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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

 

HOW MANY OF US LIVE UP TO THE STANDARDS OF GOD’S TEACHING ABOUT MEEKNESS AND HUMILITY?

Meekness and Humility

                           God’s Cure for Pride, Haughtiness, and Egotism

What does the Bible teach about meekness, humility, gentleness, and lowliness? How can God help us overcome pride, arrogance, haughtiness, self-will, selfishness, egotism, and self-assertiveness?

Why should people be meek and humble? What problems are caused by pride, arrogance, ego, self-exaltation, haughtiness, and self-will? Should you learn self-assertiveness, or should you learn not to be proud and haughty? What does the Bible teach about meekness, humility, gentleness, and lowliness in contrast to pride, selfishness, self-will, and arrogance?

Introduction:

Two of the greatest characters in the Bible possessed in common the qualities we want to study in this lesson.

Numbers 12:3 – Moses was very meek, above all men on face of the earth.

Matthew 11:29,30 – Jesus said, “I am meek and lowly in heart.”

These men were two of the greatest characters who ever lived. Both were chosen by God to be givers of His law. Jesus was the Divine Son of God. Surely we should seek to be like these men.

Other verses emphasize the importance of these qualities

Matthew 5:5 – Blessed are the meek (gentle – NKJV), for they shall inherit the earth. Jesus declares a “blessing” (happiness) on those who are meek.

Galatians 5:22,23 – Meekness is one of the fruits of the Spirit – qualities that we must possess if we are led by the Spirit.

Proverbs 16:18,19 – Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly.

If we seek to be happy, to be led by the Spirit, to avoid destruction, and to be like great people such as Moses and Jesus, we need to possess meekness and humility.

It is the purpose of this lesson to study these qualities, what they are, and how they will affect our lives. As we study, we will frequently note Moses and Jesus as examples who teach us about meekness and humility.

Definitions:

Meekness

This is an extremely difficult word to translate into English, because we think “meek” implies weakness. Sometimes it is translated (NKJV) “gentleness,” but that also implies weakness.

The best way to know the meaning of a word is to study passages where it is used. As we do, we will see meekness is an attitude or quality of heart [1 Peter 3:4] whereby a person willingly accepts and submits without resistance to the will and desires of someone else. The meek person is not self-willed – not continually concerned with self, his own ways, ideas, and wishes. He is willing to put himself in second place and submit himself to achieve what is good for others. Meekness is the opposite of self-will, self-interest, and self-assertiveness.

This is a sign, not of weakness of character (as some think), but of strength. It requires great self-control to submit to others.

Humility

This is an attitude or quality of mind [Acts 20:19] whereby a person holds low esteem or opinion of his own goodness and importance. Spiritually, one abases himself because he realizes his sinfulness and therefore he is willing to depend on God to meet His needs. It is the opposite of pride, haughtiness, and self-exaltation.

Part I: Meekness and Humility Toward God

In the Bible, meekness is primarily emphasized as submissiveness toward God (rather than toward men). As directed toward God, meekness and humility require the following:

I. We Must Recognize Our Sinfulness and Our Dependence On God.

A. We Must Recognize Our Sinfulness.

Luke 18:9-14

A Pharisee trusted in himself that he was righteous, prayed with himself, thanking God he was better than other people. Note the Pharisee’s emphasis on self, exaltation of self, and his failure to see his sins.

The Publican pleaded for mercy admitting he was a sinner. Note the conclusion in v14 – One who exalts self will be abased, one who humbles self will be exalted! Humility is the opposite of self-exaltation and self-righteousness.

A preacher once preached a sermon on this story and afterward a man prayed, “Lord, we thank thee that we are not proud like that Pharisee”! He was doing the very thing he was saying he was not doing! We are all sinners. We have no right to look down on anyone as if we deserve salvation because we are so good, and they don’t deserve it. We can be more righteous than the Pharisee, but only by humbling ourselves like the publican and calling on God to forgive us.

1 John 1:8,10

If we say we have not sinned, we are liars. We are all sinners, and often need forgiveness. We all deserve to be punished for our sins. We have hope of salvation only by God’s gracious willingness to forgive. We are no better than the Pharisee or publican, in the sense we are all sinners.

B. We Must Depend on God.

Note the example of Moses – Deuteronomy 8:3,11-14,16-18

Moses knew that man lives, not by bread alone, but by the word of God. Our physical blessings come, not by our own power and might, but from God. All good things come from God.

We must appreciate how weak we would be without Him. This leads us to depend on God to meet our needs. In turn, we then appreciate and exalt Him.

Note the teaching of Jesus – Matthew 18:1-4.

The greatest in the kingdom is one who is humble like a little child. I have heard people say a child is humble because it is forgiving. Perhaps, but a child is not just forgiving; he is totally dependent on his parents.

Where does a child receive what he needs? Who provides his food, changes his diaper, and dresses him? When he has pain, for whom does he call? A child is weak, but he knows Momma and Daddy can meet his needs. So humility leads us to humbly admit our need for God.

