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Monthly Archives: March 2012

OUR MOST PRIZED POSSESSION WE OWN– “OUR SOULS”

“Faith unto the Saving of the Soul”
Intro.
1.  Sin brings death; willful sin assures punishment (Heb. 10:26-30).
2.  Hebrews written to Christians whose faith was under attack; their faith was being tried & tested by…
  a.  Sin’s deceitful temptations (Heb. 3:12-13).
  b.  Negligence & failure to grow (Heb. 5:11-14).
  c.  Sluggishness (Heb. 6:12).
  d.  False doctrines about the covenants (Heb. 8-10).
  e.  Immorality (Heb. 12:12-16).
  f.  Irreverence toward God (Heb. 12:25, 28).
  g.  Selfishness rather than loving service (Heb. 13:1-2).
  h.  Dishonoring of marriage (Heb. 13:4).
3.  Hebrews is a “word of exhortation” to faithfulness, Heb. 13:22.
4.  Hebrews exhorts us to have faith that saves the soul (Heb. 10:35-39):
  a.  Endurance (10:36).
  b.  Obedience (10:36).
  c.  Boldness & confidence due to God’s promises (10:35-36, 39).
5.  Faith dramatically & drastically affects who we are & how we live.
 
I.SAVING FAITH (“faith unto the saving of the soul”), Heb. 11 (cf. 11:2).
  A.  Saving Faith Makes Rational Choices, Heb. 11:1.
    1.  Faith is built on evidence, not emotion; Faith is not blind; it is not ignorant.
    2.  Faith perceives the divine cause & design, Heb. 11:3 (3:4; Rom. 1:20; Acts 14:17).
    3.  Faith perceives that the works & words of Jesus show Him to be the Son of God (Jno. 10:37-38; 20:30-31).
    4.  Faith supports genuine hope, not senseless desire, Heb. 11:1, 4-7.
  B.  Saving Faith Acts on God’s Promises, Heb. 11:7-22.
    1.  Because people of faith trust God’s promises, 11:7-22.
    2.  Faith that pleases God:
      a.  Obeys God, 11:7-9, 17.
      b.  Relies on the faithfulness of God, 11:11.
      c.  Is sustained by hope, 11:10, 13-16; Heb. 6:13-19 (God’s faithfulness & our hope).
   C.  Saving Faith Values Christ Above All Else, Heb. 11:23-29.
    1.  Faith is not afraid of men, 11:23; cf. Jno. 12:42-43; Matt. 10:28 (Acts 5:29).
      a.  Will not value men over Christ, Matt. 10:32-37.
      b.  Will not value self over Christ, Matt. 10:38-39.
    2.  Faith is not controlled by earthly advantages, Heb. 11:24-26; Acts 7:22; Matt. 16:26; cf. Phil. 3:3-11.
       -Counts it an honorable thing to suffer reproach for Christ, Acts 5:41; Matt. 5:11-12.
    3.  Faith is deliberate, Heb. 11:27-29 (Lk. 14:27-33; 9:57-62).
  D.  Saving Faith Overcomes Opposition, Heb. 11:29-38.
    1.  The victories of faith, 11:29-34; 1 Jno. 5:4.
    2.  The victory of faith comes through enduring the trials of faith, 11:35-38; 1 Pet. 1:3-9.
  E.  The Faith of the Ancient Saints:
    1.  Testifies of their worthiness of heaven, 11:38-39.
    2.  Made perfect (complete in Christ), 11:39-40.
    3.  Urges us on to greater faith, Heb. 12:1-2.
 
Conclusion
1.  “When the Son of man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (NKJV) Lk. 18:8
2.  Our faith must be active to please God & save our souls, Jas. 2:14-18; Heb. 11:6.
 
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Posted by on March 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLICAL BATTLEGROUNDS; MY FRIEND; “THIS IS WAR”

“BATTLEGROUNDS OF THE RIGHTEOUS”

Intro.

1.  2 Tim. 4:7 – “The good fight” (1 Tim. 6:12). Every Christian a soldier!

