Responding to the Promises of Jesus (Week 3)

The Promise of Rest in Jesus

Matthew 11:25-30

 

We all look forward to vacations. In fact, we find ourselves working extra hard to get things done before we leave so that we can rest while we are away. But have you ever come back from a vacation needing a vacation because of all the activities that you packed in to those precious few days…the driving to the destination…going to the theme park…even visiting family or old friends. Did you really find rest?
The problem is, we look at rest as the escape from or reward for all of our hard work. That is what the world has been telling us our whole lives. But things are different in God’s kingdom. He wants us to find rest in Him from all the things around us, because in doing so, we find ourselves being truly rested and prepared for what He wants us to do.
 

“My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
 
Matthew 11:27-30

 

The preceding verses are a prayerful conversation between Jesus and His Father, thanking Him for what He has done and for what He was going to do in and thru His Son. Then Jesus turns this prayerful conversation to and for his disciples in order for them to hear and know His heart. Verse 27 is a declaration for them to realize that HE is the way to the Father. In verses 28-30, Jesus gives us the way to find the promise of rest in Him.
 
  1. Come to Me
  2. Take and Learn
  3. Find Rest
 

1. Come to Me

 

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”   

Matthew 11:28

 

A little English class lesson…this is an imperative statement sentence. “Come to me” has the understood subject being “YOU”. But to make this even more clear, Jesus goes on to say “all of you…” or “all y’all”.

 

Then, in case you were still wondering to whom He was talking to, He says, “who are weary and carry heavy burdens.” I am not asking for a show of hands, but if asked, could you honestly say you are NOT tired/weary and/or carrying some type of burden?  I couldn’t raise my hand. I know that I am to cast all my cares, for He cares for me (I Peter 5:7) But I am human, and tend to pick them back up thinking I can take care of them. But this only causes unrest in my soul. When someone offers to help us, why do we usually respond, “Oh, I got this” when in reality, we don’t. Jesus is telling us that HE wants to help us to not only carry the burden, but to truly find rest in Him!

 

If you will recall, when I did the 10 am phone call a week ago, I told you that Jesus used this type of invitation 23 times in the Synoptic Gospels. For us to come, we have to change directions, change our plan, surrendering to what Jesus wants us to do. And He promises to give us something that we cannot find anywhere else…true rest.

 

Last week, we sang the song “Lavished”, which is taken from the 23rd Psalm:  “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” The part that always hits me is “makes me lie down…” Sheep can sometimes be stubborn, and the shepherd would have to make them stop, lay down and rest. One of my boys was like that…he fought going to sleep even though he was sooooo tired, because he was afraid of missing something. I remember laying him in his crib, standing over him, and patting his backside, sometimes making him lay down. He would finally surrender and go to sleep, finding the rest that he needed.

Matt Chandler, from one of our RightNowMedia devotionals, pointed out that in the desert region of the Middle East, there are only two rainy seasons, so there are not a lot of these green pastures with still waters. The shepherds would take their sheep there during the day, having the sheep take rest in this peaceful lush place, with the focus of being still and finding true rest. He goes on to say that as Christ as our Shepherd, we trust Him as He leads us, because in this place, we are restored, reanimated, refreshed.

So, the first thing I thought of was TRUST is true rest in Jesus, our Good Shepherd. 
 
 

2. Take and Learn

 

Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart,…”        

Matthew 11:29a          

 

Again, the imperative statement, with the “You” being understood is made.  It requires action on our behalf. We have the opportunity to receive the vast wisdom of our Lord and Master. We need to take advantage of this invitation! And only you can make that decision for your life.

Last week, Jerry shared from John 15:1-5 where Jesus says that God is the vinedresser or husbandman.  Dr. Earl Radmacher is quoted “So, when Jesus calls His Father the Vinedresser (Husbandman), He is describing Him in terms of His relationship and attitude as well as His actions in the lives of His disciples”.

We all know that in any relationship, there is give and take, but we tend to only take if we know the person’s heart and intent. This is why we need to be in a real true relationship with God, to know His heart and intent for us is always what is best.

The husbandman is defined as “a farmer or worker of soil” and husbandry is an agricultural term related to the production of crops or livestock. And to husband is to manage something well, showing prudence and economic sense. I can just picture Jesus, teaching and talking with His disciples, as they pass a farmer (husbandman) out working in the field. He is working a new team of oxen, trying to get them to work together, the bigger one being stubborn and not cooperating. “Take my yoke upon you…”

 

Or, a vinedresser working in the vineyard, knowing that it is months before he will see a harvest, still out there pruning off the fruitless vines and training the vines, putting in supports or tying them to the trellis.  He was saying to his disciples that they need to be taught on what they really need to focus on, learn from Him, abide in Him every day, and then go in the rest that you have Him with you every step of the way. The husbandman didn’t just wake up and know what all he had to do…Ask Ed Bell, he can tell you a lot of stories of what he has learned as a modern day husbandman/farmer. But he will also tell you that he sought out and learned from the best in the business. The world tells us to be the best, we have to learn from the best. Well guess what…we already have access to the very BEST…Jesus!!! He has an open invitation to learn from Him. And His ways are not like the world’s ways, but you can rest in His success when you fully follow after Him.

 

3. Find Rest

 

and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”                

Matthew 11:29b-30

  

Rest is more than sleep! I recently had a sleep test done, and it showed that I was not truly resting like I should. My dad and mom recommended that I start taking Melatonin, a natural vitamin that helps your brain to shut down and allow you to sleep. I have been finding this to truly help. But what has been helping the most is that before I close my eyes to go to sleep, I close my eyes in prayer and give all the cares and burdens of the day to the Lord…

“Be still and know that I AM God!”     

Psalm 46:10

and

“Put your hope in the Lord.” This is a good practice for my nighttime routine, but I also need to practice these during the day. 

Psalm 37:34

 

It is important to realize that we don’t work for the rest, but rather, what we do comes out of our rest. We rest at the feet of Jesus, learning from Him, and then go out sharing the message of grace, hope, love and peace. By resting in Him, our faith is made stronger. True rest is an intermission, or a cessation of motion, something that fidgety people like me struggle with doing. But in those moments, our hearts, minds and souls come into focus, allowing us to love God with all that we have and for Him to fill us with more of His love for others. Therefore, it is out of this rest that we are able to fulfill His calling for our lives…not as a task, but as a mission of love!

