.
Prov. 14:9

3. Learn from your mistakes.
Prov. 26:11 - on one hand, everybody stumbles, falls, but the wise man learns from it.

4. Grow !!
Prov. 15:31-32 - God's purpose is to develop God-like Character in you...

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

Beyond all this, all will be judged by God regarding what was done with His Son. God is the ultimate judge!!

Judging Others - Part 3

Question: To judge or not to judge??
The problem being - scripture directs us both ways!

So.......... there is need for better understanding of what's meant by "judging others".

Last time, we discussed: When is it appropriate to judge others. - (according to scripture)
#1. When behavior is clearly wrong (according to scripture)
#2. When behavior threatens others.
#3. When choosing leadership - church stuff, political leadership, etc.
#4. In matters of stewardship
#5. When a brother or sister is "overtaken" by sin and you attempt to restore them. Gal. 6:1
#6. When examining your own behavior. 1 Cor. 11:31
Always appropriate to judge self. If would do this regularly, others wouldn't have to.

So, on one hand it is not always proper and appropriate to judge others.
BUT, often, it is appropriate, and even necessary in keeping with scripture, truth, common sense. John 7:24 1 Cor. 6:2-3

Last time: When is it appropriate to judge others?

This time: When is inappropriate, improper, unacceptable to judge others.

As we saw before, there is no list, BUT many instances, examples, and principles by which to determine.


#1. When exercising a fault finding spirit.

Matt. 7:1-5
There are two issues here: A. being overly critical of others.
B. being under critical of 'self.
Compare the two men in Luke 18:9-14 (note especially v 14a)

#2. When judgment is merely gossip. (talebearing, backbiting, gossiping, defaming, etc.)
Biblical word is "slander". James 4:11-12
Slander is an old English word meaning "to defame".
Usually means false charges, misrepresentation designed to damage another's reputation.
Contrast: Eph. 4:29

#3. When judging disputable matters (questionable issues)
Rom. 14:1 - text talks about vegetables, day of worship
Examples: style of worship music, whether or not a bride takes her husband's last name, preferred Bible translation, etc.
Rom. 14:2-6, 10-13 (a), 15:7 - summary verse

#4. when you assume more than God reveals.
Example: Job's situation and condemnation by his three "so called" friends. Job 42:7
Compare this to "aids" being God's judgment on the homosexual. Could be, but no divine revelation to that effect.
It is not for us to judge beyond what has been revealed. Could be a 'false prophet' when do that.

#5. When entertaining sin in your own life.
2 Sam. 1:1-7 (a) - "the man".
The problem was NOT David's verdict. The problem was David's heart, situation, sin!! 1 Cor. 11:31


There is a proper time to judge - when it's right and necessary

2. Therefore, there are times it is wrong to judge.

3. Christians should learn the difference and practice accordingly~ God didn't just call us to be saved and go to heaven someday. But to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus now.


The most important judgment call you'll ever make - 2 Cor. 13:5 - "examine yourself to see if you are in the faith" - a. positionally - have you accepted Christ?
b. practically - are you acting accordingly?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving - the most widely celebrated holiday in America.
92% of people polled - planning special family gathering.

Why? Giving thanks is natural, inherent to all peoples, cultures, religions. It seems right and proper. Even non-believers recognize the need to give thanks.

So..... should we just follow our feelings, instinct, intuition (on thanks)?
Answer: As Christians we have more specific guidelines. (Scripture) Shouldn't leave it simply to our feelings, instincts, intuition.

We find in the Old Testament:
1. Giving thanks was part of the Old Testament Sacrificial System. (as prescribed by God).
Lev. 7:11-12 (a). God wrote it into formal worship. "Thank offering" - formally brought to the temple and presented to the Lord.

2. The offering was voluntary but also was expected! Because you would be grateful in heart to God for His blessings.

3. It was always appropriate but especially when God had done something extraordinarily special. (protection, deliverance, Christian blessing) - Ps. 107:19-22

4. The offering recognized God as the source of the blessing. Ps. 50:23 (a) - "honors Me"

5. Thanksgiving became a central part of Old Testament worship.
Ps. 100 (sub-title) Ps. 105:1, 106:1, 107:1-2 (a)

6. Thanksgiving because a central part of the public worship.
As an individual in public worship. Ps. 35:18
Also, as a group (nation) in public worship.
Example: feasts - gathered as a group
ie: individually thanking Him As part of an intentionally gathered group!!

#1. We ought to give thanks. This is more than "be thankful" - only mentioned 4 times in the New Testament. Give thanks is in there many times.

#2. We ought to give thanks to God. (recognizing Him)

#3. We ought to give thanks in a way that honors Him.
Lev. 22:29 Note: not every offering honors God.

There is a time for.........
A. private thanksgiving - between you and God
B. Informal thanksgiving - "beautiful morning. Thank you, Jesus"
C. Public thanksgiving - ie: in the midst of others
D. Corporate thanksgiving - offered as a church/as a community!!
E. Formal thanksgiving. Model: Thank offering. private thanks...... publicly presented..... formally offered........ when especially blessed......

John 1:16

Monday, November 14, 2011

Judging Others - Part 2

America's favorite scripture??? - Matt. 7:1
The problem: Matt. 7:6 (a)
So, scriptural contradiction, or a need for more understanding??

Last week - learned that the Greek word translated "to judge" has broad applications.
Therefore, we must examine context and intent.....

When is it appropriate to judge others??

#1. When behavior is clearly wrong - 1 Cor. 5:1-5
Examples: homosexual lifestyle, adultery, idolatry, thievery, etc.

A. judge using scripture as the measure - it's not about us, it's about scripture - what God says.
statement "who are you to judge?" is a valid question!!!
B. judging the action not the actor (motive?, intent?, eternal state?)
C. judging with a healthy dose of mercy and grace - toward the individual, not toward the behavior!

#2. When behavior threatens others - to lead God's people astray.
Rev. 2:14-16, 20
compare - Titus 3:10-11
The point being protection.