2.  Every fight is fought somewhere — BATTLEGROUND.

  a.  Battlegrounds are the places we must “fight” to build the kingdom of God – 2 Cor. 10:3-6 (battlegrounds the subject of this lesson).

3.  Conflict not contrary to life of Christian – It is a part of his life!

  a.  Life of Jesus was constant “warfare!” (Jno. 2:13-16; 8:59; 10:31)

  b.  Paul was militant, used much military terminology.

  c.  Nehemiah – Wanted to rebuild walls of Jerusalem. Under his leadership the Jews had to fight on some of the same battlegrounds which we must make our stand today!

 

I.  BATTLEGROUND # 1: RIDICULE & CRITICISM – Neh. 4:1-3, 6 (2:19-20).

  A.  Intended To Cause Us To Doubt Our Cause, Our God & Ourselves – 4:1-3; cf. Matt. 5:11-12; 1 Pet. 4:4, 14.

  B.  Jews’ Response – v. 4-6:

    1.  Prayer (v. 4-5).

    2.  A mind to work – So they did! (v. 6)

  C.  Common Battleground Today!

    1.  Acts 14:2 – Paul faced this problem.

    2.  Even those who should be helping in the work prefer to criticize / minimize the work others are doing!

    3.  We must pray – Phil. 4:6-7.

    4.  We must have a mind to work – 1 Pet. 3:13-17; Gal. 6:9.

  –If allow R/C to keep us from doing God’s will-Satan winning battle!

II.  BATTLEGROUND # 2: OPEN WARFARE – Neh. 4:7-23.

  A.  Physical Threats – 4:8, 11—Jews’ Attitude: We Are Ready!

    1.  v. 13-14 – Armed – Trusting in God.

    2.  v. 15-16 – Worked – Constantly prepared to meet any challenge.

  B.  As They Stood Prepared, So Must We!

    1.  Man are declaring open warfare on the church today:

Challenge our name (church of Christ, Rom. 16:16); our worship (innovations, Jno. 4:24); baptism for r of s (Acts 2:38); our moral standards (modesty, honesty, purity, Tit. 2:11-12; 1 Jno. 2:15); the Bible as inspired/authoritative (2 Tim. 3:16-17); creation & God Himself (evolution, humanism).

    2.  By open warfare mean honest, sincere, gentlemanly defense of truth! (Phil. 1:16)

III.  BATTLEGROUND # 3: INTERNAL TROUBLE – Neh. 5:1-13.

  A.  Mistreatment Of Brethren Complained Against & Corrected.

    1.  Oppression to obtain food to live – 5:1-5.

    2.  Rebuke & resolution – 5:6-13.

    3.  Nehemiah dealt w/ problem in a direct, straightforward way – v. 6ff.

  B.  Factiousness / Strife Will Destroy A Good Work – Gal. 5:13-15, 20, 25-26.

    1.  Illus.: In any marriage “little problems” arise–Must be dealt with.  How they’re handled determines how successful the marriage is.

    2.  Same true w/ local church – How handled & settled could determine whether or not we win the battle! (Acts 6:1-6; 20:29- 30).

 

IV. BATTLEGROUND # 4: COMPROMISE – Neh. 6:1-3 (2 Tim. 4:3-4).

  A.  Compromise Occurs When We Doubt Our Work – cf. v. 3.

    1.  Nehemiah knew his work was great & right!

    2.  cf. 2 Tim. 1:12 – Paul was fully persuaded! Are we?!

    3.  Those who doubt the truth are vulnerable to compromise.

  B.  Compromise Occurs When We Are Afraid – 6:4-9.

    1.  Effort to blackmail Nehemiah with lies.

    2.  Mk. 8:38; Matt. 10:28; Heb. 13:6 – Men can do nothing to us that robs us of our salvation — Only we can do that (by fearing man rather than God!).

  C.  Compromise Occurs When We Trust In Our Own Strength – Neh. 6:15-16; cf. Phil. 4:13; Rom. 8:31, 35-37 (God is our strength!)

Conclusion

Prov. 24:10: In the day of adversity will we be strong in the Lord & the strength of His might?! (Eph. 6:10)

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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HOW ABOUT YOUR SPIRITUAL PERCEPTION? WHAT DO YOU GIVE YOUR ATTENTION TO?

