DUE TO MINISTRY OBLIGATIONS AND CERTAIN RESTRAINTS “VERTICAL VIEWER” WILL NOT BE POSTED THIS WEEK. THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR COMMENTS AND SUPPORT OF THIS BLOG. EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED. GOD BLESS MY FRIENDS!! I COVET YOUR PRAYERS AT THIS TIME!!
Monthly Archives: September 2011
There is No Fear of God Before Their Eyes!!
Text: Romans 3:10-18
I. Most of us have been burnt one time or another.
A. The memory of the sharp pain makes a lasting impression. As a result, we hold a healthy respect for fire and other hot things.
B. You could even say that we hold some fear of what fire could do to us.
C. The concept of respect and fear often go hand-in-hand.
D. The thieves on the crosses had this conversation – Luke 23:39-41
1. “Where,” one thief asked, “is your fear of God?”
2. Even on the doorstep of death, the thief did not consider that soon he would appear before the judgment seat of God.
3. The punishment by man was harsh and just. What would God do?
II. In laying out the condition of man, Paul proves that all have sinned. – Romans 3:10-18
A. The reason for the continuance of sin is because there is no fear of God within them.
B. What do we mean by fearing God?
1. To love, honor, respect, and obey God. A firm reluctance to displease God. A strong desire to do His will.
2. Abraham showed a fear of God when he placed obedience to God above the life of his promised son. – Genesis 22:12
3. The duty of man is to fear God and keep His commandments – Ecclesiastes 12:13
4. Fear God because of His judgment – Revelation 14:7
5. The discipline of God should lead all to fear Him – Deuteronomy 8:2-6
6. The fear of God keeps us from evil – Proverbs 16:6
C. Since the fear of God motivates us to do His will and to refrain from evil, we would expect the person without a fear of God to become sinful.
1. They have no reason to bind themselves to the laws of God.
2. The history of mankind has been littered with the result of a lack of fearing God.
a. Self-righteous behavior, wickedness, lies, and violence is common among man
b. The fear of God and a respect for His laws go hand-in-hand with peacefulness and a love for mankind.
III. What happens to a man who does not fear God
A. He refuses to seek God. He refuses to walk in the ways of righteousness – Romans 3:10-11
1. Psalm 14:1-4 – It starts with a denial of God and it leads to corruption
2. Romans 1:28 – Because man denies God, God turns them over to depravity
3. As a result, calamity of their own making comes upon them – Proverbs 1:25-33
B. He becomes without value to God – Romans 3:12
C. The words of his mouth become poisonous – Romans 3:13-14
1. It is the righteous who bridles his tongue – James 1:25-26
2. His speech is well-seasoned – Colossians 4:6
3. But the wicked sees no need to control his words – James 3:5-12
4. Instead, his words become weapons to injure – Psalm 64:2-4
D. He is violent – Romans 3:15
1. When God is ignored, men become animals, the strong preying upon the weak. – Proverbs 1:10-19
E. He is without peace – Romans 3:16-17
2. So unlike the righteous – Philippians 4:7
IV. We must remind ourselves to maintain a fear of God
A. We teach our children to fear flames, to avoid busy streets, and to not talk to strangers.
B. Should we not instill in them a fear of and a respect for God? – Matthew 10:28
Everyone knows the signs: sleepless nights, sick stomachs, mental breakdowns, deep depression, hiding away, high blood pressure. turning to drugs and alcohol, etc… These are indicators an individual has fallen victim to his own worry.
Worry eats people alive, and Christians are not immune. It touches the lives of virtually every family and affects millions of people every single day, touching all walks of life in myriad circumstances: The educated worry because of everything they know, while the uneducated worry because they know so little. The rich worry because they have so much, while the poor worry because they have so little. The old worry because they aren’t young, but the young worry because they aren’t older.
Worry takes so much time for so many folks, interfering with everyday action, sometimes even making people physically ill. It remains, however, one of those silent problems few seem to want to talk about. This is not just a psychological issue, though, and there may be many who would be surprised to learn that worry is prohibited by God (Matthew 6:25-34). “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life …” (Matthew 6:25).
