Greatness Begins with Great Parents

Samson #2

Greatness Begins with Great Parents

Turn to Judges 13…

This is the introduction of Samson’s parents.

In fact all of chapter 13 is dedicated to Samson’s parents.

There is an emphasis here…

Before we study the exploits of Samson

Before we see what kind of man he becomes…

We must see where he comes from.

 

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And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.

There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children. And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Judges 13:1-3

 

The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord…

But not all of the people did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.

Samson’s parents stand out.

God’s word says that He always has a remnant among the lost.

God was looking for parents for this great deliverer that was to be born –

God was looking for a godly start for the Judge he would raise up…

and He found Manoah and his wife.

Why God came only to Samson’s mother with His plan – we are not told.

But according to vs.6 as soon as God left the woman she ran and told her husband about her encounter!

 

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Her husband, Manoah, has a very appropriate response;

Vs.8 Then Manoah prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.”

Manoah’s first response was to pray.

To seek God about all of this…

Vs.9 tells us that God listened to Manoah and God brought his message to Manoah and his wife yet again…

So what we see is that Samson’s parents seem to be Godly people.

What do godly parents look like?

 

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Marks of Godly parents:

Judges chapter 13

 

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  1. believe God’s word…

Samson’s father and mother believed God’s word.

God spoke to them and both Vs.12 & 17 record Manoah’s response to God’s word;

And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true…”

Manoah recognized that if God had said something then it surly would happen.

 

This is the kind of trust in God’s word that godly parents must have. John 8:31

God’s word is filled with cause and effect.

Therefore we must believe God’s word

What we do as parents matters greatly!

Godly parents believe God’s word…

 

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Because they believe God’s word;

  1. look to God’s word for instruction…

Samson’s father was a Godly man;

When his wife told him what was to happen…

Judges 13:8 records his response:

Then Manoah prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.” Judges 13:8

 

Godly parents do not ONLY say they believe God’s word – they use it as an instruction manual.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22

 

ILLISTR. Its like the owners-manual in your car.

I believe it!

It says if I want to stop – I press on the brake.

I believe it – but what if I don’t do it?

 

If I say I believe it and do not follow it’s instructions – did I really believe it?

The results are the same.

If I say I believe God’s word but do not do it – I am self-deceived.

Im kidding myself about what I really believe.

Im trying to have the comfort of believing in God with the convenience of doing what is right in my own eyes.

 

Why is it that we are forever running to our own understanding?

We must not parent on our own understanding

We must not parent by emotional response

We must not parent by the dysfunction of our own past…

Or our own neediness.

 

God’s word must become the authority in our lives.

The authority over our lives.

God’s word must become our go to…

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Eph.6:4

 

Think; if your kids see you submitting to God’s authority – they will understand why they must submit to your authority.

If they see you rebelling against God’s authority – they will see no reason to submit to your authority and definitely not to God’s authority!!!!!

 

ILLISTR. I can make my kids do what they are supposed to out of fear

OR

I can help them understand God’s principals

That why God says to do what He says to do.

 

And I am not talking about grace and nothing else!!!

ILLISTR. Rules consequences and follow-through = training in righteousness

Training to be disciplined by God

 

That’s what it means to train up a child in the way he should go…

 

When you teach your kids that discipline is no big deal

When you teach them that discipline may or may not happen – you set them up for rebellion against not only your authority – but God’s.

God is consistent – so you must be consistent!

 

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Because godly parents look to God’s word for instruction;

  1. seek God’s plan for their children…

God has a plan for our kids and Godly parents must seek His plan for their kids!

Vs.12

And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true, what is to be the child’s manner of life, and what is his mission?” Judges 13:12

Samson’s parents sought God’s plan for their son’s life.

They knew that their son had a life mission from God even before he was conceived!

 

The scriptures repeatedly teach that life begins at conception.

Now life begins at conception – but God’s plan and purpose for that life begins long before conception.

 

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To Jeremiah God said,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

and before you were born I consecrated you;

I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

 

God’s plan for John the Baptist was also announced prior to his conception:

And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God… Luke 1:16

 

The Apostle Paul penned,

But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles… Galatians 1:15-16

 

Indeed Psalm 139 clears up any misunderstanding of when God’s plan for a person is laid out:

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

in your book were written, every one of them,

the days that were formed for me,

when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:16

 

Indeed God’s word consistently teaches that God’s plan and purpose precedes birth!!

 

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So it was with Samson:

End of vs.3

…you shall conceive and bear a son. Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” Judges 13:3-6

Lots of detail!

Reason is that this plan had to start now

Before Samson was born

It began with his mother and father!

God’s plan began with their obedience to God – before their son was born!

 

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Note the word Nazirite

Vs.5 for the child shall be a Nazirite to God

 

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The Nazirite law stems from Numbers 6

We need to go back to Numbers chp.6 for some understanding…

 

When either a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the Lord Num.6:2

 

The Nazirite provision is:

 

1st– a vow one could make.

What is a vow?

The Bible discusses vows to God in terms of transactions:

It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Let not your mouth lead you into sin… Ecc. 5:5-6

When you vow something it is a debt owed.

If you vow it – do it!!

 

ILLISTR. Wedding vows

 

Samson’s case was a bit different in that this vow was being made for him.

Eventually kids make their own decisions- but their best hope are godly parents who live out their faith at home.

 

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2nd– a limited time vow.

All the days of his vow… Num.6:5

 

Samson: but he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’ ” Judges 13:7

 

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3rd– a vow of separation (Nazirite means to separate)

It is a vow of separation.

