The Privilege of Participation

January 27, 2017 at 3:46 pm | Posted in The Family of Faith | 3 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Previously, we saw that, in the family of faith, we have the privilege of patriotism. Now we will see that we also have the privilege of participation.

Just as citizens of an earthly nation ought to have the privilege of voting, so the citizens of God’s nation and family get to have a say-so (subject to the sovereign commands of Scripture, of course) in the direction and the condition of God’s family.

Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Matthew 18:18

Just as citizens of an earthly nation get the opportunity to serve in government, so the citizens of God’s nation and family get to seek positions of servant leadership.

This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

I Timothy 3:1

For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

I Timothy 3:13

Just as the citizens of an earthly nation are registered with the government in some type of official record-keeping, so the citizens of God’s nation and family get to keep track of what’s going on in each other’s lives.

And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

I Thessalonians 5:12

Next time: the privilege of protection.

Advertisements

God’s Specific Will for You

November 11, 2015 at 3:09 pm | Posted in Where There's a Way There's a Will | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

If you are a Christian, here is the specific will of God for you:

1. Respond to suffering.

For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

I Peter 3:17

God may allow you to suffer for sin or mistakes, or He may allow You to suffer despite your obedience. Our job as Christians is to accept suffering as coming from God – either in allowing or causing it – and to seek to do what is right.

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

I Peter 5:10

For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

II Corinthians 12:6-10

2. Give thanks.

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

I Thessalonians 5:18

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Ephesians 5:20

3. Obey the earthly God-ordained authorities when doing so would not violate God’s commandments.

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:

I Peter 2:13-15

4. Be holy.

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

I Thessalonians 4:3-7

5. Use your time wisely.

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

Ephesians 5:15-17

What will help me accomplish God’s will in my life?

1. His Spirit

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

I Corinthians 2:9-10

The Holy Spirit teaches us through the Bible and gives us wisdom through prayer.

2. His Word

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

II Timothy 3:16-17

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

3. His Body

Specifically, it is God’s will that we be involved in the local church.

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Ephesians 4:11-12

Beware the Father of the Furtive

April 17, 2015 at 1:19 pm | Posted in The Fives | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

I Thessalonians 5:5

In one sense, to say that Christians are “children of light” and “children of the day,” is a figure of speech. In obedience to Christ, we are to walk in the light of His truth, as He is in the light, and our righteous activities ought to be done honestly and without guile. We should also be awake and alert (I Thessalonians 5:6), on the lookout for opportunities to serve with care and compassion in a dark and deceived world, and on the lookout for the return of our Master, to Whom we will give an account.

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

I Thessalonians 5:4

In another sense, though, we may understand that we really are children “of” the light and the day, as opposed to the children “of” the night and the darkness. We belong to the holy God, who is the Father of Lights, not to Satan, whose nickname is “The Prince of Darkness.”

Satan likes the cover of darkness. He has a way of convincing people that those things done in the absence of light are done in secret, though the Bible tells us plainly they are really not. He likes subtility, craftiness, and sleight of hand. Those of us who are in Christ do not belong to this shadowy manipulator any longer, but we need to frequent areas that are brightly lit with spiritual light, and on those occasions when we must venture into his realm to rescue a soul in the power of the Holy Spirit, we should go in with our Gospel lights blazing.

When “closing time” at the nightclub suddenly arrives, those patrons who are behaving drunkenly and lecherously are jerked into a state of shame and revulsion as the lights come on.

https://i0.wp.com/i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--FS8Hi-co--/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_320/17qtknfid8rvijpg.jpg

A similar effect may be observed when a Spirit-filled Christian shows up in the midst of the life of a non-Christian reveling in sin. This “moment of clarity” may only last for an instant, but, when it happens to one of your friends, co-workers, acquaintances, or family members, you, as a child of the Light of the World Himself, will want to be prepared to “work while it is day.”

Returning from Exile

September 5, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Posted in Ezra | 3 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

In 538 B.C. approximately 50,000 exiled Jews left captivity in Babylon to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and the city. After the decree of King Cyrus which authorized them to do this, some of the Jews wanted to return and some didn’t.

Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.

Ezra 1:8

Sheshbazzar was probably Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah. It was not unusual for Jews born in a foreign land to be given a foreign name in addition to their Jewish names.

Ezra Chapter 2 contains genealogies. These were important to the Jewish people for two reasons: One, they needed to be able to prove they had an inheritance of the rights and privileges of being Jewish. Two, they didn’t want their mission corrupted by outsiders.

Those who returned took singers with them. Believers today sometimes sing songs which sound joyous to the world, but which also carry an undertone of grief to those sensitive to the Spirit. (Psalm 137:1-4) Coming back early from exile should be a time for truly joyous singing, which honors the Lord.

What did they do first when they were ready to begin rebuilding? Lay the foundation? No. Gather supplies and materials? No. Set up an altar and sacrifice? Yes! If you are a Christian, but you have been in “spiritual exile” – disobediently out of God’s will – when you return, you should get back to basics: do the fundamentals, present yourself as a living sacrifice to God.

Note the emphasis on unity: they gathered together (Ezra 3:1); they stood together (Ezra 3:9); they sang together (Ezra 3:11). When you come back from a spiritual exile, get in unity, “togetherness,” with other believers who are following the foundation of the pattern: repentance; confession; prayer; reading and heeding the Word; obeying the Word and the Spirit; growing in faith.

In Ezra 3:11 the unity was interrupted when the joyful shouting was interrupted by loud weeping. These “ancient” men were upset because the “new” did not meet their expectations, and, in their mind, did not measure up to the “old.” As believers today, if we go into exile, and then come back, we may find things changed. The music may be different. The “style” of worship may be different. The age of the leaders may be different. The Word of God is never different, but older believers must not insist that the younger believers conform to every old tradition.

If you find yourself in exile from the will of God, one thing is clear: God’s commandment – you really don’t have to search very far in the Scriptures to find it – is that you return from exile. Return to the center of God’s will for your life. God will enable you to do it.

Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

I Thessalonians 5:24

God is faithful. His faithfulness is not dependent on our faithfulness.

If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

II Timothy 2:13

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Philippians 1:6

The Slave (His Owner and Overseer)

December 4, 2012 at 11:50 am | Posted in Outcasts of Ministry | 9 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

This is a continuation of a series of lessons entitled Outcasts of Ministry: The Addict, the Slave, and the Man Who Fell Out of Church.

The Slave

For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after.

Jeremiah 30:17

The people of Zion were considered to be outcasts, and part of what led to them being outcasts was that they had been taken into captivity. They had been enslaved by another nation.

Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid.

Jeremiah 30:10 (emphasis added)

Being called a slave has a negative connotation in society today. One sibling says to another, “Could you go to my room and bring me my shoes,” and the reply comes back: “I’m not your slave!” Therefore, it might sound strange to us when someone invites us to become God’s “slaves.” The most common word in the Bible for a slave is “servant.” Historians estimate that in New Testament times approximately one-third of all the inhabitants of Greece and Italy were slaves. There were millions of slaves in the Roman Empire. Many of the first believers in the New Testament were slaves. Slavery in the United States is illegal today (unless you count some of the housewives or church custodians I know!) But when it comes to being a slave, or a servant, there is no shame in being a servant of the Most High God.

For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.

I Corinthians 7:22

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

Romans 1:1 (emphasis added)

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

James 1:1 (emphasis added)

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

II Peter 1:1 (emphasis added)

Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

Jude v. 1 (emphasis added)

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

Revelation 1:1 (emphasis added)

Even the Old Testament saints carried this designation:

And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

Revelation 15:3 (emphasis added)

I want to look specifically at the account of a man named Onesimus, who was a slave in the earthly sense and a slave in the spiritual sense. He is found in the Book of Philemon. The Book is called “Philemon” not because it was written by Philemon, but because it is a letter written by the Apostle Paul to Philemon. Philemon was a Colossian believer who owned a slave named Onesimus. Onesimus ran away. We don’t know the reason why. It may have been because he had stolen something from his master, or it may have been because Philemon, as a Christian, had become too lenient on him, and Onesimus took advantage of the situation to plan his escape. Philemon made his way to Rome, which would have been a good place to hide, but there he encountered the Apostle Paul, who led him to Christ.