Proper humility toward God is an admission of our own weakness, sinfulness, unprofitableness, and inability to obtain or accomplish by ourselves the things we need. We need help from someone far greater than we are. God knows what we need and what is good better than we know, and He has power to do what needs done. Humility will lead us to appreciate Him, trust His will, and give Him the glory, rather than exalting self.

II. We Must Submit To God’s Commands.

If we know our weaknesses and our tendency to err, in contrast to God’s wisdom and power, we should be willing to do what He says. We should believe that His will is best and that we will receive His aid only if we obey Him.

A. Note the Examples of Moses and of Jesus

The example of Moses

Numbers 12:3,6,7 – He was very meek. He was faithful in all God’s house.

Exodus 40:16 – He did according to all that Jehovah commanded him, so did he.

Hebrews 8:5 – He built all things according to the pattern shown him.

The example of Jesus

Philippians 2:8 – Having come to earth as a man, Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient, even to the point of dying on the cross.

Hebrews 4:15 – He was tempted in all points like we are yet without sin.

1 Peter 2:21,22 – He left us an example that we should follow His steps. He did no sin nor was guilt found in His mouth.

Both Moses and Jesus are expressly noted for their meekness and humility, and both were thoroughly obedient to God.

B. Applications to Us

James 1:21-25 – Meekness toward God’s word requires putting away filth and wickedness. Be doers of the word, not just hearers.

James 4:6-10 – God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves in the sight of God and He will exalt you. Therefore be subject to God, draw nigh to Him, cleanse your hands, purify your hearts, be afflicted, mourn, and weep. This is the true effect of humility in our lives, just as in Jesus’ life (cf. 1 Peter 1:22).

When we are truly humble, and hold ourselves in low esteem compared to God’s exalted greatness, we will submit to His will. This is why Scripture so often associates repentance with humbling oneself. [1 Kings 21:27ff; 2 Chronicles 7:13f; Isaiah 57:15; 1 Peter 5:5-9; Proverbs 15:31-33]

Matthew 16:24 – Here is an excellent definition of “meekness,” without using the word. To be meek is to deny self.

The selfish person says “I want this, I want that….” True meekness says, “So what! What does God want?” Is this really best according to God’s way? God’s ways are so much better than ours that we will submit.

Someone says, “Well, don’t we ever get to consider what we want?” Yes, but be careful. When it doesn’t matter according to God’s will, then we may consider our own will. But the meek person carefully considers God’s will first, then his own will last. It is very easy to sub-consciously desire to please ourselves, so we conclude an act doesn’t matter to God, when really it does matter to Him. We must question every act, word, thought as to what effect it will have on our service to God. Then we do only what we are sure will please God.

III. We Must Accept Circumstances of Life According to God’s Will.

 

A meek and humble person will accept persecution, mistreatment, suffering, or hardship without rebelling against God and without doubting His wisdom. We will accept the fact that He has chosen to allow this to happen for His good purposes.

A. Note the Examples of Moses and Jesus

Example of Moses:

Numbers 11:10-15 – Moses had problems most of us would never submit to. People constantly complained about his leadership, even though he was just doing what God said. How many of us would have stood for it? No wonder he was called the meekest man on earth! In fact, it was a complaint against him that occasioned the statement that he was so meek (12:1-3).

Example of Jesus:

Acts 8:32,33 – He was led as a sheep to the slaughter [Isaiah 53:7f].

Matthew 26:39 – Was it hard for Jesus to go to the “slaughter”? Did this take meekness? He said, “Not my will but thine be done.”

Philippians 2:8 – Jesus left the glory of heaven, humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of the death on the cross. Consider how much humility and meekness would be required for one to willingly leave the glory of heaven to come to earth to live as a man and die as a criminal to save others.

B. Application to Us

Hebrews 12:2-6 – Jesus was our example. We should be willing to submit to suffering just as He did. We have suffered nothing like He did, yet we often tend to rebel against our problems.

Deuteronomy 8:1-5,15,16 – God allows circumstances that chasten us in order to keep us humble, submissive to His will, and dependent on Him. This will do us good in the end.

We want to control our own lives. I get panicky when I feel unable to do anything about problems I don’t want to face. But facing hardships, that we cannot solve alone, helps make us humble. We see our weakness and we turn to God for help. Then we appreciate Him and see our need for Him.

This does not mean we should blame God for causing all problems that come, nor does it mean we only have problems when we sin. Sometimes our problems are caused by our own sins. But sometimes, like Job, we have not sinned, but God allows Satan to cause hardships. Satan is ultimately responsible for the existence of troubles, but God uses them to make us humble.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 – Paul’s thorn in the flesh kept him from being overly exalted. Satan, not God, brought the problem. But God allowed it to remain, because it produced good for Paul. So our problems may be allowed because they keep us from becoming proud and self-reliant.

This does not mean we should put ourselves in hard circumstances, nor that we avoid improving our circumstances. If we can escape our problems, we should do so and give thanks to God. But if He chooses to allow the problem to continue, we should not blame Him but appreciate the lessons such problems can teach us.

Hardships work for our good if we endure faithfully. The meek and humble person realizes this and submits without rebelling or being bitter against God.