The unfortunate fact remains that many Christians do not consult the word of God for their daily problems, failing to realize that anything can be properly addressed using the wisdom and knowknowledge from. Yet, these same people will consult doctors, read worldly books, listen to what Oprah or Dr. Phil has to say, etc. We need to address worry from a biblical standpoint, realizing it as a problem and habit that can cause us to be lost eternally.
Fact About Worry
It Causes Physical Harm
In Psalm 32:3, we read: “When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long.” David speaks here of sin he kept to himself, but anything bottled up inside can lead to “groaning bones.” Most everyone has felt that pit in their stomach and feelings of real anguish over something impending, a sure sign that worry has taken control.
Worry Does Not Mean Being Thoughtless or Careless
Some have mistaken teaching against worry as an endorsement of indifference or carelessness. If we adopt an attitude of apathy, we are guilty of the opposite extreme and no better off than if we were worrying. In his teaching in Luke 14:28-32, Jesus talks about planning using a builder and a king as an example. We are reminded by this to be mindful of what is going on round about us and making the necessary arrangements to handle whatever undertaking. There must be balance between worry and apathy, and neither extreme pleases God.
Worry is Useless
I would suggest that people only worry about two things: Things you can’t change, and things you can change. Everything falls into one of these categories, and neither represents a good reason to worry. After all, if there’s nothing you can do to change something, there’s simply no point in worrying about it. And if there is something you can do, heed the direction of Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.”
So how can we stop the sin of worry, and do so according to God’s Word?
Forget the Past
Many spend their lives in past days. Some can’t live today because of the greatness of yesterday, while others can’t make it through today because of the problems and sins of days gone by. And while there is nothing wrong with fond memories or nostalgia, and certainly much can be learned from past mistakes, the Bible teaches against living in the past, regardless of the way we remember it.
Paul writes, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). In this passage, we are instructed to forget the past and look toward the goal, ahead to our goal of eternal life, not dwelling on those things gone by. How much better we would be if we took this advice and pressed forward? Instead, we offer excuses, saying we can’t clear our minds of the past. We must be leery of such a line of thinking, though. The words of Philippians 3 are not suggestions, but commands of God, and we must forget what is past and move forward in Him. Imagine if the great Apostle Paul had dwelled on and worried about his past — what a waste it would have been — and his was a past full of horrible sin, much of which you and I have had no part. “Although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief” (I Timothy 1:13).
So, from yesterday we must learn from mistakes, we give thanks for our blessings, and then turn our attention to today.
Live One Day at a Time
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34).
Perhaps it is the speed of modern life with all its conveniences and fast pace. For some reason, people today have a difficult time taking one day at a time. Rather, they “live life in the lump,” overwhelming themselves with everything at once. If you think about everything you have to do this week, it will depress you with worry about how you can possible get everything done, and you might not face your week. This kind of thinking is well illustrated in the following facts I recently came across: The average man’s lifetime includes 20 years sleeping, 6 years watching television, 5 years shaving and dressing, 3 years waiting for others, 1 year on the telephone, and 4 months tying his shoes. It is overwhelming to me to think about standing in line for 3 years, but we all understand how unreasonable it would be to worry about such a thing. Why then must we consume ourselves over other matters? Good advice according to Jesus’ teaching: Don’t dwell on everything you have to do, set your mind on what you must do next!
Understand and Accept Yourself and Your Abilities
To really beat worry, we need to come to terms with who we are and what we can do. I’m not saying we should accept sin in our lives or be content with doing the bare minimum, but we must understand everyone is different. We have different degrees of ability and can do different things to serve God. The parable of the talents, comes to mind here (Matthew 25:14-30). Note the one talent man wasn’t condemned for not being the five talent man, rather, for not using what he had. How unfortunate that some feel because they cannot do big things they cannot do anything.
You may not be cut out to be a preacher, teacher, song leader, elder, etc. But if you are, use that talent or ability to the glory of God. Don’t waste time comparing your service to the service of others; they are not the standard by which we will be judged. We should spend our time seeing how we measure up to the word of God, His standard, looking into it to see how to apply it in our lives, and how we can use our abilities for the furtherance of the kingdom.
