Monday, August 26, 2013

The Christian Experience

We've looked at:  Christian hope, Christian calling, and today - Experience
In other words, what can I expect to experience (in this life) IF I choose to follow Christ??? 
(ie:  REALLY follow Him - not just nominal Christian behavior)

IF you choose to follow Christ - you can expect to experience:

#1.  Life - everyday, ordinary life situations, experiences, tasks, routines,.
A.  following Christ does not exclude us from 'life'.  Example:  saved on Sunday, still have to get up and go to work Monday morning! 
B.)  This therefore becomes part of your "Christian" life.

But, can also expect to experience:
#2.  Life enhanced by the presence of God.  - on one hand God is omnipresent so with all people all the time in a general sense.  But there is a special way that God is with His children. - with you and for you.
This includes the knowledge of His presence. - Matt. 28:20   Heb. 13:5
and the sense of His presence - (feeling, experience - sometimes have this as well)

The Knowledge you can always have with you (God's Word)
The Sense you cannot always have (unless especially graced with or fabricated)
BUT without the immediate Sense of His presence, can still experience the Knowledge of His presence.

Can also expect to experience
#3.  Life enhanced by the Promises of God.
Examples:  Rom. 8:28  1 Thess. 413 - difference in feeling by believers/non-believers?  John 10:10 (b)
We can experience peace and joy not available to the non-believer.

Also, expect to experience:
#4.  Conflict. - (ranging from tension to battle)
with:  a)  Satan - 1 Pet. 5:8-9  Eph. 6:12
        b)  Sin - James 1:13-14
        c)  Self - Rom. 7:21-24 - when try to follow God, have great struggle with self
        d)  The "world" - ie:  the mindset, activity, government of man apart from God
        e)  fellow Christians - because we're seriously flawed and incredibly selfish.   You will never, ever, ever find a fellowship that will not have conflict.

Also, expect to experience
#5.  Conviction - John 16:8 - expect the Holy Spirit to work in your life and convict you
#6.  Comfort - 2 Cor. 1:3-4
#7. Encouragement - whether from God/Holy Spirit/Word/people - 1 Thess. 4:18

#8.  Doubt - ' because we are human and walk by faith!!  Doesn't mean we have to be overcome by it.
So..... examples:  Moses, David, Jeremiah, John the Baptist - Matt. 11:2-3

#9.  An increasing faith - ie:  confidence, assurance, certainty, trust, etc. - grows when you follow Him

#10.  An awareness of blessing(s) - which leads to thankfulness - non-believer never fully recognizes

John 10:10 - this life experience = part of that!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Christian Calling

Eph. 1:15-18
Last week - "the Christian hope"
This week - same text - "Christian calling"

The word in Greek (verb) - means to call, invite, summon - (broad, common usage ..... as today)

In the New Testament often used Divine Summons - God calling out to us.  Eph. 1:18  1 Cor. 1;9  1 Thess. 2:11-12   If you have a part in that, it's because God has called you to it.

The Greek word as a noun - a calling - Heb. 3:1   2 Thess. 1:11

Adjective form --> a called person/people/group  - Jude 1,  Rev. 17:14  --> hence "the elect" and the church (ecclasia)
When He speaks to you that way, you are one of the called ones.

I.  Who calls?  Answer = a divine call .... ie:  God calls.  "The call" is attributed to God(Father)  Christ (Son)  Holy Spirit  (all the same).  If you are a believer, you are one because God called you.

Note:  may receive the call through another - example Pentecost sermon:  call from Peter?  or from God?
         clearly = God calling.
Not one would have thought the calling was from Peter.

II.  How does He call?
A)  divinely - as only God can - world of difference between the Holy Spirit working in a heart, vs. response to a moving sermon, song, emotions, etc.
B)  uniquely - ie:  as He chooses .. to work with you!!
C)  personally - ie:  w/you as an individual!!  He knows you individually.  Don't measure your call by someone else's call.

Note:  the calling is usually a combination of:  external (the revealed Word) - Rom. 10:13-14, 17
                                                             and  internal (Holy Spirit) - can't prove the call 100% - we walk by faith, not by sight.
About the call:  #1)  this I know   and #2)  this I believe about what I know.

