Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Spiritual Road Map

Acts 2:37 – 47

“Spiritual Road Map”

 

I.          Step #1: Get started

 

            A.        Repent [v 38]

 

                        1.         (lit.) “to change the mind”

 

                                    a.         O.T. = “to change the behavior”

 

                                    b.         Mind = behavior

 

                                    c.         We must “hate” the sin we have committed.

 

                        2.         The heart (where choices are made) is the battle field.

 

                                    a.         Not just feeling but thinking… CHOICE.

 

b.         Totally convinced to abandon sin and embrace righteousness.

 

            B.         Be baptized.  [v 38]

 

                        1.         A public confession, identifying with Jesus.

 

                                    a.         We are following Jesus examples, humbling ourselves to be disciples and His servants.

 

                                    b.         We are renouncing all.  It is the “point of no return.”

 

                        2.         It is a demonstration of grace.

 

                                    a.         Baptism points out God’s grace of forgiveness and new life.

 

                                    b.         It is an expression of the changed life.

 

            C.        Receive the Holy Spirit [v 38]

 

While baptism is an expression of the changed life receiving the Holy Spirit brings the ability/power to live a changed life.

 

It is through the work and power of the Holy Spirit that forgiveness is applied and repentance gives direction.

 

II.         Step #2: Get started.

            A.        Consistent in basics [v 42]

 

                        1.         Systematic learning and application of the Apostles teaching.  (They were the first Methodists!)

 

                        2.         Continually in fellowship (community)

 

                        3.         The Lord’s supper/communion.

 

                        4.         Prayer.

 

            B.         Developing positive attitudes. [vv 44 – 47]

 

<From Martin Mull>

 

                        1.         Worship. (Relationship toward God.)

 

                        2.         Witness.  (Relationship toward others.)

           

                        3.         Willingness.  (Relationship toward ourselves.)

 

III.       Step #3: Get committed.

 

            A.        Committed to each other.

 

                        1.         [vv 44 – 45] Helping those in need.

 

                        2.         [v 46] Being together to encourage others... being useful.

 

            B.         Membership [vv 41, 47]

 

                        1.         Formal identification.

 

                        2.         The Lord drawing people into service.

 

We need GOD to get started.

We need OTHERS to grow.

We need OTHERS to continue.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

December 21

Hi everyone... since I'm not preaching this Sunday, I thought I would upload an old sermon.  It is called "Why Pray?"  Check it out!
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Ultimate Christmas

Isaiah 12

The Ultimate Christmas


Introduction: Christmas is a time we celebrate the birth of Jesus. It is a time we wish others peace. It is a time of hope for peace. In Isaiah 11 the time of the rule of the Messiah is described in verses 6 – 9 (read). Isaiah 12 is a psalm describing what would be said at that time. It starts with “In that day.”

 

I.         God’s relationship to us will change (12:1 – 3)

 

            A.        There will be an end of separation (v1).

 

                        1.         All are separated from God. (Romans 3:23)

 

                                    a.         It stared in the Garden of Eden. This separation is also between people. (Tell Garden of Eden story of shame and blame.)

 

                                    b.         Tossed out of the Garden and the way is guarded by a flaming sword (implied death)

 

                        2.         All are under God’s wrath. “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” (Romans 1:18 NIV)

 

                                    a.         God’s anger is gives way to comfort (on going effect)

 

                                    b.         (ill.) the child that is disciplined by a loving parent is also comforted by that parent.

 

            B.        There will be an end of fear (v2).

 

                        1.         The fear of God will be gone. There will be no need to fear others. Our other fears will melt (like fear of failure/ “deferred success.”)

 

                        2.         It will be replaced with trust. (The opposite of fear is not courage, it is trust.)

 

                        3.         It will be because of salvation.

 

                        4.         There is an extremely rare expression used to inspire absolute perfect, unwavering confidence: “The LORD, the LORD.”

 

            C.        There will be an end of want (v3).

 

                        1.         Image of a well in a hot, dry country.

 

                        2.         Jesus told the woman at the well, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water... [14] but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."” John 4:10, 14 (NIV)


On the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the Jews would bring water in a golden picture from the fountain of Siloam. They would pour this out on the alter as a thank offering with great rejoicing.


Image of our most basic necessity becomes the image of God’s provision of salvation through Jesus.

