Month: April 2017

What Difference Does the Resurrection Make to Me?

What Difference Does the Resurrection Make to Me?

*** Trigger Warning *** The Fact of the Empty Tomb:

 

Dr. Gary Habermas

“Every single shred of evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is also evidence for my eventual resurrection.”

 

John 11:25, p. 760

Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.’” 

 

Early Accounts

1 Corinthians 15:3-4, p. 815

“I passed on to you what I received, which is of the greatest importance: that Christ died for our sins, as written in the Scriptures; that he was buried, and was raised to life on the third day as written in the Scriptures.”  (TEV)

 

Empty Tomb

Luke 24:3, p. 748

“So they went in (the tomb) but the Lord Jesus’ body was gone.” (LB)

  • Most powerful fact about Jesus’ tomb: everybody admitted that it was empty!

 

Eyewitness Testimony

1 Corinthians 15:5-8, p. 815

“He appeared to Peter, and men to the Twelve.  After that, he appeared to more man five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also…”  (NIV)

 

Emergence of the Church

Acts 2:14, 32, p. 771

“Then Peter stood up… raised his voice and addressed the crowd. . . ‘God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.’”

  • Nobody knowingly and willingly allow themselves to be tortured to death for something that isn’t true.

 

What difference does the Resurrection mean to me?

  • Establishes the authority of Jesus in my life.

Jesus is Lord; not lunatic nor liar.

Mark 14:61-62, p. 721

Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”   

“I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 

Mark 2:10-12, p. 708

“But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” 

  • Enables me to have eternal life

John 11:25, p. 760

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”   

  • Empowers me to have faith and live an obedient life

Hebrews 11:1, p. 851

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” 

Hebrews 11:6, p. 851

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” 

Hebrews 12:2, p. 852

“Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

 

Through the Holy Spirit to work in my life as He:

  • Gives me faith in Christ (1 Corinthians 12:3, p. 813)
  • New life in Christ (John 3:3-8, p. 751)
  • Renewal in Christ (Titus 3:5-6, p. 845)
  • Leads me (Romans 3:14, p. 797)
  • Writes God’s word upon my heart (2 Corinthians 3:3, p. 817)
  • Seals my eternity (Ephesians 1:13, p. 827; 4:30, p. 829)
  • Indwells me with inner refreshment as an ever-flowing river of living water (John 14:17, p. 764; Romans 8:9, p. 800; 1 Corinthians 3:16, p. 808)

 

 

 

The Five Solas: Part 4

The Five Solas: Part 4

Solus Christus: Through Christ Alone

Sunday, April 8, 2017

In your life what or whom do you look to for help?

Whom or what do you turn to find answers for life?

Where do you go to find eternal life?

When life’s challenges and struggles are overwhelming to what or whom do you go?

A woman caught (or set-up) in adultery turns to the only one who can and will help her.

 

John 8:2-11, p. 757

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.  The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group  and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”  They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.  When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.”   At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.  Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

 “No one, sir,” she said.   “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Facing a Treacherous Enemy who seeks your destruction (v.3-5)

Our ultimate enemy is Satan; Satan’s character is deceitful, devious and cunning as in a variety of guises he seeks to influence people for his own ends.

 

1 Peter 5:8, p. 859

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

 

He is evil (Matthew 6:13, p. 685)

He is a liar (John 8:44, p. 758)

He is devious (2 Corinthians 11:14, p. 821)

He is scheming (Ephesians 6:11, p. 830)

He is a slanderer (Job 1:9-11, p. 360; 1 Timothy 5:14-15, p. 840)

He deceives individuals (1 Timothy 2:14, p. 839)

 

Powerless on Your Own (v.5)

Romans 3:23, p. 797

“…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 

 

Isaiah 64:6, p. 531

“We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.” 

 

Salvation through Christ alone: Solus Christus (v7-10)

 Acts 4:12, p. 773

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” 

 

Romans 3:24-25, p. 797

“And all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.” 

 

This woman found mercy and grace in the eyes of Jesus.

This woman found redemption in the words of Jesus.

What will you find today?

