15
Oct
2017

PHILIPPIANS 2:17-30 THE SACRIFICE THAT PLEASES GOD

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Philippians 2:17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me. 19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. 23 Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. 24 But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly. 25 Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; 26 since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27 For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. 29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; 30 because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me. (NKJV)

 Paul was a Jew, Timothy ½ Jew and ½ Gentile, Epaphroditus is 100% Gentile

 Paul was being poured out …Great and mighty

V20 Timothy was similar to Paul- Likeminded

V20 Timothy was sympathetic like Paul- He will naturally <really> care for your state (welfare)

V21 Timothy was single-minded like Paul He seeks the things of Christ

It is said we all live in either Chapter 1:19-20 to live is Christ, to die is gain, or chapter 2:21

In verse 21, "For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus

In 1Timothy where he says, "At my first defense no one was at my side, but all deserted me." In another place he says, "All in Asia have forsaken me."

V22The fourth thing about Timothy that makes him a good model for us is he was also seasoned

V22The fifth characteristic of this model servant, he was submissive

The word "serve" is to slave

"That he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father

 Epaphroditus is the hero of the common man

We could say there are few Paul’s, there are some Timothy’s, there are many Epaphroditus. This is the people's model.

He gives him 5 titles

He is my brother. What does he mean by that? He means brother in the sense of spiritual birth.

The second title is how he related to the ministry, and he calls him "my fellow worker

We could also determine that he was a man with a heart of a servant. For him to go and to simply

Thirdly, he says "my fellow soldier." he is commendable in relationship to the enemies which fight against the ministry.

He was a man of great courage because he knew exactly what he was walking into.

If Paul's life was taken away, it would probably be a matter of course for them to at least consider taking the lives of those who served alongside of him.

Fourth, He is your messenger

He is your minister to my need.

He was a priest doing sacred service and offering a sacrifice of money for the needs of Paul.

V26 Because you heard that he was sick." Now wait a minute. That's hard to believe. You heard he

Verse 27, "But God had mercy on him."

Verse 28 The Philippians are concerned with Epaphroditus, Epaphroditus with the Philippians, and Paul with both. But nobody with himself. There's that humility. Php 2:29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem;

Because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.

11
Oct
2017

TO SUM UP JAMES 1 DEVOTIONAL

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To sum up James 1 it says we are going to have trials in our life, we are going to be tempted, and we need to follow God’s Word and work for Him.  If we keep our joy in trials, overcome temptation, clean up the sin in our lives, and reach out to those who afflicted and downtrodden, then God has mighty things in store for us.  James 1:27 says Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.  Do you want to be used mightily of God? If so, then follow these principles

8
Oct
2017

WHAT GOD IS DOING THROUGH HIS LOVE MINISTRIES ANNUAL BANQUET 2017

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Matthew 25:34 "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 'for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 'I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' 37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 'When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 'Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40 "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'

             James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

 Marty McKenzie - Speaking about His Love Ministries as a whole – Minutes 1-12

  1. Matt Gallant – Speaking about what we do in the Nursing Homes - Minutes 13-16
  2. Brandon Beard - Speaking about what we do in Georgia Regional and Coastal Harbor Adult Treatment Facility - Minutes 16-21
  3. Erik Lacanilao - Speaking about the Prison, Greenbriar, Nursing Homes, and being a Bible Teacher to the boys at the Youth Detention Center - Minutes 21-27
  4. Billy Miller - Pastor of Isle of Hope Baptist Church Speaking about His Love Ministries over at John Wesley Assisted Living Facility and the part the ministry played in his life - Minutes 27-30
  5. Ronnie Nichols - Speaking about his role as Bible teacher for Coastal Harbor Treatment Center Adult and Youth Facilities Minutes 30-40
  6. Shelly McKenzie – How you can partner with His Love Ministries - Minutes 40-45

              Please help His Love Ministries reach out to those the World has forgotten.  Everyone we minister to is locked up in some way, shape, or form.  Some are locked up in bodies that don't work and in the Nursing Home facility or in the wheelchair or bed they cannot get out of.  We minister to children and youth who are locked up because of behavioral problems or their parents aren't doing right and their cry is we want to have a “REAL FAMILY”. Other kids are locked up because they have committed crimes.  We also minister to those locked up at the jail/prison; to those locked up in addictions to drugs, alcohol, depression, and suicidal thoughts and a variety of other things that keep them from becoming who Jesus wants them to be.  He came to give us life and set us free and these folks are not free that we minister to, but we can set them free through Christ Jesus at least in their minds and spirit.

4
Oct
2017

30 SECOND DEVOTIONAL JOHN 8.24 JESUS SAID, YOU SHALL DIE IN YOUR SINS

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In John 8:24 Jesus said, "You shall die in your sins for if you believe not that I am He, you shall die in your sins."  “John 3:16 says For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes should not perish but have everlasting life.” Did you hear that?  It says whoever believes, not whoever behaves or is baptized or takes communion or does good works.  You need to believe that Jesus is God, He died for your sins, turn to Him, repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you by because He said He would. Have you been made righteous because you have trusted Christ?

1
Oct
2017

PHILLIPIANS 2:12-18 WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION

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Passage Could be summed up in Do my Part, Depend on God, and Live Differently than the World

  1. One of the things that interests me about Paul's writings is that he is intensely practical
  2. He always relates...
  3. Doctrine and duty
  4. Creed and character
  5. Faith and life ...to him, these are inseparable!
  6. So, having described the example of Christ, he gives his exhortation to move forward in spiritual progress
  7. In this passage, Paul exhorts Christians to "Work Out Your Own Salvation
  8. THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF OBEDIENCE (12a)
  9. THAT DONE ONLY IN THE PRESENCE OF OTHERS...

Paul did not want the Philippians' obedience to be of this sort

  1. "eye-service" - cf. Co 3:22-23 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,
  2. THAT DONE IN THE ABSENCE OF OTHERS...
  3. Done to please God, conscience, and no one else!
  4. IT INVOLVES THE WORKING OF BOTH MAN AND GOD (12b-13)..God either works in us or on us Heb 12:5
  5. MAN HAS A ROLE TO PLAY IN HIS SALVATION...
  6. He must "work out" his salvation.. This is a command in the Greek -1Ti 4:7, Eph 2:10
  7. He must do it in "fear and trembling" – a proper sense of awe and responsibility

1 Peter 4:18 Now "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?"

Humility and unity is demonstrated by obedience Phil 2:8

1Co 4:7, James 1:17 – All Good woks come from God – Daniel 4:31-34

  1. There is a place for the right kind of fear in the life of a Christian

 1) The "fear of the Lord" is the beginning of knowledge - Pr 1:7

   2) The "fear of the Lord" will cause one to hate evil Pr 8:13

   3) The "fear of the Lord" will prolong life - Pr 10:27

   4) The "fear of the Lord" provides strong confidence and is a fountain of life - Pr 14:26-27

5) The "fear of the Lord" prompts one to depart from evil- Pr 16:6

 6) The "fear of the Lord" leads to a satisfying life, and spares one from much evil - Pr 19:23

7) The "fear of the Lord" is the way to riches, honor, and life! - Pr 22:4

  1. But many never experience such love from God because they have not had the "fear and trembling" in the first place!

 B.v13 BUT GOD IS ALSO VERY MUCH INVOLVED IN OUR SALVATION!

  1. Notice that Paul writes, "for it is God who works in you” Eph 3:20
  2. "to will" - God gives us our desire
  3. "to do" - and motivation to do His will

1) At conversion, He begins a new work in us, and intends to complete it Ph 1:6 …God is the energy and he energizer

2) Through His indwelling Spirit and Son, He gives us whatever strength we need – Gal 2:20

Ep 3:16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, Ph 4:13

3) According to His Good Pleasure – means kind or benevolent intentions for us Ro 8:28 – It is the same word translated good will in Phil 1:15So that, whatever we may become in the Lord, it is by His grace! –

1Co 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

  1. God can work (and is willing!), but only if we let Him!

III. DOING ALL WITHOUT MURMURING & DISPUTING (14) Do all is a command; it is first word in the Greek Text

  1. MURMURING WAS THE DOWNFALL OF ISRAEL...

      1.10 times they complained- Notice 1Co 10:10-11 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Ex 16:68, 1Sam 8:4-9

  1. This can also be a problem among many Christians today whenever they face hardships
  2. But we are told that God is ever ready to help us (1 Co 10:13), and that He is in us both to "will" and to "work" Ph 2:13), so why complain? 1Pe 4:9
  3. Rather, rejoice for the opportunity such "tribulations" give us to develop spiritually! - Ro 5:3-5; Ja 1:2-4
  4. DISPUTING FOLLOWS MURMURING... Emotions lead to Actions…1Co 3:1-4
  5. Those who murmur are likely to be the same ones who begin disputing with others

Ex 16:8Your complaints are not against us but against the LORD."

  1. SO THAT YOU MAY BE BLAMELESS AND HARMLESS –PURPOSE OF WHOLE SECTION
  2. SO YOU CAN SHINE AS LIGHTS IN THE WORLD (15-16)
  3. TO SHINE AS LIGHTS, WE MUST BE CHILDREN OF GOD WITHOUT FAULT...
  4. Which is possible only if we "become blameless – look good to others, a life of integrity, because we deal with our sins as we should.

 And harmless – pure or unmixed, simple and innocent Mt 10:16 wise as serpents, Col 4:5, Shouldn’t fear us…2Tim 2:23-26

  1. Which requires doing all things "without murmuring and disputing"
  2. Which can only happen if we allow God to "work in" us as we "work out" our own salvation; in other words...
  3. Allow God go forgive us in obedience to the gospel
  4. Allow God to strengthen us through His Word and prayer
  5. Allow God to change us in conformity to His Will
  6. TO SHINE AS LIGHTS, WE MUST BE "IN THE MIDST" OF CROOKED AND PERVERSE GENERATION...

Can’t Shine with inconsistency and hypocrisy in your lives which is evident to all

  1. Lights are valuable only if they are used to dispel darkness Mt 5:14-15
  2. Though we are to "be separate" from the world (2Co 6:14-18), we must "not isolate" ourselves from it - cf. Jn 17:15, 18; 1Co 5:9-11
  3. TO SHINE AS LIGHTS, WE MUST "HOLD FAST" THE WORD OF LIFE...
  4. Some translations read "hold forth", Certainly we should do both...
  5. hold fast the Word of life by paying attention to it by our study and obedience to it- 2Ti 2:15, Acts 3:5, Ezra 7:10
  6. "hold forth" the Word of life (by offering it to those in the world) - Mk 16:15
  7. In both ways, we are to be like "The Statue Of Liberty"
  8. Showing the way
  9. Offering hope to those in need …….Read 2Co 4:8-18
  10. (16-18), so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. He shifts the basis of appeal from the example of Jesus (2:3-15) to himself and to the judgment; he must face at the day of Christ. Therefore, he now asks them to do something for his sake.
  11. WE MAY BE CALLED UPON TO SACRIFICE OURSELVES...
  12. It may be in service to our own faith, or in the service of the faith of others
  13. It may be a sacrifice of time, energy, money, or even life itself
  14. But it is for a good cause, and this is how Paul viewed his possible execution for the cause of Christ
  15. SUCH SACRIFICES SHOULD BE AN OCCASION FOR GLADNESS AND REJOICING!
  16. This is how Paul viewed it- Be Glad and Rejoice are commands
  17. For he knew his sacrifices were in the cause of saving others
  18. And he knew that their salvation would ultimately bring him greater joy at Christ's coming - cf. 1Th 2:19-20

 As someone has suggested:  "Work as though it all depended upon you, but pray as though it all depended upon God"

CONTRASTS BETWEEN A HELPER AND A SERVANT

A Helper

A Servant

A helper helps others when it is convenient.

