Sunday, August 18, 2019

Big Words -- Bigger Concepts

Rom. 1 - Gentiles received some light and rejected it.  Therefore are "without excuse"

Rom. 2 & 3 - Jews received much light and juggled it, misapplied, mishandled it --- therefore, are without excuse"

Which leads to BAD NEWS!!  Rom. 3:23
But, there is also Good News!  Rom. 3:24 - all are capable of being justified

Expanded version:  Rom. 3:20-26 - primary text

Paul uses Big words and Bigger concepts!!  Example = in the text:  righteous, righteousness, justify, justification, redemption, atonement, propitiation

So:  terms defined with (1) bridge illustration  (2)  Bible - lev. 16:6-10, 15-16, 20-22

This = Foreshadow:  a vague, partial picture of that which is  to come!
These goats, this ritual (sacrifice) did not remove sin!!!  Heb. 10:3-4

This ritual/ sacrifice/ goats ... pictured  (portrayed, foreshadowed) the act that WOULD remove sin!!

Today:  look at Big Words and Concepts Paul uses that are illustrated by the Bridge illustration and scapegoat.

#1.  Substitution  (substitutionary sacrifice)  - goats for Israel   Christ for us

#2.  Propitiation/ Atonement  (interchangeable)  to Cover  therefore Satisfy therefore deflect consequences.
Example:  = cover your debt, satisfies obligation, deflects consequences
Rom. 3:25   1 John 2:2
(Hebrew = Kipur  where they get Yom Kipper - Day of Atonement)

#3.  Expiation - "ex" out of, removal - hence -- SCAPEGOAT  - 1 Pet. 2:24

#4.  Redemption  (Ransom)
payment for deliverance from bondage to sin.  Example:  in a kidnapping - pay a ransom to win freedom of on kidnapped
1 Tim. 2:5-6   Matt. 20:28

#5.  Justification (legal term)
payment made, now justified
just demands of the law now met... on one hand known to have been guilty, however now not viewed (treated) as guilty!  Rom. 3:23-24, 26  - back in right standing

#6.  Righteousness = right standing, ability to stand at ease!  (Old English "right wise" - compare to "crosswise")  Rom. 3:21-22

#7.  Reconciliation = restore to proper relationship (in agreement, in harmony) -Rom. 5:1-2, 11

ie:  to be rescued from, delivered from  - example:  "saved by the bell"

What is the Christina saved from?  Matt. 1:21
(primarily) the Consequences of sin!!!  - 1 Thess. 1:10 - rescues us from the righteous anger of God

So:  substitution
    + propitiation
    + expiation
    + redemption
    + justification
    + righteousness
    + reconciliation___

Is this "salvation by sacrifice?"
on one hand, "yes ---His sacrifice makes all this AVAILABLE!!

However, (technically and practically) Salvation is by FAITH in His Sacrifice!!
examples:  cross the bridge, bend the knee, bow before, make Him Lord, etc)

"BY GRACE ................ THROUGH FAITH!!"
Example of what Paul calls "the foolishness of the cross"!!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Everyman's Gospel

Last week = Paul's charge to Rome's pagan society!
Those who rejected God's revelation, God's will - Rom. 1:18-20  - (they received some light from God but refused it = "without excuse"  They rejected the light they had been given.

This Week:  Romans chapter 2 - Paul addresses Rome's Jewish community.
Look how he begins :  Rom. 2:1 - "without excuse"
Have rejected God's will in an internal sense.

So:  On one hand, pagans received some light -- (general revelation) but refused it, therefore subject to God's wrath!  (ie:  righteous anger)

However, Jews received much light (special revelation, scripture).  They received it but did not practice it internally - therefore subject to God's wrath!  (ie:  righteous anger)

Paul's Point:  Rom. 3:23 - all sin, are separated, need a Savior - not just the pagan gentiles

So:  Paul's words to Jewish community:
Rom. 2:1-24, 28-29, 3:1-4, 9, 19-20

He's talking about the attitude toward God's word.  Vs. 11:  God doesn't prefer Jews over Gentiles

Now a closer look:

I.)  1st. Century pagan - received some light (general revelation) yet rejects God's word and will.  Therefore, without excuse and subject to wrath  (righteous anger)

II.  1st. Century Jew - received much light (Old Testament Scripture) yet found ways to manipulate that revelation - example:  Matt. 15:1-9.
Therefore, without excuse and subject to wrath  (righteous anger)

Question:  Any application for us today???

III.  21st Century Neo-pagan (new pagan - return to pagan thinking, worshiping nature rather than God, etc.)  They (likewise) received some light, BUT rejects, refuses it ... therefore without excuse, subject to God's wrath (righteous anger)

IV.  21st. Century Cultural Christian - (goes to church once in a while, maybe at Easter or Christmas, attends church weddings, is not Hindu or Jew or Muslim, so must be Christian.)    Has been exposed to much light!  (went to Sunday School, VBS, lives "good" life)  BUT picks and chooses from Scripture, ignores that which is inconvenient, etc.
Therefore, without excuse and subject to wrath  (righteous anger)

CONCLUSION:  Rom. 3:23   - That's BAD NEWS!!!

Question:  Why is Paul so passionate, emphatic, insistent about BAD NEWS???

Some reasons:

(1)  Sin Separates  - example:  Bridge Illustration
which places man in position of condemnation. - John 3:18
Which is NOT God's desire - John 3:16-17, 2 Pet. 3:9

(2)  Sin incurs God's wrath - (ie Righteous Anger!!)
Wrath may be Passive                 active               Future
                  (backs away)       (intervenes)         (final judgment)

Note:  sin doesn't always lead to immediate wicked behavior  Rather ... SIN leads to distorted thinking which leads to wicked behavior.
Example:  Adam and Eve - Romans 1
This is why repentance, conversion is more than a change of action, behavior.  It = change of MIND!!

(3)  Sin is universal - Rom. 3:23 - 1 John 1:8

(4)  Unless and Until man sees his sin, he will not address it as sin!!  Example:  Step #1 of AA?  - admit you have a problem)

(5)  the Holy Spirit uses the proclamation of sin to convince(convict) man of sin.  example:  Acts 2:37.
Rom. 10:14

So.... Paul IS passionate about the BAD NEWS.
BUT ... even more passionate about the GOOD NEWS!! - Rom. 3:21-27

One issue within the church today - the emphasis/proclamation of the GOOD NEWS ... (loving God)
with out proclamation and explanation of the BAD NEWS!!! - separation, wrath!

Focus = Love  (agape).  Mercy - compassion - forgiveness

without righteousness, justice, judgment, wrath

The cross proclaims BOTH!!

The proclamation of one is incomplete without the other!!

This doesn't mean we should exclude Love, doesn't mean should move away from Love.
BUT should present His live within the proper framework of Everyman's Gospel

Closing Scripture:  Eph. 3:16-21

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Romans 1: 18-32

Book of Romans - condensed:  "Paul, an Apostle, concerning the gospel (good news! - evangelical witness) of Jesus Christ."

The Good News = you can be right with God (ie:  in right standing; able to stand "at ease" in His Presence - won't be condemned)

BUT ... it's preceded by the BAD NEWS!!  ie:  (until you come to God through His Son, Jesus Christ.....) you are NOT in good standing with God!!!
Illustration:  the Ugly Pill.   Fellow says to his friend,  Good news!  We have discovered a pill that will cure ALL the uglies no matter what.   The bad news is that you need this pill!!!
This is why the gospel is so offensive!

Romans Chapter 1, verses 18-32 = the BAD NEWS!!
Is a lot of heavy content therein!  So..... before reading it, will define some terms!!

(1)  Righteousness = able to stand "at ease" in His Presence.  Talking about our righteousness here.  God's righteousness = He is always right, all the time.
Two types of righteousness - (a) Positional righteousness = in right position with God
                                            (b) Practical righteousness = practice of right living

(2)  Sin = any transgression of God's law, or any lack of conformity to God's law.  (commission & omission)

(3) Wrath of God = Anger!!  emotional response to evil and injustice.
it = righteous anger - always
it = settled (or studied) anger  (not sudden) - rational, reasonable, thought out.

Also note:  Active wrath  (in anger He intervenes)
             w/ Passive wrath (in anger He withdraws) - We see this passive anger in this passage

(4)  Revelation  = two types:  general revelation - general in scope and content - given to all people
                                             special (specific) revelation - available in scripture.  Example:  Christ's substitutionary death.  Would not get that from general revelation.