Paul himself was a prisoner at Rome, but he had a certain amount of freedom to spread the Gospel, and apparently he treasured his relationship with Onesimus. The name “Onesimus” meant “useful,” and the name “Philemon” meant “one who kisses.” If you have ever been made a little uncomfortable by a fellow church member who was little too touchy-feely and huggy-kisssy in his greetings to you at church, you may be surmising that this was the real reason Onesimus ran away!

Despite bearing the name “useful,” though, as a runaway slave Onesimus turned out to be anything but useful to his master. Conversely, as a servant to God, Onesimus became extremely useful. The Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to make something of a play on words about this in his letter:

I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:

Philemon v. 1

Onesimus escaped from his own bonds, and ended up helping Paul – and the work of the Lord – in Paul’s bonds.

Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:

Philemon v. 11

Paul wrote to Philemon as if to say, “Old ‘Useful’ was useless to you, but he’s been useful to me – he’s finally living up to his name!”

Whether someone is a slave (servant) to Christ, or whether someone was an earthly slave with an earthly master – and Onesimus was both – three main things determine a slave’s “usefulness:”

1. The owner of a slave determines his usefulness.

See, before Onesimus was saved by Jesus, he wasn’t just owned by Philemon. He was in a greater bondage than the bondage of earthly slavery. Just like you and me, he was a slave to sin, and in a sense he was owned by Satan.

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

I Peter 1:18-19

If you are truly a Christian, that means you were “redeemed.” “Redemption” is the act of purchasing a slave out of slavery. There is a price that was paid for your redemption. It wasn’t a monetary price, and it certainly wasn’t your own good works. Redemption in Jesus Christ doesn’t cost us anything, but it is not free. The price of redemption for the unforgiven sinner, the slave of Satan, is the precious blood of Christ. As the once-popular hymn says, “What can wash away my sin? What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

A slave owned by the devil, bound with the cords of sin, is completely useless to the work of the Lord, but a servant of God, rightfully purchased, set free, and then lovingly owned by the One Who created him in the first place, is very useful.

2. The overseer of a slave determines his usefulness.

An overseer is under a slave-owner, but over the slave. An overseer is responsible for watching a slave work on an everyday basis. A slave knows who his owner is, but he knows his overseer personally. Before Onesimus was saved, when he was a servant in the household of Philemon, he had an earthly overseer. After he met the Apostle Paul, and became converted, Paul in a sense became his “overseer.” As servants of God – even though we serve Him directly – He has placed overseers over us.

Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

Hebrews 13:17

And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

I Thessalonians 5:12

As an earthly slave, Onesimus betrayed his overseer by running away, and maybe worse.

If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;

Philemon v. 18

But as a servant of God, Philemon was a great blessing to his overseer.

Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel:

Philemon v. 13

Next time we will see that the obligations of a slave also determine his usefulness.

The Helmet of Salvation

February 3, 2012 at 10:31 am | Posted in Bible Studies | 5 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

If you have ever played or coached baseball or football – or even tee-ball or softball – then you know the importance of a helmet.

But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

I Thessalonians 5:8 (emphasis added)

For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.

Isaiah 59:17 (emphasis added)

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Ephesians 6:17 (emphasis added)

The Bible does not tell us that we have permission to put on the helmet of salvation. It does not tell us to pray about the helmet of salvation. It does not tell us to consider the helmet of salvation. It does not tell us to plan to put on the helmet of salvation when we’re ready. No, the Bible tells us to TAKE the helmet of salvation. It’s an order, a command. It’s an imperative: take it.

In World War II some of the soldiers in Europe stopped fastening the chin straps on their helmets because they were afraid that their helmet could be struck so hard that when it flew off, the chin strap would decapitate them. It turns out that the practice of having an unfastened chin strap had started off as a joke. The more-seasoned soldiers would tell the newly arriving recruits to do this, thinking that it would be like telling a rookie mechanic to go fetch a left-handed screwdriver. But pretty soon even the experienced soldiers started believing the myth.