Count Your Many Blessings
Often we only want to notice our problems, what’s wrong with us and all about us. For many, it is a constant gloom and doom outlook — this is wrong and that is wrong. Instead of counting our blessings, many folks are busy counting their problems. The Bible speaks to the thankful attitude of the Christian:
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).
“Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (I Thessalonians 5:18).
Here’s something to think about: How would we feel when you put forth great effort and achieve great accomplishments, yet someone complains about what we didn’t do? It’s like that boss we all had at one time that always made us feel like nothing we did was good enough. Similarly how must God feel or think when we, the most blessed people in the world, both spiritually and physically, bellyache and moan about all our problems? Especially when what He has done for us so greatly outshines the earthly comparisons of what we might do.
If we count our blessings, instead of our problems, we will beat worry.
I really believe the reason people worry is because worry is easier than action. I came across a funny little quote that illustrates this pretty well:
“Worrying is less work than doing something to fix the worry. Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom with the dishes.”
Now, that’s not in the Bible, but it reminds us of a biblical truth. Worry is the easy way out, as sin usually is.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
“THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD”
Text: Ephesians 6:10-18
I. Rome was the mighty governing power in the days the New Testament was written.
A. Its strength was in its military, which constantly was on guard
B. Josephus, a Jewish historian, observed that Roman soldiers always carried their weapons with them, even in times of peace. “Every soldier is every day exercised, and that with diligence, as if it were in time of war, which is the reason why they bear the fatigues of battle so easily.” [The Wars of the Jews, III.5.1]
C. Yet mighty Rome fell, in a great part due to herself.
1. “The relaxation of discipline, and the disuse of exercise rendered the soldiers less able, and less willing, to support the fatigues of service.” [Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. 3, p. 271]
2. It spread itself thin and so used hired mercenaries to fill its ranks, but these men did not have the same discipline as the old guard.
3. In addition, the emperors knew that their position was upheld by the army, so they began to pamper the legions. When complaints came about the armor and weapons being too heavy, they were allowed to make do with less and lighter armor.
4. “The cavalry of the Goths, the Huns, and the Alani had felt the benefits, and adopted the use, of defensive armor – they easily overwhelmed the naked and trembling legions, whose heads and breasts were exposed, without defense, to the arrows of the barbarians.” [Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. 3, p. 271].
II. Paul brings his letter to the Ephesians to a conclusion by reminding the Ephesians that they are at war – Ephesians 6:10-12
A. It is not a physical war, but a spiritual battle. It cannot be won by hit and miss tactics. It requires endurance.
1. Be strong in the Lord – Joshua 1:6-9
2. Battles are not won through fears.
3. Wage the good warfare – I Timothy 1:18
4. Endure the hardships – II Timothy 2:3-4
B. But wars require that those fighting must be prepared. We have to have our armor on.
1. Without it, we can stand firm against Satan’s schemes.
2. Satan doesn’t fight fair. He doesn’t wait for a convenient time to attack.
a. He looks for openings when we are least ready and least prepared.
b. Forgiveness is important because we have to present a united front – II Corinthians 2:10-11
c. Distracted by fancifulness – II Corinthians 11:3-4
d. Deceived – II Corinthians 11:13-15
C. We have to be ready to stand firm
III. Our armor – Ephesians 6:14-17
A. Girded with Truth
1. The girdle or belt of a solider was not decoration, it is what bound the various pieces together against the body
a. In that culture, people wore long loose-fitting robes, but such hindered movement.
b. So the bottoms were pulled up and held in place by the girdle, thus forming shorts.
c. It also held the breastplate against the body, thus taking much of the weight of the armor off the shoulders to put it on the hips, allowing the arms to swing more freely.
d. It also was used to carry the soldier’s weapons, so they would be close at hand.