(5)  Free Will - which = on one hand, the freedom to choose, however is NOT freedom to choose without consequences.  Choices have consequences.

(6)  Progressive Depravity - ie:  moral corruption in a downward spiral

Text:  Rom. 1:16-32

  • Rom. 1:18 - present tense; wrath not primarily against men, but against the godlessness and wickedness that men do;  suppression - holding down with force something that will pop back to surface if released.
  • Rom. 1:27 - current wrath;  punishment for sin is sin itself.  (continued downward spiral)


  • 1.  God takes sin seriously  
  • 2.  A just God deals with sin .... justly!!  But,
  • Mercy is also available!  
The most vivid display of God's righteous anger against sin = The CROSS!! - Matt. 27:45-46

The clearest demonstration of God's love and concern for His creation = The CROSS!! - Rom. 5:8-9

Put love and justice together --> 2 Cor. 5:21
(it's fitting that the symbol = CROSS - where love and justice meet!!)

"Good news" - labored over the next 8 chapters, but, we must be convinced of our "lostness".  1 Pet. 3:18

Are 2 paths available:  (1)  Justice  (which = wrath) - take your chances with God.  Get what's coming to you.

  or (2)  Mercy --- you choose!!  

Closing Scripture:  Rom. 8:12-14

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Romans: 2nd. Introduction

Last week - Introduction to Romans - Rom. 1:1-7 in a nutshell - "Paul, an Apostle, to the church at Rome .... concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ"

Question:  Why study a letter to a specific people group 2,000 years ago?

Answer:  Because:
 #1 - the letter has universal application!!  - it could have read:  ".... to the church @ Octavia"
And, #2.  DOCTRINE MATTERS  - What we practice (how we behave) must be based on truth.

So, the 2nd. Introduction.  Rom. 1:8-17
Paul hopes to visit Rome (and will in chains!  Acts 28)
He hopes to accomplish:
(1) fresh harvest - (non-Christian to Christian ratio at this time, 100 AD = 360:1)
No Apostle had ever been to Rome at this time.
(2)  Spiritual edification  = build up!!  Most of these letters written to churches!
(3)  mutual encouragement  ie:  to bless and BE blessed by

So Paul says ..... I am.... (1)  obligated - ie.  by Christ!!!
                                      (2)  eager   BUT!!  (approaches with fear and trembling) 1 Cor. 2:3
                                      (3)  unashamed .....then and now!!                                   

Because  the Gospel is  (1)  The Power of God
                                    (2)  for salvation  (to effect)
                                    (3)  to all who believe  
Rom. 10:9-10,  John 14:6

How can a story effect salvation and transformation??

Answer:  Rom. 1:17  (abbreviated)  "the gospel reveals a righteousness from God that is by faith"

This Righteousness is right standing (relationship) before God
ie:  the ability to stand at ease in His Presence - Rev. 1:17

This Righteousness comes from God  
This is more than words, outward actions ... Matt. 7:21-23

AND .. The Gospel reveals all this!   (makes it known!)

Example:  Bridge Illustration:
1.  Right Standing - (in His presence, at ease)
2.  from God - He built the bridge
3.  Obtained ... by faith = CROSSING!!  Believing is not faith!
4.  Revealed in the Gospel!  Hands, heart, head - all together

This gospel has been the power of transformation in billions of people.

Closing Scripture:

Monday, July 22, 2019

Introduction to Romans

Paul - to the church @ Rome
which = (a) mix of Jewish and Gentile believers
            (b)  founded by unknown persons.  Paul had never visited Rome, no apostle had visited Rome at this time, but the church was well established.

Letter was written ... approximately 56 - 58 AD = 25 yrs. after the Resurrection  (Paul had been preaching less than 20 years)

On one hand, though Paul never visited Rome, he knew people in the church - Rom. 16:1-10  (29 names listed in this chapter)

So, the church had trusted friends, solid believers, competent leaders, but had no Apostle or trainee of an Apostle  (examples:  Timothy, Titus - trained by Paul)

So.. While Paul was concerned for their Practice (behavior), he was MORE concerned with their Doctrine (beliefs!)

Why??  Because Christianity is NOT BUILT on Practice, but BUILT on Doctrine/Beliefs/TRUTHS!!!

So - Romans = heavy on doctrine because DOCTRINE MATTERS.  Without proper foundation, a building will NOT STAND!!  Romans deals with fundamental, primary views of the Christian faith.
Example:  ancient builders - Roman library - 6' wide 11' deep - building is gone, foundation is still there.

The Christian view - doctrine = this is what we believe.  Therefore, this is how we should behave (practice)

So Paul for example:  spiritual foundations - Matt. 16:18,  Essential beliefs, eternal truths!!  1 Cor. 3:10-11

Chapters 1 - 11 = Doctrine.  Then Application/Practice - Chapters 12-16

Rom: 1:1-7 - (we often skim the introduction to a book, but here = good material.

Vs. 1 - Paul = willing servant - by choice hence loyalty, service
                      called - by God - to ministry
                      set apart FOR the Gospel (from godspel = good tale, good story)

Vs. 2 this gospel =
           promised by God
           revealed through prophets
           recorded in Scripture
Point:  this was not new!!  Was now brought to fullness in and by Jesus Christ!
The Roman Christians didn't have the New Testament - built on what was written down by the prophets

Vs. 3  This gospel is "regarding His Son".
There Is NO Biblical Gospel apart from Christ!! - John 14:6

Vs. 4(a)  Who (Jesus) on one hand was Son of Davis (human and qualified to be Messiah)
However, was Son of God through the Spirit of Holiness  (therefore qualified to be the substitute sacrifice!)
HOW BOTH??  - don't know but Col. 2:9

Vs. 4(b)  who is clearly shown to be God's Son .. By the Resurrection!!!  Jesus Christ overcame death, defeated death.  Was a sign that He was who He said He was.
This = unique claim of Christianity - founder is still alive.  No other religion can make this claim!!

Vs. 5  Apostolic task includes:
           Call people
           to obedience born of faith
Christianity IS a religion of works!!  BUT - works = born of faith!!!!  Don't obtain salvation by works!!!
Eph. 2:8-10

Vs. 6 - you are among the called
Vs. 7 - you are called to be saints
In Rome then.  In Octavia now!!
Paul wrote to the Romans but through the Holy Spirit wrote to us today.

Closing Scripture:  Rom.12:1-2

Sunday, June 30, 2019

God & Country - A Biblical View

Definition:  blending Faith and Patriotism - honor or nation AND the God who gave it.
The people putting this together had high recognition that God had a mighty hand in establishing the nation.

Biblical examples.... of men who qualified as patriots.

#1.  Jeremiah - preached destruction under 5 kings for 40 years!! - condemnation by the hand of God.
Jer. 5:26-31, 19:7-9  Not a popular message.
But known as "the weeping prophet" - which led to him writing Lamentations.  He wept over his people and his nation.

#2.  Ezekiel - preaches the message of Jeremiah's letter to the people exiled in Babylon.
Jer. 29:4-7 - deported into Babylon.  Ezekiel - not popular either.

#3.  Daniel (carried away in the first exile) - served Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, & Darius as a favored advisor, yet  ... Dan. 6:10, 9:1-3 - patriot of Israel

#4. Nehemiah - faithful servant of Persian King Artaxerxes - (100 years after the return) - Neh. 1:1-4, 2:4-6 - don't know if he'd ever been to Jerusalem

#5.  Jesus - Matt. 23:37-38, 24:1-2 - total desolation 35 years later

#6.  Apostle Paul - Apostle to Gentiles!!  - Rom. 9:1-5, 10:1

These men shared some common national views ... that serve as Biblical models for us.

(1)  They loved their nation - (why did Jeremiah weep??)
(2)  They sought the good of their nation -
which = why in every instance = "return to the LORD"
Additional:  they loved enough to give back - most of these men died martyrs.
Example:  Declaration of Independence signers:
56 signatures - their fate?
5 captured and executed as traitors
12 had their homes ransacked and burned
 2 lost sons in the colonial army
 9 of the 56 fought and died of wounds or hardships of the war
several others lost their businesses and personal holdings to the British Army
Francis Lewis saw his wife jailed for being married to a patriot - she died in that jail
Thomas Nelson authorized the shelling of his own home - which was occupied by British as a headquarters
Carter Braxton lost his shipping fleet to British navy.
British soldiers looted the property(s) of at least 8 others.
Point =  they sought the good of the nation at their own expense.