IV. We Must Resist Error and False Teaching in the Lives of Others.

 

Some people believe that a meek person should not speak out against error. Anytime anybody rebukes other people for sin, some people think he is self-willed, stubborn, pushy, wants to exalt himself, get his own way, etc. Some people today want to “change the image of the church,” because they oppose a militant stand against error. “We shouldn’t be so forceful in telling people they are wrong. We need to be more meek and loving.”

A. Note the Example of Moses and Jesus

Remember, the Bible expressly honors these men as examples of meekness and humility. Did they resist the errors of others?

The example of Moses

Exodus 32:19,20 – Moses became angry at the sin of God’s people. Vv 26-28,30 – He told them they sinned, and he called for disciplinary action. Yet he was the meekest man on earth! This is the act of a meek man!

I have known people who say a preacher should never become angry in preaching. But Moses did in this case and other cases. And so did Jesus.

“That doesn’t seem meek to me.” Such views show that people don’t understand meekness. Moses is an example of ultimate meekness.

There is no conflict between Biblical meekness and firm opposition to error. The conflict exists only because people misunderstand meekness.

The example of Jesus

Matthew 15:3-9,12-14 – Jesus plainly described the sin of the Pharisees. The Pharisees were offended and Jesus’ disciples told Him so. Did He apologize? No, he proceeded to call them blind guides and told the disciples not to follow them. Should He have apologized for not being meek enough?

Matthew 23:15-17,27,28,33 – Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites, sons of hell, blind guides, fools and blind, whited sepulchers, full of hypocrisy and iniquity, generation of vipers. “How shall you escape the damnation of hell?”

These are the statements of a meek man! “I am meek and lowly in heart.”

Jesus was without sin. There is no conflict between meekness and powerful rebuke of sin, even to the point of naming specific groups or individuals who are guilty.

[John 8:41-47,54,55]

B. Applications to Us

Meekness requires that we too oppose sin and false doctrine in the lives of others.

Galatians 6:1 – If a man is overtaken in a fault, those who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of meekness. Meekness does not mean we do not show others they are wrong. We are commanded to show them their error in meekness.

2 Timothy 2:24-26 – In meekness correct those who oppose themselves so they can recover themselves from the snare of the Devil. People are simply mistaken if they think a meek person will never tell others they are wrong. Meekness leads us to tell others they are wrong – the same verses that say to be meek, also command us to correct others!

Meekness, like love, is exercised first toward God.

Meekness is a willingness to submit, but our primary submission must be to the will of God. One must not force for his own personal will to the hindrance of the cause of Christ, but he must stand firmly for God’s way even to the point of resisting all that differs from God’s way. Why? Because God tells us to do this, so we must do it or we are not meekly submitting to God!

Meekness is the quality of character that demands that we must speak out against error. Like Moses and Jesus, a meek person above all else wants to see God’s will respected and obeyed. When a meek person sees people disregarding the will of God, he will be moved to indignation because people are not respectful of God’s will. A meek person cares about God’s will being done!

Elders, preachers, and Christians who speak out against sin are the only kind who are really meek. Those who don’t speak out against error are the ones that are not meek – they don’t have enough concern for God’s will!

Later we will see that meekness affects how we speak out. We should not start by calling people “generation of vipers”, etc., the first time we try to teach them. And we won’t use such forceful language with people who are humbly trying to do right but just have a misunderstanding. But when people have had many opportunities to know the truth and they still disregard it, then strong language is needed. But in all cases of sin, we must help people turn away from sin, and to do so is meek.

Meekness expresses itself first and foremost in an attitude of willingness to submit to God’s will. Are you meek? Are you submitting to His will?

Part II: Meekness and Humility Toward Other People

Meekness toward God is the most fundamental and basic sense in which we must be meek and humble. Yet as it is with love, so it is with meekness: if we are truly meek toward God, this will lead us to be meek and humble toward other people. In our relations with other people, meekness and humility requires us to do the following:

I. We Must Submit to Human Authority Ordained by God.

 

We do not say that men have the right to make laws in religion that fall outside the realm of what God’s word authorizes. But God’s word says that we must also be subject to various forms of human authority. Note some instances where meekness and humility are expressly mentioned regarding our submission to these authorities:

A. Citizens’ Submission to Civil Rulers

Titus 3:1,2 – In the same context where we are told to be meek (gentle – NKJV) and humble toward all men (v2), we are also told to be subject and obedient toward rulers and authorities.

1 Peter 2:13-15 – Be submissive to ordinances of man, whether king or governors, or to proper representatives of these rulers. Why should we submit? Because it is God’s will. Meek submission to God’s law will lead us to meekly submit to rulers.

Why is it that people refuse to submit to laws? Why cheat on taxes? Why disobey speed laws, etc.? Because we don’t want to do what the law says, we want to do what we want. We are self-willed, unwilling to deny self. What qualities do we need so we can avoid these attitudes? We need meekness and humility – willingness to set aside our will and submit to the will of the rulers.

B. Wives’ Submission to Husbands

1 Peter 3:1-6 – Repeatedly God says wives are to be submissive to their husbands. In the midst of this teaching, he requires women to be adorned with a “meek (gentle – NKJV) and quiet” spirit. Note this instruction is in the middle of the discussion of obedience to husbands. Why?

