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About michaelcollins1

Husband Father Grandfather Preacher Small Business Owner Blogger Lover of History Lover of Libraries Lover of People Lover of the Oldies Collector of Hats Love to Read Very Conservative In Political Viewpoints Love My God Love My Family Love My Country--- Yep, Life's Good

A BRIEF MESSAGE FROM VERTICAL VIEWER

VERTICAL VIEWER WILL NO LONGER BE POSTING LESSONS!!

First of all just let me say that it has been an honor this last year and a half to come into your home via the social media.My prayer is simply that your life has been enriched by these postings.That your walk with the Lord has been challenged and your walk with the Lord is much sweeter. My prayer is also that your knowledge of scripture is perhaps sharper than before. Always remember beloved; “That my people are destroyed because of lack of Knowledge” Hosea 4:6

Due to circumstances beyond our control we feel it’s time to move forward in a new direction. Our ministry position has changed as of last week and my family and I will need to relocate wherever the Lord leads. If you could keep us in your prayers, it would be so greatly appreciated. So once again, let me say “THANK YOU SO MUCH” for the opportunity to come into your lives and homes with the message of the Lord Jesus Christ. To God Be The Glory!!!

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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OUR MONDAY MORNING MESSENGER; OUR GUEST WRITER FOR THIS WEEK

 

                                   Help My Unbelief!

By Wayne Jackson

 
It is an episode fraught with mystery; one about which we wish we knew more. A man brought his son, who was possessed of a demon, to the Lord’s disciples. He wanted the Master’s men to cast out the evil spirit, but they could not. Jesus pinpointed the problem; the disciples’ faith was lacking (Mark 9:17-19; cf. Matthew 17:20). Accordingly, the lad was brought directly to the Savior himself. As they came near, the malignant force threw the child into a convulsion, and the boy fell to the ground, foaming at the mouth.
 
The father subsequently informed Christ that this had been going on for a long time, and the lad had suffered much damage. The gentleman then said to Jesus: “If you can do anything, help us.” Note carefully that “if” (Mark 9:22). The Savior then said, with something of a rebuke, “If you can!” The meaning obviously is: “What do you mean, if I can? All things are possible to him who believes.”
 
There are two points to be noticed here. First, the Master was saying this to the father: “The issue is not my power; it is your faith!” The man obviously had some faith in Christ or he would not have approached the Lord. On the other hand, his trust was not at the level it needed to be. He still had some doubts. Perhaps he was growing; but the fact is, he was struggling.
 
Second, the Lord’s affirmation that “all things are possible to him who believes” is limited by the context. The Lord was not asserting that one can do anything he believes he can do. You may be led to believe that you can spread your arms and fly off the Golden Gate Bridge, but regardless of what you believe, you’ll fall straight into the bay. Here is a point that must be understood. The supernatural works that were possible during the ministry of Jesus are not possible today, inasmuch as God himself has removed miraculous phenomena from the church (see Miracles).
 
In response to Jesus’ challenge, the father cried out, with the sort of agony that only a parent could know: “I believe; help my unbelief” (9:24). What a strange statement. Does it not contain what appears to be a contradiction? “I believe; help my unbelief.” Jesus did not so view the matter; rather, he immediately rebuked the unclean spirit and commanded it to leave the boy—never to enter him again (9:25).
 
The spiritual confusion of this father is so typical of the intellectual and emotional turmoil that can plague any of us at a given moment in our lives. No one is characterized by a “red-hot” faith around the clock.
 
We know there is a God who made us. The evidence is so utterly overwhelming that only a foolish person can deny it (Psalm 14:1; cf. Romans 1:20-23). Furthermore, intellectually we know that our Heavenly Father cares for us. The historical fact which demonstrates that he gave his precious Son for us is ample evidence of his boundless love. Nobody can argue that God doesn’t care—in the face of the cross! “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
 
Be that as it may, sometimes, when we are hurting so badly (and pain can generate confusion), our hearts may overpower our heads. By that we mean this: our agony forces clear logic to the side, and we begin to “think” with our feelings. We still believe, but we are angry. We feel neglected; we don’t understand why the Lord doesn’t rush to our beckon call. Sometimes we pout. We refuse to talk to him (i.e., we don’t pray). We think we will punish him by refusing to assemble with other Christians for worship. We may even say harsh and thoughtless things to him, almost literally shaking our fist in his face.
 
At times like these we need to get hold of ourselves and give ourselves a good shaking. We need to cry out, “Lord, help my unbelief!” We need to ask for his patience. We need to weep before him. We ought to analyze our situation and attempt to determine if we have contributed to our own problems; and if so, is there anything we can do to help remedy the circumstance. What we absolutely must not do is give in to our frustration. Once we cease struggling with our faith, and let it slide, we are headed down a slippery slope that may lead to eternal ruin. What a horrible thought to contemplate. Lord, I believe; but help me in my times of unbelief!
 
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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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QUESTION: AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER? WHERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE IN OUR ROLE OF RESPONSABILITY? WHAT SAY YOU?

                   Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

You may be familiar with the story in which the title for today’s article was spoken, and probably just as familiar with its popular usage today. In the Bible story, Cain had killed his brother Abel and God said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” (Genesis 4:9). Cain’s reply was this familiar statement and question: “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:10). If the cold-hearted attitude of Cain was not already evident by the murder he had committed, it was surely manifested in his reply to God! As the question is used today, it is usually used as a reply to someone who has asked about the condition or situation of someone else, and is meant to imply that the respondent has no responsibility towards the one in question [who may literally be a brother, or at least a brother in Christ]. And when it is used, there is an underlying resentment that someone would even think we had any responsibility towards this one.