III.  To what does He call us?
repent?  salvation?  reconciliation?  discipleship?  service?  office?  task?

Generic and most important (fundamental)
#1.  to Himself - Acts 2:39
#2.  to His Son - Rom. 1:6 - called to belong to Jesus Christ
#3.  to Sainthood/holy living - Rom. 1:7,   1 Cor. 1:2,   2 Tim. 1:9

Holy living includes:  a call TO and a call FROM - 180degrees/repent - so, --> Eph. 4:1 - live a life worthy of the calling He has given

IV.  Why does He call us?
1)  He loves/values/desires us - John 3:16
2)  redemption/reconciliation is found only in Him - John 17:3

V.  Who does He call?  (all?  the elect?)
Here's what's clear....
A.)  most of you know you've been called
B)  some of you know you're being called
C)  a few are denying, avoiding, ignoring the call
D)  some have not yet received the call? 

Note:  the calling is more than a request and less than a summons (demand) - somewhere between the two.
= 1)  urgent invitation &  passionate appeal and
   2)  an incredible privilege - Heb. 9:15 (a)

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Christian Hope

Rev. 21:1-5

"Christian" hope = our hope of salvation, eternal life, heaven, Lord's return, etc.

Question:  How does this differ from other people's hope?
Answer:  Christian hope is:
#1.  expectation - in the Greek, the word hope was expectation, not wishful thinking like it has become in English.  Hope was neutral - could be good or evil.  Could be used as  "I hope a tornado comes" meaning, I EXPECT a tornado to come, as easily as "I hope my husband comes home from work" meaning, I EXPECT my husband to come home from work.

#2.  joyous anticipation - in New Testament - hope always used as joyous anticipation.

#3.  Based on God's Word - Especially on the Revelation of Jesus Christ, and finally on the revelation of the Resurrection.  We believe that God chose to reveal Himself to our world, our society.

Contrast the Basis of non- Christian's hope ---- NOTHING.
Example:  When a non-Christian's loved one dies - figure that this loved one is OK.  Based on what????
Based on NOTHING but just own expectation.

So compare:  Job 8:13-15, 11:20, 27:8  Prov. 11:7 - false hope comes to nothing.

In Dante's Inferno - sign over the gate of hell:  "Abandon all hope ye who enter here".  Whatever you hoped in is GONE!!!!

Christian hope is not just another wish as others have.

NOTE:  technically, our Hope is in God, not in the things He has promised us!!   We don't trust the things we receive, Psalms 25:5, 39:7, 71:5
AND in His Son --- 1 Tim. 1:1, 1 Tim. 4:9-10,
Summary:  1 Pet. 1:20-21

So, what does this hope include?
                      2)  heaven/eternal glory - Jesus said this is part of your inheritance
                      3)  the Lord's return - - establishment of His rule/Kingdom (so.... righteousness, justice, etc.)
                      4)  the Resurrection of the Body}        1 Thess. 4:13-18
                      5)  the Reunion of the Saints      }
                      6)  The Redemption of Creation - Rom. 8:18-23

All this = the Christian Hope = great expectation beyond the grave.

So..... on one hand, we have hope beyond the grave!
          on the other hand, in Christ, we have hope this side of the grave as well!!!
Rom. 8:28 - all things God works.....   Rom. 8:31-32
Point = trust Him with today, tomorrow, next week, etc. - faith & confidence is in a Person - not in our plans.

So Above = what does this 'hope' include?

Now...... what does this 'hope' accomplish?

1)  confidence
2) courage - example:  martyrs
3)  strength - Isa. 40:30-31
4)  endurance - 1 Thess.1:3   Heb. 6:19
5)  joy .... in face of adversity - examples:  martyrs/their families
6)  renewal - Psalm 42:5, 62:5
7)  boldness - 2 Cor. 3:12
8)  SALVATION - Rom. 8:24 (a)

What it does accomplish = largely up to you!!
(Hope = offered and partly instilled, BUT you must choose to embrace it!! and employ it!!)


1)  Know the hope that is offered - Eph. 1:18
2)  Receive the hope that is offered - Col. 1:23
3)  Hold to the hope you've received - Heb. 10:23
4)  Share the hope you've been given - 1 Pet. 3:15

Everyone has hope, BUT what is it based on???  People are dying without hope or with false hope!!