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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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WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN’S INVOLVEMENT IN POLITICAL ISSUES

                     Should Christians Be Involved in Political Issues?

 
Surely local churches should not endorse candidates, nor sponsor or finance their campaigns. And individual Christians should not become so involved in politics that they neglect other God-given duties. But should Christians refuse all involvement in any issues that surround modern politics and elections?
 
Consider some of the practices that government officials currently debate, legalize, or even finance with our taxes: abortion, gambling, divorce, pornography, homosexuality, contraceptives for unmarried teens, and “education” that justifies some or all of these. Should Christians, preachers, and even churches speak out about such issues, or should we remain silent? If we do not speak out, how do we fulfill our God-given duty to preach the truth and rebuke error? See Revelation 3:19; Galatians 6:1,2; James 5:19,20; I Thessalonians 5:14; Ephesians 5:11; 2 Timothy 4:2-4.
 
Does the Bible contain examples of faithful servants of God speaking out when government officials practiced or encouraged moral or religious evils? The following passages show that we may and should do so: Matthew 14:1-4; 2 Samuel 12:1-15; 1 Kings 13:1-9; Acts 24:25. In our society individual citizens have several ways to tell rulers we agree or disagree with their practices. One way we may speak out is by voting for or against the rulers in elections.
 
Many current government decisions will have major impact on our families. Men are responsible to provide for their families, including protecting them from harm (1 Timothy 5:8; Ephesians 5:28,29). Parents are responsible to provide a wholesome upbringing for our children (Ephesians 6:4; Proverbs 22:6). If my vote can help protect my family from evil government decisions and can help provide a more wholesome environment in which to raise my children, why should I refuse to vote?
 
The apostle Paul often used his rights as a Roman citizen to work for his own protection from evil and to help further the gospel. See Acts 22:24-29; 23:12-33; 25:10-12; 16:35-40; Esth. 7:1-6. Our government gives citizens the right to voice their views about who should govern us. If Paul used his rights to protect himself and help further the gospel, why should we not use the right to vote given us by our government? Can we not thereby help protect ourselves and our families from harm, while also helping maintain our freedom to preach and practice the truth?
 
1 Timothy 2:1,2 shows that we should pray for rulers. Some claim we should not vote because we might be working against God’s power to choose rulers according to His will. Yet God also tells us to pray for our daily bread (Matthew 6:11). Does this mean we should just sit back and let God do it all, or should we try to find a job and let God use us as the means to answer the prayer? Should we avoid looking for a job because we might take a job other than the one God in His providence wanted us to take?
 
3 John 2 shows that we should pray for good health. Some people mistakenly believe that going to a doctor shows a lack of faith in God’s power to answer prayer. Yet Christians know that the doctor may be the very means God uses to answer the prayer! We all realize that there may be situations in which God does not will for us to get better, but that does not prevent us from going to the doctor. If God has not revealed His will in such specific cases, then we must do what we believe to be best, while yet being willing to submit to a different outcome if that is what results.
 
In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Paul prayed three times for God to remove his thorn in the flesh. Later he learned that God did not will to remove it, but did that mean Paul did wrong in praying the prayer? Would Paul have sinned if he had gone to the physician Luke to help remove the thorn before God revealed His will in the matter?
 
God does not impute sin to men when they act with good intention in matters regarding which God has not revealed His will (Rom. 4:15; 5:13). When God has not revealed His specific will regarding affairs on earth, we must pray to Him, but we should also do what we can to bring about the answer to our prayer. We should act according to what we believe is best, acting in harmony with the general principles God has revealed. If we do, God will not be displeased with us, even if He does choose some other outcome of events, because He did not reveal His will in these matters. Nevertheless, we should pray for His will to prevail, even if it turns out to differ from our own (Matthew 26:36-46). Consider Esther 4:13-16.
 
When Christians become active in speaking out against evil in government and voting accordingly, some people claim we should keep our religion out of politics. I deny the premise on which that view is based, but my main point here is that such a view is not a proper statement of the issue. Christians are not the ones who have left our sphere of interest. The problem is that politicians have made a full-scale invasion into the realm of religion and morals! In that realm Christians are not only permitted but obligated to act. I believe this includes the right to vote. But whether or not an individual Christian chooses to vote, we must all find some means to speak out for decency and Divine truth.

And regardless of how the government responds to our efforts, we must continue to live faithfully before God, even if we must suffer at the hands of government officials.

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

LEARNING HOW TO APPLY THE PRINCIPLES AND STANDARDS OF RIGHT AND WRONG

                          Bible Principles for Examining Moral Issues

New Morality, sexual liberation and free love justify premarital sex, extrmarital sex, divorce, homosexuality, and pornography. What about the Bible, family, and Christian morals?
How should we determine what conduct is moral or immoral? What principles show what is morally right or wrong? The Bible is God’s absolute standard of authority to reveal His will, yet we must study to understand and apply it. What does God’s word say about stewardship, influence, example, and temptation? What priorities should we follow? How should we use the life and character of Jesus as our example? Please consider these Bible guidelines for moral living and conduct.
 

Introduction

 
2 Timothy 3:16,17 — The Scriptures instruct us in righteousness, providing us to every good work. Yet we must apply the word properly, study diligently, and pray for wisdom (2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:5-7). We must learn to discern good and evil (Hebrews 5:14).
 
As you consider whether a specific act is morally pure or impure, here are some Bible principles to help you reach a proper conclusion. As you read the article, please look up the passages in your Bible so you can answer and apply the questions that are asked.
A. Does the Bible Prohibit This Conduct Either in General or Specific Terms?
 
The Bible contains many lists of sins to be avoided — Mark 7:20-23; Romans 1:26-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 4:17-5:21; Col. 3:5-11; 2 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 3:3; James 3:13-4:10; 1 Peter 4:1-4; Revelation 21:8; 22:15. In addition, other passages discuss individual sins. These prohibitions should be studied and obeyed.
 
Remember that the Bible teaches in both general and specific terms. Sometimes it describes in detail that a specific act is sinful. Other times it presents general principles which may include many specific sins. Study is required to determine whether a specific act fits the definition of something God has forbidden.
 
(Note: The following passages show examples in which people applied general principles to specific cases: Romans 13:8-10; Matthew 4:7,10; 21:13; James 2:8,9; note “suchlike” in Galatians 5:21.)
 
Surely we should avoid what God’s word directly prohibits, but we must also apply general principles to determine right from wrong.
B. Will This Conduct Be Good Stewardship?
 
1 Peter 4:10,11 — What is a steward? What has God given us that we should use and care for?
 
[Luke 12:42-46; 16:1,2,12; 2 Chron. 28:1; 1 Corinthians 4:1,2]
 
Matthew 25:14-30 — What did the Lord give these men to use? What were the consequences of proper or improper use of them?
 
Consider some specific blessings we should use for God:
1. Ability and effort
 
This is part of our stewardship (1 Peter 4:10,11).
 
Titus 2:14 — For what purpose did the Lord purify us?
 
Romans 12:11 — How should we serve the Lord?
 
Think: For what purposes does God expect us to use our ability and strength?
 
[1 Corinthians 15:58; 12:12-27; 2 Corinthians 8:5; Ecclesiastes 9:10; Proverbs 6:9,10; Hebrews 6:12; 2 Peter 1:5-8]
2. Time and opportunities
 
Life is made of time. God gave you your life to serve Him. You must use it for what is most important.
 
Galatians 6:10 — What opportunities must we be sure to use?
 
John 9:4 — Explain Jesus’ illustration about working.
 
Think: How is using our time similar to budgeting money?
 