“ENLIGHTENED EYES”
Ephesians 1:18-19

Intro.
1. Spiritual perception is crucial to successful Christian living!
a. For conversion & discipleship – Matt. 13:14-16
b. Chose right things, avoid sin & be approved – Phil. 1:9-11
c. Live worthy & please God, being fruitful & strong – Col. 1:9-12
d. Test ourselves to see if we are acceptable to God – 2 Cor. 13:5
2. Eph. 1:15-19 (v. 18) – That you may know (eidw eido: perceive, discern, discover, and give attention to)

  • THE HOPE OF HIS CALLING– Eph. 1:18
    • Saved in hope – Rom. 8:24
    • Laid up for you in heaven – Col. 1:5
      • Heard of it through the gospel – Col. 1:5
      • Hope promotes living by faith & love – Col. 1:4
    • A living hope – 1 Pet. 1:3 (Christ’s resurrection – cf. Acts 24:15)
    • Rejoice in our hope, without disappointment (shame) – Rom. 5:1-2, 3-5
      • Drives our faith – Rom. 4:18
      • Anchors our soul – Heb. 6:18-19
    • Eagerly wait for our hope to be obtained – Rom. 8:24-25; Tit. 2:13
  • THE RICHES OF THE GLORY OF HIS INHERITANCE IN THE SAINTS – Eph. 1:18
    • His inheritance: In Christ – Eph. 1:11 (His blood – Heb. 9:14-15)
    • In the saints: The sanctified – Col. 1:12; Acts 20:32
      • Not in the world – Eph. 5:5
      • Among the saved – We share heavenly riches together – Acts 26:18
    • Heirs: Privilege of childhood – Rom. 8:14-17; Gal. 4:4-7; 3:26-29
    • Its Glory: Heavenly splendor – 1 Pet. 1:3-5:
      • Incorruptible – not liable to corruption or decay, imperishable
      • Undefiled – Unsoiled, free of contaminants, not deformed, debased
      • Does not fade away – Immortal, enduring in its original state
      • Reserved in heaven – Preserved & prepared for the faithful (1:5)
  • THE EXCEEDING GREATNESS OF HIS POWER TOWARD US WHO BELIEVE – Eph. 1:19
    • His power which saved us – Col. 2:11-13 (His operative power)
    • His power to complete His purposes & work in us – Phil. 1:6; Eph. 3:20-21
      • By the power which raised & exalted Christ – Eph. 1:20-21
      • By the power of Christ who now reigns – Eph. 1:22-23
      • By the power of faith & truth – Eph. 3:20, 16-17
    • His power to supply our needs – Phil. 4:19
    • His power to keep us safe from – Jno. 10:27-29

Conclusion

  • When we understand & perceive our hope, the glory of our inheritance & the power God uses on our behalf, we are equipped through our faith to:
    1. Hear & heed the word of Christ (Matt. 13:14-15)
    2. Make the right moral choices in our lives (Phil. 1:9-10)
    3. Live worthy of Christ & His gospel (Eph. 4:1)
    4. Be fruitful and strong in His service (Col. 1:9-10)
    5. Be vigilant to test ourselves & remain in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5)
 
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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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DOES YOUR CONSCIENCE BOTHER YOU? IF NOT WHY NOT?

“A  BIBLICAL  LOOK  AT  THE  CONSCIENCE”

  • Witnesses in man.
    Proverbs 20:27 The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
    Romans 2:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
  • Accuses of sin.
    Genesis 42:21 And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.
    2 Samuel 24:10 And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.
    Matthew 27:3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
    Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
  • We should have the approval of.
    Job 27:6 My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.
    Acts 24:16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.
    Romans 9:1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,
    Romans 14:22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
  • The blood of Christ alone can purify.
    Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
    Hebrews 10:2-10 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
    Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
  • Keep the faith in purity of.
    1 Timothy 1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
    1 Timothy 3:9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
  • Of saints, pure and good.
    Hebrews 13:18 Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.
    1 Peter 3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
    1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
  • Submit to authority for.
    Romans 13:5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
  • Suffer patiently for.
    1 Peter 2:19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
  • Testimony of, a source of joy.
    2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
    1 John 3:21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
  • Of others, not to be offended.
    Romans 14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
    1 Corinthians 10:28-32 But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof: Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience? For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
  • Ministers should commend themselves to that of their people.
    2 Corinthians 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
    2 Corinthians 5:11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
  • Of the wicked, seared.
    1 Timothy 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
  • Of the wicked, defiled.
    Titus 1:15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
  • Without spiritual illumination, a false guide.
    Acts 23:1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.
    Acts 26:9 I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
 