This is something that can only come through your daily surrender and relationship with Jesus. You can’t just do a Google search and find the answers. This is why Jesus said to “Come to Me”, to “Take and Learn” and then you will “Find Rest” for your soul in your daily life. This is how His promise of rest can be fulfilled.
 
I challenge you today to make a fresh commitment to the calling of being a disciple of Christ. Keep coming to Jesus! Keep taking time to learn from Him! And find rest, not only from the cares of this world, but also any that you may have acquired from some of the religious world. For when you are in relationship with Him, you will realize it’s not about religion, but who you are in Him…a child of God!
 

You can listen to the message here:

 

You can watch the video for this message HERE.

 
 

Read more...

Seize the Moment – Day 87

I Have Decided to Follow Jesus

Matthew 16:24

(This is a special devotion prepared by Pastor Ken for today…)

 

Matthew 16:24 is another “follow me” scripture

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross and follow me.'”

Again, it is our choice to decide to follow Jesus!

 

The hymn, “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” is based on the last words of a man in Garo Assam, India. Welsh missionaries had come to this area with a gospel message of love, peace and hope, While not welcomed by everyone, a missionary was able to lead a man, his wife and his two children to the Lord. The man’s faith was contagious, and began to spread in the village, which angered the village chief. They were brought before the chief and were told to renounce their faith or face public execution.

 

Moved by the Holy Spirit, the man began to sing “I have decided to follow Jesus, No turning back.”

 

They ordered his children killed

 

“Will you deny your faith?” asked the chief.

 

“Though no one join me, still I will follow…no turning back”

 

They ordered his wife killed.

 

“Will you now deny your faith and live?” asked the chief.

 

“The cross before me, the world behind me…no turning back.”

 

They ordered his execution and he was killed.

 

But a miracle took place!

 

The chief said, ‘Because he was willing to die for a man from far away, that lived some 2000 years ago, there must be some remarkable power and I want to taste that faith!” And he and the entire village gave their hearts to the Lord and followed Jesus!

 
FBC is here for you.  If you would like to speak to someone about a need, please dial the phone number below and someone will get back with you shortly.

 

 
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well.  Click HERE to visit the page. 
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 

Read more...

Seize the Moment – Day 86

Come! Follow me!

 
(This is a special devotion prepared by Pastor Ken for today…)
 
In preparing for this Sunday, Matthew 4:19 is the featured verse:

 

“Jesus called out to them, “Come! Follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!'”

 

In the Synoptic Gospels, the term ‘follow me’ is used 23 times, and only by Jesus. If you look at each of those instances, an action was required first. Here, it is ‘Come’.

 

We cannot follow someone until we surrender and give up the direction we were going. We have to take our focus off of what we want to do, and say, “Yes! I will follow You, Jesus!”

 
FBC is here for you.  If you would like to speak to someone about a need, please dial the phone number below and someone will get back with you shortly.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well.  Click HERE to visit the page. 
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 

Read more...

Responding to Jesus (Week 4)

2020: A Year of Celebration!

Jesus is the Head:  Belong to His Body!

 

In a recent devotional (by Jeff Randleman) I read, the author wrote about the different ways people responded to Jesus in just one chapter in the Book of Matthew. If you read chapter nine, you find that people were in awe of Jesus   (v 8) when he healed the paralytic; Matthew followed him and invited friends to meet him (vs 9-10); sought after by a woman with a blood issue (vs 19-22); they laughed at Jesus (vs 23-26) when he went to pray for the ‘sleeping daughter’ of a church leader; pursued by two blind guys who wanted healing for their sight (vs 27-31); marveled at the power he possessed (vs 32-33); and criticized him, saying this power came from the prince of demons (v 34).

 

So responding to Jesus does not always have a positive connotation. But it does always align with the person doing the responding. When we take and place Christ as the priority or main focus, then we find ourselves on target. God created us to have a choice, never forcing himself upon us, but always longing for us to come back into right relationship with Him! He moved the access point to him from the Temple Holy of Holies, where only the priests could enter in; to His Son, where all who accept Him as Lord and Savior could come to the Father.

 

Today we are going to further respond to Jesus by declaring him as the head of the church (us) who is the body of Christ, and how we are to fulfill our part in serving Him as our Lord and Savior.

 

Frank Viola writes:

“To be subject to the headship of Jesus is to respond to His will regarding the life and practice of the church. Submission to the headship of Christ includes obtaining God’s mind through mutual ministry and sharing, obeying the Holy Spirit through the mutual subjection and servanthood, and testifying to Jesus Christ collectively through mutual sharing and corporate witness.”

 

Jesus is to be Lord of the individual and Head (Master) of the corporate body. When we have those in alignment, then we are truly functioning, as God desires us to be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Let’s see what God’s Word has to say when we recognize: 

  1. Christ is the Head
  2. We are the Body
  3. We have to Submit

   

I. Christ is the Head

 

A) Supreme Qualifications (Preeminence)
 
Colossians 1:15-20

 

B) He is the Chief Cornerstone

 

Psalms 118:22 

“The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.”

 

Ephesians 2:20  

“Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.”

 

1 Peter 2:4 

“You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.”

 

C) The Benefits of Jesus in Charge

 

Ephesians 1:15-23                       

  1. God appointed Him & placed all things under His feet
  2. The power of God is at work
  3. We are made full & complete

 

 

II. We are the Body

 

A) One body, many parts
 
Romans 12:1-5

 

B) Not all the same abilities/responsibilities              
 
I Corinthians 12:14-27

 

ILLUSTRATION:   When the head is not connected to the body

 

III. We have to Submit

 

Ephesians 5:21      

“And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

 

Reverence defined: 

honor or respect felt or shown : deference especially : profound adoring awed respect”

                                                                                                Merriam-Webster Dictionary

 

A) We have to make the choice James 4:5-8

 

B) He gave us the choice, always has, always will

 

OT: Joshua 24:15 – choose who you will serve

NT: Luke 16:13 – cannot serve God and money

 

Romans 12:1-2

 

C) We have to do the presenting

 

  1. Not a dead sacrifice, but a living one – alive to serve
  2. Allowing God to transform us, not the world.
  3. The results will be called ‘good’ by God. (morally honorable, pleasing to God, beneficial)

 

That is the ultimate meaning of submission. Surrendering what you want to do by saying “not my will, but YOUR will be done.” Jesus did that for you and me so that we would have a way to have our relationship with God restored. He is also making a way for us to never have to ‘go it alone’, for He is always beside us, in every situation. With Christ as the head, His vision is so much clearer that He can see the bigger picture so we can “count it all joy”, no matter what we are faced with in this life.

