High and Mighty

January 31, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Posted in Bible Studies | 8 Comments
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For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6, emphasis added

Here are three points to consider as we rejoice that this Child Who was born and this Son Who was given shall be called the Mighty God:

1. The proclamation of His might

2. The promise of His might

3. The preeminence of His might

His name shall be called The mighty God. Isaiah 9:6 is not saying that one day Jesus will be The mighty God. He has always been The mighty God. Jesus was not a created being. He and the Father and the Holy Ghost have always been one God in three Persons. No one can fully explain this, but it is true. Isaiah 9:6 is saying that He will be called The mighty God.

1. The proclamation of Jesus as The mighty God.

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Titus 2:13

The King James Version is about the only version that has it right: “The mighty God.” At His glorious appearing, His people will see the fulfillment of their Savior Jesus Christ – and THE great God – that they are One.

2. The promise of His might

For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

Romans 14:11-12

This Child, this Son of the Most High, is The mighty God. His might reaches over everything in this world and beyond. He places His hand on a table of stone and no man can pry it up. He raises His arm – in judgment or in love – and no man can pull it down. He rules and reigns in Heaven and in Earth and in hell. He will do with you as He pleases and one day You will stand before Him in judgment or to give an account. He is, He always has been, He always will be, and HE SHALL BE CALLED: The mighty God.

3. The preeminence of His might

This word “might” in the Hebrew is gibbowr. It has a connotation of reckless bravery – like a hunter or a soldier or a hero who runs into a dangerous situation with no thought for his own safety because he is invincible. It is used in the Bible of a few men, but not in the same way it is used by God to describe His own might.

Alexander the Great is one illustration. Daniel 11:3 describes him as a mighty king, but Jeremiah 9:23 says that the worldly wise should not glory in their wisdom; the worldly rich should not glory in their riches; and the worldly mighty should not glory in their might. Alexander was 33, a young man, when reportedly he wept because he had no worlds left to conquer. Then a tiny virus entered his body – and he died of a fever. The “mightiest” man of all time turned out to be nothing more than animated dust compared to the One who is truly The mighty God.

Do you hold some human being in high regard? Are you trusting your own “might?” Your health, your wealth, your wisdom? Or is your trust in the The mighty God?

He shall be called wonderful – but He shall be called wonderful by the power of His might. He shall be called Counsellor – with a capital C – because His might is such that He needed to take counsel of no man. He shall be called The everlasting Father – because His might will never diminish or be overcome. This is a great comfort to His children and a great dread to His enemies – because there is no changing of the guard. We can depend on His promises. He is mighty enough to carry them out and enforce them. Revelation Chapters 12 and 19 state that He will rule the nations with a rod of iron.

The mighty God is mighty to rule – and mighty to save. If He is your Savior you should find comfort and motivation to serve Him.

Water, Water, Everywhere…

January 26, 2011 at 9:31 am | Posted in Mark, Selected Psalms, Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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We are blessed to live in a society where some of the very basic necessities of life are relatively easy to obtain. Water is a good example. Although bottled water can be expensive at the store, and finding a water bill in the mailbox is probably not anyone’s idea of a treat, there are very few places where you will be turned down for a cup of water if you are truly thirsty.

In fact, the Lord Jesus reminded His disciples of the blessing that comes with giving water – in His name – to those who are thirsty.

For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.

Mark 9:41

Imagine, for a moment, that water was not so easy to obtain. Imagine that the number-one ingredient for sustaining biological life was removed from your reach. In Psalm 42, David compares a desperate desire for drinking water to a longing for God.

[To the chief Musician, Maschil, for the sons of Korah.] As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

Psalm 42:1

The “hart” in this verse is a deer which has been hunted and chased. His panting, or longing, is for a cool drink of water, to keep him alive.
https://swimthedeepend.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/john-dominis-lone-white-tailed-deer-drinking-water-from-banks-of-cheat-river.jpg?w=300
David experienced this feeling when he was banned from Jordan, hunted and chased by his enemies. Rather than water, however, David longed for the presence of God. Notice the play on words: The “hart” (deer) pants for water, just as David’s “heart” is dry and thirsty.

