Sunday Service "Finishing Well" To contact, tithe, or inquire...please go to www.ToddCoconato.com Finishing well: Notes for this Sunday's service. (2 Timothy 4 6-8 verses for this teaching) Let's face it: starting well is relatively easy. Finishing well is a different matter! Starting that new diet or exercise program is kind of fun, but hanging in over the long haul is the real test. Getting married is exciting and relatively easy. Staying married through struggles, adjustments, and trials is not always an easy matter. The same is true of the Christian life. Becoming a Christian is relatively easy: acknowledge to God that you are a sinner and receive by faith the free gift of eternal life that Christ provided by His shed blood. You cannot work for salvation nor do anything to qualify for it. God gives it freely to all that recognize their need and trust in Christ alone. But then comes the hard part—hanging in there as a Christian in a world that is hostile towards God and His people. The world constantly dangles in front of you all that it has to offer in opposition to the things of God. From within, the flesh entices you to forsake Christ and gratify your sinful desires. The enemy hits you with temptation after temptation. The real test of your faith is, will you endure? Genuine faith in Christ perseveres to the finish line. The Christian life is a marathon, not a 100-yard dash. Since finishing a marathon well is not easy, when you see a man who sprints across the finish line, you ought to try to find out his secret. The apostle Paul was such a man. It's as if he has crossed the finish line with energy to spare. He jogs back to where Timothy seems to be losing steam and exhorts him to keep running well. In the Bible, it is clear that Paul is looking death in the face. His words must have caused Timothy to burst into tears when he first read them. And, these words must have sobered Timothy with the reality that Paul had handed off the baton to him. Now, he had to finish well. Paul's words are not those of a discouraged, broken old man. There is no despair, no defeat, no cynicism, and no fear as he faces imminent execution. His calm assurance is all the more startling when you consider his circumstances. He was in the Mamertine Prison in Rome. Even the worst of our prisons today would be like the Hilton in comparison to the Mamertine. Paul's cell was a dark, damp dungeon, reached only by a rope or ladder from a hole in the floor above. He had no windows, no lights, no toilet, no furniture, and no running water. As Paul sat on the hard floor in the cold darkness, enduring the stench of his own urine and excrement, the circumstances outside were not encouraging. Many seemed to be turning away from the aged apostle, and even from the faith, following false teachers. Paul had labored for the past thirty years or more to preach the gospel around the Roman Empire, but at this point, it was at best a tiny sect, scattered here and there. Paul was not the world-famous apostle, appearing on TV talk shows, and autographing books, with invitations pouring in from around the world for him to speak. And yet, the man was clearly at rest, confident in the way he has spent his life, and calmly assured as he faces death by decapitation. What does the apostle have to teach us about finishing well? Note that verse 6 speaks about Paul's present: “I am.” Verse 7 refers to his past: “I have.” Verse 8 begins, “In the future…” To finish well, keep in focus Paul's view of the present, the past, and the future. 1. To finish well, keep in focus Paul's view of the present (4:6). Three key words here will help us finish well: reproduction, sacrifice, and departure. A. REPRODUCTION: PAUL COULD FINISH WELL BECAUSE HE HAD REPRODUCED HIMSELF IN OTHERS. In the Greek text, verse 6 begins with the emphatic pronoun “I,” which contrasts with the “you” of verse 5, along with the connective “for.” The flow of thought is this: “Timothy, you preach the Word even in the face of opposition because I am about to die. I'm handing you the torch to carry!” Dying is easier when you know that you're leaving behind a number of people who can carry on with Christ because of your influence. Each of us needs to ask ourselves, “Am I working on that task?” I am talking about obeying Jesus' Great Commission, to make disciples of others. That Commission applies to every Christian at some level. If you know Christ as Savior and are walking with Him, then He calls you to make disciples of others. You can begin at home. Every Christian parent ought to be waging an all-out campaign to train up his or her children to know Christ and walk with Him. It doesn't happen by accident. It begins by setting the example: you must walk in reality with Jesus Christ if you want to impart that to your kids. Beyond that, dads, are you taking the time to read the Bible and pray with your family? Are you making sure that your family gathers with the Lord's people on the Lord's day for worship and teaching? Do you talk openly at home about spiritual things? Do you apply God's Word when there are tensions or trials on the home front? Beyond your immediate family, you ought to have a vision for reproducing yourself in the lives of others. Godly men should be handing off the faith to younger men in the faith (2 Tim. 2:2). Godly women should be training younger women in the things of God (Titus 2:3-5). When you're gone, there should be others who will carry on with Christ because of your influence. B. SACRIFICE: PAUL COULD FINISH WELL BECAUSE HE VIEWED HIS LIFE AS AN OFFERING TO GOD. Paul did not view his execution as a cruel tragedy or as unfair treatment in view of his many years of dedicated service. Rather, he saw it as the culminating offering of a sacrificial life. After the sacrificial lamb had been placed on the altar, and just before it was lit on fire, the priest poured out on it about a quart of wine (Num. 28:7). It was the final sacrifice poured out on the existing sacrifice. That was how Paul viewed his own death. His whole life had been a living sacrifice presented unto God. Now, his death would be the drink offering poured on top of that (Phil. 2:17). This means that to finish well, you need to view all of your life as an act of sacrificial worship to God. As Paul put it (Rom. 12:1), “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” You don't serve Christ in order to get praise and acclaim from others. You serve Christ as an act of worship towards Him. If others turn away from you or badmouth you (as they were doing toward Paul), or if your earthly reward for a lifetime of dedicated service is to get your head cut off, it's okay, because all of your life has been an offering to God. This also means that to finish well, you view yourself as expendable in God's service. Here is the great apostle to the Gentiles, the man who did more for the spread of the gospel than any other man in church history. His influence was incalculable. Yet he could finish well because he saw himself as expendable, a drink offering. In language similar to our text, Paul told the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:24), “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.” If you have inflated notions of your own importance, you will not finish well. All of us should view ourselves and all of our service as a sacrificial offering to God. C. DEPARTURE: PAUL COULD FINISH WELL BECAUSE HE VIEWED HIS IMPENDING DEATH AS A DEPARTURE. “The time of my departure has come” (4:6). In the Bible, death is never cessation of existence, but rather, a separation of the soul from the body. It is departure. The Greek word that Paul used was a vivid one. It was used to describe the unyoking of an animal from a plow or cart. Death means the end of our labors and toils in this life. It was also used for loosening the bonds of a prisoner. Death is a release from the bonds of this corruptible body. It was also used for loosening the ropes of a soldier's tent. This suggests that at death, the battle is over, victory is won, and we are headed home. The word was also used for loosening the mooring ropes of a ship. At death our earthly ship leaves the shores of this stormy earth and puts in at the always-calm port of heaven. (These examples are in William Barclay, The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon [Westminster Press], revised edition, p. 209.) If you have Paul's view of death as departure, you will be able to finish without fear and even with anticipation, knowing that to depart and be with Christ is much better (Phil. 1:23). You will be able to say with him (Phil. 1:21), “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” So to finish well, keep in focus Paul's view of the present: present ministry is reproduction; present life is a sacrifice to God; and, impending death is a departure to be with Christ. 2. To finish well, keep in focus Paul's view of the past (4:7). Paul was able to look back on his past in Christ and say confidently that he had done well. He is not implying that there had not been mistakes or times of discouragement—of course there had been. But through all of the problems and trials, Paul had stayed in the race. He could say, “I've done what God called me to do!” To be able to join Paul in saying that at the end of our lives, we must be able to make his three statements in verse 7: A. “I HAVE FOUGHT THE GOOD FIGHT” (4:7A). When you come to the end of your life, will you be able to look back and say, “I have been involved in the struggle for the cause of Christ”? Paul is using an athletic metaphor, either of a wrestling match or a race. It conveys that the Christian life is not a Sunday School picnic, but rather, a struggle against the forces of evil. It is not just any fight, but the good fight, the fight of the gospel of Jesus Christ for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Can you say, “I am currently involved in the struggle for the cause of Christ?” Let me help you answer that question. You cannot say so if you are living primarily for your own comfort and affluence, spending your time and money on your pursuit of the American dream. You may attend church every week. You may profess to know Christ as your Savior. But if your purpose in life is to be as comfortable and affluent as you can be, then you are not seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. You're not involved in the struggle for the cause of Christ. If, on the other hand, you live for the purpose of building up the body of Christ and extending His kingdom through your labors, your time, and your money, in accordance with the gifts and opportunities that God has given you, then you are involved in that struggle. What a fulfilling thing when it comes time to die, to look back on your past and be able to say, “I've been involved in that great struggle for the cause of Christ!” B. “I HAVE FINISHED THE COURSE” (4:7B). “I have not dropped out of the race.” Paul is referring to a long race. The word “marathon” comes from a geographic place where a decisive battle took place between Greece and Persia in 490 B.C. If the Persians had won, world history would have been much different. The glories of ancient Greece would not have happened. The legend is that after the battle, a Greek soldier ran the distance from Marathon to Athens (21-25 miles, depending on his route) with the news of the victory, and then fell dead. Based on that legend, the modern marathon race began between Marathon and Athens in the 1896 Olympics, and was lengthened to the present 26.2 miles in the 1908 Olympics. We all know those who began the Christian life with a flourish of activity and enthusiasm. Maybe they even went into full-time ministry. But when trials and disappointments hit, they dropped out. Sometimes, we need to take a break from serving to be refreshed and renewed. But then we need to get back in the race. Of course, we never should take a break from walking with the Lord. I've never ran a marathon, but I know that there's no such thing as an easy marathon. We need to get out of our heads that the Christian life is all glory and effortless bliss. There is joy, but there also are many trials that require endurance (Acts 14:22). So make up your mind to hang in with the Lord through the tough times, so that you can look back at the end and say with Paul, “I have finished the course.” C. “I HAVE KEPT THE FAITH” (4:7C). “I have guarded the truth about Christ.” Several times in these letters to Timothy, Paul has talked about “the deposit” that Timothy is to guard (1 Tim. 6:20; 2 Tim. 1:12, 14). He was referring to the truth of the gospel, the core doctrines of the Christian faith. When Paul says that he has kept the faith, he means that he has carefully guarded the truth about Jesus Christ that God had entrusted to him. He had not bought into any of the many errors about Christ that were circulating in his day. His life and his teaching had held to sound doctrine. You can't keep a faith that you are unclear about. To be able to look back on your life and echo Paul's words, “I have kept the faith,” you need to be clear on the essentials of that faith. It is just as much under attack in our day as it was in Paul's day. So sink down some roots in sound doctrine. Know what you believe so that you are not tossed around by all of the winds of false doctrine. Thus Paul could finish well because he could look at his present: he saw his present ministry as reproduction, his present life as a sacrifice, and his impending death as departure. He could look at his past: he saw that he had been involved in the struggle for the cause of Christ, he had not dropped out of the race, and he had guarded the truth of the gospel. But he also looked to the future: 3. To finish well, keep in focus Paul's view of the future (4:8). Paul could finish well in spite of his dismal circumstances because he had secure hope for the future. There are two aspects of Paul's future hope: A. PAUL COULD FINISH WELL BECAUSE HE HOPED TO MEET THE LORD, THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE. You may think that that sounds more like dread than hope! While there ought to be an element of awe and fear when we think of standing before the Lord, the prevailing emotion that we should have is expectant hope. The world, if they even think about standing before the righteous Judge, should be filled with dread. But Christians should love His appearing. Here's why: Paul wrote (Rom. 8:1), “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Jesus said (John 5:24) that the one who believes in Him “does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” Salvation is God's free gift given by His grace apart from any merit on our part. If your trust is in Jesus Christ as Savior, you do not need to fear the final judgment. The reason that you will not be condemned on judgment day is not because you have earned it by being a good person. Rather, it is that by His death on the cross, Jesus Christ satisfied God's perfect righteousness. When you trusted in Him, God imputed Christ's righteousness to your account (Rom. 3:21-26). That hope of meeting the Lord, the righteous Judge, who will welcome us into heaven on the basis of His perfect righteousness, should help us now to run the race with endurance. B. PAUL COULD FINISH WELL BECAUSE HE LIVED IN VIEW OF THAT DAY. It is difficult to interpret what Paul means by “the crown of righteousness.” Is this a special reward given only to some believers who have lived especially righteous lives, but not to all? Or, is it the reward of eternal righteousness, given to all believers, who have already been justified by faith? In favor of the view that it is a special reward is that the word “crown” refers to the wreath that was given to the victor in the games. Not all received this crown, but only those who won (1 Cor. 9:24-25; 2 Tim. 2:5). The Bible teaches that while salvation is a free gift, God will reward us on the basis of our service for Him (Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10), and these rewards will differ among believers. Some will have their works burned up, because they were not founded upon Christ, but they will be saved yet so as through fire. Others will receive a reward for their works (1 Cor.3: 10-15). In favor of the view that the crown of righteousness is given to all believers is that the phrase, “all who have loved His appearing,” seems to be a description of all believers. In this sense, it would be parallel to the crown of life that is given to all who love Christ (James 1:12). If Christ has saved you by shedding His blood for your sins, you long for the day when you will see Him. Perhaps Paul's meaning here is simply that even though his earthly judge (the evil Nero) had wrongly condemned him, he knew that the righteous Judge would vindicate him when he stood before Him. This is the third time that Paul has used “that day” in this letter (1:12, 18). Clearly, he lived in view of that day, when he would stand before Christ. So should we. The fact that we will stand before the Lord, the righteous Judge, on that day should motivate us to live righteously on this day. I read of a journalist who was in charge of the obituaries. One day when he didn't have any deaths to record, he put a sheet of blank paper in his typewriter and wrote his own name at the top. He then found himself writing his own obituary: “I have been a good husband and a fine father. I have contributed to a number of worthy causes. I have left a reputation of absolute integrity. My friends are many.” By the time he had finished the page, he had already committed himself to the task of living up to his own obituary (told by Robert Mounce, Pass it On [Regal Books], p. 153). Conclusion Perhaps your circumstances seem pretty dismal today. Maybe you're considering dropping out of the Christian race. From his dungeon, the aged apostle calls out to you: “Don't quit! Keep going! You can finish well! “Keep in focus my view of the present: You can reproduce yourself in others to carry the torch after you. View your life as a sacrifice to God. Your death will be a departure to be with Christ. “Keep in focus my view of the past, so that one day it will be your past. You will be able to look back and say that you engaged in the struggle for the cause of Christ. You didn't drop out of the race! You guarded the truth of the gospel. “Keep in focus my view of the future. Soon you will stand before the Lord, the righteous Judge, vindicated by His grace. Live in view of that day!” If you live with Paul's focus, you will finish well!
The sovereignty of God and the supremacy of Christ. Again, Paul demonstrates a provocatively joyful attitude. In the face of his unjust imprisonment and even ‘gospel advocates' trying to make his life even more difficult, he still rejoices. He does so, because he chooses to see life from a Christ-perspective. If Christ is glorified, then I am more than happy! What happens to me physically doesn't even matter, even death!
Have you ever thought this world was a bit upside-down? Had an interaction with death that was unpleasant? Seen an evil that made you cringe? Wondered WHY is there evil?If Christ wasn't raised, you can expect an eternity of the above. However, if He really was raised, and the resurrection is true, then it has epic consequences for us:we get a future resurrectionWe get a future alivenesswe get to say"I belong to Him" when faced with judgmentwe get to stay in a Kingdom that is better than a 7 day cruise to the Greek Isleswe get to watch evil be destroyed foreverwe get to see death destroyed foreverJoin me for a 7 minute listen for a future, a "hope", that we get to believe in IF Christ was raised. Though I cannot answer today WHY there is evil, I will thoroughly answer WHEN there is evil, and specifically, when it will be no more. bewithme.us You can like, share, retweet, forward, join, and sign up for more good news tomorrow.
Why we are not dispensational: • Dispensationalism promotes escapism which hinders discipleship in the present because the goal is to escape the earth. If Christ's goal is to be his body on earth why would he want us to escape it and if he is the pattern and his pattern was suffering leading to victory then the dispensational interpretation is opposite of the pattern of Christ. If a true disciple looks like Jesus then we are called to endure to the end not escape, this actually builds our faith and discipleship. • Staunch Dispensationalists see the 7 churches as ages from the ascension up till the “GREAT TRIB” and this stunts the application of Jesus' message to these churches because they apply them to other “ages” and cannot see the application (not written to us, but written for us). To give the benefit to Dispensationalists some do see the pastoral applications of the churches (The "things that are”). • Dispensationalists interpretations of the 144,000 as Jews in the “Great Trib” screws up much of the rest of the letter. If they can't see this as what John “sees” in Rev 7 (The interpretation of 144000) as all tribes, tongues, and nations (the church) who worship the lamb and follow him wherever he goes (Rev 15) and rather see it as some end times jewish army with the church “raptured” out of the picture it can really screw up the mission of the church in following the lamb in suffering and service because that is only reserved for the end times jews (The same that are called a synagogue of Satan in Smyrna?). • A major thrust is the futurist nosterdomist misinterpretation of what prophecy Is, but we addressed this in part in our intro episode. If it's all about predicting the future then it has no bearing on the present except to just “watch” for it. It requires not action on the part of the church.