A. This verifies common sense principle of protection.
B. the "protector" is OBLIGATED to judge - Acts 20:28-31

#3. When choosing leadership - judgment call on abilities, character, etc. - Titus 1:5-8
A. requirements to get in, stay in
Important because
B. They lead (toward what???) and they represent (the church, the faith, Christ)

#4. In matters of stewardship
Acts 6:1-4 - choosing of the 1st. deacons who can make judgement calls regarding the complaints.
2 Thess. 3:6, 10-15
NOTE: the point here is not to punish, but to restore!!

#5. When a brother or sister strays - Gal. 6:1
Note: this is more than sin. It refers to "overtaken, caught up, trapped??" in a sinful lifestyle.

Some additional scriptures:
Prov. 26:4
Prov. 13:20
Phil. 3:2
2 John 10
1 John 4:1
These are just a few of the many examples of when it's appropriate to judge.


1. It's not always appropriate to judge. (deal with next week)
2. There are times when it is appropriate to judge!! Times when it's necessary! expected! commanded!
3. We shouldn't let (non-Christian) world make the rules for us. (concerning if/when/how... Who is your Lord???)
4. You shouldn't make your own rules! (God makes the rules, reveals the rules. We discover and apply those rules)
5. Christians should be wise concerning judging others. Matt. 10:16
6. We should strive to 'get it right'. John 7:24

Another time it is appropriate to judge??? (and necessary and mandatory) -
When you are judging YOURSELF!!
1 Cor. 11:31
2 Cor. 13:5 (a) - "test yourselves"
"in the faith" - A. are you a Christian? Are you born again?
B. Are you walking, acting, living in the faith???

Monday, November 7, 2011

Judging Others (A Biblical View)

A couple of weeks ago, stated "even those who are transformed are not fully transformed... (sin tendency).... so don't be surprised at ungodly/unChristian behavior"

Which leads to: Are we to overlook ungodly behavior? Ignore it?, or make a judgment call concerning this behavior????

Which leads to: Judging others (A Biblical View)
(previously addressed in '99, '04, and '08)

So.... to judge or not to judge?? On one hand, scripture says "don't judge". Matt. 7:1, Rom. 14:4 (a), Rom. 14:13 (a)

On the other hand, scripture says "do judge" - Matt. 7:6 (a), Matt. 7:15, Titus 3:10, 1 Cor. 5:12-13

Or compare: James 4:12 to Lev. 19:15

So, does the Bible contradict itself????
OR, do we need a better understanding of the subject???
We believe there is no contradiction in the Bible, we have a faulty understanding of what it says.

So.......... how to properly judge others???

Some helpful observations:

#1. The Greek word has broad application. It is translated "to judge", but ALSO translated.... to think, to examine, to investigate, to weigh, to form an opinion, to discern between, to decide, to determine, to try, to conclude.
ALSO: to pronounce judgment, to pass sentence, to vindicate or to condemn.

Point being:
A. we must examine the word in context
Example: "don't condemn/pass sentence" doesn't mean "don't think, investigate, form an opinion"
B. We must not determine by one scripture alone, but by scripture as a whole.
Example: Matt. 7:1 (America's favorite scripture). We cannot build a Biblical view of judging on this scripture verse alone.

#2. The Bible (mostly) calls us to judge actions, not people. We can judge action, behavior, lifestyle.
We cannot know the heart, motive, reason, intent

The problem is that it's not always easy to distinguish between behavior and the behaver. (between the action and the actor)
Example: church leaders: 1 Tim. 3:1-12 - conduct or character? BOTH!!
or, candidates for public office: judge behavior, plus beliefs plus character!!

#3. We must all make judgment calls from time to time. (sometimes on the action/ sometimes on the actor

#4. Christians are called to do it right!! John 7:24 Amplified Version: "be honest in your judgment and do not decide at a glance - superficially and by appearances; but judge fairly and righteously"

So...... HOW to judge properly? HOW to get it right??

3 Key ingredients/basic steps to judging others properly:

#1. Weigh (examine) the facts. On one hand, we can't get all the facts. BUT, we can get some of them. So... ask, listen, go slow, be open because the judgment you are called to make may be contrary to how you feel, or what you want to say.

#2. Weigh the facts in a proper scale.
A. God's Word - which puts you at odds with many, or with most others.
The pre-modern age said: "this is truth" - (God's Revelation)
The modern age said: "is that the truth?"" (reason)
The post-modern age says: "there is no truth" - (rejection). This is where the world view is today.
pre-modern - "these are the rules. By this we judge"
modern - "are those the rules? How can we judge?"
post-modern - "there are no rules. We cannot judge"

B. God's Word properly interpreted. - don't assume because you scripture you have the answer." Example: the Pharisees. They knew the letter of the law, but had it all wrong as Jesus repeatedly told them.

C. .... with a healthy dose of mercy.
An objection: don't need mercy/grace to do math. (determine right from wrong)
Answer: true, but we're not doing math (we're doing people/lives/souls)
Judging others requires:
1. determining right/wrong
2. loving people in spite of right/wrong
3. without justifying/ignoring wrong
Example: Jesus - Matt. 9:10-13

#3. Weigh them with a humble heart (considering self)
Objection (again)! don't need humility to do math (determine right/wrong)
Answer (again):
we're not doing math!!! We're doing ministry.
B. You're no calculator!! Our calculations are skewed by our heart! Matt. 7:3-5

So...... Micah 6:8
A. "act justly"
B. "love mercy"
C. "walk humbly"
Three ingredients???? Really there are 4 and, most importantly, your relationship with God!! - "walk with your God"
Won't get judgment calls right if not walking humbly with our God, because the point is: not your opinion, your decision, your judgment...... it's GOD'S!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Christians and Halloween

Halloween - possible origin.
Under the Roman Empire, the early church had many martyrs, and later some of these were recognized as "saints". Around AD610 the church dedicated May 13th. as "All Saints' Day" or "All Hallows Day" or "All Hallowmas".
The point was to recognize, remember those 'saints' who had died for their faith.

