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Faithful in Forgiveness
Genesis 42:1-11, 45:1-7
“See to it that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” (Heb. 12:15) All of us struggle with bitterness at one time or another in our lives. If we’re not careful, that root of bitterness will grow up to sour our very lives and everything we touch. We need to learn from Joseph - he was faithful in forgiving his brothers.
I. Alternatives To Forgiveness
Legal Retaliation; Financial Retaliation; Verbal Retaliation; Physical
Retaliation; Retaliation Through Others; Cold Shoulder Retaliation
II. Joseph’s Response of Forgiveness
- Joseph did not immediately reveal himself to his brothers. Joseph
needed to determine if those half-brothers had changed. Gen. 42:7-8
- Joseph tested them with Hardship – He put them in prison 3 days
then held Simeon hostage until they would bring back Benjamin.
- The Brothers felt guilty about what they did to Joseph and think
God is punishing them. Gen. 42:21
- Joseph then tested them with Abundance – He gave them their
money back, threw a banquet, & fed Benjamin plenty. He had a silver
cup planted in Benjamins sack and then has him arrested – the
brothers pled for his release.
- Joseph weeps loudly, embraces the brothers, and forgives them.
III. Growing in Forgiveness
A. Don’t Retaliate - Let God Repay. Rom. 12:19
B. Do Our Part to Restore the Relationship - Rom. 12:20
C. Praise God for Our Spiritual Growth – Gen. 50:20
Joseph sets us an example in forgiveness for all of us to emulate. Will we grow in forgiveness as God desires? Will we be faithful in forgiveness?
Faithful in Good Times
The Bible is full of examples of people who began with a close walk with God but they drifted away when they became successful. The good times aren’t always so good spiritually speaking! Perhaps there is no better example of a man who handled fame, wealth, and power better than Joseph. Let’s look at Joseph’s faith story and learn.
I. The Good Times Roll For Joseph
Genesis 41 - The Cupbearer finally remembers and Joseph comes
before the King… He not only made an interpretation of the King’s
dreams; he gave a recommendation… At age 30 he becomes the 2nd
most powerful man in Egypt… He is suddenly rich & gets a powerful
signet ring & new wardrobe…he is transformed into a highly visible
II. The Good Times Aren’t Always So Good
A. Pride - Prov. 16:18; 1 Cor. 10:12
B. Indulgence - Luke 12:15, 1 Tim. 6:9, 17-18
C. False Security - Luke 12: 19-21
D. Distraction – 1 Tim. 6:6-10
III. Joseph’s Reaction To Good Times Teaches Us
A. He accepted the promotion willingly. Gen. 41:41; Prov. 29:2;
B. He was diligent for a prolonged period. Gen. 41:46; Gal. 6:9
C. He got married and he remained loyal to his wife. Gen. 41:45;
Prov. 5:15; Eph. 5:25
D. He used his position to benefit others. Gen. 41:56-57; Eph. 4:28
E. He remembered God and publicly gave him thanks without shame.
Gen. 41:51-52; Deut. 8:10-20
Let us remember… “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights...” (James 1:17)
Faithful When Tempted
Since there is so much promiscuity before marriage, since there are so many extramarital affairs, since there are so many families that are permanently scarred by sexual sin—we need God’s counsel on how we can be faithful to him when we’re faced with sexual allurement.
I. The Temptation
- Gen. 39:1-7 “So often after an U________ B__________ or G_______
A____________ comes a strong solicitation of evil.”
II. The Resistance To The Temptation
- Gen. 39:8-23 - One way to overcome temptation is N_____ G____
O______ the shock of how horrible it is.
- Gen. 39:10 “And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he R______ to
go to bed with her or even be with her.”
- Slow Fade – “It's a slow fade when you G_____ Y___________ away; It's a
slow fade when black and white are turned to G______.”
- “If you don’t intend on going in the house, stay off the front P_______.”
III. The Lessons Learned From The Temptation
A. God’s Standards are P____________; They Do Not C_________.
- Matt. 24:35; James 1:17 –God & His standard of M_____ does not change
- Liberal media defines “Tolerance”: You have to like & support it no
matter what, not doing so means you're a R________ or B_______.
- Romans 12:9 – Love… H____ what is evil and clings to that which is good.
B. Temptation is N__________ Even for the G_______
- J_________ was P________ …yet he was tempted
- Righteousness is not the absence of being tempted, but R__________
- “Take C_______ every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:5
- Erma Bombeck -“The grass is always greener over the S_____ T____ too!”
C. Victory is P___________ Through E_________
- Gen. 39:12; 2 Tim. 2:22; 1 Cor. 6:18 - F_______!
- 1 Tim. 1:18; James 4:7 1 Pet. 5:9 Don’t F_____ with Sexual Temptation
- You will not be tempted B_______ what you can B_____ - 1 Cor. 10:13
D. The Tangible R_________ for Overcoming Temptation Are Not Usually
- Gal. 6:7-9 - Let us not become weary in doing good…Don’t G____ U____.”
“He is no fool who exchanges that which he cannot keep for that which he can never lose.” – Jim Elliot
Faithful in Hard Times
Be faithful to God in Hard Times, during trouble, during the valleys and adversities of life…. Whether it’s something minor or whether it’s something major: Joseph was!
I. We Can Rise Above Domestic Disaster
A. Parents Can Make Poor Choices.
- Gen. 37:13 – Joseph’s Father failed him
- Gen. 37:4; 34:25ff – Joseph’s brothers were furious and dangerous.
- It is difficult for us to be objective about our own children
- We need to be alert to the spiritual dangers – 1 Pet. 5:8
B. Family Members Can Make Life Miserable.
- Joseph’s brothers betrayed and brutalized him. Gen. 37:13-31
- A mob often sinks to the level of its lowest participant.
- The brothers lost respect for Reuben. Gen. 35:22
- The brothers practiced deception. Gen. 37:31
II. We Can Make The Best of a Bad Situation
A. Life Can Suddenly Change for the Worse
- Joseph’s captors sold him into slavery. Gen. 37:28,36
- Job 5:7 – Accidents, Death, Sickness, Crime… All can happen quickly
B. Will We Bloom Where We Are Planted?
- Gen. 39:2 – Joseph worked and God was with Him.
- “When you walk with God, there are marks that even the people of
the world can see.”
III. We Can Learn Lessons From Hard Times
A. Life’s Comfort is Temporary – Be Thankful.
B. Life’s Difficulties Will Come – Be Ready.
C. Our Effort is Needed – Don’t Give Up.
- Gal. 6:9; Dan. 3:17-18 - Don’t give up when we don’t understand.
D. God is Always Faithful – Trust Him.
- Is. 43:2; Ps. 119:71 – There is no crown without a cross…
Will we become bitter or better when troubles come? We will be faithful or faithless? Will we trust or doubt His promises?
Faithful In A Dysfunctional Family
If you have been a part of a family where there is that sense of disintegration - Joseph is proof-positive that there is hope. We can rise above our family circumstances.
I. Being Faithful Despite Deficient Parents
- Gen. 29:22; 37:2 - There were 4 unhappy mothers in Joseph’s home! His father decided to move. Joseph’s mother died giving birth to his little brother, Benjamin.
- Our behavior right now is going to affect our children later!
- “Sins of the fathers are visited on the 3rd & 4th generation.” Num. 14:18
- “A man reaps what he sows.” Gal. 6:7
- Sin always leaves a scar.
II. Being Faithful Despite Envious Brothers.
- Jacob openly showed that Joseph was his favorite son. -Gen. 37: 3
- Any time parents show favoritism; it fans the flame of sibling rivalry.
III. Being Faithful Despite Your Own Family Failures
- Joseph had an arrogant spirit or a naïve spirit in his younger years.
3 things Joseph did to incur his brothers’ wrath:
A. He told on them. Gen. 37:2
B. He wore that special coat a lot. Even tending sheep! Gen. 37:4
- If God blesses you in a particular area, don’t flaunt it.
C. He related his dreams of superiority. Gen. 37:5-11
4 lessons we might learn from this spoiling of Joseph:
- 1. A spoiled child is…naïve about people’s reaction to them. They think “Everybody loves me. Everyone wants to serve me.”
- 2. A spoiled child is…naïve about the harsh realities of life. -They overspend; know little about self-denial; easily devastated or become bitter
- 3. A spoiled child is…naïve about the experience of marriage. Self centered & immature serious trouble arises.
- 4. A spoiled child is… naive about their relationship with God. They have a very difficult time with bitterness toward God when life gets hard.
It’s difficult to grow up in a dysfunctional family and be faithful to God…but it’s possible! Forget excuses, & Focus Forward and Upward! Joseph overcame some horrible family circumstances to become a faithful, successful servant of God. (Prov. 22:6; Rom. 8:28)
Justice Will Prevail
We see so much pain and suffering and experience it ourselves. All of this can cause us to ask, “When will it stop? When will things be made right? Why doesn’t God do something about it all?” The truth is that God has given us an unshakable promise: Justice Will Prevail.
I. R_________ Yourself, The J________ Is C__________
A. God is a J_______ God
- Psalm 37:27–29; 89:14; Isaiah 30:18; Micah 6:8
B. God has S_________ an A_________ Day to J_______ the World.
- Acts 17:31; Psalm 98:9; Isaiah 2:12; Joel 2:1; Obadiah 1:15;
Matt. 24:30; Rom. 2:5; Rev. 20:11–12 - “D_____” will be a reality!
II. R_________ Greatly, God Will J______ All M__________
A. God Will P__________ P___________ His People
- 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:10; 6:23; 1 Peter 2:24
B. God Will Applaud the S_________ of His S__________
- 1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 21:5; 20:12
C. God Will Honor the W__________ of the W___________
- Rom. 1:21,23; 20:12-15; Matt. 25:41
III. R_____ Assured, The J_____ Will Finally Bring J_______
A. God is Not S_______ I____ By – He is P__________ W_________.
- Hab. 1:3; 2 Pet. 3:9-12; 1 Tim. 4:8
B. God Will Make His U_________ R_________.
- Rev. 21:4-5; Heb. 6:19
Our Hope is Sure: “We are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” 2 Peter 3:13
There is No Condemnation in Christ
The awesome promise that we celebrate today is found in Romans 8:1 – “There is No Condemnation in Christ.” Do we understand the magnitude of this promise? Perhaps by studying condemnation we can get a glimpse of what God has done for us - that is our focus today.