[Ephesians 5:15,16; Matthew 25:14-30; Ecclesiastes 12:13; 1 Kings 20:40; 1 Peter 4:2,3; Romans 13:13,14]
3. Possessions
 
Psalm 24:1,2; 50:10-12 — Who really owns all your possessions?
 
1 Timothy 6:9,10,17-19 — What are the dangers of loving money? What should we do with our possessions?
 
[Haggai 2:8; 1 Chronicles 29:11-14; Matthew 6:19-34; Acts 4:32-35; 2 Cor. 8:1-5; 9:6-10; 1 John 2:15-17; Luke 12:13-21; Deut. 10:14]
4. Health
 
1 Corinthians 6:19,20; Romans 12:1,2 — To whom do our bodies belong? What should they be used for? [3 John 2; Rom. 6:12ff]
 
Think: May we destroy or abuse God’s gifts to please ourselves? Are we “pure” if we neglect God’s work to please ourselves?
C. Will This Conduct Encourage Others to Serve God Better, or Will It Set a Bad Example?
 
1 Timothy 4:12; Matthew 5:13-16 — What should we do for others? How should our lives affect others?
 
Matthew 18:6,7 — What happens to us if we lead others to sin?
 
2 Corinthians 6:3 — What should we seek to avoid? How might we be guilty of this?
 
Think: Should we do whatever we want as long it is not inherently sinful, or should we sacrifice our liberties to help others be saved (1 Corinthians 9:19-23; 10:24,31-33)?
 
Consider these questions about the influence of any act: If others see me do this, will they be helped or hindered in their service to God? What about children? Would I advise new converts to practice this? Will this conduct help or hinder efforts to save the lost?
 
[1 Corinthians 8; Romans 14; 1:32; Titus 2:7,8; 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; Ephesians 5:11; 1 Peter 2:11,12; 3:15,16; 1 Cor. 13:5,6; 2 John 9-11]
D. Will This Conduct Place Me in Circumstances that Help or that Hinder My Own Service to God?
 
Consider the influence an act may have on you yourself.
 
Matthew 6:13 — What should we pray for? Should we knowingly enter tempting situations simply to indulge our own desires?
 
Proverbs 22:3 — How does a prudent man differ from a fool?
 
Think: If you know a course of action is likely to lead to sin, does it make good sense to start down that path?
 
Matthew 26:41 — What should we do to avoid temptation?
 
1 Corinthians 15:33; Proverbs 13:20 — What danger should we watch for? How will wise men act to avoid the danger?
 
Ask yourself, “Will this act encourage or hinder my service to God? Will it strengthen or dull my interest in spiritual things?”
 
[Romans 13:14; Proverbs 4:23; 6:27; 24:1,2; 5:8; 1 Corinthians 10:12; 5:6,7; Matthew 18:6-9; James 4:4; Genesis 39:7-12; Hebrews 12:15; Galatians 5:7-9; Ephesians 4:27; 5:11; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18]
E. Will This Conduct Lead Me to Respect or to Disrespect Properly Ordained Authority?
 
God has ordained that certain people have authority over us on earth. To obey God, we must obey these authorities unless they command us to sin (Acts 5:29). For each passage below, tell whom we must submit to.
 
Romans 13:1-7 [1 Peter 2:13,14; Titus 3:1; Matt. 22:15-21] —
 
Ephesians 6:1 [Luke 2:51; Romans 1:30,32; Colossians 3:20] —
 
Ephesians 5:22-24,33 [Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1-6; Colossians 3:18; Genesis 3:16] —
 
Ephesians 6:5-8 [Colossians 3:22,23; Titus 2:9,10] —
 
1 Peter 5:1-5 [Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:17] —
 
Note: Several verses say to submit to these authorities as we would to the Lord. Consider what this means. Should we look for loopholes, or should we obey the intent of the rules? Should we do secretly what we would be ashamed for the authority to know about?
F. Is This Conduct Consistent with the Standards I Profess to Follow and Expect of Others?
 
All of us have standards we profess to follow or we apply to others, yet sometimes we justify ourselves in not following these standards. To encourage an honest evaluation, try imagining someone else in the situation, or think of what you profess in other situations.
 
Matthew 23:3,4 — What did these people do wrong? Should we expect others to follow rules we do not follow? Should we follow a higher standard around some people than we do around others?
 
[Romans 2:1,21,22; Matthew 6:1; 7:1-5; Acts 10:34,35]
 
Think: Would you want your children to grow up participating in an act such as the one you are considering? Would you be ashamed if they knew you did it? Would you participate in this act around church members? Would you be ashamed to have them know?
 
Hebrews 6:12; 13:7 — Whom should we imitate?
 
Think: If you would be disappointed to see elders or preachers participate in an act, then should you do it? [1 Peter 5:2,3; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 3:17; 4:9]
 
Matthew 15:7,8 — What error did these people commit?
 
Think: Would you feel right if you engaged in the activity in question immediately after singing songs and praying prayers of devotion to God? Would you feel pure before God if you stopped in the midst of the act and asked His blessings on it?
 
Romans 14:20-23 — Should you participate in an act that violates your conscience? What should you do if you cannot conclusively prove that a certain act is sinful, yet you have doubts about it?
 
Think: Sometimes you face two courses, one of which is clearly acceptable but the other appears to be doubtful at best. What should you choose (at least for your own conduct)? Yet take care before you condemn others who practice it — v1-12.
 
[See also 1 Corinthians 8:4-12; 10:23-33]
 
Is your life consistent with your own standards, your own conscience, and your expectations of others?
G. Will This Conduct Harmonize with Proper Priorities or Cause Me to Neglect Them?
 
Matthew 6:19-21,24,33 — How many spiritual masters can we have? What should be our highest priority in life?
 
Romans 12:1,2; John 6:27,63 — How should we act toward God? Toward the world? What should we emphasize in life?
 
Many acts are wrong because they emphasize physical things above spiritual things. Others may not be inherently sinful, but must not become so important to us that they hinder our service to God. Are you putting God first in your life?
 
[Matthew 16:24-27; 10:34-39; 1 Corinthians 6:19,20; 15:58; 2 Corinthians 8:5; 5:14,15; 4:16-18; Galatians 2:20; Romans 8:5-8; Luke 12:15-21; 14:25-33; Colossians 3:1,2; 1 Timothy 4:8; 6:6-19]
H. Will I Be Acting in Love for God and Man?
 
Matthew 22:37-40 — What are the greatest two commands?
 
Matthew 7:12; Romans 13:8-10 — How will I treat others if I love them?
 
1 John 3:16-18 — How did Jesus demonstrate love? Explain how love relates to action.
 
If you did the act in question, would you be sincerely acting for the well-being of others, or would you be pursuing your own interests regardless of the will of God or the needs of others?
 
[1 John 5:3; John 14:15; Luke 6:27,28,31-33; 10:25-37; 1 Corinthians 13:1-8,13; Philippians 2:1-5]
I. Would I Want to Be Doing This When Jesus Returns? Would I Do It in His Presence?
 
We sometimes fool ourselves about the nature of an act, but questions like these should help us evaluate things honestly.
 
1 Thessalonians 5:1-5 — When is Jesus coming? What lesson should we learn?
 
James 4:13,14 — What else is uncertain?
 
2 Corinthians 5:10 — How will our destinies be determined?
 
Think: Would you be ashamed for Jesus to see you doing this act if He came to visit you? Would you want to face Him in judgment knowing you had done it and not repented? [Romans 14:10-12; Revelation 20:12; Galatians 6:7-9]
J. Would Jesus Do This?
 
Matthew 10:24,25 — Describe the goal of a disciple.
 
