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?