2. It is truth that is the foundation of our armor and where Satan seeks to attack – II Thessalonians 2:9-12
a. Imagine weakening your opponent by first convincing him that he doesn’t need the core of armor
3. Many people view truth as a restriction, a binding
a. You can’t do this, you can’t do that
b. It does restrict – restrict you from things which are harmful anyway
c. What they miss is that those very restrictions give you freedom – John 8:32
B. Breastplate of righteousness
1. Common soldiers wore leather body armor. Those of higher ranks had chain mail. The top ranks had molded metal.
a. Paul uses the word for the chain mail. It weighed about 15 pounds with a front and back piece.
b. Its purpose was to protect the heart and other vital organs
2. Righteousness is what protects our hearts
a. What Job held to – Job 27:6
C. Shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace
1. The Romans used studded sandals for their soldiers, much like football cleats. It gave their soldiers a firm footing during battle. And it allowed them to move quickly from one location to another.
a. Interestingly the design made it difficult to walk backwards, so the soldiers were less likely to give ground.
b. Also since most of the armor was on the front, a soldier was not inclined to turn his back to the enemy.
2. Our sound footing is found through the gospel of peace – Romans 10:15
a. It is where we stand – I Corinthians 15:1
D. The shield of faith
1. In those days, enemies often fired arrows tipped with ignited pitch. A soldier’s breastplate might stop the arrow, but the pitch would be knocked off and set the soldier aflame.
2. “The word Paul uses is not that for the comparatively small round shield; it is that for the great oblong shield which the heavily armed warrior wore. One of the most dangerous weapons in ancient warfare was the fiery dart. It was a dart tipped with tow dipped in pitch. The pitch-soaked tow was set alight and the dart was thrown. The great oblong shield was made of two sections of wood, glued together. When the shield was presented to the dart, the dart sank into the wood and the flame was put out. Faith can deal with the darts of temptation.” [William Barclay, The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians , p. 183]
3. We resist Satan through faith – I Peter 5:8-9
4. Victory is in our faith – I John 5:4-5
E. The helmet of salvation
1. The Roman helmet was generally made of bronze with a iron skullcap inside that was lined with leather or cloth to pad the head.
2. The helmet is our hope of salvation – I Thessalonians 5:8
3. It protects our head from direct blows
a. We cannot be moved away from our hope – Colossians 1:22-23
b. Hold fast to our confidence and hope – Hebrews 3:6
c. For our hope saves us – Romans 8:24
F. The sword of the Spirit
1. Everything mentioned so far are defensive armor. The sword is the offensive weapon
2. Roman swords were designed for stabbing because slashing gives mostly surface wounds, but a stab can penetrate deeply to vital organs.
3. Our weapon is the word of God – Hebrews 4:12
4. Remember that this is a spiritual battle – II Corinthians 10:3-5
IV. Always on alert – Ephesians 6:18
A. The best armor is useless if we are not on guard – Colossians 4:2
B. Don’t stop. Don’t give up – I Thessalonians 5:17
C. Watchful in our prayers – I Peter 4:7
V. Are you prepared? Are you on alert? Are you ready to stand firm against the enemy
WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT THE CHARACTER OF THE WICKED!!
Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
- Alienated from God.
Ephesians 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:Colossians 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
Luke 22:65 And many other things blasphemously spake they against him.Revelation 16:9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.
2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.Ephesians 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
Psalms 10:3 For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.Psalms 49:6 They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;
- Conspiring against God’s people.
Nehemiah 4:8 And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.Nehemiah 6:2 That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief.Psalms 38:12 They also that seek after my life lay snares for me: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long.
Micah 2:2 And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage.Romans 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Psalms 5:6 Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.Romans 3:13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
- Delighting in the iniquity of others.
Proverbs 2:14 Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;Romans 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
- Despising the works of the faithful.
Nehemiah 2:19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king?Nehemiah 4:2 And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?2 Timothy 3:3-4 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
Isaiah 59:7 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.
Nehemiah 9:26 Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations.Titus 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.1 Peter 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
- Enticing to evil.
Proverbs 1:10-14 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: …2 Timothy 3:6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
Nehemiah 2:10 When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.Titus 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
Proverbs 28:1 The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Proverbs 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.2 Timothy 3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
Deuteronomy 32:6 Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?Psalms 5:5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
- Forgetting God.
Job 8:13 So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite’s hope shall perish:
Psalms 37:21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.Micah 6:11 Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?
Proverbs 21:8 The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.Isaiah 57:17 For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart.
- Glorying in their shame.
Philippians 3:19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
Ezekiel 3:7 But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.
- Hating the light.
