Sunday, June 22, 2008

Introducing the King

Mark 1:14 – 34

Introducing the King

One of the major themes in Jesus’ life was “the kingdom of God.” It was His first sermon and the basis of everything He did.


I.         The Kings’ argues His case.


            A.        There is a King.


                        1.         This is not a matter of self government. (Jude 4 speaks of people who “deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” The word Sovereign means “absolute ruler.”


                        2.         Jesus’ further words and actions will demonstrate that He is the King in the kingdom of God.


            B.        Because Jesus is the King we need to repent.


                        1.         Wesley’s ideas


                                    a.          “And until we do so (repent), we can go no further. For, till we are sensible of our disease, it admits of no cure.”


                                    b.         Repentance is “a conviction of our utter sinfulness and guiltiness and helplessness; and which precedes our receiving the kingdom of God.”


                                    c.         “Repentance disclaims the very possibility of any other help; faith accepts all the help we stand in need of.”


                        2.         Repentance involves changing the mind and changing the behavior.

“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” [Matthew 3:8]


                        3.         Repentance is not “being sorry” it is being “in sorrow.”

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” [2 Corinthians 7:10]


            C.        We need to believe Jesus is King.


                        1.         That’s the choice we are left with.


                        2.         That’s the choice Jesus’ words and actions seek to impress.


II.       The Kings’ authority to command our lives.


            A.        The claim: “Follow me.”


                        1.         Following Jesus is the only way to become what we think we are (in our idealization).


                        2.         Following Jesus is “absolute” in that it requires all our time, all our stuff, all our energy... [Ill. You are standing on a road and a truck is speeding toward you. Why do you move out of its way? Answer: because you believe.]


            B.        “Fishermen” become “fishers of men.”


                        1.         Fishing is a very dark image in Scripture... the image is of judgement.

“The nations heard about him, and he was trapped in their pit. They led him with hooks to the land of Egypt. ... [9] With hooks they pulled him into a cage and brought him to the king of Babylon. They put him in prison, so his roar was heard no longer on the mountains of Israel.” [Ezekiel 19:4, 9]

“But I will put hooks in your jaws and make the fish of your streams stick to your scales. I will pull you out from among your streams, with all the fish sticking to your scales.” [Ezekiel 29:4 A prophecy of judgement against Egypt]

“The word of the LORD came to me: [2] "Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him [3] and say: `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. [4] I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army--your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords.” [Ezekiel 38:1 – 4 A prophecy concerning a world war against Israel.]

“Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? [14] You have made men like fish in the sea, like sea creatures that have no ruler. [15] The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks, he catches them in his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet; and so he rejoices and is glad.” [Habakkuk 1:13 – 15]

“The Sovereign LORD has sworn by his holiness: "The time will surely come when you will be taken away with hooks, the last of you with fishhooks.” [Amos 4:2]

“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. [48] When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. [49] This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous [50] and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” [MT 13:47 – 50 an image of the final judgement]


                        2.         Please note, fishing is never good for the fish.


                                    a.         If the image of fishing is dark and painful judgement and fishing is never good for the fish...


                                    b.         Why do we apply this verse/idea to evangelism?


III.      The Kings’s ability to create understanding.


            A.        The people were amazed... they knew something was different.


                        1.         Understanding does not mean agreement!

“All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. [29] They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff.” [Luke 4:28 – 29]

“Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” [John 19:19]


                        2.         Sometimes understand brings a violent reaction... the reaction of the demon possessed man.


            B.        They recognized the authority in Jesus’ teaching.


                        1.         Authority carries the sense of ability/power.

[Ill. The police have the authority to do their work and they have been trained and equipped to with the ability to do their work.]


                        2.         The people saw this was not just another teacher. This was someone who had the ability to command through relationship.


IV.      The Kings’ absolute power over spiritual forces.


            A.        In spiritual confrontation Jesus’ practice was “total resistance,” “no grace, no possibility of reconciliation” [Leighton Ford, Transforming Leadership, 258, 270]


                        1.         In other words, when it involved “loyalties, values, and beliefs” [Ford, 255] Jesus fought.


                        2.         The King does not compromise and goes to battle when necessary.


                                    a.         His words and actions could be “violent.” [e.g. driving out demons, making a whip and driving out the merchants and money changers from the temple, and calling leadership ugly names like “white washed tombs filled with dead man’s bones.”


                                    b.         The “real” Jesus is far from the peace loving one that is often thought of in American Christianity.