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Posted by on March 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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THE URGENCY OF EMERGENCY!!! FRIEND, YOU MUST BELIEVE THAT HE EXIST!!

“THE URGENCY OF CHRISTIANITY”

Intro.
1. Jesus lived an urgent life – Jno. 9:4-5.
2. Urgency of following Him is based upon:
a. What is gained – Heaven (Matt. 7:21).
b. What is escaped – Hell (Rom .6:23).
c. The uncertainty of life (Jas. 4:13-15).
3. The urgency of Christianity (our faithfulness as Christians) is seen in the use in the NT of the word “straightway” or “immediately.”

I. IMMEDIATELY THEY FOLLOWED JESUS – Matt. 4:18-22.
A. We Must Be Eager To Follow Jesus.
1. When the controversy swirls (hard, controversial topics) – Jude 3.
2. When family objects – Matt. 10:37.
3. When hardships occur – Matt. 10:38.
4. Will we stand or limp? – 1 Kgs. 18:21.
B. We Must Be Assured That We Are Not Following Man, But The Son Of God – Lk. 5:5-8.
1. He has demonstrated His power – Jno. 20:30-31.
2. His word establishes truth – Lk. 5:5.
C. Eliminate Excuses For Not Following Jesus – Lk. 14:15-24.
1. Though invited, excuses offered show lack of proper value being placed upon the host & the occasion.
2. Excuses of necessity, valid concerns & arrogance are still offered which reject Christ & His blessings!
3. Excuses do not excuse failing to come to Jesus – 14:24 (Jas.4:17).
4. Why not now?! – Acts 16:30-34

II. SOME WILL IMMEDIATELY RECEIVE THE WORD & THEN IMMEDIATELY STUMBLE – Mk. 4:16-17.
-(We all know of such occurrences & they distress us!)
A. Why Does This Happen?
1. Mk. 4:16-17 – No root in themselves.
a. Faith does not grow & strengthen.
b. Endure as long as faith is not tested.
c. When test of faith comes — stumble.
2. What is the remedy?
B. Diligently Pursue Spiritual Growth – Heb. 6:1-3.
1. Build a mature faith – Col. 2:6-7.
2. Hear & obey word – Jas. 1:23-25.
3. 2 Pet. 1:5-10 – Diligent spiritual growth is an urgent need in order to prevent stumbling! (What is gained, escaped, uncertainty of life.)

III. IMMEDIATELY SATAN COMES – Mk. 4:15 (1 Pet. 5:8; 2 Cor. 2:11).
A. His Objective: Keep The Word Of God From Us – v. 15.
1. He knows its power – Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:18
2. He blinds minds to it – 2 Cor. 4:3-4.
B. Satan Never Rests – Job 1:6-7.
C. We Must Diligently (Immediately) Resist Him – Jas. 4:7-10.
1. Prov. 4:23 – Guard it with vigilance.
2. Prov. 3:7 – Fear God & depart from evil. (Matt. 10:28)

Conclusion
1. Acts 22:16 – “And now, why do you delay?” (NASV); “And now why are you waiting?” (NKJV)
2. In view of what is gained (heaven), what is escaped (hell) & the uncertainty of life“Why Not Now?!”

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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OUR MONDAY MORNING MESSENGER

“Be Still and Know That I Am God”

By Jason Jackson

“If you were running for your life, would it matter?” That was General Odum’s motto; he learned to put everyday problems into perspective, weighing them against his World War II experiences. Captured by Rommel’s infamous Afrika Korps, Odum later escaped when the German plane transporting him and other prisoners of war was shot down by Allied Forces over France. After a month of hiding and dodging Nazis, the skin-and-bones Odum finally met up with friendly troops. He learned what few things really matter when you’re running for your life.