 

So, as I have presented God’s Word to you today I need to ask… How will you respond to it and to Jesus?  I know in this world there are some who may not see a need for church or faith or even Jesus. And there are others who may just have a hard time letting go of the control. But maybe you finally have realized your need to let go and let God have control. Whatever your response, that choice is up to you. No one can make that choice for you. But know that you have a church body that will love you and support you as you submit to God and His plan for your life.

 

Listen to the Message here:

 

You can watch the video HERE.

 
 

Read more...

Grow: Mentor & Discipleship (Week 2)

Ephesians 5:1-2; I John 3: 23-24; 1 Peter 3:8

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

English cleric Charles Caleb Colton said: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. And behavioral science has proven that children learn through imitation. This is normally a song played on Father’s Day, but this should be one to serve as a reminder for all of us.

 

VIDEO CLIP:  Phillips Craig & Dean – I Want To Be Just Like You

 

The word ‘imitate’ according to dictionary.com is a verb meaning:          

to follow or endeavor to follow as a model or example; to make a copy of; reproduce closely; to have or assume the appearance of; simulate; resemble.”

 

God does not want flattery from us. Rather, He wants us to truly be one of His children, reflecting all of His character, especially His love. It is important to realize that this is not just Paul’s message, but a cascading message from all the writers of the New Testament…from the disciples and their first-hand experiences with Jesus to James, the little brother of Jesus. Let’s stand for the reading of God’s word as we hear from three of them:

 

The Apostle Paul:  Ephesians 5:1-2

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.  Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God..”

 

John, the beloved:  1 John 3:23-24

“And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.”

 

Simon Peter:  1 Peter 3:8

“Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with    each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted and keep a humble attitude.”

 

Let’s break down what each of these writers were saying and look at the common theme.

 

I. Ephesians 5:1-2: Be Imitators of God

 

ILLUSTRATION:  Blind Auditions on “The Voice”   (Darius Rucker cover)

 

A. Adopting His behavior in everything you do
  • Talk the Talk
  • Walk the Walk

 

Acts 19:13-16:

 A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their      incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!”  Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this.  But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit      replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?”  Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered.”

 

B. Live a life filled with love
  • No longer living a life filled with fear
      • No more “What if….”
  • The world calls it finding your center 
      • (Actually putting God on the throne of your heart!)
  • Profound sense of connection

 

C. Follow His example as He offered Himself as a sacrifice
  • Willing to make yourself available
  • Willing to allow yourself to be transparent/vulnerable

 

II. 1 John 3:23-24: Prove that you know Him

 

A. Believe in Jesus and Love for one another go together
  • More than a head knowledge
    • believing that His name contains power
    • demonstrates trust in the One by which we are saved
    • more than a moral or spiritual guide, but God’s Son
  • A heart knowledge of relationship
    • God delights to hear and answer His children’s requests
    • The more we are in relationship w/ Him, our wants & desires align w/His desire for the very best for us.

 

Psalms 37:3-5

“Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.”

 

B.  Obey God’s commands
  • The person who is obedient lives in God, and God in him.
  • This is the expression of our spiritual life.
    • The Spirit of God lives in us, helping us, guiding us
    • Will we mess us? YES, but the Spirit is there to adjust or straighten us up.

 

C.  Remain in fellowship with Him
  • This is a conscious and spiritual decision
  • Daily we decide if we will follow the flesh or the Spirit
    • As you spend more time, you become more like Him

 

III. 1 Peter 3:8: Be of One Mind (Unity)

 

The word “finally” does not mean the last thing that you do. Rather it was his “in conclusion” statement, summarizing all that he had been telling them to do as a true follower of Christ.

 

Barclay Study Bible: 

“The New Testament never treats this agreeing in Christ as an unnecessary though highly desirable spiritual luxury, but something essential to the true being of the Church…Such unity will only come when Christian are humble and bold enough to lay hold on the unity already given in Christ and to take it more seriously than their own self-importance and sin,… to make it an incentive for a more earnest seeking in fellowship together to hear and obey the voice of Christ.”

                       

This Unity/Harmony can only be accomplished by these things:

                       

A.  Sympathize with each other
  • Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep
    • Roman 12:15
  • Not feel sorry for, but putting ourselves in their place
    • 1 Corinthians 12:26 (one hurts/all hurt)
  • It is only when we die to self that we can live to others.
  • Having the empathy of God, knowing that God knows how they feel, even if we have never experienced what they are going through.

 

B.  Love each other as family
  • Begins in the church and extends out to the world.
  • Even family can be mean and hurt us, but we are to love them as God first loved us.
  • But reflect on how many times we have hurt the heart of our Father in heaven, yet He still loves us.

 

C.  Be tenderhearted
  • eusplagchnos’ (pronounced: use plock nos) gut feeling
  • It is the kind of emotion that is from the very depths of our being.
  • Cannot be cold, calloused or cynical
  • ties into sympathy and compassion

 

D.  Have the right attitude (humble in spirit)
  • Humility is arguably the most essential, all-encompassing virtue of the Christian life

 

Philippians 2:3

“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.”

 

Conclusion:

As we share our lives in discipleship, the invitation should be this:  Follow me as I follow Christ and He will be the one that will transform us into His image. Living life together is what helps us see the reality of God’s love. Yes, it can be messy. Yes, sometimes we may get hurt or fall down. But when we are walking together, we know there is someone there to help pick us up. And Jesus is not asking us to do anything that He was not willing to do for us.