Job 24:13 They are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof.John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
- Heady and high-minded.
2 Timothy 3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
- Hostile to God.
Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.Colossians 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
Isaiah 29:13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
- Ignorant of God.
Hosea 4:1 Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.2 Thessalonians 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Ezekiel 2:4 For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD.
2 Timothy 3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
Psalms 10:4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.Psalms 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
Proverbs 13:5 A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.
- Lovers of pleasure more than of God.
2 Timothy 3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
Psalms 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.Psalms 62:4 They only consult to cast him down from his excellency: they delight in lies: they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah.Isaiah 59:4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.
Proverbs 24:8 He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person.Micah 7:3 That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up.
Psalms 10:8 He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor.Psalms 94:6 They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless.Romans 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Job 21:15 What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?Psalms 53:4 Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God.
Psalms 69:26 For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded.Psalms 109:16 Because that he remembered not to shew mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart.
Deuteronomy 32:5 They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation.
Psalms 59:12 For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips let them even be taken in their pride: and for cursing and lying which they speak.Obadiah 1:3 The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground?2 Timothy 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
- Rejoicing in the affliction of saints.
Psalms 35:15 But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not:
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?2 Timothy 3:8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
2 Timothy 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
Philippians 3:19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)Jude 1:19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
- Sold under sin.
1 Kings 21:20 And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the LORD.2 Kings 17:17 And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
Ezekiel 2:4 For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD.
Exodus 33:5 For the LORD had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee.Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
- Uncircumcised in heart.
Jeremiah 9:26 Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
Proverbs 11:7 When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.Isaiah 26:10 Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD.
Romans 1:31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Proverbs 16:27 An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.
2 Timothy 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
Matthew 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.Romans 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Titus 1:10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
Deuteronomy 32:6 Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?
Text: Romans 5:1-5
I. Suppose you needed to hire someone for a job. What would you look for?
A. You probably need someone with the skills to do the job, but what other things would you look for. Given several candidates with equivalent skills, what would set one person out above another?
B. Would character make a difference? Would you hire a compulsive liar, a drunk, a drug user, a thief, or someone who is lazy?
C. Suppose you were looking for a job. Would you consider the character of the company and the character of the employees of that company when you consider working for that company?
D. What about picking a doctor, or a mechanic, or someone we are voting for an office in government?
II. The concept of character is found in several biblical words
A. Virtue – Greek: arete – Moral excellence
1. Praise, glory – Hebrew: salsillah
2. It refers to things worthy to be praised
3. God calls us by His glory and virtue – II Peter 1:3
4. Which leads us to imitate Him – II Peter 1:4-5
B. Integrity – Greek: adiaphthoria – Unable to be corrupted
1. Hebrew: tom – Moral completeness, uprightness, innocence
2. Hebrew: tummah – Innocence
3. Psalm 26:1 – David walked in his integrity and therefore would not slip.
C. Proven character – Greek: dokime – Tested trustworthiness
1. Romans 5:1-5
D. Your reputation is what people think you are; your character is what God knows you are
1. “Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking.” [Karl Bismark]
2. “Character, then, is what we are when no one sees but God” [Os Guiness]
III. Our core values
A. It starts from within.
1. “Sow a thought, and you reap an act;/ Sow an act, and you reap a habit;/ Sow a habit, and you reap a character;/ Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.” [Charles Reader]
2. This is Jesus’ point, who you are starts with what you think – Mark 7:14-23
B. Philippians 4:8 – Think on these things
C. How we think influences our behavior – Proverbs 4:23-27
1. Sadly Satan understands this all too well
2. It is not accidental that movies have “chance” cursing or the “obligatory” sex scene
3. Why is it that music videos feature scantily clad singers?
4. On the other side, why do so many intellectuals become upset about prayers and the mention of God in schools?
5. People understand that to mold the behavior of individuals, you first influence the way they think.
D. That is why it is important to think on proper things – Philippians 2:5
E. Set your affections on things above – Colossians 3:1-4
IV. Consistency in application
A. A person who lies sometimes, doesn’t have an honest character, even if he believes lying is wrong.
B. Character results from the habits of the heart. After speaking of the things we should meditate upon, Paul tells us to put them into practice – Philippians 4:9
C. It is not just knowing what is the right thing to do, it is doing it. It is doing it continually – James 1:25
D. For example, I have a habit of going to church. It is more that just a habit, but it is still something I habitually do.