Where do you run to when you need a safe place to hide? I’ve never had to hide like General (this was his name, not his rank); most of us haven’t. But whether we realize it or not, a greater threat is here. Life in the flesh is a perilous time, because greater than any physical danger is the demoralizing presence of our adversary, the devil. Remember Peter’s warning: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). [All Scripture references are from the ESV unless otherwise noted.]

In addition to the sin-danger with which men flirt to the point of madness, one’s world can fall apart instantly. The English poet Alfred Tennyson felt the common plight when he wrote, “Never morning wore to evening, but some heart did not break.” If your world falls apart, to whom shall you go? As the steady North Star provides orientation in darkness, so the forty-sixth Psalm is higher ground for the worn soul seeking refuge.

The Psalm Introduced

Psalm 46 divides into three sections as indicated by the contemplative selah after each group of verses. In the first section (vv. 1-3), there is an opening declaration that God is our refuge and strength; therefore, the Lord’s people need not fear even in the bleakest of circumstances, illustrated by a crumbling earth and turbulent sea that surrounds and threatens God’s people. In the second part (vv. 4-7), the city of God is the calm in the storm. The nations surge, hostilities rage, but the voice of Jehovah subdues them.

The refrain expresses the rationale for hope when there is none: “The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (v. 7). The last part (vv. 8-11) invites the people of God to consider God’s past interventions in the affairs of men as solid evidence of his abiding presence, again concluding with the encouraging affirmation, “The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (v. 11). He marshals the armies (i.e., “hosts”) of heaven to do his bidding; he is the true God who involved himself in Jacob’s life, providing gracious blessings and protection to the fulfillment of his promises. Thus, he is the God who is willing to use his power on behalf of his people to fulfill the gracious promises that he has made. He is with us!

The Psalm Investigated

If you love Psalm 23, you’ll love Psalm 46. J. Clinton McCann Jr. noted the similarities between these psalms—a soul-stirring thread—when he wrote: “Like Psalm 23, the fundamental affirmation of Psalm 46 is the assurance of God’s presence” (1993, 136). How we cherish the knowledge of his presence; many of our hymns reflect the treasured thought, “God with us” (“A Wonderful Savior,” “A Mighty Fortress,” “Rock of Ages,” etc.).

The reader should understand much of the Old Testament language and background of this psalm, and an extensive line-by-line consideration of such will have to remain unexplored in this present study. Such a neglect here does not reflect a lack of appreciation for the general historical context and rich Hebrew poetry that characterizes this psalm. However, this ancient poem, given and preserved by God, fittingly describes issues that transcend the dispensations and are relevant to men of every age. This study will focus upon such matters. Just as the prophet announced for God, “For I, Jehovah, change not; therefore ye, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed” (Malachi 3:6, ASV), we realize that the God of Jacob is with us—Christians. Rather than alter our view on Psalm 46, the New Testament enhances our appreciation of the vivid truths revealed in this great psalm.

Our Confidence

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (v. 1, ASV). He, and he alone, is the ultimate security. He is exceedingly ready and available for us in trouble—in practice, not in mere theory. Paul motivated Christians to pursue heavenly things: “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). There is no other place like it; nothing comes close. Trouble will find you, so flee to the fortress of souls.

Since God is the one to whom we can flee—who protects us without and strengthens us within—we will not fear. The defiance of faith in uncertainty and peril is justified, because God is with us: “Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth do change, and though the mountains be shaken into the heart of the seas; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains tremble with the swelling thereof” (vv. 2-3, ASV).

Observe the words “change,” “shaken,” “roar,” “troubled,” and “tremble.” The situation is desperate since the earth appears to be on the brink of destruction. The figures describe the worst-case scenario; the most dreaded thing is happening. Even if the world should crumble beneath our feet, we will not wonder: “Has God forsaken us?” In fact, we will not fear; he is with us. The psalm admits that the Lord’s own are not immune from trouble (cf. Hebrews 5:8-9). We live in an unstable world, an environment hazarded by sin’s curse. He sustains us in the midst of trouble, and that is what a person needs to know as he lives with a view toward better days.