 

1 John 3:16:             

“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us.  So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

 

He left heaven, to come to earth for us, humbling Himself in every way, even putting His own will aside. He spent three years, investing in those disciples. He mentored and trained them in the ways of God’s love, teaching them to look past what the world sees, and see them with the eyes of God.

 

He called them out, lovingly rebuking them to focus their attention to where their hearts were. He demonstrated His love when He washed their feet. He took on the sins of the world and paid a debt that was not His. He could have said, “Father, I just can’t do this!” But His love for us is what drove Him and held Him on the cross for you and me!

 

And when He rose again, He spent 40 days with His followers reminding them of all He had taught and urging them to take the gospel message into all the world so that they might experience God’s love, making sure to disciple them so they could carry the message on for generations to come.

 

And it doesn’t stop there. We are given the task to carry on with this process. We have a message of love, grace and hope that we are to share, no matter how old we are! I wish that the more mature Christians had the same zeal and excitement that many young Christians have. There is a fire in their hearts that is consuming them. But all to often, we let that fire burn down to where it is just keeping us warm and secure and not burning bright to draw others in. It’s time to stoke the fire, fan the flame and ask God to revive and use us for His glory.

 

Listen to Pastor Ken’s message here:

 

You can watch the video HERE.

 
 

Read more...

Grow: Mentor & Discipleship (Week 1)

Titus 2:1-8

Introduction:

‘Mentor’ is defined as: “a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.”  It is a word that is become more and more prevalent in our society. Even what used to be called Big Brothers/Big Sisters in Henry County is now called “Believe and Achieve Mentoring”, encouraging adults in our community to invest in the lives of young people who need positive role models.

Businesses and churches are bringing in interns to help train or mentor them and let them see if this is the job or ministry they want to go into as a career.

The word ‘disciple’ when defined as a noun is:  “any follower of Christ; a person who is a pupil or adherent of the doctrines of another; a follower.” And as a verb is: “to teach; train”.  

The relationship between Paul and Titus is a great example of what it means to disciple someone. Much like Timothy, Paul called Titus “my true son in our common faith.” (Titus 1:4). He was a Gentile, saved under the ministry of Paul with the Gospel message of salvation by grace through faith alone. He traveled with Paul and was trained, mentored, discipled by him. Paul was investing in his life, so that he would be able to go and do the same thing with others. 

In fact, in the scriptures we are reading today, we find Titus on special assignment to the churches in Crete. Some commentators refer to him as Paul’s secretary of state, being able to go in and carry Paul’s message of order and direction.  And in chapter two, Paul is very specific to everyone about what they ALL are to do in order to make sure the Gospel message and the Word of God is not defiled.  So let’s stand for the reading of God’s Word as we hear what those assignments are for us.

“As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching.  Teach the older men to exercise self- control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience.

 Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers.  Instead, they should teach others what is good.  These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children,  to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands.          Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.

  In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely.  And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.  Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us.”    

 Titus 2:1-8

My Barclay’s Study Bible calls this section “The Christian Character”.  It describes our Christian moral or ethical qualities that must be taught, because they do not come naturally to us. Let’s look at the area of responsibilities for each group.

 

I. Titus’s job

 

“As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching.” 

Titus 2:1

A. This was a reminder for all who read this letter: Live what you preach!
  • He was sent to appoint the church leaders (Titus 1:5-15)
  • Given specific instructions on who could and could not be called to serve the church.
 
B. He was not asking them to do anything he was not doing himself.
 

“And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us.”

Titus 2:7-8

Just like Timothy, he was sent to live it out in front of people so that they will follow by his example and not just his words.

 

II. Older Men

 

Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be   filled with love and patience.”

Titus 2:2

Who are considered “older men”?  (over the age of 40)
 
A. Self-controlled (Sober, temperate) by the Holy Spirit
  • Not just referring to wine/alcohol/strong drink
  • Level-headed, processing things from life experiences
  • Willing to share past failures and successes
  • Self-indulgence in any area costs far more than what they are worth.

 

B. Worthy of Respect (serious, dignified)
  • Not because of age, but because of character
  • Not because of title, but because of integrity
  • Not a gloomy killjoy, but lives life in light of eternity

 

C. Live Wisely (prudent, consistent)
  • No inconsistencies in his life, but the guy you see in church is the guy you see in the community.
  • Not claiming to be perfect or have all the answers, but is striving to be like Christ in all areas of his life

 

D. Needs to be healthy in these three great qualities:
  • Have sound Faith biblically grounded, consistent walk
  • Filled with Love; always to be our first response
  • With Patience/Steadfastness/Endurance/Fortitude;  understanding that things take time and willing to serve to  see it through

 

Paul first mentioned these in 1 Thessalonians 1:3 and then again in 1 Corinthians 13

 

III. Older Women

 

Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers.  Instead, they should teach others what is good.”                

Titus 2:4

Illustration:  According to Barclay’s Study Bible, this was the most honored and responsible positions in the church, for they were natural advisors of the young of both sexes. Their years have brought serenity, sympathy and understanding. When we realize we are active in sacred things every moment of our lives, the embitterment, argumentativeness, touchiness, and intolerance will vanish overnight.

 
A. Live to honor God
  • Everything we do, brings glory to You, God!
  • Same as older men…self-controlled by Holy Spirit
  • A woman of integrity and good reputation

 

B. Not slanderers/gossips
  • The hiss of gossip should tell us it comes from the snake and not the Savior
  • Human nature would rather repeat gossip than a story giving credit to someone or to God.
  • Christian responsibility to use experiences to guide and encourage, not tear down and discourage.

 

This is not just for the ladies…but for all of us!

        

C. Not heavy drinkers/enslaved to wine
  • over-indulgence in any area can cause us to lose focus
  • we want the world to see a difference in us.

 

IV. Younger Women

 

These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.”
Titus 2:4-5

History behind this from Barclay’s Study Bible:

In the Greek world, the home was the only place for respectable women. No trade or profession was open to her; and if she tried to earn a living, she was driven to prostitution. If the women of the ancient Church had suddenly burst every barrier and limitation which the centuries had imposed upon them, the only result would have been to bring discredit on the church and to cause people to say that Christianity corrupted womanhood…in that sense, this passage is temporary.