I. Condemnation – Understanding Our Sources
- Societal – Guilty because society has deemed something wrong;
- Personal – Guilt felt inwardly by pressures we put on ourselves.
- Satanic – Satan is our Accuser - Gen. 3:4; Job 1:9-11; Rev. 12:10
- Spiritual – That which comes from God, His Church, His Word, the
Holy Spirit, and His people. John 16:8; Heb. 4:12; 2 Tim. 3:16; 4:2;
Matt. 18:15-17; 1 Cor. 5:9-13; 1 Thess. 5:14; Guilt is not meant to
condemn but to change -2 Cor. 7:10; Acts 2:23,36-37
II. Condemnation – Understanding Our Sentence
- Our sin separates us from God... Isaiah 59:2
- This involves every one of us…. Rom. 3:10, 23
- The result without the intervention of God – Hell - 2 Thess. 1:8-9;
Matt. 13:49-50; 25:41; Rev. 20:15
- God doesn’t desire anyone to go to Hell, God wants us all to be
saved! 2 Pet. 3:9; 1 Tim. 2:3-4
III. Condemnation – Understanding Our Salvation
- Our situation was hopeless, but God provided the Way out through
Jesus. John 3:16; Luke 19:10; Eph. 2:4–5; Mark 15:37–38; Acts 4:12
- Jesus has removed all that separated us from God. Romans 3:25;
2 Cor. 5:21; 1 John 1:9; 2 Cor. 5:17
- Heaven will be the Home of those “in Christ” – John 14:2-3;
Phil. 3:20; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; Rev. 2:10; Rom. 8:1
“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” Heb. 9:27-28
You Will Have Power
The Holy Spirit is often the neglected Person of the Trinity. Max Lucado said in his book Unshakable Hope, “Most believers settle for a two/thirds God.” The truth is: we constantly need the Spirit! (Galatians 3:3) We need the perpetual empowering presence of the Holy Spirit!
I. The Holy Spirit Enables Us To Overcome Sin
- Acts 2:38 – We have the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit
- Rom. 8:13-14 - We are led by the Spirit
- Gal. 5:16-25 – We walk by the spirit, live by the spirit, and keep in
step with the spirit
- Gal. 5:22-23 - We have the fruit of the spirit
- 2 Cor. 3:18 - We are being transformed into Jesus’ likeness through
II. The Holy Spirit Helps Us To Pray
- Rom. 8:26-27 The Spirit prays with us, for us, interprets our feelings,
searchs our hearts, & helps us pray according to God’s will.
III. The Holy Spirit Refills Us To Serve
- 2 Cor. 3:13; Acts 4:8, 31
- What action can we take to recharge our spiritual batteries? 1) We can repent of any sin that may be quenching the Spirit. 1 Thess. 5:19; Eph. 4:30, Ps. 51:11; 2) We can meditate on Scripture to be recharged. 2 Pet. 1:21; 3) We can pray daily for the filling of the Holy Spirit. Luke 11:13 4) The mutual encouragement from others can help fill us with the Spirit. Eph. 5:18 5) We can worship in spirit & truth. Ps. 68:35 6) We can exercise our spiritual gift. 2 Tim. 1:6-7
IV. The Holy Spirit Marks Us As God’s
- Rom. 8:16 - The Spirit testifies we are God’s children
- Eph. 1:13-14 – The Spirit is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance
- 1 John 5:13 – We can know we have eternal life
- 1 Cor. 15:42-44; 51-54 – The Spirit will raise us to a new body
Let us not walk our Spiritual journey without the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us not neglect the awesome benefits of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is Praying for You
“What does Jesus do when we are facing the sometimes crashing and chaotic times in life?” Today we will consider the unshakable hope in the promise that Jesus is praying for us when we face life’s intense storms. (Rom. 8:34)
I. We All Face Storms…
A. J________ H__________ faced storms.
a. His F_________ thought he was out of his mind. Mark 3:21
b. His closest F_________ deserted him at his arrest. Mark 14:50
c. His O____ P____________ rejected him. Luke 23:20–21
d. He prayed with fervent cries and tears. Heb. 5:7–8
B. Jesus’ Early F__________ faced storms.
a. Peter & J_____ were put in jail for preaching. Acts 4:3
b. S___________ was stoned for his belief in Christ. Acts 7:57–58
c. The E_______ C_________ was persecuted for Christ. Acts 8:1
d. Paul & S_______ were beaten & imprisoned for preaching. Acts 16:22
C. Jesus’ F_________ T______ will face storms. “In this world you will have trouble” Jn 16:33 1. R_______ 2. F_______ 3. Emotional 4. S______ Phil. 1:29
II. But We Have Jesus Praying For Us!
A. Jesus I____________ for Us Before the F__________
“I____________” means “to make specific requests or petitions” (Rom. 8:34).
1. Jesus is our A___________/D_____________
Acts 1:9; Col. 3:1; 1 John 2:1,2; 1 Tim. 2:4; John 14:6
2. Satan Is our A______. Job 1:6-12; Rev. 12:10; 2 Cor. 5:21 No match for Jesus!
3. N___ O_____ Else Is M_________ between God & Mankind “one mediator also between God & men” 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 10:18-22; 4:14-16; 1 Pet. 3:12
B. Jesus H__________ His E_______ Followers
Matt. 14 - a real-life threatening storm; Luke 22:32 – Peter’s spiritual storm
C. Jesus Is Able To H______ Us D_______
“I pray also for those W___ W____ believe in me through their message” John 17:20; “he always lives to I______ for them.” Heb. 7:25; “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence… to help us in our T___ of N____.” Heb. 4:16 “To him who is able to K___ Y__ from stumbling…” Jude 24-25; 1 Tim. 2:5
Robert Murray M’Cheyne, a 19th-century Scottish minister, said, “If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet the distance makes no difference; he is praying for me!” We can all rest in the unshakable hope that Jesus is praying for us.
God Gets You
Today, we will look at the unshakable promise that, “Our high priest [Jesus] is able to understand our weaknesses” (Heb. 4:15 NCV).
I. Worship Of Jesus Our High Priest
1. Jesus created all things. John 1:3
2. Jesus sustains (holds together) all things. Col. 1:17
3. Jesus declares he has all ultimate authority: Matt 28:18
4. Jesus demonstrated His Power on Earth: Matt. 8:26-27; 9:6-8; John
11:43-44; 6:19; Luke 4:35-36
5. Jesus is called God & Has Juxtaposition With the Father Titus 2:13-
14; Rev. 19:16; 21:22; 22:1,3; 1 John 5:20
6. Jesus arrived as God in human flesh. Jn 1:1, 14; Phil. 2:5-8; Col. 2:9
- Because Jesus was fully divine - We worship Him. Matt. 14:33;
28:9; 28:17 He is our King and our Lord.
II. Appreciation For Jesus Our High Priest
1. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit & born to a virgin Luke 1:35
2. Jesus was born to a poor couple (Luke 2:7, 22, 24 )
3. Jesus faced all the experiences of human life in a sinful world, yet
He never sinned. Heb. 4:15-16
- Because Jesus was fully human we draw near to Him.Heb. 10:21-23
III. Confidence In Jesus Our High Priest
-What is your need right now that He might help you with - Tempted? (Mark 1:13). Tough financial times? (Matt. 8:20). Frustrated? (John 2:15-16). Tired? (John 4:6) Disappointed? (Luke 13:34). Rejected? (John 6:66). Sorrowful? (Matt. 26:38). Troubled? (Jn 12:27) Anxious you could die? (Matt. 26:38) Overwhelmed with grief? (Jn 11:35) Facing ridicule? (Mark 15:19) Lonely? (Matt. 27:46)
- Because Jesus was fully Human & Divine, we draw near to Jesus & find confidence that He can help us in our time of need. Heb. 4:16
Mother Teresa once wrote, “Loneliness is the leprosy of modern society.” When we suffer alone, we die, but Jesus came to suffer with us and for us. He died so we could live.
God Gives Grace to the Humble
1 PETER 5:5
Pride is the sin most likely to keep us from crying out for a Savior. Those who think they are well will not look for a doctor. But if we humble ourselves, we have this promise: “God gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet 5:5). Let’s explore this promise today…
I. God Hates Pride
- Prov. 8:13; 16:5; 16:12; 11:2 – “God resists the proud because the proud resist God.” – Max Lucado
- Pride prevents reconciliation with God & with people
-Pride causes us to reject God’s rightful place in our lives: Satan cast out - Is. 14:14; Ezek. 28:17; Adam & Eve cast out – Gen. 3:5, 14–19, 24; Prov. 16:18
- Jonathan Edwards - 7 sneaky symptoms of pride: 1. Fault-Finding
2. A Harsh Spirit 3. Superficiality 4. Defensiveness 5. Presumption Before God 6. Desperation for Attention 7. Neglecting Others
- Nebuchadnezzar was the proud king who God humbled – Dan. 3 – 4
II. Jesus Demonstrated Humility
-“I am . . . humble in heart” Matt. 11:29
-“Being in very nature God . . . he humbled himself” Phil. 2:6, 8
- “though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor” 2 Cor. 8:9
- Jesus "did not come to be served, but to serve…” Matt. 20:28
- Jesus washed the disciple’s feet – John 13:4-17
III. We Are Called To Humility
-Matthew 18:3-4 – Become like children knowing we need help
- 1 Pet. 5:5 - Take action daily to clothe ourselves "with humility”
- Is. 57:15 - Acknowledge our total dependence on God.
- Eph. 2:8; 1 Cor. 15:10 – Remember Humility positions us to receive God’s grace.
Many people, including some Christians, live under the tyranny of one diabolical question: What are other people thinking of me? The true and most important question is: What is God thinking of me? The first question will lead us to pride, but the second question will lead us to humility.
Death Has Been Defeated
1 CORINTHIANS 15:54
Jesus faced death, entered into death, and conquered death so that we could have life. Today, we will explore this unshakeable promise from God that through Christ, death has eternally been defeated.