“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. [12] His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. [13] He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. [14] The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. [15] Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. [Revelation 19:11 – 15]


            B.        Notice the King provided freedom and release from the one held captive by the demon!


V.        The King admits the hurting and helpless.


            A.        Jesus heals Peter’s mother in-law and others who were sick and demon possessed.


                        1.         Life can hurt and be miserable... some of that is self-inflicted, some of it is imposed on us.


                        2.         Here is another demonstration of Jesus’ power, but physical healing was only temporary (the people still, eventually, died).


            B.        King Jesus’ goal was not simply the hear and now physical relief. King Jesus’ real purpose was eternal.


                        1.         Repent and believe... this is the gateway to the kingdom of God.


                        2.         Accepting Jesus’ rule as your King... this is the daily walk in the kingdom of God.


                        3.         Allowing King Jesus to “destroy the devil’s work” [1 John 3:8] and “demolish strongholds” [2 Corinthians 10:4] in your life... this it the freedom of the kingdom of God.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

The Making of a Man

Genesis 27:41, 28:10 – 22, 29:20 – 27, 31:38 – 42, 31:1 – 3, 31, 21 – 24, 31:48 – 50, 32:22 – 32

The Making of a Man

Medical technology has allowed us to see into the brain and is demonstrating that men and women do physically think in different ways. Of course, that’s just catching up with our observations of Scripture.

Jacob was one example of a man that God directly shaped through the use of some interesting tools.


I.         God uses disruptions.


            A.        Esau disrupted Jacob’s sense of peace an security. [Gen. 27:41]


                        1.         Jacob and Esau were in constant conflict.


                                    a.         Esau sold his “birthright” for soup. (The birthright was the legal standing given to the first born to be head of the family.)


                                    b.         Jacob stole Isaac’s blessing. (The blessing was the prayer/prophecy of what and who the person was to become.)


                        2.         Esau eventually developed an attitude.


                                    a.         Jacob ran for his life. [Gen. 28:10]


                                    b.         This became a 20 year voyage of discovering God.


            B.        God used this disruption to get Jacob’s attention. [Gen. 28:11 – 22]


                        1.         Finally God gets Jacob alone.


                                    a.         Men have the ability to think of absolutely nothing OR only themselves (sometimes that’s the same thing).


                                    b.         At Jacob’s “lowest” point (hey, he’s using a rock for a pillow) God reveals Himself.


                                                1.)       Notice God takes the initiative.


                                                2.)       Notice God promises to do the work.

***** Sometimes men are a bit slower to catch on. Sometimes men have to be brought to the point of utter helplessness before we will listen to God. *****


III.      God uses conflict.


            A.        Laban becomes a friendly enemy of Jacob.


                        1.         Laban steals 20 years of Jacob’s life and work.


                                    a.         Jacob wanted Rachel but got Leah. [Gen. 29:20 – 27, 31:38 – 42]

(CAUTION: Men, it is ALWAYS a bad thing when we allow lust to rule our actions.)


                                    b.         Question: can anyone be this stupid?


                                                1.)       How do you mistake the ugly sister for the “drop dead gorgeous” one on you wedding night?


                                                2.)       Somehow Jacob must have been out of control, either drunk or self-absorbed.


                        2.         God steps in to direct Jacob. [Gen. 31:1 – 3]


                                    a.         In the space of 20 years...


                                                1.)       There is no record of God contacting Jacob.


                                                2.)       There is no record of God at work in Jacob OTHER THAN blessing his work (which both Laben and Jacob recognized).


                                    b.         Men tend to define themselves by two things:


                                                1.)        Their work. “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God. [Ecclesiastes 2:24] (BTW, I think this was meant to be a simple observation of a life without God, not a “truth statement.”)


                                                2.)       Their “wise” children. “A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother.” [Proverbs 10:1b,c]


            B.        God steps in to protect Jacob. [Gen. 31:21 – 24]


                        1.         Somehow Jacob is still depending on himself.


                                    a.         He “deceive” his uncle and runs.


                                    b.         Laban catches him in 7 days, after a 3 day head start... (Suspicion, Laban was unhappy when he started and very cranky when he caught Jacob.)


                        2.         God reveals His will to Laban.


                                    a.         “Say nothing good or bad...”


                                                1.)       First we talk, then we fight... some of us equate “lets talk with lets fight.”


                                                2.)       In other words, God cautioned Laben to not escalate the conflict.


                                    b.         Laban behaves himself. [Gen. 31:48 – 50]


                                                1.)       “Mizpah” means “watch tower.”


                                                2.)       “God is a witness between you and me.” [v 50]


III.      God uses transformation.


            A.        Transformation is not a one time event.


                        1.         It happens in significant moments and in daily progression.


                                    a.         Esau’s murderous threats, Laben’s greed and anger, Esau’s army...