As Christians, engaged in spiritual warfare, it would be a tragic mistake for us – having received the helmet of salvation – to refuse to take it and wear it securely. Many Christians have believed their misinformed fellow soldiers – their brothers and sisters in Christ – and they think that Satan will overcome anything good that God is doing in our life, so it would be better to try to hide and wait out the battle so as not to excite Satan’s attention. On the other hand there are people who attribute every difficult circumstance that comes into their lives as as a sign that they must be doing God’s will – otherwise Satan wouldn’t be attacking them. This is one of the dangers of not having the helmet of salvation safely secured around our thought processes as we go into battle. If I started selling illegal drugs on the street corner, there is little doubt that I would soon have a great deal of trouble come into my life – but I could hardly take that as a sign that I was doing God’s will!

There are times when God allows Christians to experience trouble or tribulation as a chastening experience. Chastening is a sign that God loves you, but that He wants you to learn from your mistakes.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Revelation 3:19

This is not a sign of approval, but of correction.

The helmet of salvation should give us security in battle, not fear. It guards our minds – the way we think. We need to be constantly thinking of the salvation granted to us by the Lord – not because we might slip up and lose it – but to remind us of the responsibility it entails.

Going Belly-Up

December 27, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Posted in Romans | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

In his letter to the Romans the Holy Spirit had the Apostle Paul save his greetings for his friends and his notes of thanks for the end of the letter.

Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord. Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.

Romans 16:7-9

Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

Romans 16:13

Note how the Apostle Paul not only knew his fellow-laborers by name, but he also knew their various accomplishments and things about them personally. It probably makes you feel important when your fellow-ministers at church remember your name, but it’s even better to be remembered for how you’re serving.

I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.

Imagine the excitement of Tertius! There he was, taking dictation from the Apostle Paul who was inspired by the Holy Spirit, and all of a sudden he gets the chance to put his own little salutation in there! These words became part of the Living Word – to last and be known for all eternity! You and I will never be inspired to add to the Bible, but let me encourage you to listen closely in church. The Lord was speaking to the Apostle Paul, and Tertius was listening and diligently taking it all down, and suddenly the Holy Ghost was speaking directly to him.

These servants of God listed at the end of Chapter 16 have their names preserved for all time in God’s Word, along with the honor of having their character and integrity mentioned. By the same token there are others who were not worthy to have their names preserved in the Scriptures. Although they were also known for their character, they were known for having a bad character.

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

Romans 16:17-18 (emphasis added)

Some Bible versions say “watch out” instead of “mark,” but the idea of “watching out” is too general because we are talking about people who have shown their character. Once they have established what they are about, we are to place a mental label, or “mark,” on them. They cause divisions and offenses contrary to the Apostolic doctrine, but the Verse does not say to confront them every chance you get. It does not say to go around telling everyone every bad thing you can about them. It does not say to formulate a plot and plan to get rid of them. No, it says to avoid them. They are such that serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own “belly.” “Belly” is sometimes translated as “appetite,” but the fact is, we can’t always see someone’s “appetite.” Everyone can see a big ol’ belly sticking out. “Appetite” is too neutral. You could have an appetite for good things. But those who “serve their own belly” are guilty of more than just mistaken desire. They have a greedy desire to cause trouble: divisions and offenses. The bigger their bellies get, the greater their hunger is. They see a local church assembly as an all-you-can-eat buffet. They will fill up their bellies with strife, contention, and trouble until someone stops putting more food in front of them.

That’s one reason why it is so important to get acquainted intimately with the people you are ministering alongside at church.

And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

I Thessalonians 5:12

One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.

Titus 1:12 (emphasis added)

We have to be on the lookout for those who want to push a false doctrine through division and strife. The Bible says they will use good words and fair speeches to deceive the hearts of those who don’t know better, but by their bellies you will know them.