I. Death Is A Reality
- The intention was that we should live forever with God! Gen 2:7; 3:8
- Sin separated us from the source of life – God. Is. 59:2; Eph 4:18; John 5:26
A. Spiritual – Eph. 2:1; 1 Tim. 5:6; Rom. 8:6
B. Physical – When the spirit leaves the body - James 2:26; Eccl. 7:2
C. Eternal –– punishment for the wicked – irreversible separation from God. Heb. 9:27. Rev. 20:14-15; 21:1; Jude 12 & 13; Matt. 7:23
II. Death Is a Result and Penalty For Sin
- Gen. 2:16-17; Ezek. 18:20; Rom. 6:23; 5:12; James 1:15; 1 Cor. 15:21-22 - death entered the world spread to all men through one man’s sin, Adam.
-1 Pet. 1:15-16; Rom. 6:23; 1:28-31 - divine holiness demands punishment
-John 10:10 The devil himself is the true author of death!
III. Death is A Feared Enemy
- Heb. 9:27; 1 Cor. 15:56; Heb. 10:31 - Death is the threshold to the court room and the judge for the wicked
IV. Death is a Deceptive Enemy
-Satan exploits the universal fear of dying and he prompts us to come up with false solutions to the problem: Evolution, Cryogenics, Freudism, Inspirer, Occult, Reincarnation, Spiritism.
- All false glorification of death is alien to Christianity- Isaiah 28:17-18
- In its basic nature, death is nothing but a curse, an enemy, a foe.
V. Death is a Defeated Enemy
-Jesus’ purpose in coming here was to battle & defeat death- Heb. 2:14-15
- Jesus’ death & Res. struck a death blow to death - Luke 4:18; Rev. 1:17-18.
- The resurrection of Jesus is one of the most well attested Facts in History
- Most disciples died Martyrs’ deaths – No one dies for a hoax! - Matt. 28:6
- We have the unshakable hope and promise of our own resurrection when Christ returns. - Rev. 20:14 There will never be another funeral. Rev. 21:4
- As Christians, we are no longer in slavery to fear and lies. 2 Cor. 5:1-8
- Firstfruits” - Jesus was the first of resurrected people - 1 Cor. 15:20 & 23
Because Jesus rose from the dead, death has been conquered for all of us. Have you found unshakeable hope in the face of death?--- You can!!!
Your Prayers Have Power
Prayer is “talking to God.” God loves this exchange with His children, just as we love the exchange we have with our children. James wrote, “When a believing person prays, great things happen.” (James 5:16 NCV) Today, we will consider this promise that our prayers have power!
I. God – (Who Gives Prayer it’s Power) The Engine
1. God Listens To Us - Psalm 55:16-17; 66:19–20; 1 Peter 3:12; 1 John 5:15
2. God’s Powerful Resources Are Available to Us - God is All Powerful!
Daniel 2:20; Luke 1:37; Psalm 147:5; Job 37:23
- Elijah powerful prayer from an ordinary person who trusted in an All
Powerful God – 1 Kings 18:37
II. Prayer – (What it Changes) The Vehicle
1. Prayer Will Change Us. Matt. 5:44; Phil. 4:6-7 Williams Carey - “Prayer –
secret, fervent, believing prayer – lies at the root of all personal godliness.”
2. Prayer Will Change Others. James 5:16; 1 Tim. 2:1-2; Matt. 9:37-38;
3. Prayer Will Change Circumstances. Elijah -James 5:17; Daniel -
Daniel 6:10,22; Hezekiah -2 Kings 19:19.
III. Us – (How Do We Correctly Pray) The Operator
1. Pray First -We give priority to those things we consider to be most
important! - Mark 1:35; Luke 5:15-16; Luke 6:12.
2. Pray In Faith – James 1:6-7; Hebrews 11:6; 1 Chron. 5:20; 1 Peter 2:9;
Romans 8:17; James 5:17-18
3. Pray In Accordance to God’s Will –John 15:7; 1 John 5:14-15; Luke 22:42
– “Yes, No, Wait” – May be the Answer
4. Pray With Right Motives - James 4:3
5. Pray In Obedience - Psalm 66:18; John 9:31; James 5:16 Deliberate,
unrepented, continuing sin in the life of a Christian blocks prayer.
6. Pray Regularly – “Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment
with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.” - Corrie Ten
Boom Daniel 6:10; Mark 1:35; Acts 2:42
7. Pray Persistently – John 11:21; Job 23:10; “Pray Without Ceasing.”
1 Thess. 5:17; Luke 18:7
Prayer is our powerful partnership with God in getting things done in the world. We are never without hope because we are never without prayer. What is keeping you from making prayer your priority and your passion?
You Are An Heir of God
It is awesome to become a part of God’s own family. Yet in the stresses and struggles of everyday life, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that we are children of the almighty God. God’s unshakable promise is we are heirs of God. Today, we will look at what this means and how it should shape the way in which we live.
I. Thanks Is Due To God Who Qualifies Us As Heirs
- Col. 1:12; Titus 3:7; Eph. 1:14 - We are Christ’s heirs by means of His grace. We are more than slaves, servants, or saints.
- 1 Chron. 29:11 - We have access to breathtaking Resources of God
- Numbers 13 – the Israelites overlooked that God had not told them to take the land by force—but to receive it as a gift.
- Joshua 1:1–3 - Joshua believed God even though they faced trials
II. Trust In God Is Due To Our Heavenly Father Who Adopted Us
- Eph. 1:3-6 - God has endless resources available to us – we need to Trust Him More.
- 1 John 3:1 - God has endless love for us
- Hebrews 10:23 - God has endless hope for us.
- Ephesians 2:8 - God has endless grace for us.
- James 1:5 - God has endless wisdom for us.
- Rom. 8:17; 1 John 4:17 – We are children of God & co-heirs with Christ.
- Rom. 8:15 – We are children not slaves
III. Service Is Due To God Who Rewards Us
- Colossians 3:23-24 – Working for the Lord should come natural
- John 14:23-24 - God’s love motivates us, moves us, makes us what we need to be!
- Rev. 2:10 – Faithfulness until death is required
- 1 John 4:16-19 - God’s love removes fear and makes us confident of our reward
“I am so glad that our Father in heaven- Tells of His love in the Book He has given; Wonderful things in the Bible I see— This is the dearest, that Jesus loves me.” - Philip Bliss
God Will Win the Victory
All Christians are in a real battle with a real enemy of God and all Christians, yet God has made a tremendous promise about the outcome of this conflict. As Paul wrote, “The God who brings peace will soon defeat Satan and give you power over him” (Rom. 16:20 NCV). The promise we will look at today is that God will win the victory.
I. A Real Devil
A. Satan was an Angel of God - Isaiah 14:12 Ezekiel 28:12–13
B. Satan wanted to be worshiped like God - Isaiah 14:13–14; Ezekiel 28:17
C. God cast Satan out of heaven - Ezekiel 28:17; Revelation 12:9; 2 Pet. 2:4
II. A Real War With The Devil
A. Satan is an enemy to God and God’s followers.
1 Peter 5:8; Matt. 13:38; John 10:10; Job 1:7 NIV
B. Satan’s Names reveal his wicked strategy. 1. Accuser Rev. 12:10; 2. Destroyer Rev. 9:11; 3. Evil one Matt 13:19; 4. Father of Lies John 8:44; 5. God of this age 2 Cor. 4:4; 6. Prince of this world John 12:31; 7. Ruler of the kingdom of the air Eph 2:2; 8. Tempter 1 Thess. 3:5; 8. Serpent Gen. 3:1; 10. Devil (diabolos – divider, splitter, separator) Gen. 3:1–5; Mark 3:25
III. A Real Need For Spiritual Weapons To Fight the Devil
We have divine weapons to defeat the tactics of the enemy. - 2 Cor. 10:4
A. We Battle Through the Word - Eph. 6:17 This is part of our spiritual armor Eph. 6:14-17: a. belt of truth b. breastplate of righteousness c. shoes of the gospel of peace d. shield of faith e. helmet of salvation
B. We Battle Through Prayer - We engage the power of God Eph. 6:18
C. We Battle Through Worship - Through worship, we do what Satan refused to do and submit ourselves to God and put Him on the Throne of our heart! Psalm 95:6–7
D. We Battle Through Fellowship - Eccl. 4:12; Acts 2:42
IV. A Real Defeated Devil
A. Jesus Defeated Satan at the Cross/Resurrection - Col. 2:15; 1 John 3:8
B. God will keep his promise to give us the ultimate victory over Satan. Romans 16:20; 1 Cor. 10:13; James 4:7; 1 John 4:4; Rom. 8:37
We have read God’s book. Jesus was—and is—victorious over Satan. The devil has been cast out of heaven, but not out of our lives. Yet we can face the devil with all his deceptive schemes and win. Why? - Because Jesus has already won for us.
You Are Stamped with God’s Image
“Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature.” Gen. 1:26 The Message Our Prayer today - “Father, I have been made in your image. Because of this truth, I have great value in your eyes. This is my Identity. I will embrace my role as Your Image Bearer to this world.”
I. Made In God’s Image – Our Value Defined
A. God Created Human Beings in His Own Image and Likeness.
1. God kept His Word and made human Beings in His Image. Gen. 1:27
- All creation declares the glory of God, but human beings are the only ones made in His image to reflect God’s being. Ps. 19:1; 104:24; Rom. 1:20
- We bear the fingerprints of the Divine Maker! Gen. 5:3
- We are set apart from animals – Gen. 1:28; 2:20; 3:8
- We are like God Mentally, Morally, Socially - Gen. 1:31; 2:18
- All life has value from infants in the womb to the aged on life support
- God cherishes us because we bear a resemblance to Him!
2. All human beings bear God’s image—there are no exceptions: Born, preborn, rich, poor, male, female, urban, rural, all ethnicities.
B. Sin has Distorted God’s Image in Human Beings, But it Has Not
Destroyed it. Rom. 5:12, James 3:9; Eph. 4:24; 2:8-9; 2 Cor. 5:17
II. Made To Bear God’s Image – Our Vision & Mission Defined
A. God Intends for us to Grow in our Role as His Image-Bearers.
- Sanctification. Ps. 17:15; 2 Cor. 3:18 We were created to “take after” God and to demonstrate his wisdom, love, grace, forgiveness, and kindness.