Example:  statement by JFK - "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country"

BUT  (3)  they put God before their nation
   (a)  the nation is NOT the Lord    (b)  the nation is temporary!
Phil. 3:20, 1 Pet. 1:3-4

(4)  they recognized the sins of their nation AND owned selves as part of the problem!!  Dan. 9:4-8

(5)  They believed God would RIGHTLY judge their nation - whether judgment = blessings or curses ... it'll be RIGHT!!

(6)  They believed in God's good will toward their nation - in fact ... toward ALL nations!!  Jonah 4:1-3

and so... John 3:16-17, 1 Tim. 2:1-4 - this is the heart of God.

(7)  They believed God would not abandon their nation  (His people)  Jer. 29:10-14
short range pessimist / long range optimist

put together ... (8)  they always held forth HOPE for their nation.  Lam. 3:19-24  The prophets never ended on gloom and doom, but on hope!

How can I make a difference?  I'm not a prophet - statesman - wealthy - influential ... only a drop in the bucket!!

On one hand - you may be only a drip, however, you are called to be a Faithful drip!!  Do what God calls you to do - drips accumulate and make a difference when all together.

Closing Scripture:  Matt. 5:13-16

Monday, June 24, 2019

Biblical Guidelines for a Prospering Nation

Opening introduction:

Article written by Donald S. Lutz and Charles S. Hyneman - published in American Political Science Review - 1984 - "The Relative Influence of European Writers on Late 18th. Century American Political Thought"/

15,000 writings were reviewed of the era between 1760 and 1805.
Of those they selected 916 previously published items for their research.  (books, newspaper articles, pamphlets, etc.)

Then they counted citations (reference made to previously published works) within these writings as a means of measuring the influences upon our Founding Fathers (as they hammered out constitution for this new-found nations - the United States of America.

Of 3,154 citations found in these 916 publications, 34% were quotes from the Bible!!!  - Apostle Paul was most quoted.

"...the Biblical tradition is most prominent among the citations .... It is relevant ... to note the prominence of Biblical sources for American political thought, since it was highly influential in our political tradition and is not always given the attention it deserves."

Question:  What book of the Bible most often quoted?  Answer:  Deuteronomy.
Why?  note the (1) historical setting, and therefore, (2) the content and (3) parallels

Question:  IF the bible was relevant to the colonials in late 18th. century (ie: in developing our constitution)
THEN is it relevant to us in early 21st century?

11 years ago, preached a sermon entitled "Biblical Guidelines for an Aspiring Nation."
Better = "Biblical Guidelines for a prospering Nation"

Because, the words, instructions, warnings are (mostly) for once they are IN the land ... settled, prospering....  Deut. 8:10

On one hand, we recognize America = a prospering nation
However, also fear it = a faltering nation!!

So, (as approach our 243rd birthday) - lets looks at some
"Biblical Guidelines for a Prospering Nation"

Note:  this is not a message to the nation.  Rather = a message to individual citizens of the nation!!
Because - a _________ nation is made of __________ people!  (fill in the blanks with the same word)

So.... (1)  the setting of Deuteronomy
         (2)  the parallels to the colonies  (& to us!)
         (3)  the text - Deut. 4:1-2, 5-6, 9
                              Deut. 8:1-20
God's will is never done corporately until it is done individually first.


#1.  Be Reasonable - Deut. 8:17-18
our prosperity = result of ..._____?

#2.  Be Thankful - Deut. 8:10
Example:  saying grace at meals - is not necessary, but is appropriate - Psm. 50:23

#3.  Be Careful - Deut. 8:11-14
Be careful to (A) remember  (16 times in Deuteronomy, 166 times in scripture)
                    (B) not FORGET
(prosperity tends to pride ... which = forget Him and focus on ME) - not good for us, not good for the nations.

#4.  Be Wise - Deut. 30:11-16, 19
wisdom is more than knowledge = practical application of Knowledge!  (which = relationship with God through Christ)
Biblical wisdom is using knowledge in a wise way!

#5.  Be Instructive - Deut. 4:9, 6:4-9
IF national blessings = result of following God,
then why are we not more vocal about the need to follow God.   The Jews were supposed to be a mouthpiece for God.

#6.  Be Evangelical - Deut. 4:6
Israel's calling included making God known therefore drawing people to Him
The church's calling includes making God known.... through Christ and the Cross

#7.  Be Faithful (to keep what He instructs)  - Deut. 8:6 - "observe" - this means more than stand and watch!!
Examples:  holy days, festivals, rituals = FOR the people (not for God).  When a people neglect, ignore God's institutions .. that people will suffer loss!!  Example = church.  Christ died for the church!  Is His bride!!!

The audience = common folks!  Believers who want God's blessings on themselves, their children, their neighbors, their nation!!!

The choice/decision we (like they) must decide how we will respond to:
(1) these vast blessings and
(2) the God who provides them.

This can be a corporate, national choice ONLY if it is 1st. an individual choice!!!
Because ... a ___________ nation is made of __________ people!!

Close w/Jesus' words - John 13:17

Closing Scripture:  2 Chron. 7:13-14

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Biblical Submission and the Christian Family

Ephesians = typical Pauline - ie:  Theology AND Application

So:  Eph. 1:1 - addressed "to the saints".
Then - Chap. 1-3 - the Theological foundation for Christian life
followed by Chap. 4-6 - the Application, Lifestyle, and Practice

Eph. 5:21-6:9 = Classic passage on Christian Family 
Address:  Wives, husbands, children, fathers, slaves, masters  (ie:  a Christian household)

This passage = many issues but has a COMMON theme!!!   SUBMISSION

Most often noted and quoted scripture = Eph. 5:22
Usually overlooked = (1)  this = POINT of the entire passage!
                                 (2)  it Applies to all family members!!

Before looking at the passage, look at Biblical view of submission.   (We have developed a cultural description of submission, not a Biblical one)

The word in the Greek is:  hupotasso = military term/ to rank under

We are familiar with this in, for example, the military, workplace, etc.
here Paul applies it to the Family  (household)

BUT ..... a big difference!!!
(1)  This is talking about a Family!!  Not military, workplace, etc.
(2)  = Christian Family - instruction for them
(3) = Biblical View of Submission!!!  ie:  God's view  (not the world's, society's, culture's)
On one hand, it's the same word and are many legitimate parallels 
However, Christian understanding and application will be different and enhanced  (compare the many forms of love with Agape love (God's love)
Phileo = brotherly love
Stergo = love for family
Eros = passionate love
Agape = love of God
When translated into English,  all the same word - LOVE - but in the Greek were different.

So ... SECULAR (world's view)  Vs. BIBLICAL (God's view)

(1)  Secular man measures status by how little he must submit.  Less means he's higher up in the rank,
Biblical view measures status (of a man) by how much he is willing to submit!!   Mark 10:42-45

(2)  Secular submission (typically) is compulsory, imposed upon us
Biblical view = self imposed, voluntary - John 10:17-18 - you take that position.  Example = Christ
Eph. text ... is:   Never  "subject another..."  Always "submit yourself"

(3)  Secular submission (typically) is motivated by self - interest.  (ie:  "I submit because it's best for me!!)
Biblical Submission = I submit because it's better for others!!
Rom. 15:1-2

(4)  Biblical Submission is not merely to a person (officer) BUT to a role, calling, responsibility  (a ministry!)
Example:  Jesus to Peter - "feed my sheep, nurture my lambs" = Submit self ... to ME, to Role, to Flock
So,  1 Pet. 5:1-4 - hence --> 1 Pet. 5:5

(5)  Secular view - "leadership and submission is contrary to one another"
Biblical view - "leadership and submission = complementary to one another!!
Biblical view says the greatest leaders are those who would submit to those they lead.

(6)  Secular submission seldom acts silently.  (either (1) protests  or (2)  flaunts the sacrifice)
Contrast Christ:  "silent before accusers"
1 Pet. 2:21 - "to this you are called!"

(7)  Biblical submission is more than action, = ATTITUDE!!  - Phil. 2:5-7

Some Observations:

Chaos was born from a refusal to submit!  - (Satan and demons refused to submit to God)

The Fall occurred when man refused to submit  (Adam and Eve and to us)

Therefore, Redemption = result of willing submission.  OF Christ ... to the Father, to His role, to the Cross!!