Why do many modern women deny the concept that man is head of the family? Why are so many women unhappy and rebellious toward the idea of following the will of their husbands?

There are several reasons, including the fact many husbands selfishly misuse their authority and fail to treat their wives with honor and respect (v7). But some wives have trouble obeying when their husbands do not accept their wives’ view, even when husbands are respectful. And Peter said wives should obey husbands even when husbands are not obeying God’s word (v1).

Why do women struggle with this? Because it is so “humiliating” to have to do what a man says. Woman has her own ideas about what she wants to do. “My ideas are just as good as his.” “I’ve got my pride, you know.” Many women are encouraged by modern humanistic psychologists to be “self-assertive” and “stand up for themselves.” God says what is needed is a “meek and quiet spirit.”

There are other forms of ordained authority we must submit to: children to parents, employees to employers, etc. None of us is free to do just whatever we want. All of us need to learn meekness and humility.

Note we are to submit first to God; we do not obey man when he tells us to disobey God (Acts 5:29). But we still are not doing what we want. We do what God demands first, then what those in authority demand. We do what we want only when allowed to by God and by proper human authorities.

The solution to our stubborn, rebellious attitude toward authority is meekness and humility.

II. We Must Honor Others Rather Than Exalting Ourselves.

One who is truly meek and humble does not belittle or neglect the good qualities of others in order to obtain glory and honor and recognition for himself.

Romans 12:3 – Don’t think more highly of self than you ought to think, but think soberly.

“Think so as to have sound judgment” (NASB). Be honest and realistic in evaluating yourself compared to others. It is easy to think we more capable than others, have better ideas than others, deserve greater honor than others, when this may not be the case. Specifically:

Admit your weaknesses and especially your sins.

Most people tend to overlook their own sins or downplay the seriousness of them. When I do something, it’s a weakness or personality deficiency; when you do the same thing, it’s a sin. We already showed we are all sinners. None of us deserve the honor of eternal life any more than anyone else.

Appreciate the good qualities of others.

Other people do have good points, and often they are better than we are in some areas. We tend to exaggerate our own good points, and exaggerate other people’s bad points. The fact we have different abilities from someone else does not mean we are more important than they or more worthy of honor than they (note vv 4,5).

Give God credit for what good points you do have.

“…think soberly as God has dealt to each one…” If a sober evaluation shows you do have abilities and righteousness, remember you could as easily have been born in far more deprived circumstances. And you are righteous only because God has forgiven the sins you committed. Give glory to God.

Romans 12:16 – Do not set your mind on high things … Do not be wise in your own opinion.

A humble person does not focus on how to make a big impression on people or how to receive glory and honor. Some people won’t accept any job, situation, or relationship unless they think it will exalt them in the eyes of others. “What will people think?” Give them a job that lifts them up before people, and they’ll do it. Give them a job nobody knows about and it never gets done (or is done only begrudgingly).

The humble person will accept any task whereby he can help people, no matter how humble that task is in the eyes of men. He will associate with any people whom he can help and who will help him serve God, even if the world does not highly exalt those people.

Romans 12:15 – Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.

Some people are too proud to be glad when other people receive honor and respect. They think that honor should have come to themselves. Some are too proud to be really sorry when other people have problems. They think those people had it coming to them.

A humble person is sincerely glad when people receive what is really good for them (by God’s standard), and he sincerely weeps with people who are troubled.

[Luke 18:9-14; 14:7-11; 16:15; Titus 3:2,3]

III. We Must Serve the Needs and Interests of Others

A humble person is willing to inconvenience himself in order to help others. He is willing to forego his own desires so other people can receive what they need.

Matthew 23:11,12 – Greatness is measured in terms of service rendered to others.

People then, like now, thought greatness was measured by how much honor you receive from people or how much authority you possess (vv 5-10). If you dominate and control others, you are important.

But we are really great (worthy of being exalted by God) if we humble ourselves to do what is good for others, regardless of what men think. This does not mean authority is evil. We have already seen that God ordained it. Jesus possessed it, yet he was meek. The point is just having authority does not make you great. Service makes you great, and you can do that with or without authority. But service requires humility.

[Matthew 20:25-28; 1 Peter 5:5]

Philippians 2:2-8 – Each should count others better than himself (v3).

This does not advocate false humility wherein we think everybody has more ability than we do. Should my wife think I am a better cook than she is? Should a professional carpenter or musician think I am better than he is? NASB: “Let each one of you regard one another as more important than himself.” I must be willing to let your needs and problems take priority over mine.

V4 – Let each of you look out, not just for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

I should have enough concern for your wellbeing that I am willing to set aside my own desires in order to serve your needs.

Genesis 13 – Abraham illustrates this with Lot. He let Lot have first choice. He could have insisted, as the older man, that he have first choice. But he humbled himself and let Lot choose. Some people think, “You’re first, after me.”

“As I consider you above, you likewise consider me above, and so [on] all around. [The result is] a marvelous community in which no one is looked down upon, but everyone is looked up to” (Lenski). I should deny and sacrifice myself to the point of eliminating self-concern so I can allow your needs to be met.