- Paul tried to be an imitator of Christ Jesus who was sinless. 1 Cor. 11:1
- We should look more like our Heavenly Father all the time -Prov. 22:1
B. Growing as God’s Image-Bearers Transforms our Vision.
1. We see Ourselves Differently—as loved children of God. 1 John 3:1; Duet. 31:26; John 3:16
2. We see Others Differently. Every human being deserves dignity and respect because he or she is God’s image-bearer. 1 John 4:20
C. Growing as God’s Image-Bearers Gives us our Mission.
1. We are to grow in knowing our loving Father Jn 17:3; Eph. 4:15; Col. 1:9ff
2. We are to grow in making God our Father known to others. Psalm 105:1; 2 Cor. 5:20; Matt. 28:19-20
Today, we have a choice to make:
1. Will we see our value as God does?
2. Will we embrace our role as God’s image bearers?
3. Will we live to reflect God to others?
Curing the Pharisee in Me – Part 4 of 4
Step 4 – Finishing Touches
Curing the Pharisee in each of us involves: 1) Recognizing and Admitting that you are a Pharisee, 2) Repentance, and an ongoing 3) Commitment to change. Today we want to put the 4) Finishing Touches on our treatment by embracing the following:
I. A_____________ at God’s Amazing Grace
What do we expect from God?
A. Pharisees Expect to Work & Earn Heaven
-Gal. 3:10-11 “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do E_______________ written in the Book of the Law.” Do you want to rely on what you have done when you face God? Gal 3:24-25, 13, 21-22; Matt. 5:3. What the ________ couldn’t do, God’s __________ did.
B. Recovering Pharisees are Amazed at God’s Grace
-We have been saved; we have been R______________!
Rom. 5:17; 2 Cor. 9:14; Eph 1:6-8; 2:7 “incomparable riches of His Grace” 1 Tim. 1:14 Astonishment comes from being S____________!
II. G________________ for God’s Amazing Grace
A. Pharisees are P___________ of What They Have Done
-Pharisees don’t respond well to gifts. The receiver must now become vulnerable to the giver. Pride is the enemy of thankfulness. James 3:16
B. Recovering Pharisees are T_________ for What They Have
-Thankfulness changes our whole life. Phil 4:11 Take I___________ of your life and see if you find resentment, pride, envy, and judgement. If you see these things, - apply thanksgiving to the situation.
III. S________________ of God’s Amazing Grace
A. Pharisees Show off Their S_________________
-“Church Lady – She was the perfect expression of what everyone ________ about self-righteous, judgmental Pharisees.
-We are not as ________ as we make ourselves out to be, but we aren’t exactly getting that point across to the world. 1 John 1:10
-If we were P_________ we wouldn’t need Jesus.
B. Recovering Pharisees Show Their N_________ for Jesus
-Our witness to others by its very nature will have components of our failures, our shortcomings, our mistakes, our s_______: if we didn’t have these things we wouldn’t need Jesus.
We have got to get the spotlight off Pharisaical self-righteousness and back on the good news of Jesus Christ!
Curing the Pharisee in Me – Part 3 of 4
Step 3 – Repentance
Today we talk about growing up in our commitment to God and recovering from our Pharisaical ways. To do this I need to:
I. R________________ Daily My Own Sin
A. Avoid Self-Deception
-1 John 1:8. E_______ sins. Own up to it. Only Jesus was sinless.
-1 Cor. 15:34; 1 Jn 5:18; Gal. 3:1-3 We are saved each day by the ___ way we were saved the first time: “Nothing but the blood of Jesus”
B. Salvation is a P______________
-Justification – Jesus Christ death for us did this – Past Rom. 5:1
-Sanctification – Becoming like Jesus D______ – Present 1 Thes. 4:3
-G_________ – We receive our new bodies – Future 1 Cor. 15:42-49
C. More of God – More A_____________ of Sin
-1 Tim. 1:15-16. Paul understood that the more he saw of God, the more aware that what he saw in himself was not of God.
-We need to find & root out our own sin – no one else’s. 1 Cor. 4:4-5
II. R________________ the Sins of Bible Heroes
- Preconceived Sunday School Misconceptions
B. God Chooses the W____________
-Rom. 3:9,10,12; 1 Cor. 1:27-29 We like the faithful of old are O_______ people with an extraordinary God! Tell Your Whole story too!
-We are participants in the Story of which Jesus Christ is the beginning, the middle, and the end. Let G_______ be the focus!
III. R________________ Seeking out the Sin in Others
A. A_______________ Those Around You
-Instead of putting others _______, we should put them ____ Phil. 2:3-4.
-Do we truly believe that others are better than us?
B. See What They Could Be in Christ
-Not seeing what people are but what they could be in Christ requires putting on the glasses of F________ and L______. 1 Cor. 13:7
-We can often create an environment for people to change.
C. Take Blame, Don’t C_________ Blame
-Jesus took the blame for all we have done on the cross.
Will you see that you are to blame if you don’t see the need to change this world for Jesus? Will you commit to look for the good in others and share THE GOOD NEWS of JESUS with them?
Curing the Pharisee in Me – Part 2 of 4
Step 2 – Repentance
Recognizing and admitting that you are a Pharisee is a big first step discussed last week. But we must turn from this sin and resolve to change this sinful behavior! So how do we do this?
I. We Must Choose God’s Mercy rather than Justice For Ourselves and Others.
A. Thank God that He is a Merciful God.
-Exodus 20:5-6 God is both just and merciful, and there should be no doubt here which one of those qualities he F________.
-Num. 14:18; Psalm 103:8-10; 145:9 God is U_____________.
B. Remember that this is the Day of S____________.
-Do we want to bring judgement upon this world right now? Rom. 2:1-5
-2 Pet. 3:9, 15 The longer God waits, the more can be S_________.
-James 2:12-13 Now is the time to focus on the salvation of others & leave the judgement to another day and another J________! Jonah 4:2
II. We Must See God’s Teaching and Rebuke As Applying To Ourselves, Not Others.
- How do you Listen?
-We are masters of D__________. Matt. 22:15; Luke 20:26; John 8:6
-Often we listen to be critical & to prove how much we know.
-We have changed from a L_______ to S_____, from disciple to critic.
B. Do you Think you Already Know all you Need to Know?
-1 Cor. 8:1-2 There is no greater O________ to truth and revelation than to think you already know what you need to know. This attitude is usually accompanied by a C__________ spirit.
-Rom. 2:17-21 “Do you not teach yourself?” John 21:21
III. We Must Seek God’s Righteousness, Not Our Own.
A. We Must Humbly Trust God.
-Pharisees are usually not very T_________. That’s why God usually chooses to humble us so that we will L__________ Phil. 3:4-9
B. We Must See the Need for F_______________.
-Acts 22:16 Do we see that we have _______? Do you see the need to have Christ righteousness, His sinless life, & His loving sacrifice to take the peace pf all our “righteous acts that are like F______ R____.”
Come to Jesus today depending on His great mercy, receiving this teaching as directed to you, & seeking God’s righteousness that covers over all our sins and best efforts.
Curing the Pharisee in Me – Part 1 of 4
Step 1 – Confession
As we grow in Christ there is a corresponding struggle with pride and self-righteousness. We must recognize the symptoms of the disease & admit that we are infected before proper treatment can be applied.
I. We Need to Admit That We Like To Judge People.
A. Judging others is an almost ______ event for most of us. Luke 6:36-38
Even C_______ is not a safe haven from our judging ways!
Our eyes look O_____, they do not look I____.
B. Judging is an addiction that is often hard to see in Ourselves.
One reason we like judging so much is the S_______ & autonomy.
Outside help is often needed to actually see the problem.
II. We Need to Admit That We Like To Make Others Look Smaller Than Ourselves So That We Look Greater.
A. We Judge to A_________ ourselves. If I can show that I am better than someone else – anyone else – then I can think of myself as being worthy based on that assessment alone. Luke 18:11-12
B. We Should Stand Awhile in Someone Else’s S________.
How do other people see us? We need to be open to someone else’s perspective and, in some cases, to ______ for it.
C. We need to give others the benefit of the D________.
Empathy is a marvelous antidote for the tendency to judge others, and P_____________ P_______ is the pathway to empathy.
III. We Need to Admit That We Detest Mercy Being Given to Those Who, unlike us, Haven’t Worked For It and Don’t Deserve it.
A. We Judge to Have C___________ Matt. 23:13 The Pharisees then and now like being the “gatekeepers.” Matt. 23:5-7
B. Don’t Neglect the More Important M_______ Mark 7:9 Matt. 23:23
1) J_______ would force them to admire their own guilt. 2) God’s Mercy on everyone who accepts Him moves me to show mercy to others. 3) F______, not perfect, because I must depend on God’s mercy.
C. Give up the Connection between W_____ and pay. Matt. 20:1-16 God’s grace makes L_______ ground. Luke 8:18 God’s Mercy is a threat to a Pharisee control. We want to be in control of who’s in and who’s out, but God is in charge of His mercy – NOT US!
Want Love? Give love. Want mercy? Give mercy. Want acceptance? Give acceptance. Want to judge? Get ready to be judged. Want to escape judgement? Don’t judge at all. Don’t do it!
Jesus Demonstrates Worship
“Seek and you shall find,” Jesus said. Some seek a “nice” worship service and they find it. But, some seek more. They seek the very presence of God. Jesus did this and He taught us some important lessons on worship in the process.
I. Prepare Your _________ For Worship. Matt. 17:1
*P_______ before you come. S________ before you come. R______ the W_______ before you come.
*Come Hungry. Come W________. Come expecting God to Speak. Come asking to see ____________.
II. Let God Change Your __________ Through
Worship. Matt. 17:2
*God invites us to see His ________ so He can change ours. 2 Cor. 3:18; Ex. 34:29-35; Acts 6:15; 7:55-56
*Worship is the act of M___________ God. Ps. 34:3 We E________ our vision of Him. Our Perception Changes.
III. Demonstrate Your C___________ L_________ In Worship. Matt. 17:4
*Our heartfelt worship is a M_____________ Appeal. 1 Cor. 14:24-25; Ps. 40:3; Mark 9:6; Luke 9:33
*When people see our C_________ F______, they want to see God’s F______. What does yours show to the Seeker, your children, or your co-worker?
How will you come to worship differently? What have you learned from Jesus today that you will put into practice? How can you grow in your worship of God?
GOD CAN BUILD HIS CHURCH
Matthew 16:18 and 28:16-20
Jesus said, “I will build my church, & the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” But what kind of church did Christ intend to build?