 

II.       God will be plainly known (12:4 – 5)

 

            A.        God’s name will be known (v4).

 

                        1.         There is confusion over who is God.

 

                                    a.         Modernists seem to think that Man is God... We are not!

 

                                    b.         Postmodernists seem to think that Man is God... We are not!.

 

                                    c.         Other religions have invented God in their own image. (BTW, there is a false “Christianity” that does the same thing.)

 

                        2.         Who God is, what God has done will be proclaimed clearly.

 

                                    a.         A celebration, like a memorial.

 

                                    b.         (ill.) TV show “This is your life.”

 

            B.        God’s work will be known (v5).

 

                        1.         Jesus entered the world as a baby. (We call this Christmas.)

 

                        2.         Jesus walked through this life facing everything we face to save us. “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil.... [17] For this reason he had to be made like his brothers 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. [18] Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:14, 17 – 18 (NIV) (We call this Easter.)

 

III.      God’s presence will cause a reaction (12:6)

 

            A.        Joy will be a reaction.

 

                        1.         There will be shouting (like when our favorite sports team is doing will).

 

                        2.         There will be singing (like when we are happy and excited).

 

            B.        God will be among us!

 

                        1.         There is coming a time when God will “physically” live with us and we with God. Or as it says in Revelation 21:3 – 4, “[3] And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. [4] He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’” (We call this Heaven!)

 

                        2.         Right now we have a small piece, a down payment, on that time. God has given us the Holy Spirit.

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Silent Night, Holy War

Revelation12:1 – 12, 17

“Silent Night, Holy War”


[Ron Sucek has a book out with this title based on this passage. Found in Mike Mason’s book “Champaign for the soul.”]


Why does our expectation of the Christmas season and its reality differ so much?


Christmas is expected to be a time of peace.


The angles declared “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” [Luke 2:14]


Look at the reality: We suffer from the Christmas struggle, the pressures of the season. We gain weight (stress or diet?). We have places to go and things to do (it stresses us out). We “have to” shop for Christmas presents (it becomes drudgery). We visit people we do not necessarily like (remember those endless Christmas day visits to relatives nobody mentioned during the year?). We send our children to places we don’t want them to go (like to their dad’s home).


It *almost* seems we are at war with ourselves, our schedules, and life in general this time of the year.


On that first Christmas day, God did three things.

 

            1.         God gave us the birth of Jesus to celebrate, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given...” [Isaiah 9:6a]


The successful birth of a child is *always* a joyful thing. It is a fresh of new in the stale of life. It is a shot of energy into the listless existence. There are hopes and dreams rekindled and passed on as an inheritance from our parents.

 

            2.         God gave us a new government, “and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” [Isaiah 9:6b]


Sometimes we get sick and tired of the old government. Maybe we dislike it or distrust it. Fact is, when it comes to governing ourselves we should. The weight of governing our lives is lifted at the cross of King Jesus. Jesus offered, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. [29] Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. [30] For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28 – 30]


You see, left to ourselves; we get it all wrong. We struggle and not know why. We fight without realizing we are fighting the one who loves us and died for us.

 

            3.         God helped us in our greatest war, “And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.” [Revelation 12:7]


There have been all sorts of ideas about who the woman, the dragon, and the child are in this story. Before the advent of “dispensationalism” (a theological view point started around 1900) one understanding was the woman was the church and the child was the Roman emperor Constantine. This doesn’t make sense because Constantine is of no eternal significance. Revelation is about eternally significant matters.


Some have thought that the woman is Israel and the child is the Christian church. They see images of the Exodus from Egypt in this story. It makes sense on several levels, except how do we understand the war in heaven and Satan being cast out?


Maybe Revelation 12 makes sense in context to the first Christmas.


Christmas upsets the spiritual balance.


Let’s take a look at the devil’s appearances BEFORE the first Christmas. He’s both in heaven and on earth.


Satan was the tempter in the Garden of Eden (see Genesis 3:1 - 6). This story explains the origins of sin in this world and the sinfulness of the human nature and life lived in disobedience to God.


In Job, Satan had the privilege of freely presenting himself to God and leaving God’s presence at will (see Job 1:6 – 7, Job 2:1,7).


Satan was able to challenge and accuse God’s people directly to the face of God. (See Job 1:9 – 12, Job 2:3 – 5, Zechariah 3:1)


God’s angel was delayed and detained by satanic forces in response to Daniel’s prayer. (See Daniel 10:1 – 14)


Something changed.