When Cain uttered those now-familiar words, he demonstrated the ultimate in apathy, basically saying, “I don’t know and I don’t care.” It is no different today when disciples of Jesus Christ have this same attitude towards their own brethren! Surely we cannot imagine Jesus ever uttering these words, right? Did Jesus ever demonstrate a lack of concern for others — no matter what their condition or how they got there? If anything, we see Jesus welcomed the potential interaction with — and welcomed an opportunity to care for — others. At no time do we see Jesus turning people away because He simply did not care for them and their condition. Never did He say, “That’s not my responsibility.”

Within the religious world, there are some who see their faith as theirs alone and one that does not seem to actually involve contact or any sort of interaction with others; they are cold and apathetic towards others, and even in cases where they could easily help out a brother or sister in need, all they can see is the other person’s individual responsibility for his own situation and, thus, his personal responsibility to correct it or solve whatever problems have resulted. In so doing, those who refuse to act fail to see their own personal responsibility for helping him! The difficult part in this is getting them to see that the very thing they are demanding of others is being ignored by self! While they coldly demand that the one who ‘got himself into trouble’ somehow extract himself from the situation, the cold-hearted one fails to remember that Jesus has commanded us to help those in need and give without expecting anything in return (cf. Matthew 5:40-42), and has forgotten the rhetorical question of the apostle John, who asked, “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” (I John 3:17). The answer to that rhetorical question should be obvious: it does not! And in both of these texts, it should be clear that when others are in need, we all have an individual responsibility to help them.

 

Let us note that those passages are also unqualified commands and statements. Jesus did not say we should give our cloak if we think they are worthy, or only if their previous coat was not lost because of their own carelessness, or only if they have tried to get a job to earn money to buy their own cloak; John was not implying that we should help our brother in need only if we think they deserve it, or only if their need did not come because of poor choices, or only if they have gone to government agencies first. God expects us to help others in the same way He has helped us: with grace and mercy — and towards all men.

 

Think about that for just a minute: Where would we be if God helped us in the same manner some brethren ‘help’ others? Can you imagine God looking at man’s spiritual condition and saying to Himself, “Now why should I help them? They got themselves into that situation on their own — they can get themselves out of it!”? And if we sinned more than once after we obeyed the gospel, He would sternly chastise us and set tougher restrictions and higher demands before He would act to forgive us next time. He might even simply refuse after so many times, angry because we keep getting into trouble and He has to keep getting us out. Doesn’t it sound ridiculous when we apply human actions to God? It should!

 

Though the Scriptures are plain about our responsibility toward our brethren, some brethren approach their needy brethren with an attitude that our faith should follow the ‘American spirit of rugged individualism’ that preaches a message of stubborn self-reliance and a refusal to accept help or charity from others unless they have lost both arms and at least one leg. Those who live with this attitude are not content to personally live this way, but steadfastly believe everyone else should, too; so when someone is in need, the first thought that comes to mind is, ‘He got himself into that mess, and he needs to get himself out of it!’ Help is offered only begrudgingly, and even that is often a bare minimum of help that is offered. Often, too, it is a matter of seeking to place blame first and finding solutions later. Surely we can do better than this!

 

What is missing in those who act so parsimoniously with their help is evident: compassion. Maybe it is the brother who grew up and was what many call ‘a self-made man’; because he had a good home life and because he was successful in much of what he has done, he believes that everyone else should have the same successes he had and should have made the same wise choices he did; maybe it is the sister who has a good husband and family who believes the woman who is in a struggling marriage is somehow at fault because her husband has become worldly and is about to leave her for another woman; maybe it is the older woman who has raised godly children who looks contemptuously at the young parents who are struggling to keep the world out of their children and their children out of the world — and are losing. In each of these cases, what is needed is compassion and concern — not a reprimand.

 

A couple comes to you, telling you they have marital problems; how do you respond? A mother comes to you who is afraid she has lost her daughter to the world; how do you respond? A man comes to you telling you he has a problem with gambling or alcohol or pornography; how do you respond? A brother or sister comes to you in need of some temporary financial support; how do you respond? In each of these cases, do you say ‘It’s not my responsibility’ or do you show compassion? Yes [of course], spiritual guidance and Scripture should be given, but let us not be so keen on pointing out past errors and the corrective texts that we forget compassion and mercy. That was a major fault of the Pharisees (cf. Matthew 23:4, 14, 23).

In all cases where God gave His people instruction as to how they were to treat or respond to those in need, there was nothing stated about finding out how they came to be in need; that is not the point! Yes, some brethren will make bad choices and end up in financial need; they still need our help. Yes, some brethren will make bad choices and put themselves in spiritual danger because of unlawful marriages; they still need our help. And, yes, sometimes, parents will not train their children as they should and they will suffer the inevitable consequences later; they still need our help.

Am I my brother’s keeper? Yes, I am. And so are you. Knowing this, let us resolve to be less judgmental or apathetic towards our own brethren — even in times when we think they are undeserving of our time or resources. None of us deserved the spiritual help God gave us, yet He was willing to give His Son for us.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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HOW OFTEN DO PEOPLE REFLECT UPON THEIR OWN MORTALITY? WHY DON’T INDIVIDUALS STOP AND REFLECT UPON THEIR ETERNAL DESTINY?

                What a Christian has to Show for His Life

 

Intro.