Personal Salvation = available ONLY to those who will voluntarily submit to Christ (to grace) etc, etc, etc.

In light of this (and much, much more!)
How is it...???
That something as fundamental, necessary, valuable, honorable, laudable as Submission can fall into such disfavor with man?
TO the point that it is considered and Inferior action and a BAD word!!!!!

ANSWER = We (mainly Americans and even some Christians) have fallen for AND Embraced the world's view.  (a secular view) of submission.... AND Rejected God's View!!!
NOTE:  Rom. 12:2

With this in mind, Eph. 5:21-6:9

Summary:  (1)  Submit yourself to Christ
                 (2)  Submit yourself to your family
                 (3)  Submit yourself to YOUR ROLE within the family
Prov. 14:1

Closing Scripture:  Prov. 8:1-6

Friday, June 7, 2019

Children: A Blessing From the Lord

Differing views regarding children.

Christian's view developed around Scripture.
Biblical view = "Children are a blessing from the Lord"
Psm. 127:3-5, Gen. 1:28 - part of blessing for creation = children
Mark 10:13-16 - Example:  picture of Jesus with the children

On one hand, Bible presents children as a Blessing.  However, Biblical writers were NOT ignorant of the BURDEN.
They have many needs:  (physical, psychological, spiritual)
At least are intrusive, demanding.
At worst = tyrannical!!  -  (if don't believe that, sign up for nursery duty!!)

They are the source of great joy!!  However, also source of great grief, sorrow, disappointment, heartache
Examples:  Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Samson, Absalom

Nevertheless, in spite of the burdens, the Biblical message remains:
"Children are a blessing from the Lord"

Note:  (1)  not just a potential blessing, simply "a blessing"
           (2)  a blessing not just to parents/grandparents - but to US , to community, to society, to mankind!

IF it be true (that children = blessing from the Lord), THEN there are additional Biblical Issues to consider:

I.  Receiving Children 
Reword to "A benefit bestowed (blessing/gift)... by &  from the LORD! - Isa. 29:22-23 - Isaiah's message to Israel as being carried off to Babylon

21st. Century view?  Even a staunch atheist considers a baby - wonder/awe/"miracle"

Application:  to parents (grandparents) - easy!!!
But to non-Parents???  Example:  introducing new babies to the church.   Pleased, proud, because = Gift to US!!

II.  Stewardship:  manager of another's property.
Biblical sense = manager of what God's placed in your care. - New Testament = steward

Biblical Steward = manage - WISELY - FOR the Master.
Non - Parents?  we have also received and been Entrusted  - 1 Cor. 4:2

III.  DISCIPLINE  which = corrective and punitive
But comes from the word Sozo and Phronema (save & mind)
Literally = "Saving the mind"

Now - Heb. 12:5-11
still corrective, punitive, but also formative, developmental, building, training, shaping.  Example:  athlete

(1)  not to love would = ungodly (un-God-like)
                            not to discipline = the same!!!
(2)  NON-Parents ... your punitive options are limited, but your developmental options are not!!

With  issues of Stewardship and development, comes:

IV.  Self-Development - because can't give what don't have  (example:  wisdom)

IF the point = Raise child UP, then I want to be as tall as possible!!!

Also touch on
V.  Success and Failure  
(1)  You will fail sometimes - Rom. 3:23
(2)  You will FEEL like a failure - MANY TIMES!!

Continue to tell 'self what you already know ...
 (1)  raise child for Long Haul!!  (example:  Jacob == Israel)
 (2)  child has free will - NO guarantees!! - Prov. 22:6 - "train up" = general promise)

VI.  The Common Foundation  (where we started the series) - Matt. 7:24-27
Upon this foundation  (1) you build 'self
                        ...       (2)  you (attempt) to establish your children

Closing note:  Matt. 7:28-29 - (with "these words are trustworthy and true")

Application:  if have never built on the Rock, need to do that!!

Closing Scripture:  Prov. 2:1-6

Monday, May 27, 2019

Personal Baggage in Marriage

During counseling sessions, often must distinguish between:
1)  marital problems
2)  personal problems.

(1)  Marital Problems = problems caused by the union/  issues that did not exist prior to the marriage.
Examples:  money management by 2, child discipline, blended family, sexual incompatibility, in-laws

May be gender differences, personal preferences, issues of cooperation.
BUT = common, predictable

(2)  Personal Problems are not problems caused by the union.
Rather = un-resolved issues brought into the union.
Examples:  chauvinism, frigidity, lying & deceitfulness, extreme selfishness, verbal & physical abuse

These cause problems within marriage, but are not caused by the marriage.

Example: what a Combat Vet or POW might bring into marriage.
ie:  anger, violence, stubbornness, fear, suspicion, timidity, withdrawal, fear of intimacy, fear of bonding

These often are hidden, masked, controlled, BUT tend to surface in intimacy of marriage

Some descriptive terms  (to help define this!)

Baggage - because bring in and unpack in marriage.

Personal - because = yours!  Belongs to YOU!!
(will cause problems for spouse, BUT are not spouse's problem!!!)

Emotional - because deep seated feeling, logic resistant, may even be UNTRUE!!  Examples:  anorexia, inferiority complex

Problem - because = Problem!!!!
hinders personal development, damages the relationship.

Origin??  - may be
(1)  inherited - stubbornness, depression, anxiety - fallen people born to fallen people

(2)  learned - example:  kids in foster care system

or (3)  combo of these

Whatever the cause, the outcome = unhealthy FEELINGS which leads to improper ACTIONS which leads to relational TURMOIL

(again) these may be masked during courtship, but will surface in intimacy of marriage!!!

#1.  We ALL have personal baggage  
because = sinners, raised by sinners, in a sinful world.  Rom. 3:23

#2.  emotional baggage comes in all sizes. 
Examples:  handbag to steamer trunk,  termites and tornadoes

#3.  The emotional health of a marriage cannot exceed the emotional health of the individuals in the marriage.    "a __________ marriage is made of __________ people"

#4.  the emotional health of 1 partner cannot (fully) compensate for the emotional baggage of the other.  example:  marital math - a 7 + a 3 does not equal 10  (=5!)

#5.  emotional issues in 1 partner tend to create emotional issues in the other.
Example:  an abusive alcoholic brings down wife.

#6.  emotional issues in the parents tend to create emotional issues in the children.  
Extreme example:  who is most likely to be physically or sexually abusive??  Answer:  the one who was raised in that kind of environment.  Hence:  chains of Baggage!!

Question:  How important is all of this???  (for Christians???)
Matt. 22:36-40

Your emotional health affects
(1) your Personal development
(2) your relationships with others
(3)  your influence, impact on others  (especially your kids!!)

Objection!!  too much psychology!!  Not enough Bible!!
So....... use a Biblical word, term, concept!!

SIN:  any attitude, behavior, response outside of or contrary tto God's will for you.

Distinction!!  having baggage is not necessarily SIN!!  It = the response to the baggage that determines  SIN!! 
Example:  tortured POW,  sex slave - horrible conditions.  How respond in current situations determines.

Unbiblical Responses??
denial, indifference, downplaying, stonewalling, blame transfer, defeatism

Biblical Response?
A)  Examine - James 1:21-25  Heb. 4:12
B)  Admit - 1 John 1:8-9
C)  Repent
D)  Repeat - over and over again, til head and heart are in agreement

May require additional help!! - friend, pastor, counselor, etc.

BUT - 1st. and biggest issue = DECISION - John 5:6

So... who's Boss of your marriage??
        who should it be???
Prov. 14:1

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Family Series: Marital Problems

Example:  Song by the Dixie Cups - 1964 - "Going to the Chapel".
Song = feelings, dreams, hopes, Expectations!!

One one hand the head KNOWS better!
However, the heart won't believe it!!

What happens:  to feelings?  dreams?  Romance?? (ie: within marriage)

#1.  Life - jobs, bills, house to clean, yard to mow, kids, in laws activities, interruptions, illness, aging.....

#2.  Marriage .... the blending of 2 people, lives, souls... with different backgrounds, personalities, ideas, ideals, goals, methods, preferences...

In a Perfect World - would be NO PROBLEM!!!  But, this is NOT a Perfect World!  - fallen world, fallen people.

Hence, the "Buffaloes & Butterflies" series (started in 1989 - 30 years)
Which leads to "Why your hubby is such a clod" and "why your wife is such a witch".