Transcript: Hello, this is Pastor Don of Christ Redeemer Church. Welcome to “The Kingdom Perspective”. How should we process the difficulties of our lives? We should process them through the gentleness of Jesus. Many of us are suffering all sorts of anxieties. The good news of Jesus assures us that ultimately everything that comes our way, even the difficult, is not evidence of God's condemnation, but of His care—not His judgment but His gentleness. He's purifying not punishing us. Therefore, there is no need to compound your troubles by beating yourself up. Satan is our accuser. Jesus is our Advocate. Richard Sibbes's (1577-1635) very helpful book, The Bruised Reed puts it this way: “Christ's way is first to wound, then to heal. No sound, whole soul shall ever enter into heaven. Think when in trial, Christ was tried for me; according to my trials will be my graces and comforts. If Christ be so merciful as not to break me, I will not break myself by despair, nor yield myself over to the roaring lion Satan, to break me.” He goes on to say that the weakness we experience in our troubles is designed by our Savior's gentle hand, to cause us to cling to Him even more. “Christ will make up all the breaches which sin and Satan have made. He ‘binds up the broken hearted' (Isaiah 61:1). A mother is tenderest to the weakest child, so does Christ most mercifully incline to the weakest. Likewise, he puts an instinct into the weakest things to rely upon something stronger than themselves for support. The vine stays close to the elm, and weakest creatures have the strongest shelter.” The gentleness of Jesus is our shelter. Rest in Him. Something to think about from The Kingdom Perspective. “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NASB)
Today's Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-10Daily Lectionary: 1 Kings 18:1-19; Ephesians 1:1-23 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Paul makes it very simple. There is one message, one Gospel, that saves: Christ died for your sins in accordance with everything God has ever said in the Bible. Christ was buried. Christ was resurrected on the Third Day, again in accordance with everything God has ever said in the Bible. Believe this, hold fast to this, cling to this for dear life, for it is life, eternal life, life that knows no end. Change the message and you don't have the Gospel. Make the message about you and your life, not the death and resurrection of Jesus, and you don't have the Gospel. Ignore the Old Testament and you lose the richness of the Gospel that looked forward to and predicted that Jesus would have to die to forgive your sins and be raised to life again to grant you eternal life. Skip Good Friday and the death of Jesus, and there's no reason for an Easter Sunday. Leave Jesus dead on the Cross and you've got no hope in this life and certainly not in the age to come. This is of first importance, the most important of the importants: Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and three days later arose to life that will not end. Nothing else changes your life now and your life to come in eternity. This earliest version of our creeds, and their source, is why we confess the creeds every day and especially on Sundays. When something is important you want to remember it all the time. So confess the creed every day. It will guard and protect you from ever forgetting what is the most important thing in life: the Good News, the Gospel in which you stand, by which you are being saved. Christ died for your sins in accordance with the Scriptures, He was buried, and was raised to life on the Third Day in accordance with the Scriptures. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. If Christ had not been raised from death Our faith would be in vain, Our preaching but a waste of breath, Our sin and guilt remain. But now the Lord is ris'n indeed; He rules in earth and heav'n: His Gospel meets a world of need—In Christ we are forgiv'n. ("If Christ Had Not Been Raised from Death" LSB 486, st.1)-Rev. Daniel Voth, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Grand Forks, ND.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschStudy Christ's words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.
We Are Family: Arise To Your Season - Special Guest Speaker Andy McDonald As people age and eventually retire, does that mean their work in the body of Christ is done? How do responsibilities and mission change as Christians grow older? What special benefit can be found in a multi-generational church? One of our #WholeLifeReflections asked: If Christ has to save us in spite of ourselves, how might we learn to lean in on him and find rest for our souls? What stood out to you this week? Something we said, didn't say, or could have said in more detail? We would love to hear your thoughts and comments! Reach out to us with your questions and comments using the information below: ■ Text/Voicemail: 407-965-1607 ■ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org SUBSCRIBE NOW to our weekly podcast Speaking of Grace to listen to the message this podcast was based on - https://speaking-of-grace.captivate.fm/listenlinks (https://speaking-of-grace.captivate.fm/listenlinks) Our weekly message from the WholeLife Church and all of our #WholeLifeTakeAways are in each episode's show notes for you to listen to, discuss, and share with family and friends. The previous weekend's sermon is released every Tuesday with our pastors and guest speakers inviting you into a lifelong friendship with God. Thank you for listening! Our show is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, and anywhere you listen to podcasts! If you've enjoyed this episode, please share it on social media at the following links and while you're there, say ‘hello'! Twitter: https://twitter.com/wholelifeorl (https://twitter.com/wholelifeorl) Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wholelifeorlando (https://www.facebook.com/wholelifeorlando) Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wholelifeorlando (https://www.instagram.com/wholelifeorlando) NEXT WEEK 9/3/22: We Are Family: Arise to Awareness - Stanton Reed Watch the message that this episode is based on our website: https://wholelife.church/media (https://wholelife.church/media) To find out more about WholeLife Church, visit our website: https://WholeLife.Church (https://WholeLife.Church) Use the #hashtags: #WholeLifePodcast #WholeLifeReflections #ThisIsWholeLife #ThisIsUS #WeAreFamily #TheVelvetSledgeHammer #ARISE
We Are Family: Arise To Your Season - Special Guest Andy McDonald As people age and eventually retire, does that mean their work in the body of Christ is done? How do responsibilities and mission change as Christians grow older? What special benefit can be found in a multi-generational church? Our #WholeLifeReflections for this week: Which seasons of your life hold the best memories?? Where's the line between “self-sufficiency” and “dependence”? What might be some differences between life in general and spirituality? What are some ways to benefit from each season of life? How could deciding not to live up to our potential actually enable us to achieve more? What do you think, and how does it feel to consider not getting any better but knowing God loves you anyway? If Christ has to save us in spite of ourselves, how might we learn to lean in on him and find rest for our souls? What stood out to you this week? Let us know by reaching out with any of the links below! ■ Text/Voicemail: 407-965-1607 ■ Email: email@example.com SUBSCRIBE NOW: This Is Whole Life - https://this-is-whole-life.captivate.fm/listenlinks (https://this-is-whole-life.captivate.fm/listenlinks) Our companion podcast, This Is WholeLife, is where we dive deeper into the message and topic with Pastor Ken and Pastor Jeff, along with host Randy Magray. It's the perfect midweek commute podcast to stay in touch with what's being talked about at WholeLife Church, and we encourage your questions, comments, and feedback which we will share in the next episode! Thank you for listening! Our show is available everywhere you listen to podcasts! If you've enjoyed this episode, please share it with your family, friends, and on social media where you will find us at the following links! Follow and say hello! Twitter: https://twitter.com/wholelifeorl (https://twitter.com/wholelifeorl) Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wholelifeorlando (https://www.facebook.com/wholelifeorlando) Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wholelifeorlando (https://www.instagram.com/wholelifeorlando) NEXT WEEK 9/3/22: We Are Family: Arise to Awareness - Stanton Reed To learn more about WholeLife Church, visit our website: http://www.WholeLife.Church (www.WholeLife.Church) The theme music for Speaking of Grace was written, produced, and performed by WholeLife Church's own Phillip Burks - https://www.phillipburks.com/ (https://www.phillipburks.com/). Use the #hashtags: #WholeLifePodcast #WholeLifeReflections #ThisIsWholeLife #ThisIsUS #WeAreFamily #ARISE
Questions Covered: 03:25 – Could you help clarify the idea that Mary is the spouse of the Spirit? 17:15 – Is it possible to create a 3rd or 4th class relic using the host of a Eucharistic miracle? 21:30 – If Christ restored everything to pre-golden calf times, why isn't the priesthood extended to everyone? 36:16 – Is God’s love for us unconditional or conditional? 44:06 – I'm a lapsed Catholic seeking to come back. Why are saints’ bodies dismembered after their death and spread throughout the world? And why do they do this before they are declared saints? 52:00 – My boyfriend and I want to get married but I'm Catholic and He's Protestant. What do we have to do? What does the Church say about mixed marriages? …
For additional notes and resources check out Douglas' website.32 The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering such things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent temple police to arrest him.The dispatch of the Temple Police to arrest Jesus would have spoken clearly to the early Christians, as to disciples today in countries where it is not easy or safe to be a disciple. For they were used to arrests of Christian leaders, a practice that continued all the way until the early 4th century.The tension is mounting. Finally, the Pharisees, in collaboration with the upper-echelon priests, send the arrest party to bring Jesus in (v.32).33 Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little while longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. 34You will search for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.” 35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? 36 What does he mean by saying, ‘You will search for me and you will not find me' and ‘Where I am, you cannot come'?”Jesus remarks that soon they will be unable to find him (vv.33-36). (He will have returned to heaven.)As usual, they misread him. They presume he may depart the country to preach in the diaspora.They are saying, in effect, that since Christ had so little success among his own people in his own land, he was mad to think he would enjoy more success among diaspora Jews.Like Caiaphas' unwitting words in 11:49-50, their insight reached beyond their understanding!They are on the earthly "channel 2." Jesus is broadcasting on the heavenly "channel 1."37 On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, 38 and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer's heart shall flow rivers of living water.'” 39 Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.Strategically, Jesus waits until the final day of the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles (v.37). The celebration was marked by camping under shelters ("tabernacles"), rejoicing at night in the light of the huge candelabras set up in the Court of the Women, and the daily drawing of water from the Pool of Siloam.In regard to vv.37-38, read about Simchat Beit HaSho'eivah. Jesus is playing off the Jewish custom of the outpouring of water.Sukk. 5:1 says, "He who has not seen the joy of the water-drawing has not seen joy in his whole lifetime."For the O.T. background, see also Isaiah 12:3 and Joel 3:18.The phrase "from deep within him" (v.38), or "out of his belly" (KJV), may be explained by the Aramaic original. Guph / gupha' originally meant "cavity," them "body" or "person," and could even on occasion substitute for the personal pronoun.The priests poured out water to symbolize Yahweh's blessing on the crops through rainfall; Jesus speaks of a different, deeper, and more important water.The living water harks back to his promise to the Samaritan woman in chapter 4.See also Zechariah 14 and Ezekiel 47, for the deeper Messianic meaning of the flowing waters. These passages depict the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (from Pentecost onward).Thus the gospel writer notes that Jesus is really speaking of the Holy Spirit (v.39).The Spirit was not available to all believers until Jesus had been glorified (v.39). ("There was no Spirit" doesn't mean the Spirit didn't exist, but that it was not part of the lives of true believers.)Does the Spirit continue to well up within me? What am I doing to make sure I'm not blocking the flow of the life-giving Holy Spirit?40 When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, “This is really the prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But some asked, “Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he? 42Has not the scripture said that the Messiah is descended from David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” 43 So there was a division in the crowd because of him. 44 Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.The crowd is divided (v.40ff).Some say he is the Prophet (see Deuteronomy 18).Others said he is the Messiah, perhaps not understanding that the Prophet Moses spoke of was the Messiah. (They falsely distinguished between Prophet and Messiah.)Yet others questioned whether he was the Messiah, since Bethlehem (the city of David), very close to southern Jerusalem, is far from northern Galilee.45 Then the temple police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not arrest him?” 46 The police answered, “Never has anyone spoken like this!” 47 Then the Pharisees replied, “Surely you have not been deceived too, have you? 48 Has any one of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in him? 49 But this crowd, which does not know the law—they are accursed.” 50 Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus before, and who was one of them, asked, 51 “Our law does not judge people without first giving them a hearing to find out what they are doing, does it?” 52 They replied, “Surely you are not also from Galilee, are you? Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee.”The police, mesmerized by Jesus and his message, report back (v.45) empty-handed.Oudépote elálēsen hoútōs ánthrōpos (Never spoke so [a] person).It is possible that these temple servants were told to arrest Jesus discreetly, without causing a civil disturbance. (See Mark 14:1-2.) If that is the case, it would illuminate why they failed to bring him in.The Jewish leaders deeply resent Jesus' influence over even their own police force (v.47). After all, the police are hardly the authorized interpreters of the Torah!And yet the Pharisees are relying on a sort of circular logic:(Unstated premise:) If Christ were who he said he is, the leaders would believe in him.None of the leaders believes in Christ. (This is untrue! See 3:2.)Therefore he must not be who he says he is.Moreover, they are quick to dismiss the crowd as ignorant (of the law) and accursed (v.49).As the police rightly observed, in words as true today as they were two millennia ago, "No man ever spoke this way."In connection with verse 49, the rabbis assumed that those who did not know the law could not obey the law.While there is some truth to this viewpoint, there is also error.Were even the Gentiles wholly without redeeming qualities? See Romans 2:12ff.Does it follow that the scribes were de facto better people than the common people?"It is forbidden to have mercy on one who has no knowledge" (Midr. Sam. 5:9)."An uneducated man is not slow to sin, and no people of the land ['am ha'arets] is righteous" (Hillel, in 'Aboth 2:5).Nicodemus takes his stand (v.50).His faith seems to have grown since the night encounter in chapter 3.His mind and his heart are working together.Nicodemus' faith will be demonstrated a third and final time in chapter 19.Nicodemus (v.50) argues for due process.He is dismissed on the basis of a specious argument:Jesus is from Galilee.The prophet (see Deuteronomy 18) is not a Galilean. (This assumption is unsubstantiated.)Therefore Jesus is not the Messiah.(Additionally) Only another Galilean would be deceived by a Galilean. In effect, they are reasoning:The ignorant Galileans are careless in their observance of Torah.The law nowhere specifies Galilee as the origin of the Prophet.Therefore it is highly unlikely that the Messiah is Galilean.Yet Jonah son of Amittai was from Galilee (2 Kings 14:25), and certainly the Jewish leaders knew this. In fact, the rabbis admitted that there were Galilean prophets:"You have no single tribe in Israel from which a prophet has not come forth" (Sukk 27b)."You have no city in the land of Israel in which there has not been a prophet" (S. 'Olam Rab. 2.1).I have amended the translation of v.52, based on the evidence of p66 and p75, to the Prophet, as opposed to a prophet. The Greek can support either; keep in mind also that this is the translation of the original Semitic conversations.We will deal with v.53 ("Then each of them went home") in tomorrow's study, since it is part of a larger section (7:53-8:11) and doesn't properly belong in chapter 7.
If Christ is Lord then we must walk as His disciples. If we claim to be His disciples then we must walk with Him as Lord. Luke 14:25-35 gives a clear definition from Christ Himself what it means to be His disciples and whether or not we are or can be such. Let's be honest if we are not walking according to His word on discipleship then He is not our Lord.