A servant serves others even when it is inconvenient.

A helper helps people that he or she likes.

A servant serves even people that he or she dislikes.

A helper helps when he or she enjoys the work.

A servant serves even when he or she dislikes the work.

A helper helps when the circumstances are convenient.

A servant serves even when the circumstances are inconvenient.

A helper helps with a view to obtaining personal satisfaction.

A servant serves even when he or she receives no personal satisfaction.

A helper helps with an attitude of assisting another.

A servant serves with an attitude of enabling another

Lessons-

  1. We need to act on the desires and want to’s that God puts in us
  2. Need to be in awe and reverence of God
  3. Need to Live a life of Integrity
  4. Need to trust the Word and Share the Gospel
  5. Need to have hope
  6. Need to realize all is subservient to the Gospel
  7. Need to realize that we Frustrate Gods plan for humility and Unity(Phil 2:5) when we complain and Grumble
  8. We are either working out our salvation or complaining and grumbling….Are you doing YOUR part?
27
Sep
2017

JAMES 1:13-18 DEVOTIONAL

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James 1:13-18 tells us that God does not tempt us, but He does test us.  He says we fall prey to temptation when we are consumed by our desires.  That trial is test from God and a temptation from the Devil. God wants us to pass and the Devil wants us to fail.  He will truly bless us when we do not sin.  He says blessed is the man when he has endured temptation.  Do you realize when you sin that you missed out on a blessing that God wanted to give you?

24
Sep
2017

PHILIPPIANS 2:5-11 THE MIND OF CHRIST

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INTRODUCTION

 In verses 1-4 of this second chapter, Paul wrote about "The Unity

   That Produces Joy", in which he described:

  1. The MOTIVATION for having this unity
  2. The NATURE of this unity
  3. The ATTITUDES necessary to have this unity

 In describing the latter, he called upon the Philippians to:

  1. Do nothing through selfish ambition or conceit
  2. Have lowliness of mind in which they esteem others better than themselves
  3. Look out for the interests of others, and not only those of their own
  4. In verse 5, Paul continues to exhort them to have "this mind" (the attitudes of verses 3-4), pointing out that this is also the "mind of Christ"
  5. In verses (6-11), Paul defines the "mind of Christ" (or the attitude of Christ

 

  1. v6 Jesus did not have SELFISH AMBITION OR CONCEIT

He abandoned a Sovereign Position

  1. PRIOR TO HIS INCARNATION or coming in human flesh
  2. Jesus was "in the form of God" The word form in Greek is morphe- the essence or literally the essential nature of something
  3. In other words, He has always existed as God – John 8:56 "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." 57 Then the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" 58 Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM."
  4. John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me. 16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Col 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

  1. He was also "equal with God"

     John 1:1 3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

1John 5:7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.

 V6 YET CHRIST DID NOT CONSIDER SUCH EQUALITY "ROBBERY"...

  1. Literally, "a thing to be grasped"; that is, something to be laid hold of, and retained jealously

Isaiah 14:12  "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ 15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.

  1. The "glory" of equality with God which Christ enjoyed from eternity was not something He felt like He HAD to cling on to
  2. A true demonstration of a lack of selfish ambition and conceit on the part of our Lord!

 

  1. Jesus LOOKED OUT FOR THE INTERESTS OF OTHERS (7-8)

He took a servant’s place and approached a sinful people

 WHEN CHRIST BECAME FLESH...

   V7   1. He "made Himself of no reputation" John 4:24 "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

  1. Some versions say, "emptied Himself” this is the Kenosis or self-emptying

Jn 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

First of all, He gave up His heavenly glory. He gave up His heavenly glory. He dove into the water and went all the way down to the black cold water to the slime and the ooze of this world. And that's why He cries out in John 17 and says, "Father, restore Me to the glory I had with You before the world began." Glory when He was face to face with God. He gave up His glory for the muck of this earth. He gave up the worship of angels, the adoring presence of angels for the spittle of men. He gave up all of the shining brilliance of the glories of heaven for the dark prison where He was kept before His death. Yes, He emptied out His glory in that sense.

Secondly, He emptied Himself of independent authority. I don't understand how the trinity operates. I know it operates in perfect harmony. In addition, I know that in perfect harmony, there would be no discord and no disagreement and that would be the way it is in the trinity. Nonetheless, in some way mysterious to my mind, which I will never understand, He completely submitted Himself to the will of the Father. I will never understand that and I don't want you to even think about it too long or you'll be under the bed saying the Greek alphabet because it does not compute. However, the point is He laid aside a voluntary exercise of His own will and He learned to be a servant and He submitted Himself. In addition, He was obedient, it says in verse 8. He was obedient. I don't understand that but He was obedient. In the garden He says, "Not My will but Thine be done." He learned obedience by the things He suffered, Hebrews 5 says. He said I am...I am come to do the Father's will, John 5:30. Therefore, He set aside His independent authority.

Thirdly, He set aside the prerogatives of His deity. Alternatively, He set aside the voluntary use of His attributes. You say, "Did He stop being omniscient?" No. "Did He stop being omnipresent?" No. "Did He stop being unchangeable God?" No. He didn't stop being anything; He just didn't use those attributes. Some have said He gave up the prerogatives of His deity. I know He was omniscient. He knew everything because He knew what was in the heart of a man, John 2. I know He was omnipresent because He saw Nathaniel when He wasn't even where Nathaniel was in His human form. He didn't give up any of His deity but He gave up the free exercise of those attributes and limited Himself to the point where in Matthew 24:36 He says, "No man knows when the Son of Man will come," not men and not even the Son of Man. He restricted His omniscience. So He gave up the rights of His deity.

Fourthly, He gave up His personal riches...He gave up His personal riches. Though He was rich yet for your sakes He became poor, 2 Corinthians 8:9, that you through His poverty might be made rich. He became terribly poor in this world...terribly poor. He had nothing...nothing.

And then lastly, , He gave up a favorable relationship to God. "He who knew no sin was made sin for us...He who knew no sin was made sin for us." And as a result, He says, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" He gave up a favorable relationship to God.

Though He gave up the full expression of his heavenly glory and the full enjoyment of it, though He gave up independent authority and exercise of His own will and learned obedience, though He gave up the prerogatives to express all of the majesty of all of His attributes which He could have done, by the way, and though He gave up personal riches for the poverty of this world and though He gave up a favorable relationship with God when He was made sin, He never ceased to be God, never. He remained fully God. He remained fully God.

 He took upon Himself "the form of a servant" – same word Morphe, literally became a servant. John 13:3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

  • He came in the likeness of men He was the same as a man, but different in that He was sinless

Likeness means He was truly human, wept, got hungry, tired in all ways like us but without sin

  1. He could experience their temptations and sufferings –

He 2:17-18 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

V8 And being found in appearance as a man – He looked like us because He was like us.

He "humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross"

Galatians 3:13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree")

  1. DO WE HAVE "THE MIND OF CHRIST"?
  2. We do, if we are looking out for the interests of others
  • We do, if we are willing to humble ourselves, even sacrifice ourselves if it be in the best interests of others

 1Jn 3:16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

III. Jesus is HIGHLY EXALTED BY GOD (9-11) – He ascended as a Supreme Prince

V9 JESUS is a good example of Matthew 23:12:  "He that humbles himself shall be exalted"

1Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,

  1. For God has highly exalted Jesus

By giving Him "the name LORD which is above every name"

Ac 4:12 "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

V10 that at His name "every knee should bow...that every tongue should confess" He is Lord! -

2Th 1:10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.

V11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

 We have seen in this passage that "The Mind Of Christ" involves...

  1. Humility
  2. Obedience
  3. Sacrifice
  4. Great Reward

 It was Christmas Eve in the Midwest. There was a man who had been in a family where his wife and his children were Christians but he was not. And he rejected it. He sat home that Christmas eve in front of the fire. It was cold out and the snow was blowing. His wife and the little children had gone to the chapel in the nearby village for a Christmas Eve service to honor the Christ they loved. He sat by the fire reading the paper.

All of a sudden, he heard a loud and repeated thumping. He thought someone was banging on the door. He went to the door and opened it but found no one was there. By the time he got settled back into his chair, he heard it again and again. And he was bewildered as to what was causing it until he realized that something seemed to be smashing against the window. And so he went to the drapes and he pulled the drapes aside and to his amazement, a flock of birds was flying into the window. A snowstorm, you see, had blown in. And the birds had been caught away from their shelter and they couldn't find their way back. They couldn't fight the wind. They saw the lighted window and the warmth of the light had attracted them. And they were literally flying into the glass trying to get to the light to get warm. They would freeze to death, you see, if they didn't find some shelter.

Well, the man who had refused to go with his family to the Christmas Eve service because he had no interest in the Christ of Christmas was all of a sudden very compassionate for these poor birds. And so he wondered how he could help them. And so he opened the door, went out in the cold, and tried to chase them away so that they wouldn't kill themselves against the window. And then he ran to the barn and he threw the doors open and he whistled and he shooed them and did everything he could to get them to fly to the barn, they wouldn't do it. He even went so far as to take some corn and some bread and make a big trail from the window to the barn. And they wouldn't follow it.

In frustration, he said to himself, "If I could just communicate with them. If I could just tell them that I don't want to hurt them, that there's warmth and there's shelter and that they'd need to stop beating themselves to death against the glass. But I'm a man and they're birds and we don't speak the same language. Oh, if I could just become a bird, I think I could tell them."

And then it hit him. And in that moment, said Paul Harvey, the whole meaning of Christmas dawned on that man. Mankind had been beating itself to death against the barrier that kept him from the warmth of God's love until somebody became a man and told us the way.

 

 

20
Sep
2017

ROMANS 1:16 DEVOTIONAL

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Hi, this is Marty McKenzie with His Love Ministries.  In Romans 1:16 Paul says For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. In 1Corinthians 15:3-4 it says the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that He died for our sins, He was buried and rose again the third day.  It is the power to change lives, to forgive sins, and make us a new creation, so why aren’t we telling people about the Good News of the Gospel? Mark 8:38 says If we are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of us.

17
Sep
2017

PHILIPPIANS 2:1-4 THE UNITY THAT PRODUCES CHRISTLIKENESS

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Phillipians 2:1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

In our text for this study, Paul exhorts them to manifest "The Unity That Produces Joy" (2:1-4)I. v1 THE "MOTIVATION" FOR HAVING UNITY THAT PRODUCES JOY (1)

  1. DO WE NOT HAVE ANY "CONSOLATION IN CHRIST"? "
  2. We should be unified because we have a common Lord, Philippians 2:1-2. We don’t have a future of doom and gloom but, a promise of new life. In others words do it because you have a gratitude for Christ and others
    a.  This is a common use of the conditional "if...then" where given the reality of the "if" clause, "then" a point should naturally follow (should be translated since)

a.     For example, consider

Ga 3:29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

  1. Indeed, there is MUCH consolation (paraklesis) to be found in Christ! It means to walk alongside and encourage Console, a more formal word, means to make grief or distress seem lighter, by means of kindness and thoughtful attentions: to console a bereaved parent.