Vv 5-8 – Jesus is the example. He was meek and lowly.

Though He was in heaven with God, in the form of God, He humbled Himself and came to earth as a man, and obeyed to the point of death. Why? To meet our needs. To be of service to us. We should have that mind in us (v5).

IV. We Must Help Others Overcome Sin.

We have learned that, contrary to some people’s view, meekness does not require us to keep quiet when others sin; rather, we should show them their error. However, meekness toward others will affect the manner in which we do this.

A. Teach with Compassion and Self-control for the Proper Purpose.

Galatians 6:1 – One overtaken in trespass should be restored in a spirit of meekness.

This shows the proper purpose of teaching: to restore the person.

You seek to help bear his burden (v2). You are trying to be helpful. You’re not there to gloat because he fell, nor to remind him you were right (for the sake of exalting self over him). You’re not there to hurt his feelings (though he probably will feel bad, that is not the end result you seek). You are not there to add to his problems, but to help solve them.

Every act should be done with this end in view. In harmony with Scripture and in accord with wisdom, act only in ways that will help contribute to his return to God.

Specifically, strive to let the person know that this is your purpose.

Be compassionate and sympathetic. Let him know the reason you are talking to him is that you care about him.

A man evaluating two preachers once said: The first man told me I was lost and made me feel like he was glad for it. The second man told me I was lost, but made me feel like he was really sorry and wanted me to be saved.

Our manner will never satisfy all the sinners. Some people will become angry no matter how you approach them. Moses and Jesus were examples of meekness, but people complained regularly about Moses and killed Jesus! Whether or not people are pleased, examine yourself to be sure your teaching is not egotistic self-righteousness nor an intellectual exercise by which you seek to win an argument just to prove your opponent wrong.

Remember you have been in the sinner’s shoes. You too have been in sin and will be again sometime. Approach the person with the same sense of consideration that you should be approached, consistent with God’s word. This will not eliminate forceful rebukes or even anger – sometimes they are needed. But it is much easier to be compassionate to people when you remember you have been in their shoes.

B. Avoid Quarrels

2 Timothy 2:24-26 – Teach in meekness those who have been taken captive by the Devil. Again the purpose of the teaching is clear: to help people repent and recover themselves from Satan’s grasp. Be helpful (as already discussed).

But note that we should avoid strivings (quarrels). This does not mean never pointedly telling people they are wrong. Jesus and Moses, two very meek men, both did this.

But sometimes the discussion degenerates till nothing useful or helpful in leading people to repent is being accomplished. Some people argue just to keep from admitting they are wrong. They aren’t honestly considering the evidence but just looking for any silly answer to avoid conceding.

Sometimes people get so angry they lose control and say things they don’t really mean (this could be you or them).

Sometimes people are just repeating the same things over and over. Some try to win the argument by talking longer or louder than others.

Whenever it is clear that people are not really listening and honestly considering the evidence (this involves some judgment), discontinue the discussion. “Cool it” and wait till people can be calmer.

C. Teach with Long-suffering and Forbearance

Colossians 3:12,13 – Lowliness and meekness lead to longsuffering and forbearance. [Ephesians 4:2]

Longsuffering is patience. We must be willing to continue in our efforts. Don’t get angry and lose your temper. Don’t give up just because the person has disobeyed God’s word. What would have happened to us if God gave up on us every time we failed to do as He taught?

Forbearing is putting up with things we don’t like. Sometimes we suffer personal slights from people we are teaching. Do not give up and do not retaliate. Keep teaching the truth. A sinner, when rebuked, will often turn on you and find fault. We are tempted to quit teaching. If this is a consistent reaction, maybe we should teach someone else, but don’t quit teaching. Don’t give up just because we were criticized.

It takes a meek and humble person to keep on doing good despite hardship.

V. We Must Work for Unity, Peace, and Harmony.

Ephesians 4:2,3 – With lowliness and meekness, endeavor to keep unity and peace. Lowliness contributes to peace and unity in at least the following ways:

A. A Humble Person Is Willing to Submit for the Good of the Group

Philippians 2:2,3 – With lowliness of mind, do nothing through faction or vainglory.

The proud, vainglorious man is too concerned for his own ideas and ways. This leads to strife and maybe division. He may cause doctrinal strife by insisting on following his own way rather than God’s way. He will often insist that other people accept his ideas, while he is unwilling to give in to the ideas of others. This leads to conflict.

James 3:13-18 – The meek person avoids envy and is willing to yield.

Peace is often ruined by envy. This is worldly and devilish. The wisdom from above is first pure then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated. The proud person is envious when other people get their way or receive honor. The meek person will give in for the good of the group. He doesn’t care who gets the glory as long as good is done.

Note that meekness still demands doctrinal purity. It is not meek to allow error to go uncorrected – first pure, then peaceable. Peace at any price leads to unity in sin. The meek person wants to please God first. Then he reasons with people for what is best. But he will not press his own desires to the harm of the church.

B. A Humble Person Is Willing to Forgive, not to Retaliate.

 

Colossians 3:12,13 – Again meekness is associated with willingness to forgive when others repent. It helps to remember we were sinners. As we seek God to forgive us, so we should be willing to forgive others. If we don’t forgive, God will not forgive us (Matthew 6:12ff).