BUT there is also a sense in which it is permanent. There is no greater task, responsibility and privilege in this world than to make a home…It has been said that consecration is that which makes drudgery divine; and there is no place where consecration can be more necessarily and beautifully shown that within the four walls of the place we call home.”

 

The Communicator’s Commentary  goes on to say:

“I don’t believe the principles of the importance of being a good wife and mother ever change. BUT, the application, of necessity, must change from time to time and from place to place…Contemporary women are fortunate indeed to have more options than Paul or Titus could have imagined.””

                       

 
A. Devoted to their family,
  • Self controlled by the Holy Spirit
  • by being the hands and feet of Jesus to her family first
 
B. Pure, a woman of integrity, Managing the home
  • Your reputation precedes you
  • Katie made reference to this last week, packing for the trip, having a pen in her purse, etc.

 

I always joked that I wanted to go on “Let’s Make A Deal” with my mom, because she would have in her purse any item Monty Hall might ask for…aka her suitcase!

 

C. Kind to others. The children will learn by your actions.

 

D. Submissive/honoring their husbands
  • In word and in deed
  • Works both ways.
  • This principle must always be viewed in the context of mutual submission to each other, growing out of their mutual submission to Christ that Paul laid:

 

“And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord.  For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church.”

Ephesians 5:21-21

Why? So that evil could not be spoken about the Word of God.

 

V. Young Men

 

“In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely.”

Titus 2:6

You were recognized as a man in this culture when you reach age 30

 

Question:  How many times have you heard that men have a one-track mind?  Some might even say this…

Illustration:  You had one job!

 
 
A. Self-controlled
 
“Can’t serve others until self is in its proper place!”

 

 “Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.”

Proverbs 16:32

  • Time of youth is a time of DANGER! It tends to be more reckless
  • Temptations are stronger, blood runs hotter and passions speak more commandingly
  • False confidence from lack of experience
  • More energy = more opportunities for going wrong
  • Most were not married yet, so no home/family obligations
 
B. If he is listening to the older men, he will learn a lot more.
  • While we can’t keep them from making the same mistakes
  • we can share and hope they learn from them

 

Conclusion:

 

Christianity is always a liberation movement!  The Power of Christ broke the power of slavery, the oppression of women, the oppression of people groups (Jews/Gentiles), and now the oppression of a “Me-First” society. We cannot be in unity unless we are putting Christ first in our lives and then putting others ahead of our wants and desires.

We should all know by now that we are commanded to “…go and make disciples of all peoples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19). This is a command to every one of us who call Jesus our Lord and Savior. But how can we go out to others when we haven’t finished doing that right here in our own home and church. One group is not more important than the other. They are all to be built up so they can train the next group. And how will they know unless we tell them?

 

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.   And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Galatians 3:26-28

 
It is something that starts with us…who do you have speaking into your life? And who’s life are you speaking into as an encourager, teacher, mentor, or friend?   
 

Listen to Ken’s message here:

 

You can watch the video HERE.

 
 
 

Read more...

Grow: Discovering Love (Week 1)

Discovering how Love is our ‘Miracle Grow’

Deuteronomy 6:1-9

Introduction: 
The New Testament quotes Deuteronomy more often than almost any other Old Testament book. Twenty-one of the 27 New Testament books allude to Deuteronomy; some scholars count 90 different citations.  Jesus himself drew from it during his temptation.

 

As we delve into these words from Moses, it is vital that we realize he was taking to heart the importance of what he was about to teach them. There is a sense of urgency that can be seen even in the previous chapters. He was speaking to the group that had wandered around in the desert for 40 years, many of whom had never really had encounters with other nations or the enticements that those civilizations would have to tempt them to abandon all they had known and just join in to the culture.

 

He was telling them that THEY had to set the tone, following after God in all areas of their lives…heart, soul, mind and strength (Might). They had to determine in their hearts Who they would follow and what guidelines would lead their lives. They had to prepare their hearts (the soil) and keep focused (proper feeding of their hearts) in order for God to bless them and help them grow as His children.

 

The same is true today. We have to be reminded that we must keep God first in all that we do. If we truly love someone, we desire to listen and obey, to cherish and serve and to demonstrate our love in all that we do.

 

Illustration:  Planting a garden.

  • Prepare the soil (remove grass, weeds, rocks)
  • Plant the seed
  • Continue to feed and water (Miracle Grow)
  • Continue to remove grass & weeds
  • Then you will see the fruit (not overnight)

 

Just like the garden, we have to prepare our hearts…we have to choose to obey…we have to maintain the soil of our hearts in order to grow. All this happens when we open up our ears to hear the truths of God’s Word. And all of these truths are based on what is known as the GREATEST COMMANDMENT.

                       

The Greatest Commandment:  Deuteronomy 6:1-9

 “Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the decrees —that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

 

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

 

Moses broke it down into these three areas:

  • I have to teach them to you;
  • You have to hear and apply to your life; and then
  • You have to teach them to the next generation.

 

I. I have to teach them to you. (vs 1-3)

 

  • This command sets the tone for all rules and statutes.
  • God told me I had to teach you!
  • Everything hinges on what I am about to tell you.

 

A. Fear the Lord

 

As defined by Easton’s Bible Dictionary:

 “Fear of God – a designation of true piety*. It is a fear conjoined with love and hope, and is therefore not a slavish dread, but rather a filial** reverence.”

  *piety:           Reverence or dutiful respect

**filial:          of, relating to, or befitting a son or daughter

 

This is what God, your Father is commanding/asking you to do – You and generations to come

 

“…you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I commanded you,…”                                                                                                                                          Deut. 6:2

 

Keeping ALL! This means not just knowing them, but doing them.

 

For how long?

 

            “…all the days of your life,…”                                         Deut. 6:2

 

 B. God will bless and prosper you.

 

“and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.”                            Deut 6:2-3

 

…multiply you greatly 

  • This promise is not just for the people of Israel
  • From the beginning of creation, it has been God’s desire for us to be fruitful and multiply. He loves to bless His children. But we have to follow Him and His commands.