Good morning Church! My name is Trent Houck, and it's my joy to be one of the Pastors here at FCBC. I want to invite you to turn in your Bibles to Colossians 3:1- 4 and have that open in front of you as we set this passage up. Here is my main point today: Jesus is the Focal Point of the Christian Life. Because Jesus is the focal point: God calls Christians to seek Christ, set the mind on Christ, and to see Christ. 1. Seek Christ (Colossians 3:1) 2. Set the Mind on Christ (Colossians 3:2-3) 3. See Christ (Colossians 3:4). Jesus saves us into a life of singular focus. Our argument today is set against the backdrop of the human condition. That is, living with multiple focal points. For example, we want flourishing families. So, we try to center our lives on family. We want flourishing bodies. So, we focus ourselves on happiness and health. We want financial stability. We want to be relieved of our stress. So, we adopt practices that minimize strain. We track our sleep, see a counselor, or become minimalists. Our hearts are crowded by the objects of desire. The more we want something, the more we focus on it. I want to begin this morning by asking a few simple questions: What do you want? What do you desire? What motivates your affections? What is the focus of your life? My argument this morning is that we want whatever it is that takes up the imaginative space of our hearts. It's what we think about when we have nothing else to think about. We want those things that we are sure to keep an eye on. We want those things to which we pay closest attention. Let me just illustrate this by the idea of a focal point. What is the focal point of this first image? The obvious answer is the single air balloon. Your eye is drawn to the center of this picture. You probably feel a sense of peace. The lake is serene and placid. The sky is monochromatic. The trees are all aligned. The horizon is linear. It's beautiful. This is what it's like to have a single focus. 2 However, if I show you a contrasting image. What is the focal point of this second image? The answer is debatable. There may be no focal point. Maybe it's the largest balloon. Maybe it's the nearest. Maybe it's the one in the center of the picture. Your eye moves around, rather than staying focused on a single point. You might feel a sense of stress, unease, or crowdedness. I am personally anxious about the balloons running into each other and seeing people fall from their wicker baskets. The Old Testament is a single story about competing focal points. God commands that his people "have no other gods before me", and he warns that those who construct idols, or take on false gods, become like them. This is not because God feels threatened, or wants to steal our joy, but precisely because he knows that he alone is the source of our highest joys. He proscribes a life of singularity. The Bible teaches that what we want, desire, or pursue eventually becomes the object of our affections. Our pleasures become our pressures. God knows that we are habitual creatures, and that whatever we take pleasure in becomes precious to us. This generation is characterized by the disembodied, absent presence of unchecked desires. We are walking zombies. If you were to ask a sociologist what this generation of people wanted more than anything, I think the sociologist's answer would be: "Everything and Nothing." We are a distracted people, holding hands with God, while engrossed in finding satisfaction in this world. We are everywhere and nowhere at once. Jesus addresses us as the Martha generation: "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary" (Luke 10:41-42). This is a dangerous way to live. Cal Newport warns that, "[If you] Spend enough time in a state of frenetic shallowness and you permanently reduce your capacity to perform deep [focused] work." This concept also applies to deep worship. Even Winnie the Pooh once 3 famously said, "Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart." Little things become focal points. So, what do you want? What is the focal point of your life? As a Pastor, I am constantly wrestling with multiple objects of desire. I want our church to be unified. I want ministries to be flourishing. I want to preach well. I want to write. I want to administrate. I want to persuade. I want friends. I want clarity and precision in my thinking. I want to read. I want to feel. I want my marriage to thrive. I want my kids to excel. I want to leave this place better than I found it. I want to be missed when I'm gone. Which of these will become the focus? Well, it depends on the time of day! The Christian life, however, is one of singular focus. We need to know, more than any other generation that we cannot have everything, do everything, experience everything, see everything, be everything, or maintain everything without losing something. Jesus famously said: 24 “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (Matthew 16:24-26). Echoing Jesus, the American Missionary to Ecuador, Jim Elliot, once wrote, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” And, C.T. Studd, once wrote, "Only one life, 'twill soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last." Or, to quote our very own Steve Walker: "In 70 years, none of this will matter." What do you want? What is the focus of your life? The Christian can only be about one thing. To say with the Psalmist, 4 One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple (Psalm 27:4). Are you ready to be about one thing? Do you want to be about one thing? We are learning that the Colossians were quite like us. They were at a spiritual set of crossroads. They were being tempted to engage in an infinite number of distractions that would cloud their vision and affection for Jesus. Their one life was threatened and assailed by "...philosophy and empty deceit" (Col. 2:8). Their lives were judged on the basis of what they ate and drank and how they organized their liturgical calendar (Col. 2:16-19). So, they were tempted to submit to regulations that were "...of no value in stopping the flesh" (Col. 2:20-23). The pressures were mounting. In short, they were being given a set of metrics to measure their sense of assurance or spiritual fitness. They were being tempted to regress to the spiritual shallows of multiple focal points. The false teachers were whispering, 'You can have it all!'" They were beginning to slide down the slope of self-righteousness. 'Holiness is this way. Follow us to Christ." Paul, having furiously warned of the dangers of succumbing to this kind of frenetic and chaotic life, now demonstrates in all of chapter three what the Christian life ought to be focused on. And, we can say plainly, that it ought to be focused on Christ alone. Jesus Christ is the single and solitary focal point of the Christian life. There is only one thing that should really matter to the Christian: Jesus Christ. Jesus is enough. There is only one road and only one way. So, we must ask: Why do other focal points crowd out our gaze on Christ? Isn't it astounding to think that Christians, who have come to know Jesus Christ, to 5 love "the glory of God in the face of Jesus" (2 Cor. 4:6), to be filled in Christ (Col. 2:8-10), to be born again to a living hope (1 Peter 1:3), could ever grow distracted by other things? Paul certainly thought so as he wrote to the Galatians, "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel…" (Galatians 1:6). Why does this happen? You might remember that last week David challenged us to reflect on why we make human-centered rules to maintain our sense of self-righteousness. He said, "The answers to the deeper 'why' questions will reveal a reward you are pursuing or a pain you're avoiding." We start making rules when we get our eyes off of Jesus. Why aren't we growing in Christ? Why are we discouraged, or stuck? Maybe the answer is that we've made our growth the focus of our gaze, instead of Jesus. We're still, in some small way, focused on ourselves! To our surprise, our relationship with God may be about us, and not God. Our Bible reading may have become a vendetta to get something from God, rather than be with God. The problem for the Colossians is the same problem for us. They were tempted to add to Jesus. Ever since the Garden of Eden, we get spiritually stuck when we add something to Jesus. The human-focused way to get unstuck is to adopt idols. New rules. But, that only deepens our ruts. Our hearts are 'idols factories' and ruleproducing. Jesus shows us a better way. God calls the Christian to seek Christ, Set the mind on Christ, and See Christ. 1. Seek Christ (Colossians 3:1) 2. Set the Mind on Christ (Colossians 3:2-3) 3. See Christ (Colossians 3:4). Heavenly Father, we come before you again and ask that you would magnify your name. We want to seek the one thing that really matters. Your words divide between soul and spirit, joint and marrow, and we would ask that you would use it 6 to cut through our defenses. Show us our disordered desires and the ways in which we are inclined to make something or someone else central to our lives. Jesus, thank you that you not only show us what it means to live with a singular focus, but for the joy set before you, you endured the Cross. Your perfect righteousness is now imputed to us by faith so that we stand before you righteous and not guilty. We can now stand before you totally focused on you alone. Holy Spirit, we ask that you would apply these truths directly to the areas of our hearts that we most need them today. Cause us to be open to your ministry, available to your Word, and attentive to your voice. Cause us to be able and willing to lay aside those things that are not central to our purpose in you. In Jesus' name, I pray, amen. First, the Christian is called to seek Christ. Paul writes, If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. The statement "If then you have been raised with Christ…" draws us back to the arguments that Paul was making in Colossians 2:8-15. He writes, "...you were raised with him[that is, Christ] through faith by the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead" (Col. 2:12). While in English, the conditional 'if' seems to indicate doubt, (i.e. if you really love me, you will do the dishes) in Greek, this is what is called a 'first class condition'. That is, something that is assumed for the sake of the argument. So, Paul is saying: "If [as it is the case that] you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is…" He is not contradicting what he said previously. He is showing a connection between the reality of our resurrected state and the command in the second part of the verse. Essentially, he is saying: because you were raised from the dead with Christ, you now exist in a new sphere. You have been transferred into a new dimension, a new kingdom. You are now participating in the new creation. The Kingdom has arrived in Jesus, and it is now being made evident through the work of the Holy Spirit. You have a new identity. A new self. 7 Resurrections happen as people believe the Gospel. We need to pause here and express a sense of wonder. When did this resurrection happen? Paul indicates that this is a past tense, completed action. You "have been raised with Christ." Furthermore, this is something that took place while we were in a state of deathly passivity. He wrote earlier in chapter 2 "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ (Col. 2:13). Illustration: maybe you have personally witnessed the unresponsiveness of a dead body. They are cold to the touch, immovable, and no matter how loudly you might address the body, he or she would not respond. That is, unless God was speaking. Have you been raised? How would you know? The New Testament reframes the Old Testament idea of resurrection. If you read the gospels, the disciples are consistently confused about when the resurrection will happen. In Jewish tradition, resurrection only happens at the end of the age, if at all. The New Testament, however, teaches that there are different types of resurrection. In Luke 7, for example, the gospel writer shows a physical, material resurrection in the here and now: 11 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don't cry.” 14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. So, there you go: dead people can hear Jesus. That's why if any of you are spiritually dead in this room right now, the second that Jesus wants to, he can say, "Young man, or young woman, I say to you, get up!" 8 But, physical, material resurrection is not what Paul has in mind here. The resurrection that Paul has in mind is a resurrection with Christ. That is, the resurrection here is one that happens through faith. Paul writes, "...you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead" (Col. 2:12). Jesus died on the cross and was buried in the tomb. On the third day, Jesus was raised from the dead. When he was raised, Paul says, you were also raised! This outward, objective, historical reality becomes spiritually significant for you as you believe. It happens within you through faith. That is, the evidence of a spiritual resurrection is not physical, material change but spiritual alertness and responsiveness. Paul writes elsewhere, "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17). When Jesus speaks, those who have faith respond. This is describing what theologians call regeneration. That is, the new birth. When God speaks, he acts. And, as that action takes place, God calls into being something that was not previously there. God does not perform CPR on a nearly dead heart. He creates a new one. That is why Paul says that when you are buried with Christ and raised to walk in newness of life. You are a new creation in Christ Jesus. If you are a Christian, you are a walking miracle. This should never cease to amaze you! So, now that you are spiritually alive by the power of God, what are you supposed to be up to now? Paul says, If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. The Christian is called to be continually seeking the priorities of God's throne room. It is, as it were, that we continually rap on heaven's door. We are continually placing the priorities of Jesus on our calendars. One author writes, the things that 9 are above, "…include his[Jesus'] character, his presence, his heavenly joys. We are not to be seeking heavenly geography, but the One who dwells there.” Illustration: If you are familiar with the film Free Solo, you know that rock climber, Alex Honnold gives us a great example of this. The central aim of his life was to free solo El Capitan in Yosemite, CA: a 3,000 climb up sheer granite wall without a rope. To "seek" this mountain peak meant to daily, monthly, and yearly training, planning and preparation to scale this wall. Seeking this peak involved careful planning, meticulous placement of hands, feet, fitness, and food intake. The cost for failure was extremely high. El Capitan set the agenda. Alex Honnold conformed his life, his fitness, and his focus to El Capitan. In the same way the Christian's seeking the things that are above defines the Christian life. We are always climbing further up and further into the Person and Work of Christ. Do you have this kind of exalted picture of the living Christ? Jesus is glorious and unreachable, invisibly seated at the right hand of God. Underlying this text is Psalm 110:1, The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” The Father says to the Son, "Take the throne." Hebrews also speaks of this throne room in this way: 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. (Hebrews 1:3-4). To sit down at the right hand of God is to take up the kingly residence that the whole Old Testament anticipates. It is the highest place. Jesus is preeminent. There is no higher place with which to be preoccupied. 10 To the Christian, this text is saying: "Do that which you most enjoy, and never stop doing it." Seek Christ continually. Set your eyes on Christ. For the new creature in Christ, this is not drudgery. But, it requires total focus and devotion. It is upward and onward. Sermon Illustration: Shasta Fetching Illustration: we are blessed with an Australian Shepherd, Black Labrador Retriever who doesn't need to be told to "continually fetch a tennis ball." It's part of his nature. In fact, it's baked into his name as a retriever. However, if something compelling comes along as a distraction, like a squirrel, he does need to be reminded! In the same way Paul is reminding the Colossians to 'seek Christ.' How does the Christian do this? If Christ is high and exalted like this, how do we reach up to where he is? Those questions lead to the second point. Second, Christians are called to set their minds on Christ. The Christian is called to make their new creation lives about seeking Christ, and conforming your life to Christ is regulated by setting the mind on Christ. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Let me illustrate what this looks like first: Sermon Illustration 1: "Hold on!" Illustration: One of the keys to parenting is manufacturing fun things for your kids to do. We decided, when there was no snow, to take our kids sledding. One of the key commands in sledding is "Hold on!" Keep a tight grip on the sled. While my kids are clinging on for dear life, I am moving them forward. In the same way, the Christian advances in the Christian life by clinging to the cross, by keep our eyes fixed on the Gospel. Rather than advancing on the strength of our moral efforts, the Christian is pulled forward by the strength that the Spirit provides because we have already been seated as Sons and Daughters with Christ. 11 So, what does 'clinging' or 'setting' our minds on Christ look like? First, we need to be clear that the physiological brain and spiritual mind are not the same thing. When Jesus rebukes Peter for misunderstanding Jesus' purpose he says, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Matthew 16:23). Jesus is not saying that Peter has made an intellectual error, though the intellect is a part of the mind. Jesus is not mainly saying, "You marked A instead of B; you failed the test!" He's saying, "The whole way you think about things is actually Satanic, Peter." Whoa. Your mind is framed with Satanic presuppositions. You don't have the right priorities. Further, when Paul uses this word in Philippians 2, "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus," Paul is not saying: "Have a single brain" though surely he wanted them to think about things similarly. In this text: 1. This is the new, resurrection 'mind'. This is the mind that has been raised from the dead. The mind that responds in faith, trust, and hope. The mind that is unified to Christ by the Holy Spirit. This is the mind that is powered by the Gospel. This is your whole way of thinking now that you are alive in Christ. It's not just the brain. That's why our application can't just be "Memorize Scripture, read your Bible, or Say your prayers." Scripture memory ninjas might have strong brains, but weak minds. 2. This new mind is yours. When a person becomes a Christian, God does not rob them of agency. You are not made less yourself when you become a Christian, but a new self in Christ Jesus. Everything you do, and everything 12 you are is now in relationship to the living Christ. So, the new you has a unique mind. Your God-centered perspective is still yours. 3. This mind makes choices. It is possible for the new mind in Christ to either be fixated on things above or things that are on the earth, but not both at the same time. a. Illustration: A few years ago, due to some health issues, I began eating gluten-free. This involved a change of mind, or a change of heart. I left the world of pizza, pasta, and sourdough bread for a world of rice, meat, and salads. Once I had tasted and seen the new world of new energy, new emotional stability, I didn't want to go back. a. Application: by setting our minds on things above, we are going with the grain of our newly created selves. Sin, for the Christian, is actually a weariness, not a joy. Following Jesus, empowered by the Spirit is the gravitational pull toward Christ and not away from him. b. Connection: this is what is so silly about adding rules to Christ. We don't grow by making life harder on ourselves. We grow by taking on Christ's easy yoke. The truth is that being singularly focused is surprisingly way easier than having multiple foci. So Paul says, 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. So, what is this new hidden life like? Illustration: we play hide and seek quite a bit in my house. When Sam is "hidden with Damaris in the closet", they are usually pretty loud and easy to find. On the 13 other hand, if I go play hide and seek in the Boise National Forest, the tragic headline might read: "Man lost, hidden with dog in the forest." Verse 3 is perplexing. It requires us to exercise our imaginations. Paul says, "Set your minds [that is, the new mind that is united to Christ's mind] on things that are above…FOR [reason] you [that is, the old mind and heart that was crucified with Christ] have died, and your life [the totality of your new selfhood] is hidden [invisible] with Christ in God. One commentator writes, “…[Christians'] lives are now securely hidden with Christ in God and thus belong to the invisible realm. Their sphere of being, action, and enjoyment is therefore now totally different from that of their former situation.” So, setting your minds on what is above is the natural outflow of your new nature. Do you see what this means? If you are a Christian, you already live in heaven. Hebrews 12 puts it this way: 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. The Christian lives spiritually in the City of God. "Your life is hidden with Christ in God." So, your participation in the Kingdom of God is the natural outflow of your new citizenship in heaven. But, you might say, that's not mapping onto my experience. That leads us to our last point. 14 Third, are called to see Christ. Even though the Christian participates in all of this through faith now, they cannot yet see the things for which they hope. What we see is only partial. Though this is the true reality: "Your life is hidden with Christ in God," we live in the here and now where we are still learning how to put on our new selves. Hebrews puts it this way: 13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city (Hebrews 11:13-16). However, even though we cannot see all this yet, we are assured of a promise in this next verse: 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. God has appointed a date for the return of Christ. It will certainly happen. As sure as we are that August 8th is coming, we can be sure that Christ will return. For the Christian, this is not a day to be fearful, but a day for which we long. This is good news for two reasons. First, Because Christ will appear, we will appear too. We need to rest assured that when he comes, we will see him. Whether we are living or dead, we will all see the living Christ when he comes. This is a moment planned in history. Illustration: The simultaneity, or singularity of this event is quite like when someone knocks on our door: the kids run to the door, the dog barks, the parents finish cleaning. It's a simultaneous event to which we all respond. We will not miss it! Second, Because Christ appears, we will appear in his glory. This verse is an invitation to meditate on heaven. 15 Activity: Look around you for a moment. How glorious does the person who is sitting next to you appear? Don't answer that. The truth is that if the person next to you is in Christ, they will one day be absolutely radiant. 1 John 3 says it this way, See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure (1 John 3:1-3). The Psalmist, anticipating this day says, As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness (Psalm 17:15). Romans 8:28-30 says, 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[h] for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Would you like to spend 30 minutes in heaven? Ladies and gentlemen, through faith you just did! One day, our faith will be sight. And, we will finally realize that our time in the Word, our fellowship with one another, our worship in this place was closest we ever came to heaven in this mortal life. To close, in C.S. Lewis' The Weight of Glory, he writes, “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light 16 of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” In 100 years, when this generation is dead and gone, what will really matter is Christ. He is, therefore, the only single focal point worth living for. Let us live for him! Let's be rooted in him. Summary: God calls Christians to seek Christ, set the mind on Christ, and to see Christ. 1. Seek Christ (Colossians 3:1) 2. Set the Mind on Christ (Colossians 3:2-3) 3. See Christ (Colossians 3:4). Because Jesus alone sought things above, set his mind on things above, he fulfilled the law. But for our sake he was treated as someone who failed to seek what is above, and to set his mind on things above, so that by his death, burial and resurrection, we might be counted as righteous before God. When he was raised, our justification, sanctification, and glorification were all assured by Christ. So, we are safe with Christ in God. This is good news! 1. Make a List. List your identities and rank them in order of their importance to you. How could the Gospel be applied to each identity? How would the Lord re-rank them? 2. Give. Give something [material, talent, time] away this week that takes your focus off of Christ. Instead of engaging with a distraction, pray. 3. Memorize. Memorize Colossians 3:1-4. Post it somewhere in your home. 4. Read. Read Richard Chin's Book Captivated by Christ with a few people in your Life Group. 17 5. Calendar. Schedule 30-45 minutes each day to read your Bible and pray. Instead of just checking the box: ask the Lord to increase your delight in Him. Focus on Jesus in your reading. 6. Teach. Teach some of the concepts in this text to your kids. Play hide and seek and explain how our true lives are invisible to us, but will be visible one day. Hide in a particularly hard spot and explain that the tension we feel when we can't find a person is a lot like when we can't see Christ right away. Even in the hard times, we can be assured that we will see him. 7. Purge. Sift through your possessions. Ask "Does this matter to Jesus? Or, just to me?" Give or throw away things that are distracting. 8. Plan and re-prioritize. If you knew the date of Jesus' return, or the endpoint of your life, what would take up time in your near-term schedule? 9. Pray and share the Gospel with someone using this resource. https://twowaystolive.com/ 10.Think Deeply. Watch Tim Keller and John Piper discuss the nature of sanctification. Why are we so inclined toward distractions? How can this happen? I think the answer has something to do the cross pressures that assail our identity. For example, by my count I have at least ten identities: I am a 1. Human Being 2. Christian 3. Husband 4. Father 5. Son 6. Brother (friend) 7. Pastor 8. Citizen of the US 9. Suburbanite (i.e. home owner, pet owner, car owner, etc.) 10.Student I would argue that we grow distracted because we can't keep our desires or our identities in proper order in relation to Christ. For me to grow in Christ, the Gospel must be applied to all ten of my competing identities. Everything must be seen in relationship to the single focal point. If you have to balance all these 18 identities, you can see why it might feel necessary to make rules and regulations to keep yourself in order! Sin splits our identities and disorders our priorities. Why is the human heart so inclined toward stagnation? The answer is: We get distracted by multiple focal points. We lose track of ultimate, eternal goals. We age. We grow accustomed to our shortcomings. We leave problems unaddressed. We settle into our self-knowledge, and we begin to repudiate change. We fall into ruts. We begin to make it about us. In short, we get our eyes off of Jesus. Illustration: My wife Lauren has planted sunflowers for the past two years in our backyard. They are now over 10 ft. tall. Imagine one day if I walked out into the backyard and said, "Lauren, why isn't this sunflower growing?" She would respond, "It is." "Oh," I might say, "I can't see it." Precisely. Our Christian growth cannot be measured in daily metrics, experiences, or moments but over a lifetime. In fact, in most cases, we cannot see it. The human tendency to measure things can only give an account for what's happening on the human plane. So, when it comes to spiritual growth (i.e. how much is your soul being stretched right now?), we can't answer those questions, except through the revealed word of God. The ultimate answer to this "Why?" questions are found just inside the gates of the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 3, Eve took of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge good and evil, which Adam had been commanded not to eat from "...and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate" (Genesis 3:6). Later, God's curse is grounded on the fact that "...You[Adam] listened to the voice of your wife…", implying that Adam had failed to listen to the one voice that truly mattered: God's voice. His gaze was distracted. He failed to stay focused. He took on two focal points: obedience to God and Eve. Jesus shows us a better way than Adam. John Piper writes that sin is to fail to recognize the centrality of God to our identity. He says that sin is, ● The glory of God not honored. 19 ● The holiness of God not reverenced. ● The greatness of God not admired. ● The power of God not praised. ● The truth of God not sought. ● The wisdom of God not esteemed. ● The beauty of God not treasured. ● The goodness of God not savored. ● The faithfulness of God not trusted. ● The promises of God not believed. ● The commandments of God not obeyed. ● The justice of God not respected. ● The wrath of God not feared. ● The grace of God not cherished. ● The presence of God not prized. ● The person of God not loved. The answers to the why questions of our rule making, the pressures of our responsibilities and identities reveal that our hearts are 'idols factories.' Why is the human heart so inclined toward stagnation? The answer is: We get distracted by multiple focal points. We lose track of ultimate, eternal goals. We age. We grow accustomed to our shortcomings. We leave problems unaddressed. We settle into our self-knowledge, and we begin to repudiate change. We fall into ruts. We begin to make it about us. In short, we get our eyes off of Jesus. The ultimate answer to this "Why?" questions are found just inside the gates of the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 3, Eve took of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge good and evil, which Adam had been commanded not to eat from "...and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate" (Genesis 3:6). Later, God's curse is grounded on the fact that "...You[Adam] listened to the voice of your wife…", implying that Adam had failed to listen to the one voice that truly mattered: God's voice. His gaze was distracted. He failed to stay focused. He took on two focal points: obedience to God and Eve. Jesus shows us a better way than Adam. God is calling us today to seek Christ, set our minds on Christ, and to see Christ. This is the key to reordering our lives around God and the Gospel, and not ourselves or our multiple identities.