Wonderfully, though, David found that he could experience God’s presence in the wilderness, as well as in the courts of public worship. If that which we take for granted, and depend upon for life, is suddenly taken away, we appreciate it all the more when we realize that there is One Who can provide it anytime, anywhere. The panting heart is a heart that is truly blessed.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Matthew 5:6

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying,
if any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

John 7:37-38

The Bookends of Faith (Part 4)

January 24, 2011 at 10:24 am | Posted in The Bookends of Faith | 9 Comments
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The Bookends of Faith in the Deity of Jesus Christ: The first and last of the seven “I AM” statements in the Book of John

Previously, we noted that believers on the True Vine must abide in order to bear fruit – there is responsibility involved. “Abide” means “to take up residence in” – to “remain.” Abiding is something we must do intentionally.

The first step in successfully abiding is to admit that we branches can do nothing without the Vine.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

John 15:5, emphasis added

Our relationship to the True Vine is not “symbiotic.” It’s not that Jesus gets something from us and we get something from Him. He needs nothing at all from us, and we will bear no fruit on our own. We must understand our weakness and confess our need for His strength.

He is the True Vine. We are the branches. God is the Husbandman (Vinedresser.) God is the One Who prunes – or purges. All branches want to be fruitful, but few want to be pruned. Pruning involves cutting, clearing, and cleaning.

Clearing: Some branches have parts that drag them down. We have worldly concerns and interests that weigh us down.

Cleaning: Some branches have diseases or pests. We have addictions and predilections that we brought from our old life before we were saved. Even believers can get dirty in sin.

Cutting: Some branches have dead parts. These parts are sucking some of the sap away but producing very little fruit. It is is not enough just to cut away the dead part itself. Some of the living part must be cut off also. The dead part is cut away to maintain health. The living part is cut away to stimulate growth. In fact, pruning is proof of abiding.

The proofs of abiding: pruning and producing (producing fruit).

Here are some examples of producing good fruit:

1. Answered prayer

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

John 15:7

2. Deeper love for Christ

As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

John 15:9

3. Deeper love for other Christians

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

John 15:12

4. Joy

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

John 15:11

Notice the progression:

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

John 15:2, emphasis added

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

John 15:5, emphasis added

Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

John 15:8, emphasis added

The progression is from “no fruit” to “fruit” to “more fruit” to “much fruit.” This fruit – answered prayers and deeper love in our hearts – is fruit that we enjoy – and it is good fruit. But, remember, fruit isn’t produced so that the branches themselves can consume it. It is produced for others.

Fruit produced for others is a more mature, better kind of fruit:

1. Holiness and obedience

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Romans 6:22

2. Soulwinning

Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

Romans 1:13

3. A dedicated life

When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain.

Romans 15:28

4. Christian character

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

True spiritual fruit tastes good, is good (for you), and looks good.

5. Good works

That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Colossians 1:10

6. Praise to God

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Hebrews 13:5

Next time, we will look at yet another proof that you are abiding.

Marriage and War

January 21, 2011 at 11:22 am | Posted in Romans | 11 Comments
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Romans Chapter 7 addresses the Christian’s relationship to the Law of God. On the opposite end of the spectrum from those who thought that grace created a free license to sin, were those who thought that grace created an obligation to follow the letter of the Law in such a way that the spirit of the Law was negated. This is one area of the Bible that people will point to when they want to condemn “legalists.”

Here are some common misconceptions about legalism. In other words, here is a list of things that many people mistakenly use to label someone a legalist:

1. You dress up for church or encourage others to dress up for church.

2. You carry your Bible anywhere besides church.

3. You think there ought to be some restrictions for ministries in church.

4. You won’t do certain things so you can avoid temptation.

5. You recommend to people whom you love that they should or shouldn’t do certain things (such as use the King James Version of the Bible or come to church on Wednesday nights.)