Illustration:  couple at marriage conference several years ago - came up and said "Bro. Ed, my husband is not a clod."  Ed:  "how long have you been married?"  Answer:  "6 months".   3 years later - couple went through painful, horrible divorce with verbal & physical abuse leading up to it.

On one hand, this couple WAS headed into problems (Storms)

However, the outcome was Not pre-determined!!  It could have worked IF Both had learned a few things
and both had applied a few things.

Typically, a couple faces 2 types of problems within marriage:

#1.  Marital Problems - ie:  problems caused by the marriage, by blending 2 people, lives, souls

#2.  Personal Problems  (baggage) problems brought to the marriage.

Today will deal with (typical) marital problems - experienced by all couples!!
Will use the "Buffaloes & Butterflies" as illustration, outline.

Why your hubby is such a clod.....
1)  he's human - Rom. 3:23   Therefore (a) morally flawed and also b physically flawed!!
Example:  spouse that snores.

2)  he is male (female)  decidedly different!!!  - Gen. 1:27

3)  He is ignorant - ie:  unlearned, untrained, un-educated... IN  (a)  opposite sex  (b) marriage

4)  He's forgetful - what comes natural?  without thought?

5)  He's confused - because Buffalo/Butterfly language, logic, etiquette doesn't make sense!!

6)  He's hurt - hurts accumulate, lead to wounds to callouses and scars, and  behavior often = Response, result of that.

REPEAT all of the above with "Why wife is such a witch"!!!

Question:  Is there an Answer?  Remedy?  IF is spiraling downward, can we reverse?

(1)  Human-ness?    (a)  accept the physical flaws.  (b)  address the moral failures!!!  Rom. 6:11-14 (non-responsive to sin, dead to sin)
(Note:  this = SELF Adjustment NOT Spousal adjustment)

(2)  Differences?  Learn to:
(a)  accept the differences  (they are by design!)  Gen. 1:27
(b)  Appreciate the differences!!!
Can you do that!!  - (seems to work when making love!)

(3)  Ignorance?  Offset with education!!!  (books, CDs, DVDs, videos, etc. and communication!!!
ie:  Learn  (a) what spouse needs and craves
     Learn  (b)  to meet those needs!!  - 1 Pet. 3:7

(4)  forgetfulness?  Review to Remember!!
Re-visit, Re assess, Re learn, Re commit.....

(5)  Confusion?  Learn to live with it!!!

(6)  hurts?  (wounds?  scars?)
        (1)  establish good will
        (2)  adjust your behavior - determine NOT to hurt,  determine to Build up!!
        (3)  apologize
        (4)  Forgive
        (5)  Repeat

Relational Advice from Christ --- Rev. 2:5  (to the church at Ephesus)

Touchstone verse:  Prob. 14:1

Monday, May 13, 2019

Building Your Personal Life on a Proper Foundation

House = building.  Home takes people.

Matt. 7:24-27
TEXT= Building your Personal life on Proper foundation  (ie:  the words of Christ and the Person of Christ)

Today: we use it to illustrate building your Family on a proper foundation.
(that is not the text, BUT the principles parallel and = excellent illustration)

The 4 Primary points for today:

#1.  You build your house (home)
on one hand, it is not all your doing, all in your control.  However, you are a builder!!

#2.  Storms will come because that's the world we live in -- fallen world

#3.  Your house will shake - regardless of how well you build!!

#4.  the foundation is critical because without a solid foundation NO building will stand!!!

I.)  IF the house = a home .. THEN You build your house.
  as a youngster.... you inherit a home - can be good, bad, in between
  as an adult --- you must build it!!!!   (can buy a house, must build a home slowly)

(1) nothing of consequence is build without the Lord's assistance --- Psm. 127:1, But we must do our part.
(2)  we don't all have access to the same building material ... (parents, background & raising, education, opportunities, talents, skills & ability, IQ, etc.)

Nevertheless, we are called to:
(1) WORK with what we have
(2)  cooperate with God's grace - 1 Cor. 15:10, Col. 1:28-29, Phil. 2:12-13
God is at work.  We are called to work WITH Him!!  Is no room for passivity, indifference, laziness, etc.

II.)  Storms will come  (regardless of your faith)
      (A)  Natural Storms (sickness, disease, accident, etc) - we live in a fallen world, Christians are not exempt.
     (B)  Man Made Storms  (created by ... spouse, kids, parents, in-laws, etc.)  - We're fallen people
     (C)  Self-made Storms - OFTEN = own worst enemy!!
     (D)  Super natural storms - Eph. 6:12, 1 Pet. 5:8 - Satanic, demonic.  They have a vendetta against Christ and God's kingdom, not you.    95% of the reality of the universe is invisible to us.

III.)  Your house will shake - AND experience damage!!  No matter how well build!!  - 1 Cor. 10:13,
1 Pet. 4:12 - because this is the world we live in.

IV.)  The Foundation is Critical  
The foundation = (A) the teachings of Christ - Matt. 7:24 - it is not something your build, but something your choose 
                      = (B)  The Practice of those teachings - Matt. 7:24, 26, John 13:17 - Church going just gives the knowledge.
                     = (C)  The Person of Christ - Matt. 7:21-23 - Can practice His teachings, but not have Christ.  If you don't have Christ, have missed the essential element.

(1)  You BUILD your house ... with the Lord's assistance
(2) You choose the foundation - you Decide .. (initially and continually)
(3)  Your choice determines your status!!
WISE man???  or FOOLISH man??   Prov. 14:1 - both are builders
Every individual must choose - no guarantee everyone will follow.

Closing Text:  Matt. 7:28-29
"NOT because He was loud, brash, dogmatic, but because He left the impression that He knew what He was talking about!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

The "40 Days" continued

Last week = "the 40 days" - Acts 1:3 - for 40 days between the Resurrection and Pentecost, Christ appeared to various people at various times.
Disciples were to be (1) faithful followers
                                (2)  bold witnesses (in Greek = martyr)
The 40 days helped equip them for that!!!

These appearances:
I)  Increased Confidence in the resurrection.
What if... there had ONLY been the Easter morning appearances?
Important because the Resurrection = the Proof!!  Rom. 1:4  that Jesus is who He said He was.

II.)  Additional Information about the Christian Faith
What questions were asked during this time?  What teachings during the 40 days?
Questions of history and doctrine and practice.
So --- Eph. 4:1

Jesus took this time to prepare these men to change the world.  The doctrine of the New Testament was built on the history of the Old Testament with new teachings and the result was practice (lifestyle)

Continuation from last week:
III.  Insights into our future state
Question?  After death - what??  (question is ancient and universal - everyone inherently knows there is life after death)
Problem:  Reliable witnesses?  (information)  - have those who supposedly died and came back - but
returnees = rare, questionable, fallible!

Contrast Jesus:  He Returned ... (1) As He Predicted
                                                 (2)  In a glorified state - totally different state but still the same
                                                 (3)  having overcome death (contrast Lazarus - released, escaped)

Example:  Luke 24:36-43  - (post-resurrection appearances:)

  • appeared, suddenly..... in closed, locked room
  • also, disappear!  vanish!  (example:  Emmaus Road disciples)
  • Sometimes recognized immediately!!  Other times NOT recognized  (at least not immediately)
  • Cooked breakfast & served it!  & ate with them!! - Acts 1:4 - "on 1 occasion while eating with His disciples"
  • All with (1) real, physical body
  •             (2) His own body
  •             (3) yet a glorified body!! - Luke 24:36-43  more than restored.  = Renewed!!  improved, better!  The same yet very different!!!
1 John 3:2 - We will be like Him in His resurrected state.

IF His Resurrection is true,
IF John is correct,
Then it necessitates a GENERAL RESURRECTION!! - Not just historical, but coming event.

1 Cor. 15:20-23
Rom. 8:18-23
1 Thess. 4:13-18
These mean:  (1)  a physical body
                     (2)  your body  (identity!)
                     (3)  absolute (complete) redemption

How???  1 Cor. 15:35-38, 42-44, 51-52
Impossible!!! Try creation!! - verbal/ ex nihilo!!  (out of nothing!!)