1 Peter 2:21,22 — How should our lives compare to Jesus’?
 
Every act should be examined by asking, “What would Jesus do?” If He were here now, would He practice this activity, use this language, go to this place, wear these clothes, etc.?
 
[Matthew 16:24; 1 Cor. 11:1; Eph. 5:1,2; Phil. 2:5; Gal. 2:20]
 
The Bible is the complete and absolute standard of right and wrong. However, it does not directly describe every act we should avoid. It also teaches principles we must apply. The principles we have studied here should be applied carefully when determining whether an act is moral or immoral according to God’s word.
 
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Posted by on October 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIPS WE CAN EVER HAVE IS REALLY KNOWING GOD

                          WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT REALLY KNOWING GOD
 

Intro.

1. Many say: “I know God.” Do they? Do you? What does it mean to know God?
2. Know – “to become acquainted with, to know” (Thayer, 117); “to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of” (Online Bible Dictionary).
3. It is important, because:
a. To know God is eternal life – Jno. 17:3.
b. Those who do not know God are eternally punished – 2 Ths. 1:8-9.
4. To know God means to have knowledge of God and to have a relationship with Him.
 
I. KNOWING GOD MEANS HAVING A RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM WHICH IS BASED ON AN UNDERSTANDING OF GOD.
A. One Can Have Knowledge About God, Yet Not Know God.
1. Jno. 8:19 – They had knowledge of God, but didn’t understand & have fellowship with either the Father or the Son!
2. Jno. 15:18-21; 16:1-3 – Apostles & saints persecuted because the world didn’t “know” the Father.
a. Cf. Saul – Had knowledge about God, but didn’t “know” God while he was persecuting the church – l Tim. 1:12-14.
b. Did it ignorantly in unbelief.
B. Jesus Came to Earth Was to Reveal God to Man – Jno. 1:18.
1. Col. 1:15 – To give man a clear manifestation of God.
2. This is essential, for until one has a knowledge of God, he cannot “know” Him (enter a relationship with Him).
C. When We Know Christ, We Know the Father – Jno. 14:6-9.
1. Before we can know Christ (enter relationship with Him), we must learn of Him – Jno. 6:45.
2. Likewise, to have a relationship with the Father (know God), we must first learn about Him – cf. Heb. 11:6.
a. Through nature we learn His divinity – Rom. 1:20; Acts 14:17.
b. Through revelation we learn His will – 1 Cor. 2:1, 13.
3. But, learning of God isn’t all there is to knowing Him – Rom. 1:21-22.
 
II. TO KNOW GOD MEANS TO HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING OF GOD & TO BE OBEDIENT TO GOD.
A. When We Obey God We Know God – 2 Ths. 1:8; 1 Jno. 2:3-6.
1. 2:3 – Keep commandments. Jno. 14:23 – Relationship formed.
2. 2:5 – Keep word – Love of God in our lives.
3. 2:6 – In fellowship with God when we walk as Christ did.
B. When One Knows God He Accepts the Apostles’ Teachings – 1 Jno. 4:6.
1. Contradiction to say we are pleasing God if we are rejecting the inspired message! – 2 Jno. 9
2. NT (apostles’ writings) instructs us how to walk (live) as Christ walked (lived) – 1 Jno. 1:3-4; 2:5-6.
C. To Know God Means to Be in Christ – 1 Jno. 5:20.
1. Can not know God & reject His Son Jesus Christ.
2. Gal. 3:26-27 – Be baptized into Christ through faith.
 
III. IN THIS UNDERSTANDING, OBEDIENT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, WE SHOULD KNOW THAT:
A. God Knows Us.
1. Psa. 139:1-4 – God is acquainted with everything about us (our actions, thoughts, words).
2. Jno. 10:14 – This enables Him to care for us.
3. Gal. 4:8-9 – In Christ, He recognizes us as His children (4:5).
B. God Loves Us – 1 Jno. 4:9-10.
1. He still loves us in spite of our sins against Him!
2. 4:7-8 – Therefore, we must love one another in the same way to know God! (Even when others do us wrong!)
C. God Sees Us (our every need).
1. And, He will always provide them.
2. Matt. 6:8, 32 – Of this we can be assured.
3. Heb. 13:5 – He is always nearby to help.
4. Matt. 7:7-8, 11 – Tap our source of blessings!
 

Conclusion

1. Do you know God? Perhaps you know about God, but do not really know Him (have a relationship with Him).

2. Change that right now by obeying the gospel of Christ in faith & allowing God to come into your life (Gal. 3:26-27).

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

OUR MONDAY MORNING MESSENGER— ONE OF MY FAVORITE AUTHORS

 

                                        “Why People Quit Church”

By Wayne Jackson

 
Church leaders have long been interested in why so many drift away from faithful service to the Lord. Jesus summarized the matter in his parable of the sower. The causes he listed are: the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of wealth, distracted desires for worldly things, and carnal pleasure (Matthew 13:22; Mark 4:18; Luke 8:14).
 
This list could be expanded from numerous other texts (e.g., the ingestion of false teaching [cf. Romans 16:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10]), but for the moment this will suffice.
 
Several months ago, LifeWay Christian Resources, a Baptist-based group, did a survey of 469 adults who formerly were “church” people but had left their respective groups. The results of this study are interesting.
 
(1) Many of them “quit church” because they “simply got too busy.” Too busy to honor their Creator; too busy to serve him who died for them; too busy to go to heaven.
 
(2) Others faded away, they said, because “family and home responsibilities prevented” their continued connection with church. Is not serving God the most important family and home responsibility? Is putting food in a child’s mouth and clothes on his back more crucial than nurturing his soul toward heaven? The failure to sort out one’s prime obligations is one of the most significant gauges of spiritual foolishness.
 
(3) A considerable number complained that they had become disenchanted with church leaders or members. This is what one might call the PTB syndrome (“passing the buck”). Some do not like the elders’ decisions, others find the preaching boring, and there is the complaint that the deacons don’t minister to their needs.
 
There also is the common gripe that they are not being included in the church’s activities. Of course, they never volunteer for service and usually complain when asked to do something.
 
(4) Not a few charge that church members are judgmental and hypocritical, etc. Never mind that these are judging those whom they contend are judgmental. And they never boycott any place on the basis of hypocrisy except the church!
 
In more than a half-century of service to Christ, I cannot recall having seen a reprobate leave the fellowship of the church and take personal responsibility for his apostasy. He always plays the blame game: “It’s not my fault; they did it to me!” Such rationalizations are hypocritical subterfuge on the part of dishonest people who refuse to acknowledge their own problems.
 
(5) A small number claim they left the church because they lost faith in organized religion. One supposes they prefer disorganized religion. God does not condone confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), and one is not allowed to improvise his own worship and service system (John 4:24; 17:17). Such autocratic, self-focused individuals have not the slightest understanding of what genuine Christianity is.
 
Of course, there are cases where people genuinely lose faith. Perhaps they were never grounded or they were disappointed when their expectations of God were more idealistic than informed.
 
I am familiar with a man who matriculated through two Christian schools and then preached the gospel for a number of years on a foreign mission field. Eventually he “soured,” and now he works vociferously to oppose Christianity in every conceivable way he can, denying even that Jesus Christ ever lived. It most likely is the reality that he failed personally and now seeks to rationalize his apostasy by directing his wrath toward the Son of God.
 
Such loss of faith is never justified. Let the patriarch Job be your teacher! One should join the man who exclaimed, “[H]elp my unbelief” (Mark 9:24), and seek assistance.
 