None of these things make someone a legalist in and of themselves. Technically, a legalist is someone who thinks that keeping the Law of God is the way to earn God’s favor so that God owes them a debt for their self-righteousness. There is also a sense in which a legalist is someone who believes that keeping rules makes him more spiritual than other Christians.

In Romans Chapter 7 we find the illustration of a marriage to explain the believer’s relationship to the Law. A husband and wife are one flesh. They come under the “law” of marriage as long as they live. If the wife marries somebody else, she’s a bigamist, but also an adulteress. But if the husband dies, she is free to remarry. The law of marriage did not die, and the wife did not die, but it’s as if, when her husband dies, she is now dead to that law and that law is now dead to her. The only way to get back into a marriage relationship with her deceased husband would be a type of re-birth or resurrection. Christians are the bride of Christ, resurrected with Him in a new relationship.

Remember, a main function of the Law is to show up the unbeliever, to point out his sin, to make sin abound, to point the way to salvation.

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

Romans 7:7

Coveting is usually considered among the least of sins to men, but, from God’s viewpoint, it is the sin that leads to other sins.

But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.

Romans 7:8

An “occasion” is a foothold, or an enemy camp inside walls which had been designed to keep an enemy out. Concupiscence is like lust, but carries a connotation of being more determined, more scheming, like a combination of coveting and lust. From it, we get the word “Cupid.” Sin, using the Law as an “occasion,” can kill – both physically and spiritually.

For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.

Romans 7:11

One of the dangers of misunderstanding the Law is that we begin to compare ourselves with those we perceive as holy. We have to remember that our faith is not in a pastor or anyone else – but in God. Our role model is Jesus, not another godly person.

The Law is holy and good.

Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

Romans 7:12

But it is good because it shows the sinfulness of sin. This is true for the unbeliever, obviously. When we believe, neither sin, nor the Law, have dominion over us. So, how do we wind up in the same condition as Paul:

Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.

Romans 7:13

When sin uses that which is holy and good (the Law) to work death in me, then I’m in big trouble. But at least I’m not alone. We call the Apostle Paul “St. Paul,” but he was a also a wretched man.

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

Romans 7:24

There is a war going on between two natures. This is a description of our sin nature:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Jeremiah 17:9

The carnal man – the “old” man – is too long accustomed to the old ways, and it has the advantage of maturity over the new man – the new nature. What’s going to give my new nature a fighting chance? The truth that my new nature is not really “my” nature. It should be the Holy Spirit living inside me. The Holy Spirit of God is not some floating, amorphous, fickle entity. My condition is not that one day He might “fall” on me, and the next day He might not. He’s a Person. He’s God. He’s going to win the war.

But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

Romans 7:23

The Law pointed out my sin and showed me the way to salvation, but it is not my motivation for living a holy life. I can force my kids to obey (sometimes…maybe), but do I really want them to be motivated by laws and rules, or do I want them to obey me because they love me?

In the battle of the sin nature versus the new nature, the nature that wins the war in the “wretched man” when he’s weary from battle is the nature that’s been fed the most and the nature that is yielded to the Spirit that gives it power.

Objections To the Doctrine of Everlasting Security Answered (Objection 3)

January 19, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Posted in Eternity | Leave a comment
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Objection: I know that I can lose my salvation because Lucifer once was in Heaven, and was cast out. There were also MANY angels created by God that chose to follow Lucifer to the fiery pit.

Answer To Objection: Lucifer being thrown out of Heaven has nothing to do with losing your salvation. Lucifer was never saved, so he could not “lose” his salvation.

Objection: Adam and Eve fell from God’s grace and favor and lost their eternity in the Garden.

Answer To Objection: When Adam and Eve were created in the garden they had not yet been “saved.” It was only after they sinned that they needed to be saved. God put them out of the Garden, but that is not “losing their salvation.”