As Christianity spread into Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, the church found the Celts celebrating an ancient pagan holiday called Samhain/Sôw ên' - which literally meant 'Summer's End'. This was held on Nov. 1st - the end of summer and harvest and the beginning of dark winter. It was celebrated with bonfires, sacrifices, etc. They believed that disembodied spirits walked about that night looking for a body to occupy.

Around 741 AD, the church changed "All Hallows Day' to Nov. 1st. to combat the pagan holiday of Samhain/Sôw ên' Therefore, October 31st. came to be called "all Hallowed Eve" --> 'Hallow 'een' or "all Hallows Eve".

As often happens, the customs blended..... Similarly to Christmas -- (the time, tree, mistletoe, yule log all had origins in the pagan celebration of winter solstice) The date for Christmas was selected to combat the pagan celebrations. Also, with Easter and fertility goddess, eggs, bunnies, etc.

Origin of Halloween traditions?? Hard to be sure....

#1. Spooks - various pagan cultures' notion of evil spirits and disembodied spirits being especially active on the eve before "Sôw ên' ".

#2. Costumes - Celts & costumes? Possibly dressed to fool the spooks or throw them off. Christians dressed as 'saints' of old - called "guising" During the Middle Ages, went door to door asking for food in exchange for prayers for the deceased - called "souling".
Example: Shakespeare's comedy "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" (1593) "puling (whimpering, whining) like a beggar on Hallowmas".
"Guising" (disguised in costume, going door to door) goes way back in Scotland (recorded in 1895). Kids visited homes in costume seeking treats and carrying lanterns made of hollowed out turnips with an ember in it for light.

#3. pumpkins/Jack o' Lanterns - comes from an old Irish fable about a man called Stingy Jack who, when the devil came for him one night, conned him into climbing a tree to get him one last apple. Jack then quickly put crosses around the tree so the devil could not come back down. He then made an agreement with the devil, first of all to let him live longer, and when he did die, not to take him to hell. The devil agreed so Jack let him back down out of the tree.
When Jack died, he went to heaven but he was so bad that he couldn't be let into heaven so he went to hell, but, the devil remembering his agreement, wouldn't let him in there either, so there was no place for Jack to spend eternity. So, he was destined to wander between heaven and hell for the rest of his life. When he complained that he needed some kind of lantern to give him some light, he was given a hollowed out turnip with an ember in it.
When the Irish immigrated to the United States they found a much better vegetable to use for these lanterns - the pumpkin. So they became known as "Jack o' lanterns".

Trick or treat???
Tricking goes way back - mostly harmless pranks, mischief done by kids to 'blame' the Halloween spirits.

#4. Trick or treat seems to be an American or North American original - ie: show up in costume with the threat of "treat us or get tricked". In the U.S. it became common by the 1930's and was known originally as "Beggar's Night".

How should Christians react to Halloween? Deal with? Obviously, it's not directly addressed in the scripture.

Opinions vary from "this is pagan, honors Satan, is very bad" to "this is common fun, mocks Satan, no harm in it".

Christians and Halloween.

#1. Evil spirits exist. Satan is mentioned from Genesis to Revelation (and is a key figure in each)
Demons are especially evident during Christ's earthly ministry, and again in Revelation.

#2. The unholy spirits are actively opposed to Christ and Christians. - Satan vs. the Jews, Satan vs. God's people. Rev. 12:17 Eph. 6:12 - ultimately our enemy is not our neighbor, spouse, child, etc. It is Satan.

#3. We are to have no unnecessary involvement with unholy spirits. Deut. 18:9-13
Lev. 19:31, 20:27 Isa. 8:19-20
A. We are to seek no power, authority spiritual benefactor but God. (including Holy angels which are sent as directed by God. We are not to seek them!!)
B. All powers, authority, spirits outside His realm are evil.... therefore harmful and detrimental.

#4. most people observing Halloween are just having fun...NOT seeking, involved with, honoring, worshiping Satan, demons, the dead, ghosts, etc. They are having fun with and making fun of the realm of witches, ghouls, goblins, ghosts.
Make the distinction: ghosts, ghouls, zombies, witches, etc. don't exist!! They are make believe!!
There are demons and spirits, etc. but there are only two powers - holy and unholy.

Contrast trick or treat with playing with an Ouija board, seances, tarot cards, etc. With the latter, you are requesting spirits speak to you and are opening yourself to the spirit world. Very dangerous.

Also note:
#5. how little attention Satan and the demons get in post resurrection scriptures!!! Why??? Because he's been defeated at the resurrection of Christ!!
Example: Rom 1 - 8 deals extensively with sin, wickedness, evil... BUT with no mention of Satan or demons! Ex. Rom. 1:29-32

WHY??? Satan and his minions are defeated!!! He still is to be taken seriously, but not to be feared. Just stand firm.

So, again..... Christians & Halloween? Should we observe? ignore? oppose? The decision is really yours. But, another option is Redeem (customize, hijack - to make a pagan holiday ours...)

Whatever you do, 2 passages are relevant........
1. 1 Cor. 8 - 10 - regarding meat offered to idols. Summary verse: 1 Cor. 10:31

2. Rom. 14 & 15 - observation of days, diets - summary vs. Rom. 14:1, 12-13 (a)

The important question is NOT which day? eat or abstain? observe or ignore?
The important question is Who IS your Lord? How will you SERVE HIM???

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Task of Transformation

Definition: Transformation means change.
Christian transformation is change (a) for the better as prescribed in God's Word, (b) beyond the surface to a change of mind and a change of heart, and (c) is attributed to Christ; His person, teaching, Holy Spirit, etc.

Three areas of Transformation Christians should be concerned with...
A. Personal transformation - change toward what you should be and were created to be.
B. Individual transformation - the attempt to setter or assist other toward what they should be and were created to be.
C. Social transformation - attempt to change or steer society toward what it should be.

Focus today - Personal and Individual transformation.
Application - 1. those attempting to grow
2. those attempting to steer others toward growth.


#1. Christian transformation begins with Christ.
It may begin before salvation, BUT doesn't take place apart from Christ.
Point: do you want to be an agent of transformation? PRAY for Christ's involvement. We cannot affect change in an individual's life without Him, but He may use me to do that.

#2. People need to hear the gospel. Note: the bridge illustration.