(6) Some fall away because of changing circumstances in their lives. A divorce, for example, can devastate a person. He or she may feel an unjustified guilt because the marriage did not hold together. One may be immersed in shame because other families in the church seem stable.
 
(7) Others may experience a job move that sends them into an isolated area where there are no Christians. If one does not have the stability to survive in a community where there is no church, or if they cannot summon the courage to faithfully serve God alone, attempting to teach others, he or she would be far better off finding a new job that would facilitate Christian faithfulness. No job is worth the loss of one’s soul (Matthew 16:26).
 
The ultimate truth of the matter is this: there are no valid reasons for forsaking Christ—only lame excuses! And Jesus made it very plain: excuses will carry no weight in the day of reckoning (see Luke 14:18ff).
 
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Posted by on October 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

HOW SHOULD WE PRAY SO THAT GOD WILL ANSWER OUR PRAYERS

WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT THE POWER OF PRAYER

How Must We Pray So God Will Answer?
How should we pray so God will answer? What conditions must prayer meet? When, where, and how often should we pray? What power does prayer have?
Does God really answer prayer? If so, why are prayers sometimes not answered? What should we pray about: praise, thanks, petition, worship, requests, intercession for others? When and how often should we pray? What conditions must we meet for our prayers to be heard and answered? What power does prayer have?
 
In Luke 11:1 Jesus’ disciples asked, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Christians today also need to learn to pray.
 
The purpose of this study is to help Christians improve in prayer. People who are new in the faith may have never studied about how to pray. Some members do not pray properly so their prayers are not even answered. All of us can improve in this aspect of worship.
 
We need to learn what to pray about. Should we make requests, be thankful, offer praise, intercede on behalf of others, offer petition? And what power does prayer have? Does God really answer prayer? If so, how should we pray and what conditions must prayer meet in order for God to hear and answer? These and other questions will be considered in this study.
 
What is prayer? Note Acts 4:24,31. Prayer is simply man talking to God, expressing his thoughts to God (Rom. 10:1; Matt. 6:9ff). Hence, it is a form of communication similar in may ways to simply talking to our earthly father, except that we must remember whom we are addressing and must meet conditions of acceptable prayer.
I. What Should We Pray About?
 
What should we include in our prayers? Some cannot seem to think of much to say. Others say things that are inappropriate or even unscriptural. Some just repeat memorized phrases they have heard others pray.
 
Let us examine Bible examples of prayer. What did God’s people in the Scriptures talk about in prayer? How do our prayers compare? Can we improve our prayers by considering what Bible characters prayed about?
A. We Should Praise God’s Character and Work.
 
Bible prayers quite commonly included many descriptions of the glory and greatness of God. Jesus began the model prayer by praising God’s name (Matt. 6:9). Many psalms are filled with praise (note Psalm 86:5-12).
 
From the passages below, consider some particular qualities or works of God that were praised in prayer. How do our prayers compare? Do we praise God like this?
 
* God’s authority and Lordship – He is the true God, in contrast to idols – 1 Chronicles 29:10-13. [Psalm 86:8-10; Neh. 9:4-6; 1 Kings 8:23; 2 Kings 19:15; Matt. 6:13; Rev 11:17; 2 Sam. 7:22]
 
* God’s power – 1 Chronicles 29:11,12. [Jer. 32:16-23; Eph. 1:16-19; Job 42:1,2; Neh. 9:4-38; Dan. 2:20-23]
 
* God’s holiness, goodness, and righteousness – Psalm 86:5-12 (note v5). [Psalm 143:1-12; 1 Sam. 2:2]
 
* God’s mercy, grace, kindness, and willingness to forgive – God has provided redemption and salvation for His people, especially sending Jesus as our Savior – Psalm 86:5. [Col. 1:12-14; 2 Sam. 7:23; Neh. 9:4-38; Luke 2:37,38; 1 Kings 8:23; Ezra 9:8,9; Psalm 17:7]
 
* God’s wisdom and knowledge – Jeremiah 32:16-23 (note v19). [Dan. 2:20-23; 1 Sam. 2:3]
 
* God’s justice – God cares for His people and rewards them but punishes the wicked – Jeremiah 32:19,23. [1 Sam. 2:6-10; Gen. 18:25; Psalm 90:7-11]
 
* God’s eternal existence – Psalm 90:1-4. [Psalm 102:1,12,24-27]
 
* God’s faithfulness to His word – Nehemiah 9:4-8. [Neh. 1:5; 1 Kings 8:23-30; Dan. 9:4; Psalm 143:1]
 
* God’s work as Creator and Source of life – Nehemiah 9:4-6. [Jer. 32:17; Psalm 90:2; 102:1,24,25; 2 Kings 19:15; Acts 4:24; 1 Sam. 2:6]
 
We could never list here all the great qualities and works for which God deserves our praise. Yet surely we ought to praise God in prayer, so we should meditate about why He deserves our praise. Instead of just thinking of more things for God to give us, do we need greater emphasis on describing His greatness?
B. We Should Pray on Behalf of Others.
 
1 Timothy 2:1,2 says to offer prayer, supplication, intercession, and giving of thanks on behalf of all men. Yet we sometimes neglect to pray for others because we concentrate so much on our own interests.
 
How often do we think to pray for others, whether or not they request our prayers? Bible prayers are filled with requests and thanksgiving for people other than the one offering the prayer. Consider some groups of people for whom we should pray:
 
* Rulers – 1 Timothy 2:1,2. [Ezra 6:10; 1 Chron. 29:19]
 
* Children and family members – our spouse, relatives, etc. – 1 Chron. 29:19. [Matthew 19:13-15; Gen. 25:21,22; 24:12-14; 18:23-33; 1 Sam. 1:10-12; 2 Sam. 12:15,16; Luke 1:13]
 
* Lost sinners – Romans 10:1-3. Remember, however, that these people must meet the gospel conditions of salvation in order to be forgiven. [Matt. 9:36-38; Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60]
 
* Enemies and persecutors – Luke 6:27,28. [Acts 7:60; Luke 23:34]
 
* People sick and suffering – 3 John 2. [James 5:16; Num. 11:2; 2 Sam. 12:15,16; Gen. 20:17,18]
 
* Elders, deacons, preachers, and teachers – Ephesians 6:18-20. [Col. 4:3,4; Acts 4:25-29; 6:6; 14:23; 13:3; 1 Thess. 5:25; Matt. 9:36-38; 2 Thess. 3:1,2; Heb. 13:18]
 
* All Christians – Ephesians 6:18. [James 5:16]
 
The Bible contains multitudes of examples in which men of God interceded on behalf of God’s people. Here are just a few of them:
 
Moses [Num. 11:2; 21:7; 14:13-20; Deut. 9:18-20,25-29; Ex. 32:9-14,31,32].
Samuel [1 Sam. 7:5-11; 12:19-25].
Solomon [1 Kings 8:22-54].
Ezra [Ezra 9:1-15].
Nehemiah [Neh. 1:4-11].
Daniel [Dan. 9:3-20].
Jesus – Luke 22:31,32 (for Peter); John 17:9-22 (for all believers). [Luke 23:34]
Peter – Acts 8:24 (for Simon)
Epaphras [Col. 4:12]
Paul – Col. 1:3,9-14 [Rom. 1:9-12; Eph. 1:15-19; Phil. 1:3-11; 1 Thess. 1:2; 2 Thess. 1:11,12; 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:3]
 
Note that most examples were prayers, not just for God’s people in general, but for specific individuals or congregations. Do we show this personal concern for others in our prayers?
 