Objection: If a Christian decides to walk away from God and live in sin he will surely die in his sin.

Answer To Objection: Do you mean die physically, or go to hell? Do you know any Christians who do not sin at least once every day? Is that “living in sin?” Do you know any Christians who have achieved sinless perfection? How many sins does a Christian have to commit before he or she “loses his salvation?” Why is most of the New Testament after Acts written to Christians telling them how to get the victory over sin, instead of telling them to get re-saved since they must have lost their salvation? Every Christian sins. We should not, but we do. God chastens His children for sinning. He does not kick them out of His family, or go back on His Word and take away His eternal salvation.

Jesus and Joseph and Their Brethren

January 17, 2011 at 11:42 am | Posted in Genesis | 3 Comments
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When Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, first there was weeping, then there was some shame, and some fear, but look at the response of Joseph:

Come near to me, I pray you…

Genesis 45:4

Not only should we want to spend time with Jesus, but we should be thrilled to find out that He wants to spend time with us.

The Book of Genesis ends with the story of Joseph, but it begins with the story of Adam. Throughout the Bible, we find that God, for some reason, wants to spend time with men.

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

Genesis 3:8-9

“Where are you Adam? I want to talk to you!”

“But I’m a bad person, God!”

“Adam, I want to walk with you in the cool of the day!”

“I’m afraid of you, God!”

“Adam, I want to spend time with you.”

“I’m not the only one who messed up, God, go find Eve and bother her!”

“Adam, I want to communicate with you.”

“I don’t want to admit I did wrong, God!”

God didn’t call out “where are you Adam?” because Adam was the all time champion of hide and seek and could actually conceal himself from God. God called out because He wanted love freely given, obedience, worship. What if Adam had come running, begging for forgiveness?

Joseph told his brothers “come near to me, I pray you,” and he made himself known to them. “I am Joseph whom you have wronged.” (Genesis 45:4) Jesus wants us to remember, every single day, that He’s the One who was sent by God to preserve our lives.

Once Jesus has made Himself known to us, He will begin to reveal the blessings He has in store for us.

And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children’s children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast:

Genesis 45:10.

The Lord wants us to relocate permanently to the land of blessings – not just pay Him a visit once in a while.

And ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that ye have seen; and ye shall haste and bring down my father hither.

Genesis 45:13

When Jesus has revealed Himself to you, go tell others – your family and friends – and bring them back with you. God does not have a limit on His attention. When He reveals Himself to you, He wants you to bring others into communication with Him also. The revelation of Jesus to His brothers will cause His brothers to want to relocate, to want to bring others with them, and to communicate better with Him.

Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him.

Genesis 45:15, emphasis added

They had a lot of catching up to do. You can talk to God anywhere, but how can you get God to speak to you? Read the Bible. It is a more sure word of prophecy.

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

II Peter 1:19-21

There are really only two good times to read your Bible – day time and night time. Not only can the Holy Spirit teach you out of the Scriptures, but God can speak to you directly while you’re reading and studying and meditating on His Word.

Look at the effect of Joseph making himself known to his father through his brethren:

And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father, And told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob’s heart fainted, for he believed them not. And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived: And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.

Genesis 45:25-28

Jacob revived. He came back to life with new motivation. Just as Jacob was motivated by finding out Joseph was alive, we should be motivated because we serve a living God, a living Savior.

I serve a risen Savior,
He’s in the world today;
I know that he is living,
whatever men may say;

“He Lives,” Alfred H. Ackley

Jacob was motivated because Joseph was “governor over all the land of Egypt.” We should be motivated because our Brother is the Maker of Heaven and Earth and everything in them.

Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

II Corinthians 5:9-10

Believers will be judged for the good works we’ve done for God. This judgment will not determine our eternal destination. They only way to Heaven is by grace through faith, not of works. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Jesus will reward His brothers.