                                    b.         Daily life of work... subtle blessings and realization of God’s blessings.


                        2.         Examples:


                                    a.         Moses became Moses through a series of significant events: murder, burning bush, the Exodus, and meeting God on the mountain.


                                    b.         John became John through daily contact with Jesus: He was a “son of thunder” but became “the apostle of love.”


                                    c.         Joshua became Joshua when he served as Moses’ aid, when he stated in the “tent of meeting” to pray, and when God appeared to him... the first two prepared him for the appointment to lead.


            B.        How does this work? [Gen. 32:22 – 32]


                        1.         Transformation happens through persistence not physical strength or skill.


                                    a.         Jacob is no match for the stranger (God).


                                    b.         Jacob has an intense desire (reason, purpose): “bless me.”


                                                1.)       Jacob goes from stealing to wanting God to give him the blessing.


                                                2.)       At this defining he takes his place with Abraham in the “chain of faith.”


                        2.         Transformation touches the entire person.


                                    a.         His name is changed. Abram becomes Abraham, Saul becomes Paul, Cephas becomes Peter... Jacob becomes Israel.


                                    b.         Those who are in Christ Jesus have a new name!


                                                1.)       You are a new person: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” [2 Corinthians 5:17]


                                                2.)       You are given a new name: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.” [Revelation 2:17]


                        3.         Transformation happens when we meet God face to face.


                                    a.         “Peniel” means “face of God.”


                                                1.)       It is here that a man honestly faces himself, his fears, and his pride.


                                                2.)       It is here that a man makes that choice – once and for all – that will define him for eternity.


                                    b.         Your turn is “today.”


                                                1.)       Absolute trust in the salvation provided by Jesus.


                                                2.)       Absolute submission to God’s transforming work and power.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Godliness with contentment

1 Timothy 6:6 – 10

“The Secret to the good life”

Paul has been Timothy’s mentor. The time has come for Paul to hand Timothy responsibility. Throughout the letter to Timothy, Paul has given him much advice. Now at the end, he sums it all up as if to say... “Tim, if you remember one thing... this is it: Godliness with contentment is great gain.”


I.         Sin is the reason for every misery and human problem.


            A.        Define sin:


                        1.         Sin is doing what you know God says NOT to do.

“Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood before the people and said, "This is what God says: `Why do you disobey the LORD's commands? You will not prosper. Because you have forsaken the LORD, he has forsaken you.” [2 Chronicles 24:19]


                        2.         Sin is NOT doing what you know God says to do.

“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.” [James 4:17]


                        3.         Sin is the spiritual condition of being separate from God.

“Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? [5] But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.” [Romans 2:4 – 5]

This is the condition of all people who have not humbled themselves before God and accepted the salvation found only in Jesus Christ alone.

“There is no one righteous, not even one.” [Romans 3:10]


            B.        Sin starts with a desire or an attitude.

“For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world.” [1 John 2:16 KJV]


                        1.         Another way to say “lust” is desire.


                                    a.         Lust of the flesh... feels good.


                                    b.         Lust of the eyes... looks good.


                                    c.         Pride of life... build self up.


                        2.         The attitude is “me, me, I, I.”


                                    a.         In the English spelling the center of sin is “I.”


                                    b.         Attitude is seriously deadly.

“For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.” [1 Samuel 15:23]


                        3.         Bad desires and attitudes are contagious.

“Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character.” [1 Corinthians 15:33]


                                    a.         Sometimes our friends lead us astray. (As opposed to the good influence of those in a good church.)


                                    b.         Sometimes we are our own bad company. We get in trouble when we are alone and think nobody is looking.

(Ill.) A man was taken to the hospital because he cut off parts of his fingers on one hand. The story came out that the man wanted to trim his hedges so he picked up his lawn mower. Everything was going fine until the lawn mower became heavy and the weight shifted. When the surgeon had finished sowing the fingers back on, he was called to do the exact same surgery on someone different. What was amazing is that the second man was a neighbor of the first. Apparently he saw the first man and thought his idea of trimming the hedges with the lawn mower was a good idea...


            C.        Trouble is, sin kills but before it does it makes lots of misery.

“But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. [15] Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” [James 1:14 – 15]


                        1.         “Enticed” means to draw on by exciting hope and desire.


                                    a.         It is a fishing term. We would call it “bait” or a “lure.”


                                    b.         This is were discontent fits in... it starts as a thought, forms as a desire, becomes an acceptable goal, we act upon it, there are consequences, finally there is death.