Our Calmness

Abruptly, a surreal tranquility is painted by words of calmness and confidence: “There is a river, the streams wherefore make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High” (v. 4, ASV). In contrast to the chaos, there is the calm, pure river, which is the source from which the streams (i.e., canals) irrigate, bring life, and add beauty in the very city of God—the place of his tabernacles (note the plural “dwelling places”). His presence is like the river—life-giving and sustaining. Naturally, since he is the Most High (cf. 97:9).

Those who reside in God’s city (i.e., in a covenant, saved relationship with God) are blessed because he is there: “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God will help her, and that right early” (v. 5). Or to express the thought in another way, “No water can swallow the ship where lies the Master of ocean and earth and skies.”

Unparalleled stability results from the abiding presence of God. Therefore, gladness characterizes God’s city, even though nations topple around her because of foreign aggression. If she trusts in him, if she is faithful to him, she shall not be moved. What can he do? “He uttered his voice, the earth melted” (v. 6).

The psalmist’s confidence may stem from recent manifestations of God’s awesome presence and intervention. A. F. Kirkpatrick was convinced that Psalm 46 celebrates the delivery of Jerusalem when 185,000 Assyrian corpses littered the environs of Jerusalem—thanks to the Angel of Jehovah. He wrote, “The miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem from the army of Sennacherib in the reign of Hezekiah (B.C. 701) may be assigned as the occasion of these Psalms [i.e., 46, 47, 48], with a probability which approaches certainty” (1906, 253).

Albert Barnes appeared equally convinced, but less emphatic (1950, 40). In actuality, the Bible relates many interventions of the Lord on behalf of his people, including 2 Kings 19. These “intrusions” reveal that the true and living God has made his presence felt for his people; accordingly, the point that he is not far from us has been substantiated on numerous occasions since the beginning of time (cf. Acts 17:27-28; Romans 15:1-5). We may not know with certainty the immediate circumstances behind this psalm, but we do know, “The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

Our Conviction

Psalm 46 not only affirms the reality of God’s presence, it also invites men to behold the evidence: “Come, behold the works of Jehovah, what desolations he hath made in the earth” (v. 8). He has broken the weapons of war; he rules in the kingdoms of men. The plagues of Egypt, the walls of Jericho, the victories of Gideon, the defeat of Goliath, the fiery furnace, Daniel’s lions, and scores of other divine manifestations are a testimony to the fact that God, who does not change, has the same concern for us today as he had for his children of former days.

Our most important consideration, however, is not our skin—it’s our soul. More important than our biological life is our spiritual life (cf. Matthew 10:28). This world is not all there is nor all that matters. When sin takes hold of us, or circumstances overwhelm us, it is God to whom we must flee. Run to him in your heart and mind—what you know of God, heaven, eternity, and judgment. Hope will sustain you in the darkest hour.

The Psalm Incorporated

If we adopt the thinking of Psalm 46, should we expect a miraculous deliverance from trouble? No. First, God does not need to work a miracle to help us in trouble. Second, the miracles of the past continue to teach us (cf. John 20:30-31); their repetition is unnecessary for the accomplishment of his will. Trust in him, believe in him, for the Lord has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Do you believe him?

You also must “come, behold the works of the Lord” (v. 8). Come, behold the baby of a virgin; come, behold the daughter of Jairus; come to the tomb of Lazarus; come to Gethsemane; come, behold the crown of thorns; behold the empty tomb. Jesus Christ has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Timothy 1:10). “So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:6).

Isn’t that what we want to know? That if the world falls apart, if the unthinkable happens, in the end we’ll be saved? Paul, in a Psalm 46 frame of mind, says also, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32). Significantly, neither the psalmist nor Paul were students of Campbell, Stone, or McGarvey; but, contrary to the voices of change that necessary inference is a modern invention, both inspired writers invite us to draw necessary inferences about God’s love and presence in our lives based on what God has done in the past.

