Monday, November 25, 2019


The Story:  1 Kings 10:1-10, 13
Story of Queen of Sheba's visit to Solomon

The State of Israel:  prosperity, opportunity - for all classes, peace, justice, a new temple!!

The Queen's Assumption:  1 Kings 10:8 - "happy"

On one hand this = Reasonable!  Because IF are greatly blessed, then should be very Happy!!
However, (1)  Solomon (a man with unbelievable power, wealth, position, authority, etc) struggles with happiness!!
Eccles. 1:1-2, 12-14 - vanity of vanities
               (2)  within 20 years Israel will be split!! - Which = North and South (10 tribes - N, 2 tribes - S) which leads to exile to Assyria and Babylon.

Point:  Great blessings does not necessarily mean great satisfaction!!  (contentment, 'happiness')

Compare the USA?
1)  material - stuff and things - house size?  storage space?  have greater than need?

2)  Financial - poverty level (established by the Federal government in 2017 --- household income for family of 4)
= $24,600 - puts you in top 11% of income in the World!!
= $35,000 - top 5%
= $50,000 - top 1%  (worldwide)
How can that be??
Answer:  we live among such wealth that we don't see it!!

3)  health - life expectancy:  Mozambique - 39, Somalia - 48, Djbouti - 55, US - 78 1/2

4)  natural resources - (only 2 countries with more (1)  fresh water - ie: Brazil and Russia.  The US exported $140 billion in (2) agricultural products in 2018!
               (3)  2011 NPR reported 96 billion lbs. of  pre-consumer produce goes to waste annually - because it is not attractive enough for the shelves!!  

5)  natural beauty!!

6)  personal freedoms

7)  personal opportunity etc, etc.

8)  national security - our borders have never been invaded

POINT - we are greatly blessed, therefore should be very Happy!!!

U.S.A. - "Happiness"

Gallup poll - Aug. 2018 - "Satisfaction rate among Americans"  (measures satisfaction with the way things are going with country as a whole....)
Good News!!! - Satisfaction rate was up 9 points from 2017.
Bad News:  now at 36%!!!

Washington Post - March 2019 - reporting on the "World Happiness Report" - (surveys "happiness" in 156 countries!!)  (this = Personal happiness!)
USA = #19 AND has dropped in the ranking every year for the last 3 years!!

Article in Psychology Today  (Nov. 2018)
(1)  Research shows Americans spend more time, $ and energy in the pursuit of 'happiness' than ANY OTHER NATION!
(2)  Americans assume they are entitled to happiness!   (an inherent right) (not just "pursuit of happiness")
(3)  the more people see "happiness" as a goal, the less happy they are!!

Quote  (unsure of source) - "American is obsessed with Happiness - and it's making us miserable!"

Point:  Great blessing does not necessarily bring great satisfaction, contentment, Happiness!!!

WHY we're not happier (more satisfied, content) = a study within itself.

But this we know:
(2) WE (probably) SHOULD BE HAPPIER!!

Thanksgiving is a response and an action.

Giving Thanks is:
(1)  A Command - 1 Thess. 5:18 - not for all things, but in the midst of all things
Therefore, it is for our good!!!  God commanded it!!

(2)  Reasonable  (it's due Him!!)
Put #1 and #2 together = A Reasonable Command = Response to discontent, and Remedy for discontent

(3)  An action - "be thankful" vs. "give thanks"   (50:1)
Luke 17:11-19 - 10 lepers - all grateful, 1 gave thanks!!

(4)  a form of worship (ascribe worth to)  - actively give thanks - Psm. 50:23  "thank offering"
Compare to saying grace in public.

(5)  A testimony of (your) faith
a model for your children
a witness to non-believers

(6)  healthy - not a cure all, but does = factor in mental health!!! - Rom. 1:21
Healthy people give thanks!!

(7)  contagious - If the News was uplifting, imagine what a difference that would make in the attitudes in the country

Final takeaway?? - (1)  You are blessed!!
                              (2) (probably) should be happy (ier!!)
        FOR SURE  (3)  you should GIVE THANKS!!!

Closing Scriptures:  Psm. 118:1, 19-21, 28-29

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Holy Spirit and Our New Standing

Rom. 1 through 7 = Sin & separation, forgiveness and reconciliation
Example:  Bridge Illustration.

Chapter 8 = New Emphasis...... ie:  The Holy Spirit (used 4 times in chap. 1-7, 21 times in chap. 8)

Chapter 8 is considered by many theologians to be the richest book of the Bible.