Audio Transcript: This media has been made available by Mosaic Boston Church. If you'd like to check out more resources, learn about Mosaic Boston in our neighborhood Churches or donate to this ministry, please visit mosaicboston.com. Heavenly Father, we thank you that you, the Great God of the universe have given us this opportunity to come and worship you. We thank you Jesus, that while we were yet sinners, you came and you died for us. Not because there was anything lovely in us presently or in the future, but because you are a loving God. Lord, I pray, remove any distractions and help us focus on your Holy Word. Help us to meditate today on the Sovereignty of God that you are God over everything, over every detail, over all the minutia of our lives and all the minutia in the world. And help us take solace in the fact that you're in control, even when we look at our lives and we look at the world, it seems like everything is out of control. Your word tells us that when we submit ourselves to you, when we love you with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, you take every single aspect of our lives and you weave them all together for our good and for your glory. Bless our time in the Holy Scriptures now, as we look at a profound passage. It's difficult in many ways, but it's not difficult to understand. It's difficult to receive, so give us grace to receive it. We pray Holy Spirit, come now and minister to us. Take these words that are on paper, that are on screens and apply them to our hearts. Make us the people who love you with everything that we got. Love the Gospel with everything we got, so much so that we're willing to sacrifice anything and everything, so that others might have the opportunity to hear the Gospel and be prompted by the Holy Spirit generated in their hearts and drawn to you. Bless our time in the Holy Word. We pray all this in Christ's Holy Name. Amen. We're continuing our sermon series through Romans 9. Today, we're in Romans 9:1-5. The title of the sermon is, Heartbroken Over Eternal Souls. We've moved from one of the most popular passages in all the Scripture, Romans 8 to one of the least popular and most avoided. It's a difficult passage, but it's not that difficult to understand. I can explain it to you. It's difficult for many to accept and receive, partially because it cuts against the grain of our very nature. Our nature is driven by self. In many ways, we are natural Pelasgians. Pelagius taught that we have the power to come to Christ whenever we want. That we have a free will that's truly free and we can choose Christ whenever, wherever. That's not true. I love this portion of Scripture. It's balm to my weary soul, because it shows us that God is Sovereign. That God is King. That God is God. He is all powerful. He can do whatever he wills, and whatever he wills is good because he is good. I love this portion of Scripture because it reminds me I'm not in control, nor do I need to be. God is in control. And thanks be to Jesus Christ, the one who is in control loves me and wants the best for me. In Romans 8, one of my favorite verses is Romans 8:28, which says, "And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Well this verse is only true, if God is Sovereign over every single detail in the universe. If God is Sovereign over everything, then he is Sovereign over who gets saved, because who gets saved is part of everything. And if you don't understand just how totally Sovereign God is, you don't really understand the character of God, not yet. Romans 9 is an explanation for why the word of God has not failed, even though God's chosen people Israel, as a whole, are not turning to Christ and being saved. In Romans 8, God says, "There is nothing that can sever God's people from God's love." There is nothing that can sever God's people from God's love, and here someone can raise the question, "Whoa, whoa, hold on. What about Israel? What about the Jewish People, the chosen people of God? Why aren't they flocking to Christ as they should be?" They have received so many of the privileges that many people are not born into. Here St. Paul says, "Hey, hold on. God never promised that salvation will be given to all of ethnic Israel, because salvation isn't based on DNA. Salvation isn't based on our genes. It's not based on our religious pedigree. It doesn't matter how many religious people you had in your family before you. What matters is faith in Jesus Christ, your own personal faith in Jesus Christ, your own relationship with Christ." God's word has not fallen and the sovereignty of God's grace has brought in, in Romans 9, as the final ground of God's faithfulness, despite Israel's faithlessness, their failure to trust in Christ. And therefore, God's sovereignty is the deepest foundation for the precious promises of Romans 8. With that said, would you please look with me in Romans 9:1-5, "I am speaking the truth in Christ. I'm not lying. My conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelite. And to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen." This is the reading of God's holy, inerrant, infallible, authoritative word, may write these eternal truths upon our hearts. Three points to frame over our time. First, anguish over lost souls. Second, accursed and cut off. And third, religious privilege doesn't save. First, anguish over lost souls. Look at verse one. Look at Paul's solemnity. He's giving a declaration with the deepest sincerity that he can muster. He says, "I am speaking the truth in Christ." He invokes Christ, the second person of the Trinity. "I'm not lying. Speaking the truth. I'm not lying. My conscience bears me witness." Brings in his conscience. "In the Holy Spirit," brings in the third person of the Holy Spirit, to show us just how sincere he is and what he's about to say. Why? Because he knows that he's said some things that are problematic for religious Jewish people of his day and religious Jewish people of our day. Before Paul looks at how God has taken the Gospel from the Jews to the Gentiles community, grafting Gentiles in the place of Israel. That's what Romans 9-11 is about. He wants to make sure that these people, his brothers, his brethren, his kinsmen. His brothers that he grew up going to synagogue with these people. This is his family. He wants the Jewish community to know that he is writing these words with tears. He's not angry. He's not hostile toward them. He's speaking with a loving and burdened heart. Why is such a strong assertion of truthfulness of his love? Because he knows that he has spoken hard truths. And when you speak hard truths to people, it's easy for them to misinterpret your intentions. He's speaking truth, because he loves. Probably because Paul also knows that his fellow Jews were suspicious of his loyalty and his patriotism, because he was used by God to bring so many Gentiles into the people of God. He was viewed by a number of his Jewish people as a traitor, that he has lost his natural affection towards his people and he denies this. They doubted his love. So that's what he starts with. Why would they doubt his love? Because he said hard things, like Romans 2:24, "For as it is written, the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." He's talking about religious people who offered God nothing more than mouth service. They worshiped God with their mouths, but their hearts were far from him. The Gentiles saw the testimony, the sermon of the lives of these people. And he said, "You worship God?" They blaspheme the name of God. Romans 3:9, "What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin." This was his message. His message has never changed. His message was, it doesn't matter what your pedigree. It doesn't matter what your genealogy. It doesn't matter what your DNA. It doesn't matter how many faithful people you had in your past, in your family. None of that matters, because God doesn't have grandchildren. God only has children. So everyone is a sinner. He's preaching the same message to both Jews and Greeks. And the Jews will say, "Hold on, hold on. You're saying we're as much sinners as the Gentiles?" And Paul says, "Yes. We're all sinners. We're all under the condemnation of God. We all deserve damnation. We're all accursed apart from God." And then he says in verse six, and we'll cover this next week in Romans 9:6. He says, "But it's not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel." It's not your genealogy that saves you. Saying it over and over and over, God's covenant doesn't guarantee the salvation of every Jew. The ultimate reason why some are cursed and cut off from Christ is that they are not among the elect. Romans 11:7, "What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elective obtained it, but the rest were hardened." Before he gets to these hard truths about election, he wants everyone to know that these truths are coming from a heart that loves people. He says in verse two of chapter nine, "That I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart." You can feel his pain as grief. It's a perturbed heart, kind of like Christ was. And the more that you know Christ and love Christ, the more Christ-like you become. This is why Jesus saves us, so that we can be refashioned and transformed into the image of Christ, that we become more Christ-like, and Christ loved sinners. Christ gave everything to save sinners. On his way to Jerusalem, he knows the passion is coming. He knows the crucifixion is coming, and he knows the people that he is dying for, killed by. These are people that he loves and he wants them to be saved. This is what Jesus says, as he cries out in lament about Jerusalem, a city that hardened their hearts against the word of God. Matthew 23:37, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it. How often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you are not willing." Paul continues and this is point, accursed and cut off. In verse three, he says. This is how deep his grief. This is how deep his sorrow. He says in verse three, "For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh." Well, you got to pause here and meditate on what he's saying. What are you saying, Paul? The first thing that he's saying is an implication. What he's implying is, that his kinsmen, his brothers according to the flesh, his fellow Jewish believers are accursed and cut off from Christ. He does soften the statement of their loss by expressing in relation to his own anguish, but the statement's unmistakable. He's saying that the Jewish people who rejected Christ are accursed, that they're lost. They're on their way to hell, under the judgment of God. The word for accursed here is anathema. It's used in other places, like 1 Corinthians 16:22, "If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. O Lord, come." So why are these people accursed? What makes one accursed? Well, breaking the moral law of God. You break the moral law of God, God's curses upon your head. It's upon your soul. And there's only one way to be saved from the curse that we all deserve for our law breaking. That's the trust in the God Man, Jesus Christ, who was cursed on our behalf. These people rejected the only one who could save them from the curse of the law. Galatians 3:13 says, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. For it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree." Paul knows this. Paul knows that the only way to be saved from damnation is to trust in Jesus Christ, that Jesus Christ, the substitutionary atonement, he bore the curse that we deserve. And as soon as we trust in him, the curse is lifted off from us, and Christ's righteousness is imputed to us. "He who knew no sin became sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God." Paul knows this, but he still sees his brothers and sisters as kinsmen in the flesh. They've rejected Christ, and he says some haunting words. He says, "For I could wish that I were accursed on their behalf." What he's saying is hypothetically, if there were a way for them to be saved and for me to be cursed, I'm willing to take their curse upon myself and bear eternal torment forever. Of course, he's speaking hypothetically. It's impossible that any mere man could be cursed in exchange for the salvation of others, but Paul expresses this impossible wish in uncertain terms. He says, "My conscience bears me when it's in Christ, I'm saying the truth in the Holy Spirit." He knows it's not true, but if it were true, he would do it. The wish can't be fulfilled. Nothing can sever believers from the love of Christ. We already know this from Romans 8, but he says, "May I be damned so that they would not be." Martin Luther comments. He says, "It seems incredible that a man would desire to be damned in order that the damned might be saved." Well, this is as Christ-like as you can become. He sees people that he loves and he's willing to do absolutely anything and everything sacrifice everything for these people to meet Christ. That's what Christ did. He knew that there was no other way for people to be saved, other than for Christ to come, live a perfectly obedient life of love toward God and people. And then, Christ goes to a cross. He's crucified and the crucifixion was chosen by God. This is pre-destined sovereignty of God. He controls every single detail. God chose crucifixion, because it was the most excruciating form of capital punishment ever known to man, and even that was just a tip of the iceberg of the spiritual anguish that Christ went through. Christ bore our curse upon himself, and that curse was bearing the wrath of God in his soul. Christ went through hell so that we would not have too. You can hear the grief and the voice of St. Paul here at the unbelief of his people. And I wonder, could you say this? Could you say anything remotely close to this? Could you say you love someone so much that you give up your own salvation for them? Those of us who have loved ones who were lost, perhaps a sibling or a spouse or a child or a parent, a grandparent, friends, we know this grief. We know this sorrow. We made joy time with them, laugh with them, even play with them, but there's always a pain underneath knowing, unless this person trusts in Christ, we will spend eternity apart from each other. Luther put it this way, "Love is not only pure joy and delight, but also a great and deep heaviness of heart and sorrow." The good news is, we don't have to give up our salvation for the salvation of others. But if you put yourself in this posture of heart, where you're willing to give up your salvation for that of another, well it makes other things so much easier, like sharing the Gospel with them. As awkward as it can be as politically incorrect as it may be, you can have a difficult conversation with the person. And by the way, this is what St. Paul and by the way Jesus calls each one of us to. The great commission wasn't just given to the disciples or the Apostles or professional trained clergy. The great commission was given to each one of us. Jesus Christ tells each Christian, "Look, I've saved you and now I'm giving you a job. I'm commissioning you, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to do everything that I have taught you." I do want you to increase your evangelistic ministry. You should have one. Every Christian should have an evangelistic ministry, where you have unbelievers that you are heartbroken over, sorrow, anguishing your heart over, and you beg God to save them. And you take any and every opportunity to share the Gospel with them, to read Scripture with them, to speak truth in love and serve them. This is what Paul did. These aren't just words for Paul. He devoted his life, his whole life to sharing the Gospel, planting Churches and doing missionary work. Paul's immense heart broke for Israel and he uses the same word when he writes to the Galatians, the word anathema. The Galatians were being seduced away from the true Gospel in Galatians 1:8. He says, "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a Gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed." So what he's saying to false teachers who do not preach the full Gospel? He says, "May you be cursed for preaching lies." What he's saying is, "Damn you for destroying the Gospel." This is the worst kind of curse that could be brought against a human being. It goes back to the Old Testament, when God's curse was upon Canaan and God tells the people of Israel, "Don't even take their goods. Slaughter them, give them up to absolute destruction." This is the kind of anathema that Paul is calling upon himself. "I am willing to go through this anathema so that my kinsmen could be saved." And the reader of Romans who knows his or her Bible will immediately spot, that the posture of heart in verse three is very similar to that of Moses. When Moses comes down from Mount Sinai and he sees that the people of Israel have fashioned golden calf, and they're worshiping it. Moses discovers the sin of the people and he knows that God is about to vanquish them, and he says, "God, you got to hold on." And he intercedes for them in Exodus 32:30-32, "The next day, Moses came to the people. You have sinned." And he said to them, "You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the Lord, perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.' So Moses returned to the Lord and said, 'Alas, this people has sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold. But now, if you will forgive their sin. If not, please blot me out of your book that you have written." What a heart for the lost, and I pray that the Lord develops a similar heart in each one of us. This is why we exist. This is why this Church exists. This is why we have an army volunteers, every Sunday, show up here like 6:00 AM. They're here till like 2:00 PM, sweating and burning calories. You worship God and you get a workout. It's like CrossFit. Jesus is the center of the cross. This is what we do. We do everything. We do glorify God, and we want unbelievers to meet Jesus. That's what we want. And every single Sunday, there's unbelievers that show up and we hear, people get saved. We prep people for baptism, discipleship, et cetera. The Lord is doing his work. Third point is religious privilege doesn't save. Romans 9:4, "They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship and the promises." What he's saying is, some people are given more revelation than others. These are spiritual privileges. If you grow up in a Christian family, you have a father and a mother who care for you, teach you the Gospel, teach you Holy Scriptures, have devotions with you, pray with you, pray over you, care for you. And they embody the truth of the Gospel with their own lives. That's incredible privilege. I think of my own parents. Every single morning, I walk down the stairs as I go prep breakfast on the way to school. And my dad is on his knees, open Bible, praying to God. My mom and my dad loved the Lord, incredible privilege. But what we are you saying here, it doesn't matter the privileges that you've been given, if you don't do anything with them, if you don't make them your own, if you don't accept these blessings, privileges. The privileges missed, the first one is adoption. And here he is talking about Israel not as adoption given to individuals. And this has to be clarified because in Romans 8, he does say that we have been, "Christians individually adopted into the family of God." Israel did not have the same adoption. They had a national blessing of adoption conferred on them, but they still had to appropriate for themselves. In the Gospel of Matthew, we see this application from the Old Testament, when Jesus Christ was born and then Herod issued the threat of infant slaughter. An angel comes and warns Joseph in a dream to flee from Bethlehem and not to return to Nazareth, but go to Egypt until the threat had passed. And then Matthew tells us, that Joseph took Mary and the baby Jesus and fled to Egypt. And when the Herodian persecution was over, they come back to Israel, thereby fulfilling the Old Testament prophecy that we're given. And this is the text in Matthew 2:13-15. "Now, when they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, 'Rise, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child to destroy him.' And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, 'Out of Egypt, I called my son." Well, the original reference to this adoption was when God, through Moses brings Israel out of captivity, out of the yoke of slavery under Pharaoh and calling the nation, his son. And that's Hosea 11:1, "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son." The Israelites were those who had been called to enjoy the adoption, but then they've run from the Lord, turned from the Lord and turned to idolatry. The second privilege that they were given is the glory, and the Greek word for glory's Doxa, where we get the word doxology from. When we sing the Doxology after every Sunday Service, we're giving glory to God. He deserves it. The Latin equivalent of the word Doxa is Gloria, from which we get the Gloria Patri, Glory Be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning and is now and ever shall be. Amen. In this context here, Paul is undoubtedly referring to God's presence to people of Israel. God was amongst them, but the reader of Romans have forgotten that Paul has attributed this characteristic to Christians, that God is in us. The Holy Spirit is in us in a way that wasn't true with Israel, but they did experience the Glory, hovering over the mercy seat in the Arc of the