Which leads to:
IV.  Confidence in the Face of Death
ie:  He defeated death --- for us!
on one hand, we will still die.  however, death does not have the last word, final state - is a defeated foe
1 Cor. 15:24-26, Rev. 20:14, Rev. 1:18

Must distinguish between  (1) process of dying and (2) the state of death - example:  martyrs can have FEAR and still have courage!!
Note:  your greatest battle, struggle, issue with DEATH may Not be your own!!!
So " the Christian Hope" based on "THE Resurrection" - ! Cor. 15:19-20

Like the disciples, we are called to be:
(1) faithful in our walk (lifestyle)
(2) bold in our witness
in spite of ... (1)  the delay of 2000+ years
                    (2) world's view  (skepticism, mockery, hostility)
                    (3)  life's difficulty

Christ gave the "40 days" to help equip us for this!!!!

Closing Scripture:  Rom. 8:31-32, 38-39

Monday, April 29, 2019

Benefits of the 40 days

Cross --> Resurrection (happened on First Fruits) --> 40 days -->10 days --> Pentecost (beginning of the harvest)

Today = The 40 Days

Last week = 1) women at the tomb
                    2) disciples on road to Emmaus
                    3)  Disciples in Jerusalem - Sunday evening locked in a room (w/o Thomas) - Jesus appeared suddenly
                    4)  Disciples in Jerusalem 7 days later with Thomas - Jesus appeared again

Additional appearances - on shore of Galilee - John 21:1-14
                                    - James!! & others  1 Cor. 15:3-8
                                    - before Ascension - Matt. 28:16-20 - (Great Commission)
                                    - for 40 days - Acts. 1:1-3

Jesus appeared to different people, groups, size groups, different times, locations, settings - don't know how many times He appeared during this 40 days

Then - The Ascent - Acts 1:4-11

The Significance of the 40 days??
Especially - benefits FOR us today??
How to Apply what we learn there?

So..... Benefits of the 40 Days
Disciples received (1)  additional confidence in the Resurrection ( by many infallible proofs)
                            (2)  additional information concerning the Christian faith
                            (3)  insights into their future state
                            (4)  confidence (boldness) in the face of death

As for them,  so for us!!!

Christ's appearance for 40 days should (can!) result in.....

#1.  Confidence in the Resurrection - apostles needed that.  all will die a martyr's death with exception of John.
Note:  the importance of the Resurrection - 1 Cor. 15:17-19 = historical, actual, real event
and so the confirmation of the Resurrection - Acts 1:3  This is ESSENTIAL.  Without the resurrection, we have nothing!!!

For them, for us, should result in:
          (1)  a steadfast walk - (in times of trial/confusion
          (2) a bold witness (testimony) - going to need this even more today when not just skepticism about Christ but hostility.

SO ... 1 John 1:1-3 - not just theory    2 Pet. 1:16-18   this is fact

#2.  Additional information about our Faith - to help us walk the walk
Example:  Luke 24:25-27

during the 40 days ... what questions posed?  teachings received?
This information = IMPORTANT!!!  Because Christianity is not a belief system, religious practice.  It is (intended to be ...) a LIFESTYLE  (based on truth!!)

Contrast:  Pagan gods --- not concerned with daily life of followers!  don't care about moral life.
Compare common "religious" views today!!!

2 valid questions:  (1)  do you believe?  accept the Faith?
                           (2)  do you practice the Faith?  if you don't practice the faith, you don't believe.

Colossians - "as received... so walk!!!
James - "show me your faith without works!!
Jesus - "by their fruits you'll know them"
Jesus - (John 13)   "now know ... blessed if DO!!

To be continued next week ...........

Monday, April 22, 2019

Trusting the Risen Christ

The disciples believed until the cross -- led to grief, doubt, great fear.  All they had believed was shattered.- John 20:19

Then the Resurrection ... (+ 40 days with the risen Christ and Pentecost) -- Acts. 2:36
Transformed the disciples completely.

POINT = Their Belief became TRUST!!
Example:  Demons believe but don't rely on, put their fate in His hands

Clarify:  After the Resurrection - disciples still confused!!
BUT now TRUST Him - in spite of situations, circumstances
                                    - in spite of confusion
                                    - in spite of His physical absence.

NOW = "I still don't understand!! BUT ... I'll trust you ... with my life, my fate, my future ... come what may!! 

To this ALL disciples are called (US)
But how to get there?? Develop that trust??

So... Look at some of the realizations that helped the disciples come to that degree of trust.

After the Resurrection, + 40 days + Pentecost, the disciples came to fully recognize:

I.  His Authority - essential, primary thing   
Definition:  The power or right to give orders and enforce obedience

On one hand, they'd seen that (examples:  miracles, demons, death - Lazarus)
However, death had triumphed over Him!!
UNTIL the Resurrection!!! --- Matt. 28:18

II.  His Ability displayed .. All Authority and All Power - Omnipotence
Problem:  IF able to produce good, prevent evil, correct wrongs, THEN why doesn't He??

On one hand the disciples didn't necessarily have answer to that ...
However, they had also learned to trust in.....

III>  His Goodness - examples:  John 3:16, Rom. 5:8, 1 John 4:10
Still faced grief, suffering, evil, opposition, death!!!
But now convinced ... He's deal with it ... in His way!!   in His time!!!

Also convinced by:
IV.  His Concern - not just for "sheep" plural  (John 3:16), also for "sheep" SINGULAR!! - Matt. 10:29-31 - every single sheep

Examples:  lost sheep?  (go find it)  lost coin?  (search for it)
And so..... 1 Pet. 5:7

V.  His Presence - Matt. 28:19-20 = last words!!
Example:  Job - never got answers, but Presence was enough!!

VI.  His Involvement
more than a present observer ... = active companion!!
So Paul ----  Rom. 8:28, Phil. 1:6

And (of course)
VII.  His Return 
when He'll dispel all darkness, correct all wrongs

Objection!!  if I had their experience(s)
Partial Answer ... John 11:38-40
  We say  "show me your glory and I'll believe"
  He says - "believer and I'll show you my glory"

Doesn't mean IF you believer, you'll get the sign, miracle you desire - no guarantee will get
Does mean believe and you'll see, perceive, experience glimpse .. all you need to TRUST!!

Pre-Christian - Salvation simple as ABC - Rom. 10:9-11
    Admit - you = sinner in need of Savior
    Believe - He died for sin, rose to life
    Confess - Him ... AS LORD, as your LORD!!

Christian :  Col. 2:6  - "as received, so walk"

Closing Scripture:  Eph. 3:14-21

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Lord's Supper Preparation

John 19:28-30 - What is finished?
Answer:  the WORK necessary for our salvation.

Question:  Before the cross, how could man approach an unapproachable God?

Answer:  Old Testament Pictures  (picture prophecies)

I.  Mediator and Substitute Sacrifice.  Sacrifice brought to the altar, priest offered it to God on person's behalf.  Made him 'right' with God.
Christ was the PERFECT mediator.

II.  Temple Barriers -

When Christ died,
#1.  barriers were removed  - Matt. 27:50-51, Heb. 10:19-20

#2.  Sacrifices were fulfilled - Heb. 7:27, 9:11-12, 9:25-26 - "once for all"

#3.  The bridge was built - 2 Cor. 5:18-19

Note:  the work was extensive.  It required MANY pictures to describe it/illustrate it.

Another picture:

III.  Layer Cake - the cake = salvation (in broadest sense)
                        - the layers - individual aspects of salvation or of His work)
(Words used by Christian Apostles, Theologians to describe toe work of Christ/Cross)

Ransom = purchase freedom  example:  kidnapped
Mark 10:45

Redemption = buy back  example:  Pawn shop  But!! Sold 'Self!! 1 Pet. 1:18-19

Substitution - in place of /stead of.  3 Cor. 5:21

Remission, Forgiveness, Cleansing - a debt resolved, pardoned, excused, satisfied
1 John 1:9

Propitiation = to appease (satisfy) wrath, anger.
1 John 1:2  (atoning sacrifice)

Expiation = more than forgiven = Removed!!  Example:  Scapegoat

Justification - act by which declared NO longer guilty.  Therefore, in right standing - Rom. 4:25

Sanctification - separated, set apart ... from and to

Reconciliation = relationship restored!!

Glorification - the eventual and final state of the believer

All adds up to:  SALVATION  (layer cake)

Add  (1)  Efficacious - having the power to produce the desired effects - Heb. 7:25 - Able to save completely, to the uttermost, totally!!!
The Resurrection was the proof that He was who He said He was and did what He said He did

 and   (2)  Voluntary - Christ didn't have to do this.

The "Layers" should lead us to:
(1)  a Recognition  ... of the extent of His work(s)
(2)  an Appreciation ... for what He's done for us.

(3)  an approach .. come the 1st time.   Then, come often times.