2Th 2:16-17 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.

A.     DO WE NOT HAVE ANY "COMFORT OF LOVE"? Means to whisper words of encouragement in your ear as they are walking beside you, To cheer you up and counsel you To comfort is to lessen the sadness or sorrow of someone and to strengthen by inspiring with hope and restoring a cheerful outlook: to comfort a despairing person. "Comfort" is a greater degree of tenderness than "consolation.

  1. We should be unified because we have a common love, Philippians 2:1-2. We have a common love: the Lord Jesus. In others words do it because you have a love for Christ and others
    2Co 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.

  1. DO WE NOT HAVE ANY "FELLOWSHIP OF THE SPIRIT"? III. We should be unified because we have a common life in fellowship. We are equal members of the same body so what we do effects the body.

In others words do it because you have a gratitude and love for the Spirit and other believers
All who have been baptized into Christ has received the gift of the Holy Spirit –

Ac 2:38-39; 5:321.     As the church (the temple of God), the Spirit dwells in us 

1Co 3:16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

  1. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit  1Co 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

4. Not only by the Spirit have we all been baptized into one body, but have all been made to drink of one Spirit

1 Co 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.

John 7:37-39 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

D. DO WE NOT HAVE ANY "AFFECTION AND MERCY"? IV. We should be unified because we have a common load, Philippians 2:2. We need to carry this load together having affection and compassion towards each other.  In others words do it because you have a gratitude and love for other believers1. There is the "affection" that comes from Jesus and from other brethren – love from the heart- like Jesus when he died for us on the cross2. "Mercy" that comes from our loving Father in heaven – acts of love because of affection.

Ep 2:4-7 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

II. V2 THE "NATURE" OF THE UNITY THAT PRODUCES JOY…. fulfil my joy The Marks or the actions that produce Unity   In others words do it because you have a gratitude and love for your Pastor or Paul as in this case

IT INVOLVES "BEING LIKE-MINDED"...thinking the same way….attitude, feelings, disposition   An attitude is a habit of thinking, a demeanor in life. What is your mental orientation towards others? Is it bitter, resentful? Deal with it decisively.  Spiritual thoughts for the greater good of God, the Spirit and Christ

Conflict comes out of a wrong attitude

1Co 1:10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

  1. IT INVOLVES "HAVING THE SAME LOVE"...the love of Christ flowing through them, sacrificial loving service, Conflict comes out of a wrong love, not loving everyone the same

C. IT INVOLVES "BEING OF ONE ACCORD"...harmony of the body of Christ Conflict comes out of a wrong agenda, i.e. Selfish ambition, empty conceit, etc.1.     Literally, "of one soul; having your souls joined togetherD. IT INVOLVES BEING "OF ONE MIND"...intent on one purpose…the Gospel Conflict comes out of a wrong purposeIII. v3-4 THE "ATTITUDES" REQUIRED FOR THE UNITY or The Measure of UnityA.v3 "LET NOTHING BE DONE THROUGH SELFISH AMBITION OR CONCEIT"...a.     The DESIRE FOR EXALTING SELF ("selfish ambition")B. "LOWLINESS OF MIND"...an attitude of humble service1.     In other words, humility2.     Humility will be easy to maintain if we remember our own faults3.     C. "LET EACH ESTEEM OTHERS BETTER THAN HIMSELF"...

Ro 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;

D. v4 "LOOK OUT...FOR THE INTERESTS OF OTHERS"...1.     This attitude eliminates the problem of "selfish ambition"2.     It is the attitude of MATURITY, and was the attitude of Christ! –

Ro 15:1-3 We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. 3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me."

Brokeness Stallions are proud, independent, and need to be broken to be useful to ride or use for work.  We need to be like a horse pulling a wagon… Working together... not trying to pull ahead, but keeping pace with others helping them keep up.

15
Sep
2017

1 JOHN 1:5- CHAPTER 2:2

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6
Sep
2017

LUKE 11:2 PRAY FOR OUR NATION

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In Luke 11:2 Jesus said to them, "When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. I would like to ask you to pray everytime you hear this devotional or think about it to please pray for our world, our nation, it’s leaders, and for us to come back to God.  That God would be glorified because of the way we live for Him, that people will be saved, and that we would live in obedience to God’s Word so that He is pleased with our lives. That is His will being done.  Will you do that with me?

3
Sep
2017

PHILIPPIANS 1:27-30 LET YOUR CONDUCT BE WORTHY OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST

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3 important things to see:1.     In Chapter 1:7 we see the defense of the Gospel2.     Chapter 1:13-18 we see the proclamation or telling of the Gospel3.     In Chapter 1:27 we see the conduct of the GospelThe Philippians may have been suffering persecution for several reasons The first is the relationship of Christianity to Judaism, and thus to the Jews.Second, the church at Philippi may have begun to suffer persecution because of its association with Paul.Third, Paul had legally embarrassed the magistrates of Philippi, and it may now appear to them that they have finally gained the upper This charge is essentially the same indictment the Jews made against Jesus (Luke 23:2), and also that the Jews made against Paul (see Acts 24:5-6, 12I.                 OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING OUR "CONDUCT" A.    LOOKING AT THE WORD "CONDUCT" ITSELF...1. The KJV translates this word as "conversation"2. In the Greek, it literally means "behave as citizens" I’ve got a Mansion just over the Hilltopa.     Whose "citizenship" is actually in heaven –

Ph 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,   “Remember who you belong to” and be law abiding citizens.  Jeremiah 29:4-7

1.     OUR "BEHAVIOR AS CITIZENS" IS TO BE "WORTHY" OF THE GOSPEL... or Priority 1 is our conduct

1Pe 2:11-12 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

·       OUR "BEHAVIOR AS CITIZENS" IS TO BE WORTHY "WITH OR WITHOUT" THE PRESENCE OF OTHERS... In other words we need to be consistentB.    It has been said that what you really are is how you act when no one else is watching.

Daniel 1:19 Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king. 20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm. 21 Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus.

1. Note that Paul said "whether I come and see you or am absent"II. SPECIFIC OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING OUR "CONDUCT"2.     OUR "BEHAVIOR AS CHRISTIANS INVOLVES "STANDING FAST IN ONE SPIRIT" (27)·       "Behaving as citizens" involves "standing fast" against those things which would beset us:·       Note also that we must stand fast "in one spirit"  20 times we are to stand, 8 to be steadfast

2Thess 2:15  Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.

a.     We are not to stand strong by ourselves, in isolation from one another, but in UNITY! Or Having one purpose3.   OUR "BEHAVIOR AS CHRISTIANS INVOLVES "WITH ONE MIND STRIVING TOGETHER FOR THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL" (27) A word used of athletes... we need to work hard for the advance of the Gospel Matthew Henry said that a man may sleep and go to hell, but he who will go to heaven must look about and be diligent or hardworking

  1. OUR "BEHAVIOR AS CHRISTIANS" INVOLVES "NOT BEING TERRIFIED BY YOUR ADVERSARIES” (28-30) The devils job is to stop us from knowing, growing, going, and showing
  • V28 Not terrified………. Paul informs the saints that persecution is to be perceived as an encouragement, as an occasion for rejoicing.

Mt 5:10-12 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

V29 –30 granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,

  1. OUR "BEHAVIOR AS CHRISTIANS" INVOLVES Suffering 
  • Faith is a gift and suffering is also

2Ti 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

Ac 5:41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.

1Pe 3:14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled."

Lu 13:17 And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.

1peter 2:20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:

2Th 1:4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, 5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; Read MacArthur’s Note on 2Th 1:4-8

2Ti 2:12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.

Therefore, our attitude should be like that of the apostles in

Ac 5:41-42 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

Acts 14: 21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God."

Rom 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

1Pe 4:16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.

1Pe 4:19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

1Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith,

1Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

30
Aug
2017

His Love Ministries Devotional So Shall You Reap

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Hi, This is Marty McKenzie with His Love Ministries.  Why do you think God gave us the 10 commandments?  Is it because you think that God is some kind of cosmic kill joy, and that He doesn’t want you to have fun?  You wouldn’t let someone you loved play in the middle of a busy highway would you?  God gave the 10 Commandments because He is Holy and also to keep us from getting hurt.  When we sin we hurt others and ourselves.  The Bible says sin is fun for a season, but it also says whatever a man sows that shall he reap.  Sin does have consequences.

27
Aug
2017

PHILIPPIANS 1.19-26 EXALTING CHRIST WITH OUR LIVES

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Philippians 1:19 For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. 25 And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, 26 that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.

 I. Paul Magnified CHRIST BY HIS LIFEA.      WHY  Because of Christ's love for him 2Co 5:14-15 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again2. Because of the strength Christ gave him for daily living – Ph. 4:13

  1. Because of what Christ would one day do for him - Ph. 3:20-21 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

B. HOW DID PAUL MAGNIFY CHRIST BY HIS LIFE?V21 By his attitude toward Christ "to live is Christ" b. He made Jesus the focus of his life - Ph. 3:7-8

  1. By devoting his life to serving Christ - cf. Ga 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

V22 He would be fruitful while he lived  ...what one did for others, he did for Christ! 1Co 8:12 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.

 Mt 25:40 "And the King will answer and say to them, `Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'

    1. Do we magnify Christ with our lives?1) Do we encourage or discourage the brethren?

Pr 18:9 He who is slothful in his work Is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.

Christ loved us, and gave HIS life for usII. Paul wanted to magnify CHRIST BY HIS DEATH if that is what it tookv23 What would death mean to Paul To die means to "be with Christ, which is far better" 1)    Paul understood that when a Christian dies, they go to be with the Lord! 2)    2Co 5:6-9 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.

 1Th 5:9-10 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

  • who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.

Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

Are you willing to magnify Christ by life and by death if needed?

  1. More Christians need to have the attitude of Paul

 Ac 20:22-24 "And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 "except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 24 "But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

Re 12:11 "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

23
Aug
2017

30 SECOND DEVOTIONAL REACHING FOR THE PRIZE PHILIPPIANS 3:12-14

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Hi, I’m Marty McKenzie with His Love Ministries.  To sum up Philippians 3:12-14,  Paul said I have not already attained, nor am I perfect; 13 but one thing I do 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  The goal is to be like Christ here on earth, the prize is to be made like Him in Heaven.  Many have died climbing the Alps, one grave reads he died climbing. Are you continually climbing one step at a time with the goal of being like Jesus?

20
Aug
2017

PHILIPPIANS 1:8-18 MAKING LEMONADE OUT OF LEMONS

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V8 - affection (bowels) this is a love that involves ones entire being

  1. V9-11 The Prayer

V9 - Knowledge - this is advanced knowledge

Biblical love is not empty show or sentimentalism, but it is anchored deeply in the truth of the scripture

1Peter 1:22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,

Discernment - practical application of knowledge

Rom 12:9-13 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10  Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

V10 -  approve things which are excellent  Romans 12:2

Says till the day of Christ again

V11 - fruits of righteousness  Glory and praise - ultimate end of all Paul's prayers was that God would be glorified Daily bread Oct 20, 2001

Brighten the corner where you are would have been Paul's theme song1. Today we shall see Paul's JOY, despite circumstances, which would cause most people to despairI. IN IMPRISONMENT (12-14)A. PAUL INFORMS THEM OF THE Furtherance OF THE GOSPEL (12)He had "good news" - not bad news! 2. Paul could have looked at the bad side of his situation...  a. His imprisonment, His restrictions in travelThe gospel was spreading, and it was "good news"!B. HIS CHAINS WERE IN CHRIST (13)1.         Paul was under "house arrest" 

Ac 28:30-31 30 Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.

  a. Paul wasn't there for crimes

  1. Paul was under constant guard

Ac 28:16 Now when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him.