                        2.         James uses the image of “conceived, gives birth, full-grown, death” (life - cycle) as a picture of the progress of sin.


                                    a.         First, it is hidden: We have to feed it, keep it safe, dwell on it.


                                    b.         Then it becomes visible: It becomes an action. When it is discovered we eventually do not care. No need to hide what you do not care others will know.


                                    c.         The sin then grows, it takes control and makes the decisions for you.

“Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.” [Psalm 19:13]


II.       Here’s the cure:


            A.        Jesus Christ provided full and free atonement (payment/covering) for sin.


                        1.         In other words, we do not have to be ruled by sin.


                        2.         In dependence on God, given power to live right because of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives, we can choose to live “above and beyond” sin.

“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. . . . [14] For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” [Romans 6:11, 14]

“No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.” [1 John 3:9]


            B.        We have two main strategies for living the REAL “good life.”


                        1.         Godliness (being sincere and serious about following Jesus) and contentment (satisfied, peaceful with yourself and surroundings).


                                    a.         Jesus taught us: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” [Matthew 6:33]


                                    b.         The issue of contentment is will you be satisfied with God’s best for you?


                        2.         Paul was concerned that Timothy might abandon the pursuit of godliness.


                                    a.         Desire for money. A craving... an addiction...

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” [Matthew 6:24]

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” [Hebrews 13:5]


                                    b.         The rule of thumb... the principle is this:


                                                1.)       If you are doing it for yourself, it is sin.


                                                2.)       If you carve what does not have eternal value, it is sin.


            C.        Consequences:


                        1.         Fall into temptation and a trap.


                                    a.         The image of “fall” is something that is out of control.


                                    b.         Traps are bad for the one who is trapped.

(Ill) How to catch a monkey. Hollow out a gourd. Tie the gourd to a stake or solid object. Place food in the gourd. It works because the monkey puts his hand in gourd to get the food and can not get his hand out with the food in the hand. The monkey sees the danger but will not let go and is doomed.


                        2.         Foolish and harmful desires.


                                    a.         Notice once this sets in, it is not a single or simple desire.


                                    b.         Foolish here means “ruin and destruction.”

(Ill) Visiting Key West. The island is circled by coral, making it dangerous for shipping except for one entry point. Captains would know this but try to make port in less than ideal conditions. Even in our large modern cruise ship we had to wait hours for the wind to settle before we could chance going to port. The people who lived on the island once had a very profitable salvage industry because if a captain was impatient or unwise, they were able to claim the shipwrecked cargo. At one point it made the island very wealthy.

“Holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.” [1 Timothy 1:19]


                        3.         Wandered from the faith.


                                    a.         You wander because you are not paying attention or you are lost.

“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” [Hebrews 2:1]


                                    b.         (Ill.) Driving through Chicago... interstate was detoured. I was very tired, the way was not marked, I didn’t follow traffic. I found myself driving endlessly in a world I didn’t know existed in America.


                        4.          Pierced themselves with many griefs.


                                    a.         Strange social phenomena: girls are deliberately and routinely cutting themselves as a reaction to some unhappy event. This has reached levels and frequencies that would be described as “addiction.”


                                    b.         Self inflicted injury does not make sense. Something is definitely wrong when this happens.


III.      The real issues.


            A.        Who are you going to trust?


                        1.         If you don’t trust God, you will be tempted to think that God is holding back something good from you.


                                    a.         “The grass is always greener... on the other side?”


                                    b.         Living in norther Michigan, we know the only place the grass is always greener is over the septic tank.


                        2.         If you trust God, He will give you the desires of you heart.

“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” [Psalm 37:4]


            B.        What are you going to pursue?


                        1.         It comes down to what you will pursue and be content with. “Godliness with contentment is GREAT GAIN.”


                        2.         Will those be passing things or eternal things?

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Appropriate Reaction

James 5:13 – 20

Appropriate Reaction

A difficult and wonderful text. Difficult because it has been so misunderstood and twisted. Wonderful because it offers so much hope and direction.


I.         There is an appropriate time for the right action.


            A.        Those suffering hardship and trouble pray.


                        1.         Find that prayer brings comfort.


                        2.         Prayer connects us with the presence of God. (Ill. A crying baby...)


            B.        Those who are happy sing praises.


                        1.         Singing is a form of prayer.


                        2.         Singing praises does two things:


                                    a.         It gives WITNESS to each other the things God has done.


                                    b.         It gives WORSHIP in exalting God.


            C.        Those who are sick call for prayer.


                        1.         This prayer is public. Private prayer does not put us or God “on the line.”


                        2.         There is the anointing with oil. This does not allow us to pass on the responsibility of praying for the individual.