Covenant, in the Holy of Holies and glory in Israel is connected to the Shekinah, the blazing light that manifested God's Glory and made him a consuming fire. Ezekiel saw the Glory of God rising from the City of Jerusalem and departing. And at the birth of Jesus Christ, the Glory of God flooded the landscape and the angelic choir gave Glory to God. The covenants were given to Israel, the covenants with Adam, with Noah, with Abraham, with Isaac, Jacob, Moses and with David. And the covenants we inherit from the Jews, not from the Gentiles. We inherit these from Paul's kinsmen. The covenants belonged to them. Covenants and promises probably goes together, but we'll get to the promises later, but all these covenants that God made and all the promises that God made belong to Christians as well. You elect remnant of Israel, you future ethnic Israel as a whole, and you Gentiles who trust in the Messiah and are grafted into the tree of the covenant of the promise, these are ours. Why? Because in Jesus Christ, "All the promises of God are yes," as 2 Corinthians tells us. The giving of the law. We received the law because the law was given by God to Israel. The law wasn't given to Hammurabi. It wasn't given to Babylon, Phoenicia or Egypt. The law was given to Israel and through Israel, it was given to all of us. And the law was given to us, so that we might realize that we are sinners in need of the Grace of God. Romans 3:19, "Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God." The whole world. The moral law is given to every single human being. It's not just the Jewish people. And as you read the Ten Commandments, you realize that there's a self authenticating power to them. That these are God's words and these words are written on our hearts, so that's the self authentication. And ultimately, the law is given to us to show us that we need salvation. We need Christ. Romans 10:4, "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." In the long term, aim of the law wasn't our condemnation. It was our salvation. For trusting the Messiah for our righteousness, the law has become to us, what it was given for, a servant to lead us to Christ. And the word worship. The worship was given to the people of Israel and the word for worship that he uses here is the same word as service. So to worship God is to serve God. To serve God is to worship God, the Greek word [foreign language 00:29:19]. Our instructions about how to bring praise, sacrifices to God in corporate worship were given to us through the people of Israel. And the word here refers to ministry of priests and the offering of sacrifices. And the supreme temple service, the supreme temple worship was the Passover. In the Passover, a lamb was to be slaughtered. Blood was supposed to be shed. And then you take that blood and you paint it over your doorway, so that the angel of death passes over your household. And then, 1 Corinthians 5:7 says that, "Christ is our ultimate Passover lamb. He has been sacrificed." He has performed the final and decisive atoning temple service on the cross. So when we say the temple service belongs to true Israel, we mean in the fullest saving way, our sins are forgiven and God welcomes us into his fellowship. Then six, he says, "The promises we're given to them." Which promises? And there are thousands in Scripture, but in particular, it's the promise that God would save his people from their sins, and we'll get that from the very beginning in Genesis 3 right after the fall. In Genesis 3:15, God gives us the Protoevangelion, the first Gospel in Genesis 3:15 where he says the following, "I will put enmity between you." He's talking to the serpent saying, "And the woman, between your offspring and her offspring, he." So this is the offspring of the woman. "He will bruise your head and you will bruise his heel." And this is God promising that the seed of the woman. This is going to be a human being, but it's a human being who can vanquish Satan. So it has to be God. He's the only one who can vanquish Satan. He's the one that will come and he's the one that will save. A friend sent me a video this week of Jordan Peterson. Apparently, he's been getting into the Bible recently, and it was a video of him with a slide behind him of every single Cross reference in Scripture. And it's just arc after arc after arc. And I'm like, I already knew this, but he was amazed. There's 65,000 Cross references in the Bible. I actually think it's more, but 65,000 Cross references in the Bible and he's like, "This book is ... You can't make this up. This is a miracle." He called it the first hyperlinked book ever. He's like, "There's no links to click, but it's hyperlinked." It's telling one story. 3000 years, three millennia, 40 plus authors, three plus language, all speaking in harmony unison about this Gospel. We have sinned. God is gracious, sends his Son to vanquish Satan, sin and death. All these things, the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship of God and God's promises, they came through to Paul's kinsmen Israel. Don't you see? This is why Paul is in tears. You've been given so much. You've been given every single piece of the puzzle. You're only missing the Cross at the center, Jesus Christ. Romans 9:5, "To them belong to patriarchs. And from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God overall, blessed forever. Amen." The implication of this is stated in Romans 11:28, "As regards the Gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers." And we'll get into that in a few weeks. But in other words, God freely chose Abraham, freely chose Isaac and Jacob and promised to their descendants that they would be heirs of God. And what we see from Romans 9-11 is that, this is meant in three ways. First, that there is an elect remnant of Israel. There always was, and there always will be. Elijah, I don't know if you remember this one text, where he's just complaining to God like, "God, I'm the only Christian. I'm the only one that loves you." I wonder if you ever feel like that in Boston. I'm the only one. I'm the only one in my company, probably the whole university. If you go to BU, you're probably right. I'm the only one. I'm the only one. And God says to Elijah, "Stop complaining. I've got 7,000. 7,000 people who have not knelt a knee to Baal. Well that's election. That's God's saving his remnant. There's also promise that all ethnic is real. At some point, in some future time, when they're alive, will be saved. It will be incredible revival amongst Jewish people. And Gentiles, that's us who trust in the Messiah, become sons of the fathers with the same blessing as the natural children. So if you repent of your sin and trust in Jesus Christ, you become a child of Abraham as much as Isaac was. Everything promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is yours, in the Messiah Jesus Christ. Verse five, I don't know if you noticed. He says, "Christ, who is God overall, blessed forever." Paul does affirm Jesus' Jewish ancestry, that Jesus was fully human, but he doesn't stop there. He gives one of the clearest, most decisive affirmations of the Deity of Christ, that we find anywhere in Scripture, that Christ is God. He's over all things, the entire universe. The Jews use this expression to refer to God's dominion over the entire creation. "Christ is God over all, blessed forever." So if you're having a conversation with a Mormon or a Jehovah's Witness, they don't believe that Jesus is God, just keep this one in the back pocket, Romans 9:5. Just take him there, Romans 9:5, "Christ is God, blessed forever." Here, someone might raise a legitimate question and say, "Will we go to heaven, be sad throughout all eternity, because of those who are cursed and cut off from Christ in hell?" What if we have a loved one who never turns to Christ? Brother or sister, sibling, spouse, child, there will be a sadness in eternity because of them. And the answer is no. The Scripture says, "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes and neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore." But God will have to wipe out tears. God will have to wipe off our tears. Why are we weeping in the first place, in a place of bliss? I think there will be moments in the very beginning, where we wish we had done more, kind of like Schindler's List at the end, where he is like, "Here's the watch. Here's the pen. I wish I had done more." Well, that's just a reminder for us to do the more now, be encouraged to be more bold and preaching the Gospel now. "And with respect to any affection that the godly may have had to the finally reprobate, the love of God will wholly swallow it up, and cause it wholly to cease," as Jonathan Edwards says. In conclusion, pray for God to burden your heart for the lost. If you hear this and you're like, "I've never even thought about praying for the lost." Well first, pray for your own heart, you're living in disobedience. Pray for your own heart to care for the lost and then pray for the lost and share the Gospel with the lost. Romans 10:1, this is what Paul says, "Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved." St. Paul had to pray for God to save people. He couldn't do it himself. He believed in the sovereignty of God. He believed that God elects people to salvation. And because he believed that God elects people to salvation, he prayed for God to save the elect. A lot of people use God's sovereignty in saving people as an excuse to do nothing. Well, if God saves people, then he doesn't need me to share the Gospel. If God is the one to predestine people a salvation, well he doesn't need me to do any. He doesn't need me to pray. That's false. If God predestines the end, he predestines the means. And the means that he predestines is for every single one of us to pray for the lost and share the Gospel with the lost. And the fruit of Paul's anguish is to pray for them and ask that God would save them. If Paul had to pray, if Paul prayed for the lost, we should too. If Christ prayed for the lost, we should too. Jesus Christ on the cross says, "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do." He's praying for the loss. And because Christ prayed for the loss on the cross for their salvation, we are called to pray as well. 2 Timothy 2:25 says, "God may perhaps grant them repentance, leading to a knowledge of the truth." May the Lord do so even now. If you don't know if you're a Christian, if you're still under the guilt of your sins and accursed and cut off from Christ, well don't stay there. Today, turn to Jesus Christ. Look to Christ on the cross. Christ crying out from the depth of his soul and anguish and heart, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Christ was accursed. Christ was caught off from God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, so we would never have to be. He bore the wrath of God, so that we would not have to. He bore the curse, so that we might receive the blessing. So trust in him as your only hope, and you will be saved today. I'll close in Matthew 11:25-30, before we transition to communion. It's a text where Jesus Christ thanks God for closing the eyes of some, opening the eyes of others and saying that only the one to whom the son reveals the Father can be saved. And still Christ says, "Come to me all who are burdened and heavy laden." Matthew 11:25-30, "At that time, Jesus declared, 'I thank you, Father Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children. Yes Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart. And you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Lord, we thank you for all the spiritual privileges that you have bestowed upon us as a Church and as individuals. We thank you for the full canon of Holy Scripture, a word that testifies to you, a word that reveals you, a word that reveals the Living Word of God, Jesus Christ. Lord, we thank you that your, "Word is living and active, sharper than any two edge sword, piercing the division of soul and of marrow, revealing to us the intentions of the heart." And we come to you Lord and we ask for forgiveness of all our sin, of all our pride of all our selfishness and self-reliance, and help us not trust in our spiritual privileges. Make us people who only trust in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And make us people who walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel, to bring glory to you and attract attention to the beautiful Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe, every single person who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. We pray all this in the beautiful name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior. Amen.
If Christ really did rise from the grave and our bodies will one day be resurrected as well, then let's be confident in the ministry that God has given us today!Reading Plan: Old Testament - 2 Chronicles 2:6-7New Testament - 1 Corinthians 15:29-58Visit https://www.revivalfromthebible.com/ for more information.
When God calls us, he has already taken our stupidity into consideration. When I first got saved, I experienced many healings. But since then there have been many different results. The Joys of Salvation!The transition from death to life, darkness to light, renewing of the mind, forgiveness, cleansing, confidence of eternal lifeThe Excitement of DiscoveryWhat it means to be filled with the Spirit of GodGreater worksThe Surprise of ConflictIt ought to be no surprise at all – Jesus met with the devil after the Holy Sprit fell on himHis unusual promise: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”” John16:33NASBLater Paul would write: “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans5:3-5NASBThe promises of God do not always present clear sailing, neither in the early church, in the history of the church, or even in our own lives. The devil is real, sin is real, and as Billy Sunday said: “One reason sin flourishes is that it is treated like a cream puff rather than a rattlesnakeThe Battle on THREE Fronts: three areas of conflict where Christians must overcomeThe battle without: open attacks from non Christians, from intimidation, lies deceptions, aggressive behavior, attacks, and persecutionsThe battle within: from brothers and sisters of the faith, jealousy, positions, authority, power struggles, personal desires, power plays, and control.The battle of the mind: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” 2 Corinthians10:3-5“For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans8:5-11NASBThe Confidence of VictoryThe confidence of victory is that Jesus has overcome!He is the victor and gives us the victory!
Open calls, questions, and discussion with Matt Slick LIVE in the studio. Topics include---1- Matt contrasts the Christian view of the Bible with various other groups, such as Roman Catholics or Oneness Pentecostals.--2- Have you ever heard of St. Patrick's purgatory---3- Is it a sign of demonic influence in Pentecostal groups when people are convulsing, etc.---4- Can you explain how works are related to salvation---5- Do you think we will need food or water in eternity---6- If Christ has forgiven us, why will believers appear at the judgement seat of Christ---7- I'm in a church where people say they are prophets but things they say do not happen. What should I do-
The daily radio broadcast of CARM.org. Open calls, questions, and discussion with Guest host Matt Slick LIVE in the studio. Topics include: Matt contrasts the Christian view of the Bible with various other groups, such as Roman Catholics or Oneness Pentecostals. Have you ever heard of St. Patrick's purgatory? Is it a sign of demonic influence in Pentecostal groups when people are convulsing, etc.? Can you explain how works are related to salvation? Do you think we will need food or water in eternity? If Christ has forgiven us, why will believers appear at the judgment seat of Christ? I'm in a church where people say they are prophets but things they say do not happen. What should I do? ==> Subscribe to the CARM Odysee Channel: https://odysee.com/@CARM:8 ==> Watch Matt Slick LIVE on Odysee: https://odysee.com/@CARM:8/MattSlickLive:b ==> Subscribe to the CARM YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/carmvideos ==> Subscribe to the Matt Slick YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/mattslick ==> Like CARM on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Carm.org ==> Visit the CARM Website: https://carm.org ==> Donate to CARM: https://carm.org/about/partner-with-carm/
The daily radio broadcast of CARM.org. Open calls, questions, and discussion with Guest host Matt Slick LIVE in the studio. Topics include: Matt contrasts the Christian view of the Bible with various other groups, such as Roman Catholics or Oneness Pentecostals. Have you ever heard of St. Patrick's purgatory? Is it a sign of demonic influence in Pentecostal groups when people are convulsing, etc.? Can you explain how works are related to salvation? Do you think we will need food or water in eternity? If Christ has forgiven us, why will believers appear at the judgment seat of Christ? I'm in a church where people say they are prophets but things they say do not happen. What should I do? ==> Subscribe to the CARM Odysee Channel: https://odysee.com/@CARM:8 ==> Watch Matt Slick LIVE on Odysee: https://odysee.com/@CARM:8/MattSlickLive:b ==> Subscribe to the CARM YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/carmvideos ==> Subscribe to the Matt Slick YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/mattslick ==> Like CARM on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Carm.org ==> Visit the CARM Website: https://carm.org ==> Donate to CARM: https://carm.org/about/partner-with-carm/
Smyrna Revelation 2:8-11 Background • Smyrna was one of the most prosperous cities in Asia Minor in the 1st Century • 195 bc Smyrna built a temple to Roma Remember the big idea is faithful witness! • Smyrna is 1 of 2 of these churches that gets praised and not correction in Revelation. Jesus' description (v8) Poverty and Riches (v9a) • No health and wealth gospel is being preached to the church in Smyrna • Some have argued that ptocheia (poverty) is a very strong word for this concept meaning they had literally nothing Who is the true Jew? (v9b) • Michael Gorman sums this up in READING REVELATION RESPONSIBLY: o It is likely that some Jews have betrayed their own identity as God's people (from John's perspective) by colluding with those possessing economic power (perhaps officials in the trade guilds, the networks of tradespeople similar to modern unions, or in the temples that served also as banks) and/or Roman political officials in persecuting the Smyrnaean church. The economic impact and the potential for legal action have apparently not led any in the church to accommodate. The challenge is to remain fearless and faithful—to trust and obey. Do not fear/Tribulation for 10 days/ Be faithful unto death (v10) o Gregory Stevenson- A Slaughtered Lamb, Pg. 118-19: In imitation of their Lord, the church in Smyrna is called upon to maintain their faithful witness, even if such witness leads to their deaths because the victory of Christ is achieved through a witness that does not faulter or fade even in the most extreme circumstances. Yet, He assures them, if they share in this part of Christ's pattern, they will also share in the remainder of that pattern- Christ's glorified resurrection (The crown of life)… the seven letters transform the concept of victory. If Christ sets the pattern, then our understanding of victory must conform to Christ's own victory. Christ's own victory achieved on a cross was not a victory over his Roman oppressors or Jewish enemies, but over the Power of Satan. Conquers (v11) Polycarp
The life of Jesus stirred His disciples to desire prayer. If Christ lives in us, shouldn't our lives be provoking those around us to desire prayer? Luke 11; shows us the disciples asking Jesus how to pray. They knew the formalities of prayer via the pharisees, readings from the Torah & Psalter etc. But never was prayer this clearly portrayed as the source of life. Prayer is where we enter the heart of God so He can shoot us out like a cannon into the harvest fields, set ablaze with His affections & desires. 1 Cor 15:10; Paul shares that, "he labored for the Gospel more abundantly than all his peers." What caused this supernatural labor of service unto the Gospel? Phil 3:10; "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death" Supernatural labor to endure & press on is birthed from the supreme desire to know Him. Our pursuit of Him is where our purpose is uncovered. For More info on Gold Street Garden visit; https://linktr.ee/goldstreetgarden
On this episode we will continue to talk through the primary doctrines that every Christian must believe. Today we will be talking about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Christ hadn't resurrected, we of all should be pitied. Take a listen to this episode and feel free to comment, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org We also have a merchandise line!! Follow the link to order a cool shirt! https://www.thechristianfoundrypodcast.com
When Christ already owns the creation, what is the meaning of God appointing Him heir over all things- When Christ is the heir of all things, how is this fact personally applicable and encouraging to you- If Christ is the Creator, what does that designate Him- What are Arianism and Modalism, and why are they heretical- What does it mean that Christ is the exact imprint of God- All these questions are answered in this sermon.