Thus, calm confidence should adorn God’s people—no matter what. “Be still, and know that I am God” (v. 10, ASV). God’s people are commanded to “be still.” The imperative gives a solemn duty to those in a covenant relationship with God (cf. Galatians 3:26-29). The duty represents a spiritual disposition that ought to characterize those to whom God’s unfailing promises have been given. “Be still” considers that we are finite and that God is infinite. That being the case, we need to drop our hands, go limp, relax, and “chill out.” This spiritual calm that God commands does not come from a lack of troubles; it derives from a steady, deep reflection on the ways God has intervened in history on behalf of his people (cf. Romans 15:4).

God’s past provides calm for our future. He is the ruler of kingdoms of this earth and the all-powerful Creator of the universe. We may be pressed, perplexed, and pursued, but not unto despair (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9). If you are the last man or woman standing, be still, stand fast, be strong. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth do change” (vv. 1-2).

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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GOD’S PRESENCE, POWER, AND PURPOSE CONVINCES ME OF HIS EXISTENCE

 

“A BIBLICAL LOOK AT THE EXISTENCE OF GOD”

 

Intro.
1.     Many people in the world, including some Christians, wrestle with such concepts & questions as:  “I just don’t know whether there is a God!”  “Who is God, anyway?”  “I just don’t ‘get it’ about God, the Bible & Christianity!”  “Why does God care about me?”  “Why should I care about God?”
2.     Most everyone has some concept of God – cf. Acts 17:16, 22-23.
3.     The truth about God is not found in the mind & will of man (Jer. 10:23).
4.     How would you introduce God to someone?  (Who is God?)  Why would God care about me?  And, why should I care about God?
 
I. WHO IS GOD? Heb. 11:6
    A.    Everything We May Understand about God is “By Faith” as a Result of the Evidence that is Set Before Us – Heb. 11:1-3, 6.
    B.        For Anyone to Come to God, He Must (Heb. 11:6):
        1.     Believe that “God is”- Is obtained by: 
            a.     Rom. 1:20 – Evidence set before us that God exists (it is God’s witness of Himself):
                1)    The cosmos, universe (the things that are made):  Evidence of order, design & an intelligent, creative Creator – Psa. 19:1; Acts 14:15-17.
                2)    Power & divinity (the invisible things of God): 
                    i)   Power that created the universe & now controls it – Gen. 1:1; Acts 17:24-25.
                    ii)  Divinity – Supreme intelligence & will that directed & continues to direct the power – Acts 17:25-26; Heb. 11:3.
                 b.    Clearly seen, being understood by created things!  (1:20)
        2.     Believe that God rewards those who diligently seek Him:
            a.     Knowledge of how to seek God is obtained by revelation – Acts 17:27-28, 30 (Jer. 10:23).
            b.     How do you know God will reward faith except that He has told us that He will?! – Heb. 11:6
        3.     Who is God?  Creative, all knowing & all-powerful Supreme Being who has communicated His will to us, His creatures.  Do you believe it?
 
II.   WHY WOULD GOD CARE ABOUT ME?
    A.    Because He Created You & Sustains You – Acts 17:26-28 (Gen. 1:26-28).
    B.     Because He Wants What is Best for You (He loves you).
        1.     Your physical life – Acts 14:17 (cf. Psa. 145:15-16; 136:25).
        2.     Your spiritual life – Gen. 2:17; 3:15; Jno. 3:16; Rom. 5:8; 1 Jno. 4:10.
 
III.  WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT GOD?
    A.    Because He Rewards Faithful Living – Heb. 11:6.
    B.     Because He Justly Punishes All Sin.
        1.     cf. Noah & the flood.
        2.     Acts 17:30-31 – Repent because judgment is coming.
        3.     Fearful thing to fall into the hands of God – Heb. 10:31; 12:25, 29.   
        4.     Goodness of God should cause you to repent – Rom. 2:2-6 (11:22).
 
Conclusion
     The evidence for God’s presence, power & purposes is enough to persuade honest & open hearts that God is & that He rewards those who seek Him – Heb. 11:6.
 
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Posted by on March 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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