Jacob was motivated because he knew he was going to die.

And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.

Genesis 45:28

Jacob said it is “enough” that my son is alive, but he didn’t really mean it. He wanted to see him, too. And he was conscious that he had a limited time to do it. I believe Jacob lived to be 147, and he was about 130 when he found out Joseph was really alive. He had had 17 years to enjoy Joseph and his grandchildren. You and I probably won’t make it to 147, and, unless the Lord comes back, we are all going to die. The death rate has been remarkably consistent over the centuries. It’s always been about “one per person.”

Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

II Corinthians 5:11

As Christians, our Brother will not be the Brother of those who have rejected Him. This should motivate us. If you have been born once, then you have to die at least once. But you can be born a second time, and you don’t have to die twice. Time is short. God’s Spirit will not strive with you forever. Maybe the the Holy Spirit is speaking to you now. Will you believe that He’s on your side and that Jesus wants to save you?

Discipleship Lesson 5: Prayer

January 14, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Posted in Discipleship Lessons | 45 Comments
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I. Why should we pray?

We should pray in order to be conformed to God’s will, more than to attempt to change God’s mind. Prayer is also good for our peace of mind and heart.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

God allows needs to come into our lives so that we will draw close to Him and learn to depend on Him.

Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Matthew 6:8

Pray without ceasing.

I Thessalonians 5:17

It is dangerous for us to believe that all our needs are met and that we are not dependent.

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Revelation 3:16-17

We must give thanks for our needs and even for our times of difficulty.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

I Thessalonians 5:18

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

Psalm 100:4

Prayer should be our first reaction in times of trouble.

And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

Psalm 50:15

II. How should we pray?

A. We should pray in the Holy Spirit.

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Romans 8:26-27

B. We should pray constantly.

Pray without ceasing.

I Thessalonians 5:17

C. Public prayer is good, but most of our prayer time should be in private.

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Matthew 6:5-7

D. We should pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

I Timothy 2:5

For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Ephesians 2:18

E. We should pray with our sins confessed.

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

Psalm 66:18

F. We should pray with a forgiving heart.

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Matthew 6:14-15

G. Husbands should pray without bitterness toward our wives.

Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

Colossians 3:19

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

I Peter 3:7

H. We should ask God to fulfill specific requests when we pray.

Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

James 4:2-3

I. We should pray consistently with what is revealed in God’s Word.

He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

Proverbs 28:9

III. What should we pray?

A. Be specific.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Philippians 4:6

B. Give thanks.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

I Thessalonians 5:18

C. Pray for others.

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Ephesians 6:18

D. Praise and worship the Lord.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

Psalm 100:4

E. Pray for the lost.

Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

Matthew 9:38

F. Pray for God’s will to be done – pray the way Jesus told us to pray.

And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

Luke 11:2

IV. Questions

A. Should we pray to the saints in Heaven or to angels? (No.)

B. Does praying for the same thing over and over show a lack of faith? (No.)

C. Should certain prayers be memorized and repeated word for word without feeling or as a substitute for personalized prayer? (No.)

V. Memory verses

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

I Timothy 2:5

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

Psalm 66:18

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

I Thessalonians 5:18

The Bold Pair in the Enemy’s Lair (Part 2)

January 12, 2011 at 11:48 am | Posted in Bible Studies, Biblical friendship, Biblical Violence | 9 Comments
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From Part 1:

Jonathan, Saul’s son, had:

I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face

One of those facts was realizing he was a soldier, so we began to look at three facts about soldiers.

A. Soldiers are supposed to live a simplistic life.

B. Soldiers are supposed to live a submissive life.

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

II Timothy 2:4, emphasis added

Soldiers have to submit. They have to obey those over them. The very nature of authority in a battle requires both leadership and submission. An army where the soldiers do not submit to their leaders will fall into chaos and defeat.