Thought about Ought

April 18, 2011 at 9:53 am | Posted in Luke, Uncategorized | 10 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

Luke 18:1

Could such a short, simple Verse really teach us much about the great Biblical principle of prayer? You might be surprised. In fact, let’s focus in for a moment on just one word in that Verse: “ought.”

The word “ought,” like so many Bible words, goes deeper than we can ever fathom. For example, there is the “ought” that tells us something is a good idea. “I ought to take my umbrella today. It might rain.”

https://swimthedeepend.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/httpitimeincnettimepotw20080829potw_05jpg-umbrella-woman-rain-art-25d025b425d025be25d025b625d025b425d1258c-25d025b725d025be25d025bd25d12582-girl-night-regen-gens_large.jpg?w=300

The concept that men should pray is one of the best ideas that God has given us. If you received some gadget, and weren’t sure exactly how it worked or what to do with it, the one person who would be most helpful to you is the person who invented, designed, and built the gadget. God is the Creator, Designer, and Builder, not only of you and me, but of everything that exists. And prayer is the way we talk to Him.

The word “ought” can also carry the connotation of a warning. “You ought not to mess with that dog,” said the owner of the snarling Rottweiler to the little boy.

https://i0.wp.com/i1.irishmirror.ie/incoming/article4973157.ece/ALTERNATES/s615/Rottweiler.jpg

For people to go through their day, arrogantly thinking they have the knowledge to make it through life’s trials, temptations, and testing, without consistently looking upward in prayer, is extremely dangerous. Whether you know it or not, you need the wisdom of God to keep from making a train wreck of your life. Prayer is how we ask God for wisdom.

There is also the “ought” of command. An employer might tell his custodial staff, “You ought to keep this area clean every day.”

http://dc380.4shared.com/img/6_NerrWn/s3/12c8abf1f50/keep-area-clean-notice-sign-s-

The Bible says to pray without ceasing. (I Thessalonians 5:17) This is a command from God. It does not mean that Christians should wander around in an oblivious state of hazy mumbling.

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSghY9WaYtYdeoaaKE7PM4S-2L1R8Zmroa8_pveyzT0OR2dhwJn0w

But it does mean that Christians should always be in an attitude of prayer, ready to call upon the Lord and seek His will, or to confess sin at the drop of a hat. We should also make sure that we have a serious “quiet time” of conversational communion with God on a consistent and frequent basis.

Christ said that the opposite of “always praying” is “fainting:” getting weary and giving up. As men and women of God, if we fail to “come apart” (get alone with God in prayer), we will surely “come apart” (fall to pieces).

Discipleship Lesson 5: Prayer

January 14, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Posted in Discipleship Lessons | 46 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Perceived

May 4, 2010 at 11:30 am | Posted in The Leadership P.A.T.C.H. | 6 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually.

II Kings 4:8-9, emphasis added

A patch is something that repairs a breach, or stops up a gap. Patches are used for protection and for restoration. In the Bible this is referred to as “making up the hedge” or “standing in the gap.” A Christian leader should be someone who is willing to stand in the gap and be a “patch.” He should be willing to stand in a place of protection and service.

Elisha was the protégé of Elijah the prophet. When Elijah was taken up to Heaven in a chariot, in a whirlwind of fire, Elisha received his greatest wish: a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. This was a great gift – and a great opportunity to serve – and a great responsibility.

The P. in P.A.T.C.H. is perceived: “I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually.”

If you aspire to the responsibility of Christian leadership, you will be watched. You will be observed. Your job, as a servant leader, will be to watch for the needs of others, and, while you are not to be overly self-conscious, you must be aware that God’s people will be watching you. Many will be looking for encouragement as they watch, and, sadly, a few will be watching for faults. There is a requirement that you be found “blameless” – without fault. This is primarily between you and God, but, because people whom you serve will form a “perception” of you, you must, according to I Thessalonians 5:22, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

You have freedom in Christ Jesus, but it would be better to forgo the exercise of your freedom if it will cause another person to stumble.

Next time: The “A” in P.A.T.C.H.

Next Page »


Entries and comments feeds.