Furthermore notice that Paul openly told people he was praying for them. If we would do this, it would motivate us to be more diligent to pray for others, but it would also give Christians a greater sense of love and appreciation for one another.
C. We Should Make Requests and Give Thanks.
 
We should pray for the things we truly need, however some people forget to thank God for what they have received. Their prayers consist almost entirely of asking for more. God is a generous God, willing to give what we need. But He also expects appreciation for what He gives.
Passages teaching we can request what we need:
 
Philippians 4:6,7 – Instead of worrying, let your requests be made known to God. “Supplication” refers to requests for needs to be “supplied.”
 
Matthew 7:7-11 – God is like a loving father who gives what his children need. If we ask, we will receive.
 
1 Peter 5:7 – Cast your cares on God because He cares for you.
 
James 4:2,3 – Sometimes we do not receive because we do not ask. On the other hand, God will not answer selfish requests for things we do not need.
 
1 John 5:14,15 – If we ask according to God’s will, we receive our petitions.
 
[Cf. 1 John 3:21,22; John 14:13,14; 15:7,16; 16:23,24,26]
Passages teaching we should also give thanks for our blessings:
 
Philippians 4:6,7 – Our requests should be made known with thanksgiving.
 
1 Timothy 2:1 – Prayers for others should include thanksgiving.
 
Ephesians 5:20 – Give thanks to the Father always for all things.
 
[1 Thess. 5:18; Col. 4:2; 2:7; 3:17]
 
Bible prayers generally include thanksgiving right alongside requests. God invites us to ask for what we need, but He is displeased by those who are so ungrateful as to offer no thanks when the request is granted (Luke 17:12-17).
D. Some Specific Things We Should Pray about
 
No one prayer or combination of prayers could mention all the possible subjects there are to pray about. But an examination of Bible prayers can teach us the kind of specific things that are commonly included in Bible prayers. We may pray about these things for ourselves or for others. We may request them and should give thanks when we receive them.
 
All these things are mentioned in Bible prayers:
 
* God’s will to be done – Matthew 6:9-13 (note v10). [Matt. 26:39]
 
* Necessities of life – Matthew 6:11. [Acts 27:35; Matt. 15:36; 14:19; 1 Tim. 4:3-5; Luke 24:30]
 
* Forgiveness of sins and deliverance from the consequences of sin – Matthew 6:12. But note that one who has not been baptized should not pray for forgiveness but be baptized – Acts 2:38; 22:16; Mark 16:16. [Acts 8:22,24; James 5:16; Luke 18:13,14; Psalm 32:5-7]
 
* Ability to recognize and resist temptation – Matthew 6:13. [Matt. 26:41; Eph. 6:11-18; 2 Cor. 13:7; Luke 22:31,32; John 17:14-16]
 
* Good health and freedom from other threats to life or safety – 3 John 2; 2 Kings 20:1-7 (Hezekiah) [James 5:13-18; 2 Cor. 12:7-10; 1 Kings 8:35-53; 2 Chron. 7:13-15; Jonah 2:1-10; Psalm 50:15; 86:6,7; 32:6,7; 2 Sam. 12:15,16; Num. 11:2; Luke 21:36]
 
* Deliverance from enemies and persecution – Acts 12:1,5,12. [2 Thess. 3:1,2; 2 Cor. 1:8-11; Acts 4:23-31; 16:25; 1 Kings 8:33-35; 2 Kings 19:4,15-19]
 
* Freedom from oppression by rulers – 1 Timothy 2:1,2. [Neh. 1:11-2:5]
 
* Safety in travel and care for loved ones we are separated from – Acts 21:5. [Acts 20:36-38; 28:15; Ezra 8:21-23; Gen. 24:26,27; 1 Thess. 3:9-11; 2 Tim. 1:3-5; Rom. 1:10; 15:30-32; Philem. 22]
 
* Peace, courage, joy instead of disappointment or discouragement – Philippians 4:6,7. [1 Samuel 8:6-9; 2:1-11; Jer. 29:7; Psalm 122:6; 1 Peter 5:7; Matt. 26:36-46; Col. 1:11; 1 Thess. 3:9; 2 Sam. 7:18-29]
 
* Knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of God’s will – Psalm 119:169-172. Note that this comes today through the Scriptures, not by direct revelation. [James 1:5,6; Col. 1:9,10; Phil. 1:9,10; Psalm 86:6,11; 143:1,8,10]
 
* Salvation of lost sinners – Romans 10:1-3. [Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60]
 
* Laborers to teach the lost – Matthew 9:36-38.
 
* Bold, clear preaching – Ephesians 6:18-20. [Col. 4:3,4]
 
* Opportunities to preach and teach – Colossians 4:3 [2 Thess. 3:1]
 
* Support for preachers – Philippians 1:3-5.
 
* Choosing of elders, deacons, teachers, etc. – Acts 14:23. [Acts 6:6; 13:3]
 
* Jesus’ death, the Lord’s supper – Matthew 26:26-29. [1 Cor. 11:23-26]
 
* Baptism – Luke 3:21.
 
* Faithfulness, good works, a life pleasing to God – Philippians 1:3-6,9-11. [Col. 1:9-11; 4:12; John 17:9-12; 1 Thess. 3:10-13; 2 Thess. 1:11]
 
* Love – Philippians 1:9. [1 Thess. 3:10-12; Eph. 3:14-19]
 
* Strength – Colossians 1:9-11. [Eph. 3:14-19; 2 Thess. 1:11]
 
* Patience, long-suffering – Colossians 1:11.
 
* Grace and mercy – 2 Corinthians 4:15. [Psalm 4:1; 86:3-6; 1 Cor. 1:4]
 
* Proper speech – Psalm 141:1-3.
 
* Sanctification – John 17:17.
 
* Unity – John 17:20-23.
 
* Eternal life, eternal glory – John 17:24-26.
 
This is not a complete list, but it suggests many things we could properly pray for. Remember that these are things both to make request for and to give thanks for.
 
Also note how Bible prayers often concerned spiritual needs and blessings. Some people seem to view prayer like sending a “Christmas list” to Santa for all the physical things they want. Biblical prayers may concern physical needs, but mainly they reflect man’s greatest needs which are spiritual.
 
How do our prayers compare to Bible prayers? Are there areas where we need to improve?
II. When, Where, How Long, and How Often Should We Pray?
 
What are the proper circumstances for prayer? Should we pray only in church meetings or as daily routing or spontaneously as circumstances dictate? Should we pray in public or in private? What posture must we use?
A. General Admonitions about Frequency, Place, etc.
 
Notice these passages that generally discuss where and how often we should pray:
 
1 Timothy 2:8 – Men should pray “everywhere.”
 
Acts 2:42 – “Continue steadfastly” in prayer.
 
1 Thessalonians 5:17,18 – Pray “without ceasing”; in everything give thanks.
 
Ephesians 5:20 – Give thanks “always” for all things.
 
[Eph. 1:16; 6:18; Col. 1:3,9; 2:7; 3:17; 4:2,12; Luke 18:1-7; Rom. 12:12; Acts 6:4; 1:14; Phil. 1:4; 4:6; 1 Cor. 1:4; 2 Thess. 1:3,11; 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:3; 1 Thess. 1:2; 2:13]
 
These verses do not mean we should pray 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for then we could not do the other good works God has commanded. Even Jesus and his apostles did not pray all the time (Luke 11:1).
 
The passages do mean that prayer should be a regular, frequent part of our daily lives, and that we should never quit or cease the practice of prayer. Further, we should live so that we are always ready to pray at any moment. We should never participate in practices such that we would be ashamed to pray to God in the midst of that activity.
B. Specific Examples of Frequency, Place, etc.
 