Paul got to preach to those who were of Caesar's householdC. HIS EXAMPLE WAS MOTIVATING OTHERS TO ACTION (14)So the gospel was being spread, and to Paul, that's GOOD news!II. IN PERSECUTION (15-18) A. SOME WERE PREACHING TO HURT PAUL (15a,16)  1. Some were motivated by "envy”, “strife", and "selfish ambition"B. WE SEE PAUL'S JOY (15b, 17-18)   1. But he also saw those preaching out of "love" and "goodwill"Paul did not fall into the trap of "self-pity" and "despair" of Christians1) Who when persecuted, think they are the only ones who are faithful2) When persecuted, lose sight of the faithful because of the unfaithful   2. Secondly, those seeking to persecute him were spreading the gospel!

  1. Paul's main purpose in life

 1Co 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

What applications can we make from this? III. THE "KEY" TO "MAKING GOOD OUT OF BAD"...1.            Presenting Jesus Christ was his goal and purpose in life'2.            We can experience a joy greater than any other 3John 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.   b. We can "make good out ill" in just about any circumstances1)                  Hospital confinement, situations at work, with family, and the church 2)                  Even in death and dying B. GOD CAN USE "IMPURE" TEACHERS...v16, 18  1. Don't get discouraged by "false teachers" they will be held accountable for their error;

Isaiah 55:11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

V18 God can use those who were impure in motive to proclaim Jesus b. He can also use those imperfect in "ability". It's not your ability but your availability1)               Paul certainly claimed lack of ability to some degree.

1Co 2:3-5  I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

I. Paul Magnified CHRIST BY HIS LIFEA.      WHY  Because of Christ's love for him 2Co 5:14-15 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again2. Because of the strength Christ gave him for daily living – Ph. 4:13

17
Aug
2017

GREAT AND MIGHTY THINGS

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Hi, this is Marty McKenzie with His Love Ministries.  There are many people standing in line to do the “great and mighty things” of this world, while countless “little things” for His Kingdom go undone.  What you do for “the least of these” may seem a little thing, but it will likely go undone unless you do it.  What an opportunity God has given us to make a difference for eternity.  Wow, how true that is.  Are you waiting in line, or are you willing to be like Jesus who humbled Himself and made Himself of no reputation, taking on the form of a servant.  Are you willing to do anything God asks you to do

13
Aug
2017

PHILIPPIANS 1:1-7 HE HAS BEGUN A GOOD WORK AND WILL COMPLETE IT

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Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.

 Intro to the Letter it it a Prison Epistle, I, Me, my 100 times, I 52 times in whole book Christ at least 36 times, references make the total over 50.  Rejoice 8 times, joy 3 times.

Daily Bread Oct 18th, 2001

What Is Heavy When Empty?

READ: Isaiah 1:1-17

Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. --Isaiah 1:17

After reading Isaiah 1, I thought of this riddle: What is heavy for God when it's empty for me?

Nothing is too hard for God to do, of course, but that doesn't mean that nothing is a burden to Him. In fact, one thing I sometimes take lightly is actually a heavy concern to God.

In the time of the prophet Isaiah, the Jewish people followed their religious celebrations to the letter. They showed up at the right time, sacrificed the right amount, and offered many prayers. But when they left the temple, it was as if they left God there.

Nearly 3,000 years later, not much has changed. Sometimes I think my responsibility to God begins and ends with going to church and giving an offering. But this attitude makes me more of a burden to God than a blessing. I'm not accomplishing the tasks that are important to Him—doing good, seeking justice, defending the fatherless, and pleading for widows (Isaiah 1:17).

God is not impressed with a full house at religious gatherings if the people come with empty hearts. God wants worshipers with hearts so full of love for Him that they overflow in good deeds for others.

Oh, are you still wondering what is heavy for God when it's empty for me? The answer is worship.    

My heart is filled, dear Lord, with love,
So let it show in words and deeds;
And help me share, in all my ways,
The overflow for others' needs. —Hess

The heart filled with praise brings pleasure to God.

 Chapter 1 Theme is Exalting Christ or Exalting Christ in Trials - Key Verses, 1:1, 12, 21, and 27

Chapter 2 Imitating Christ or Humility and Servanthood - Key Verses, 2:3-5, 2:9-10, 14, 21

Chapter 3 Knowing Christ or Pressing On - Key Verses, 3:9, 3:12, 3:20-21

Chapter 4 Rejoicing In Christ or Joy no matter what - Key Verses, 4:6, 4:11-13, 4:19

Key Verse – Phil 1:21 To live is Christ, to Die is gain

Paul uses this occasion not only to thank them, but also to comfort them concerning his situation as a prisoner for Jesus Christ (1:12-14). 

He also writes to them to be unified Phil 2:3-5, of his plans to send Timothy soon (2:19-24), and why he considered it necessary to send Epaphroditus back to them (2:25-30). 

He warns them of false teachers 3:3-3,the danger of resting on our accomplishments 3:4-11, and the need to press on in spite of life’s difficulties 3:12-16

There may have also been a problem at Philippi involving two women, for Paul has a few words to say concerning them (4:2-3). Not to worry 4:6-9, And the need for contentment 4:11-19

 V1-2 The Letter

Sender- Paul and Timothy - bondservants- a title of dignity and humility

A Slave Thinks in Terms of Stewardship, Not Ownership (Genesis 39:4-10)

Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

  1. Recipients- Saints or set apart ones

WITH The Bishops & deacons speaks of approval of the leadership and unity by addressing all the saints, bishops and deacons.  Bishop just means overseer, elder. 

Paul was Speaking to all of them

In Christ Jesus Gal 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

  1. Greetings or Salutations

            Grace and Peace

Grant Richison says it could read like this “May you, a group of saints who have experienced the grace of God in salvation, now experience and express that grace toward one another in a corporate way. May you be gracious in your dealings with one another, especially when you disagree. May your words and actions bring grace to the rest of the church. And may the peace that you have come to experience in a personal way (through faith in Jesus Christ) now work itself out in the church corporately. May dissention and strife not be found among you, and may you be at peace, one with the other.”

V3-8 The Thankfulness and Love

V3 - thankful in all letters except to Galatians

V4 - Paul thanks God for them always _ God is always behind the god we do

V5 - fellowship A Definition of fellowship

There is, first of all, a partnership, i.e., the sharing of mutual interests, mutual resources, mutual labor together. God, other Christians and I, working together, a partnership. All that I have is put at his and their disposal.  But it is not only partnership, there is also friendship. Friendship and partnership together spell fellowship.

2Corinthians 8:1-5

v6 - He will complete it-

Gal 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?

Day of Jesus Christ is not the Day of the Lord

Isaiah 13:9 Behold, the day of the LORD comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it.

1Corinth 1:7-8 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The believers final salvation, reward, and glorification

Jim Elliott – He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he can never lose

V7 - heart is the center of thought and feelings (mind)

Prov 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.

The heart or mind includes the emotions, will, thinking and reason

Rom 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

6
Aug
2017

JAMES 5:19-20 RESTORING STRAYING SAINTS

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  1. As James comes to the close of his epistle, he stresses the importance of restoring those who wander from the truth:
  2. Restoring straying saints is a responsibility given to ALL who are truly the children of God

1Th 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.

Yet, it is a responsibility that is so easy to neglect, and in most cases IS neglected!

The purpose of this lesson is two-fold:

To impress upon our minds the importance of engaging in this work of restoring straying saints

To suggest how we should carry out this important work

THE CONDITION OF SAINTS WHO HAVE STRAYED FROM THE TRUTH

They are in danger of physical DEATH! - Ja 5:20

1John 5:16 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death.

RESTORING STRAYING SAINTS REQUIRES SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES...

PEOPLE WHO ARE SPIRITUAL

Ga 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

  1. Unqualified personnel need not apply for this work

1) They might best work on themselves first, so they can help others Mt 7:3-5

  • A SPIRIT OF GENTLENESS - Ga 6:1
  • A CONSTANT SENSE OF SELF-EXAMINATION - Ga 6:1
  • If we are not careful, we can easily fall into the same fault!
  • A WILLINGNESS TO BEAR ONE ANOTHER'S BURDENS - Ga 6:2
  • Which involves an expense of time and energy to help the weak to overcome their faults
  • Our responsibility is not fulfilled by simply pointing out our brother's faults!
  • HUMILITY

2Ti 2:24-26 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

  • BROAD KNOWLEDGE OF GOD'S WORD - 2Ti 2:24
  • We must be able to teach and apply God's Word to the situation
  • For it is important that they respond to GOD'S word, and not just to OUR views or opinions!
  • PATIENCE (longsuffering) - 2Ti 2:24
  • The same kind that we receive from God for our faults
  • And Paul showed towards the church at Corinth 2Co 1:23-2:3
  • Of course, if repentance is not forthcoming, we can wait for only so long 2Co 13:1-2 his will be the third time I am coming to you. "By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established."

2  I have told you before, and foretell as if I were present the second time, and now being absent I write to those who have sinned before, and to all the rest, that if I come again I will not spare——

  • A SINCERE DEMONSTRATION OF LOVE
  • Both at the time of rebuke - cf. 2Co 2:4
  • And at the time of repentance - cf. 2Co 2:6-8
  • IT REQUIRES THE PROPER PROCEDURE...
  • The proper procedure is outlined by Jesus in Mt 18:15-17

1) Go to the person first

2) Then take others, if necessary

3) Then tell it to the church, if necessary

If he won't hear the church, withdraw any association that might appear to give approval to their behavior cf. 1Co 5:1-13; 2Th 3:6-15;

Ro 16:17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.

CONCLUSION

  1. The work of restoring or correcting saints may be unpleasant at times, but it has the potential for great joy!
  2. Both in heaven: "I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." (Lk 15:7)
  3. And in our hearts: "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." (3 Jo 4)
  4. It comes down to this...
  5. Do we really love God?
  6. Do we really love our straying brethren?
30
Jul
2017

JAMES 5:13-18 IS ANYONE SICK?

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James 5:13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

 Are You Suffering?

INTRODUCTION

Here we find guidance as to what to do during times of suffering and sickness

IN TIMES OF SUFFERING, LET US "PRAY" (13)

The word used refers to enduring hardness, to suffer trouble, endure affliction, to be afflicted

FOR WHAT SHOULD WE PRAY?

For the REMOVAL of the suffering, if it be the Lord's will

2Co 12:8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.

For the STRENGTH to endure the suffering, if it be the Lord's will that we bear with it

1Co 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

God may not always remove the source of our suffering; it may be for our ultimate good

Ps 119:67, 75 Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word 71, It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes. 75 I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.

But at least He promises to help us endure it!

  1. FOR WHOM SHOULD WE PRAY?

Certainly for ourselves

But also for those who may be the source of our suffering

Jesus taught in Lk 6:28 "bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you

IN TIMES OF CHEER, LET US "SING PRAISES" (13)

THE WORD "CHEERFUL"... means pleasantness, agreeableness

It suggests a state of mind free from trouble--the opposite of affliction--happy!