What keeps people from being willing to forgive? Why do we hold grudges even when others have repented? Pride. The solution is meekness and humility.

Romans 12:14,16-21 – Lowliness (v16) is discussed in context of not taking vengeance, but blessing our persecutors. A meek person will do this for two reasons. First, God says to let Him take care of the problem, and a meek person is willing to submit to God’s vengeance. Second, a meek person is not motivated by the egotistical satisfaction of “getting even,” but simply by a desire to see things made right. If others make right the wrongs they did, the humble person has no desire for vengeance.

Conclusion

Some people want to please self first and everybody else comes somewhere down the line. Other people will do first what other people want of them. The rule followed by the truly meek and humble person is: God first, others second, self last.

Does your life live up to God’s standard of meekness and humility? Do you put the needs of others before yourself? Are you submitting to God and correcting the sins in your life?

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

MY CONFESSION OF WHO I BELIEVE JESUS TO BE ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE; I BELIEVE HE IS GOD’S CHRIST

                            “May I Introduce You To My Lord And Savior Jesus Christ”
 
John 1:1-18
 
 
 
Intro.
 
1. Who was Jesus? This question has been asked & answered from the time of His days on earth (cf. Matt. 16:13-15).
 
2. Jesus has been introduced to us in Scripture.
 
3. John 1:1-18 – John’s Prologue introduces Jesus to the world (20:30-31).
 
 
 
I. JESUS IS DEITY – 1:1-3.
 
A. He Is Eternal – 1:1a.
 
1. Before Genesis 1:1 (beginning), the Word already was!
 
2. Without beginning, uncreated, eternal – Jno. 8:58 (Micah 5:2).
 
B. He Was With God – 1:1b.
 
1. With – Not merely co-existence, but in active intercourse & communion – Idea of the presence of one with another. (Participating to the fullest) – 1:2
 
2. Jno. 17:5 – Shared glory of Deity with the Father.
 
C. He Was God – 1:1c.
 
1. Not “a” god or “the” God…”was God.” (Deity)
 
2. “The Word was God in His nature & in His being, possessing the fullness of divine being, power & attributes.” -(That You May Believe, Hailey, p. 20)
 
3. Heb. 1:3 – The very image (impress) of the divine essence. (Phil. 2:6)
 
D. All Things Were Created Through Him – 1:2-3.
 
1. v. 2 – The Word was with God in beginning (Gen. 1:26).
 
-Creation was an expression of the eternal fellowship of God!
 
2. v. 3 – All things – Col. l:16 (Heb. 1:2; Jno. 1:10).
 
-Eternal (God) – Personal (with God) – Active (Creator).
 
 
 
II. JESUS WAS GOD INCARNATE – 1:14, 18.
 
A. God In The Flesh – 1:14.
 
1. Phil. 2:5-8 – God took the form or fashion of a man.
 
(His nature: cf. “form of a servant,” Phil. 2:7).
 
a. Form (morphe) – v. 6: “1) the form by which a person or thing strikes the vision…2) external appearance” (Thayer, 418).
 
b. Equal with God – v. 6: Possessed all glory with God – Jno. 17:5.
 
c. Emptied Himself (made Himself of no reputation) – v. 7: Of divine form (glory, appearance) & took on human form – “likeness of men” – 2:7 (flesh & blood, Heb. 2:14; Jno. 1:14).
 
d. Appearance (fashion) – v. 8: “the habitus, as comprising everything in a person which strikes the senses, the figure, bearing, discourse, actions, manner of life, etc.” (Thayer, 610)
 
2. 1:14 – God “tabernacled” (dwelt) among men.
 
3. 1:14 – “We” Beheld His glory (divine essence)! – 2 Pet. 1:16f
 
a. Only begotten from the Father – “Unique position, only one of His kind’…God incarnate!
 
b. 1:14 – Full of grace & truth (cf. Col. 2:9).
 
4. 1:18 – Here was Deity in the flesh, the manifestation of God in a visible & tangible form (Col. 1:15; Jno. 14:7-10).
 
B. As God Incarnate, Jesus Fulfilled Several Roles For Our Benefit:
 
1. 1:4-5. 7-9 – Brought life & light to morally dead & dark world (6:35, 63; 8:12 – Bread of life, Light of the world).
 
2. 1:16-17 – Brought grace & truth (14:6; Col. 2:9-10).
 
3. 1:29. 36 – Lamb of God for sin (Savior; “Jesus,” Matt. 1:21). -Heb. 2:14; 10:10
 
4. 1:41, 45 – The Christ (anointed One) (Psa. 45:7; Isa. 61:1).
 
5. 1:34, 49 – The Son of God / King (Psa. 2:6-7); Isa. 9:6-7; Lk. 1:32-33.
 