One more picture:  ie:  Example:  On the TABLE!   The bread, the juice, the crown of thorns.  Matt. 26:26-28
This we commemorate, celebrate tonight.  1 Cor. 11:27-28

(1)  how we do it.
(2)  who should do it - Christians
(3)  note of "worthiness" - 1 Cor. 11:27-28  None are worthy.  Speaking of "unworthy" manner!!

Closing Scripture:  Heb. 4:14-16

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Christian Wealth Ethic

Spent 2 weeks on WORK ETHIC  (moral views of work)

This week = WEALTH ETHIC  (moral view of wealth, money, possessions

Are many scriptures that address this:
The Bible devotes approximately 500 verses to prayer, BUT over 2,000 verses to money & possessions

One of every 10 verses in the Gospels deals with money (in some form) and over half the parables have money as their theme.

The recorded sayings of Jesus deal with money more than any other subject except the Kingdom of God.
Question:  Is money that important to God??  Answer:  No.  BUT, (a) it's important to us (materialism)
                                                                                           and     (b)  WE are important to God!!

  • The Bible deals with the proper attitude toward money and the proper acquisition OF money.
  • It instructs us concerning borrowing, lending, signing for other people's debts, charging interest and paying taxes
  • It talks about financial planning; saving, investing and sharing our money.
  • It addresses earning an honest wage and paying and honest wage.
  • It instructs us to honor our personal debts, to give assistance to the poor and pay a tithe to God in support of His work.
  • It applauds the wise use of money and condemns the foolish use of money.
  • Scripture contains financial advice for the rich, the poor, the middle class.
  • It talks of wealth being both a blessing and a curse.  (depending on how you handle it...)
  • And says the way we use our money can lead to eternal rewards ... or eternal losses.
That = reason enough to give the subject consideration!!

Old Testament View = mostly positive  examples:  Job, Abraham, King Solomon  Prov. 10:22

New Testament View = never condemns but .. are many warnings!!!
Examples:  Rich Fool, Rich Young Ruler - Matt. 19:22-23, Luke 16:13  -  Doesn't mean can't have money

So.... views vary!!
#1.  "Wealth is bad" - it seduces  1 Tim. 6:9-10 - "love of" not $$ itself.
hence, Vow of poverty/ monasticism

#2.  "Wealth is good" = example:  health and wealth message - Matt. 7:7-11
This rose at a time when we are most blessed, wealthiest, mainly in US

#3.  Wealth is neutral - amoral - neither good or bad - it's a tool.
Can be a blessing, can be a curse 
Reformers - "a wonderful servant, a terrible master"

So... how should we approach wealth??
Answer:  there is a Biblical Principle to cover all views... ie:  Stewardship 
Definition = manager - comes from two Greek words meaning house law, house rule, govern household
English equivalent = "economy"  New Testament Greek = Stewardship!

Concept is ancient - introduced in Garden of Eden  Gen. 2:15, 1:28

Implies:  (1)  WORK  (labor, effort, diligence)
              (2)  RULE  (have dominion, take charge, manage - take care of, not abuse)
              (3)  RESPONSIBILITY - (comes with privilege) but when they violated trust - removed
              (4)  PRIVILEGE - the manager benefits from the estate
              (5)  PRODUCTION - fruitfulness.  Example:  parable of talents

            #1.  You have been given a garden - an estate - a house to rule (govern) a stewardship position
God has granted you great blessings.

           #2.  It is sizable  Example:  household income stats:
Your household (annual) income ______
compared to:  Russia   $11,700
                    Mexico   $11,700
                    Brazil      $ 7,500
                    China      $ 6,100
                    Egypt      $ 3,100
                  Philippines $ 2,400
                  Kenya        $ 1,900
                  Rwanda    $ 1,100
                  Liberia        $   781
                  Burundi       $  673
Poverty level - USA - 2018 = family of 4 - $25,100
Worldwide median household income = approximately $10,000

          #3.  it consists of more than money
talents, abilities, opportunities, children

          #4.  You are to MANAGE it - 
                A.  according to His directives
                B.  whether large or small -
Example:  contrast lottery winners, etc.
Oddly, the more you win (lottery), the more likely to end up bankrupt
Study from 3 Universities (Vanderbilt, U. of Kentucky, U. of Pittsburgh)

If won less than $10,000, no issue
if won $50K to 150K, bankrupt within 5 years!

Compare National Endowment of Financial Education estimates:
70% of people who come into large sums of money unexpectedly = broke within 7 years
70% of NFL players broke within 5 years
60% of NBA players broke within 5 years
Bigger the pot?  More likely to bankrupt!!

Stewards are expected to be:
(1)  hard working
(2)  trust worthy  - 1 Cor. 4:1-2
(3)  productive  (parable of talents)
(4)  SAVVY  ( parable of 'unjust steward')  commended for his SAVVY, practical knowledge, ability to handle situation - Luke 16:8

Christian Stewardship requires you:
I.  Know the Master - His directives work for all, however, Matt. 7:21

II.  Know the Master's Will - ie:  manage according to His Word(s) - not world's!!

III.  Respond as He directs
(example:  Tithing.   Make good economic sense???  We don't work on immediate economy or immediate return

IV.  Don't forget who owns the estate  (parables of the 'absent master')

On one hand, He'll not ask you to serve beyond your ability, means
However, Luke 12:48

Summary Application:  (1)  Accept the Savior - you can't work, buy, manage your way into heaven.

                                  (2)  Surrender to the Master
                                 (3)  Manage HIS estate (as a steward)

                                 (4)  (Periodically( revisit, re-access  this issue

                                 (5)  Remember - earthly wealth is temporal,
                                                         heavenly wealth is eternal!!

Closing Scripture:  Matt. 6:31-33

Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Christian Work Ethic - Pt. 2

Last week = 2 Thess. + the Christian Work Ethic
Def. - Work Ethic = a moral view of work (right/wrong)
Adjectives = strong, positive, solid, poor, faulty, insufficient

For Christians should be - "Biblical (Scriptural, Christian) Work Ethic".
We will spend roughly 1/3 of our life on work.
ie:  God sets the standard for us.
     God reveals the standard to us!! - Heb. 1:1-2

BUT the Biblical Work Ethic is more than "work hard"
It includes:  honesty, integrity, quality, productivity
Also addresses frugality, management, stewardship, which is the absolute center of the work concept.- because is related to money!  Could be borrowing, lending, saving, investing, etc.

QUESTION:  Why adopt a Biblical Work Ethic?  (over other Work Ethics?)
Examples = work to get by, because have to, to get stuff, to get rich.  OR don't work if don't have to..

ANSWER:  .IF this = God's standard (will)
                    THEN this = (1) morally right - work is not an amoral condition
                                        (2)  practically best
ie:  most likely to produce what God desires FOR you and,
most likely to result in what God expects FROM you.

IF the Christian Work Ethic = morally right and practically best, let's look for some specifics!
Why embrace this Work Ethic?  What is it designed to do?
Should be able to see a moral reason why to embrace Christian Work Ethic in following verses.

#1.  To Provide for Family - 1 Tim. 5:8 - talking about people who are capable
Obviously about $$, material things..... but is MORE than money!!!
example:  term "home MAKER" = (1) WORK  (2) with a Product
Prov. 31:10-31 = stay at home mom with a Biblical Work Ethic!!

#2. to Provide beyond the family  Acts 20:33-35 -   Eph. 4:28
Examples:  Old Testament - "poor tithe" - additional 10% given every 3rd. and 6th. year to provide for the poor.
                field gleaning - only go over field once when harvesting.  anything left behind was for the poor to gather.  Someone worked hard to make that crop, but leavings for the poor.

#3.  to benefit society - especially own community.  Prov. 19:17

#4.  for personal satisfaction/ fulfillment
Work is NOT the curse!!!  Gen. 2:15, 3:17-19 - curse affected our work

Christian Work Ethic does not remove the toil from work.  BUT can certainly add a level of satisfaction!!
Eccles. 2:24, 3:12-13

#5.  to honor God by obedience, by job well done.  Matt. 25:21, John 17:4, Col. 3:23-24
"God called/gifted/enabled me.... therefore I honor Him with this..."