To give us a fuller understanding, consider these examples showing specifically when and where people prayed:
 
* In public worship assemblies – 1 Corinthians 14:15 (see the context). [1 Kings 8:22; Ezra 9:4,5ff; Neh. 9:1-5]
 
* In special gatherings regarding special needs – Acts 4:23ff. [Acts 12:5,12; 20:36]
 
* In one’s own home – Matthew 6:6. [Dan. 6:10,11; 2 Kings 20:1-3]
 
* Before meals – Acts 27:35. [Matt. 15:36; 14:19; Luke 24:30]
 
* On a mountain, in a garden, or other deserted place – Matthew 14:23. [Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12; 9:18; Acts 10:9; Matt. 26:36-46]
 
* In the morning – Mark 1:35 (a long time before day). [Psalm 5:3; 88:13]
 
* In the evening – Matthew 26:36-46. [Ezra 9:5]
 
* Morning, noon, and evening – Psalm 55:16,17.
 
* Three times a day – Daniel 6:10,11.
 
* For forty days and nights – Deut. 9:18,25,26.
 
* All night – Luke 6:12.
 
* Night and day – 1 Thessalonians 3:9,10. [1 Tim. 5:5; Psalm 88:1]
 
Note: We should pray in private but also in public worship assemblies. We should not pray to make a show before others, but we should not be ashamed to pray around others at times when we otherwise would pray (cf. Acts 27:35). We should pray habitually throughout the day but also at special times when needs arise.
 
Do we pray regularly like faithful people of God in the Bible?
C. Posture and Physical Conduct During Prayer
 
Some people believe we should kneel or sit for prayer, but not stand. Must we speak out loud for God to hear us? Must we fold our hands, bow our heads, and close our eyes as we often teach children to do? Consider these Bible examples:
 
* Kneeling, falling down prostrate – Luke 22:41. [Matt. 26:39; Acts 9:40; 20:36; 21:5; Eph. 3:14; Dan. 6:10,11; Deut. 9:18-20,25; 1 Kings 8:54; Ezra 9:5]
 
* Sitting – Nehemiah 1:4. [1 Kings 19:4; 2 Sam. 7:18]
 
* Standing – Mark 11:25; Luke 18:13,14. [1 Sam. 1:26; Gen. 24:12,13; Neh. 9:4,5ff] Note: If someone demands an example of standing in a congregational assembly, I ask where is the example of kneeling in a congregational assembly?
 
* Bowed heads – 1 Chronicles 29:20 (Israel), Luke 18:13 (the publican would not lift his eyes to heaven). [Gen. 24:27,48; Ex. 34:8,9; 4:31; 12:27; 2 Chron. 20:18; 29:30; Neh. 8:6]
 
* Eyes lifted toward heaven – John 17:1ff (Jesus). [John 11:41; Matt. 14:19]
 
* Speaking in the heart, but no sound from the lips – 1 Sam. 1:12,13 (Hannah).
 
Other postures, due to special circumstances, include: on the cross (Luke 23:46,34); in the belly of a fish (Jonah 2:1); in stocks in prison (Acts 16:24,25).
 
The variety in these examples shows that the position is a matter of choice or expediency and does not, of itself, determine whether or not God hears us. We can pray anytime or place, yet certain positions may at times better suit our circumstances or reverence.
 
[Other information regarding posture & related points:
 
Prayer with fasting – Neh. 1:4; Dan. 9:3ff; Acts 9:9-11; 14:23; Luke 2:37; 5:33-35; 1 Cor. 7:5.
 
Hands lifted up – 1 Kings 8:54; Ezra 9:5; 1 Tim. 2:8; Isa. 1:15(?); Psalm 28:2. But note: Did Hannah lift her hands (1 Sam. 1:12,13)?
 
Hands laid on other people – Acts 6:6; 8:14-18; 13:3; Matt. 19:13-15]
III. Can Prayer Really Change the Future?
 
Does God really answer prayer, or are the benefits of prayer just psychological? Because we have prayed, does God so intervene in the course of history that events occur differently than they would have?
A. Promises that God Will Answer Prayer
 
Consider several Bible passages expressly stating that God does answer prayer:
 
1 John 5:14,15 – We can have confidence that, if we pray according to God’s word, He will hear us and grant what we ask.
 
1 John 3:22 – Whatever we ask we receive because we keep His commands and do what pleases Him.
 
James 5:16 – The fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah prayed and it did not rain for 3 1/2 years. He prayed again and it rained (v17,18).
 
Matthew 7:7-11 – If we ask, seek, and knock, we receive what we requested. God is like an earthly father who gives good gifts to His children who ask.
 
1 Peter 5:7 – Cast your cares on Him for He cares for you.
 
There are conditions we must meet in order for God to answer our prayers. If we meet those conditions and if He can answer our prayers in harmony with His will, He has promised to do what is good for us.
 
[Mark 11:24; John 14:13,14; 15:7,16; 16:23,24,26; James 1:5,6; Luke 18:1-8; 1 Peter 3:12; Matthew 6:6,8; Psalm 55:22; 86:7; 28:6; 31:22; 118:5; 120:1; 116:1; 21:2]
B. Bible Examples of Answered Prayers.
 
Many Bible examples show God’s response to prayers of His people. God does not do miracles today (1 Cor. 13:8-10), but He is able to control events according to natural law so as to answer prayer without miracles. We will focus on cases of this nature.
 
1 Samuel 1:10-20,26-28 – Hanna was barren, having no child. She prayed, and as a result she conceived and bore Samuel. [Luke 1:13]
 
1 Samuel 7:5-11 – Samuel prayed for Israel’s deliverance from an enemy, and the prayer was answered. [Cf. 2 Kings 19:15-37; 2 Chron. 33:10-13.]
 
2 Chronicles 7:11-14 – God promised to hear Israel’s prayer for deliverance from pestilence, famine, etc.
 
2 King 20:1-7 – God said Hezekiah would die, not live. Hezekiah prayed about it, God promised to add 15 years to his life, and Hezekiah recovered.
 
Exodus 32:9-14 – God said He would destroy Israel, but Moses prayed and God changed His mind.
 
[Neh. 1:4-2:8; Psalm 32:5-7]
C. Some Conclusions about God’s Answers to Prayers
God does act in response to prayer.
 
Some people think that, if God does not do miracles, then He must not be acting at all. Others see only psychological benefits in prayer or perhaps just the fact that we have obeyed God’s command to pray. Even though we pray Scripturally, they claim God does not actually intervene in the course of earthly events to bring about what we asked for. But the examples just listed show that God does act in response to prayer, acting in harmony with natural law, without miracle.
 
Note Matthew 18:19 – When we ask God to do something, it will be done by the Father in heaven. God does act. This is true of “anything” we ask. Every kind of Scriptural request is included. [Cf. John 14:13,14; 15:7]
 
If God does not act to change the course of events in response to prayer, the same effect could be produced by a person praying with sincere faith to an idol! The idol could not do anything, but the worshiper would receive the psychological benefits.
 
Yet the Bible clearly teaches that Scriptural prayer to God produces results that cannot be achieved by people who do not serve the true God (James 5:16; 1 John 3:22; Prov. 15:8,29; Psalm 34:15-19; etc.). These promises can be valid only if prayer produces results beyond psychological benefits.
However, we must also work, to the extent of our ability, to achieve what we prayed for.
 
God does act in response to Scriptural prayers, but He will not act if we are not willing to do our part.
 
Matthew 6:11 teaches us to pray for our daily bread, but we must still work for it (2 Thess. 3:10). God does not answer through miracle (as by manna from heaven). But He does work through natural law to bless our effort so the needed result is achieved where it may not have been achieved had we worked but not prayed.
 