Last week = How the Holy Spirit assists in our struggle - on-going battle against sin. (Christian walk)
Today = How the Holy Spirit helps us grasp (clarify, emphasize) our new Standing with God.
Because NOW we are more than forgiven, restored to His Presence.  That  = what happened!
NOW = a child of God!!  - relational status, not just legal status.

(1)  A Child by (new) birth = John 3:1-7
More than a fresh start.  = new life beginning!!!
(born again, born anew, born from above)

(2)  A Child by adoption - Gal. 4:4-7  (NIV, NAS)
adoption Both legal and relational!! - we are adopted by the Father.

(3)  with a loving Father
on one hand this is not new to the Jews
However, Jesus takes it to new level!!  - Luke 11:1-2
(Luke 15 = Prodigal Son.  Illustratrates a loving Father!!) - this often overlooked

All people = children of God (in His image, under His care)
However, is a special status for Believers - John 1:10-13 - very mysterious situation
The relationship with God is different for believers than for unbelievers.

So... NOW - Rom. 8:12-17

A Child of God?  A share of (in) the Kingdom??
How can I Know this?  be sure of it???

In the past, could use the 4H Test -
          head - examine your decision (to accept Christ)
          heart - examine your affections (for the things of God)
         hands - examine your actions (behavior, lifestyle)
         health - examine your growth (transformation)

TO this Paul adds:
#1.  to whom do you cry? - Rom. 8:15  when hurt, confused, lonely
Who you turn to tells me who you belong to!!  This is evidence of new birth.
Our struggle with sin is evidence of our relationship with God.

#2.  To whom do you listen? - Rom. 8:16  who can best comfort you?  console you? - (We're not talking about anything you can actually put your finger on.)

#3.  to whom will you turn? - (look to?  trust?)  when have said "goodbye" to all HERE,  who will you look to?  Rom. 8:17

Eph. `:12-14 - branded with the Holy Spirit.  with the deposit (earnest) comes a guarantee!!  - The Holy Spirit is the guarantee!
With the guarantee comes confidence, assurance, comfort --- FAITH!!

Closing Scripture:
1 John 3:2

Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Holy Spirit

So far in Romans - bad news = all sin and are separated from God
                           - good news = in Jesus Christ there is forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God

So --- have a new standing with God, but the still have same struggle with sin!   Rom. 7:15-25

NOW Paul presents a new helper --- THE HOLY SPIRIT - to help with this struggle
(Note:  chapters 1-7 of Romans - "spirit" only mentioned 43 times.  Chapter 8 "spirit" mentioned 21 times with new emphasis!)

Who is this Holy Spirit?  - He works within us to help with the battle against sin.
(1)  The Spirit of God  (often Christ, truth, eternal spirit, etc.)
(2)  3rd. member of the Trinity - (God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit) - 3 persons, one being.
(3)  living within the Believer!!

Quick look back to John 14:15-17 - day of Jesus' arrest.  Some last words:
(1)  another counselor (comforter, advocate) - like Jesus
(2)  to be with you - (in Jesus' absence - because He's leaving them tomorrow)
And: (3)  to be IN you!!   John 14:25-26 - New dispensation

Indwelling Holy Spirit to Assist in the struggle against Sin.  (see Rom. 8:1-17)
How does the Holy Spirit assist (in this struggle)?

#1.  He leads  (guides)
#2.  He illuminates  (light - gives new perspective)
#3.  He enables (strength) - ability
#4.  He assures - faith  (confidence in God)
Look for these in Rom. 8:1-17  (Rom. 8:8 = one of the strongest vs. in the Bible)

Holy Spirit's ministry = not just change you, but grow you into what you should be.  This process = sanctification.

This list = some of the Spirit's work within you.  - leading, lighting, encouraging, enabling

PROBLEM!!!  This is something HE does (within you)
However, He doesn't do it without your cooperation!
example:  Rom. 8:13  ".."(you) put to death..." = Do it!!  " ...By the Spirit"
A blend of (1) "Do" and (2)  "Let it be done to you"

Illustration:  on a lake - in a sailboat - no paddle, no motor, no oars.
Told to "go to shore!"
On one hand, you can't do it without WIND - the power is the wind
However, you must raise the sail, man the rudder, wait for the wind!!

Holy Spirit is faithful (will do His part)

Your part?