#6.  to expand His Kingdom - (here/now "on earth")
Example:  1 Thess. 4:11-12
ie:  earn respect --> gain favor --> gain a hearing! --> win a soul  (or at least "make Him known")

#7.  to lay up treasure! - Matt. 6:19-21

We (Christians) are called to:
(1) adopt a Biblical Work Ethic  (embrace, pursue)
(2)  develop that Work Ethic - which requires knowledge of God's Word.
(3)  Practice a Biblical Work Ethic - ie:  act on it/ live it out
(4)  model a Christian Work Ethic - 2 Thess. 3:7-9
(5)  teach a Biblical Work Ethic  (a) especially to young ones (children and grandchildren)                                    in more than Sunday School lesson

IF you have a degree of success, should talk to your kids about HOW it's done!!

NOTE:  Success doesn't necessarily mean rich!!
             May be survival!!

AGAIN:  Work (alone) does not commend you to God, does not give you salvation!!

Closing Scripture:  1 Cor. 15:56-58

Sunday, March 3, 2019

The Christian Work Ethic

2 Thess. 3:1-5 - Paul  1) requests their prayers
                                  2)  expresses confidence in their walk

THEN - abruptly changes tone!!  2 Thess. 3:6-15
(talking about people who are capable and competent to hold down a job)

This = briefly addressed in the 1st. letter - 1 Thess. 4:11-12

Question:  Is this an ongoing problem in the Thessalonian church?  Is it related to Christ's return?  (they expected Christ would return immediately, so why work?)

Answer:  don't know.  But, DO know ...
(1)  Paul is intense in addressing this  (forceful language)
(2)  Paul addresses this as a significant MORAL issue!!

(1)  The language of 2 Thess. 3:6 and 2 Thess. 3:12 - "in the name of ..... command"
(2)  the charge to the church - 2 Thess. 3:13 - "you do what's right"  (by contrast)
(3)  the reference to church discipline - 2 Thess. 3:14

All adds up to this being a Serious issue!!!

This passage = a small part of Scripture used to define and describe - the Christian Work Ethic or the Biblical Work Ethic.
Which is largely ignored or misunderstood today, AND which needs to be taught and promoted!!

The phrase is self-defining:
WORK ETHIC = a moral view of work!  (the rights/wrongs)  Very seldom referred to as a Biblical Work Ethic.  No reference to Scripture.

The English phrase 1st. used in 1945, however the concept is as old as Adam.

Hebrew understanding = spend 1/3_ of life @ work (in many cases more than that)
So.... how to do it Right?

Their answer:  (1)  God sets the standard for us
                      (2)  God reveals the standard to us

Brief look at the Hebrew view in Proverbs:
          Prov. 10:4-5 -  disgraceful
          Prov. 10:26 -  irritating
          Prov. 12:11 - 'get rich quick' schemes
          Prov. 18:9 -  example from 'The Message' - "slack habits and sloppy work are as bad as vandalism"
          Prov. 20:4 - sluggard - lazy
          Prov. 22:29 - quality work = recognized and rewarded
Summary:  Prov. 24:30-34 -

This Old Testament view carried over into New Testament Christians, New Testament Church
With Additional word(s) from Christ & Apostles
1 Example:  Matt. 25:26 - "wicked, lazy servant" - harsh words

This comes to us in 21st. Century America by way of:
#1.  The Protestant Work Ethic  (Reformation, Luther, Calvin)
Example 'The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism' - Max Weber - 1905
Led to:
#2. The Puritan Work Ethic  (focus = godliness.  outcome = success!!) - part of the reformed movement
Led to:
#3.  The American Work Ethic - came directly out of the Puritan W.E. which came directly out of the Protestant W.E. which came directly out of the Scripture
ie:  became part of our social and cultural identity   Example:  "The American Dream"

Problem today = (1)  Biblical roots are unknown, forgotten, misunderstood
(2)  "work ethic" appears on the wane (declining)
IF roots = forgotten/denied...
Attitude = THEN  why embrace a former generation's "Work Ethic"???

BUT - for Christians!!! this should be no dilemma!  Should be Biblical/Scriptural Work Ethic.  Honor God by work habits.  Are obligated to God's revelation, God's plan.

2 Notes:  #1.  Biblical Work Ethic addresses far more than work hard!!
              #2.  Labor (alone) does not commend you to God!!

Distinguish:  (1)  How you come to God - Eph. 2:8-9
           with  (2)  How you live after coming to Christ - Eph. 2:10

Biblical Work Ethic addresses more than "work hard".
Related issues:
honesty, integrity, dependability
giving your employer an honest day's work
giving your employees a fair day's wage
quality workmanship, productivity
self-discipline, personal responsibility
community obligations - building wealth, sharing wealth, handling wealth  (stewardship)

Personal satisfaction with work
Rest from work!!
laying up wealth (treasures) in Heaven
Building up the Kingdom on earth!

And:  Work Ethic goes beyond vocation, paying job.  Includes how you work at marriage, childraising, in home - Prob. 31   "wife of noble character" - model Work Ethic!!

Your work/labor (in Christ) is very important, BUT your coming to God THROUGH Christ is essential!!

Closing Scripture:
Col. 3:23-24

Monday, February 25, 2019

2nd. Thessalonians - Chap. 2

2 Thess. 2:1-12 - last days!  end times!  return of Christ!  anti-Christ!
These people had issues (questions) about all of the above.
Was SO debated.  So many views - because:
        (1)  was the future
        (2)  mysterious future!
Contrast - predicting summer's weather.  predictions can be based on many previous summers.
They had never experienced the coming of the Lord .

So:  2 Thess. 2:2 - THE DAY = come and gone?  or now fully begun?  Had they missed it, or were they in the midst of it.  (the day of the Lord) ie:  a period of time

2 Thess. 2:3 - The Rebellion - THE Apostasy - THE Falling Away.
This is more than falling away from the faith.  This = turning away!! - deliberate decision to walk away and against the things of God.

The Man Revealed  (Antichrist)
     Man of "perdition" - domed to hell, destruction - compare Judas - John 17:12
     Man of "lawlessness"  - (one who rejects God's laws) - because against God's Law(s)

Therefore will  (1)  Oppose God  (Godliness)
                       (2)  Exalt 'Self - over everything that is called God or God-related
                       (3)  Set 'Self up in the Temple  (this = AD 51)
                       (4)  Will Proclaim 'Self to be God!!
Other people at other times will claim this as well.
Examples:  Nero, Titus, Mohammad, many popes, Adolf Hitler, etc.

2 Thess. 2:6 - The Restrainer - (Holy Spirit? - compare Job)

2 Thess. 2:7 - this power is already at work - spirit of lawlessness is already here.
1 John 2:18, 4:1-3 - applicable to us now.

2 Thess. 2:8 overthrown by Christ's breath!  - Rev. 19
Can breathe creation, destruction

2 Thess. 2:9 - His coming
Accompanied by and in accordance with Satan's power!
So ...... signs, wonders, miracles!!!

Question:  "counterfeit"?  = not real in MESSAGE!! - doesn't mean are not real, but directing away from God.  Signs, wonders, miracles can point TO God or AWAY from God!

2 Thess. 2:10 - evil that Deceives!! - ie:  Seductive!!  (sweet, nice, good)

Question:  Who are the "perishing"?  (present tense!) - John 3:16-19 - "stand perishing"

Why are they perishing? - 2 Thess. 2:10 - they refused to love the truth, not because they didn't know the truth.
So... God grants their desire!! - 2 Thess. 2:11-12
Paraphase:  "I offered light - you rejected it - so I took it away!" ==> darkness!

By Contrast:  - 2 Thess. 2:13-14
You were called, you responded - ie:  crossed the bridge!!

Application for them?  US!! - 2 Thess. 2:15 - Stand firm and hold to our teachings

In light of the fact that the power of Lawlessness is Already at work....
#1.  Stand firm in the faith - 1 Pet. 5:8-9, 10

#2.  hold to the teachings, instructions, 'traditions' - truth doesn't change!!
Eph. 4:14, 2 Tim. 4:3-5

and  #3.  don't be alarmed - 2 Thess. 2:2  (unsettled, worked up)
       should (1) Read, study, etc. - Rev. 1:3
                  (2)  be prepared - be awake, be alert
But,            (3) Not alarmed!!

Paul closes with prayer for God's assistance, (encouragement, strength) - 2 Thess. 2:16-17   
(which comes with obedience, faithfulness)

Seems we always return to "Press On" - which = primary factor in success!! - many things are helpful, but perseverance and endurance are NECESSARY!!

Closing Scripture:  2 Pet. 3:10, 13-14