Jesus stated, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” [Luke 10:18]


The angel to the shepherds arrived on time with a time specific message. (See Luke 2:9)


We are warned, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” [1 Peter 5:8]


Matching Revelation 12, there was an immediate attempt on the life of a child... Jesus. The devil lost his prey, his place in heaven, and his power.


“When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him. [14] So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, [15] where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: Out of Egypt I called my son. [16] When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. [17] Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: [18] "A voice is heard in Ramah, Weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” [Matthew 2:13 – 18]


This leaves some interesting questions.


If the devil is so smart, why did he follow the script?


The prophecy was very clear about what would happen. In following the prophetic script, the devil helped prove the prophecy and the claims of Christ. Why?


You have to admit the chance to end God’s promised plan was too good to pass up. If the devil really does not believe what God says, then he would try. This was possibly the easiest point in history to end God’s promised plan of a deliverer.


Rage does blind intellect. Then again the devil was known for beauty and pride, not common sense.


If God is so smart, why did He risk everything on something so vulnerable as a human birth?


This story took human cooperation and obedience, something we are not good at. Joseph had to listen and act quickly, if not immediately to save Jesus. “So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt.” [Matthew 2:14] What sort of man would move his, presumably sleeping family, in the middle of the night? An obedient man who is in tune with God.


This story risked the fury of an anti-Christ government. Herod believed the prophecy which is why he acted the way he did. Fact is this spirit has been operating since the birth of Jesus, “but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” [1 John 4:3]


Christmas puts us on the “front line.”


While victory is God’s, it is also personally ours. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” [Revelation 12:11] Its one thing to cheer on the winning side, it’s another to be the actual winner. With the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony we are the actual winner...


So, what kind of tools do we have in this victory?


There is the blood of the Lamb. Jesus established the new blood covenant, “In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood...” [1 Corinthians 11:25a] In doing so, Jesus exchanged His righteousness for our sin. (See 2 Corinthians 5:21) In other words, Jesus exchanged places with us.


We have the word of our testimony. What is this testimony? The life changing word is about Jesus and the possibilities of an abundant life (instead of just existing). Part of this is found in our mandate, “and repentance FOR the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. [48] You are witnesses of these things.” [Luke 24:47 – 48 TNIV, emphasis is mine, it is the difference between TNIV and NIV]


This should be backed by our lives. “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” [1 Peter 2:12] Of course people who hate Jesus will always find a way to interpret the believer’s behavior as evil. Why? Jesus said, “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” [John 3:20]


Now we can understand the Christmas struggle differently.


When we celebrate Christmas with joy, we mark the birth of King Jesus. We lionize King Jesus and His kingdom. We brand our lives with King Jesus’ salvation and power.


In a real sense we acquire the taste of victory that comes before the final seconds tick off the clock, knowing we have won. In fact, Christmas is “the beginning of the end” to the spiritual depression of a world without its rightful King. This is “finalized” in the blood covenant of Jesus... His death and resurrection. It is empowered by Pentecost... the coming of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.


We gain weight (stress or diet?). We have places to go and things to do (it stresses us out). We “have to” shop for Christmas presents (it becomes drudgery). We visit people we do not necessarily like (remember those endless Christmas day visits to relatives nobody mentioned during the year?). We send our children to places we don’t want them to go (like to their dad’s home).


Underlying all the stress, depression, pressure, concern, and struggle there is a spiritual battle. God’s grace has been forcefully advancing though out history since the first Christmas. The light of King Jesus is expanding into a dark, joyless, violent, and a hopeless world. Is it a wonder the world wants to celebrate the “holidays” rather than Christmas? Is it a wonder that people use the court system and government to eliminate any visual representation (from manger scenes, to crosses and Ten Commandments) of this from the public eye?


At Christmas, we celebrate our personal and eternal salvation, a testimony that can change the personal eternal destiny of others, and the promise of complete victory.