 
1. Most everyone at some point reflects upon his mortality, Psa. 90:10 (Eccl. 12:1-8).
 
2. “What have I accomplished?” What do I have to show for my life?” “What will I leave to others?” Lk. 12:15-21; Matt. 6:19-21; 16:26
 
3. Christians can/should have a different outlook on life, Phil. 1:19-24.
 
4. What a Christian has to show for his life:
 
 
 
I. FAITH, Heb. 11:1, 6; 2 Cor. 5:7.
 
A. Faith that Holds Jesus as Lord, Jno. 8:24.
 
1. Sovereign Ruler of the world – Therefore, of my life, Matt. 28:18; Col. 3:17.
 
2. When we live in harmony with His will we have a meaningful, accomplished, fulfilled life!
 
B. Faith in God’s Word and Power, Heb. 13:5-6.
 
1. Content with life’s lot, placing faith in God’s presence and promise!
 
2. Contentment is not complacency; it is attitude of sufficiency free of covetousness. Phil. 4:11-13
 
C. Faith that Produces Conversion.
 
1. Some faith does not, Jno. 12:42-43.
 
2. Faith that justifies, Rom. 5:1.
 
3. Faith that continually converts/trans­forms the soul and life is it learns and grows, Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 4:17-24.
 
D. Wherever You Go, Leave Faith in the World, Lk. 18:8; 2 Tim. 1:5.
 
-The legacy of faith is not one day, but a lifetime (2 Tim. 4:7).
 
 
 
II. FORGIVENESS, Eph. 1:7.
 
A. From God for Our Past Sins, Acts 3:19; 1 Jno. 2:12.
 
1. Sins of our youth, Psa. 25:7 (6-11).
 
2. Sins of our ignorance and injury, 1 Tim. 1:12-15.
 
3. Become a Christian through preaching Jesus, Acts 13:38; 26:18.
 
B. From God for Our Present Sins, Acts 8:22; 1 Jno. 1:8-2:2.
 
C. Forgive Others when they Sin Against Us, Matt. 5:7 (6:12).
 
1. Christians ought to be the most merciful people on earth.
 
2. Tragically, can be the most vindictive and accusing toward others.
 
3. Carry forgiveness with you wherever you go and your load will be lighter, Rom. 12:17-21.
 
D. Leave Forgiveness in this World, Lk. 6:36-38 (Acts 7:60).
 
1. By accepting God’s forgiveness in Christ you are forgiven and you are showing others how they can be forgiven.
 
2. As you forgive you teach others to forgive.
 
 
 
III. FUTURE, Jas. 1:15.
 
-Millions if not billions live with no expectations for the future; meaningless, futile lives without hope.
 
A. The Christian’s Future Holds the Prospect of Spiritual Growth and Maturity, Phil. 3:11-14.
 
1. We must set the daily goal of spiritual growth to achieve it.
 
2. Forget the past (do not be deterred by its failures) and stretch forward to future successes and rewards.
 
B. Christians Trust in Our Living Hope, Heb. 6:18-19.
 
1. Faith, forgiveness and future, 1 Pet. 1:3-4.
 
2. We do not faint like those of the world; our future is bright, 2 Cor. 4:16-18.
 
a. Heavenly home with Jesus, Jno. 14:1-3.
 
b. Crown of righteousness, 2 Tim. 4:7-8.
 
C. Christians Leave this Future to:
 
1. Our children, Psa. 78:4-7 (2 Tim. 1:5).
 
2. Our brethren, Josh. 23:14; 24:15.
 
3. The lost, Mk. 16:15-16.
 
 
 

Conclusion

 
1. The Christian has faith, forgiveness and a future unmatched by anything the world has to offer.
 
2. The Christian need not fret over his mortality. Indeed, the Christian longs for the day when mortality ends and immortality begins! Phil. 1:21-24
 
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Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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A TWO-PART LESSON ON WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT OUR BEING DECEIVED

 
 

                    DECEIVING OURSELVES (2)

 

Intro.

 
1. We are under Christ’s warning to not be deceived & devoured by sin – 1 Pet. 5:8-9.
 
2. Part 1 studied various sources of deception we must know & avoid.
 
3. Among the most tragic & dangerous deceptions we must know & avoid is when we deceive ourselves.
 
a. “No man was ever so much deceived by another as by himself.” (Greville)
 
b. “To be deceived by our enemies or betrayed by our friends in insupportable; yet by ourselves we are often content to be so treated.” (Francois, Duc De La Rochefoucauld)
 
4. It is extremely difficult to overcome, demanding honest & thorough examination of one’s own heart & life – 2 Cor. 13:5.
 
5. We deceive ourselves…
 
 
 
I. BY THINKING TOO HIGHLY OF OUR OWN WISDOM – 1 Cor. 3:18-19.
 
A. The Problem Of Pride – Prov. 3:5-7; 26:12; Isa. 5:21 (Rom. 12:3, 16).
 
1. Must distinguish between opinion & truth.
 
2. “Everyone is entitled to my opinion!”
 
B. Trusting That We Know Better Than God – cf. Jer. 37:9-10.
 
1. Man’s profession of wisdom shows his ignorance – Rom. 1:21-23.
 
2. One must become “foolish” (humbly recognize his limitations) to be wise (approved by God) – 1 Cor. 3:18.
 
3. True of one’s religious life, too! – Jer. 10:23; Prov. 16:25.
 
 
 
II. BY BEING ONLY HEARERS OF GOD’S WORD – Jas. 1:22-25.
 
A. Only Those Who Do God’s Will Are Saved – Matt. 7:21-27.
 
1. Yes, we must hear the word of God to be saved – Lk. 8:12.
 
2. But we must also obey the gospel we hear! – Lk. 6:46; Heb. 5:9
 
a. “Faith only” will not save (Jas. 2:24).
 
b. “Direct operation of HS” will not save (Acts 10:47-48).
 
c. Just living a “good, moral life” will not save (Acts 11:14).
 
d. Not living a faithful Christian life will not save (Rom. 12:1-2; Lk. 6:46).
 