(animation by

Rom. 10:14 Efforts at transformation are incomplete without the gospel message.

#3. Your actions are also important. (or people are more apt to accept the love of God if they see the love of God). This is NOT essential to believing, but it makes believing easier, more likely.

#4. People need more than the (simple) gospel to experience Christian transformation.
(This doesn't mean to be saved but it means to be transformed.)
Before you can do/become what you ought, you must know what to do/what to become.
(sincerity/zeal is NOT enough - Rom. 10:2)

#5. Salvation plus knowledge does not guarantee transformation. Because, transformation also requires cooperation! Must have heart and mind to obey and respond to what you know.

#6. Even those who experience transformation are not fully transformed. Because of sin nature/tendency to sin.

So, when someone says "I can't believe he would do that!" The answer is "I can't believe you can't believe it!" Why are we amazed when people sin? Why are we aghast, when we are sinners as well and prone to the same tendencies.
Nobody is so transformed that he is not subject to sin in his life.
This is not making excuses for sinful behavior, but just being honest - this is the way it is!

#7. We won't always see the positive results of our efforts - within self, within others.

Examples: Noah, Moses, Jeremiah, Jesus and the disciples, Paul and the Galatians.

#8. Not seeing positive results does not mean there are no positive results.

The process of transformation has always been:
slow, difficult to measure, and sporadic, and therefore, frustrating (concerning self and concerning others), often discouraging, sometimes exhausting!! (emotionally/psychologically)
Most (if not all) serious transformers struggle with "results".

1. the longer in the battle, the more time and energy you invest into it, the more likely you are to experience frustration, discouragement, fatigue.
2. the more likely Satan is to use this to tempt you out of the fray!

#9. If the promise of transformation was ever valid, it remains valid today. The ETERNAL gospel. To this we are called! Personal, individual, social transformation!!

#10. When we pursue this in spite of apparent results, it is called FAITH. Heb. 11:1-2, 39 Without faith, it is impossible to please God.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Shoebox Ministry

Why a shoebox? It blends good words with good works!
As Christians, we are called to both verbal evangelism and good works!

1. Evangelism is the proclamation of the gospel. Purpose - to win souls, disciple saints. Matt. 28:18-20 - Christ's authority sealed by the resurrection!

2. Good works = good works!! (deeds) - Eph. 2:10
Good works don't merit us a spot in heaven, BUT we are to be about good deeds. So.... Matt. 25:34-40

The Call is NOT either/or - it is BOTH!!
Might better be called verbal evangelism and works evangelism.


#1. A verbal declaration is empty without good works. James 2:14-17

#2. Works evangelism is insufficient without words. (without the message) Rom. 10:14

#3. Words and works are intended to complement one another. The mission of Christ - Matt. 11:2-5 Now of us ...... John 20:21 Go and do as Christ did.

#4. To this you are called. not just we (church) but you (individual)
A corporate call does not eliminate individual responsibility.

#5. For this you are equipped.
On the one hand you may not have all you need to fulfill the call.
Therefore, you have all you need to answer the call, so you can move forward and fulfill the call.
Matt. 4:18-19

On one hand, good words and good works will not get you into heaven. Eph. 2:8-9
But, it might result in someone else getting into heaven!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Christian Rest Ethic

Gen. 2:2-3

If the Christian work ethic is a moral view of work based on scripture,
then, what about a "Christian REST ethic?""
Gen. 2:2-3 - AGAIN..... with focus on "rest". "God rested from all His work". These are complimentary ideas, not opposing ideas.
Add: Ex. 20:8-11 (plus, additional sabbaths, feasts, festivals... etc.)
Sabbath literally means to cease or to stop.

So, can we conclude that:
1. As God intended His people to work (effort to produce)
2. He also intended them to take time to rest from work.
3. His intention for me is also His Will for me.
4. to ignore His known will is SIN!!

NOTE: this is not about Sabbath observance. It is about resting from labor(s).

Some of what we know.....
1. God established the concept of a day of rest. Gen. 2:2-3

2. God modeled that concept!! Gen. 2:2-3 - "God rested"

3. God commanded a day of rest.
A. wrote it into the Mosaic Law
B. May have written it into the Natural Law. - as 8 hour sleep, so 6 day work week and one day off. Most nations have a 7 day week - ancient and modern.

4. Jesus practiced the day of rest.
A. Sabbath observance though not as prescribed by the Pharisees.
B. Additional incidents - Mark 6:30-31 (promoted rest)
So.... early church adopted "day of rest" in conjunction with the Lord's day.

AGAIN: This is NOT about Sabbath observance.

It is considering the Biblical view of time off/shut down/take a break ---
As God intended
As we often fail to do!!

A 'day of rest' served (serves) several purposes:
#1. A day to rest. (sabboth literally means to cease/desist)
Obvious meaning: physical rest - Deut. 5:12-14, Ex. 34:21
Probable meaning: mental and emotional as well. Ex. 23:12 - "refreshed"

#2. A Day to remember the Lord - set aside time to focus on Him, worship Him. - Lev. 23:3, Psm. 46:10

#3. A day to identity as one of His people - non-believers know what the meeting together is about.
Ex. 31:16-17 - sign of lasting covenant. Ezek. 20:12

So.... a day of rest serves us physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually - Mark 2:27

On one hand, much has changed (not Jewish, not agrarian - don't have the physical labors that they did)
But, much is the same! (ie: needs of man, moral applications of the Law)

In addition: Scripture speaks of ....
#1. Rest in the Lord - Psalm 62:1, 5 (contrast: Job 3:26)
Point being: confidence, trust leads to inner stillness/quietude/calm/tranquil/peace
Matt. 11:28-30 - rest of the soul by trusting in Him.
Note: A. This rest comes from trusting Him ... Actively/Intentionally
B. more apt to find this rest if set aside time to focus on Him.

#2. Final Rest. 2 Sam. 7:12 (a) - "fathers" Rev. 14:13 - death of a believer - "rest"

I'm not suggesting violating "rest ethic" is as evil as thievery, idolatry, adultery, etc., or that we should reinstate legalistic observance.