                                    a.         Oil was the one of the main medical treatments of the day. Thus, recognizing the roll of legitimate medicine as an aid to healing.


                                    b.         Oil was the symbol of the Holy Spirit.


                        3.         When the sickness is connected with sin, it is an opportunity to make things right among believers.


                                    a.         This is the public apology that is often necessary when one persons sin affects the group.


                                    b.         Remember that sin brought sickness into the world. Not all sickness is a direct result of a specific sin (caus and effect).


            D.        Those who are stray are restored.


                        1.         There are two ways to “wander.” “Creed and Conduct”


                                    a.         Some things are necessary to believe:


                                    b.         When our conduct does not match the redeeming gospel of Jesus or is not under the controlling influence of the Holy Spirit, it is sin.


                                                1.)       Sin is a desperate condition of the heart of humanity which causes all sorts of problems.


                                                2.)       Left unchecked in the individual or institute (church) it has a killing effect.


II.       We tend to choose inappropriate responses for life conditions.


            A.        Examples of inappropriate responses:


                        1.         Suffering: Look for relief independent of seeking God.


                                    a.         Sometimes God wants us to learn something.


                                    b.         The real question is focus... where do we look in times of trouble?


                        2.         Happy: Celebrate instead of giving praise to God.


                                    a.         We can celebrate our happiness or turn people’s attention toward what God is doing.


                                    b.         The real question is focus... Do we want people to look at us or God?

“For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.” [Isaiah 48:11]

***** Stealing God’s glory may be the most serious common problem of the church in America today. It’s easy to do and seldom recognized. *****


                        3.         Sick: Do nothing.


                                    a.         James tells us to seek and depend on God.


                                    b.         Sometimes there is a deeper issue: sin.



                        4.         Sin: Ignored or encouraged.


                                    a.         “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. [11] You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” [Titus 3:10]


                                    b.         “Hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.” [1 Corinthians 5:5]


                                    c.         “If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. [15] Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.” [2 Thessalonians 3:14 – 15]


            B.        Why do we choose inappropriate responses?


                        1.         These issues are very personal.


                        2.         We tend to make things about us.


                        3.         Dealing with sin is a touchy issue. (“don’t judge” etc...)


                        4.         With most things we weigh “risk verses reward.” The need for healing and forgiveness against the potential public embarrassment and personal feelings.


III.      Why do we have this struggle?


            A.        We just don’t know.


                        1.         We’ve never been taught. (Remember the Bible is a “big” book with lots of subject matter. If the preacher doesn’t hit every subject every Sunday, its okay. That’s why consistent attendance is very helpful... over time you will get the full spectrum of Biblical teaching.)


                        2.         It’s not our custom and doesn’t fit local personality.


                                    a.         To some extent that’s not a problem... as long as we are not violating the clear teaching of Scripture.


                                    b.         For instance, a culture that does not express happiness or joy publically... then giving testimonies in the public service will naturally be rare.

[Caution: We can not judge ourselves or others by local customs and personality... God, thankfully, did not make us all the same. We should not try to imitate someone else or impose our ways on others.]


            B.        We place divine intervention against legitimate medical means.


                        1.         I think the Bible never discourages the uses of doctors or hospitals.


                        2.         Paul traveled with a doctor (Luke).


                        3.         Regardless what means are used, God is ultimately the giver of healing (or anything else for that matter).


            C.        Not everyone is healed.


                        1.         Correct! Sometimes God has something better.


                                    a.         Paul continued to struggle with his “thorn in the flesh.”


                                    b.         Paul’s physical illness served a bigger purpose.


                                    c.         What God does for one, He is not required to do for all in this issue.


                        2.         Sometimes “something better” is gaining heaven.


                                    a.         Christian perspective: this life is as bad as it gets for the believer (and as good as it gets for those who are not “in Christ.”)


                                    b.         “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” [2 Corinthians 5:8] (“absent from the body... present with the Lord” KJV, NKJV)

(Ill. What’s the point of fishing? Hint: it is not catching the fish...)

***** The point of publically asking for prayer and the church taking time to do this is to place ourselves under the will and authority of Jesus Christ. *****


IV.      It is always appropriate to direct everything to God.


            A.        Suffering, praise, sickness, or sin.


                        1.         Only God is the source of comfort.


                        2.         Only God is the source for praise.


                        3.         Only God is the source for healing.


                        4.         Only God is the source for forgiveness.


            B.        Give careful thought to our actions.


                        1.         Communion service: We ask for mercy.


                        2.         Communion service: “and be thankful.”

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