Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Christian Journey - The Opposition

Series:  The Christian Journey - from spiritual birth to death.
Have already discussed The Call - The Walk - The Responsibility

As you travel the Journey, you'll encounter obstacles - could be financial, relational, etc.  (compare to any journey!)  BUT you'll also encounter - OPPOSITION.

Difference?  Opposition = planning, alive, active, personal, intentional
                   Obstacles don't plan, devise, conjure ways to hinder, oppose impede, defeat

3 (primary) forms of OPPOSITION:  - opposing forces
Satan               Self             Society

#1.  Satan - powerful, evil being who opposes God, etc.  from Gen. 3:1 --> Rev. 12:17 (+ his minions)
Now have living opposition to the journey.  As we make this journey - can expect opposition.

#2.  Self - (or sin/or sin nature) - Gen. 4:6-7   PROBLEM!!  This is MORE than external.  Rom. 7:15, 7:17-21.  This is in the heart!

#3.  Society - Biblical word = "world" - 1 John 2:15-17.
Not talking about creation - are obstacles here but not opposing
This is the current world view - the spirit of the time, current philosophy, the social climate, dominant ideals, beliefs - that stand opposite to AND in opposition to God (His Word, will, design, intent)
The people are not the enemies.  The viewpoint is.

In light of OPPOSITION, how do we stand?  how do we Progress?

#1.  Be Aware (informed) - you won't stand against what you don't believe s there!

#2.  Be Alert - on guard - 1 Pet. 5:8   compare Jesus' words - "watch out, be on guard, take heed, be careful"

#3.  Take Charge (of your life) - 1 Pet. 5:8 - "self-controlled" vs. controlled by Satan, Self, Society
Can compare to being controlled by alcohol, drugs, tobacco, food, pornography -When you find out you can't quit easily, your are not really in control.

Compare following verses:  Rom. 6:11 - "control self" - KJV = reckon
                                          Rom. 6:12 - "do not let (allow)...."
                                          Rom. 6:13 - "do not offer ..."
Summary point = Rom. 6:14 - you choose
These concepts are easy to comprehend!  Very difficult to execute!! -  Nevertheless = Biblical Remedy!
There is NO other way!

#4.  Renew Your Mind - Rom. 12:2
ie:  form/ re-form, trans-form your opinions, values, philosophy - re-do, re-new your mind, thinking process

HOW??  (partly) by exposure to and adherence to God's Word!!

#5.  Stand Firm - 1 Pet. 5:8-9 - "in the faith"!!  Makes a difference WHERE you stand firm!!
Compare:  1 Cor. 15:58 - stand firm, let nothing move you.

#6.  REPEAT - many times.  Considering Gen. 3:1 through Revelation, why are we surprised when we have opposition.

Col. 2:6-7 - in KJV - "as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord so walk ye in Him"

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Christian Journey - the Responsibility

Series = The Christian Journey.
Part 1 - The Call - (Divine summons)  may be more than one call throughout walk
Part 2 = The Walk - according to the faith

A Major New Testament theme - "you are called, privileged, blessed ... and with the privilege comes GREAT RESPONSIBILITY! 

Eph. 2:8-10 - "created... to do good works" - God has prepared for us to do.
1 Pet. 1:1-2 - "chosen FOR Obedience" - we are called to obey
1 Pet. 2:9 - "chosen TO declare" - you are to share with others
John 15:16 - "...fruit that will last."  - had the privilege of being chosen

Also - Luke 12:48 - "...from everyone who has been given..."
paraphrase - "much given, much required".  "With great power comes great responsibility" - quote by Spider Man

Eph. 4:1 (hinge verse) - (chapters 4-6)
"therefore, this is how you are to: conduct yourself, treat others, relate and respond to others
OR... more specifically  Chapters 5 & 6)
This is your responsibility to:  your spouse
                                            your children
                                            your parents
                                            your master  (employer)
                                           your slave (employee)

Because:  with Great Privilege Comes Great Responsibility

The Word "Responsibility" - has broad connotations.  (there is much implied, suggested)

Responsibility means:
#1.  Duty - (obligation/a charge)  = more than expectation, less than demand - Example:  giving someone the responsibility to close up the church.

#2.  Oughtness (rightness/what is proper/appropriate/ethically correct.
Example:  "Responsibility to pay your debts"

#3.  Burden - (weight/pressure/load) - Not necessarily great weight, nevertheless, additional weight.
Contrast:  "request to pick up the litter" - ie. trash from meal, outside doings, etc.  with
               "request to pick up the litter" - that consists of $100 bills scattered all over the yard.  That's something you would be ecstatic to do - that's NOT a burden
#4.  Ability - example:  Response-ability - (have the means, the wherewithal).    When we give someone the responsibility, we assume they have the ability.  God gives us what we are able to do.

#5.  A trust  (custody/guardianship/oversight)
#6.  Accountability ( an accounting, answering, judgment) ie:  how did you handle your Responsibility?

No wonder I don't like Responsibility!!!

BUT... the moral life/ the moral Law calls, urges, insists that I accept Responsibility!!!
Everyone feels some sense of this, but
the Christian life even more so!!!  Because "to whom much is given, much is required"

Now... we go back and add Biblical View to these implications.

All people feel a sense of responsibility - with few exceptions.

#1.  Duty - (obligation/charge) - "feed my sheep - Peter could have refused, but would not have become the Peter we know as "The Rock"
Compare:  Rom. 1:14-15 - Greek word for "duty/debt" = same word
Point:  this Responsibility = a) accepted obligation
                                         b) self-imposed obligation 

#2.  Oughtness (rightness) - "am I my brother's keeper?" - Answer = ought to be!!
Christian life should be a life of rightness/oughtness!! - ethically correct & proper, you know what's right!!!   

#3.  Burden (weight/load) - Gal. 6:2

#4.  Ability - Response-Ability - God will never call us to a responsibility that He does not give the ability to do.
Example:  Paul's thorn in the flesh - "my grace is sufficient for you"

#5.  A trust - Matt. 25:14 - He entrusts and trusts us to do and take care of.
        Christian Responsibility is defined by TWO Biblical concepts:
                 A)  LORDship (of Christ)
                 B)  Stewardship (of possessions)
(in His absence; determine by His Word - His last instruction).  Responsibility is to Jesus - Stewardship - doesn't matter if we hear from Him or not.  

#6.  Accountability - Matt. 25:19 - what have you done and not done
Note:  the accounting doesn't have to be all negative - "judgment"
          Positive side = REWARD!! - Col. 3:23-24 - as working for the Lord

Does Christian Responsibility seem overwhelming?  - Matt. 11:28-30

So:  1 Cor. 15:58 - your labor is not in vain