I AM saying: we should give serious consideration to the Biblical Rest Ethic.....
A. the value of it. personal - corporate - kingdom
B. the right/wrong of it....

AND above all .... submit to Christ - Mark 2:27-28

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Chrisian Work Ethic - Pt. 2

A moral view of work (right and wrong) - based on Scripture.

#1. God is a working God. - John 5:17

#2. We are created in His (working) image. Gen. 2:15

#3. Work is not part of the curse or a result of the fall. The fall id these to our labors: toil, frustration, drudgery, grind. Gen. 3:17-19 (a)

Definition - Work (as used in this series):
A. the task
B. the effort
C. the product

A. The task, duty, responsibility - that is yours to do. This is more than a paid vocation.
Example: job of spouse, parent, student, neighbor
Note: for the Christian this is more than a duty.... it is a calling. Eph. 4:1

B. The Effort - necessary energy expended to fulfill duty, do the job. Maybe physical, intellectual, emotional... Example: the effort required to be a good spouse, parent, etc.

C. The product - outcome, what's produced by your efforts.
On one hand, it is often beyond your control - example: farmer, cattleman, teacher, doctor.
But, product must be considered as we assess our work. We need to examine the product, and asked ourselves if the product is a result of our efforts, or is it not in our control. examine the work ethic, we must consider:
1. attitude - toward duty, obligation, responsibility..... our calling
2. effort -
to fulfill the obligation, do the job.
3. outcome
- ie. when it's within my control.

So.......... who work well? Why apply myself to my duties?

6 Biblical Reasons:

1. To provide for family.
1 Tim. 5:8
A. Your family is your responsibility. contrast the 'entitlement' attitude.
B. their needs are more than physical.

2. to provide for community in a broad sense. Working to assist (give/help)
Acts 20:34-35 Eph. 4:28
when I produce more than I consume which leads to excess for blessing

#3. for personal satisfaction - Eccles. 2:10, 2:24, 3:12-13
It may be hard to find satisfaction in some work, but it's easier to find satisfaction when you attempt to do it well!

#4. to earn respect - 1 Thess. 4:11-12
the point is to gain a platform to share Christ when are diligent in duty.

#5. to set an example - 2 Thess. 3:7-9 Acts. 20:35

#6. To honor Christ. Col. 3:23-24.
Point being: Who is your Lord? How do you honor Him? (obedience)
Which is why the Puritans said "all work is a form of worship".

1. labor alone does not commend you to God. (you are not going to Heaven because you work hard). Eph. 2:8-9

2. working well is not all of the Christian life (only part of it!!)

your labor (in the Lord) does M.A.D. - (make a difference.)
1 Cor. 15:58 Rev. 14:13

Monday, September 12, 2011

Observations on 9-11; A Christian Perspective

I. We live in a fallen world - a Christian perspective. Many non-Christians don't know this.
A. life is uncertain
- for all of us. (9-11 - normal people going about a normal day)
B. evil is present - Christian view - real evil, not just bad stuff - example: hurricane, flooding, extreme dry conditions - these are bad things but are not evil.
C. our faith does not insulate us - (ie: from uncertainty, evil, etc.) Our faith should carry us through. Can happen any time and any where.
D. ignoring and denying evil in the hearts of people does not help - so many people think if we just ignore it, it will go away.
Example: the failure of Europe and North America to take seriously the German/Imperial Japanese threat in WWII. Jer. 4:5-9, 6:13-14
E. Remembering the past can help. Reminds us of the scope of the situation, the suffering, the sacrifice
F. honoring our "responders" is in order. - So, it is appropriate to observe Memorial Day, Veterans' Day, services for 9-11 responders, etc.

I. We live in a fallen world.
II. God is with us in this fallen world. God doesn't only come in majesty and power, but also in humility in the midst of our agony and suffering in the pits.

(Picture of the iron cross at the bottom of the rubble (pit) of the towers.) The Christian view - "He is here". John 1:1,14 (a) Psalm 23:4

Therefore: we can worship Him amidst tragedy, and we should worship Him amidst tragedy.

III. We are not destined for (doomed to) a fallen world.
A. Christ has overcome. The cross: the greatest tragedy led to ultimate blessing.
B. We can Make a Difference - Matt. 5:13-16 - strive to prevent pain, minister amidst pain, heal pain, etc.
C. God will make it all right! Rev. 21:1-5

We can never fix anything, but should be fighting the battle all the time.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Christian Work Ethic

Labor Day originated in 1882 with a NYC parade of workers with the purpose of recognizing the American workman and his (her) contribution to our society and nation. In 1894, President Grover Cleveland made Labor Day a national holiday.

On one hand, Labor Day is not a religious holiday, but it is easy to find Biblical themes here.
1: the Christian Work Ethic - this week's message
2. the Christian Pay Ethic - upcoming
3. the Christian Rest Ethic - upcoming

Definition: the Christian Work Ethic is more than a belief or a philosophy of work.
It is: 1. a moral view of work - what is right/wrong concerning work.
2. It is based on Scripture (Revelation)
3. Applicable to Christian life - practice.
God has revealed to us His will for our life, and work is a big part of it.

Some Basics .... Scripture teaches.....
#1. God is a working God. Gen. 2:2-3 Ps. 19:1
He's woven "work" into the fabric of creation. Col. 1:16-17 John 5:16-17 - the working goes on and on.

#2. He created us in His (working) image.
Before the fall, Adam had a task - Gen. 2:15 After the fall: Gen. 3:17-19 (a)
Note: work is not the curse. The curse put 'toil' into work!

#3. These truths are clearly presented in Old Testament scriptures.
Ex. 20:9 Prov. 12:11, 14:23, 18:9
Hard work was expected and applauded. Prov. 31:13,17

#4. These truths were embraced by New Testament Christians.
Example: 2 Thess. 3:6-15 - keep away from brother who is idle...

Why work well? hard? outcome? purpose?
(some reasons.... Listed this week, will explore them next week.)

Work well......
#1. To honor God. (example: obedience. Puritans considered work a form of worship)

#2. To provide for family - Work is the means. Family is your responsibility.