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Listen to the Last Sermon

You have seen the outline. Now listen to the sermon. Thanks to the good people of Sermon Central, I can now post the weekly sermons in audio format. You will find a link on the left.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2007 Christan Bloggers Survey

ministrypastor.blogspot.com
http://ministrypastor.blogspot.com
Simplyjosh.com
http://Simplyjosh.com
churchonomics.com
http://churchonomics.com
marcpitman.com
http://marcpitman.com
ifjesushadawebsite.net
http://www.ifjesushadawebsite.net
ngpfocus.wordpress.com
http://ngpfocus.wordpress.com
danieldecker.net
http://www.danieldecker.net
ericbryant.org/blog
http://www.ericbryant.org/blog
thefissiongroup.com/blog
http://www.thefissiongroup.com/blog
livelikejesus.com/blog
http://livelikejesus.com/blog
emergingwomen.blogspot.com
http://emergingwomen.blogspot.com
julieclawson.blogspot.com
http://julieclawson.blogspot.com
post-methodist.blogspot.com
www.post-methodist.blogspot.com
edbuford.blogs.com
http://edbuford.blogs.com
jeffsmithspeaks.blogspot.com/index.html
http://jeffsmithspeaks.blogspot.com/index.html
churchcommunicationspro.com
http://www.churchcommunicationspro.com
friesville.net/blog
http://friesville.net/blog
ministrymarketingcoach.com
http://ministrymarketingcoach.com
johnsmulo.com
http://johnsmulo.com
douglast.com/thoughts
http://douglast.com/thoughts
thebellsite.com
http://www.thebellsite.com
ghostofmediocrity.blogspot.com
http://www.ghostofmediocrity.blogspot.com
morethanstone.blogsome.com
http://morethanstone.blogsome.com
davedavis.typepad.com
http://davedavis.typepad.com
theflippingsweetblog.blogspot.com
http://theflippingsweetblog.blogspot.com
blog.aspiringindie.com
http://blog.aspiringindie.com
spirittalks.blogspot.com
http://www.spirittalks.blogspot.com
chiselrod.com
http://www.chiselrod.com
microexplosion.com
http://microexplosion.com
levite.wordpress.com
http://levite.wordpress.com
learning2beastoryteller.blogspot.com
http://www.learning2beastoryteller.blogspot.com
billspondering.blogspot.com
http://billspondering.blogspot.com
dhfriss.typepad.com
http://dhfriss.typepad.com
imageforth.com
http://www.imageforth.com
despuesdeldomingo.com
http://www.despuesdeldomingo.com
mattandnancy.org
http://www.mattandnancy.org
mondaymorninginsight.com
http://www.mondaymorninginsight.com
valuetheprocess.wordpress.com
http://www.valuetheprocess.wordpress.com
themerge.blogspot.com
http://themerge.blogspot.com
semilladeamorgt.blogspot.com
http://semilladeamorgt.blogspot.com
mattsingley.com
http://www.mattsingley.com
timsweatman.blogspot.com
http://timsweatman.blogspot.com
jenniclayville.com
http://www.jenniclayville.com
anotherstorm.com
http://www.anotherstorm.com
elblogdecristianosh.blogspot.com
http://elblogdecristianosh.blogspot.com
kelly94942.blogspot.com
http://kelly94942.blogspot.com
melindalgroth.blogspot.com
http://www.melindalgroth.blogspot.com
churchrelevance.com
http://www.churchrelevance.com
lapalabra.ws/blogs
http://www.lapalabra.ws/blogs
twelvewitnesses.com
http://www.twelvewitnesses.com
thoughtsofacountrypreacher.blogspot.com
http://thoughtsofacountrypreacher.blogspot.com
knhamann.blogspot.com
http://knhamann.blogspot.com
lizziesotola.com
http://lizziesotola.com
jdblundell.blogspot.com
http://jdblundell.blogspot.com
jason.voxtropolis.com
http://jason.voxtropolis.com
rwbooth.com
http://www.rwbooth.com
decloaked.blogspot.com
http://www.decloaked.blogspot.com
davetilma.com
http://www.davetilma.com
debbie-thoughtsof.blogspot.com
http://debbie-thoughtsof.blogspot.com
theclayvilles.typepad.com/brian
http://www.theclayvilles.typepad.com/brian
estudios-biblicos.blogspot.com
http://estudios-biblicos.blogspot.com
elcalvario.us/quicuj
http://elcalvario.us/quicuj
arator.wordpress.com
http://arator.wordpress.com
xanga.com/rtsguy
http://www.xanga.com/rtsguy
la-guarida-del-perro.blogspot.com
http://la-guarida-del-perro.blogspot.com
forgodssakeshutup.blogspot.com
http://forgodssakeshutup.blogspot.com
determinacionhoy.net
http://www.determinacionhoy.net
discipleshipmeanderings.wordpress.com
http://discipleshipmeanderings.wordpress.com
challies.com
http://www.challies.com
allensonthe.net
http://www.allensonthe.net
nanolog.blogspot.com
http://nanolog.blogspot.com
donniejohnson.blogspot.com
http://donniejohnson.blogspot.com
missionsconnexion.com/cs