C. Soldiers are supposed to live a selfless life.

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

II Timothy 2:3-4, emphasis added

Soldiers in a war are not worried about the same things as the civilians back home. Soldiers are concerned with staying alive, keeping each other alive, and winning a battle. But they are not usually in the battle because they have been personally insulted by their enemy. They are fighting for the cause of their country. Most Christians are quick to take up a personal offense, but we need to remember that we are not fighting for our own cause. We are fighting our Commander’s cause. We are fighting for His Kingdom and His glory.

Jonathan had:

I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face
and
III. A Friend Who Followed

And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few. And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.

I Samuel 14:6-7

Jonathan’s armor-bearer carried the weapons. If Jonathan needed the sword, the armor-bearer held the spear. If Jonathan needed the spear, the armor-bearer held the sword. Friends are important in the battle of the Christian life. Jesus sent the disciples out two by two.

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Proverbs 27:6

Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.

Proverbs 27:9

If you start something for the Lord, He will often call someone to get into it with you. Have you prayed for God to bless you, so others could see God’s glory at work in your life? Lord, bless me to be a blessing. Many times God will give through me what He won’t give to me. On the other hand, I also need to be praying for God to bless my friends and let me carry their bags.

People are watching you, whether you know it or not. Someone is being influenced by you. You might be just one person in the world, but you might also be the world to one person.

Jonathan had:
I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face
III. A Friend Who Followed
and
IV. The Faith to Finish

You can almost hear Jonathan breathlessly telling his armor-bearer, “Here’s what we’ll do – we’ll come out of hiding and show ourselves, and if they tell us to come up and fight them, then that’ll be the sign God has delivered them into our hands and given us the victory.” So they crawled down through the rocks. “Okay,” whispers Jonathan, “here goes nothing…”

The Philistines were probably drinking, partying, fooling around with slave girls, when suddenly one of them looks up and sees Jonathan and his armor-bearer. “Hey look what we have here,” the Philistines sneer. “It’s two little Hebrew boys! Two little mice come out of their holes. What – did you boys get tired of hiding in your cave?”

And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, Come up after me: for the LORD hath delivered them into the hand of Israel.

I Samuel 14:12

“We’ll show you a thing or two,” boast the Philistines, smacking their fists into the palms of their hands.

Jonathan and his armor-bearer waded in and they started knocking heads! As we used to say in elementary school, they came to kick butt and take names, and they forgot to bring a pad and a pencil for taking names!

Jonathan whacked them with the sword, and the armor-bearer finished them off with the spear – until, after a fierce melee’ – they looked back over half an acre and saw twenty dead Philistines! Then God really took over and sent an earthquake.

Two young soldiers started with a plan, and they had the faith to finish. Faith is not foolish frolicking, and it’s not reckless abandon. Jonathan had some promises from God’s Word.

How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?

Deuteronomy 32:30

When Samson had picked up a donkey’s jawbone and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, one took out a thousand. Depending on God’s promises despite circumstances – that’s faith!

Jonathan had:
I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face
III. A Friend Who Followed
IV. The Faith to Finish
and
V. A Father to Fear

Jonathan feared God more than Saul. But notice his wording:

And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.

I Samuel 14:6, emphasis added

He could just as easily have said, “God may use us to do His work.” Jonathan didn’t foolishly tempt God. He had a plan – a Godly plan. God can honor our plans – as long as our plans honor Him. God is all-powerful. He is great, but He is also good. His throne is great and white. Remember what happens when someone gets to be powerful. Saul the king became corrupt – just like Samuel warned. He fought battles for his own glory, and not for God’s. He wanted credit for himself, and not for God. He sacrificed and offered offerings that only the priests were allowed to do. And he became corrupt. He ended up turning to witchcraft and committing suicide on the battlefield. Saul was big and good-looking. He looked like what the people thought a king should look like. But – unlike Jonathan – he didn’t have the faith to finish well. Absolute power corrupts absolutely when it comes to men. But not when it comes to God.