B. If We Think Obedience Is A Burden, We Are Deceiving Ourselves! – 1 Jno. 5:3; 2:5.
 
1. Is it a burden to worship God? – cf. Mal. 1:12-14
 
2. Is it a burden to put God first? – cf. Neh. 13:15-17
 
 
 
III. BY SAYING WE HAVE NO SIN – 1 Jno. 1:8 (Rom. 3:23).
 
A. When We Say That “Sin Is Not Really Sin.” (redefine sin – disease, different lifestyle, man’s opinion, etc.)
 
B. When We Live As If “Ignorance Is Bliss” – Lk. 12:48.
 
C. When We Think We Can Sin & Get By With It – Gal. 6:7-8; Deut. 29:19-20.
 
 
 
IV. BY THINKING WE ARE STRONGER THAN WE ARE – Gal. 6:3.
 
A. We Need To Keep A Humble Heart About The Power Of Sin’s Temptations – cf. Col. 3:12; Rom. 12:16.
 
1. “How could anyone ever do that?!” “I would never commit that sin!” (Pride is a deceiver! – Obadiah 3)
 
2. Shows that we have under-estimated the strength of sin & over-estimated our ability to resist temptation!
 
B. When We Become Over-Confident In Our Spiritual Strength, We Are Ready To Fall – 1 Cor. 10:12; Mk. 14:27-31.
 
 
 
V. BY NOT CONTROLLING OUR TONGUES – Jas. 1:26.
 
A. Worshippers Of God Deceive Themselves This Way – Jas. 1:16.
 
-James has already shown Christians that hearing w/o doing is of no profit, now he shows that doing w/o controlling one’s tongue makes one’s worship vain!
 
B. Misuse Of The Tongue Is A Widespread Problem Among Us! – Jas. 3:2-8
 
1. False teaching – Jas. 3:1.
 
2. Expressions of bitterness & malice – Jas. 3:10 (Eph. 4:31).
 
3. Profanity – Eph. 5:29.
 
4. Gossip – “rumor or report of an intimate nature…a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others.” (Merriam-Webster) – Prov. 20:19
 
5. Backbiting – secret speech intended to belittle, defame & destroy – Prov. 16:28.
 
6. Jas. 3:10 – Be warned! These things should not happen!
 
 
 

Conclusion

 
1. We are all targets of Satan, the great deceiver (Rev. 12:9).
 
2. We must be strong in the strength of the Lord to not deceive ourselves! – Eph. 6:10
 
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Posted by on October 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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A TWO-PART LESSON ON WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT OUR BEING DECEIVED

 
 

                            DO NOT BE DECEIVED (1)

 

Intro.

 
1. Deceive: “to cause to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid”…”synonyms beguile, mislead, delude.” (Merriam-Webster)
 
a. Deceive – implies imposing a false idea or belief that causes ignorance, bewilderment, or helplessness <tried to deceive me about the cost>.
 
b. Beguile – mean to lead astray or frustrate usually by underhandedness; it “stresses the use of charm and persuasion in deceiving <was beguiled by false promises>.”
 
c. Mislead – implies a leading astray that may or may not be intentional <I was misled by the confusing sign>.
 
d. Delude – implies deceiving so thoroughly as to obscure the truth <we were deluded into thinking we were safe>.
 
2. There is a clear contrast & choice before us – 2 Tim. 3:12-17.
 
3. God repeatedly warns us! Do not be deceived by…
 
 
 
I. SIN – Heb. 3:13; Rom. 7:11; Jas. 1:12-16.
 
A. That It Satisfies Our Desires (Lusts) – Titus 3:3.
 
B. That It Gives Us Lasting Pleasure – Heb. 11:25.
 
C. That It Brings No Eternal Consequences – 1 Cor. 6:9-10 (Rom. 6:23).
 
D. That It Is Not Seen & Punished By God – Gal. 6:7-8.
 
 
 
II. THE ERROR OF FALSE TEACHERS – Matt. 24:3-5 (11, 24-25); 2 Pet. 2:1-3; 1 Jno. 2:26.
 
-“We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know because they have never deceived us.” (Samuel Johnson)
 
A. That Their Teaching Conforms To The Faith – 1 Tim. 4:1.
 
B. That Their Teaching Comes From Christ (apostles) – 2 Ths. 2:1-3
 
C. That Nobody Can Be Sure About All Truth – cf. 1 Jno. 3:7 (Jno. 16:13; Jno. 8:32).
 
D. That They (teachers of error) Are Not Deceivers – 2 Jno. 7-10; 2 Cor. 11:3-4.
 
 
 
III. HUMAN WISDOM – Col. 2:8.
 
A. Persuasive Words – Col. 2:4 (2-3 – void of divine wisdom & knowledge).
 
B. Empty Words – Eph. 5:6. (fruitless: don’t be left “empty-handed”).
 
C. Smooth Words – Rom. 16:17-18 (“good” words & polished speech).
 
 
 
IV. RELIGIOUS FERVOR WHICH LACKS DIVINE APPROVAL – Col. 2:18-19.
 
-Testimonials, visions, experiences, emotionalism – Col. 3:17.
 