As Christians we are invited to a life of freedom in Christ, yet this freedom seems to disappear in the face of burnout and exhaustion. More than ever, it seems that "burnout" is an epidemic in the church. Join us this week as we tackle burnout, exhaustion and the uncomfortable question, "If Christ died for my freedom, then why don't I feel free?"
Do you ever wonder what God looks like? Colossians 1:15-23 paints a clear connection between the image of God and the person of Christ. If Christ is the visible image of the invisible God, we have to wrestle with this question - is our view of Jesus big enough? The truth for Paul, which he believed was truth enough for every follower of Jesus, is that even though God is so big, he is also near…look no further than Jesus.
Father Len takes a deep dive into what divides us and what unites us. He introduces us to Communio, the one thing that can unite us forever and where to find it. Highlights, Ideas and Wisdom Communio is this invisible union between us and God. It's also the thing that makes us united with each other. Communio celebrates the mystical communion that makes us one community. Father Len illustrates the effect of Communio by telling the story of a former Nazi who became friends with a former member of the French Resistance that fought against the Nazis. Communio is never based on externals like religion, race, politics, ideology or even superficial morality. Real community at its very heart is spiritual. It's a deep belief that we're inextricably connected to each other by something greater than us. It's rooted in love and compassion and can never be severed, even by death. Facebook is a hollow substitute for real community. The Book of Revelation in the Bible describes Heaven as ultimate communion. Like a city where everyone is wearing a wedding dress because they're all in love. That's true Communio. We came from community, the Trinity. We are meant to live in community, the body of Christ. We end in perfect community, heaven. The really big issue of life is God. More and more people these days are sorting themselves into ideological bunkers. Nine times out of ten, the only thing these people have in common is they hate the same people. If Christ is Communio, Satan is the opposite. The word devil means divider. Satan is always offering us a substitute communion based on who we reject. Christ came to knock down the dividing walls that keep us separated. At the end of our life, we'll be judged on what we did to others and what we did for others. How united we were with other people. In the final judgment we'll be judged on how strong our community was. Perfect worship is done together because it's in a community where our egos are always challenged. Community challenges us to be more loving. Ego keeps us separated from each other and from our true selves. The Bible tells us God will destroy our enemies because God will form us into a community of brothers and sisters. Religion is supposed to be about community, but often times, people confuse conformity with community. The opposite of community is social conforming. There's a difference between belonging and fitting in. Conformity is just the appearance of community. In conformity, there's no communion. You just have to act and dress in a way that's pleasing to the group. Our deepest need is to be in community and be loved. In the Bible, God is always working to save a community, not just an individual. The book of Proverbs says, in a community we'll develop new eyes. We'll see the world differently by living in a community. The Catholic Church celebrates Communio. The lifeblood of Wrestling with God Productions comes from generous donors who support our mission. If you've benefited from one of our podcasts, please consider making a financial donation here: https://www.GiveSendGo.com/WWGProductions We welcome your questions and comments; Email: email@example.com Text or voicemail: 208-391-3738
He Wakes In MeNeville Goddard3/24/67 Tonight's subject is “He Wakes in Me.” I mean, he wakes in us. Who wakes? The Lord Jesus Christ who is crucified within us. He was never crucified on anything outside of man. If you want to call it a tree or a wooden cross then that's man; for he's only crucified within us and, therefore, he must rise within us. As Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal.2:20). And “If we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Rom. 6:5). Now this event is not described in any portion of scripture and yet the resurrection is really the high-water mark, the very center of the Christian faith. As Paul said, “If Christ is not raised, then our faith is in vain…and we are as men the most to be pitied.” (1Cor. 15:14,19), But how do we know? Sunday morning they're all going to say Christ is risen, and they should because Christ is risen. But how do we know? We know only by the witnesses, only by those who experience the resurrection. So the experience of the resurrection in the lives of the apostles is the indispensable inner testimony, without which Jesus Christ might have been raised but could not have been preached as risen. The apostle…and they are coming in to bloom, one after the other; they are not just a few in the beginning, they are moving in; everyone who is called, who experiences the resurrection, who experiences Christianity in its fullness, he is the apostle. We cannot experience it and not have seen the risen Christ. It comes from within you and we are all raised, one by one, to unite into one single body, one Spirit, one Lord, one God and Father of us all. There's only one. The New Earth Activation trainings - Immerse yourself in 12 hours of content focused on the new earth with channelings, meditations, advanced training and access to the new earth https://realityrevolutioncon.com/newearth Alternate Universe Reality Activation get full access to new meditations, new lectures, recordings from the reality con and the 90 day AURA meditation schedulehttps://realityrevolutionlive.com/aura45338118 BUY A COPY OF MY BOOKhttps://www.amazon.com/Reality-Revolution-Mind-Blowing-Movement-Hack/dp/154450618X/ Listen to my book on audible https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Reality-Revolution-Audiobook/B087LV1R5V Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/The-Reality-Revolution-Podcast-Hosted-By-Brian-Scott-102555575116999 Join our Facebook group The Reality Revolution https://www.facebook.com/groups/523814491927119 Subscribe to my Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOgXHr5S3oF0qetPfqxJfSw Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org For coaching – https://www.advancedsuccessinstitute.com For all episodes of the Reality Revolution – https://www.therealityrevolution.com Follow Us on Reddit https://www.reddit.com/r/TheRealityRevolution/ Follow me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/the_reality_revolution/ Follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/mediaprime Follow me on MeWe https://mewe.com/i/brianscott71 Music by Mettaverseworlds within worldsjourney into the multiverselove becomes usreunionlimitlesssacred stillnessinfinite withinbreathe new lifeeffortless awarenesssacred blissrealignlight catcherssalutation
IT'S IN THE PROMISE THE PROMISE OF LIFE SEASON 5 EPISODE 8 ROMANS 8:9-11 (NASB) However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is [d]alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies [e]through His Spirit who dwells in you. Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. When we live on this earth we all know that death is coming. No doubt no matter how young, we have all been touched by death in some fashion. The promise of God is that when we walk with him there is life. Life, real and genuine, active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed; life one who is animated and full of vitality. The Bible teaches “The thief comes only to steal kill and destroy, but I have come to give life and that more abundantly.” You and me, we have life if we are in Christ Jesus. Here is the great thing about this promise it not only promises us life in the earth realm, but it also promises life eternal. Some days when I am in my thinking stages I ask myself, what's it all for? I am reminded that while living in this sphere with vitality and vigor I have a promise. I have been promised a building, a home, a body, an eternity that has not been made with the hands of man, but by God. Here are the points brothers, live for today and know that your tomorrow has been taken care of. There is a promise of life now and in the afterlife. I have a life and existence filled with the promise of the presence of God. Resting and residing in a place of praise and worship eternally. So do not get frustrated with your current home. We live on purpose on purpose, for God's plan. It will be alright! 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 Galatians 2:20 John 10:10 --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/lovelaughlegacy/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/lovelaughlegacy/support
Question Covered: 03:51 – Would it have been morally just for Elrond to have thrown Isildur into the fires of Mt Doom when he refused to destroy the One Ring, as a way to ensure its destruction? 14:02 – I have one question about The Chaplet of the Divine Mercy. I do not understand the words Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. Father and Son are One Divinity, right? So… how can I offer God to God when there is One God? 17:18 – Have there been any documentaries, or at minimum, speculations of people who have claimed to come back in time from the distant future (with perhaps a story to tell —and what is heading our way)? 20:06 – If you were involved in a teleportation accident that created a duplicate of you, would that person have to confess your sins? 23:40 – If Christ died to Redeem all, would alien scriptures reference an alien Redeemer, or are all aliens Unfallen, thus not needing Revelation and Salvation? Related to this, if Satan knew that the Incarnation would occur on Earth, did he then ignore aliens, thus leaving them Unfallen? Therefore, if and when Humanity travels to the stars, might we be the cause of their Fall? Continuing on this theme, since working with tools was a punishment due to Original Sin, it could be argued that technology is a sign of a Fallen species. Since we haven’t seen any evidence of ETs, might that be proof that aliens are Unfallen? 32:49 – What are your thoughts on Gulf War Syndrome? 39:45 – If a family wanted their child baptized in Klingon or a pre-Christian Babylonian language. Assuming an accurate but not Vatican-approved translation, would it be valid? This is obviously theoretical but speaks to the point of whether a translation or interpretation is assumed to be valid or not before any Vatican intervention on the text. 45:00 – Would it have been possible to hold a spelling bee in ancient Egypt? 48:50 – Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons? 51:45 – Is it possible for a species (such as an alien, or an understudied cephalopod) to have a powerful brain comparable to or even greater than our own, but not an immortal soul? …
Questions Covered: 05:30 – Why do Catholics deny the idea of once saved always saved if in 1 Jn 3:6 it says, “Whoever keeps sinning has not known Jesus?” 15:11 – With the recent mass shooting in Texas, is it safe to infer that God does not intervene in these situations due to the respect he has for free will? 21:36 – What’s the Catholic perspective on the marriage of two protestants? Would the Church consider it a valid marriage? https://www.catholic.com/audio/caf/did-jesus-allow-some-divorce 28:42 – If Christ gave himself fully for our sins why did he pray “Let this cup pass from me?” I know Catholics reject penal substitution. 34:51 – Sirach 24:1-16 says that Jesus was created, and we proclaim in the Creed that he was “born of the Father before all ages.” So, is he created? 40:43 – Do you believe the phrase “God doesn't give you more than you can handle” is incompatible with the Catholic faith? 48:02 – I'm watching The Chosen, and I saw before their meals they say the prayer “Blessed are you God…” but we as Catholics say “bless us oh Lord…” When did we start making this prayer centered on us instead of God? 52:04 – How do we Catholics understand the bible especially since we're told that the bible has changed multiple times? …
Speaker: Justin WheelerSeries: Revelation Contents Spurgeon on Joshua 1.7. From Morning and Evening, May 11................... 2 Spurgeon on Hebrews 12.2. From Morning and Evening, June 28.............. 3 Conformity to the world. From the letters of John Newton........................ 4 The Bruised Reed, chapter 2, by Richard Sibbes (1631)............................ 7 J C Ryle on assurance. From Holiness.................................................... 11 Spurgeon on Joshua 1.7. From Morning and Evening, May 11 "Only be thou strong and very courageous." Joshua 1:7 Our God's tender love for His servants makes Him concerned for the state of their inward feelings. He desires them to be of good courage. Some esteem it a small thing for a believer to be vexed with doubts and fears, but God thinks not so. From this text it is plain that our Master would not have us entangled with fears. He would have us without carefulness, without doubt, without cowardice. Our Master does not think so lightly of our unbelief as we do. When we are desponding we are subject to a grievous malady, not to be trifled with, but to be carried at once to the beloved Physician. Our Lord loveth not to see our countenance sad. It was a law of Ahasuerus that no one should come into the king's court dressed in mourning: this is not the law of the King of kings, for we may come mourning as we are; but still He would have us put off the spirit of heaviness, and put on the garment of praise, for there is much reason to rejoice. The Christian man ought to be of a courageous spirit, in order that he may glorify the Lord by enduring trials in an heroic manner. If he be fearful and fainthearted, it will dishonour his God. Besides, what a bad example it is. This disease of doubtfulness and discouragement is an epidemic which soon spreads amongst the Lord's flock. One downcast believer makes twenty souls sad. Moreover, unless your courage is kept up Satan will be too much for you. Let your spirit be joyful in God your Saviour, the joy of the Lord shall be your strength, and no fiend of hell shall make headway against you: but cowardice throws down the banner. Moreover, labour is light to a man of cheerful spirit; and success waits upon cheerfulness. The man who toils, rejoicing in his God, believing with all his heart, has success guaranteed. He who sows in hope shall reap in joy; therefore, dear reader, "be thou strong, and very courageous." Spurgeon on Hebrews 12.2. From Morning and Evening, June 28 "Looking unto Jesus." Hebrews 12:2 It is ever the Holy Spirit's work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan's work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, "Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus." All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing, but that "Christ is all in all." Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee- it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee- it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument- it is Christ's blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith. We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by "looking unto Jesus." Keep thine eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to Him; when thou liest down at night look to Him. Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail thee. "My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesu's blood and righteousness: I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesu's name." Conformity to the world. From the letters of John Newton. Conformity to the world "Be not conformed to this world." Romans 12:2 Dear Sir, You will perhaps be surprised to see my thoughts on your query in print, rather than to receive them by the post, as you expected. But as the subject of it is of general concern, I hope you will not be displeased that I have taken this method. It might be of considerable service in the present day, clearly to explain the force of the Apostle's precept, "Be not conformed to this world;" and to state the just boundary between a sinful compliance with the world, and that scrupulous singularity which springs from a self-righteous principle, and a contracted view of the spirit and liberty of the Gospel. To treat this point accurately, would require a treatise rather than a letter: I only undertake to offer you a few hints; and indeed, when the mind is formed to a spiritual taste, a simple desire to be guided by the Word and Spirit of God, together with a due attention to our own experience, will, in most practical cases, supersede the necessity of long and elaborate disquisitions. By the world, in the passage alluded to, Rom. 12:2, I suppose the Apostle means conformity to the men of the world, in distinction from believers: these, not having the love of God in their hearts, or his fear before their eyes, are of course engaged in such pursuits and practices as are inconsistent with our holy calling, and in which we cannot imitate or comply with them, without hurting our peace and our profession. We are therefore bound to avoid conformity to them in all such instances; but we are not obliged to decline all interaction with the world, or to impose restraints upon ourselves, when the Scripture does not restrain us, in order to make us as unlike the world as possible. To instance in a few particulars. It is not necessary, perhaps it is not lawful, wholly to renounce the society of the world. A mistake of this kind took place in the early ages of Christianity, and men (at first, perhaps, with a sincere desire of serving God without distraction) withdrew into deserts and uninhabited places, and wasted their lives at a distance from their fellow-creatures. But unless we could flee from ourselves likewise, this would afford us no advantage; so long as we carry our own wicked hearts with us, we shall be exposed to temptation, go where we will. Besides, this would be thwarting the end of our vocation. Christians are to be the salt and the lights of the world, conspicuous as cities set upon a hill; they are commanded to "let their light shine before men, that they, beholding their good works, may glorify their Father who is in heaven." This injudicious deviation from the paths of nature and providence, gave occasion at length to the vilest abominations; and men who withdrew from the world, under pretense of retirement, became the more wicked and abandoned as they lived more out of public view and observation. Nor are we at liberty, much less are we enjoined, to renounce the duties of relative life, so as to become careless in the discharge of them. Allowances should, indeed, be made for the distresses of people newly awakened, or under the power of temptation, which may for a time so much engross their thoughts as greatly to indispose them for their bounded duty. But, in general, the proper evidence of true Christians is, not merely that they can talk about Divine things, but that, by the grace of God, they live and act agreeable to the rules of his word, in the state in which his providence has placed them, whether as masters or servants, husbands or wives, parents or children; bearing rule, or yielding obedience, as in his sight. Diligence and fidelity in the management of temporal concernments, though observable in the practice of many worldly men, may be maintained without a sinful conformity to the world. Neither are we required to refuse a moderate use of the comforts and conveniences of life, suitable to the station which God has appointed us in the world. The spirit of self-righteousness and will-worship works much in this way, and supposes that there is something excellent in long fasting, in abstaining from pleasant food, in wearing coarser clothes than is customary with those in the same rank of life, and in many other austerities and singularities not commanded by the word of God. And many people, who are in the main sincere, are grievously burdened with scruples respecting the use of lawful things. It is true, there is need of a constant watch, lest what is lawful in itself becomes hurtful to us by its abuse. But these outward strictnesses may be carried to great lengths, without a spark of true grace, and even without the knowledge of the true God. The mortifications and austerities practiced by the Bramins in India are vastly more severe than the most zealous effects of modern superstition in our country. There is a strictness which arises rather from ignorance than knowledge, is wholly taken up with externals, and gratifies the spirit of self as much in one way, as it seems to retrench it in another. A man may almost starve his body to feed his pride: but to those who fear and serve the Lord, every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving, for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. Notwithstanding these limitations, the precept is very extensive and important. "Be not conformed to the world." As believers, we are strangers and pilgrims upon earth. Heaven is our country, and the Lord is our King. We are to be known and noticed as his subjects; and therefore it is his pleasure, that we do not speak the sinful language, or adopt the sinful customs, of the land in which we sojourn. We are not to conform to the world, as we did in the days of our ignorance. And though we have received the principles of grace, and have tasted of the goodness of the Lord, the admonition is still needful; for we are renewed but in part, and are liable to be drawn aside to our hurt by the prevalence of evil examples and customs around us. We must not conform to the spirit of the world. As members of society, we have a part to act in it, in common with others. But if our business is the same, our principles and ends are to be entirely different. Diligence in our respective callings is, as I have already observed, commendable, and our duty; but not with the same views which stimulate the activity of the men of the world. If they rise early, and take rest late, their endeavors spring from and terminate in self, to establish and increase their own importance, to add house to house, and field to field, that, like the builders of Babel, they may get themselves a name, or provide means for the gratification of their sinful passions. If they succeed, they sacrifice to themselves; if they are crossed in their designs, they are filled with anxiety and impatience; they either murmur or despond. But a