#3. To provide for community. (with a broad application!!)
example: when production exceeds consumption have a very good economy.

#4. To set an example - an outstanding worker ...... stands out.

#5. For personal satisfaction and fulfillment - "job well done"

#6. To earn respect (as ambassador for Christ, platform for gospel)

#7. To expand the Kingdom. "make an eternal difference"

1. A Biblical understanding will not remove the toil from your work!! - we live in a fallen world!
But, it helps knowing the reason, purpose, positive outcome (resurrection)

2. Labor alone does not commend you to God. It honors him but doesn't insure salvation. Eph. 2:8-9

3. Labor alone will not accomplish positive, eternal results. On one hand, your effort is important. But, it is meaningless without God. Prov. 12:14 Ps. 127:1, 90:17
As a Christian, our work will not have a positive, eternal results without mingling with God.

4. Labor done in Christ does MAD (make a difference). 1 Cor. 15:58
Unfortunately, can't always see the difference, but we have the promise of God that that isn't true!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Wisdom - A Few Loose Ends

Note: A wise person could be referred to as having a "black belt" in life. Takes much training, study, practice. Biblical wisdom is very broad based.

I. The (Biblical) Wise Man is well-rounded. Prov. 28:25b - KJV - "...but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat." (smile)
ie: wise in many areas, aspects of life, living - not just in a few.
We've briefly looked at..... instruction, learning, advice, correction, pride, unrealistic value of 'self, fear of God, respect for God's law(s)
We can and should add:
temper - Prov. 29:22
self-control - Prov. 12:16, 29:11
patience - Prov. 16:32
kindness - Prov. 14:31
chivalry - Prov. 31:8-9
humility - Prov. 27:21
honesty - Prov. 20:10, 20:23, 22:28, 23:10
generosity - Prov. 3:27-28
social responsibility Prov. 24:11-12, 11:26
personal responsibility - Prov. 19:3
personal contentment - Prov. 15:16, 16:18
discretion - Prov. 11:22
use of alcohol - Prov. 20:1, 31:4-7
care of animals - Prov. 12:10

Point #1: Wise in 1 or 2 areas doesn't constitute a 'wise man'.
Comparison: a Renaissance Man (Leonardo daVinci) - had a broad understanding of many things.
2 Tim. 3:16-17 - "thoroughly equipped... every good work"

Point #2: This is more than character development. These are moral and ethical issues. (matters of right and wrong) - refer to above list.

Point #3. Wisdom obviously requires an acquisition of knowledge. But then requires choosing to act on the knowledge acquired!!
Example/illustration: Prov. 15:1 - Contrast: knowledge vs. choice to..... If we understand and get the meaning and fail to act on it, acting like a fool!

The Biblical wise man is well-rounded.

II. The (Biblical) wise man focuses his ability to relate to others.
Note list above. how much is relationship oriented!

NO SURPRISE - Matt. 22:36-40 (God's image, Christ's work, eternal state)
So, on one hand a wise man in developing himself
but, on the other hand he's developing himself in his ability to relate to others.

You can't achieve Biblical wisdom if you don't learn to relate to people.

III. The (Biblical) wise man embraces Christ.
(the focus has been on the Old Testament/Proverbs, BUT Biblical wisdom must include Christ.)
1 Cor. 1:18 - 2:16, 3:18 - Christ IS wisdom from God.

Obviously includes (A.) the teachings of Christ Matt. 7:24
Also includes (B.) the Person of Christ. Eph. 1:17 (gospel)

IV. The (Biblical) wise man promotes Christ.
Christ's last words - very important - Matt. 28:18-20
Dan. 12:1-3
Prov. 11:30 - "he who wins souls is wise"

Job 12:1-2 (sarcasm)
On one hand, we needn't think we've got all the answers (all wisdom)
However, we ought to have some, and we ought to be pursuing more!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Portrait of A Fool - Part 3

What's a fool look like??

Biblical definition: A fool is NOT stupid, ignorant, unlearned. A fool is one who has disdain for God's law(s) and the morals, ethics set forth in those laws.

A fool is not one who doesn't KNOW right and wrong, should and shouldn't.
A fool is one who knows but chooses to ignore and deny.

A fool is not one who is intellectually deficient.
A fool is one who is morally deficient.

The point: what's wrong is harmful and detrimental. THEREFORE, it is foolish to know and ignore, deny, defy, etc.

So, Week #1 - A fool ignores truth, despises correction and hates rebuke. Prov. 12:1 (refuses to be fixed)

Week #2 - A fool is self-confident, proud and wise in his own eyes. (ie: his opinion of 'self exceeds reality) Prov. 26:12
There's nothing wrong with self-confidence or pride in the proper sense.

We know 1. we all have a tendency toward foolishness - Rom. 3:23
However, 2. once we know better, it's mostly a choice!!
Therefore, 3. it's foolish to ACT like a fool when you're NOT a fool!!!


#3. A fool displays his folly. Prov. 13:16 When you act in a foolish way, it will be displayed.

There are many ways to expose our folly, but let's look at the most common one. WORDS/THE TONGUE!!

I. The fool talks too much, too soon, too easily.
Prov. 15:2, 18:6, 18:7 - soul endangered by mouth
Therefore, the fool is quick to answer. Prov. 18:2
and quick to quarrel. Prov. 20:3

The words of the wise are few and restrained. Prov. 10:19, 17:27, 12:23, 17:28

AND, well chosen!! Prov. 15:23, 16:24, 12:18
Summary verse: Prov. 13:3

The next level.
The immediate issue and application is the tongue/the spoken word/ the external expression - and these are VERY IMPORTANT!!
BUT, the deeper need and more important issue is the heart ( internal). ie. the source/origin of words. Matt. 12:33-36

So, on one hand a wise man learns to control his tongue, but a wiser man learns to correct his heart!

On one hand your heart is beyond perfection. But, it's not beyond improvement/correction/adjustment.
AND, the more you correct your heart, the less you'll have to filter your speech!!

So..... How to Correct the heart??
How to address the source/the root of my tongue, the origin of my speech.