 

The Five Solas: Part 3

The Five Solas: Part 3

Sola Gratia: Grace Alone

Sunday, April 2, 2017

 

Dark Human Condition

 

Psalm 51:5, p. 405

“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”

 

Ephesians 2:1-2, p. 827

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” 

 

Romans 3:23, p. 797; Psalm 14:1-3, p. 388

“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.”

 

Jeremiah 17:9, 549

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?” 

 

John 3:19, 752

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” 

 

Romans 6:26, p. 799

“For the wages of sin is death.” 

 

Hopeless

Isaiah 64:6 NLT, p. 531

“We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.” 

 

Unregenerate man will never respond in faith to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Good News

Luke 19:10, p. 743

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

 

Luke 15:1-7

“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable:  “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?  And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.

 

Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’  I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”  

 

Acts 26:17-18, p. 793

“I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”

 

God’s Grace (unmerited favour) is:

 

God initiated

John 3:16, p. 752

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” 

 

God sustained

Ephesians 2:3-5, p. 827

“All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” 

 

God secured

Ephesians 2:6-9, p. 827

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

 

What will your response be right now?   

 

Seek God’s gift

Accept God’s gift

Exercise God’s gift

The Five Solas: Part 2

The Five Solas: Part 2

Sola Fide: Faith Alone

Sunday, March 26, 2017

 

In our “natural” fallen state we tend to rely on our own “efforts” to make ourselves “acceptable” to our Holy God.

 

We often try to live our lives on our own strength and wisdom putting God in a box and pulling Him out only as a last resort. 

 

This is not living by faith but by sight; this “natural” tendency does not lead to abundant life but to a cold spiritually lifeless existence.

 

When we discover what “faith” really is and the reality of “saving faith” then we can begin to live with meaning, purpose and power.

 

The Apostle Paul says, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

 

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:1-10, p. 827)

 

Sola Fide is from the Latin: sola having the idea of “alone,” “only” and the word fide meaning “faith” —Faith Alone.

 

Sola Fide means that Faith alone is by God’s grace through “faith” in Christ alone and not by our “works” is a key truth of the Bible that distinguishes Biblical Christianity from most cults. 

 

Most other religions and cults teach that you salvation is through your “works” but the Bible clearly states that your salvation is by God’s Grace through your living saving “faith.”

 

But… but… but… what about James 2:24? (p. 855) Some of my Catholic friends may ask:

 

“You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.” 

 

Context is everything

In James 2:1 through 12, James is dealing with the problem of some in his church showing favouritism and the importance of loving everyone; then James addresses the issue of “dead” faith verses “living” or “saving” faith in verses 13 through to 24.

 

James is qualifying the type of “faith” Paul is referring to in his Ephesians’ letter.

Four Works of God for Us

 

  1. God loves us (v. 4)
  • Love is one of God’s intrinsic attributes (1 John 4:8, “God is love,” p. 863)
  • We are saved by God’s mercy (God does not give us what we deserve) and God’s grace (God gives us what we do not deserve – Salvation is a gift not reward) result of God’s love for us
  • At the cross at Calvary God displayed His hatred for sin and His love for sinners (Romans 5:8, p.798; John 3:16, p. 752)

 

  1. God resurrects us (v.5)
  • God made us alive even when we were dead in our sins
  • Power to resurrect through His Holy Spirit by His Word
  • Examples in the New Testament: widow’s son (Luke 7:11-17, p. 730); Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:49-56, p. 732); Lazarus (John 11, p. 760)

 

  1. God exults us (vs. 6)
  • Our physical position is currently on earth but our spiritual position is “in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”

 

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going… I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  (John 14:1-6, p. 763)

 

  1. God keeps us (vv. 7-9)
  • God’s purpose in our salvation and redemption is not just to rescue us from hell
  • God’s ultimate purpose is for our salvation for all eternity as Christ’s church glorifies God through His Grace

 

The completed work of Christ on the cross:  “It is finished” (John 19:30, p. 768)

 

Penal Substitution Atonement (Expiation: cover our sins)

  • Jesus died in your place
  • Took your sin upon Himself and became sin for you
  • Endured your punishment for your sins

 

Propitiation

  • Christ becomes our substitute and assumes our obligations
  • Expiated our guilt

 

Hebrews 2:17, p. 847

“For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.”