Christian is to pursue his lawful calling with an eye to the providence of God, and with submission to his wisdom. Thus, so far as he acts in the exercise of faith, he cannot be disappointed. He casts his care upon his Heavenly Father, who has promised to take care of him. What God gives, he receives with thankfulness, and is careful as a faithful steward to improve it for the furtherance of the cause of God, and the good of mankind. And if he meets with losses and crosses, he is not disconcerted, knowing that all his concerns are under a Divine direction; that the Lord whom he serves, chooses for him better than he could choose for himself; and that his best treasure is safe, out of the reach of the various changes to which all things in the present state are liable. We must not conform to the maxims of the world. The world in various instances calls evil good, and good evil. But we are to have recourse to the law and to the testimony, and to judge of things by the unerring word of God, uninfluenced by the determination of the great, or the many. We are to obey God rather than man, though upon this account we may expect to be despised or reviled, to be made a gazingstock or a laughing-stock to those who set his authority at defiance. We must bear our testimony to the truth as it is in Jesus, avow the cause of his despised people, and walk in the practice of universal obedience, patiently endure reproaches, and labor to overcome evil with good. Thus we shall show that we are not ashamed of Him. And there is an hour coming when he will not be ashamed of us, who have followed him, and borne his cross in the midst of a perverse generation, but will own our worthless names before the assembled world. We must not conform to the world in their amusements and diversions. We are to mix with the world so far as our necessary and providential connections engage us, so far as we have a reasonable expectation of doing or getting good, and no farther. "What fellowship has light with darkness, or what concord has Christ with Belial?" What does a believer have to do into those places and companies, where everything tends to promote a spirit of dissipation; where the fear of God has no place; where things are purposely disposed to inflame or indulge corrupt and sinful appetites and passions, and to banish all serious thoughts of God and ourselves? If it is our duty to redeem time, to walk with God, to do all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to follow the example which he set us when he was upon earth, and to work out our salvation with fear and trembling; it must of course be our duty to avoid a conformity with the world in those vain and sensual amusements, which stand in as direct contradiction to a spiritual frame of mind, as darkness to light. The leading desires of every person under the influence of Gospel principles, will be, to maintain an habitual communion with God in his own soul, and to manifest the power of his grace in the sight of men. So far as a Christian is infected by a conformity to the spirit, maxims, and sinful customs of the world, these desires will be disappointed. Fire and water are not more opposite, than that peace of God which passes all understanding, and that poor precarious pleasure which is sought in a compliance with the world; a pleasure (if worthy the name) which grieves the Spirit of God, and stultifies the heart. Whoever, after having tasted that the Lord is gracious, has been prevailed on to make the experiment, and to mingle with the world's vanities, has certainly thereby brought a damp upon his experience, and indisposed himself for the exercise of prayer, and the contemplation of Divine truths. And if any are not sensible of a difference in this respect, it is because the poison has taken a still deeper effect, so as to benumb their spiritual senses. Conformity to the world is the bane of many professors in this day. They have found a way, as they think, to serve both God and Mammon. But because they are double-minded, they are unstable; they make no progress; and, notwithstanding their frequent attendance upon ordinances, they are lean from day to day; a form of godliness, a scheme of orthodox notions, they may attain to, but they will remain destitute of the life, power, and comfort of piety, so long as they cleave to those things which are incompatible with it. Conformity to the world is equally an obstruction in the way of those who profess a desire of glorifying God in the sight of men. Such professors do rather dishonor him. By their conduct, as far as in them lies, they declare, that they do not find the religion of the Gospel answer their expectations; that it does not afford them the satisfaction they once hoped for from it; and that therefore they are forced to seek relief from the world. They grieve the people of God by their compliances, and oftentimes they mislead the weak, and by their examples encourage them to venture upon the like liberties, which otherwise they dared not have attempted. They embolden the wicked likewise in their evil ways, while they see a manifest inconsistency between their avowed principles and their practice; and thus they cause the ways of truth to be evil spoken of. The length of this paper constrains me to conclude abruptly. May the Lord enable you and I to lay this subject to heart, and to pray that we may, on the one hand, rightly understand and prize our Christian liberty; and, on the other hand, be preserved from that growing evil—a sinful conformity to the world! The Bruised Reed, chapter 2, by Richard Sibbes (1631) IN PURSUING HIS CALLING, Christ will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax, in which more is meant than spoken, for he will not only not break nor quench, but he will cherish those with whom he so deals. CHRIST'S DEALINGS WITH THE BRUISED REED Physicians, though they put their patients to much pain, will not destroy nature, but raise it up by degrees. Surgeons will lance and cut, but not dismember. A mother who has a sick and self willed child will not therefore cast it away. And shall there be more mercy in the stream than in the spring? Shall we think there is more mercy in ourselves than in God, who plants the affection of mercy in us? But for further declaration of Christ's mercy to all bruised reeds, consider the comfortable relationships he has taken upon himself of husband, shepherd and brother, which he will discharge to the utmost. Shall others by his grace fulfill what he calls them unto, and not he who, out of his love, has taken upon him these relationships, so thoroughly founded upon his Father's assignment, and his own voluntary undertaking? Consider the names he has borrowed from the mildest creatures, such as lamb and hen, to show his tender care. Consider his very name Jesus, a Saviour, given him by God himself. Consider his office answerable to his name, which is that he should ‘bind up the broken hearted' (Isa. 61:1). At his baptism the Holy Ghost rested on him in the shape of a dove, to show that he should be a dove like, gentle Mediator. See the gracious way he executes his offices. As a prophet, he came with blessing in his mouth, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit' (Matt. 5:3), and invited those to come to him whose hearts suggested most exceptions against themselves, ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden' (Matt. 11:28). How did his heart yearn when he saw the people ‘as sheep having no shepherd' (Matt. 9:36)! He never turned any back again that came to him, though some went away of themselves. He came to die as a priest for his enemies. In the days of his flesh he dictated a form of prayer unto his disciples, and put petitions unto God into their mouths, and his Spirit to intercede in their hearts. He shed tears for those that shed his blood, and now he makes intercession in heaven for weak Christians, standing between them and God's anger. He is a meek king; he will admit mourners into his presence, a king of poor and afflicted persons. As he has beams of majesty, so he has a heart of mercy and compassion. He is the prince of peace (Isa. 9:6). Why was he tempted, but that he might ‘succor them that are tempted' (Heb. 2:18)? What mercy may we not expect from so gracious a Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5) who took our nature upon him that he might be gracious? He is a physician good at all diseases, especially at the binding up of a broken heart. He died that he might heal our souls with a plaster of his own blood, and by that death save us, which we were the procurers of ourselves, by our own sins. And has he not the same heart in heaven? ‘Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?' cried the Head in heaven, when the foot on earth was trodden on (Acts 9:4). His advancement has not made him forget his own flesh. Though it has freed him from passion, yet not from compassion towards us. The lion of the tribe of Judah will only tear in pieces those that ‘will not have him rule over them' (Luke 19:14). He will not show his strength against those who prostrate themselves before him. FOR OURSELVES 1. What should we learn from this, but to ‘come boldly to the throne of grace' (Heb. 4:16) in all our grievances? Shall our sins discourage us, when he appears there only for sinners? Are you bruised? Be of good comfort, he calls you. Conceal not your wounds, open all before him and take not Satan's counsel. Go to Christ, although trembling, as the poor woman who said, ‘If I may but touch his garment' (Matt. 9:21). We shall be healed and have a gracious answer. Go boldly to God in our flesh; he is flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone for this reason, that we might go boldly to him. Never fear to go to God, since we have such a Mediator with him, who is not only our friend but our brother and husband. Well might the angel proclaim from heaven, ‘Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy' (Luke 2:10). Well might the apostle stir us up to ‘rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice' (Phil. 4:4). Paul was well advised upon what grounds he did it. Peace and joy are two main fruits of Christ's kingdom. Let the world be as it will, if we cannot rejoice in the world, yet we may rejoice in the Lord. His presence makes any condition comfortable. ‘Be not afraid,' says he to his disciples, when they were afraid, as if they had seen a ghost, ‘It is I' (Matt. 14:27), as if there were no cause of fear where he was present. 2. Let this support us when we feel ourselves bruised. Christ's way is first to wound, then to heal. No sound, whole soul shall ever enter into heaven. Think when in temptation, Christ was tempted for me; according to my trials will be my graces and comforts. If Christ be so merciful as not to break me, I will not break myself by despair, nor yield myself over to the roaring lion, Satan, to break me in pieces. 3. See the contrary disposition of Christ on the one hand and Satan and his instruments on the other. Satan sets upon us when we are weakest, as Simeon and Levi upon the Shechemites, ‘when they were sore' (Gen. 34:25), but Christ will make up in us all the breaches which sin and Satan have made. He ‘binds up the broken hearted' (Isa. 61:1). As a mother is tenderest to the most diseased and weakest child, so does Christ most mercifully incline to the weakest. Likewise he puts an instinct into the weakest things to rely upon something stronger than themselves for support. The vine stays itself upon the elm, and the weakest creatures often have the strongest shelters. The consciousness of the church's weakness makes her willing to lean on her beloved, and to hide herself under his wing. WHO ARE THE BRUISED REEDS? But how shall we know whether we are such as may expect mercy? Answer: (1) By the bruised here is not meant those that are brought low only by crosses, but such as, by them, are brought to see their sin, which bruises most of all. When conscience is under the guilt of sin, then every judgment brings a report of God's anger to the soul, and all lesser troubles run into this great trouble of conscience for sin. As all corrupt humours run to the diseased and bruised part of the body, and as every creditor falls upon the debtor when he is once arrested, so when conscience is once awakened, all former sins and present crosses join together to make the bruise the more painful. Now, he that is thus bruised will be content with nothing but with mercy from him who has bruised him. He has wounded, and he must heal (Hos. 6:1). The Lord who has bruised me deservedly for my sins must bind up my heart again. (2) Again, a man truly bruised judges sin the greatest evil, and the favor of God the greatest good. (3) He would rather hear of mercy than of a kingdom. (4) He has poor opinions of himself, and thinks that he is not worth the earth he treads on. (5) Towards others he is not censorious, as being taken up at home, but is full of sympathy and compassion to those who are under God's hand. (6) He thinks that those who walk in the comforts of God's Spirit are the happiest men in the world. (7) He trembles at the Word of God (Isa. 66:2), and honours the very feet of those blessed instruments that bring peace unto him (Rom. 10:15). (8) He is more taken up with the inward exercises of a broken heart than with formality, and is yet careful to use all sanctified means to convey comfort. But how shall we come to this state of mind? Answer: First, we must conceive of bruising either as a state into which God brings us, or as a duty to be performed by us. Both are here meant. We must join with God in bruising ourselves. When he humbles us, let us humble ourselves, and not stand out against him, for then he will redouble his strokes. Let us justify Christ in all his chastisements, knowing that all his dealing towards us is to cause us to return into our own hearts. His work in bruising tends to our work in bruising ourselves. Let us lament our own perversity, and say: Lord, what a heart have I that needs all this, that none of this could be spared! We must lay siege to the hardness of our own hearts, and aggravate sin all we can. We must look on Christ, who was bruised for us, look on him whom we have pierced with our sins. But all directions will not prevail, unless God by his Spirit convinces us deeply, setting our sins before us, and driving us to a standstill. Then we will cry out for mercy. Conviction will breed contrition, and this leads to humiliation. Therefore desire God that he would bring a clear and a strong light into all the corners of our souls, and accompany it with a spirit of power to lay our hearts low. A set measure of bruising of ourselves cannot be prescribed, but it must be so far as (1) that we may prize Christ above all, and see that a Saviour must be had; and (2) that we reform that which is amiss, though it be to the cutting off of our right hand, or pulling out of our right eye. There is a dangerous slighting of the work of humiliation, some alleging this for a pretence for their casual dealing with their own hearts, that Christ will not break the bruised reed; but such must know that every sudden terror and short grief is not that which makes us bruised reeds; not a little ‘bowing down our heads like a bulrush' (Isa. 58:5), but a working our hearts to such a grief as will make sin more odious unto us than punishment, until we offer a ‘holy violence' against it. Else, favouring ourselves, we make work for God to bruise us, and for sharp repentance afterwards. It is dangerous, I confess, in some cases, with some spirits, to press too much and too long this bruising, because they may die under the wound and burden before they be raised up again. Therefore it is good in mixed assemblies to mingle comfort that every soul may have its due portion. But if we have this for a foundation truth, that there is more mercy in Christ than sin in us, there can be no danger in thorough dealing. It is better to go bruised to heaven than sound to hell. Therefore let us not take off ourselves too soon, nor pull off the plaster before the cure be wrought, but keep ourselves under this work till sin be the sourest, and Christ the sweetest, of all things. And when God's hand is upon us in any way, it is good to divert our sorrow for other things to the root of all, which is sin. Let our grief run most in that channel, that as sin bred grief, so grief may consume sin. But are we not bruised unless we grieve more for sin than we do for punishment? Answer: Sometimes our grief from outward grievances may lie heavier upon the soul than grief for God's displeasure, because, in such cases, the grief works upon the whole man, both outward and inward, and has nothing to support it, but a little spark of faith. This faith, by reason of the violent impression of the grievance, is suspended in the exercises of it. This is most felt in sudden distresses which come upon the soul as a torrent or land flood, and especially in bodily sicknesses which, by reason of the sympathy between the soul and the body, work upon the soul so far as to hinder not only the spiritual, but often the natural acts. Therefore, James wishes us in affliction to pray ourselves, but in case of sickness to ‘send for the elders' (James 5:14). These may, as those in the Gospels, offer up to God in their prayers the sick person who is unable to present his own case. Hereupon God admits of such a plea from the sharpness and bitterness of the grievance, as in David (Psa. 6). The Lord knows our frame; he remembers that we are but dust (Psa. 103:14), that our strength is not the strength of steel. This is a branch of his faithfulness to us as his creatures, whence he is called ‘a faithful Creator' (1 Pet. 4:19). ‘God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able' (1 Cor. 10:13). There were certain commandments which the Jews called the hedges of the law. So as to fence men off from cruelty, God commanded that they should not take the dame with the young, nor ‘seethe a kid in his mother's milk' (Exod. 23:19), nor ‘muzzle the mouth of the ox' (1 Cor. 9:9). Does God take care of beasts, and not of his more noble creature? And therefore we ought to judge charitably of the complaints of God's people which are wrung from them in such cases. Job had the esteem with God of a patient man, notwithstanding those passionate complaints. Faith overborne for the present will gain ground again; and grief for sin, although it come short of grief for misery in terms of violence, yet it goes beyond it in constancy; as a running stream fed with a spring holds out, when a sudden swelling brook fails. For the concluding of this point, and our encouragement to a thorough work of bruising, and patience under God's bruising of us, let all know that none are fitter for comfort than those that think themselves furthest off. Men, for the most part, are not lost enough in their own feeling for a Saviour. A holy despair in ourselves is the ground of true hope. In God the fatherless find mercy (Hos. 14:3); if men were more fatherless, they should feel more God's fatherly affection from heaven, for the God who dwells in the highest heavens dwells likewise in the lowest soul (Isa. 57:15). Christ's sheep are weak sheep, and lacking in something or other; he therefore applies himself to the necessities of every sheep. He seeks that which was lost, and brings again that which was driven out of the way, and binds up that which was broken, and strengthens the weak (Ezek. 34:16). His tenderest care is over the weakest. The lambs he carries in his bosom (Isa. 40:11). He says to Peter, ‘Feed my lambs' (John 21:15). He was most familiar and open to troubled souls. How careful he was that Peter and the rest of the apostles should not be too much dejected after his resurrection! ‘Go your way, tell his disciples and Peter' (Mark 16:7). Christ knew that guilt of their unkindness in leaving of him had dejected their spirits. How gently did he endure the unbelief of Thomas and stooped so far unto his weakness, as to suffer him to thrust his hand into his side. J C Ryle on assurance. From Holiness. 4. Some probable causes why an assured hope is so seldom attained This is a very serious question and ought to raise in all of us great searchings of heart. Few, certainly, of Christ's people seem to reach up to this blessed spirit of assurance. Many comparatively believe, but few are persuaded. Many comparatively have saving faith, but few that glorious confidence which shines forth in the language of St. Paul. That such is the case, I think we must all allow. Now, why is this so? Why is a thing, which two apostles have strongly enjoined us to seek after, a thing of which few believers have any experimental knowledge in these latter days? Why is an assured hope so rare? I desire to offer a few suggestions on this point, with all humility. I know that many have never attained assurance, at whose feet I would gladly sit both in earth and heaven. Perhaps the Lord sees something in the natural temperament of some of His children which makes assurance not good for them. Perhaps, in order to be kept in spiritual health, they need to be kept very low. God only knows. Still, after every allowance, I fear there are many believers without an assured hope, whose case may too often be explained by causes such as these. 