Consider the attitude of David, the sweet singer of Israel -

 Ps 92:1-2 It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;

  • To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, And Your faithfulness every night,
  • David was a man after God's own heart, shouldn't we be also?

Ep 5:18; And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,

  • WHY DON'T SOME CHRISTIANS SING PRAISES MORE OFTEN, MORE PASSIONATELY?
  • Hasn't God done enough in our lives to prompt us to praise Him with all one's might in song?

Fortunately, God is not concerned with how it sounds, but that it is coming from the heart, therefore all who can speak can and should sing!

 Heaven is described in Revelation as a place where singing praises to God and Christ is an on-going activity

 Singing praises to God is just as important as praying to God!

 III. IN TIMES OF SICKNESS, LET US "PRAY" (14-18)

  1. THIS PASSAGE IS DIFFICULT

Mark 2:5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you."

John 5:14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you."

John 9:2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3 Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.

1Corinthians 11:29-30 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.

There are two possible answers

  1. This passage refers to MIRACULOUS HEALING and the elders were called because they possessed the gift of healing

Mk 6:13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.

This passage refers to PROVIDENTIAL HEALING or God doing it through natural means

Lk 10:34 "So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

James uses an example of God PROVIDENTIALLY answering prayer to show its effectiveness

1) God was indeed answering Elijah's prayer

 2) But God did so, providentially, working through natural means

  • WITH THIS UNDERSTANDING, LETS MAKE THE APPLICATION...

In times of physical sickness, call for the elders of the church

You want the prayers of the "righteous" working in your behalf, don't you?

Notice: You are to call for them, not wait for them to call on you!

Have the elders pray with you...

1) In faith (trusting in the Lord's power to heal, if it be His will)

2) Fervently (with all your might)

In a time where hospitals were non-existent and physicians were rare, anointing with oil was a common treatment - cf. Lk 10:34

The sick should also confess their sins

Verse 15 makes it clear that sickness is not always the consequence of sin, but

But verse 16 and others (like 1Co 11:29-32) suggests that illnesses may be God's loving chastisement for sin, in an effort to direct us back to Him

CONCLUSION

We must be careful not to underestimate:

1) The importance of praise

2) The power of prayer

The importance of confessing our sins

To truly benefit from these three spiritual exercises, we need to be in a right relationship with God

Which involves being open to God's Word: He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer [shall be] abomination. Pro 28:9

And being a doer of God's will: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Mt 7:21)

 

23
Jul
2017

JAMES 5.7-12 WHEN YOU’RE BEING MISTREATED OR THE TEST OF PATIENCE

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INTRODUCTION

Do you feel like someone is out to get you, they are trying to take advantage of you? Are you being mistreated?

In James 5, we find James giving instructions to those who have been mistreated by the rich

Notice Ja 2:6

The rich had been holding back their wages - Ja 5:4

The rich had been oppressing the righteous - Ja 5:6

What is our response as Christians?

  1. DON'T RESIST

Notice Ja 5:4, 6

NOT RESISTING IS CONSISTENT WITH THE TEACHING OF CHRIST AND HIS APOSTLES...

Consider Lk 6:27-36 Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

Also Ro 12:19-21 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. 20 Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

  1. And 1Pe 2:18-23

Human nature says if we get angry, and strike back, it is "justifiable anger"

Human wisdom calls for "standing up for one's rights"

BUT NOT RESISTING IS BASED UPON TWO THINGS...

AN AWARENESS that the Lord is coming to judge - Ja 5:7, 8, 9 3 times he is coming

This passage may refer to His judgment when Rome destroyed Jerusalem in ad 70 - Luke 21

But ultimately, it refers to the Lord's final coming on the Day of Judgment that has yet to occur

A WILLINGNESS to let Him be our avenger  Lk 18:7-8 7  "And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 "I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.

  1. BE PATIENT

THE WORD FOUND HERE IS DIFFERENT THAN THAT FOUND EARLIER IN THIS EPISTLE...

In Ja 1:3, the word is "hupomone" Which means to bear up under trials in reference to THINGS or CIRCUMSTANCES

In Ja 5:7, 8, 10, the word is "makrothumia" Which means to suffer long in reference to PEOPLE like those who oppress or mistreat you)

In verse 11, he uses the humomeno like humpomone that means to preserve: under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one’s faith in Christ

  • THREE EXAMPLES ARE GIVEN TO ENCOURAGE US TO BE PATIENT...

The FARMER: James 5:7

The PROPHETS: James 5:10

JOB: James 5:11

  • THESE EXAMPLES TEACH US...
  • To place our trust in the Lord, that He will eventually reward us for our trust in Him
  • To be steadfast, in the meantime, in our service to Him

III. ESTABLISH YOUR HEARTS

  1. THE WORD "ESTABLISH"...
  2. Means "to fix, make fast, to set" It Is translated "strengthen" in other places
  3. It means to strengthen our heart so as to be patient and not resist the evil being done

John Gill says it means to take heart, be of good cheer, do not be dismayed, or faint, or sink under your pressures, but be of good courage, pluck up your spirits, lift up your heads: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh;

  1. THE "KEY" TO ESTABLISHING OUR HEARTS...

Is the Word of God - cf. 2Pe 1:12 For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.

Our faith in God and His eventual justice is made stronger

Patience and strength to not resist is developed - cf. Ro 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

James mentions two things that we are to avoid. 

  1. DON'T GRUMBLE

ESPECIALLY AGAINST ONE ANOTHER (9)

We are likely to vent our frustrations as those closest and dearest to us

A man after a bad day at work often takes it out on his wife and family

WE HAVE GOOD REASON NOT TO GRUMBLE...

"Lest you be condemned (judged)"

The same Lord who judges the oppressors, will judge those who murmur and grumble!

Phil 2:14-

2John 8

  1. DON'T SWEAR

THIS IS SOMETHING ELSE ONE IS LIKELY TO DO WHEN IN TROUBLE...

In other words, make rash promises

Promises, which God will hold you to, even if not serious - cf. Eccl 5:2-5 Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few. 3 For a dream comes through much activity, And a fool’s voice is known by his many words. 4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed 5 Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.

THIS PROHIBITION APPLIES ESPECIALLY TO "FLIPPANT OATHS"...

The Jews said oaths using His name were considered binding, while the others were not

  1. Jesus and James condemn this distinction between different kinds of oaths Mt 5:33-37; 23:16-22

The word condemn is the word hupokrisis which means hypocrisy.

  1. PRAY

THIS IS THE MAIN THING TO DO WHEN OPPRESSED or Mistreated...

As we learn from Ja 5:13

This is what the Christians of James' day were doing - Ja 5:4

WHEN WE PRAY, GOD HEARS!

As seen in Ja 5:4

Jesus and James promised, the Lord will avenge His righteous ones - Lk 18:7-8; Ja 5:7-8

It may not come when we want it, and the Lord may "bear long with us" -

Re 6:9-11 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.

  1. But when the time is ripe, the oppressed will be avenged!

CONCLUSION

  1. Therefore, when we are being oppressed...
  • Don't resist
  • Be patient
  • Establish your hearts
  • Don't grumble
  • Don't swear
  • PRAY!
  • When we react this way to oppression...
  • We follow the example of Christ and the early disciples
  • Who committed themselves to God who judges righteously

  1) Christ - "Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judges righteously:" (1 Pe 2:23)

  2) The disciples - "Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls [to him] in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. (1 Pe 4:19)

  1. With such a righteous God on our side, it should be a lot easier to endure those who oppress us!

Is the righteous God on your side?  Or rather, are you on His side?

17
Jul
2017

30 SECOND DEVOTIONAL CHRIST ALONE JOHN 3:16

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Hi, I’m Marty McKenzie with His Love Ministries.  John 3:16 -17 says for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  Did you hear that?  Jesus did not come to condemn you, but to save you through His death on the cross.  So what would you say if God asked you why should I let you into my Heaven?  Will it be I am trusting in Jesus Christ and Him alone for salvation?

 

Where do you stand? Are you in Christ or lost and without Christ?

16
Jul
2017

JAMES 5.1-6 WHEN GOD GETS ANGRY AT THE RICH OR THE TEST OF RICHES

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James 5:1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. 4 Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5 You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you. 7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.

  1.  Compared to many people in the world, we are indeed blessed; in fact, in comparison with most people who live now and who have lived in the past, we are VERY RICH!
  2. Now, it is important to stress that God does not condemn being rich...
  • Some of the godliest people in the Bible were rich
  • Job, Abraham, Joseph, David, Solomon, Barnabas, Philemon, Lydia

However, Christ does speak of the difficulty of the rich being saved Mt 19:23-26 And there are times when God is very angry at the rich, as in our text: As we consider this passage more carefully, we will ask and answer four questions:

  • Who is James addressing in this passage?
  • What is in store for these rich people?
  • Why is God so angry at them?
  • What applications can we draw from this passage?

WHO IS JAMES ADDRESSING IN THIS PASSAGE?

  • ARE THEY CHRISTIANS?
  1. Possibly, but unlikely for several reasons...
  • There is no call to repentance in this passage as he would for Christians
    •   Here there is only condemnation.
    •   The brethren are not addressed until verse 7, in which THEY are told to be patient in light of what has just been said
  • They are not addressed as "brethren" as is often done in this epistle - Ja 1:2,19; 2:1,14; 3:1,10; 4:11

MORE LIKELY, THOSE ADDRESSED ARE RICH UNBELIEVERS...

Who had been oppressing the Christians - cf. Ja 2:6

This tirade of judgment is used to comfort the brethren who were being oppressed by them -Ja 5:7

The Lord has heard their cries - Ja 5:4b

Judgment is coming upon these rich oppressors

Therefore, the Christians are told to be patient

WHAT IS IN STORE FOR THESE RICH OPPRESSORS?

MISERIES THAT WILL CAUSE THEM TO "WEEP AND HOWL"! (1-3a)

  1. So certain are these miseries to come, that James speaks of them already occurring!
  1. Riches are corrupted
  2. Garments are moth-eaten
  3. Gold and silver are corroded
  4. When this "corrosion" of their riches occurs...
  5. It will serve as a witness against them
  6. It will eat their flesh like fire

 1) The anguish and misery of poverty usually affects the hardest those who were once rich!

 2) When poverty strikes, it will make them "weep and howl" as though they were on fire!

  1. THE MISERIES SPOKEN HERE MAY HAVE REFERENCE TO WHAT LATER OCCURRED IN THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM IN 70 A.D.
  2. Not long after this epistle was written, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans
  3. Many of the rich Jews who had oppressed their Christian brethren literally "wept and howled"
  4. They had failed to realize was that they had heaped up treasure "in the last days" (Ja 5:3b)
  5. Like the man in the parable of the rich fool (Lk 12:16-21), they thought they were laying up riches for their latter days
  6. When in fact, it was the "last days" of the Jewish economy when they were so busy storing up wealth!
  7. Like some today, who store up for retirement and then die before they retire!

Just as upon the rich man in the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Lk 16:19-31)!