I. The Nucleus of the Church
- The Disciples Were Ordinary People
- The Disciples Were Imperfect People
- The Disciples Were Obedient People
II. The Authority of the Church
- There is an ultimate Supreme Power over us.
- Jesus has Delegated Authority in 3 spheres of Influence.
III. The Mission of the Church
Primary mission – Evangelism. “The church is the one institution that should exist primarily for the Benefit of non-members.”
- Make Disciples… of All Nations Matt. 28:19; Luke 19:10
- Make Disciples… Baptizing Them in the Name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit
- Make Disciples… Teaching Them to Obey Everything I Have Commanded You Secondary mission – Edification.
IV. The Assurance of the Church
A. God Goes with Us! Matt. 18:20; Acts 4:31.
- The Church should Be Prepared for Spiritual Warfare.
Will the church stand for the Christ of the Bible, or will we fashion our own gospel of convenience? (Matt. 24:35; John 16:33; Rom. 8:31)
Particular Roles In Marriage
Eph. 5:21-33; Gen. 12:1-5; 21:8-14
In our day of change, men and women often have a hard time understanding their individual roles in marriage as God designed them. Much hardship in marriage results because of this. Will we seek God’s plan by not being conformed to this world, but by being transformed by the renewing of our minds? (Rom 12:1-2) Let’s see what God intended:
- Husband’s Role (Eph. 5:21, 25-33; Gen. 12:1-5; 3:16; Heb. 11:10) --- Example: Abraham
- Christlike L_________ - “as Christ is head of the church”
- Leads by P________ I___________ - “Action”
- Leads by S______-S__________ (Eph. 5:25)
- Leads by U____________ L______ (Eph. 5:25-27)
- Leads by T_________ K____________
- Wife’s Role (Eph. 5:21-24, 33; Prov. 31:10-31; Gen. 21:8-14; 1 Peter 3:1-3) --- Example: Sarah
- Christlike R_________ - “submissive to their husbands”
- Respond V______________ (Phil. 2:5-8)
- Submitted J____________ (Heb. 12:2)
- Submitted with H___________ (Phil. 2:9)
God knew what He was doing when he designed male and female and also when He designed marriage. What makes us think we have a better plan? Are you fulfilling your Christlike role in Marriage? Is your example to others what it needs to be?
Building Sand Castles
Matt. 6:19-21; 2 Cor. 9:6-8
The beginning of the New Year is a time to examine all that God the Father has done for us. A wise old preacher said, “You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead.” How do we do that?
I. Storing Heavenly T_________: S_______ Investments
Three Investments that won’t wash away… Matt. 6:19-21
A. The N__________ ( Prov. 19:17; Matt. 5:42; 25:34-40; Acts 4:34-35; 1 John 3:17; 2 Thess. 3:10)
B. Our C_____________ (several reasons: it is truly a benefit to them; you can enjoy it with them; a tax advantage; you can keep them accountable; you can teach them to be good stewards)
C. The L________ C___________ (Lev. 27:30; Malachi 3:8-10; Rom. 6:14 the standard is grace, not law; 2 Cor. 9:6-8)
II. Sowing Heavenly S_________: G_________ Rewards
Three Principles for Giving that will stand strong… 2 Cor. 9:6-8
A. Give G____________ (God is not serving us – we are serving Him) Two types of givers: those who give by reason and those who give by revelation. “Tithe if you love Jesus – Anybody can Honk!” Our level of sacrifice is a measure of our generosity – Luke 21:4
B. Give W____________ Matt. 6:1-4 We are not to give out of reluctance or compulsion.
C. Give C____________ Matt. 6:21 God loves a “hilarious” giver. Let our giving flow from the thanksgiving and gratitude in our hearts for what God has done for us! “Throw your H______ into the kingdom of God, and your M_______ will follow”
“Time will take your Castles” – Are you going to spend your time building sandy empires on this earth or treasures in heaven?”
How To Make This Year A Year To Remember
1 Timothy 4:7-8
New Years is often a time for many to examine their life, consider habits that need to be changed, and even commit to do some things different in the coming year. Today we look at how we can make this New Year a year to remember. We can do this by Regular:
I. Meditation and S___________
- Isaac Gen. 24:63; David Ps. 63:6, Ps. 1:2; Eli 1 Sam. 3; Elijah 1 Kings 19; Jesus Matt. 14:13 = All Saught the Father
- Eastern Meditation is an attempt to E_______ the mind whil Christian Meditation is an attempt to F______ the mind!
- John 8:32 What can set us free from sin, habits, fears, & worry?
- Ps. 119 – “Chewing the Cud” – God’s Word if not ment to be F______ F______. Take time for a good long chew!
- Rom. 12:2; Phil. 4:8; “Transformed by the renewing of our Minds” “…Think about such things”
- Ps. 119:16 Do we find delight & joy in the Word?
- Moses, Daniel, Elijah, Esther, Daniel, Paul, Jesus
- Luke 4:2 – abstaining from all F______
- Usually it is a P________ matter between you and God.
- Lev. 23:27 & Joel 2:15 – Whole body of believers did it in response to Repentance, Atonement, & National Emergency
- Commanded or not? Matt. 6:16-18; 9:15; Acts 13:2-3
- Why do it? 1) Reminds us of what really sustains us – Matt. 4:4. 2) Helps us keep B_________. 3) Increases C___________, helps us pray, makes us more receptive to God’s will. 4) Glorifies God.
- It lies at the root of all personal godliness. It is the central avenue God uses to transform us. James 4:3
- It was viewed as the main business of life to those who walked closely with God (Jesus & David) Mark 1:35; Ps. 63:1
- It is something we L________ Luke 11:1; 18:10-12; Matt. 6:5-8 It focuses on God not on S_____. It requires openness & sincerity
- 1 Thess. 5:17; John 15:7; Luke 22:42 It is to be more than a parachute. It is how we grow in faith.
- The best time for P________, isn’t found. It’s Made!
The Miracle of the Manger
John 1:1-5, 9-14; Matt. 16:13-16
Almost every major religion teaches that Jesus was a prophet or a good teacher or a godly man. The problem is that the Bible tells us that Jesus was infinitely more than a prophet, a good teacher, or a godly man. The identity of Jesus is the most important discovery of our life. Let’s discover today why it is so important to identify the miracle of the manger.
I. Who Some Say Jesus Was
- Islam - one of God's important prophets & wise teacher
- Judaism – The most influential and most damaging false Messiah.
- Hinduism – Holy Man & wise teacher, and could be “a” god
- Buddhism - was an enlightened man and a wise teacher.
- New Agers - he was a wise moral teacher.
- Growing Number of Modernists – Not convinced He really existed
- Scholars – Divided over whether He was God or a good man
- C.S. Lewis – “Liar, Lunatic, or Lord”
II. Who We Say Jesus Is
- God – John 10:30-33; 8:58; 1:1,14; 20:28; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1; Isaiah 9:6; Matt. 1:23; 16:13-16
III. Why It Is Eternally Important
- The most important reason that Jesus has to be God is that if He is not God, His death would not have been sufficient to pay the penalty for the sins of the whole world. Only God could pay such an infinite penalty. – Matt. 1:21; 1 John 2:2; Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21; John 14:6; 1 Tim. 1:15
Who do you say Jesus is? How is that affecting your daily activities, your priorities, and your family? (Luke 10:27)
The Miracle of the Moment
How God chose to save us is often hard to understand and difficult to grasp. Let’s revisit this topic today with fresh eyes to see that….
I. God's Methods Transcend Us
- 1) Jesus was born a helpless, defenseless baby. 2) Jesus was born to humble, poor parents. 3) Jesus was born in a harsh stinky stable.
- Phil. 2:6-8 “He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant”
- Genealogy in Matthew 1 includes the unlikely: Abraham, Rahab, & David.
- Isaiah 55:8-9 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.”
- Over and over and over again, God chose plain, sinful, ordinary people through whom He could do His extraordinary work.
- Matt. 1:18-19 “she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit… he had in mind to divorce her quietly” – Joseph must have had questions!
II. God's Methods Include Us
- Jesus’ birth was announced by an Angel to Shepherds – Luke 2:8-15
- Jesus appeared first to women after His Resurrection! Matt. 28:9-10
- Jesus entrusted the gospel to a small band of followers – Matt. 28:19-20
- We boast not in our abilities, but in God alone! - 1 Cor. 1:26–29, 31
- Our abilities are not as important as our attitude and availability.
- Jesus calls us to be His Ambassadors - 1 Cor. 5:20
III. God's Methods Sanctify Us
we experience problems, pains, and pressures.
- God is working to shape us and mold us - Romans 8:28
- God is at work in our lives to produce a beautiful tapestry.
- Continue to trust God, even though you don't understand how He is at work in your life. - Prov. 3:5-6
- Continue to follow Him and your life will be richly blessed here and in the hereafter! - Mark 8:34-35
- Continue to obey Him - Real obedience arises from believing God knows more than we do and out of love. - John 14:15
The miracle of the method is that God uses ordinary people like you and me to accomplish extraordinary things for the sake of His kingdom. God is at work in our lives in ways that we do not understand. Pray: “Help us to continue to trust You when we don't understand how you are working.”
The Miracle of the Message
God is not aloof & uncommunicative! God has consistently communicated with mankind from the beginning & He does so today so we can know Him & draw near to Him! What will we do with this message?