 

Be part of God’s Faith Family of Followers

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,  by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

 

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  

(Hebrews 10:19-25, p. 851)

The Five Solas: Part 1

The Five Solas: Part 1

Sola Scriptura: Authority of Scripture

Sunday, March 19, 2017

 

We live in a society of competing “truth” claims, pluralism and relativism within a post-Christian culture, and the attacks on the importance and integrity of the Bible both from within and outside today’s church.

 

What or Whom has real authority in my life and in the life of this church?

 

The Apostle Paul says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 

(2 Timothy 4:16-17, p. 843)

 

Sola Scriptura is from the Latin sola, having the idea of “alone,” “ground,” “base,” and the word scriptura meaning “writings”—referring to the Scriptures.

 

If Scripture is “God-breathed,” then it is not man-breathed, and, although it was penned by men, those “men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

(2 Peter 1:21, p. 860)

 

Sola scriptura means that Scripture alone is authoritative for the faith and practice of the Christian.

 

Competing “sola’s

 

Sola Ecclesia

  • For hundreds of years the Roman Catholic Church had made its traditions superior in authority to the Bible
  • This resulted in many practices that were in fact contradictory to the Bible
  • Some examples are prayer to saints and/or Mary, the immaculate conception, transubstantiation, infant baptism, indulgences, and papal authority

 

Martin Luther (founder of the Lutheran Church and one of the key leaders of the Protestant Reformation) was publicly rebuking the Catholic Church for its unbiblical teachings.  The Catholic Church threatened Martin Luther with excommunication (and death) if he did not recant. Martin Luther’s reply was, “Unless therefore I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture, or by the clearest reasoning, unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted, and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the Word of God, I cannot and will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other; may God help me! Amen!”

 

Sola Cultura

  • Secular culture has authority over one’s life and the church
  • Truth is ultimately defined by our culture

 

Cultural Marxism:  Dominant in our universities, main stream media, and other social institutions. The gradual process of destroying all traditions, languages, religions, individuality, government, family, law and order in order to re-assemble society in the future as a communist utopia. This utopia will have no notion of gender, traditions, morality, god or even family or the state.

 

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”  (Colossians 2:8, p. 834)

 

The sufficiency of Scripture is under attack today, and, sadly, that attack comes far too often in our own churches.  Management techniques, worldly methods of drawing crowds, entertainment, extra-biblical revelations, mysticism, and some forms of psychological counselling all declare that the Bible and its precepts are not adequate for the Christian life.

 

Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me.”

(John 10:27, p. 760)

 

As Christ Followers we are to read, study and put into practice God’s Word.

 

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 7

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 7

#Challenges of Idols: Discovering True Worship

Sunday, March 12, 2017

 

#seduced by idols

Ancient idols: things made of human hands; gold, silver, stones, wood, etc.

 

Deuteronomy 4:16-19, p. 128

“You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed (seduced-NLT) into bowing down to them and worshipping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.” 

 

Israel faced the dangerous temptation of being lured into worshipping the Canaanite gods that were golden calves, cedar poles, statues, and the moon and sun.

 

Modern idols

“An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, ‘If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.’” 

—Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods

 

Modern idols could be people I know, places I go, possessions I hold, prestige I store, and the power I implore.

 

#social media magnifies my idol(s)

  • Old success augmented by new success
  • We have tended to get our self-value from the “success” of our “accomplishments and accumulated” stuff
  • The accomplishments and accumulated stuff is augmented by our social “likes” and “followers,” etc.

 

#selfie idol

Approximately 80% of what people do on social media relates to themselves.

 

Pastor Craig Groeschel researched in his church:  a couple dozen of young adult committed church attenders, servers, and known for being Christ followers admitted their addiction to social media; every person self-identified their unhealthy addiction and felt they had “lost passion for God because they are distracted by their passion for social media and technology.”

 

“…Our news feeds can be full, but our hearts and souls empty.  Anytime we allow our souls to be consumed with anything other than God, we will never be satisfied.”

 

Exodus 20:3-5, p. 54

“You shall have no other gods before me.  You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God.” 