Can you imagine an all-powerful supreme being that is inclined to evil or makes compromises with evil men? This world would make Saddam Hussein’s Iraq look like Christmas morning at a rich kid’s house. It would make Nazi Germany look like Disneyland.

Jonathan had reasons to fear the Philistines. They had better weapons. They had more weapons. They had the high ground. They had the numbers.

Jonathan also had reason to fear Saul. He was the king. He had mood swings. He was Jonathan’s father.

But more than fear of the Philistines, and more than fear of his earthly father, Jonathan feared his Heavenly Father. There is safety, peace, protection, comfort, boldness, and victory in the fear of God. God’s power is a great dread to His enemies, but it is a great comfort to His children.

If you are a Christian you have:

I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face
III. A Friend to Follow (or a friend who will follow)
IV. The Faith to Finish
V. A Father to Fear

Get out from under the pomegranate tree. Get in the battle. The Christian life is a battle, and it’s a battle worth fighting.

http://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/14-jonathan-and-armor-bearer.jpg

Practical Intentional Evangelism

January 10, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Posted in Bible Studies, Biblical farming | 11 Comments
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After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.

Acts 19:21

The Apostle Paul was taking a love offering to the saints in Jerusalem, but he was purposed in the spirit to head to Rome. The last third of the Book of Acts gives the account of Paul’s resolve to reach Rome with the Gospel. Christians today should have a strong resolve to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When we talk to someone about the Gospel we must understand from where our authority comes. When I am witnessing, I am not there on my own authority. Jesus Christ has earned the right for His story to be told.

And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?

Acts 8:27-30

When you go to tell someone about Jesus, your authority is His Word. Take your Bible with you.

When it comes to evangelism we also need to understand the principles of the harvest. You may be planting the seed. You may be watering. God may just use you to break up some hard soil. You may be weeding. You may just be checking the crop. Farmers can’t get discouraged that every day isn’t harvest day.

If possible, when you go on an intentional evangelism visit, it is a good idea to go with a Christian partner.

After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.

Luke 10:1 (emphasis added)

Going with a partner has practical advantages also. One person may have to deal with children or pets while the other person talks about the Gospel. Especially when visiting inside a person’s home, having a witness can be a safeguard against false claims that might hurt your testimony.

Pray specifically for the person you are witnessing to both before and after (and during if possible) the visit.

The presentation of the Gospel should not be “seeker-sensitive.” It should be “Savior-sensitive.” Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. We can’t save anyone. Only the Holy Spirit can truly draw someone to Christ, even though there may be opportunities to share your personal testimony. You will find that many people believe what you believed about God and Jesus, Heaven and hell, before you became a Christian.

Have Mine Own Way

January 6, 2011 at 9:47 am | Posted in Biblical friendship, Hosea, Uncategorized | 9 Comments
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When King Solomon died his kingdom became divided. Two of the twelve tribes, led by Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, became the southern kingdom of Judah. The other ten tribes, ruled over by Jeroboam, became the northern kingdom of Israel (also known as Ephraim).

Jeroboam did not want his subjects going to the southern kingdom so they could worship in Jerusalem. Therefore, he found a way to entice them to stay. He placed golden calves for the people to worship, and allowed pagan fertility rites and prostitution to be practiced in the northern places of worship. It seems almost unthinkable that a race of people who had almost been rejected by God because of the worship of a golden calf (see Exodus 32), would back-slide into such evil again.

Hosea the prophet was one of only a very few voices crying out against such wickedness.

For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place.

Hosea 4:16

He also warned the southern kingdom not to follow their example.

Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.

Hosea 4:17

What a sad day it is when the Lord’s people turn back to that from which they have already been delivered. Many of us have been rescued from the idolatry of this world by loving Christian friends. We must not make the mistake of presuming upon God’s grace, however. There may come a time when the Lord says to your friends, “Let him alone.” One of the harshest disciplines that God may give to His children is to let them have their own way.

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