1. Habits are things you do without giving it much thought.
2. I don’t decide each Sunday whether I’m going to church. That decision was made long ago. I go.
a. I arrange my travels around being somewhere to attend services – not just on Sundays but midweek services as well.
3. Some, unfortunately, have a habit of missing – Hebrews 10:24-25
E. It is our habits which form our character
V. Sacrificing for our convictions
A. Paul speaks of what he endured – II Corinthians 11:23-30
B. Why? Why didn’t he give up? – II Corinthians 4:16-18
C. Paul saw that there was value in his beliefs. Such a value that suffering to hang on to those values didn’t mean much.
D. Paul gave up a lot to be a Christian – Philippians 3:7-14
VI. “You can’t buy courage and decency, you can’t rent a strong moral sense.” [Peggy Noonan]
A. Young people, who are you looking to marry?
1. Would you want someone rich, popular, beautiful or handsome?
2. But what about his or her character?
3. Beauty fades, fame is fickle, and wealth has wings, but character endures.
4. Perhaps you will learn a lesson from Solomon – Proverbs 11:22
B. Are you a person of character?
1. Wishy-washy people are a dime a dozen.
2. What we need are people of conviction.
THE CHRISTIAN’S CHARACTER!!
- Believing God.
Mark 11:22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.John 14:11-12 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
- Fearing God.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.1 Peter 2:17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
- Loving God.
Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
- Following God.
Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;1 Peter 1:15-16 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
- Obeying God.
Luke 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
- Rejoicing in God.
Psalms 33:1 Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.Habakkuk 3:18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
- Believing in Christ.
John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
- Loving Christ.
John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.1 Peter 1:7-8 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
- Following the example of Christ.
John 13:15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.1 Peter 2:21-24 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
- Obeying Christ.
John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
- To Christ.
Romans 14:8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.2 Corinthians 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
- Unto righteousness.
Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?Romans 6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
- Soberly, righteously, and godly.
Titus 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
1 Thessalonians 4:12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
- Worthy of God.
1 Thessalonians 2:12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
- Worthy of the Lord.
Colossians 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
- In the Spirit.
Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
- After the Spirit.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
- In newness of life.
Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
- Worthy of vocation.
Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
- As children of light.
Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
- Rejoicing in Christ.
Philippians 3:1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
- Loving one another.
John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;1 Corinthians 13:1-13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; …Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.Hebrews 13:1 Let brotherly love continue.
- Striving for the faith.
Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
- Putting away all sin.
1 Corinthians 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
- Abstaining from all appearance of evil.
1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
- Perfecting holiness.
Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.2 Timothy 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
- Hating defilement.
Jude 1:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
- Following after that which is good.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.1 Thessalonians 5:15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.1 Timothy 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
- Overcoming the world.
1 John 5:4-5 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
- Adorning the gospel.
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.Titus 2:10 Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.
- Showing a good example.
1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.1 Peter 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.Titus 2:7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
- Abounding in the work of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.2 Corinthians 8:7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.1 Thessalonians 4:1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
- Shunning the wicked.
Psalms 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.2 Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
- Controlling the body.
1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
- Subduing the temper.
Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:James 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
- Submitting to injuries.
Matthew 5:39-41 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.1 Corinthians 6:7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?
- Forgiving injuries.
Matthew 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:Romans 12:20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
- Living peaceably with all.
Romans 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
- Visiting the afflicted.
Matthew 25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
- Doing as we would be done by.
Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.Luke 6:31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
- Sympathizing with others.
Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.1 Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
- Honoring others.
Psalms 15:4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
- Fulfilling domestic duties.
Ephesians 6:1-8 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; …1 Peter 3:1-7 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: …
- Submitting to Authorities.
Romans 13:1-7 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. …
- Being liberal to others.
Acts 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.Romans 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
- Being contented.
Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
- Blessedness of maintaining.
Psalms 1:1-3 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.Psalms 19:9-11 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.Psalms 50:23 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.Matthew 5:3-12 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. …John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.John 7:17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.