 
 
III. JESUS IS GOD’S AUTHORIZED SPOKESMAN – 1:17.
 
A. He Is Superior To Moses – cf. Acts 3:22-23 (Matt. 17:3-5); Heb. 3:3.
 
B. We Must Hear, Believe & Obey His Word (Truth) In Order To Receive Eternal Life (Grace) – Jno. 12:44-50.
 
1. v. 44-47 – Purpose & result of His work.
2. v. 48 – His word will judge us.
3. v. 49-50 – Obey God’s commands (words of Jesus – Truth) — Eternal life (grace)!
4. 1:11-12 – Believers given the right (power) to become children of God. How? – cf. 12:44, 47
 
a. Obeying the truth Jesus revealed! – Jno. 8:31-32.
 
b. Jno. 12:42-43 – Believers are not automatically saved!
 
5. Gal. 3:26-27 – Faith involves baptism into Christ!
 
6. Jno. 1:13 – “Born of God”!
 
 
 
Conclusion
 
1. Jesus is God. He came in the flesh as God’s spokesman of truth & giver of grace. Must believe & obey Him to be saved.
 
2. What will you do with Jesus?!
 
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Posted by on October 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT THE DANGERS AND PITFALLS OF PRIDE

                                          Dangers of Pride

 Introduction

1. Jesus was the most humble man who ever lived, Phil. 2:5-8.
 
2. Christians must be humble in heart and life, Matt. 18:1-4.
 
3. The danger of pride is its self-deceiving nature:
 
a. When we consider our sins, who says, “My problem is pride”? (“I’m so proud to be so humble”!)
 
b. Pride is worldly, putting trust in self and the flesh, 1 Jno. 2:16.
 
4. Pride: “the character of one who, with a swollen estimate of his own powers or merits, looks down on others and even treats them with insolence (rude, disrespectful, jrp) and contempt” (Thayer).
 
a. Vainglory: “an insolent and empty assurance, which trusts in its own power and resources and shamefully despises and violates divine laws and human rights…an impious and empty presumption which trusts in the stability of earthy things” (OBG Lexicon)
 
b. An exaggerated regard for self – when one thinks too highly of himself/herself (Rom. 12:3).
 
 
 
I. PRIDE IS DEFILING, Mk. 7:22.
 
A. Pride is the Way of the World, 1 Jno. 2:15-16.
 
1. Pride offers a form of godliness for the world to see, but pride denies the power of godliness due to its self-centered world view! 2 Tim. 3:1-5
 
2. Pride is driven by lust for attention and acclaim, yet forfeits them all for a fraudulent and faithless view of self and the world.
 
B. Pride Develops in a Heart that has Turned to Evil, Mk. 7:21.
 
1. Grows in an evil heart of unbelief, cf. Heb. 3:12.
 
2. When the heart is given over to sin, pride grows up as a defensive barrier from the rebukes and pleadings of truth to repent!
 
3. It corrupts the entire person, Mk. 7:23.
 
C. Pride Produces:
 
1. Strife and shame, Prov. 13:10; 11:2.
 
2. Rude and cruel speech, Prov. 14:3.
 
3. Greedy spirit, Prov. 28:25 (instead of reliance on God).
 
 
 
II. PRIDE IS DECEPTIVE, Gal. 6:3.
 
A. Pride is Haughty in its View and Treatment of Others, Prov. 6:17.
 
1. It uses a false standard to judge self and others, Prov. 30:11-13.
 
2. Condescending, arrogant treatment of others (words/deeds) is absolutely a part of pride, cf. Rom. 1:30; 12:16 (conceit).
 
3. Pride not only lifts us up above man, but ultimately above God – the definitive insult against God, Job 38:1-4; 42:1-6.
 
B. Pride Deceives Us by Leading us to Trust in Personal Knowledge Instead of Loving God and being Known by God, 1 Cor. 8:1-3.
 
1. When we view any subject in terms of “us” and what we “know” instead of “God” and His will for us, we are being prideful.
 
2. Puffed up in treatment of others, cf. Prov. 21:24 (“Scoffer”).
 
-Acts in “proud wrath” (KJV) – Violent anger toward others.
 
 
 
III. PRIDE IS DESTRUCTIVE, Prov. 16:18; 18:12.
 
A. Pride Destroys a Proper View of Self, Jer. 10:23.
 
1. Pride convinces us we are (always) right, Prov. 16:20.
 
2. In fact, pride takes us downward, Prov. 29:23.
 
B. Pride Destroys a Proper View of Others, cf. Lk. 18:9, 11, 14.
 
1. As pride overestimates its own value it devalues others, which in turn is played out in our treatment of others, cf. Matt. 7:12.
 
2. Pride does not (cannot) serve others! Matt. 20:28; Phil. 2:5-8
 
C. Pride Destroys Respect for Christ and His Word, 1 Tim. 6:3-5.
 
1. But it is God (His word) who is always right, Psa. 19:9.
 
2. Pride disregards truth and accepts the lies that generate self- importance, 1 Tim. 6:3 (proud: “superior, lifted up”, lifted up with haughtiness).

 Conclusion

 
1. The proud trust the imaginations (dispositions) of their hearts, but God scatters them (lays waste), Lk. 1:51 (Prov. 15:25).
 
2. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble, 1 Pet. 5:5-7 (Jas. 4:6).
 
a. Pride refuses to submit to men and God where humble submissiveness is required and beneficial, 1 Pet. 5:5.
 
b. Only by humbling ourselves to God will He lift us up, 1 Pet. 5:6 (Lk. 18:14).
 
c. Even refusing to cast our care (anxiety) on the Lord is evidence of pride in our hearts! 1 Pet. 5:7
 
3. You will obtain grace from God when you humble yourself to Him and obey His gospel of salvation. Isa. 57:15
 
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Posted by on October 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CIVIL GOVERNMENT

              Our Duties to Civil Government

 
Civil government faces major turmoil. Often innocent people are penalized or treated unfairly while criminals escape punishment. How should a Christian act toward government in times like this?
A. Christians Should Obey the Laws.
 
Some people believe they are justified in disobeying government because laws are unfair and officials are corrupt. They justify “civil disobedience” to any law they consider to be unjust.
 
Romans 13:1-5 — Be subject to the governing authorities because they are ordained by God (v1). To resist them is to resist the ordinance of God (v2). Government punishes evildoers; do good and you need not worry (v3,4). We must obey, not just because of the wrath of the ruler, but also for conscience’ sake (v5) — i.e., because God commanded us to obey.
 
1 Peter 2:13,14 — Submit to civil rulers “for the Lord’s sake” — not just to avoid being caught and punished by the ruler, but to please God. This applies to all laws — from criminal laws to traffic laws — and even when we think the laws are unreasonable. We must obey or stand condemned before God.
 
Acts 5:29 — We disobey only when obedience to civil law would involve us in disobeying Divine law.
 
First-century rulers, both Roman and Jewish, were corrupt and unjust. Often Christians were mistreated and persecuted, but this did not justify rebellion. Laws could be disobeyed only when necessary in order obey God.
 
(See also Titus 3:1; Dan. 3:1-29; 6:1-24.)
B. Christians Should Pay Their Taxes.
 
Matthew 22:17-21 — Jesus was asked about paying tribute to Caesar. He said to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.
 
Some people cheat on taxes or even refuse to pay. They may just be selfish, or they may justify themselves on grounds that the government is corrupt. But the Roman government was corrupt and hated by Jews, yet Jesus still taught His disciples to pay their taxes.
 
Again, we must return good for evil, not evil for evil (Rom. 12:17-21).
 
(See also Rom. 13:6,7; Matt. 17:24-27).
C. Christians May Rebuke Sin in Government and May Appeal to Higher Authorities.
 
Though Christians must obey all laws unless those laws require them to sin, yet this does not mean they passively accept mistreatment without recourse or that they never tell the rulers they are wrong.
Bible examples in which God’s people rebuked rulers for their sins.
 
Some people object when preachers and churches rebuke evil laws or sinful rulers. They say we “should not get involved in politics.” Yet many Scriptures teach the general principle that Christians should rebuke sin, wherever it occurs (Rev. 3:19; Eph. 5:11; 2 Tim. 4:2-4). This includes rebuking sinful rulers as the following examples show:
 
Matthew 14:1-4 — John the Baptist told King Herod he was wrong for taking his brother’s wife. For this John was imprisoned and beheaded.
 
Acts 24:25 — Paul reasoned with Felix about righteousness, self-control, and judgment to come.
 
2 Samuel 12:1-15 — Nathan rebuked David for adultery with Bathsheeba and having her husband killed.
 
Old Testament prophets often rebuked rulers for idolatry and other sins (cf. 1 Kings 13:1-5; Dan. 4:1-37).
 
Christians today not only may speak out, but should speak out, when government permits and even promotes immoral conduct such as abortion, homosexuality, pornography, divorce, and gambling.
 
This does not mean churches, as such, should endorse candidates or support political campaigns. Nor should individual Christians take the law into their own hands. Although people of God in the Bible protested immoral laws and evil conduct by rulers, yet they did not lead violent revolutions nor try to assassinate the rulers. They obeyed the laws except when the laws required them to disobey God, but they told the rulers they were wrong.
Bible examples in which God’s people used their rights as citizens to seek protection from mistreatment.
 
Esther 7:1-6 — Haman plotted to pass a law authorizing the death of all Jews. Queen Esther appealed to a higher authority by revealing the plot to the king and urging him to protect her people.
 
Acts 22:24-29 — When Paul was bound and about to be beaten contrary to the law, in order to protect himself, he reminded the authorities of his rights as a citizen (Cf. 16:35-40).
 
Acts 23:12-33 — When a plot was made against Paul’s life, he appealed to the Roman rulers to protect him.
 
Acts 25:10-12 — When Paul was being improperly imprisoned, he used his right as a Roman citizen to appeal his case to a higher court all the way to Caesar.
 
While Christians must obey law, they should tell rulers when they are wrong, and they may use their rights as citizens to seek protection by the government or to appeal decisions to higher authorities.
D. Christians Should Pray for Rulers.
 
1 Timothy 2:1,2 — Prayer and thanksgiving should be made for kings and all in authority.
 
One of the strongest forces a Christian has for the good of his country is the power of prayer. We should pray that government will not hinder our service to God, but that we may serve God in peace.
 
[Esth. 4:15-17; Neh. 1:11-2:5; 1 Chron. 29:19]
 
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Posted by on October 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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