1. One most common cause, I suspect, is a defective view of the doctrine of justification. I am inclined to think that justification and sanctification are insensibly confused together in the minds of many believers. They receive the gospel truth, that there must be something done in us as well as something done for us, if we are true members of Christ: and so far they are right. But then, without being aware of it, perhaps, they seem to imbibe the idea that their justification is, in some degree, affected by something within themselves. They do not clearly see that Christ's work, not their own work—either in whole or in part, either directly or indirectly—is the only ground of our acceptance with God: that justification is a thing entirely without us, for which nothing whatever is needful on our part but simple faith and that the weakest believer is as fully and completely justified as the strongest. Many appear to forget that we are saved and justified as sinners, and only sinners, and that we never can attain to anything higher, if we live to the age of Methuselah. Redeemed sinners, justified sinners and renewed sinners doubtless we must be—but sinners, sinners, sinners, we shall be always to the very last. They do not seem to comprehend that there is a wide difference between our justification and our sanctification. Our justification is a perfect finished work and admits of no degrees. Our sanctification is imperfect and incomplete and will be so to the last hour of our life. They appear to expect that a believer may at some period of his life be in a measure free from corruption, and attain to a kind of inward perfection. And not finding this angelic state of things in their own hearts, they at once conclude there must be something very wrong in their state. And so they go mourning all their days, oppressed with fears that they have no part or lot in Christ, and refusing to be comforted. Let us weigh this point well. If any believing soul desires assurance and has not got it, let him ask himself, first of all, if he is quite sure he is sound in the faith, if he knows how to distinguish things that differ and if his eyes are thoroughly clear in the matter of justification. He must know what it is simply to believe and to be justified by faith before he can expect to feel assured. In this matter, as well as in many others, the old Galatian heresy is the most fertile source of error, both in doctrine and in practice. People ought to seek clearer views of Christ and what Christ has done for them. Happy is the man who really understands "justification by faith without the deeds of the law." 2. Another common cause of the absence of assurance is slothfulness about growth in grace. I suspect many true believers hold dangerous and unscriptural views on this point; I do not, of course, mean intentionally, but they do hold them. Many appear to think that, once converted, they have little more to attend to, and that a state of salvation is a kind of easy chair in which they may just sit still, lie back and be happy. They seem to fancy that grace is given them that they may enjoy it; and they forget that it is given, like a talent, to be used, employed and improved. Such persons lose sight of the many direct injunctions to increase, to grow, to abound more and more, to add to our faith, and the like; and in this little–doing condition, this sitting–still state of mind, I never marvel that they miss assurance. I believe it ought to be our continual aim and desire to go forward, and our watchword on every returning birthday and at the beginning of every year should be "more and more" (1 Thess. 4:1): more knowledge, more faith, more obedience, more love. If we have brought forth thirty-fold, we should seek to bring forth sixty; and if we have brought forth sixty, we should strive to bring forth a hundred. The will of the Lord is our sanctification, and it ought to be our will too (Matt. 13:23; 1 Thess. 4:3). One thing, at all events, we may depend upon—there is an inseparable connection between diligence and assurance. "Give diligence," says Peter, "to make your calling and election sure" (2 Pet. 1:10). "We desire," says Paul, "that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end" (Heb. 6:11). "The soul of the diligent," says Solomon, "shall be made fat" (Prov. 13:4). There is much truth in the old maxim of the Puritans: "Faith of adherence comes by hearing, but faith of assurance comes not without doing." Is any reader of this message one of those who desire assurance, but have not got it? Mark my words. You will never get it without diligence, however much you may desire it. There are no gains without pains in spiritual things, any more than in temporal. "The soul of the sluggard desires and has nothing" (Prov. 13:4). 3. Another common cause of a want of assurance is an inconsistent walk in life. With grief and sorrow I feel constrained to say that I fear nothing more frequently prevents men attaining an assured hope than this. The stream of professing Christianity in this day is far wider than it formerly was, and I am afraid we must admit at the same time it is much less deep. Inconsistency of life is utterly destructive of peace of conscience. The two things are incompatible. They cannot and they will not go together. If you will have your besetting sins and cannot make up your minds to give them up, if you will shrink from cutting off the right hand and plucking out the right eye when occasion requires it, I will engage you will have no assurance. A vacillating walk, a backwardness to take a bold and decided line, a readiness to conform to the world, a hesitating witness for Christ, a lingering tone of religion, a clinching from a high standard of holiness and spiritual life, all these make up a sure receipt for bringing a blight upon the garden of your soul. It is vain to suppose you will feel assured and persuaded of your own pardon and acceptance with God, unless you count all God's commandments concerning all things to be right, and hate every sin, whether great or small (Ps. 119:128). One Achan allowed in the camp of your heart will weaken your hands and lay your consolations low in the dust. You must be daily sowing to the Spirit, if you are to reap the witness of the Spirit. You will not find and feel that all the Lord's ways are ways of pleasantness unless you labor in all your ways to please the Lord. I bless God that our salvation in no wise depends on our own works. By grace we are saved—not by works of righteousness—through faith, without the deeds of the law. But I never would have any believer for a moment forget that our sense of salvation depends much on the manner of our living. Inconsistency will dim our eyes and bring clouds between us and the sun. The sun is the same behind the clouds, but you will not be able to see its brightness or enjoy its warmth; and your soul will be gloomy and cold. It is in the path of well–doing that the dayspring of assurance will visit you and shine down upon your heart. "The secret of the Lord," says David, "is with them that fear Him, and He will show them His covenant" (Ps. 25:14). "To him that orders his conversation aright, will I show the salvation of God" (Ps. 50:23). "Great peace have they which love Your law, and nothing shall offend them" (Ps. 119:165). "If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another" (1 John 1:7). "Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth; and hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him" (1 John 3:18, 19). "Hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments" (1 John 2:3). Paul was a man who exercised himself to have always a conscience void of offense toward God and toward man (Acts 24:16). He could say with boldness, "I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith." I do not therefore wonder that the Lord enabled him to add with confidence, "Henceforth there is a crown laid up for me, and the Lord shall give it me at that day." If any believer in the Lord Jesus desires assurance and has not got it, let him think over this point also. Let him look at his own heart, look at his own conscience, look at his own life, look at his own ways, look at his own home. And perhaps when he has done that, he will be able to say, "There is a cause why I have no assured hope." I leave the three matters I have just mentioned to the private consideration of every reader of this message. I am sure they are worth examining. May we examine them honestly. And may the Lord give us understanding in all things. 1. And now in closing this important inquiry, let me speak first to those readers who have not yet given themselves to the Lord, who have not yet come out from the world, chosen the good part and followed Christ. I ask you then to learn from this subject the privileges and comforts of a true Christian. I would not have you judge of the Lord Jesus Christ by His people. The best of servants can give you but a faint idea of that glorious Master. Neither would I have you judge of the privileges of His kingdom by the measure of comfort to which many of His people attain. Alas, we are most of us poor creatures! We come short, very short, of the blessedness we might enjoy. But, depend upon it, there are glorious things in the city of our God, which they who have an assured hope taste, even in their lifetime. There are lengths and breadths of peace and consolation there, which it has not entered into your heart to conceive. There is bread enough and to spare in our Father's house, though many of us certainly eat but little of it, and continue weak. But the fault must not be laid to our Master's charge: it is all our own. And, after all, the weakest child of God has a mine of comforts within him, of which you know nothing. You see the conflicts and tossings of the surface of his heart, but you see not the pearls of great price which are hidden in the depths below. The feeblest member of Christ would not change conditions with you. The believer who possesses the least assurance is far better off than you are. He has a hope, however faint, but you have none at all. He has a portion that will never be taken from him, a Savior that will never forsake him, a treasure that fades not away, however little he may realize it all at present. But, as for you, if you die as you are, your expectations will all perish. Oh, that you were wise! Oh, that you understood these things! Oh, that you would consider your latter end! I feel deeply for you in these latter days of the world, if I ever did. I feel deeply for those whose treasure is all on earth and whose hopes are all on this side of the grave. Yes! When I see old kingdoms and dynasties shaking to the very foundation; when I see, as we all saw a few years ago, kings and princes and rich men and great men fleeing for their lives and scarce knowing where to hide their heads; when I see property dependent on public confidence melting like snow in spring, and public stocks and funds losing their value—when I see these things, I feel deeply for those who have no better portion than this world can give them and no place in that kingdom which cannot be removed. Take advice of a minister of Christ this very day. Seek durable riches, a treasure that cannot be taken from you, a city which has lasting foundations. Do as the apostle Paul did. Give yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ, and seek that incorruptible crown He is ready to bestow. Take His yoke upon you, and learn of Him. Come away from a world which will never really satisfy you and from sin which will bite like a serpent, if you cleave to it, at last. Come to the Lord Jesus as lowly sinners; and He will receive you, pardon you, give you His renewing Spirit, fill you with peace. This shall give you more real comfort than the world has ever done. There is a gulf in your heart which nothing but the peace of Christ can fill. Enter in and share our privileges. Come with us, and sit down by our side. 2. Lastly, let me turn to all believers who read these pages and speak to them a few words of brotherly counsel. The main thing that I urge upon you is this: if you have not got an assured hope of your own acceptance in Christ, resolve this day to seek it. Labor for it. Strive after it. Pray for it. Give the Lord no rest until you "know whom you have believed." I feel, indeed, that the small amount of assurance in this day, among those who are reckoned God's children, is a shame and a reproach. "It is a thing to be heavily bewailed," says old Traill, "that many Christians have lived twenty or forty years since Christ called them by His grace, yet doubting in their life." Let us call to mind the earnest "desire" Paul expresses, that "every one" of the Hebrews should seek after full assurance; and let us endeavor, by God's blessing, to roll this reproach away (Heb. 6:11). Believing reader, do you really mean to say that you have no desire to exchange hope for confidence, trust for persuasion, uncertainty for knowledge? Because weak faith will save you, will you therefore rest content with it? Because assurance is not essential to your entrance into heaven, will you therefore be satisfied without it upon earth? Alas, this is not a healthy state of soul to be in; this is not the mind of the apostolic day! Arise at once and go forward. Stick not at the foundations of religion: go on to perfection. Be not content with a day of small things. Never despise it in others, but never be content with it yourself. Believe me, believe me, assurance is worth the seeking. You forsake your own mercies when you rest content without it. The things I speak are for your peace. If it is good to be sure in earthly things, how much better is it to be sure in heavenly things! Your salvation is a fixed and certain thing. God knows it. Why should not you seek to know it too? There is nothing unscriptural in this. Paul never saw the book of life, and yet Paul says, "I know and am persuaded." Make it then your daily prayer that you may have an increase of faith. According to your faith will be your peace. Cultivate that blessed root more, and sooner or later, by God's blessing, you may hope to have the flower. You may not perhaps attain to full assurance all at once. It is good sometimes to be kept waiting: we do not value things which we get without trouble. But though it tarry, wait for it. Seek on, and expect to find. There is one thing, however, of which I would not have you ignorant: you must not be surprised if you have occasional doubts after you have got assurance. You must not forget you are on earth, and not yet in heaven. You are still in the body and have indwelling sin; the flesh will lust against the spirit to the very end. The leprosy will never be out of the walls of the old house until death takes it down. And there is a devil, too, and a strong devil—a devil who tempted the Lord Jesus, and gave Peter a fall, and he will take care you know it. Some doubts there always will be. He who never doubts has nothing to lose. He who never fears possesses nothing truly valuable. He who is never jealous knows little of deep love. But be not discouraged: you shall be more than conqueror through Him that loved you. Finally, do not forget that assurance is a thing which may be lost for a season, even by the brightest Christians, unless they take care. Assurance is a most delicate plant. It needs daily, hourly watching, watering, tending, cherishing. So watch and pray the more when you have got it. As Rutherford says, "Make much of assurance." Be always upon your guard. When Christian slept in the arbor, in Pilgrim's Progress, he lost his certificate. Keep that in mind. David lost assurance for many months by falling into transgression. Peter lost it when he denied his Lord. Each found it again undoubtedly, but not until after bitter tears. Spiritual darkness comes on horseback and goes away on foot. It is upon us before we know that it is coming. It leaves us slowly, gradually, and not until after many days. It is easy to run downhill. It is hard work to climb up. So remember my caution—when you have the joy of the Lord, watch and pray. Above all, grieve not the Spirit. Quench not the Spirit. Vex not the Spirit. Drive Him not to a distance by tampering with small bad habits and little sins. Little jarrings between husbands and wives make unhappy homes; and petty inconsistencies, known and allowed, will bring in a strangeness between you and the Spirit. Hear the conclusion of the whole matter—the man who walks with God in Christ most closely will generally be kept in the greatest peace. The believer who follows the Lord most fully and aims at the highest degree of holiness will ordinarily enjoy the most assured hope and have the clearest persuasion of his own salvation. Permalink
Questions Covered: 12:42 – How effective are prayers if you are not in the state of grace? How effective are non-Catholic prayers? 24:18 – If Christ’s death on the cross was enough, then why do we need purgatory? 35:35 – I used to go to mass daily as a kid. Where do we go from here with the massive cultural change? 46:05 – In John, Jesus says if you believe in my name, you will be saved. Is he talking about Sola Fide? …
Epic Journey Podcast Episode #24 – Words that Bear Fruit In this episode, Sonny and Cindy discuss the power of your words to bear fruit. When you dig into Gods' word, you'll find a lot of guidance, instruction, encouragement and benefits related to your words. There's also a lot of responsibility to choose your words wisely and to benefit those that hear them. Much like cultivating a garden, our words will transform and bear good fruit if we begin with good seed, pull the weeds, and provide light and living water, truth and grace. When you tap into the potential and the power that your words have, you will begin to experience exponential benefits of bearing the fruit that God has for you, your marriage and your life! What if you could 30X, 60X, 100X your fruit!? Check this out: Mark 4:20 20 "But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” Join us! ------- Epic Journey Podcast #24 – Words that Bear Fruit – Episode Notes The more you study about words and the power of your words, you will start connecting the dots that your words are a reflection of your beliefs and of what you are accepting and receiving into your heart and mind. Luke 6:45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. So, begin listening and hearing yourself and ask yourself about the power of your words. Acknowledge the relationship with Christ as the origin, the WORD, the beginning. Then realize how your words come from Gods' truth into your heart, into your mind and then are an expression of what you believe and when spoken will have power to bring good things into your life. If Christ dwells in you, then your words will be an expression of both grace and truth. Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 49:3 My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding. The goals of pleasing God, gaining wisdom, understanding each other…. These are great goals, and it is well worth the effort and patience you'll need to just start the process of listening to your words and making the adjustments in your heart and mind that will help you tend to the garden, bear fruit, and speak life into each other. The Word Became Flesh 1 John 1:1-5, 14 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Now verse 14 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. Strong's concordance 1 John the root of the Word which you will see is capitalized in the scripture, is the Greek word logos, which has its origins in another word lego which means to lay forth, to relate, and then back to logos and it says this: something said (including the thought) by implying a topic, also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive, and in John the Divine expression, i.e. Christ. Mark 4:20 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. This is such a good reminder of the importance of hearing and listening and what it can lead to. Our faith comes from hearing through the word of Christ. Colossians 3:16 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom,...
On today's Bible Answer Man broadcast (04/26/22), Hank concludes his overview of the days of Holy Week, arriving at Pascha—also known as Easter. It is the day in which the body of Christ worldwide celebrates the ultimate game-changer—the resurrection of Jesus Christ. “If I face hardships in life for merely human reasons,” wrote Paul in his first letter to the Corinthian Christians, “what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.' If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” Without resurrection, Christianity crumbles. Thus, in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, the apostle Paul provides a four-part argument underscoring the irrevocable reality of Christ's resurrection. Of one thing Hank has become certain—if twenty-first-century Christians would grasp the reality of resurrection like first-century Christians did, their lives would be totally transformed.
Hank Hanegraaff, president of the Christian Research Institute and host of the Bible Answer Man broadcast, reflects on Great and Holy Pascha in Eastern Orthodox Holy Week. On Pascha (Easter), the culmination of Holy Week, along with the body of Christ worldwide, we celebrate the ultimate game changer. If I face hardships in life “for merely human reasons,” wrote Paul in his first letter to the Corinthian Christians, “what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.'” Paul states directly, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” Without resurrection, Christianity crumbles. Thus, in 1 Corinthians 15, the apostle Paul provides a four-part argument underscoring the irrevocable reality of Christ's resurrection. For further study, see Hank Hanegraaff's article, “The FEAT of Resurrection,” and his book Resurrection.
If Christ really rose from the dead, then it must have major ramifications for our lives. So how does the resurrection shape us? In this episode of White Horse Inn, Eric Landry, Justin Holcomb, Bob Hiller, and Doug Powell discuss the impact of Christ's resurrection at the cosmic level, institutional level, and personal level. They consider what it means that Christ is victorious over Satan, sin, hell, death, and the grave; they unpack what it means to say “Jesus is Lord”; and they celebrate our ultimate comfort and hope found in the risen Christ. __________ Download our free PDF about the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ written by Justin Holcomb. Just head over to whitehoseinn.org/offers. __________ Our magazine, Modern Reformation, has been newly redesigned and it comes with a special price: whatever you can afford! To find out more, head over to modernreformation.org/subscribe.
1) Could you explain "soul sleep" and what the Bible teaches on this subject? 2) Does Deuteronomy 18:9-12 apply to Halloween and is Halloween satanic? 3) Can people really talk to the dead as in 1 Samuel 28? 4) Explain the gifts of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12? 5) What is grace? 6) How do you plan to be a teacher of the Word of God for all eternity? 7) Why do we need ministers or teachers after we've become perfect? 8) If Christ is God, how come only the Father knows the day and hour Jesus will return? 9) Was Jesus crucified on a Wednesday?
Rev. Eric Moquin, pastor of St. John Lutheran Church in Sherwood, OH joins Rev. Brady Finnern to study Matthew 28:1-15. Alleluia, Christ is Risen; He is Risen indeed, Alleluia! The walk to the tomb was filled with grief, but after the angel's message and the proof of an empty tomb they quickly left with great joy. Jesus met them on the road and said words of peace, “Do not be afraid.” There will always be a message that tries to counter the truth of His resurrection, but we cling to the promises that in fact, Christ has been risen from the dead, therefore nothing shall separate us from His love. “If Christ had not been raised from death; Our faith would be in vain; Our preaching but a waste of breath, our sin and guilt remain; But now the LORD is ris'n indeed; He rules in earth and heav'n; His Gospel meets a world of need—In Christ we are forgiv'n.” (Lutheran Service Book 486, "If Christ Had Not Raised from the Dead").