 
 
V. THE INFLUENCE OF EVIL ASSOCIATIONS – 1 Cor. 15:33.
 
A. Where We Live (people we live around – cf. Lot, 2 Pet. 2:7-8).
 
B. Where We Work – cf. Titus 2:9-10 (Col. 3:22-23).
 
C. Where We Play – cf. 1 Pet. 4:2-3.
 
 
 

Conclusion

 
1. Jesus warned us: “Take heed, that no one deceives you.” (Matt. 24:4).
 
2. We must heed His warning!
 
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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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ARE YOU BUILDING YOUR LIFE ON THE ROCK OR THE SAND? ARE YOU THE WISE MAN OR THE FOOLISH MAN?

                On What Are You Building Your Life?

Intro.

 
1. Prov. 4:7 (5-9) – Wisdom is the principle thing.
 
2. Jas. 3:13-18: Two choices: Wisdom from above is shown through its (our) good works (Earthly wisdom seen by its works, too).
 
3. Matt. 7:24-27 – A simple contrast between wisdom & foolishness that applies to everyone’s life. We are all building our lives on some sort of foundation that carries with it eternal consequences.
 
 
 
I. THE FOOLISH MAN: BUILDING ON SAND – 7:26-27.
 
-(This person hears but does not obey Jesus – cf. Jas. 4:17; Lk. 8:14)
 
-Some reasons for (ways of) not obeying Jesus’ words:
 
A. Rebellion – 1 Sam. 15:22-23.
 
1. By changing Christ’s words – 15:22; cf. 15:3, 9; Gal. 1:6-7.
 
a. Call evil good & good evil (Isa. 5:20).
 
b. When God’s commands of morality, true worship, godliness, etc. are changed in favor of human wisdom, rebellion occurs!
 
2. Disobedience is rejection of God’s word – 15:23; 13:13-14.
 
3. Today: Become a Christian; Separate from world; Treat spouse properly; Neighbor; children…….Are you rebelling?
 
B. Ignorance (cf. Eph. 5:17).
 
1. Leads to:
 
a. Error – Matt. 22:29.
 
b. Alienation from God – Eph. 4:18.
 
c. Sinful lusts – 1 Pet. 1:14.
 
2. No excuse for sin – Lev. 5:17. -Doesn’t remove the guilt of sin
 
3. Can be remedied – Acts 3:17, 19 – Repent & be converted!
 
-Study – learn – live
 
C. Apathy.
 
1. Spiritual indifference is punished – Zeph. 1:12; Matt. 24:48-51.
 
2. Serve the Lord with diligence – Rom. 12:11; Gal. 6:9.
 
3. Characteristic of one who hears but doesn’t obey Jesus’ words!
 
D. Ritualism.
 
1. Lip service – Matt 15:6-9 — Hypocrisy.
 
2. Hated by God – Amos 5:21-24.
 
E. Feelings.
 
1. Deceptive, yet comforting – Prov. 28:26 (14:12).
 
2. Feelings can interfere with righteousness – cf. Jas. 1:19-20.
 
3. Cf. Saul – Acts 26:9-11 (23:1; 24:16).
 
 
 
II. THE WISE MAN: BUILDING ON ROCK – 7:24-25.
 
A. The Rock of Obedience (Two Parts):
 
1. Hear the words of Christ – Lk. 8:8, 18 (Matt. 13:16, 23).
 
{Rom. 10:17; Jno. 6:44-45; Acts 17:11-12}
 
2. Do the words of Christ – Matt. 7:21; Heb. 5:9.
 
-Obedience is faith & love at work – 1 Jno. 5:1-4.
 
 
 

Conclusion

 
1. Prov. 10:25; 12:7 – The house of the righteous shall stand (cf. Rom. 1:16-17).
 
2. Jas. 3:13 – Are you building your life upon the sand or the rock?
 
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Posted by on October 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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FOR GOD IS WORKING IN YOU, GIVING YOU THE DESIRE AND THE POWER TO DO WHAT PLEASES HIM; PHIL 2:13 (NLT)

                       How God Works in Our Lives

 

Intro.

 
1. How human works relate to salvation has long been a point of controversy, Jno. 6:28-29. Clearly, God expects each person to be active in his salvation & service, Jas. 1:21-25; 2:14-17, 24.
 
2. Question: Is it God working or man working when truth is believed & obeyed; when Christ is followed & God is feared?
 
ANS: Both occur, Eph. 2:5-9 (Faith is a work we do, Jno. 6:27-29; 1 Jno. 3:23).
 
a. Without Christ we can do nothing (implies ability to do), Jno. 15:4-5.
 
b. Paul could “do all things” thru Christ (Paul was active), Phil. 4:13.
 
3. We must abide in Christ – His word abides in us – to be saved & bear fruit; to do all God wants us to do, Jno. 15:4-5, 7-8; Eph. 2:10.
 
 
 
I. YES, GOD WORKS IN THE LIVES OF CHRISTIANS.
 
A. “The Power that Works in Us,” Eph. 3:20-21.
 
1. Not a mystical experience; not a direct action of the Holy Spirit.
 
2. CONTEXT identifies the power (dunamis) that works in us:
 
a. Father grants strengthen with power, 3:14-16.
 
b. Spirit of God works on the inner man, 3:16.
 
c. Result: Christ dwells in heart by faith, 3:17 (Jno.14:21,23-24)
 
d. Benefits: Rooted in love, able to lay hold of & know the love of Christ & be filled with all the fullness of God, 3:17-19.
 