http://missionsconnexion.com/cs
tonydye.typepad.com
http://tonydye.typepad.com
brianeberly.com
http://www.brianeberly.com
curtbradford.typepad.com
http://www.curtbradford.typepad.com
gavin.inthebackyard.com
http://www.gavin.inthebackyard.com
communionreflections.blogspot.com
http://communionreflections.blogspot.com
victorychristianfellowship.net
http://www.victorychristianfellowship.net/index.php?page=blog
timothymyson.blogspot.com
http://www.timothymyson.blogspot.com
rbcgrace.com/deanblog/index.html
http://www.rbcgrace.com/deanblog/index.html
youthguy68.blogspot.com
http://www.youthguy68.blogspot.com
digitalchurch.com.au
http://www.digitalchurch.com.au
djs-book-rants.blogspot.com
http://djs-book-rants.blogspot.com
robertpooley.org
http://www.robertpooley.org
wideworldof.blogspot.com
http://wideworldof.blogspot.com
revunplugged.blogs.com
http://www.revunplugged.blogs.com
xanga.com/welcometotheedge
http://www.xanga.com/welcometotheedge
collinwimberly.blogspot.com
http://www.collinwimberly.blogspot.com
thecrossers.com/blog
http://www.thecrossers.com/blog
atravelersjourney.blogspot.com
http://atravelersjourney.blogspot.com
kairosofthisworld.blogspot.com
http://kairosofthisworld.blogspot.com
revnorman.blogspot.com
http://revnorman.blogspot.com
soomah.de
http://www.soomah.de
leadingsmart.com
http://leadingsmart.com
pontiacbible.org/brian
http://www.pontiacbible.org/brian
tianke.multiply.com
http://tianke.multiply.com
mountain-top-musings.blogspot.com
http://mountain-top-musings.blogspot.com
discipletim.blogspot.com
http://discipletim.blogspot.com
macmike.typepad.com
http://www.macmike.typepad.com
mcfaddencircle.blogspot.com
http://mcfaddencircle.blogspot.com
getanchored.blogspot.com
http://getanchored.blogspot.com
bucketsfromgoldie.blogspot.com
http://bucketsfromgoldie.blogspot.com
leslieherron.typepad.com
http://www.leslieherron.typepad.com
adoracionyartes.blogspot.com
http://www.adoracionyartes.blogspot.com
johnnyleckie.blogspot.com
http://johnnyleckie.blogspot.com
ridleybarron.blogspot.com
http://www.ridleybarron.blogspot.com
davebowmanonline.com
http://www.davebowmanonline.com
kevinpurcell.org
http://www.kevinpurcell.org
evtales.com
http://www.evtales.com
checkyourcompass.blogspot.com
http://checkyourcompass.blogspot.com
theoskaris.blogspot.com
http://theoskaris.blogspot.com
samshaw.wordpress.com
http://www.samshaw.wordpress.com
zayasbazan.blogspot.com
http://zayasbazan.blogspot.com
explorechrist.blogspot.com
http://www.explorechrist.blogspot.com
gracepages-mbc.blogspot.com
http://gracepages-mbc.blogspot.com
morganchurchdevotional.blogspot.com
http://www.morganchurchdevotional.blogspot.com
2timothy22.blogspot.com
http://2timothy22.blogspot.com
mixmastersean.blogspot.com
http://www.mixmastersean.blogspot.com
freedombc.org
http://www.freedombc.org
velocityhsm.blogspot.com
http://velocityhsm.blogspot.com
josue.townhall.com
http://josue.townhall.com
echalelena.blogspot.com
http://www.echalelena.blogspot.com
myspace.com/ncm.pcc.syl
http://www.myspace.com/ncm.pcc.syl
anopendoerr.com
http://www.anopendoerr.com
rockc3.com
http://www.rockc3.com
youthministryhilarity.blogspot.com
http://www.youthministryhilarity.blogspot.com
otbthinking.blogspot.com
http://otbthinking.blogspot.com
cowboycountrychurch.com
http://www.cowboycountrychurch.com
xanga.com/apolizzi
http://www.xanga.com/apolizzi
newlifebrisbane.blogspot.com
http://www.newlifebrisbane.blogspot.com
straightfrompastor.blogspot.com
http://straightfrompastor.blogspot.com
lifeofchrisrandomthoughts.blogspot.com
http://lifeofchrisrandomthoughts.blogspot.com
arktrav.blgspot.com
http://arktrav.blgspot.com
jurgenvandenherik.nl
http://www.jurgenvandenherik.nl
johannesrueschel.de
http://www.johannesrueschel.de
hufi.blogspot.com
http://hufi.blogspot.com
completinggodsmission.com
http://www.completinggodsmission.com
cobbsinger.blogspot.com
http://cobbsinger.blogspot.com
fellowshipdayz.blogspot.com
http://fellowshipdayz.blogspot.com
bridgecommunity-mike.blogspot.com
http://bridgecommunity-mike.blogspot.com
jonathaneverette.blogspot.com
http://www.jonathaneverette.blogspot.com
thegatheringplacehome.blogspot.com
http://thegatheringplacehome.blogspot.com
seabourn.org
http://www.seabourn.org
gupdate.blogger.com
http://www.gupdate.blogger.com
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Thanksgiving: A lesson in faith