III. WHY IS GOD SO ANGRY WITH THESE RICH PEOPLE?

  1. BECAUSE OF HOW THEY GOT THEIR WEALTH...
  2. Specifically, by withholding wages from those who had worked for them
  3. Some people today get rich through dishonest schemes or unjust labor practices!
  4. BECAUSE OF HOW THEY USED THEIR WEALTH...
  5. They hoarded their wealth - 3b
  6. They spent it on themselves with pleasures and luxury - 5 (fattening themselves like cows for the slaughter!)
  7. They used the power that comes with wealth to oppress "the just" - 6

The manner in which they got their wealth and used it caused those who were oppressed to cry out, and the Lord heard their prayers

  1. Now, God who is just is about to bring judgment upon these rich oppressors!
  2. WHAT APPLICATIONS CAN WE DRAW?
  3. WE NEED TO BE CAREFUL HOW WE OBTAIN OUR WEALTH...
  4. To do so at the expense of others will bring God's wrath upon us! Deut 24:14,15
  5. It is wrong to think that success can only come by stepping on others
  6. This might be an appropriate place to add what we learn from Paul in 1Ti 6:9-10
  7. It is not riches that are wrong, but the DESIRE TO BE RICH that is wrought with many dangers!
  8. Riches are not wrong if they are the BY-PRODUCT of our endeavors, not the GOAL of those endeavors!

  1) I.e., one may desire to be a doctor to help the sick, and receive riches as a by-product because of the value society might place on such services

  2) But to enter such professions solely because one's goal is to get rich is wrong

  1. So how do we obtain our wealth?
  2. If we do it honestly and in compensation for a job well done, then God is not displeased
  3. But if we do it by hurting others and by making wealth our primary object, then we are in danger of God's wrath!
  4. WE NEED TO BE CAREFUL HOW WE USE OUR WEALTH...
  5. To spend it on luxurious living when others are suffering...
  6. Is exactly what James has described in this passage
  7. Is an indication of the lack of the love of God - 1 Jn 3:17
  8. According to the New Testament, the purpose of working is not to obtain wealth for our own gratification, but to help those less fortunate!
  9. As commanded by Paul - Ep 4:28; 1 Ti 6:17-19
  10. As exemplified by Paul - Ac 20:34-35

CONCLUSION

  1. Living in the country and society in which we do, we have much for which to be thankful
  2. But we also have much of which we need to beware:
  3. We live in a society where it is quite easy to become wealthy
  4. We live in a society where covetousness or the desire to be rich are not considered sins
  5. We live in a society where heaping up treasures for our own gratification is considered an inalienable right!

   -- It is easy to be influenced by these values!

  • Perhaps we need to ask ourselves constantly: Are we laying up treasure in heaven, or on earth?
  • Those who lay up treasure in heaven are those who use their wealth to do good and help the poor and less fortunate - cf. Mt 19:21; 1 Ti 6:18-19
  • Those who lay up treasure on earth are actually storing up for themselves miseries and wrath!

   1) Miseries...when their wealth fails them in their time of true need

   2) Wrath...from God in the Day of wrath that is yet to come

Have you begun to lay up treasure in heaven by obeying the gospel of Christ?

 

9
Jul
2017

JAMES 4:13-17 THE TEST OF PRIDE PART 2 SUBTITLE - MAKING OUR PLANS OR THE PERIL OF PLAYING GOD

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Read Ps 90 by Moses

  1. James discusses the subject of making plans, something very relevant for us
  2. Making plans, in of itself, is not wrong...
  3. Paul often made plans in regard to his travels - Ac 15:36; 18: 20-21; 1 Co 16:5-9
  4. Making plans or setting goals is a key to success in life
  5. But there is a right way to plan, and a wrong way;

[First, let's consider the "right" way

  1. WE CAN SUBMIT TO GOD'S WILL
  2. We can make our plans, but we should make them conditional to God's approval - "if the Lord wills" (15)

Ps 39:5 Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah 6 Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they busy themselves in vain; He heaps up riches, And does not know who will gather them. 11 When with rebukes You correct man for iniquity, You make his beauty melt away like a moth; Surely every man is vapor. Selah

  1. This is what Paul did
  2. "God willing" - Ac 18:21 but took leave of them, saying, "I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing." And he sailed from Ephesus

Ro 1:7 To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, 10 making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established--

  1. "if the Lord permits" - 1Co 16:7 For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits.

Nu 14:8 "If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, 'a land which flows with milk and honey.'

De 19:8 "Now if the LORD your God enlarges your territory, as He swore to your fathers, and gives you the land which He promised to give to your fathers,

 1Co 4:19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power.

 1Co 16:7 For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits.

 Jas 4:15 Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that."

  1. Saying "if the Lord wills" assumes our faith in two things:
  2. That God does have a will for us

Ec 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

  1. That God can intervene (by divine guidance) to carry out His will
  2. IF WE REALLY WANT OUR PLANS TO SUCCEED, THEN WE WILL SEEK FIRST TO KNOW GOD'S WILL, AND PLAN ACCORDINGLY...
  3. To a great degree, this is possible, for God wants us to:
  4. Understand His Will - Ep 5:17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is
  5. Be filled with His Will - Co 1:9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
  6. Prove His Will - Ro 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
  7. When we know God's "revealed" will from our study of the Bible, then we can act or plan accordingly
  8. The right way to plan is to show our submission to God by leaving our plans subject to His will – Do we pray, God will this bring you Glory

  Mt 7:7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

  1. There is also God's "permissive" will

Now let's look at the "wrong" way in "Making Our Plans"

  1. WE CAN IGNORE GOD'S WILL – What are our motivations
  2. v13-15 TO PLAN THIS WAY IS FOLLY
  3. Because life is COMPLEX (v13)
  4. So many decisions to make, so many mistakes might be made

If it's possible to know God's will on any matter, that would increase the likelihood that our decisions and plans will be correct

  1. Because life is UNCERTAIN (v14a)
  2. No one has a guarantee of tomorrow

Luke 12:16-26 – Parable of the rich man – your soul will be required

Pr 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.

Gal 1:6-7 Sow you reap

  1. Only God can bring about what He wills for the future without fail
  2. Because life is FRAGILE (14b)
  3. It is like a "vapor"
  4. How quickly we can succumb to sickness or an accident illustrates how frail we really are
  5. Because life is BRIEF (14c) About 18 different descriptions in the Bible for how brief life is.
  6. "appears for a little time “Job 9:25-26 Now my days are swifter than a runner; They flee away, they see no good. 26 They pass by like swift ships, Like an eagle swooping on its prey.

Job 14:1 "Man who is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble. 2 He comes forth like a flower and fades away; He flees like a shadow and does not continue.

  1. v15 Life is short, so it is important that we do God's will and not our own - cf. 1Jn 2:17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
  2. v16 TO PLAN THIS WAY IS BOASTFUL ARROGANCE and Sin – Wrong Priorities

The word arrogance comes from the word wanderer, the person who wanders around like those who sell cure alls for everything. A person who mounted a platform or soapbox to sell phony things.

  1. To plan without taking into consideration God's will is to set ourselves up above God Himself!
  2. How could one be more arrogant than that?

Ps 37:4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.

Mt 6:33 Seek ye first

  1. TO PLAN THIS WAY IS SIN (v16-17)
  2. v16 It is sin because it involves arrogance and boasting which is evil
  3. v17 It is sin because we who are Christians know better
  4. We know what is good: to plan with God's Will in mind
  5. To do otherwise is to sin!

CONCLUSION

  1. How do we make our plans? – deo Volente – Means If God Wills was found on the letters of people who wrote them 100 years ago.
  2. If we plan without considering the will of God, then we are foolish, arrogant, and sinful!
  3. If we make our plans subject to the approval of God, then we are wise, submissive, and righteous in God's sight!
  4. What about your "plans" for eternity?
  5. There is no doubt what the Lord's will is on his subject - cf. Mt 28:19-20
  6. We can be certain if we submit to God's will He will take care of our needs

But to ignore His will is trouble

  1. Have you done "as" the Lord wills?

We need first a willingness to do God’s will when we find it

Know that His will is always in Harmony with His Word

We need to come to Him earnestly in prayer seeking His guidance in all matters

Lu 11:2 So He said to them, "When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

Psalm 40 and verse 8 he said, "I delight to do Thy will, O my God,

 The psalmist also says in Psalm 143 verse 10, "Teach me to do Thy will for Thou art my God." It's as if he is saying in one place I want to do it, and in another place I'm not sure I know how. I delight in doing it, teach me specifically how. Basic to one's relationship to Christ then is doing the will of God.

 

2
Jul
2017

JAMES 4:1-10 HOW TO END WARS OR THE TEST OF PRIDE

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James 4:1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"? 6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

Introduction

In chapter four and most of chapter five, James answers the question, "What happens when faith fails?" What if you do not exercise faith? What if you are a Christian, but you do not live by faith, believing continually what the Lord Jesus has said and done. What happens? First, wars and fighting break out, and the direct cause is a lack of prayer. Prayer is an example of faith. Prayer is the perfect expression of faith, because prayer is the manifestation of dependence upon God. James traces this whole matter of wars, fighting, arguments, and disagreements among us to a lack of prayer. That is the trouble. We fight with each other because we do not ask God for anything. We do not take from him the nature of love and compassion that he offers us, but we would rather lash out at one another and fight with one another. So it is a direct result of the lack of faith that wars and fighting break out.  A depending on self instead of God.

Daniel 2:21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding.

He gives us two reasons for worldliness in the church

Our desires and envy.

  1. War is a fact of life in spite of treaties and world peace organizations
  2. But can you believe wars between believers in Christ
  3. He describes three types of conflicts going on in the world
  4. WAR WITH EACH OTHER (v1, 11-12)

 V1Surely "brethren" ought to live together in love and harmony

Ps 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!

  1. Yet often they do not
  2. Lot quarreled with Abraham
  3. Absalom created a war with his father David
  4. The disciples of Jesus argued over who would be greatest
  5. Paul and Barnabas had great conflict over John Mark
  6. Churches in the New Testament often had problems...
  7. At Corinth

1) Brethren were suing each other

2) They were competing in the public assemblies

  1. In Galatia - brethren were "biting and devouring" one another
  2. Even at Philippi - two women were having trouble getting along with each other
  3. In this epistle James gives several kinds of conflicts among brethren:
  4. Class wars (upper class, middle class, and lower class - 2:1-9
  5. Employment wars - 5:1-6
  6. Church fights - 1:19-20; 3:13-18
  7. Personal wars
  8. Notice 4:11-12 we are admonished not to speak evil, nor to judge one another

The consequences of worldliness -1. A lack of prayer corporately or individually with God

  1. WAR WITHIN OURSELVES (1-3)
  2. Our desire for things to satisfy our pleasures (like power, possessions, etc.) is what makes us fight with others
  3. Putting it simply, the key problem is "SELFISHNESS"
  4. SUCH SELFISH DESIRES LEAD TO...
  5. Wrong Actions (2)
  6. "you murder...you fight and war"
  7. not literally, but certainly so in God's sight – an ongoing attitude of hate towards someone

1Jn 3:15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

  1. Wrong Praying (3)
  2. The kind of praying that goes unanswered
  3. Because the prayers are for selfish motives

Man finds it hard to get what he wants, because he does not want the best; God finds it hard to give because He would give the best, and man will not take it.

George MacDonald

III. WAR WITH GOD (4-10)

  1. Here is the root cause of every war!
  2. Rebellion against God!
  3. ...those at war with others are also at war within themselves...
  4. ...because they are first at war with God!
  5. HOW DOES A BELIEVER DECLARE WAR AGAINST GOD?
  6. By being friendly with God's enemies!
  7. James mentions three enemies we must not associate with if we want to be at peace with God:

The World (v4) That is, human society that is contrary to God

  1. a) Any conduct, belief, thought...which is anti-God, anti-Christ

   To be a friend of such...Makes one an enemy of God!