3. 3:20: The power that works in us is the power of the gospel (produces & strengthens faith, Rom. 10:17; Jas. 1:21; Col. 3:16); cf. the power of faith, 1 Jno. 5:4.
 
4. Col. 1:9-11 is parallel: Both God & man are active.
 
5. Phil. 2:12-13: God works in us as we work for Him:
 
a. Man (katergazomai): to perform, accomplish, achieve…to do that from which something results.
 
b. God (energeo): Effective, to be operative.
 
6. Heb. 13:20-21: God works in us thru Christ (faith) [2 Cor. 5:9].
 
 
 
II. HOW GOD WORKS IN OUR LIVES.
 
A. Through the Gospel, Rom. 1:16; Acts 2:37, 39 (calls, convicts & saves); 16:13-15 (heard, Lord opened heart, baptized…faithful).
 
1. God uses the gospel to convict & convert, Jno. 6:44-45.
 
2. Otherwise, God is blamed for closing some hearts while opening others, Acts 10:34-35 (1 Tim. 2:3-4).
 
3. God is effectively working (energeo) thru His word, 1 Ths. 2:13.
 
B. Through Human Agents.
 
1. Rom. 10:14: Preacher…hear…believe…call on the Lord…saved.
 
2. Acts 8:30-39: Teacher Philip did not negate God’s power that saved the man; introduced him to it.
 
3. “We are God’s fellow workers” (laborers together), 1 Cor. 3:9.
 
4. The work of men (inspired & uninspired) helps perfect us, Eph. 4:11-13.
 
5. God works through us, 2 Cor. 6:1 (Matt. 25:34-40).
 
C. Through Prayer & Providence, Matt. 7:7, 11; Jno. 15:7 (1 Jno. 3:22); Matt. 6:25-34.
 
1. Prayer taps into the Power of the universe, the love of the Father, the devotion of a trusted Friend.
 
2. His word abides in us…keep His commandments.
 
3. God supplies all our needs (Matt. 6:33; Phil. 4:19).
 
 
 
III. WE MUST DO GOD’S WORK IN OUR LIVES, Jno. 6:27-29; 9:4.
 
A. Faith is a Work we Must do (a command we must obey, 1 Jno. 2:23; Phil. 2:12-13); “Trust & Obey.”
 
B. False Notions we must Carefully Avoid:
 
1. Any “work” is earning salvation (merit) (Eph. 2:9; Jas. 2:24).
 
2. Any “work” denies grace (Acts 10:34-35).
 
3. Any “work” is of human origin (Eph. 2:10).
 
4. Any “work” denies God’s power (Phil. 2:12-13).
 
 
 

Conclusion

 
1. We must allow God to work in our lives. God works in our lives through faith (which comes from the word of God).
 
2. When we live by faith, God is working in us to produce what pleases Him (Heb. 13:21).
 
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Posted by on October 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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                      Struggling with Life’s Injustices

By Wayne Jackson

 
A gentleman who professed an identification with the Lord, became quite disenchanted with Christianity. When an interested friend inquired as to the nature of his problem, he replied:
 
According to the Bible, God promised that those who follow him will be blessed with health and prosperity. As I observe Christian people, I see vast numbers who are sick and poor. I can no longer believe in the promises of God.
 
What response should be made to this troubled man? There are three possible ways to evaluate the argument stated above.
 
First, there is the charge that God has failed in his promises. This suggests either he is unable to complete his pledges (in which case he is impotent), or else he had no intention of fulfilling his bargain (which would make him deceptive). In either event, the fault would lie with God.
 
Second, one may suppose God is both willing and able to bless humanity with physical-material health and wealth; and, invariably, he does. Those who enjoy wholeness and prosperity are the righteous; those who do not are flawed in character. Any lack, therefore, is with man.
 
Third, another possibility is that the assumptions of the argument cited above are grounded in a misunderstanding of certain passages relating to physical and material well-being. In this case, the problem would be with the critic’s misinterpretation—not with the texts of the Bible.
 
Let us give consideration to each of these possibilities.
The Skeptical Theory
 
The first of the above listed propositions partakes of the nature of that ancient argument employed so often by skeptics. If God cannot do it, he is powerless, hence, not God; if the Creator will not do it, he is malevolent, thus, not God. If he has both the power and the will, why the seeming injustice?
 
The assumption in this position, of course, is that ignorant man is qualified to pass judgment upon divine actions. Consequently, if the Maker of men is not operating according to how we might do it, he is faulted as lacking either ability or will. But the “ways” of Heaven are beyond human analysis (Job 9:12b; Isaiah 55:8; Romans 11:33).
 
The fact of the matter is, God, in real history, has demonstrated both his ability and integrity in keeping his promises. Twenty centuries before the birth of Christ, Jehovah promised Abraham that through his “seed” all nations of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 22:18). The prophecy pointed to the coming of Christ (Galatians 3:16).
 
Even though Abraham and Sarah were aged, and without offspring at the time, the patriarch never wavered concerning the promise, for he knew that “what [God] had promised, he was able to perform” (Romans 4:21). Too, God’s integrity was never suspect, for, as the writer of Hebrews noted (in discussing this very circumstance), it is an immutable proposition that it is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:13-18).
 
The messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, combined with the facts relative to Jesus of Nazareth, confirm both the integrity and ability of the Almighty.
The Character Argument
 
The idea that one’s character can be determined by his physical well-being, or his material prosperity, though widespread, reflects an erroneous generalization. While it occasionally is the case that the Bible provides examples of prosperity as a result of righteousness, that is far from the rule. Consider two cases from the Old Testament.
 
Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar insisted that Job’s plight (during which he lost all his material resources and his health) was a result of his lack of spirituality. The patriarch supposedly had committed grievous sins; if he would only repent, God would restore his well-being. The truth was otherwise. Job’s losses were the result of his goodness; he was Jehovah’s unique servant (Job 1:8; 2:3). The Lord permitted Job’s deprivation because he was proud of him, and knew he could maintain his integrity (13:15).
 
Reflect upon the case of Asaph (Psalm 73). He surveyed society and noted the “prosperity of the wicked” (v. 3). He almost abandoned his faith at this seeming inequity—until Jehovah showed him the “latter end” of evil people (v. 17), and he learned the lesson that godliness cannot be judged by material status.
 
And what of this?: (a) Jesus’ circumstances during his earthly sojourn were those of the impoverished (2 Corinthians 8:9); the Son of man did not even have a place to lay his head (Matthew 8:20). Did these meager conditions reflect God’s lack of fidelity? (b) Paul frequently was in situations where he lacked material prosperity (2 Corinthians 11:27); in addition, he was afflicted with a terrible physical malady (12:7). Surely it will not be suggested that these difficulties were the result of the apostle’s evil way of life.
Misunderstood Texts
 
Without doubt, there are biblical passages that promise prosperity and well-being, in some sense, to those who are faithful to God.
 
When the nation of Israel left Egypt, Jehovah informed them: “I will put on you none of the diseases which I have put on the Egyptians: for I am Jehovah who heals you” (Exodus 15:26). And Isaiah declared that “by [Christ’s] stripes we are healed” (53:5).
 
Solomon affirmed that the one who honors God with his substance, with his first-fruits, will have overflowing prosperity (Proverbs 3:9), and Malachi described the Lord as opening the “windows of heaven” and pouring out a blessing too bountiful to receive (3:10).
 
How are these passages to be explained? There are a number of scriptural truths that will help bring balance to this oft misunderstood subject.
Principles of Well-Being
 
Death was visited upon man because of his transgression of divine law (Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:12). In this earthly environment, therefore, humanity will never be exempt from sickness and death. Be that as it may, there are principles within sacred Scripture that will, as a general rule, enhance longevity.
 
There were many sound principles in the Mosaic code that facilitated the good health the Israelites generally enjoyed. Dr. S. I. McMillen has discussed this theme in his book, None of These Diseases (1963). (See also our chapter, “The God Who Heals,” in Jackson, 2000.)
 
As a rule, it is assumed that parental love will motivate mothers and fathers to train their children in sound health principles, so that it “may be well” with them, and that they “may live long upon the earth” (Ephesians 6:3). This certainly does not mean, though, that the Christian’s children are immune to illness, or will never die prematurely. This is a principle, not an inflexible law.
 
The proverb cited above (3:9) contains a secluded truth supplied by the subsequent context. Derek Kidner has observed that generously giving to God of one’s first and best in “the face of material pressures” is, in truth, a test of faith, and is a vivid commentary on a man’s character (1964). Such a person, who so selflessly serves God, will be honor-bound to treat his fellows fairly. The practice of noble ethics in business (discussed in vv. 27ff) will generate respect and rebound to the righteous man’s personal prosperity.
 
Again, though, this is not an iron-solid rule; obviously there will be times when the generous and honest Christian becomes the victim of those who take advantage of him. Such cases, however, do not invalidate the principle.
The Use of Figurative Language
 
The Bible abounds with figures of speech. Hyperbole (exaggeration for emphasis) is common (cf. John 21:25), and metonymy (one thing put for another) is a frequent teaching device. In his classic book, Hermeneutics, D. R. Dungan consumed more than forty pages in discussing this latter figure alone. How does an understanding of this type of expression fit into our discussion?
 
There are occasions in Scripture when spiritual concepts are conveyed in physical or material terms. A failure to recognize this teaching mode can result in the misinterpretation of important biblical texts.
 
(1) When Isaiah declared that “healing” would result from the benefits of Jesus’ death, he was not speaking of physical healing, but a healing (forgiveness) from sin, as the immediate context reveals (53:5-6; note “transgressions,” “iniquities”), and this was confirmed later by Peter (see 1 Peter 2:24-25).
 
(2) The prophet Joel spoke of “those days” when Jehovah would pour out his Spirit and supernatural phenomena would result (2:28-30). In Acts 2, Peter informed his Hebrew auditors that the events of that day (the apostles being overwhelmed by the Spirit’s power – v. 4; cf. 1:5) were a fulfillment of Joel’s oracle (2:16). This was the commencement of the Christian age.
 
In connection with this wonderful era, Joel announced that “the mountains shall drop down sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk,” etc. (3:18ff). The prosperity here described is not an agricultural boon; rather, the material is used to depict the spiritual. Those who attempt to literalize all the prosperity passages should take note of this idiom.
 
A survey of the terms “rich” and “riches,” as used in the New Testament, will demonstrate that these words are employed far more frequently of spiritual prosperity than they are of material wealth.
The Mysteries of Providence
 
We do not deny that God can, and does, bless his people in a physical-material way, consistent with his own will, by means of his providential activity upon the earth (see A Study of Divine Providence).
 
God had mercy on Epaphroditus, who had been “sick to the point of death” (Philippians 2:25-27)—with apparently no miracle involved. This does not mean, though, that every child of God will recover from terminal conditions. To draw general conclusions from isolated Bible examples can lead to a variety of errors.
 