Luke 17:11 – 19

Thanksgiving: A lesson in faith.


The Pilgrims began their Thanksgiving with five kernels of corn on their plate. They were symbolic of the daily ration they had experience the year before.

 

I.         Observations:

 

            A.        Desperation will cause you to do things you might not have considered.


“As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance [13] and called out in a loud voice, Jesus, Master, have pity on us! [Luke 17:12 – 13]

 

                        1.         Our adage: “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

 

                                    a.         These men went to Jesus because they had a need and they knew (on some level) that Jesus could do something about that need.

 

                                    b.         The first and most basic cry of the one in need is “Jesus, Master, have pity...”

 

                        2.         We are motivated by undercurrents of our mind.

 

                                    a.         Anger often drives us to do stupid things and is behind many addictive behavior. (The addictive behavior is an attempt to self-medicate)

 

                                    b.         Fear drives us passionately towards the cliff.

 

                                                1.)       We fear failing (ask any parent...). We try or work harder.

 

                                                2.)       We fear being alone (abandonment or hurt). We insulate ourselves with distrust and selfishness. We run blindly from relationship to relationship.

 

                                                3.)       We fear succeeding (attention and higher expectations). We do everything possible yet leave a trap door so we have an out if things become to uncomfortable.

 

            B.        The power of God will do things you might not have imagined.


“When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. [Luke 17:14]


 

                        1.         Jesus asked them to go to the priests while they were still “unclean.”

 

                                    a.         This was very difficult because of priests position.

 

                                                1.)       The priests had certified them “unclean” at the discovery of their leprosy. Now in the misery of the leprosy they were going to ask the priest to certify them clean.

 

                                                2.)       They were cleansed AFTER they left for the priests!

 

                                    b.         Noticed they were “cleansed” [v 14] but only one was “made well” [v 19]

 

                                                1.)       The word translated “cleansed” [v 14] means “to make clean” or “purify.”

 

                                                2.)       The word translated “made well” (KJV: “made whole”) [v 19] means “to save” as in “deliver” and “protect.”

 

            C.        Gratefulness will move you to action you might not think possible.


“One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. [16] He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him--and he was a Samaritan.” [Luke 17:15 – 16]

 

                        1.         Impression: The man returned BEFORE he went to the priests.

 

                                    a.         Notice there is no vested interest in the priests certificate of cleansing. The man was a Samaritan (unbeliever by Jewish standards).

 

                                    b.         Image of the remnant of Israel that was preserved to return to the Promised Land. (I really hope “remnant” is NOT a spiritual principle, but it may be.)

 

                        2.         In throwing himself at Jesus feet, he did two things:

 

                                    a.         He humbled himself before The One who had cleansed him.

 

                                    b.         He thanked the one he earlier called “Master.”