I. The Sender "In the past God spoke…” Heb. 1:1
- Who is the Source of the Miracle Message? : He is Creator – Gen 1 & 2; Ps. 33:6-9… He is Sustainer – Heb. 1:3; 1 Cor. 8:6… He is Provider – Ps. 147:8; Phil. 4:19… He is Omnipotent – Jer. 32:17; Gen. 17:1… He is Omniscient – Dan. 2:21; Ps. 139:4… He is Omnipresent - Ps 139:7-12; Jer. 23:23-24… He is Eternal – Ps. 90:2; Gen. 1:1… He is Worthy of Worship – John 4:24; Ps. 145:3… He is Holy - 1 Pet 1:14-16; 1 Sam. 2:2… He is Sovereign - Dan 4:35; Job 37:2-13… He is Absolute Truth - Jn 14:6; Rom. 3:4… He is Righteous –Eph. 4:22-24; Ps. 71:19… He is Just –Deut. 32:4; 2 Cor. 5:10… He is Love –Rom. 8:35, 37-39; 1 John 4:7-8, 20-21… He is Merciful – Matt. 5:7; 1 John 1:9… He is Faithful – 1 Cor. 10:13; Heb. 10:23… He is Never Changing - Mal. 3:6; Heb. 3:8… He is Savior – Luke 1:47; Acts 4:12; Rev. 7:10
II. The Messengers
"…through the prophets at many times and in various ways” Heb. 1:1
- Past: Creation –Rom. 1:20; Walked with – Gen. 3:8; Burning Bush – Ex. 3:4; Smoke & finger – Ex. 19:20, 31:18; Prophets – Luke 1:70… still small voice, visions, family circumstances, potters clay, dreams, donkey, Urim and Thummim, symbols, natural events
- Now: Christ – "He has spoken to us by his Son …” Heb.1:2; Jn 1:1,14; 14:9; 10:30; 8:34… Holy Spirit – Jn. 14:26… The Word – Rm. 10:17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17
III. The Message
“After He had provided purification for sins…” Heb. 1:3
Freedom from Sins Through Jesus Christ – Matt. 1:23; 1 Tim. 2:6; Rom. 5:10; Luke 4:18-19; Rev. 1:5
IV. The Recipients
"" but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…” Hebrews 1:1-3
- “All People, Every Nation, To the ends of the Earth, Everyone” - Titus 2:11; Acts 10:34-35; 13:47; 2 Pet 3:9
Will we receive God’s Miracle message through Christ this Christmas? Will we continually listen for God’s messages through His Word and His Spirit? Will we be the messengers to bring the message to someone who does not know Jesus?
The Miracle of the Moment
Many missed the moment of Jesus birth for one reason of the other. Today, it is so easy to get all wrapped up in the activity of the season that we miss the miracle of Christmas & all that Jesus should mean.
I. At Just The Right Moment Jesus Came To Us
Galatians 4:4 "When the time came to completion, God sent His Son…”
- Right Moment Because: 1) Breakdown of Various Heathen Religions meant spiritual hunger; 2) Roman Roads made spreading the gospel farther & faster; 3) Roman Rule brought Universal Peace that allowed the spread of the gospel; 4) Common Language made spread of the Gospel Possible; 5) Early Converts around the whole area because of Roman recruited soldiers; 6) Great Jewish Expectation of the Coming Messiah through the Law, Prophets, Sacrificial System, & Old Testament History. (Rom. 3:20,23; Gal. 3:24; Is. 7:14; Mic. 5:2; 2 Sam. 7:12-13; Heb. 10:10-14; Luke 2:10-11, 25-32)
II. At Just The Right Moment Jesus Died For Us
Romans 5:6 “At the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly”
- Jesus was a baby born to die - that was His mission. - 1 Tim. 2:5-6
- Jesus death on the cross was no mess up in God’s planning - Acts 2:23
- Jesus laid down His life– no one took His life - John 10:18; Matt. 26:53
- Jesus’ life on earth was centered on the cross - John 3:16; 2:4; 7:8
III. At Just The Right Moment Jesus Returns For Us
Jesus “will come back” - Are you ready now? - Acts 1:11
- No one knows when He will return but the Father - Matthew 24:36
- We need to live our lives as if He Could return anytime -. Matt. 24:42,44
- We need to live holy lives as we look forward to His Return -2 Peter 3:3-11
- Jesus will keep His promise – He is preparing a place for us and will come back to get us – John 14:1-3
IV. At Just The Right Moment Jesus Saves Us
“Now is the day of salvation.” - 2 Corinthians 6:2
- The time has come - Repent and believe - Mark 1:14-15
One moment in time can determine an eternal destiny. It is the miracle of the moment that gives you an opportunity to be saved TODAY! Don’t miss this moment!
The Storm is Calmed
We all face Storms in Life! We need the reassurance that God will get us through these storms – He certainly did His Disciples years ago… and He will for us today as well!
I. Stormy Weather Report
A. Categories of Storms:
1. Storm of Suffering – Physical. 2. Storm of Sorrow – Emotional. 3.
Storm of Separation – Relational. 4. Storm of Sin – Spiritual. 5.
Storm of Situations – Financial.
B. Characteristics of Storms:
1. They Are Inevitable - James 1:2. 2. They Are Unpredictable – Matt.
8:22, Prov. 1:27, Ja. 4:14. 3. They Are Impartial - Matt. 5:45; Job 1:8.
C. Consequences of Storms:
1. Obvious To Others - people can see;
2. Oblivious To Others - people can’t see; 3. Obstacles For Us – They
Set Us Back; 4. Opportunities For Us - They Can Propel Us Forward
II. Stormy Weather Reasons
A. Jesus Allows Some storms to Humble Us
- “An unguarded strength is a double-weakness.” Oswald
Chambers Prov. 16:18; 2 Cor. 12:7-8
B. Jesus Allows Some storms to Strengthen Us
- John 16:33; 2 Cor. 1:8-9; 1 Peter 1:6-9;
C. We are responsible for Some Storms
1) Disobedience of God 2) Discipline From God 3. Giving the Devil a Foothold
III. Stormy Weather Preparedness
A. Realize God’s Closeness - Jesus seems to sometimes be asleep
during our storms, but He is Near! James 4:8
B. Relax in God’s Care – Mark 4:38; 1 Peter 5:7; John 14:27; Heb. 13:6
C. Rely on God’s control – Luke 8:24; Is. 43:1-3
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Ps. 46:1) He Can Calm Our Storm - We Need To Run To Him!
The Hungry Are Fed
I. Why Should We Follow Jesus? (v1-2)
- It Shouldn’t be For what we get - Matt. 20:28; John 13:14; Luke 10:27; Luke 9:23;
- Following Jesus requires sacrifice, commitment, & surrender - a cost many are not willing to pay - John 6:66; Luke 14:28 - Many missed the Message, the Mission, and the Messiah… they were only interested in the Miracles!
- Jesus looks at us with Compassion – Mark 6:34; Luke 15:20
II. When Do We Most Often Forget Jesus’ Past Faithfulness? (v.3-7)
- Jesus was testing Philip’s faith directly and all of us indirectly.
- When life gets messy, things go wrong, nothing seems right, and we face what seems like unsurmountable odds – we become forgetful.
- Remember God’s Promises – 1 Cor. 10:13; 2 Thess. 3:3; Ps. 59:17; Phil 4:13; Matt. 19:26 - Our God Rescues! Our God Saves! Our God Provides! Our God Is Faithful even in the Face of our Greatest Need!
III. How Might Jesus Stretch our Resources Farther Than We Imagine? (v.8-13)
- How do we feed that many people? 4 Solutions Proposed: 1) Disciples say send them away – Mark 6:35-36; 2) Philip thought about raising money – John 6:5-7; 3) Andrew found a boy with 2 little fish and 5 barley cakes, but he didn’t know how that could really help. – John 6:9; 4) Jesus had the real Miraculous Solution John 6:11-13
- Max Lucado - “In the midst of a bakery – in the presence of the eternal baker – they tell the ‘Bread of Life’ that there is no bread.”
- God Can Bless You Beyond Any Known Measure! - Mal. 3:10; Ps. 23:5; Luke 6:38; Luke 12:48; Prov. 3:9-10
IV. What Kind of King Do We Fashion Jesus Into? (v.14-15)
- Jesus’ Kingdom is not what they thought and perhaps not what we most often think - John 18:36; Phil. 3:20; Matt. 4:8-10
- Phil 2:9-13 – Is God working out His purpose in your life? Is He truly Lord of your life?
The Dead Rise
Jesus’ Raising of Lazarus from the Dead provides for us many life lessons we would do well to pay attention to…
I. Jesus Is Always On Time – We Need Not Fret (v. 17-22)
- Jesus Could Have…. Matt. 8:5; Acts 19:12
- Why did Jesus Wait? John 11:4,15,45 --- 3 Reasons: 1)For God’s Glory. 2) Strengthen Disciples Faith. 3) For Others to believe in Jesus
- Waiting is Not Easy! Will we Wait? - Ps. 27:14
- Will you walk close enough to God & ask God to have the wisdom to know how to wait patiently? - Is. 40:31; Is. 55:8-9; James 1:5; Gal. 4:4
II. Jesus is Resurrection & Life – We Need Not Lose Faith (v.23-27)
- Martha’s faith needed reassurance & to be strengthened!
- Martha showed a belief in the afterlife. Heb. 11:6
- The Lord Jesus identifies Himself as THE SOURCE of the Resurrection and of LIFE itself! John 11:25-26; John 1:1-4; Col. 1:15-17
- Pray and ask God for increased faith and strength. He will answer your prayer! - Luke 17:5; Ps. 119:28; Mark 9:24; Prov. 15:29
III. Jesus Is Moved By Our Difficulties – We Need Not Feel Alone (v.28-37)
- Jesus is not aloof, cold, uncaring, and unfeeling! John 11:35
- Jesus lived here and knows the difficulties of our human existence. – Heb. 4:15-16; Mark 3:5; John 13:21; Rom. 12:15
- We are never alone… never uncared for … never discarded … never abandoned! Deut. 31:6; Matt. 28:20; Heb. 2:14-18
IV. Jesus Is All Powerful Over Death – We Need Not Fear (v.38-44)
- We Need Not Be Afraid of Facing Passing Away. – Rev. 1:18; 7:17; 1 Cor. 15:50-58; 2 Tim. 1:10; Rom. 6:4-5; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 2 Cor. 5:1-7
- Death for the Christian means an eternity of joy in God’s presence.
- “Death may be the King of terrors... but Jesus is the King of kings!”
Will you learn from this account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead what God wants you to learn today?
The Lame Walk
Jesus Cares and Jesus Saves! This was a message needed in the first Century and one needed today. Jesus performed miracles demonstrating this message. Let’s learn some life lessons from Jesus’ healing of a lame man…
I. Jesus Cares for the Physically Sick John 5:1-7
- Matthew 9:12 – It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the
- Matthew 14:14 - He had compassion on them & healed their
- Matthew 9:35 – Jesus went through all the towns and villages…
healing every disease and sickness
II. Jesus Taught Through Miracles John 5:8-13
- Matthew 12:1-8; 11:20 - Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath.
- Mark 16:20 – Confirmed His Word by the signs!
- John 2:23; 6:2 - Great Crowd followed Him because they saw signs… by healing the sick.
- Acts 2:22 – Accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs.