 

 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”                                

Matthew 6:33

 

“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”                                               

Acts 2:46-47

 

 

 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.  So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.”

1 Corinthians 3:6-7

Illustration:  Mission & Vision Statements (Show slides)

 

…the land will be blessed and thrive. 

Same promise for us today!

 

 “ And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:19

 

II. Hear what I teach you. (vs 4-6)

 

A.  Lord God is our Lord, and Him alone.
  • He is Number 1!!!
  • nothing comes before Him

 

Rhetorical question in Miriam’s Song:

 “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?

 Exodus 15:11

 You are the one who places Him there, no one can do it for you.

 

B. Love with everything you have

  •  not the first time they heard this charge.
 
But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Deut. 4:29

  • heart, soul, might (mind & strength) – with every fiber of our being.
  •  keep these words in your heart

 

 “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

 Psalms 119:11

  • It has to become our native language.

 

VIDEO SONG:        Native Tongue  by Switchfoot

 

 

III. Now that you have heard, it is YOUR responsibility to teach

 

“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Deuteronomy 6:7-9

 

A.  To your children – DILIGENTLY
  •  Memorizing scripture
  • Surround them with music, stories, & videos that have strong Christian values

 

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Philippians 4:8

 B. Carry them with you

 “My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Proverbs 7:1-3

  • Our values bracelets are a form of this
  • Christian jewelry is another form

 

C) Mark your home*

 

Show Slide:            Deuteronomy 11:18

 

*Moses started his talk with this and shared it again because it was so important.

 

Illustration:          Will & Christy Ragle’s Home.

  •  Intended to encourage family members
  • Became a witness to Comcast guy

 

Conclusion:

As I told you two weeks ago, people are watching everything you do and say. This is especially true at home with our children. And like it or not, once you have heard the truth of God’s Word, you can no longer say, “I didn’t know.”

 

That is why Moses emphasized “HEAR WHAT I AM SAYING…” Maybe I should have started this message out the same way. So here is a reminder of the things I just told you…

 

  1. I just taught you the greatest commandment;
  2. You were told to hear what I was teaching you, to love God with all you got and the benefits of doing so; and
  3. It is your responsibility to teach your children.

 

We are here to help you, but you spend a lot more time with them than we can. You create the atmosphere in your home and car in which your child and those who are with you or visit you will either flourish or wither away.

 

We are here to help you with tools to help keep the soil healthy. And the first priority is follow the greatest commandment.

For loving God with all you have…

He will fill you with His love so that…

you can in turn love others as He first loved you!

 

Listen to the message here:

 

You can watch the video HERE.

 
 

Read more...

Grow: Disciplines needed for healthy spiritual growth (Week 4)

Disciplines needed for healthy spiritual growth.

1 Timothy 4:14-16 & Psalms 116:17-19

“Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.  Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.”     

                                                                1 Timothy 4:14-16

INTRODUCTION:

Over the last month, you have been reminded of the words given by a very wise man of God (Paul) to his young disciple (Timothy), reminding him of the importance of staying in God’s Word. It is through the Word that he will be able to grow in the ministry to which he was called.

Sermon #1:        Need for daily nourishment, daily spiritual exercise and living a life of integrity.

Sermon #2:        We are to command and teach the Word, set an example on both the outside and inside of our lives, and devote ourselves to the Scripture, to exhortation (encouraging others), and teaching how to live it out.

Sermon #3:        Proper food for growth, Knowing that our food source is God’s Word as milk, bread, meat & honey (dessert), and the Evidence will be good fruit.

                       

This week, Paul continues to encourage spiritual growth in these five areas:

1) Focus

2) Mediate

3) Dedicate

4) Integrity

5) Stay true

I want to invite you to follow these same practical steps. It is something that I am still working on every day of my life. I am not asking you to follow me, but rather join me as I follow Christ. It is my desire to show you through God’s Word how we can each be successful in doing this. Not merely present you with a sermon full of platitudes that is someone else’s trite or stale remarks, for while God’s Word has been around for a long time, it is never stale or trite. Just as He provided fresh manna every morning for Israel in the desert, His Word provides fresh food for our lives every moment of every day! And here is a fresh serving for you today!

 

I. FOCUS

               

“Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received…” (v.14a)

 

QUOTE:               “The office of ministry is a gift, it is the gift of Christ.

                                …Do not neglect the ministry gift given to you.

Matthew Henry Commentary

 

 
A. Timothy’s gift was recognized and affirmed by the ministry leaders. It was a gift given by the Holy Spirit for the building up of the entire body.
 

 

  • Ministry gifts will wither if neglected.
  • Spiritual ATROPHY (Not apathy, even though it can cause it)

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
B. Paul did not want Timothy to ever feel like he had “arrived” and could sit back and cruise until Jesus returned.

 

“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.” 

Ephesians 4:11-13

 

II. MEDITATE

“Give your complete attention to these matters” (v.15a)

 
A. Need time for preparation of the message.
 
  • average pastor spends 13-18 hours for one message
  • In the book of Acts, the apostles called the 7 deacons to serve the needs of the church so they could spend time in prayer and the study of God’s Word. (Acts 6)

 

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”                  

Philippians 4:8

B. When we think on these things, we don’t have space for any other thing!

 

  • Kevin said last week “G.I.G.O” when talking about food
  • Same is true in our thought life.
  • This is why we need to fast and pray (clear our head)

 

QUOTE:  Brooke Obie, Guidepost Magazine, says the benefits of fasting are:
1) Soul Cleansing,

2) New Desire for God,

3) A Deeper Praise,

4) A Sensitivity to God’s Voice, and

5) A New Satisfaction. A small price to pay for what you have gained.

 
 
  • Like love, meditation must be both an inward & outward journey

 

III. DEDICATE

“…Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.”  (v.15b)

 

[Blind Side Video Clip]

 

A. You have to be all in!

 

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:13

 

  • Just like in a physical workout, you have to put the effort into your spiritual workout.

 

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Philippians 2:12-13

B. Give yourself wholly so you can be holy!

 

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to     present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to         this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Romans 12:1-2

  • The only problem with a living sacrifice is it keeps getting up off the altar!
  • You have to be the one to place yourself there, which requires dedication and commitment!