 

            D.        Thanksgiving, expressed in knowing, doing, and feeling will make you whole.


“Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” [Luke 17: 19]


 

                        1.         God is pleased when we give thanks.

 

                                    a.         Jesus shows disappointment (possibly frustration) over the fact that only one of the ten returned to give thanks. [vv 17 – 18]

 

                                    b.         Jesus tells him to get up and gives him liberty to leave.

 

                        2.         Healing is made complete in faith that has taken action, trusted Jesus, and returned thanks.

 

II.       There is a serious issue at stake: It is caused by being out of balance.


William Barclay - “So often once a man has got what he wants, he never comes back.”

 

            A.        So what cause us to be out of balance?

 

                        1.         Faith comes in four forms:

 

                                    a.         Faith is a choice (response) based on God’s grace (initiative).


“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” [Ephesians 2:8]

 

                                    b.         Faith is expressed in obedience (doing).


“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.” [1 John 2:3]

 

                                    c.         Faith is dependent on what we know.


“This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. [14] The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. [1 Corinthians 2:13 – 14]

 

                                    d.         Faith is confirmed and reinforced by what we feel.


“The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” [Luke 2:20]


“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. [Hebrews 12:28]

 

                        2.         We get out of balance when we focus on doing, knowing, and feeling as proof or a means of generating RELATIONSHIP with God.

 

 

                                    a.         These things (doing, knowing, and feeling) become “proof” of faith not the substance of faith.


(Ill.) You buy a new car. It is exciting, so you call your friends and family. You take them the receipt of your purchase to prove you have the new car. You act like you have a new car. What’s missing from this story? (Hint: The new car.)

 

                                                1.)       The SUBSTANCE of faith is the RESPONSE you make to God on a daily basis.

 

                                                2.)       When we focus on the “proof” we miss the RESPONSIVE RELATIONSHIP we have with God.


                                    b.         These things (doing, knowing, and feeling) begin to define us.

 

                                                1.)       We tend to be more comfortable in one, doubting the others.

 

                                                2.)       Personally I dislike the emotional (feeling) side. Feelings can be based on to many variables, sometimes in contrast to facts.


(Ill.) Many people make outlandish claims based on some ecstatic spiritual experience. I still have a letter someplace from a “prophet” (written in December of 2001) stating that Islam would collapse and vanish in a couple of years. How can you argue against the claim of someone’s experience?

 

                                                3.)       Personally I distrust the doing side. I notice that we work so hard but have so little compared to our desire and our effort. Our work pulls us away from our core message.


(Ill.) Lots of churches have recreated the philosophy and style of the “Purpose Driven Church” (and other church growth ideas) but nobody has produced the same results as the original model. Until they do at a reasonable level, it seems to be all conjecture or wishful thinking at best and commercialism (trafficking in honest desire) at worst.

 

                                                4.)       So where does that leave me? Possibly with a cold, knowledge based, practice that distrusts the “latest and the greatest.” Rejecting an imposed, externally generated, worship rather than a continual, internal heart, worship.

 

            B.        So how do you/I find balance?

 

                        1.         First we need to revisit the concept of “faith.”

 

                                    a.         Faith is our response to God’s initiative (grace).

 

                                    b.         The result of our response is DOING, KNOWING, and FEELING. Not just one... Those three must be subject to our RELATIONSHIP with God, not trying to prove or generate it.

 

                        2.         We need to cultivate positive habits.

 

                                    a.         Thanksgiving is the number one way. Why? Because ingratitude it’s the first step in spiritual and moral degeneration.


“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” [Romans 1:21]


(Application: avoid complaining, become deliberate in looking for the praiseworthy, intentionally give thanks for what you have instead of focusing on what you do not have or want.)

 

                                    b.         We need to re-establish FAITH as the SUBSTANCE of what we do, think, and feel. That means returning to RESPONSIVE RELATIONSHIP with the one true God.


“For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith.” [Romans 1:17]

 

                        3.         So where do we start?

 

                                    a.         Focus on God, not programs to do, things to believe, feelings to have.


“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.” [Romans 1:25]

 

                                    b.         Habitually look for God’s grace (initiative) in your life through regular things. (See the spiritual meaning.)


We live by faith, not by sight.” [2 Corinthians 5:7]

 

                                    c.         Daily respond to God’s grand substitution that allows King Jesus full control of you.


“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” [Galatians 2:20]


“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” [Romans 6:11]

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