III. Jesus Came To Save the Lost John 5:14-15
- John 8:10-11 – Leave your life of Sin!
- Luke 15:7,10,23-24 - Lost Sheep, Coin, Son – Great Rejoicing when they are found!
- Matthew 26:28 – His blood was poured out for our forgiveness of sins!
Jesus brings salvation and healing – Do you believe? Will you trust Him with your life? What has He been teaching you? Are you listening?
The Water is Changed to Wine
Jesus was involved in everyday life while he walked this earth and He can be involved in our everyday life if we invite Him in. Are you calling on Him to help you with life’s problems – He is Able!
I. Jesus Can Be Invited Into Our Everyday Life!
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
- Revelation 3:20
II. Jesus Is Interested In Helping With Our Everyday Life!
- Philippians 4:6-7
- 1 Peter 5:7
- Matthew 10:29-31
- Proverbs 23:20; 20:1
III. Jesus Can & Will Intervene In Our Everyday Life
- Matthew 7:7-8
- Jeremiah 33:3
- Acts 17:27-28
- Matthew 19:26
Jesus cares about the everyday events of your life. He is not just some remote supernatural being who is totally removed from our need. He cares about the smallest details of your life and waits for you to call Him into your times of need so that He can minister to you and change you or your circumstances. What is your need today?
The Good Shepherd Provides
David wrote, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1). But everybody seems to want more today. (Luke 2:14; Phil. 4:12; 1 Tim. 6:8; Heb. 13:5). The earmark of the Christian should be contentment. Notice the benefits provided by the good shepherd in Psalm 23 that should enable us to say with David, “I shall not want.”
I. In Life, the Good Shepherd Provides Us With Every Need
A. He Provides F____ - Psalm 23:2 makes me lie down in green pastures. (Is. 53:6; Matt. 9:36). We have P________! Sometimes the Lord makes us lie dow and we’re forced to look up and see the Shepherd.
B. He Provides W____ - Psalm 23:2 He leads me beside the still waters. God knows are weaknesses & protects us from temptations we can’t handle. (1 Cor. 10: 13; Ps. 32:6, 7).
C. He Provides R______________ - Psalm 23:3 “He restores my soul” Jesus went to the cross to restore our souls. 1 Peter 2:24, 25
D. He Provides D______________ - Psalm 23:3 “He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Jesus alone leads in paths of righteousness. John 14:6
II. In Death, the Good Shepherd Protects Us From Evil Attack
Heb. 2:15 The “F____ of D______” can really disturb our contentment, but even in the valley of death, we don’t have to fear – Why?
A. “You are with me” Psalm 23:4 – He M_______ us in the valley!
B. “The rod and staff” are there to C______ the attack of the evil one.
C. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” Psalm 23:5. As the devil is doing his worst to you in death, God is preparing a F________ for you to enjoy when you arrive in Heaven!
III. In Judgement, the Good Shepherd Promises Eternal Life
A. “You anoint my head with oil” (Psalm 23:5). When we become Christians, God seals us with His Holy Spirit- a D_________ guaranteeing our inheritance (Eph. 1:13-14; 2 Timothy 2:12)
B. “My cup overflows” (Psalm 23:5). Instead of complaining about what we don’t have, we should be O_____________ with God’s goodness.
C. We can have an assurance of eternal life because when we stand before God on Judgement Day, “M________” will be there. (Psalm 23:6)
D. In contentment – we are S_________ to “dwell in His Home forever!”
Since we have such a Shepherd: What more could we possibly want? Is the Good Shepherd truly “My” Shepherd to you?
Cowardice or Courageous?
What terrifies you? Most of us have real fears some that really disable us. If not conquered, our fears can hinder our relationships with God & others. Fear can control & enslave us. Let’s examine 1) Fear, 2) Someone who faced it, & 3) God’s Promises concerning it.
I. OUR FEARS E_______________
A. Paralyzing P______________
B. Fear of P_____________ D_____________
C. Fear of L_____________ C_____________
D. Fear of R_____________ who I R_____________ am
E. Fear of D_____________ People
F. Fear of being R_____________
“God Does Not Want You To Be Afraid”
John 14:27; Isaiah 43:1-3; Romans 8:15
II. JOSHUA’S FEARS E_______________
A. He was following a L______________
B. He had witnessed a previous F_____________
C. The enemy forces were I_____________
D. He had not performed M_____________
E. They had little B_____________ E_____________
III. GOD’S PROMISES E_______________
Joshua 1:5; Isaiah 41:10; Titus 1:2
A. Through the T______________ of O______________
Joshua 2:9-11; 1 John 4:4
B. Through the Support of G______________ L______________
Joshua 3:6; Phil. 1:12
C. Through U_____________ Circumstances
Josh. 3:15-16; 2 Tim. 1:7; Prov. 3: 25-26;
Ps. 23:4-5; 27:1; 1 John 4:18; Heb. 13:6
Do you constantly face a fear og aging, losing a loved one, or losing your job? Had God called you to do something that frightens you – break a sinful habit, confront a wayward friend, or heal a broken relationship? Remember God allows you to experience fear so that you might depend on Him. Conquer your fears with God’s help. He has promised to be with you always. Remember His reassuring words to you: “The Lord is my Helper!”
Guilty or Forgiven
We all know what it means to feel guilty. Our conscience is the part inside of us that makes us feel guilty at times. In a study about guilt, it’s important that we understand the biblical view of the conscience. It is also important to understand God’s answers and promises to us in times of guilt.
I. THE CONSCIENCE OF MAN
The Bible mentions four types of conscience.
A. ___________ CONSCIENCE – 1 Corinthians 8:7
B. ___________ CONSCIENCE – 1 Tim. 4:2; Psalm 119:11
- Three-cornered thing inside my heart that cuts
C. ___________ CONSCIENCE – Heb. 10:22; Rom. 3:10-12, 23
- There are times when we should feel guilty, because we are guilty.
D. ___________ CONSCIENCE – 1 Peter 3:15, 16
- There are two ways to get a clear conscience: 1. We can be
w__________ sin. 2. We can be f__________ of our sin.
II. THE PROMISES OF GOD
- GOD PROMISES A S___________
2. Through the L_______ – Heb. 10:1-4
3. Through the Old Testament Prophets – Is. 53:4-6; Jer. 31:34
4. Jesus is the F_____________ of the Promise – John 1:29; Matt. 3:15
B. GOD PROMISES F___________ OF SINS
Rom. 3:23-25; Is. 53:6; Rom. 8:1; 1 John 1:9
1. God R_______ Our Sins as far as East from West! – Ps. 103:11-12
2. God Makes Our “Scarlet” Sins White as Snow! – Is. 1:18
3. God F________! – Is. 43:14, 25
4. Our Sins Disappear Like the M________ D______! – Is. 44:6, 22
5. God Buries Our Sins in the Depths of the Sea! – Micah 7:18-19
C. GOD PROMISES F___________ FROM THE LAW
Rom. 8:1-2; 6:14; Gal. 4:24-25
D. GOD PROMISES THE GIFT OF E___________ L________
John 3:16-18; 5:24; Rev. 2:10; 1 John 5:11-13
God Promises us freedom from sin if we will accept Christ’s death for us. What a great promise! Once we have trusted In Christ’s saving grace and have “put on” Christ, we don’t have to feel guilty, because we aren’t guilty anymore!
Casual or Committed?
2 Corinthians 11:16 - 33
"Casual" or "Committed" - which would best describe you? Do the people you associate with in the world know that you are a follower of Jesus Christ? The Apostle Paul had characteristics that showed who he was in Christ, and we would do well to learn from him. They are:
I. I___________ in R_____________ with People (v.20-21)
- Eph. 4:25 "Put off Falsehood & speak T____________ to neighbors"
- I____________ : “D_____ what you said you would do" Matt 5:37
- We aren’t to be the E_________ to the Rule, but the E__________
- "Great occasions for serving God come S__________. Little ones
surround us D___________. Col. 3:17
ll. Painful S________________ (v.22-27)
- Paul didn't talk about S__________, he talked about S_________.
- There ought to be some reflected in C_________ & C___________!
- S___________ for Christ Leads to Joy, F___________, & Fellowship
- Mark 8:35; Luke 19:10; Rom. 12:1-2 – To give our ALL - this proves
we are G_________ B___________
lll. Concern for the C______________ (v.28-29)
- Paul loved them -1 Cor. 1:10; Phil. 4:2; Col. 2:1; 2 Cor. 11:29
- Love in 3 Stages: 1) Romantic 2) Tolerance 3) M_____________
- 5 Practical ways to express our Love for the Church:
1) Attend Services R____________ Heb. 10:25
2) Minister to H__________ People Sympathetically 1 Cor. 12:26
3) Esteem Church L____________ Highly 1 Thess. 5:12-13
4) Live up to it's P______________ Consistently
5) Talk about it P_______________
IV. H____________ in Service (v.30-33)
- God uses us in our W___________ to demonstrate His P________
- H_________ means there is a C________ A__________ of the need
for God in our life. James 4:6 "God opposes the proud..."
- F________ & F________ will humble us. When we get too
P______ God will let us F______! 1 Cor. 10:12; Matt. 20:25-28
ls your faith obvious? Are you a Casual or a Committed Christian?
When Confrontation is Needed
2 Samuel 12:1-14
Sometimes Confrontation is needed and that’s a very sensitive assignment and we need to learn from Nathan’s approach. Or sometimes, like David, somebody might approach us and hold us accountable for a serious offense. And we can learn from David about how to react in that defining moment.
I. When We Confront… Nathan’s Confrontation
2 Timothy 3:16; 4:2; Titus 2:15; Prov. 28:23;
A. Make Sure We Are The Right Person To Go
Do we care about them? Do we have their best interest at heart?
Do we look forward to going - then we shouldn’t go.
B. Make Sure It Is A Major Issue.
Gal. 6:1 “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are
spiritual should restore him gently.”
C. Make Sure To Go Alone. Matt. 18:15 “one on one”
D. Make Sure To Go In God’s Timing
David’s conscience had time to work. Pray, let emotions calm down.
E. Make Sure You Know The Facts Before You Go
Don’t go on “hear say” or rumor.