  1. Makes one a spiritual adulterer or adultereress!

Suppose that in a certain community lives a man and his wife who love each other very much. Across the street lives a man who develops a hatred for the woman’s husband. One night he invades their home and kills him. Although he is arrested, a loophole in the law allows him to escape punishment, and he is released to return to the community. Now imagine that in a few short weeks you see the widow and her husband’s murderer walking down the street together. Her hand is slipped into his arm and she looks smilingly into his face. She says to him, “I’m so happy.” What would you say about a woman like that? Surely, you would brand her as disloyal to her husband’s memory and unworthy to bear his name. We must never forget that this godless world hated Jesus enough to kill Him. One who walks hand in hand with a system headed by our Lord’s enemies and becomes friendly with them is disloyal to Jesus Christ. Only those who keep themselves “unspotted from the world” (James 1:27) have a right to bear the name Christian. Let’s avoid all unholy alliances. -P.R.V. Quoted from Our Daily Bread

2 Co 6: 17 “Therefore ‘Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 18 ‘I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty’.”

  1. The Flesh (v1,5)

   1) The unlawful desires that would lead us away from God

   2) These desires wage war within us, but we must not give in to them

1Pe 2:11-12 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

3) Such desires are in direct conflict to what the Spirit of God would have us to be and do

Ga 5:16-17 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

4) To submit to these unlawful desires (works) of the flesh sets one contrary to God and His Spirit!

  1. The Devil (v6-7) v6 parallels Romans 12.1

1) Pride is Satan's greatest temptation

2) When we give into pride, we become friends of the devil and enemies of God

  1. v7 HOW TO ENJOY PEACE WITH GOD
  2. Submit To God (v7)
  3. Literally, "get into your proper rank"
  4. Unconditional surrender to God is the only way to victory!
  5. Submission is saying: "Not my will, but Thine be done" Luke 22:42
  6. Resist The Devil (v7)
  7. He is behind every war that we have
  8. But if we just resist, then he will flee!

James 4:7“Like many sheep ranchers in the West, Lexy Fowler has tried just about everything to stop crafty coyotes from killing her sheep. She has used odor sprays, electric fences, and ‘scare-coyotes.’ She has slept with her lambs during the summer and has placed battery-operated radios near them. She has corralled them at night, herded them at day. But the southern Montana rancher has lost scores of lambs—fifty last year alone. “Then she discovered the llama—the aggressive, funny-looking, afraid-of-nothing llama. ’Llamas don’t appear to be afraid of anything,’ she said. ‘When they see something, they put their head up and walk straight toward it. That is aggressive behavior as far as the coyote is concerned, and they won’t have anything to do with that. Coyotes are opportunists, and llamas take that opportunity away.’” Apparently llamas know the truth of what James writes: “Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you” (4:7). The moment we sense his attack through temptation is the moment we should face it and deal with it for what it is. Barry McGee, Denver Post

  1. Draw Near To God (v8)
  2. And He will draw near to us!
  3. How do we do this?

   1) "Cleanse your hands" - Get your sins forgiven!

   2) "Purify your hearts" - Be single-minded in your devotion to God! (not double-minded, like a spiritual adulterer)

Ps 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.

Pr 1:28 Then will they call upon me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they shall not find me:

 Pr 8:17 I love them that love me; And those that seek me diligently shall find me.

 Isa 58:2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways: as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God, they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near unto God.

 Jer 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

 Ho 5:15 I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me earnestly.

  1. Humble Yourselves In The Sight Of God (v9-10)
  2. It's possible to submit outwardly and not be humble inwardly
  3. True mourning for our sins is how we can humble ourselves before God
  4. The end result of such humility. God will lift you up! - v10

1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,

CONCLUSION

  1. If we obey these four instructions, then God will draw near to us, cleanse us, and forgive us!
  2. ONLY THEN WILL THE "WARS" CEASE!
  3. For we will not be at war with God
  4. So we will not be at war within ourselves
  5. And we will not be at war with others!
  6. As Solomon wrote in the Book of Proverbs:

When a man's ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. (Proverbs 16:7)

Are we diligent in making sure our ways are pleasing to the Lord?

26
Jun
2017

JAMES 3.13-18 HEAVENLY WISDOM VERSUS EARTHLY WISDOM OR THE TEST OF WISDOM PART 2

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James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (NKJV)

CONCLUSION

 Certainly when we compare their ORIGIN, NATURE and FRUITS, the wisdom to be preferred is "HEAVENLY WISDOM"

 What kind of wisdom do we have?

  • Those who have "EARTHLY WISDOM" boast of theirs (14)
  • While those who have "HEAVENLY WISDOM" show theirs by their good conduct done in meekness (13)

 What kind of wisdom do we want?

  • If EARTHLY, then no effort is necessary
  •       1) Just do what the world tells you
  •       2) Just do what feels right
  1. But if HEAVENLY, then we must be diligent
  •       To demonstrate such wisdom by our conduct
  •     To seek such wisdom from God
  • What kind of wisdom do you have in regards to the gospel of Christ?
  • EARTHLY WISDOM makes no response to the gospel, or if any, only that which is convenient
  • HEAVENLY WISDOM receives the commands of the gospel joyfully and obediently - cf. Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:38

 Have you demonstrated "HEAVENLY WISDOM"?

 

18
Jun
2017

JAMES 3:8-17 HEAVENLY WISDOM VERSUS EARTHLY WISDOM OR THE TEST OF WISDOM

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What is the wisdom of the world? You deserve the best, get all you can no matter how you get it. He who dies with the most toys wins. Use people, lie, cheat, steal use women, to get what you want. Don’t deny yourself anything. Psychiatrists can help you; the Bible is a fairy tale.  Man’s wisdom was a spiritual plague in Jerusalem and Paul addressed this in his first letter to the Corinthians

Isaiah 29:14 Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work among this people, A marvelous work and a wonder; For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden."

1Corinth 1:18- 2:9, 13-14, 16, 3:18-21

  1. In the Old Testament book of Proverbs, we are encouraged to seek after wisdom

Pr 3:13-18; 4:7-9

Pr 11:30 ¶ The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.

Ps 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.

 Pr 1:7 ¶ The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Pr 9:10 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Solomon in 2Ch 1:10 "Now give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this great people of Yours?"11 And God said to Solomon: "Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life-but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king-12 "wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like."

Pr 4:5 Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.

 Pr 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.

 Pr 16:16 ¶ How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.(NKJV)

Ps 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good.

 Ps 53:1 A Contemplation of David.>> The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; There is none who does good.

De 4:5 "Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. 6 "Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.'

Chapter 2

  1. Likewise, in the New Testament we are exhorted to walk with wisdom

Ep 5:15-17

  1. But in Ja 3:13-18, we learn that there is more than just one kind of wisdom (READ)
  2. Today we will take a look at what James describes as "Heavenly Wisdom Vs. Earthly Wisdom"

v13 Who is wise and understanding Let him show it by his conduct.

Jas 3:13 ¶ Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct (General Conduct) that his works (Specific acts of Conduct) are done in the meekness of wisdom. and even shown by (our attitude (Meekness)

General Conduct, Specific acts of Conduct and even shown by (our attitude (Meekness)

Meekness or power under control

v14 If you have bitter envying and strife, don’t lie against the truth

Romans 2:20-24

James does so by making several contrasts;

  1. A CONTRAST or difference IN THEIR "ORIGIN"

1john 2:15-16 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world----the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life----is not of the Father but is of the world.

  1. EARTHLY WISDOM IS NOT FROM ABOVE (15)
  2. It is EARTHLY
  3. Worldly Wisdom that is according to the world's standards
  4. But this wisdom is foolishness to God

1Co 1:20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

  1. It is SENSUAL
  2. Appealing to the senses, the emotions, the passions
  3. Wisdom according to what FEELS right (but that doesn't make it right)
  4. It is DEMONIC
  5. The kind of wisdom possessed by the devil and his angels
  6. A wisdom that often finds its origin in the influences of Satan!
  7. HEAVENLY WISDOM IS FROM ABOVE (17) Job 28:27 Then He saw wisdom and declared it; He prepared it, indeed, He searched it out. 28 And to man He said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.'"
  8. It comes from GOD - cf. Ja 1:17
  9. It comes via PRAYER - cf. Ja 1:5-8
  10. A CONTRAST or difference IN THEIR "CHARACTERISTICS"
  11. EARTHLY WISDOM (14,16)
  12. Full of BITTER ENVY
  13. Possessing SELF-SEEKING IN THE HEART

Phil 2:3-5 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

  1. This wisdom commends as virtues such qualities as:
  2. Power or authority to force others to do whatever you want them to do
  3. Position or prominence, a standing in society
  4. Privilege or freedom from rules others are held to
  5. Prestige or fame which leads to conceit

2corinth 10:12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

  1. It was this kind of wisdom...
  2. That prompted Satan and his angels to rebel against God

Isaiah 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.'

  1. That prompted the disciples to argue over who would be the greatest in the kingdom Mt 18:1
  2. HEAVENLY WISDOM (17) Wisdom is always linked to good behavior and equated to salvation The fear of the Lord is wisdom, Mt 7:26 wise builder, Mt 24 wise servant, Mt 25 Wise virgins and 5 foolish, 1Co 1:22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;

 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,  24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

Pr 4:13 Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; Keep her, for she is your life.

  1. It is first PURE or uncontaminated by worldly desires
  2. Above all else, it is true to God's Will
  3. Not one to compromise truth for the sake of peace

Ga 1:8-9 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

  1. Then it is PEACEABLE
  2. Holding firm to the truth, it makes every effort to be at peace - cf. Ro 12:18
  3. For example, speaking the truth in an attitude of love -cf. Ep 4:15
  4. GENTLE - Manner
  5. That is, kind in one's dealings with others
  6. Not harsh, even when right and dealing with those who differ

2 Ti 2:24-25 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,25  in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,

  1. WILLING TO YIELD
  2. Not in matters of truth
  3. But in matters of opinion - Ro 14:1 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.
  4. In matters of liberty - Ro 14:19-21 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. 21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.
  5. FULL OF MERCY
  6. Quick to forgive the offenses of others
  7. Wisely understanding one's own need of mercy - cf. Ja 2:13
  8. Producing GOOD FRUITS
  9. Notice verse 13, where it says we are to show by our conduct our true wisdom and understanding
  10. This wisdom takes one beyond being a HEARER to being a DOER

            Ja 1:22

  1. Understanding that "faith without works is dead" - Ja 2:26
  2. WITHOUT PARTIALITY
  3. Showing no respect of persons - cf. Ja 2:1-13
  4. Rather, treating all fairly, on the same basis
  5. WITHOUT HYPOCRISY
  6. Indicating that all of the above is not an "act", a "show"
  7. But that it comes from a heart desiring to please God, not man In contrast, the wisdom God gives has several characteristics. It is pure, meaning free of the defilements mentioned. It is peaceable, namely, peace loving, peace-practicing, and peace-yielding. It is gentle or considerate of

others. It is reasonable, that is, open to reason and willing to yield to reasonable requests. It is full of mercy in that it is actively sympathetic to the needy, and it is full of good fruits (good works). It is unwaveringly single-minded in its devotion to God rather than double-minded. It is, finally, without hypocrisy, namely, true to appearances. "Thus 'purity' is not just one quality among others but the

key to them all."