 

IV. INTEGRITY

 

Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching.” (v.16a)

 
A. Living a life worthy of the calling!

 

“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a   life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”

Ephesians 4:1-3

  • We are all called to live this way, not just those in leadership.
  • You are a living example of Jesus that those around you will see!

 

 

B. Continue to grow (keep it fresh)

 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.””                                      

  Lamentation 3:22-24

                               

  • Just like every day is a fresh new day with God, we have to be open to learning more from His Word as the Holy Spirit will reveal something new from the same scriptures we may have read before!
  • We have to keep growing so we can offer fresh food to those God brings into our lives…and show them how they, too, can find this source of Life!

 

V. STAY TRUE

 

Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.” (v.16b)

 

A. Your own salvation.
 
  • Self care in our spiritual life is important, for if we are not healthy, how can we correctly lead others.

 

                “ and on his law he meditates day and night.”     Psalms 1:2

 

                “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a   thankful heart.” Colossians 4:2

 

[ILLUS: Sabbatical season]

 
B. Other’s salvation.

 

Live wisely among those who are not believers and make the    most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”               
Colossians 4:5-6

 

  • While we can’t make the decision for them, it is natural for people to look for an example to follow.
  • Kids imitate parents; young athletes imitate pros.
  • Like it or not, people are watching our lives. We need to reflect Jesus in everything we do.

 

QUOTE:  John Maxwell:  “The more you walk, the less you have to talk.  Live the Life in front of those you seek to influence.    Our leadership is more caught than taught. People would rather see a sermon than hear one.”

 

CONCLUSION:

 

I have said it before and I will say it again and again. All of these simple truths are from God’s Word. They are here for us as believers to follow, not pick and choose what we want or don’t want to do. As a disciple of Christ, we are to follow His commands. I have challenged you every week with this proclamation:

 

I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people…”                                                                                                          

Ps. 116:17-19

 

You have to be the one to make the choice.

You are the one that chooses to listen and obey or ignore and turn away.

What will you do today?

 

Listen to Ken’s message here:

 

You can watch the video HERE.

 
 
 

Read more...

Grow: Disciplines needed for healthy spiritual growth. (Week 2)

Disciplines needed for healthy spiritual growth.

1 Timothy 4:11-13; Psalms 116:17-19

 
Command and teach these things.  Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.  Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.”                 
– 1 Tim. 4:11-13 (ESV)  
 
Introduction:
 
Paul was continuing his message to Timothy on how to be a good servant of Christ. In last week’s message, he first instructed him on how he had to continue to grow in the Lord with proper nourishment (daily time in the word, with meditation and prayer); second, proper spiritual exercise, which included not wasting time with arguing about or with the godless and old wives’ tales stuff; and third, to live a life worthy of the calling by working hard and striving to live a life of integrity.
 
Today’s study focuses on an urgent appeal. In the same way that we have to teach the common courtesies of please and thank you or in school we teach multiplication tables, these are things that you MUST KNOW in order to grow.  
 

I. “Command and teach these things.” (v 11)

 
(NLT) “Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them”
 
Timothy was serving the church of Ephesus, appointed by Paul, as their spiritual ‘personal trainer’ or evangelist.  
 
A) COMMAND defined:

 

“to direct with specific authority or prerogative; order, to require authoritatively; demand”  
 
“Command them to exercise themselves into godliness, teach them the profit of it, and if they serve God, they serve one who will be sure to bear them out.”
– Matthew Henry Commentary  
 
Nowhere in this scripture to I see the word ‘option’.  These are the things we MUST DO and KNOW to grow!
 
Not intended to be a “Because I said so” type of command.  
 
B) TEACH defined:
 
“to impart knowledge of or skill in; give instruction in or to.”
 
We have become lazy in our approach in a lot of areas in our lives.  We used to have to do physical research, reading actual physical books and going to the library to cross reference and search out materials needed.
 
Now, we Google, ask Siri or ask Alexa to find the info for us, and it gives you what their search engines find as their top results, which can be skewed by their programmers.
 
O.T.   Deut. 6:1-9; Prov. 22:6
N.T.   Matt. 28:19-20
 
Training a plant Repetition is what helps you remember and grow stronger!  Memory recall or muscle growth.  
 

II. “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”

 

A) Separation of Authority from Seniority.

 

Timothy had been mentored by Paul for over 10 years.  He is now in his mid to late 30’s, men in Bible times were still called ‘youth’ until age 40.
 
His teachings were not to be discounted because of his age because he was walking in the authority of God’s word, which was evident in how he lived his life.
 
B) He set the example…both on the outside and the inside.
 
This is how his authority is grounded.
 
Outsidespeech and conduct
 
He lived the same way he talked:  *No “do as I say, not as I do”
Not a double standard, but rather a voluntary commitment to live exemplary lives.
 
Since we are not perfect, we have to strive for the kind of integrity and quality in life that reflects Christ’s presence and love.  The world has to see that there is something different in how we live our lives because we have Christ living in us.
 
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”    
Roman 12:2
 
Inside: faith and purity
 
These are our inner beliefs not just about morals, but rather a mind set on seeking and doing God’s will.
 
This fine-tunes our hearts to be able to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit leading and guiding our lives (NO STATIC)
 
Inside and outside:  tied together with LOVE
 
“Love stands in the middle of this pentad, for it is the bond that ties the outer and inner life together. Love always involves the whole of life. Outward expressions of love that are not rooted in Inner love quickly withers and die as insincerities. Inner love that is not expressed by open giving and caring turns to self-adulation and decay. The love of Christ is intensely personal. It is also intensely public. It simply does not exist one way without the other.”
Gary W. Demarest in The Communicator’s Commentary
 
They will know that you care when you show that you care! That is love demonstrated/lived out!  
 

III. “…devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.”

 
These are instructions on how to lead a worship service.  
 
A) Reading the scriptures to the church.

 

They did not have their own personal copy.  The more it was read to them, the greater the possibility of them putting it to memory.
 
(Reference again Deut. 6:1-9)
 
Excited about new Bible Study Group on the Public Reading of Scripture!
 