 

Jesus asks us, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world yet forfeit their soul?”

 

How much are we distracted by our “likes,” “comments,” “Pinterest pins,” “uploads,” etc., which can rob us of our focus and passion for God?  God desires to be first, not second, in our lives.

 

Be careful that your soul is not “seduced,” “distracted,” and “polluted” by this world which can poison the purity of God’s presence in your life.

 

#rich young man example:  Mark 10

He was seduced by his status and wealth and walked away sad.

 

What is your idol(s)? 

 

Did or would it go to the cross for you?

 

Your real true God went to the cross, became sin for you, died in your place and rose again to give you life.

 

Will you acknowledge, confess, repent of your sin and accept God’s gift of Salvation and put Jesus first in your life?

 

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 6

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 6

#Challenges of Constant Criticism: Discovering Encouragement

Sunday, March 5, 2017

 

#constant evaluation

Our social media culture adds to an atmosphere of constant evaluation.

 

#characteristics that create chronic critical behaviour

Anonymity: saying (typing) things one would never state in person.

 

Jesus says, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”

(Matthew 18:15, p. 695)

 

  • The right to face one’s accusers.

 

Impersonal: no personal relationship; can lead to being cold, heartless, mean, etc.

 

Apostle Paul says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.   And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  (Ephesians 4:29-32, p. 829)

 

Consumeristic: it’s all about me the consumer, my comfort and my convenience.

 

Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”  (Luke 9:23-24, p. 733)

 

Apostle Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”  (Galatians 2:20, p. 824)

 

Popularity: worrying about what people think and say about me.

  • Likes, dislikes, tweets, retweets, viral, followers, subscribers, etc.

 

 

Jesus says, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” 

(John 15:18-19, p. 764)

 

Apostle Paul says, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  (Galatians 1:10, p. 823)

 

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.”  (Proverbs 29:25, p. 470)

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 5

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 5

#Challenges of Secret Impurity: Discovering Integrity

Sunday,February 26, 2017

 

#social media pitfalls

Social media can be a great tool to connect friends and family together, quick direct communication to targeted people and other convenient uses, but there can be “pitfalls” that we can fall into. 

 

These “pitfalls” can end up poisoning our lives; pitfalls such as gossip and slander, bullying, and various online addictions such as gambling and pornography. 

 

#easy access to pornography

  • 70% of men (18-24 yrs.) visit porn sites monthly
  • 3 out of 4 regularly consume the constant destructive and dehumanizing images
  • 1 out of 3 porn users are women and quickly catching up to the male users
  • 34% of church attending women admits to visiting online porn sites
  • Highest percentage of porn consumers are children 12 to 17 years
  • More than 1 in 5 teenage girls admit to have posted nude or seminude images of themselves online

 

(Source: Pam Spaulding, “Christian Woman Increasingly Suffering from Sexual Addiction” 2007, Craig Groeschel)

 

#crack hit addiction

“Porn addiction similar to heroin or crack cocaine addiction in the brain.”

— Dr. Lasha Darkmoon, Columbia University

 

#marital infidelity

The pitfall of connecting or reconnecting with new friends or old flames through social media is a major source of temptation for a large number of users.

 

University of Texas survey: Previous studies support the conclusion that there’s a connection between social networking and marital problems…32% of heavy social media users say they’ve thought seriously about leaving their spouse, compared with 16% of people who don’t use social networks.

 

U.K. study: 1/3 of divorce filings in the U.K. contain the word Facebook in legal filings.

 

Facebook doesn’t force people to cheat, but many have the opportunities and access without the accountability.

 

#no big deal?

“Over time and with repeated use, technology is eroding both our moral beliefs and our commitment to acting on what we believe.”  —Craig Groeschel

  

Two thirds (67%) of young adult men and almost half (49%) of young adult women now believe that viewing pornography is acceptable according to a study by Daniel Weiss.

 

We are living in a morally declining culture where there “sin” is normalized.

 

Followers of Jesus Christ are called to live an authentic “clean” life, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”  (Ephesians 5:3, p. 829)

 

#setting boundaries

The Bible tells us that we are deceiving ourselves if we believe that we can flirt with lust and not have it affect our lives and souls.