#1.  Position yourself for wind - places Holy Spirit is known to move.  ie:  the Word, quiet time, prayer, church
Must put yourself in a position to hear, feel, be moved

#2.  Be Open - attitude, heart and mind preparation.
IF He moves - are you OK with that??
IF He doesn't move - are you OK with that??  - many saints experienced what they called "The dark night of the soul" - example:  Job

#3.  Be Discerning - 1 John 4:1 (measure against the Word) - not every spirit that moves us is the Holy Spirit.

#4.  Be Responsive = Obedience - John 13:17

#5.  WAIT ... IMPATIENTLY!! - ie.  a healthy tension between
          A.  trusting God to work  (move)
and     B.  longing (anxiously waiting) for Him to work  (move)

Sometimes real growth is slow, so we wait impatiently!!

Closing Scripture:  Phil. 1:3-6


Monday, November 4, 2019

The Moral Law

Book of Romans:  B.N. (bad news) = all sinned and are separated
                            G.N. (good news - ie:  gospel) = forgiveness & reconciliation is available in Christ.
Paul emphasized THE problem in the first 7 chapters:  SIN therefore  Matt. 1:21

IF sin = violation of God's (moral) law(s) ...
THEN ... moral laws must exist!!!

MRP definition of laws:  (1)  Rules - not suggestions.  Are commandments.
(most Reverend Pastor)      (2)  Established by an Authority
                                         (3)  Which are obligatory - have to follow
                                         (4)  Carry a penalty for violation (or consequence)
                                         (5)  Authored for the benefit of society/individual/group

Question:  Does this definition fit:
                 A.  Man-made laws?  ie:  federal, state, etc.
                 B.  Physical laws?  - ie:  gravity
                 C.  The Mosaic Law?  - (10 commandments plus,  613 total)
                 D.  The Moral Law?   Definition of Moral Law - universal, fixed laws of right and wrong

All people of all generations and all races recognized SOME form of moral law!!

Will look at 3 views of moral law you are likely to encounter (in 21st. century America)

      ( A.)   There seems to be a universal sense of right and wrong
But, (B.) it originated in the evolutionary processes, not God or divine source.  Is in man for survival, etc.

        (A.)  morals have Divine Source  - example:  Declaration of Independence
But  (B)  only generally known  (principles)
Example:  Rom. 1:20,  Rom. 2:14-15
Theses principles can be known through;;;;
      Reason - (observation/experience/logic)
      Inago Dei - (with vestiges remaining)

So... to the original definition we now add...
            (6)  generally known to all men

III:  THE BIBLICAL VIEW = all the above definitions PLUS
            (7)  can be SPECIFICALLY known through Revelation.


#1.  moral laws exist - everybody admits to this
may not always know what's right, but do know that there is a right!!!

#2.  They are established by THE HIGHEST AUTHORITY.

#3.  They are not randomly chosen - (compare to Basketball rules)
They are:       (A)  an extension of God's Person, Nature, Character
Therefore are (B)  an expression of what = right/wrong!  (expressing His character)
Therefore are
#4.  Universal & Eternal
(God's nature, character doesn't change!!  So neither to these!!)

#5.  They exist for our benefit  (individual and corporate_
So we ought to seek to discover and live by them - if they are, in fact, for our good!
AND we ought to seek to use them as the foundation for our man-made laws
There has never been a law that doesn't have to do with right and wrong.
NOTE:  We may misunderstand the law, but it never changes.  God does not change!!

#6.  Violations are called "SIN"
This is more than a mistake.  It = Rebellion against God's Law(s).
(Changing the name of the violation won't change the nature  (example:  you can call a grizzly bear a teddy bear, but that doesn't make him one)
What does it say about Christians who violate this (water it down)

#7.  Sin has consequences - Example: Adam and Eve
maybe Penalty, maybe Consequence
#8.  Obedience also has consequences!!  (called Blessings) - Gal. 6:7-10
Works both ways!!!

The Moral Law is amply Revealed and Recorded in Scripture.

IF man without scripture can be judged as "without excuse" (Rom.1:20)

then ... how will we be judged who have Scripture??

(if they are obligated to the Moral Law... how much more are  we obligated to it)

Moral Law = powerful thing!!
BUT = limited in its power.  Rom. 8:3
This is true of the Mosaic Law and true of the Moral Law!
These LAWS can not save our souls.  Only Jesus Christ can save.

Moral Law does NOT have the power or the means to save.. It is weakened by our sinful nature.

Closing Scripture:  Eph. 5:15-17