B) Exhorting & Teaching the church
 
Encouraging, giving urgent advice or recommendations   Teaching the doctrines grown out of Scriptures    “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.  But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
Hebrews 2:12-13
 
“Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.”
2 Timothy 4:2  
 
This is God’s word telling us what to do, not just my opinion. Sometimes the message is hard, but it’s just like going to the doctor for a check up and him saying “You need to change your diet or it’s gonna kill you.” We don’t want to hear it, but it is for our own good.
 
Again, these simple truths are here for us as believers to follow, not pick and choose what we want to do. As a disciple of Christ, we are to follow his commands. I challenged you last week with this proclamation:
 
I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people…” 
Ps. 116:17-19
 
The challenge has been made. You have to make the choice, because no one can do it for you! It may be tough at first, but we will be a better church body because of putting these things into practice in our lives! I echo the words of Paul when he wrote to the Ephesians…
 
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
Ephesians 4:15-16

Listen to this message here:

 

You can watch the video HERE.

 

Read more...

Grow: Disciplines needed for healthy spiritual growth. (Week 1)

Grow: Disciplines needed for healthy spiritual growth.

1 Timothy 4:6-10; Psalms 116:17-19

 

If you explain these things to the brothers and sisters, you will be doing your duty as a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is fed by the message of faith and the true teaching you have followed. Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness. Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward both in this life and the next. This is true, and everyone should accept it. 10 We work hard and strive in order that people will believe the truth, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and particularly of all those who believe.                                            

      1 Timothy 4:6-10

 
Introduction: As we begin this new series on “GROW”, it’s important to remember the reason why we are to keep “Growing closer to Jesus in every season of life.” We are to never stop growing not matter our physical age. And we need to be aware of where we have planted ourselves. Is it providing what you need to grow in the fullness of God, or is it limiting you?
 
Illustrations:     Shark in a fish tank quote
Tomatoes in containers vs in a garden
Planting a fruit tree (got to take root before it can bear fruit!)
 
Paul was writing to Timothy to encourage him to be a “worthy servant of Christ Jesus” (4:6a). In fact, he said it was his duty! (yes, I said duty) Duty is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “conduct due to parents and superiors (respect); obligatory tasks, conduct, service, or functions that arise from one’s position (responsibility).”  There is a clear call for the church to live out in tangible ways the ethical implications of the Gospel. This week, we are going to study the disciplines needed to fulfill our duty and grow in Christ.
 

I. “…one who is fed by the message of faith and the true teaching you have followed.” (1 Timothy 4:6b)

 
A. What does fed by or nourished mean here?
1. Message of Faith (Scriptures)
We believe that the Bible is the inspired,  God-breathed Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16)
The faith or trust that we exhibit here is that we have anchored our hope in the living God.
 
  1. Good (true) teaching you have followed

The importance of learning from others’ examples. Putting into practice the things we have learned.

Illustration:       Common courtesy vs self-centered focus

B. How are we to be nourished?
  1. Nourishment in this context can be defined as the DAILY study of Scriptures with time for reflection and meditation
  1. We cannot exist on “Jack in the Box” or “McDonalds” fast food style of spiritual nourishment.
It is not a substitute. May feel full, but it’s just not healthy.
 
C. Don’t waste your time on the godless stuff.
1. Even before His first miracle, while He was still a child, Jesus was showing us what we should be doing.

 

“…Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?”   Luke 2:49    “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.  Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.”              Ephesians 5:15-17
 
2. The Pharisees tried arguing with Jesus
 
“When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had arrived, they came and started to argue with him. Testing him, they demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority. When he heard this, he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why do these people keep demanding a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, I will not give this generation any such sign.”                         Mark 8:11-12
 
There are those who just want to argue for the sake of arguing!  Don’t waste your breath! We have to understand that the devil is just using this to waste our time. If we are living our lives on purpose to be the child of God that we are called to be, then our actions are speaking a lot louder than words.
 
 

II. “…Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness. 8 Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward both in this life and the next. .” (I Timothy 4:7b-8)

 
A. Time and energy as a commodity.
1. Making time with God a priority, because you set your schedule by what you deem as most important
Biblical examples: Abraham, David, Daniel, Jesus
Early church fathers: Wesley(both), Spurgeon, Bounds.
2. Takes discipline to set priorities.
 
B. Physical exercise vs Spiritual exercise.
  Illustration:       2009 Biggest Thriver Contest in Henry County.
 
1. C.T. Studd poem “Only one life ,twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”
2. We can’t put our growth off on others. We have to practice the disciplines we have set.
 
 

III. “This is true, and everyone should accept it. We work hard and strive in order that people will believe the truth…” (I Timothy 4:9-10a)

 
QUOTE:   “If one knows one’s calling, one’s Gospel, one’s self, and one’s mission, all of life and ministry can be lived with love, joy and peace.” Gary W. Demarest in “The Communicators Commentary
 
A. It is ALL of our responsibility to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, and to make disciples!
1. Some of may do it as a profession (pastor, missionary)
2. Others may do it as undercover missionaries
 
B. How we live our lives the other 10,000 minutes a week speaks a whole lot louder than how we live our lives for the 80 minutes we are together on Sunday Morning

 

Conclusion:

When we confessed our sins and surrendered our lives to Jesus, we made a commitment to do whatever He asked us to do.

When we stepped into the baptismal water, we made a public confession that we had confessed our sins, had made Jesus Lord of our lives, and that we would strive to do our best to follow Him in all areas of our lives.

Then why is it that we struggle to grow in our faith and go share with others about our wonderful Savior?  Too often, the answer is we have not being doing our spiritual exercises, so we are soft and flabby, rather than strong and courageous.

We can improve our spiritual health by daily reading God’s Word, surrounding ourselves with positive, encouraging music and teachings, and by living exemplary lives, which will then clearly point others to Jesus! I challenge you to make the same proclamation that the Psalmist David did…

“ I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord.  I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people— in the house of the Lord in the heart of Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!”   

                                               Psalms 116:17-19

 

Fulfill your vows! Encourage and hold your brothers and sisters accountable to their promises…not to programs or activities, but to serving one another in love and sharing this message of hope to a world that needs it!

 

Listen to the message here:

 

You can watch the video HERE.

 
 

Read more...
^