[Certainly the superiority of "Heavenly Wisdom" over "Earthly Wisdom" is apparent in this passage.

III. A CONTRAST or difference IN THEIR "FRUITS"

  1. EARTHLY WISDOM (16)
  2. Causes CONFUSION
  3. And EVERY EVIL THING
  4. Makes you wonder what kind of wisdom...
  5. Is behind church splits
  6. Is often manifested in some congregational meetings
  7. HEAVENLY WISDOM (18)
  8. Produces PEACE, instead of confusion
  9. Bears the fruit of RIGHTEOUSNESS, instead of every evil thing

This list is like the fruit of the spirit (gal 5:22-23)

CONCLUSION

  1. Certainly when we compare their ORIGIN, NATURE and FRUITS, the wisdom to be preferred is "HEAVENLY WISDOM"
  2. What kind of wisdom do we have?
  3. Those who have "EARTHLY WISDOM" boast of theirs (14)
  4. While those who have "HEAVENLY WISDOM" show theirs by their good conduct done in meekness (13)
  5. What kind of wisdom do we want?
  6. If EARTHLY, then no effort is necessary

      1) Just do what the world tells you

      2) Just do what feels right

  1. But if HEAVENLY, then we must be hardworking

      1) To seek such wisdom from God

      2) To demonstrate such wisdom by our conduct

  1. What kind of wisdom do you have in regards to the gospel of Christ?
  2. EARTHLY WISDOM makes no response to the gospel, or if any, only that which is convenient
  3. HEAVENLY WISDOM receives the commands of the gospel joyfully and obediently

Mk 16:15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mt 28:19-20  "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

 Have you demonstrated "HEAVENLY WISDOM"?

11
Jun
2017

JAMES 3:2-12 THE TEST OF USE OF OUR THE TONGUE

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James 3:2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Indeed, we put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.

 V2. Because we all "stumble in many things"

  1. Everyone has faults, and with many people the improper use of the tongue is a major one
  2. But it takes spiritual maturity ("a perfect man") not to stumble in word!

This should not discourage any from trying to find out if teaching is a gift that they might have if nurtured along, but one should proceed with humility and caution.

  1. THE UNTAMABLE TONGUE v3-12
  2. THE ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE BIT AND RUDDER v3-4

V3 A bit controls a horse Psalm 39:1 I said, "I will guard my ways, Lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, While the wicked are before me."

V4 1. A rudder controls the ship

  1. So our tongue controls the body... Sequence is Think, say, do.
  2. If you speak a lie, it won't be long before you find yourself living a lie
  3. If you speak suggestively in an evil manner, it won't be long before you begin acting evil!
  4. The power of the tongue to direct is easily applied to the dangers of teaching...
  5. The teacher can easily set the mood or direct the crowd in an encouraging way, or just as easily direct the crowd in a discouraging way
  6. the power to direct by the tongue should humble those who teach
  7. THE ILLUSTRATION OF A LITTLE FIRE v5-6

V5 A small fire can easily cause great destruction (Great Chicago Fire 1million acres in 3 states)

  1. A loose tongue can ruin one's reputation… boasting
  2. It can also destroy churches, families, friendships, business’s

v6 James describes an uncontrolled tongue as;

  1. A fire, Prov 26:20-26
  2. A world of evil or iniquity
  3. So set among our bodies that it defiles the whole body

Ecclesiastes 5:6 Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands?

  1. That which sets on fire the course of nature, sphere of influence it destroys everything around you
  2. That which is itself set on fire by hell! 2Kings 23:10 And he defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molech. King Josiah removed the idols, the valley became a refuse heap which always burned

The Devil is described as an accuser of the brethren Rev 12:10,

The Devil is described as a liar and murder John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

  1. Should not this power to destroy and corrupt both ourselves and others caution us in becoming teachers?
  2. THE DIFFICULTY OF TAMING THE TONGUE v7-12

V7 Despite being able to tame wild animals, man is unable to tame the tongue!

Gen 1:26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. Gen 9:2 again we have control after the flood

 V8 It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison! Ps 140:3 They sharpen their tongues like a serpent; The poison of asps is under their lips.

Ps 52:1-5

Gossip -  Prov 17:9 He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends.

Pastor’s advice Woman was told to cut the hole in a pillow, the next day go back and pick them up

PG 62 poem about gossip

Flattery - Ps 55:21 The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, But war was in his heart; His words were softer than oil, Yet they were drawn swords.

Ps 64:3-8

  1. By himself no MAN can tame the tongue, But with GOD'S help, we can tame it

Ps 141:3 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.

  1. And with GOD'S help, we MUST tame it

Ep 4:29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Co 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

V9-10 As one more example of how difficult it is to tame the tongue, James uses a very common (and fitting) problem

  1. blessing God and cursing men
  2. Something we are very likely to do, even on Sundays

    1) We spend time in worship, blessing God

    2) But after church, someone may give us a hard time for going to church or irritate us somehow

  1. Racists and bigots are often guilty of "blessing God and cursing men"!

v11-12 The illustrations of a spring, a fig tree and a grapevine, James shows the inconsistency of this!

  1. What comes forth is a true indication of what is inside
  2. Just as Jesus taught in

Mk 7:20-23 And He said, "What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 "thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 "All these evil things come from within and defile a man."

  1. Despite all the praises we offer God, it is the curses against man that reveals the true person inside!

In CONCLUSION

  1. These examples of the misuse of the tongue should humble and caution all those who would become teachers
  2. But they should also serve as a warning for us all, whether we teach or not, that we need to seek God's help in controlling the tongue!

May David's prayer be our own:

 Psalms 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Lastly, remember v11-12

The true believer in Jesus Christ will not contradict his profession of faith by the regular use of nasty and offensive words

Mt 7:15-23

Do you know Christ? If so prove it by taming your tongue with God’s help

If not then, trust Him today:

4
Jun
2017

JAMES 3:1 THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE TEACHING POSITION

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James 3:1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.

Let Not Many Of You Become Teachers or the Test of The Tongue

This is a time where "verbal abuse" is epidemic, and where "self-proclaimed teachers" teach all sorts of wrong things and claim to be an expert. The Tongue can encourage, discourage, gossip, flatter, curse

Moses spoke rashly with his lips Psalms 106:32-33, Isaiah said he was a man of unclean lips in Isaiah 6:5, Job in 40:4 Behold I am vile, what shall I answer you. I lay my hand over my mouth, Mt 26:33 Peter, I will never be made to stumble, before he denied Christ

If you can control your tongue you should be able to control the rest of your body

4 other times in James he talks about the tongue: 1:19, 26, 2:12, 4:11, and 5:12

  1. THE "WARNING" v1-2

   V1 "LET NOT MANY OF YOU BECOME TEACHERS"

  1. James doesn’t say, "Let not many BE teachers", But rather, "Let not many of you BECOME teachers"
  2. This passage is not talking only of those who try to BE teachers before they are ready, but a warning that many should not even BECOME teachers in the future!
  3. Not EVERYONE should become a teacher at some point in their service to Christ!
  4. Paul illustrated time and again that the body of Christ has many members, and not all members have the same function or spiritual gift

         1) To the saints at Rome - Ro 12:3-8

         2) To the church at Corinth - 1Co 12:12-31

1Co 12:29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?

  1. Peter taught that that we should use our spiritual gifts to the fullest

1Pe 4:10-11 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Every believer is to teach, but not all are gifted to be in the office of teacher/preacher

He 5:12-14 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

WHY MANY SHOULD NOT BECOME TEACHERS -Always telling others what to do. I’m in charge

  1. Teachers shall receive "a stricter judgment" Mt 25:21 "His lord said to him, `Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'
  2. There is great responsibility involved in teaching others, lead to truth or lead them to error
  3. Just as with elders those who teach will be held accountable if they mislead others!

He 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

 

28
May
2017

JAMES 2:14-26 WHAT KIND OF FAITH DO YOU HAVE PART 2?

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  1. v20-26 DYNAMIC FAITH or Real, Living Faith, Saving Faith

WHAT KIND OF FAITH IS THIS?

  1. We know from other passages that this faith is based upon the Word of God

Ro 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

  1. Saving faith involves the WHOLE MAN

1) The MIND understands the truth about Christ

2) The HEART rejoices in the truth with sorrow over sin and joy over God’s mercy and grace(This is called repentance)

3) The WILL acts upon the truth submitting to Christ and trusts in Him alone as the only hope of salvation.

  1. True, saving faith, then, LEADS TO ACTION

It is not intellectual examination

It is not emotionalism

It is that which leads to repentance, trusting in Christ and authentic obedience in doing good works

TO ILLUSTRATE, JAMES REFERS TO TWO WELL-KNOW PERSONS: ABRAHAM & RAHAB

You could not find two more different people, shows that salvation is offered to everyone

Abraham was the father of the Jews; Rahab was a Gentile!

Abraham was a godly man; Rahab had been a sinful woman, a harlot, a prostitute

Abraham was the friend of God; Rahab had belonged to the enemies of God!

What did they have in common? Both exercised saving faith in God!

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

Hebrews 11: 31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.

   V 20-24 Abraham demonstrated his saving faith by his works

Ge 15:6 And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

30 years before he offered Isaac in Gen 22, believed He and Isaac would return Gen 22:5

Romans 4

Ga 3:5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? -- 6 ¶ just as Abraham "believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed." 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.  

V 25-26 Rahab demonstrated her saving faith by her works

Jos 2:8 ¶ Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, 9 and said to the men: "I know that the LORD has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. 10 "For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.

 11 "And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.

  1. We learn from this passage that:

 v17,20,26 Faith without works is a DEAD faith –

 v24 That "faith only" (the only time this phrase is found in the Scriptures) cannot justify one

 v22 That PERFECT faith necessitates works

CONCLUSION …..Friend of daughter only 18 in a car wreck probably will die or be paralyzed for life

  1. It is important that each professing Christian examine his or her own heart and life, and make sure that they possess true saving faith
  2. Satan is the great deceiver; one of his devices is imitation a. If he can convince a person that counterfeit faith is true faith then he has that person in his power!
  3. Here are some questions we need to ask ourselves as we examine our faith:

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? ----unless indeed you are disqualified.

      Was there a time when I honestly realized I was a sinner and admitted this to myself and to God?

   Was there a time when my heart stirred me to flee from the wrath to come?  Have I ever been seriously sorry for my sins?

   Do I truly understand the gospel, that Christ died for MY sins and then rose again?  Do I understand and confess that I cannot save myself?

   Did I sincerely repent of my sins, making the decision to turn from them?  Do I now hate sin and fear God?  Or do I secretly love sin and want to enjoy it?

   Have I trusted Christ and Him alone for my salvation by responding to the commands He has given?  Have I confessed my faith in Christ and then been baptized as Jesus and His apostles commanded? Baptism is commanded as a witness to others that you have been saved.

   Has there been a change in my life?  Do I maintain good works, or are my good works occasional and weak?  Do I seek to grow in the things of the Lord?  Can others tell that I know Jesus?

   Do I have a desire to share Christ with others?  Or am I ashamed of Him?

   Do I enjoy the fellowship of God's people?  Is worship a delight to me?

   Am I ready for the Lord's return?  Or will I be ashamed when He comes for me?

May our prayer be similar to that of that of David in Psalms 139:23-24

             "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties; "And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."