The Lord providentially directed his ravens to provide Elijah with bread (1 Kings 17:4, 6), and he has urged us to petition him for our daily sustenance (Matthew 6:11); but that does not mean that the child of God will never be bereft of food. He may be in need due to self-sacrifice, persecution, natural disaster, or plain laziness (see 2 Corinthians 11:27; Acts 11:28; 27:21; 2 Thessalonians 3:10).
 
One’s level of physical-material well-being, or lack thereof, is: (a) not a reflection upon God’s ability or his concern, and (b) not the measure of a person’s standing before the Lord.
A Concluding Point
 
There is a strong argument that may be made against the position being reviewed that almost seems too obvious to mention. If it were the case that an inflexible rule obtains in the divine order of things, that spirituality produces health and wealth, the following would clearly result:
 
(1) Little children, the purest of earth’s society, would never get sick and die; yet, in many third-world nations, sweet children starve, their bodies are racked with disease, and they prematurely go to God.
 
(2) The wicked of the earth sometimes are more prosperous than the godly, and the righteous do not always outlive the non-Christian population.
 
(3) If wealth was the direct result of becoming a Christian, men would be prone to accept the gospel, not because of their convictions regarding God’s Son, but merely out of materialistic self-interest. Such would bring no honor to either the Creator or the creature. The Almighty expects motives nobler than this.
 
One should never allow life’s difficulties to distort his view of God.
 
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Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

SLAVES SERVANTS SPIRITUALITY AND SERVICE; WHAT’S THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THESE FOUR?

                          CHRISTIANS ARE SERVANTS

 

Intro.

 
1. The apostles & prophets of Christ regarded themselves as His servants (Paul, Rom. 1:1; Timothy, Phil. 1:1; James 1:1; Peter – 2 Pet. 1:1; Jude 1)
 
2. Every Christian is a servant of God – Rom. 6:22.
 
3. A person can serve either sin or righteousness – Rom. 6:15-18. We cannot serve both at the same time – Matt. 6:24.
 
4. What is a servant? doulos {doo’-los}
 
a. a slave, bondman, man of servile condition (1 Cor. 7:21).
 
b. metaph., one who gives himself up wholly to another’s will (1 Cor. 7:23).
 
c. devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests (Matt. 20:27-28).
 
5. How do we become servants of Christ? What must we serve (and not serve)? What must characterize our service?
 
 
 
I. BECOMING SERVANTS OF CHRIST.
 
A. We Have Been Bought With A Price – 1 Cor. 6:19-20; 7:23.
 
1. As a master purchased servants, so Christ, by His blood, has purchased us to be His servants – 1 Pet. 1:18-21.
 
2. Therefore, our duty is to Christ – 1 Cor. 7:23.
 
B. We Must Present (Offer, Yield) Ourselves To Christ As His Servants – Rom. 6:16.
 
1. Not a forced purchase!
 
2. 6:17-18 – Transaction occurs when we obey from the heart the gospel!
 
a. To “do sin” makes one a bondservant of sin – Jno. 8:34.
 
b. Likewise, to “do righteousness” makes one a servant of it – 1 Jno. 2:29.
 
 
 
II. CHRISTIANS MUST NOT SERVE:
 
A. Sin – Rom. 6:1, 19-23 (6:11-14); Jno. 8:34.
 
1. A conscious decision & effort of our part to not obey its lusts.
 
2. Will we sin? Yes. Will we serve sin? No! – 1 Jno. 1:6; 2:1-2.
 
3. The wages of sin is death – Rom. 6:23.
 
B. Mammon – Matt. 6:24. (Money, treasure, riches – Materialism).
 
1. 1 Tim. 6:9-10 – “Minded to be rich” makes us servants of $.
 
2. Matt. 6:25 – These things are not as important as you are! (Matt. 16:26).
 
C. Their Own Belly (Given Up To Selfish Pleasure & Desire) – Rom. 16:18; cf. Titus 3:1-3. (False teaching, 6:17; malice, hatred – 3:3)
 
D. The Creature Rather Than The Creator – Rom. 1:25.
 
1. By exchanging His truth for the lies of man – 1:25 (19).
 
2. By making God after our own image – 1:22-23.
 
 
 
III. CHRISTIANS MUST SERVE:
 
A. God – Matt. 4:10; 1 Ths. 1:9; Heb. 9:14 (Matt. 22:37).
 
B. Christ – Jno. 12:26.
 
1. With sacrifice – 12:25.
 
2. When we forego our liberties – Rom. 14:16-18.
 
3. And when we stand in sound doctrine – Rom. 16:17-18.
 
C. Righteousness – Rom. 6:19-22.
 
1. Sanctified (set apart) from sin’s dominion (6:14).
 
2. Using the word of God – 2 Tim. 3:16-17.
 
D. One Another – Gal. 5:13; 6:2 (Matt. 20:26-27; 25:40).
 
1. The spiritually weak – cf. 1 Ths. 5:14.
 
2. The spiritually strong – cf. 2 Tim. 4:16 (1 Ths. 5:14-15).
 
E. All Men – Gal. 6:10; 1 Ths. 5:15.
 
 
 
IV. OUR SERVICE TO GOD MUST BE CHARACTERIZED BY:
 
A. A Willing Mind – 2 Cor. 8:12. (Not forced, coerced)
 
B. Devotion – cf. Phil. 2:19-22.
 
C. Humility – 1 Pet. 5:5 (Acts 20:19).
 
D. Sacrifice – Matt. 20:28.
 
E. Reverence – Heb. 12:28-29.
 
 
 

Conclusion

 
Matt. 24:45-51 – Servants will be judged & rewarded by their Master, Jesus Christ!
 
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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 
 
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