 

Proverbs 5:8, p. 452

“Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house…” 

 

No one has ever simply fallen into the beauty of purity or effortlessly been able to slide into being holy but we can quickly and easily fall into the poisonous pit of lust, shame, guilt, and addiction.

 

Remember:  boundaries are not to confine me but to protect me.

 

#setting boundaries

Step 1: Honesty and Evaluation

Before we set social boundaries for ourselves we need to be honest and ask ourselves:

Where am I weak?      

Where am I vulnerable?    

What type of pit am I most likely to fall into?

 

“You are only as strong as you are honest.” —Craig Groeschel

 

After you have discovered your most vulnerable areas you will need to erect boundaries.

 

Step 2: Strategy

Confess, Repent, Seek Help, and Be Accountable .

Again, no one falls into righteousness but we (sinful human nature) stumble into sin every day, so we must be deliberate, make prayerful choices as we walk an intentional path with God’s Spirit.

 

1 Corinthians 10:13, p. 811

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”  

 

Step 3:  Commitment to Action

James 4:7-8, p. 856

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

 

Step 4:  Execute

Galatians 5:16-18, p. 826

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” 

 

 

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 4

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 4

#Challenges of Desensitization: Discovering Compassion

Sunday, February 19, 2017

 

#cause challenge

Recent major people causes: Thailand Tsunami, Missing Nigerian Girls, ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

  • Evidence of a strong correlation between sharing popular ideas and the decline of compassion as a shared cultural value

 

#study  

University of Michigan:  comprehensive study of compassion attitudes of students during a 30-year period from 1979-2009.

Results:

  • 40% less caring attitude of today’s students verses students in the 1980’s
  • Decline was noticeable within the first few years but a sharp drop during the time
  • Social media began to take hold as a cultural phenomenon

 

#conclusion

Social media rises, empathy declines.

 

  • Researchers concluded that a rise in the use of technology likely caused a decline in empathy

 

#reasons

  1. Narcissism
  2. Short attention-span: abandoned popular causes
  3. Desensitized
  4. Remote Caring: non-direct personal interaction

 

#compassion is action:  Jesus + compassion + action.

 

Matthew 14:14, p. 692

“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”

 

Matthew 20:34, p. 697

“Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.” 

 

Compassion

  • Greek: splagchnizomi means “to be moved as to one’s bowels”
  • Passion from deep inside you
  • Ache for another person

 

#true compassion demands action

  • Faith without works is dead (James 2:14-20, p. 855)
  • The more I care about myself the less I care about others
  • The more I focus on Jesus and truly follow Him the less I care about myself the more I care about others

 

#compassion will cost

  • True compassion has a price; it costs (Luke 10, parable of the Good Samaritan, p. 735)
  • Clicking is clean; compassion is messy

 

#Jesus identifies with those who suffer

Matthew 25:31-46, p. 702; a warning for us.

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 3

Journeying with Jesus in a Selfie-Centred World: Part 3

#Challenges of Control: Discovering Authenticity

Sunday,February 12, 2017

 

#selfie-obsessed?

  • Selfie hashtag has expanded over 200% since 2013
  • iPhones, smart phones, etc., have high-tech cameras where you can fix all of your images to make sure you look your best at all times

 

Luke 18:9-14, p. 742

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable:  “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

 

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

 

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  

 

#get real

The Pharisee represents our selfie-centered culture; unrealistic view of self and Holy God.

 

We try to “febreze” our stinking rotting sin:

 

Isaiah 64:6, p. 531

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;  we all shrivel up like a leaf,  and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

 

Isaiah 65:5, p. 531

Yet they say to each other, ‘Don’t come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!’ These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away.  (NLT)

 

Romans 3:10-20, p. 797

There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.   All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.

 

Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.

 

There is no fear of God before their eyes.

 

Referring to people within our churches:

 

2 Timothy 3:1-5

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,  treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

 

#get humble

  • “God, have mercy on me, a sinner”
  • Confess, repent, and receive God’s Grace and Mercy

 

#only Jesus

  • “…went home justified before God”
  • Instead of “febrezing” our decaying rotting sin allow Jesus Christ to remove all of our sin.
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