How to Correct the Heart??

#1. Assess Yourself
A. Your speech, words
B. Your heart - ie. what causes you to say what you do.
*Note* - assess in light of God's Word!! (not your feelings, inclinations, culture, etc.)

#2. Confess your sin(s).
your attitude and behavior is not in line with God's will, it is:

#3. Embrace and/or enthrone Jesus. (As Savior and/or as Lord)
A. as Savior leads to forgiveness, cleansing, new heart, nature, presence of the Holy Spirit.
B. as Lord leads to forgiveness, cleansing, Holy Spirit's presence - leadership, guidance, accountability.

#4. Forsake your foolishness. which means desert, abandon, quit, walk away, leave behind, renounce, disown, etc.
Rom. 6:11 - KJV - "reckon"
Contrast: Prov. 26:11

#5. Repeat as necessary ( steps 1 - 4)

on one hand this is difficult to execute (wholly) ( to perfect). But, it is NOT difficult to comprehend, and it is NOT difficult to practice!!
AND, acquiring wisdom doesn't lead to an event, it leads to a process!! - re-enthroning, re-aligning, re-confessing, etc.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Portrait of A Fool - continued

Question: What does a fool look like, BUT remember, you don't have to be dumb to be a fool according to the Biblical definition.

A fool is not stupid, ignorant, unlearned. A fool is one who has disdain for God's law(s) and the morals/ethics set forth in those laws.

A fool is not one who doesn't know right and wrong, should and shouldn't. A fool is one who knows but chooses to ignore or deny.

A fool is not one who is intellectually deficient. A fool is one who is morally deficient.

Because, what's right is good, helpful, beneficial.
Therefore, what's wrong is harmful, detrimental.

It is foolish to know and ignore, deny, defy... When you act like a fool, it is detrimental to you AND those around you.

Two weeks ago we began "Portrait of A Fool".
I. A fool ignores truth, despises correction, and hates rebuke. Prov. 12:1


II. A fool is self-confident, proud, and wise in his own eyes.

A. Self-Confident = wrong??? Answer is the definition of self-confident.
A self-confident person is one with more confidence than competence/ability.
His opinion of himself exceeds reality. He won't see his limits.
Prov. 28:26 - wisdom of God, wisdom of others, versus own wisdom only.

B. Proud. On one hand, pride has positive place. 2 Cor. 5:12 (a), 2 Cor. 7:4 (a)
Contrast legitimate pride vs. foolish Pride!
In the negative sense, it's an opinion of self that exceeds reality.

Obad. 1:3-4 - view of self is faulty and unhealthy. Rom. 12:3 (a)

C. Wise in his own eyes. Prov. 12:15, 26:16, 16:12
There is "no hope" because:
1. cannot be corrected
2. cannot be improved
3. repeats mistakes - Prov. 26:11

which leads to:

III. A fool mocks sin and denies God. (this naturally follows)
Prov. 10:23 (a), Prov. 14:9 (a), Psalm 14:1 (a) -- "..... no God"

A. The mockery is not necessarily verbal: but is to ignore sin as if it's of no consequence.

B. The denial is not necessarily absolute. May not deny the existence of God, but DOES deny the power, authority, holiness, concern, involvement, and Judgment!!!

Example: Gal. 6:7-8 - fool says (by action, lifestyle...) "this doesn't apply to me."

We often say "there's no fool like an old fool" which is apt because had lots of time to change and didn't.
We might add or amend the saying to: "no fool like a Christian fool" because Christians have God's Word for instruction in righteousness and to ignore these is foolish indeed.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Portrait of A Fool

Definition: a fool is NOT someone who is stupid, ignorant, unlearned. Example: clown, court jester, etc.
The Biblical definition of a fool is one who has disdain for God's laws and the morals/ethics set forth in these laws!

A fool is NOT one who doesn't know right and wrong, should and shouldn't. It is one who knows but chooses to ignore or deny it.

Question: Why would this constitute a "fool"?
Answer: What's right is also what's good (helpful/beneficial) for relationships, finances, reputation, family, friends, social life, future life! What is good leads to blessing, what's wrong leads to cursing.

To violate the rules is detrimental. To obey rules is beneficial. Therefore, it is "foolish" to
ignore, deny, defy!!

NOTE!! The point of "Portrait" is not to declare or label us a "fool".
The point is to identify behavior so as not to act like a fool.

Comparison: John 3:16-17. Christ came not to condemn but to SAVE.
So with wisdom literature.... it's not to label or condemn
It's to identify, instruct, teach, correct, etc.

PORTRAIT - What does a fool look like??

I. A fool ignores truth, despises correction and hates rebuke.

A. Ignores truth. Prov. 12:1 - Amplified Version: like a brute beast, stupid and indiscriminate.
(ie: no moral character)
Remember: a fool is not unlearned but is unconcerned.
is more about choice than we like to admit!!

B. Despises Correction - Prov. 1:7 Prov. 15:5

C. Hates rebuke. If you embrace wisdom, you have to apply wisdom.

On the one hand, it's understandable. Who enjoys rebuke? correction?

On the other hand, if you're doing wrong, (and all can see it), do you want to know? fix?

A wise man listens to advice. Prov. 12:15 Prov. 13:10
And, a wise man listens to criticism. Prov. 17:10
Prov. 15:31-32. Summary verse: Prov. 9:7-9

Note #1) On one hand, a wise man listens to advice. On the other hand, he doesn't always take it. Prov. 14:15 Matt. 10:16 (b)

Note #2.) If it is wise to heed wise man's counsel, how much wiser to heed the counsel of God!!
(A.) The external/objective counsel...... His Word.
(B.) The internal, subjective counsel....His Holy Spirit!
The two-fold path to wisdom and then never contradict each other.

John 14:16-17, 25-26.
To experience the wooing of the Holy Spirit and ignore it is extremely foolish!!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Proverbs - Wisdom for Dummies (a reference for the rest of us)

Definition: A proverb is a short, witty, catchy statement designed to impart wisdom by summarizing one of life's lessons.
A. Common proverbs - "a stitch in time saves nine", "a penny saved is a penny earned", etc.
B. Modern proverbs - similar but updated to be relevant.