F. Make Sure Your Words Are Truthful, But Tactful
Prov. 25:11; 2 Sam. 12:5-9
II. When We Are Confronted… David’s Response
A. Be Approachable. We all need somebody close enough to us to
tell the truth & we need to listen. Prov. 27:17
B. Quickly Confess Sin. David immediately admitted his guilt.
2 Samuel 12:13; Psalm 32:3-6
C. Truly Repent of Sin. Ps. 51:1-12; Micah 7:19; Heb. 8:12;
1 Cor. 13:5; Ps. 103:12 A Complete Disclosure of Everything!
D. Accept Consequences of Sin. (Without bitterness) 2 Sam. 12:13
E. Forgive Ourselves. 2 Sam. 12:24; 1 Chron. 3:5 If we’ve repented,
then accept God’s forgiveness and move on.
Has God sent someone or a message to confront you? Do you need to tenderly confront? Let’s follow the examples of David and Nathan!
When Opportunities Arise
2 Samuel 9:1-11, Gal. 6:10, Col. 4:5
Most of US don’t even think about the opportunities that present themselves ALL THE TIME to show compassion inside and outside the Church. But as Christians – we need to recognize that we have an opportunity to present a stark contrast to the world by just caring for one another—especially for people in need.
I. An Opportunity Opened Up For David
- We should keep our word even when it hurts – 2 Sam. 9:2-3;
- David doesn’t ask, “How severely is he disabled? How did it
happen? What does he look like?” He just asks, “Where is he?”
Why doesn’t he ask these questions? 2 Sam. 9:4 – Grace!
- Grace is giving something to someone who doesn’t earn it and can’t
- Sometimes we can give a lot to people and instead of them
continually being grateful, it’s, “What have you done for me lately?”
But… 1 John 4:20; Matt. 5:16; 1 Pet. 2:12
- Mark Twain - “Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can read.”
II. When Opportunities Open Up For Us
A. Seek Opportunities. 2 Peter 1:5-9
- Are we seeing needs where others don’t see them.
- Are we growing in our Christian walk or nearsighted and blind?
B. Seek Opportunities to Act. James 2:15
- It’s more than just words & more than just feelings
C. Seek Opportunities To Build Relationships. John 11:33-36
- Often Relationships are more needed than possessions.
“God has shown me that there are no unimportant people in His eyes.” - Pastor Hammond Are you seizing opportunities to show compassion and love. Have you received the grace and compassion shown on the cross?
2 Cor. 12:11-18
Scriptures emphasize that our thoughts are of great concern to God. He has the ability to read our minds & to discern our motives. But we cannot read other people’s minds nor know their motives.
I. Questioning Our Own Motivations Is Needed
Prov. 16:2; Jer. 17:9; Heb.4:12; Rom.8:8; 2 Cor. 9:7; James 4:3;
Matt.6:1-6,18; Prov. 4:23; Phil. 1:17; 1 Thess. 2:4; Ps. 139:2, 23-24
Questions To Evaluate Our Motivations
1. If no one ever knows what I am doing (giving, serving), would I still do it?
2. If there was no visible payoff for doing this, would I still do it?
3. Would I joyfully take a lesser position if God asked me to?
4. Am I doing this for the praise of others or how it makes me feel?
5. If I had to suffer for continuing what God has called me to do, would I continue?
6. If others misunderstand or criticize my actions, will I stop?
7. If those whom I am serving never show gratitude or repay me in any way, will I still do it?
8. Do I judge my success or failure based upon my faithfulness to what God has asked me to do, or how I compare with others?
II. Questioning Other’s Motivations Is Not Our Job
1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Chronicles 28:9; 1 Corinthians 4:4-5; Matthew 7:1-2; Acts 15:8; Psalm 44:21; Luke 16:14-15; Acts 5:1-4; Jeremiah 17:9-10
Questions To Evaluate Our Questioning of Others
1. Do we tend to question others reasons for doing things as a way to make ourselves appear better than them?
2. Do we question others motives as a sort of way to spread “gossip?”
3. Does our questioning of others motives reveal secret sin motivations in our own heart?
4. Do we usually do this questioning publicly with others – why?
5. Are our concerns about others motivations truly inspired by love for them or something else?
6. What good is derived by our questioning their motivations?
7. Is our questioning of others actually a ploy of Satan to distract us from our own deceptive motivations or sinful practices?
8. Do we really believe God is the only one who truly knows all hearts?
Let’s leave judging motivations up to God, & just look in the mirror.
2 Cor. 12:1-10
Tests can help us to grow in our spiritual walk with God. However, the sad truth is that many of us have allowed our tests and trials to break us, to make us bitter instead of better. Let’s learn today from the apostle Paul who serves as an example of how to handle tests in the right way…
I. Our Favor (v.1-6)
A. Paul had many blessings – Phil. 3:4-11
B. We have many blessings - Prov. 10:6; Eph. 1:3; Ps. 32:2; Mal. 3:10; Luke 11:28; Rev. 14:13
II. Our Father (v.7)
A. God permits trials to Humble us – 2 Cor. 12:7
B. God permits trials to Deepen us - Rom. 5:3-4; Job 42:5-6
C. God permits trials to Refine us - Zach 13:9; Ps. 66:10-12
D. God permits trials to Prove our Faith Genuine– 1 Pet 1:6-7; Luke 15:11-32
III. Our Furnaces (v.7)
A. Paul’s Thorns/Trials - 2 Cor. 11:21-31
B. Our Thorns/Trials -
IV. Our Focus (v.8-10)
A. Relief/Removal – We can Ask consistently for help & know God hears us. 1 John 5:14; Ps. 116:1-2; Ps. 18:6; James 1:5; Phil. 4:6-7
B. Recognize – We must listen for God’s Answer - James 1:19; 1 Sam. 3:10; Romans 10:17; Prov. 3:5-6
C. Rejoicing – We should Seek the Good –2 Cor. 12:10; James 1:2-4; Rom. 8:28
V. Our Faith – (v.8-10)
A. Made Stronger Through Christ – 2 Cor. 12:10; Phil 4:11-13;
B. Made Evident to Others– 2 Cor. 4:7-9; 2 Cor. 1:3-5
Remember as you go through trials that God often says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Tower of Babel
Series: God Said It – Believe It Genesis 11:1-9
Properly understanding the account of the events at the Tower of Babel will help us to relate so much better to people of other languages and other races. But more importantly, it helps us to better understand God and his purpose for our lives.
I. The Construction of the Tower of Babel
A. God Was Displeased Because They were Directly Disobeying His
Command to Disperse and Replenish the Earth. Gen. 9:1
B. God Was Displeased Because They were Totally Self-reliant
Rather than Relying on God. Gen. 11:4; 3:5
C. God Sees All We Do Whether We Realize it or Not. Heb. 4:13;
II. The Confusion of Languages at the Tower of Babel
A. God Intervened to Slow Down Man’s Regression into Sin.
B. Here is the Origin of the World’s Different Root Languages.
C. There’s Only One Race and That’s the Human Race. Acts 17:26
- Two factors that affected their skin color: 1) Genetics; 2) Climate
Gen. 9:26; Num. 12:1
D. World Government is Not God’s Will; World Evangelism Is.
Acts 17:26-27; John 15:5; Prov. 10:28; Jer. 29:11
III. The Conclusions We Need to Draw From the Tower of Babel. “Any Construction Without God is Futile.”
A. Education Without God is Futile.
B. Leisure Entertainment Without God is Futile
C. Church Without God is Futile
We must Build on Jesus Christ! “If I would be lifted up, I will draw
all men to me.” John 12:32; Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:1-6
“For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” 1 Cor. 12:13 Jesus bridges the race barrier, sex barrier, & language barrier. That’s the only hope! In any language, His atoning death on the cross for our sins reads: “LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!” Jn. 3:16; Gal. 2:20
The Fall of Man
Genesis 2 & 3
We often ask, “What is wrong with this world? Why is there so much evil in our world? How can this be?” The book of Genesis is so important because it tells us where we came from, what our purpose is, and what’s gone wrong with the world. Genesis tells us that human beings have revolted against God and against his created order and the entire creation has been thrown out of joint. It also hints as to our future restoration with God.
I. The Perfect Creation
A. Perfect in Completeness (Gen. 2:1-3),
B. Perfect in Purpose (Rom. 11:36; Col. 1:16)
C. Perfect in Morality (Gen. 3) “Good” used 7 times in Gen. 1
II. The Fallen Angel
A. His Origin: Heaven - Is. 14:12-15; Rev. 12:7-9; Eph. 6:12
B. His Form: Serpent - Gen. 3:1, 14
III. The Temptation, Sin, & Results
A. Satan Questions God’s Word (Gen. 3:1)
B. Satan Denies God’s Word (Gen. 3:4)
C. Satan Reverses God’s Word (Gen. 3:5)
D. Man Rejects God’s Word (Gen. 3:6)
E. Sin Brought Consequences: Guilt, Shame, Withdrawal From God, &
Blame Game (Gen. 3:7-8, 12-13)
IV. The Punishment of Mankind
A. Painful Childbirth (Gen. 3:16)
B. Cursed Environment (Gen. 3:17-19)
C. Physical Death (Gen. 3:19 & 22; 2:17; Rom. 5:12; 6:23;
1 Cor. 15:21–22)
V. The Future Redemption
A. Crushing of Satan (Gen. 3:15; 1 John 3:8)
B. New Clothing (Gen. 3:21; Heb. 9:22; 1 Pet. 1:18-19)
We cannot save ourselves. We cannot defeat the evils of the world on our own. Our only hope is for God to intervene. He has and He will - “For as in Adam all die even, so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
1 Cor. 15:22
Creation of Everything
Genesis 1:1-15, 24-31 “God Said It – Believe It” #1
The question of “origins” – “Evolution vs Creation” is crucial--- How we think about ourselves eventually comes out in how we behave. Are we just a mistake of nature? Or are we deliberately created in the image of God? Our morality, our purpose, our eternal destiny rests in the verdict.
I. “Creation of Everything by God” Is Contained In the Bible
- Some say the Bible is Old, but it is Reliable - Matt. 24:35
- The Bible is remarkable in its Scientific Accuracy - Is. 40:22; Job 26:7; Gen. 15:5; Psalm 8:8; Eccl. 1:6; Gen 1:1-31 - All things created by God & are good!
II. “Creation of Everything by God” Is Logical
- Reason Concludes It. It’s Just Common Sense: A Creation Calls for a Creator… A Design Demands a Designer.
- “…so that men are without excuse.” &nb