James 1:5 says to pray for wisdom (cf. Col. 1:9), but we must still study the word (Acts 17:11; 2 Tim. 3:15-17). The prayer is answered, not by miraculous direct revelation, but through the natural process of study. God gives us opportunities to learn and blesses our study so we learn what we might not have known had we not prayed.
 
3 John 2 – A prayer for good health requires us to care for our bodies, not knowingly damaging our health for personal pleasures.
 
In a similar way, we should pray for the spread of the gospel, but we must also work to teach it to the lost. But because we prayed, God blesses our work so it accomplishes good that may not have been accomplished had we not prayed.
God gives, not necessarily what we want, but what is best for everyone involved.
 
Matthew 7:7-11 – Like an earthly father, God gives good things, not things that do harm.
 
Matthew 26:36-46 – Jesus prayed to avoid the cross, but said, “Thy will be done.” He still had to die, but an angel strengthened Him (Luke 22:43). God met His need while still doing what was needed for mankind.
 
Psalm 34:10 – Those who seek God will not lack any good thing. [Rom. 8:28; James 1:17]
 
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 – Paul prayed for his thorn in the flesh to be removed. God did not grant the request but instead did what was best for Paul.
 
[Matt. 6:8; Eph. 3:20; 1 Kings 3:5-13]
 
God is infinite, where our knowledge is limited. We may not know what is best, but God does. This is why we ought always to pray for God’s will to be done. He can then give us what we asked, something greater, or something different, according to what He knows to be best.
 
We further may not understand how God can control the universe without miracles, yet the Bible affirms that He does (consider also the story of Esther). Those who believe in God must believe in His power to answer prayer, even though we cannot explain how He does it.
IV. What Conditions Must Prayer Meet?
 
God had promised to answer prayer, yet some prayers are not answered. How can this be? The only possible explanation is that there are conditions prayer must meet in order for God to answer, just as there are conditions we must meet in order for God to forgive our sins. What conditions must prayer meet in order for God to answer?
A. We Must Pray in Jesus’ Name (though Him as Mediator).
Consider these verses:
 
John 14:13,14 – If we ask anything in Jesus’ name, He will do it. [Cf. John 15:16; 16:23,24,26; Eph. 5:20]
 
Romans 1:8 – Paul thanked God through Jesus Christ. [Col. 3:17]
 
1 Timothy 2:5 – Jesus is the one mediator between God and man. The immediate context refers to salvation, but the broader context refers to prayer (see v1,2,8). Jesus is the mediator in prayer because He is our mediator in salvation. He is our High Priest (Heb. 4:14-16).
What does it mean to pray in Jesus’ name?
 
Are these just meaningless words we mouth at the end of a prayer to make it effective [like a magic spell – “Open, Sesame”]?
 
A person’s name stands for the person and all that He is. God’s name is “hallowed” because God Himself is hallowed (Matt. 6:9). More specifically, a person’s name represents his will and authority. Your name signed on a check or other legal document authorizes it as acceptable to you. “Halt in the name of the law” means the authority of the law requires you to stop.
 
Further, Jesus is the mediator who makes it possible for us to approach God in prayer. We pray “through Him” because His authority enables us to be heard. Because of our sins, we could never approach God. We need a “go-between” to reconcile us to God so we can communicate with Him. Because Jesus died as our sacrifice, He is the only one who can authorize us to approach God in prayer.
 
Why then would anyone pray through Mary or a dead “saint”? They did not redeem us by their death, hence they cannot mediate our prayers. No one can mediate instead of or in addition to Jesus. He is the “one mediator” between God and man.
 
To pray in Jesus’ name means we are appealing to His authority as the one mediator between us and God. We are trusting His power to make it possible for God to hear our prayer. We should understand this if we are to avoid praying with “vain repetition.”
B. We Must Pray According to God’s Will.
 
This follows from the concept of prayer “in Jesus’ name.” Note further:
 
1 John 5:14,15 – God hears us if we ask according to His will.
 
Matthew 26:39 – Jesus prayed for the Father’s will to be done. [Matt. 6:10]
 
But God’s will may fall into one of two categories:
In things essential to salvation, God’s will is revealed in the Scriptures.
 
Note 2 Tim. 3:16,17; 1 Cor. 14:37; etc. Regarding such matters, we must never pray for things that do not harmonize with God’s revealed will.
 
For example, God says we should not pray for things just to satisfy our selfish lusts (James 4:3). Such would not be praying according to His will.
 
Likewise, God’s has revealed that sinners must meet conditions, including baptism, to be forgiven (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Mark 16:16; etc.). We must never pray for God to save such people without them meeting these conditions.
 
Since the gospel came into effect, no passage ever tells an unbaptized person to pray for forgiveness of sins. Yet preachers often tell such people to “pray through” or “pray the sinner’s prayer” to be saved. Such a prayer would not be answered because it is not according to God’s will.
In things not essential to salvation, God’s will may not be expressly revealed in Scripture.
 
Many events of everyday life may not be a matter of right or wrong, so we may not know God’s expressed will. For example, we know God allows suffering and death, so in a particular instance of illness we may not know whether God would be willing for the person to get better or not. [2 Cor. 12:7-10]
 
In these cases we may pray for what we believe to be best, but then we should ask God to do what He knows to be best. Then by faith we accept the outcome.
C. We Must Pray with Understanding and Meaning.
 
1 Corinthians 14:15,16 – Pray with the spirit and the understanding. Think about the words to be sure you mean what is said. When you lead public prayer, help people understand so they can say “amen” (cf. vv19,26,40). Use words people can understand. Speak loudly and distinctly.
 
Matthew 6:7 – Do not use vain (meaningless) repetition. Even if we understand the words, if we repeat them frequently, we may be tempted to just mouth the words without meaning them. This does not prove it is wrong to repeat a request (Matt. 26:36-46; 2 Cor. 12:7-10; Luke 18:1-7), but we should mean it every time we pray it!
D. We Must Pray with Sincerity and Earnestness.
 
1 Samuel 1:10,15 – Hannah poured out her soul in prayer.
 
Jeremiah 29:12,13 – God promised He would hear His people when they prayed with “all their hearts.”
 
Luke 22:44 – In Gethsemane Jesus prayed earnestly.
 
Matthew 6:5 – Do not pray from hypocritical motives such as to be seen of men. Pleasing, impressing, and entertaining people are not proper motives for prayer. We must pray to please God and honor Him. [Mark 12:40]
 
Prayer must never become a mere formality or outward ritual that we go through without meaning what we do. Our hearts must be involved in fervent prayer, thanksgiving, and appeals to God.
 
[1 Cor. 14:15; Psalm 17:1; 145:18; James 5:16,17]
E. We Must Pray in Faith.
 
James 1:5-8 – Ask in faith without doubting. One who doubts will received nothing from God. First we must believe that God exists, then believe that He has power to answer prayer. The skeptic or agnostic who prays (“just in case there is a God”) is wasting his breath.
 
Mark 11:24 – To receive the blessing we request, we must believe that God will answer. The context discusses miracles, which do not occur today (1 Cor. 13:8-10), but the principle still applies. God answers prayer today through natural law, but we must believe He does answer else we can be sure He will not.
 
Remember, as discussed previously, that there are some things God has expressly revealed that He is willing to give, such as forgiveness to a penitent child of God. Faith requires us to believe He will give what He has promised. In other matters He has not necessarily revealed what He will give (such as good health), so we must pray “Thy will be done.” Then we must believe He will do what is best.
 