A Biblical proverb is the same, but the content and teaching is the wisdom of God! It's of divine origin, not just the wisdom of man.

So, Prov. 1:1 could read... "the Proverbs of the Lord.... as written, compiled, quoted by Solomon....."
This compares to the ACTS of the Apostles..... or Acts of the Holy Spirit as he worked through the Apostles.

Solomon spoke many proverbs!!! 1 Kings 4:32
There are approximately 432 proverbs in the book of Proverbs. BUT, remember, the origin, source is GOD!! 2 Pet. 1:20-21
All wisdom and truth has it's origin in God or else it is not truth and wisdom!

A Proverb may take many forms. Three of the most common are:

1. Contrasting Proverbs - "but", "therefore" - Prov. 11:1, 13:24, 14:1
2. Comparing Proverbs - "like, as better, than" - Prov. 15:17, 17:1, 11:22, 17:12
3. Complimenting Proverbs - "and" - Prov. 15:23, 15:33 "and" implied - Prov. 16:18, 16:24

In Proverbs we find 2 ways and 2 characters - the way of the wise, and foolish. The wise man and the foolish man.

This is in keeping with the Biblical Model. Matt. 7:24,26, 13-14. Psalms - righteous and unrighteous.
The Point= right way, wrong way. list/saved. sheep/goats. heaven/hell. blessed/cursed. wise man/fool


A fool is not one who is stupid, ignorant, unlearned. It is one who has disdain for the moral and ethical pr9nciples set forth by God, His people, and His Word. Psalm 14:1 (a) "..... no God."

A fool is not one who does not know how he should live....
It is one who knows right from wrong, knows what should or should not do, how should act, react ....... and refuses to recognize the truth and live accordingly.

A fool is not mentally deficient. A fool is morally deficient. Rom. 1:21-22

Illustration: Luke 12:16-21 . Wealth is not condemned in scripture. Condemned for putting trust in material things God has given.

POINT - not "if you do ______ you are a fool." BUT, if you do ________ you are acting in a foolish manner!

(next 2 weeks - Portrait of a fool/what NOT to look like!!

#1. To teach divine wisdom. This is more than words of the wise. 2 Pet. 1:20-21

#2. To make it simple. "wisdom for dummies"

#3. To provide moral instruction. (teach right and wrong)
In scripture - morality (truth) and wisdom are inseparable.

To direct us to God. - God is the source of all wisdom. Therefore, when we find wisdom, it leads us to find God.
#5. To provide opportunity for a better life.
Provers is practical wisdom, applicable, life changing, life shaping - Prov. 8:35 - "if you hear my words and do them."

The Preface to Proverbs. - Chapters 1 -11. These are to introduce the text, explain the importance, convince you to read on, etc.
Prov. 1:20-33, 8:1-11.

Wisdom is a gift from God, but it must be chosen!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Wisdom - Lessons form King Solomon

I. The Definition of Wisdom
A. Common definition - knowledge, insight, discernment, good judgment, uncommon good sense.
B. Eastern definition - adds hands to head (actions to knowledge)
A wise man is a person with right thinking and right actions in daily life - James 3:13
C. Biblical definition.... figures God into the equation. Faith in a personal God.
A wise man knows God, fears God, obeys God, etc.
Prov. 1:7 (a), "Knowledge" Prov. 15:33 (a) - "wisdom"

Last week - definition, value, acquisition of wisdom.
Today - life lessons from the wisest of the wise King Solomon.

1 Kings 3:4-15 (followed by stories of his wisdom, wealth, and fame!!!)
1 Kings 10:23-24 .... "But...."
1 Kings 11:1-11 (followed by his death, the division and downfall of Israel)

II. The Big Question????? If Solomon had all wisdom and understanding, why would he? How could he?
Answers: He's human, he wanted to, he could (he was the King!)
AND.... he thought he could get away with it!! How?? Jer. 17:9

III. Lessons for Us (from the life of Solomon)

#1. God is pleased with a heart that seeks wisdom.
example of Solomon, and many scriptures

#2. God grants wisdom to the true seeker - James 1:5
Question: granted equally??? don't know. Still pondering that.
BUT, granted sufficiently!! 2 Cor. 12:9 - Paul's thorn in the flesh
Matt. 7:7-11 - G0d does not withhold good from people who ask for it.

#3. Wisdom must also be chosen. Prov. 4:5 "get" - Prov. 4:7
A. God grants you insight. Not B. your must use it or you don't have it!!

#4. You can be wise in your head and still be stupid with your hands.
Example: Solomon, lung surgeon who smokes two packs a day, etc.

A. Some here today ... primary need - acquire insight, understanding
B. others here today .... primary need - apply insight, already have understanding..
C. All of us.... need to recognize the faulty mechanism between head and hands....
ie: heart - Jer. 17:9 Prov. 4:23 Psalm 90:12 "heart of wisdom"

#5. You must not only choose wisdom, you must continue to choose it.
Solomon obvious example. Ezek. 28:11-17, 19
Observation: #1. A good start does not guarantee a good finish. You can deviate at any time!!

Observation #2: Wisdom perverted, misapplied is probably far more dangerous, detrimental, damaging than wisdom never acquired.
The simpleton is not as dangerous as the wise fool!!

#6. Your un-wise choices affect more than yourself. Solomon's decisions affected his wives, kids, nation, future generations.

#7. Some of your choices (decisions, actions) cannot be undone! They can be forgiven, but cannot be reversed. Gal. 6:7-8. So, get it right the first time as often as possible.

NOTE: need to correct last week's mis-statement.... ie: "if you do _______ you are a fool."
Should be: "If you do _______ you are acting like a fool, displaying foolish behavior". Does not necessarily mean you are a fool!!!
Question: At what point does foolish behavior constitute a full-blown fool? Don't know, but will explore that in future sermons.

Meanwhile - leave with two scriptures... Prov. 9:9 - my hope for us and this series
So..... start reading Proverbs
don't rush thru it..
and Remember ..... Prov. 9:10