Praying in faith also requires us to accept what God sends as being what is best. Too often, when we do not receive exactly what we asked for, we complain or think God broke His promise. Faith requires us to believe He will give the best thing at the best time, and then believe that the result is what is best.
F. We Must Pray with Humility and Respect for God.
 
2 Chronicles 7:14 – God will hear His people if they “humble themselves” and pray.
 
Luke 18:9-14 – The self-righteous Pharisee praised and exalted himself in prayer, instead of exalting God. Such a person will be abased by God, not justified.
 
Matthew 6:9 – Pray, “Hallowed be Thy name.” Prayer must express respect and reverence for God.
 
God should not be approached casually as another human (“Hi, Pop!”), nor as a servant at our beck and call. Our attitudes and speech should exalt His greatness while recognizing our weaknesses, sins, and human limitations. [2 Chron. 33:10-13; Gen. 18:27]
G. We Must Pray with Repentance for Sin.
 
2 Chronicles 7:14 – In order for God to hear His people’s prayers, they must turn from their wicked ways.
 
Acts 8:21-23 – When a child of God has sinned, they must repent and pray for forgiveness. (See our earlier list of other passages teaching this.)
 
Luke 18:13,14 – The publican received justification because he was willing to admit his sins.
 
Forgiveness is not granted to those who persist in sin, excuse it, rationalize it, overlook it, or hide it. To receive forgiveness when we pray, we must be truly sorry for sin and determine to overcome it. [Psalm 32:5-7; Dan. 9:3-12; James 5:16; 1 Kings 8:33-36,46-53]
H. We Must Pray with Forgiveness for Others.
 
Matthew 6:12,14,15 – God will forgive us only if we willingly forgive others. [Mark 11:25; Matt. 18:21-35]
 
To have a right relationship with God we must pursue right relationships with people (Matt. 5:23,24). Have others apologized to you requesting your forgiveness, yet you continue to hold a grudge? Do you seek revenge, wishing harm to come to those who have wronged you, unwilling to pursue peace and harmony?
 
To receive God’s forgiveness when we pray, we must have the same attitude toward others that we expect Him to have toward us!
I. We Must Pray While Living a Faithful Life.
 
James 5:16 – The supplication of a righteous man avails much.
 
1 John 3:21,22 – We receive what we ask from God because we keep His commands and do what pleases Him.
 
Proverbs 28:9; 15:8,29 – If someone turns away from God’s law, his prayer is an abomination. But God hears the prayer of the righteous.
 
Psalm 66:18 – God will not hear me if I regard iniquity in my heart.
 
Isaiah 1:15-17 – God would not hear the prayers even of His own people because of their sins. They needed to cease doing evil and learn to do well. [Jer. 11:9-14; 14:10-12; Ezek. 8:17,18; Micah 3:4; Zech. 7:11-13; Isa. 58:1-9]
 
Isaiah 59:1,2 – Your sins and iniquities separate you from God so that He will not hear. It surely follows that God will not hear the prayers of alien sinners, but the direct application in the context of many of these passages is to unfaithful children of God.
 
God heard the prayer of Cornelius before he was baptized (Acts 10:4,31). If a person in sin is sincerely seeking to know the truth, God may give him an opportunity to learn it. Beyond that, God there is nothing God has promised to give alien sinners in answer to prayer.
 
But God likewise rejects the prayer of the impenitent child of God. Too many people want to live their lives for themselves, then go running to God in time of need. They expect Him to do service to them despite the fact they refuse to serve Him! God says it will not work. If you want God to hear your prayers, first repent of your sins and live in obedience to Him.
 
[1 Peter 3:12; Psalm 34:15-19; 109:7; John 9:31; Lam 3:1,8; 1 Peter 3:7; 1 Tim. 2:8; Prov. 1:24-29; 21:13; 2 Chron. 7:14]
Conclusion
 
God will answer prayer for you. He desires to meet your needs and offer you everything He has promised to His faithful children. But first you must become a faithful child of His and must meet the conditions of prayer.
 
Are you a child of God? If not, you cannot pray for forgiveness. Instead you must believe in Jesus, repent of sins, confess Him, and be baptized to receive remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 10:9,10; 6:3,4; etc.). Then if you live a faithful life, He has promised to hear your prayers according to His will. Why not begin now to accept His offer?
 
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Posted by on September 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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UNDERSTANDING THE DANGER OF COMPROMISE

                     “WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT  THE DANGER OF COMPROMISE
 

(Part 2)

 

Intro.

 
1. Review Part 1:
 
2. Compromise: “a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc. by reciprocal modification of demands” (dictionary.com).
 
a. Positively: Some circumstances it is proper, 1 Cor. 6:7; 8:13; 9:19-23.
 
b. Negatively: It is capitulation, “referring to a ‘surrender’ of objectives, principles, or material” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compromise).
 
3. King Solomon and his wives: Great sin of compromise, 1 Kgs. 11:1-8.
 
a. God’s blessings and conditions to maintain His favor, 1 Kgs. 3:5-9, 10-14.
 
b. Conditional blessings: Be distinct, pure, etc., 1 Kgs. 9:3-9.
 
c. Solomon’s compromise caused God to be angry and led to the division of the kingdom, 1 Kgs. 11:9-10.
 
4. We are warned against moral and doctrinal compromise, 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; Gal. 1:6-10; Eph. 5:8-11; 2 Jno. 9-11.
 
 
 
I. COMPROMISE IN KING SOLOMON’S LIFE:
 
A. Unlawful Marriages, 1 Kgs. 11:1-3 (Deut. 7:3-4).
 
1. Sinful marriages and their evil influence, Neh. 13:26-27.
 
a. Today, marriage to unbeliever is not sin (1 Cor. 7:12-14).
 
b. But, additional challenges and temptations exist, 1 Pet. 3:1-2.
 
2. Multiplied wives, Deut. 17:17. (cf. 1 Kgs. 3:1)
 
3. Applications:
 
a. Know the value of a godly partner (1 Pet. 3:2; 1 Cor. 7:15).
 
b. Don’t compromise Christ’s marriage law (Matt. 19:4-6, 9).
 
B. False Worship, 1 Kgs. 11:5-8.
 
1. Can take the form of direct participation, 11:5, 7; 1 Cor. 10:21.
 
2. Can take the form of encouraging it in others, 11:8.
 
3. Can take the form of changing the action of worship while trying to keep the same God (1 Kgs. 12:28-33).
 
4. Applications:
 
a. We must not worship other gods. (Col. 3:5; cf. Exo. 20:3)
 
b. By suggesting or leaving the impression by our silence that any kind of worship pleases God (Jno. 4:24).
 
c. By supporting those who practice false worship (2 Jno. 9-10).
 
d. By refusing to mark and turn away from those who practice false worship (ecumenism; unity in diversity), Rom. 16:17.
 
C. Compromise Causes:
 
1. God’s wrath to be stirred up, 1 Kgs. 11:9; cf. Rev. 2:14-15.
 
2. The loss of God’s blessings, 1 Kgs. 11:11 (cf. 9:5).
 
3. Still more compromise, 1 Kgs. 12:28-33; Gal. 5:9 (2 Tim. 3:13).
 
 
 

Conclusion

 
1. Compromise may be fine in politics and in solving disputes between two enemies; fine in resolving differences of judgment among brethren (cf. Acts 15:36-40).
 
2. But, it is deadly to our souls when it comes to honoring and obeying the God of heaven and earth, 2 Cor. 6:17.
 
3. Contend earnestly for the faith and endure hardship as good soldiers of the cross, Jude 3; 2 Tim. 2:3-4.
 
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Posted by on September 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 
 
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