Separation (holy) essentially has three primary parts: (Numbers 6)

  1. Internal separation… separation from wine, strong drink or any fermented drink. Vs.3
  2. External separation… separation from cutting of hair. Vs.5
  3. Symbolic separation… separation from death. Vs.6

God is the God of life.

Godly parents seek God’s plan for their children…

 

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4th– a vow unto the Lord.

Until the time is completed for which he separates himself to the Lord, he shall be holy. Num.6:5

So it was separation from those things we talked about – but those were only a symbol of what was actually going on.

This vow was a provision whereby any man or woman of Israel who wished could take a vow before the LORD to consecrate himself for a stated period of time to serve God.

Note the word “holy”

Setting one apart for God’s use.

A separation to God.

 

So essentially, Samson was to be set apart FOR God’s purposes from before he was born until his death!!

 

Listen, this is what you want for your child as well!

Look down the road; this child of yours is to be God’s – he or she is to be set apart for God…

What is that gonna take?

ILLISTR. Sometimes parents ask me, should I make my kids go to church?

Absolutely!

Think about it…

You say oh they need to decide things like that on their own.

Well, you just showed them how important church is and indirectly – how important God is…

They get to decide.

How many things do you let your 10 year old decide?

You let them decide about church and you just put church in the same rank of importance as what color socks they are wearing today!

Do you make your kids go to school?

Of course!

Why is school more important than church?

ILLISTR. My kids knew they were going to church.

They didn’t even ask.

There was no battle to “get” them to go!!!

ILLISTR. Someone made me go and that’s why I don’t like it now!

Give me a break.

Your rebellion is not someone else’s fault!

 

Look down the road; this child of yours is to be God’s – he or she is to be set apart for God…

What is that gonna take?

 

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Because godly parents seek God’s plan for their children, they…

  1. worship God…

Godly parents worship God.

 

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Vs.19

So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the Lord, to the one who works wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching. Judges 13:19

 

Let your kids know that God is first!

ILLISTR. Reading my Bible when one of my kids was small. Maybe two. She ran by and pointed at my Bible and said, Jesus!

 

Three principles to consider:

1st– Godly parents worship God not their kids.

By doing so they teach their kids that God is first and they are not.

2nd– Godly parents worship God not their stuff.

3rd– Godly parents worship God not themselves.

By doing so they teach their kids that God is first not their free time, their sleep, nor their leisure.

 

ILLISTR. They do not fit church in around their schedule

They build a schedule around church

Kids are not stupid… They know what is important to you.

They learn idol worship by watching their parents.

 

Kids follow our example

Acts 16:34

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the Lord blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol. Judges 13:24-25

At some point kids make their own choices

Their faith has to become their own

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Beginnings

Samson #1

Judges 13

When I was young boy my parents had these little sets of paperback books.

One was OT and the other NT.

One of the paper backs in the OT set told the story of Samson.

I used to read and stare at the pictures in that book for hours.

My favorite was a picture of Samson carrying the huge city gate on his back as 100s of arrows rained down on him from the evil Philistines!!

Samson is probably where my first interest in weight lifting stemmed from.

Every little boy wants to be the strongest man in the world.

God supernaturally gifted Samson with incredible physical strength.

God’s calling was for him to deliver his people and restore righteousness among his people.

Yet this man who was so strong that no one, no army could defeat him – defeated himself.

Like many of us Samson’s worst enemy was himself!!

 

You find the story of Samson in the OT book of Judges.

The 7th book of the Bible.

 

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  1. Basis
  2. Background

III. Birth

 

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  1. Basis

It’s important to begin with an understanding of why and how we study the OT.

Clearly we are presently in a new covenant with God through the blood of Christ.

Jesus stated this at the last supper. 1 Cor.11:25

Heb.7:22 calls Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.

 

So why then, is the OT or old covenant still in our Bibles?

 

I find the best explanation in the Bible itself…

 

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Twice in 1 Corinthians 10 God explains the purpose of the OT.

Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 1Cor.10:6

Hebrews 11

2Peter 2:6

And many other state the same thing; The OT narratives present examples for us.

 

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So because we are no longer under the old covenant – but under the new covenant in Christ’s blood; we use the OT as examples and then we go to the New Testament for the truth.

So we will be ever mindful of this as we travel back into our OT Bible.

 

This is our goal in the series

To see with great clarity the OT examples and refuse to desire evil as they did!!

 

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  1. Background

Another thing that is necessary before we begin to look at Samson – is background.

Samson’s story is a story of war.

It is the story not only of the war within but an all-out bloody war between Samson and the entire Philistine army.

Without the back story the account of Samson just doesn’t make sense and the book of Judges itself will be a mystery.

 

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So go back for a moment…

Way back in Genesis chapter 12 God raised up a man named Abraham.

God told Abraham to leave the land he had settled in, Haran, and to “go to a land that He would show him.”

And God said, “I will make you a great nation.”

Abraham went and the land that he was shown was Canaan OR the nation of Israel.

Abraham settled there and had a son, Isaac.

Isaac had two sons, Jacob and Esau.

Jacob had 12 sons and during his life time God ordained a famine in Israel.

Jacob and his sons went to Egypt to escape the famine.

Instead of coming back to Israel, the land God had given them, they stayed in the comforts of Egypt long after the famine had ended.

Many generations passed and Jacob’s family – the Israelites – grew exponentially.

Jacob’s 12 sons became the 12 tribes of Israel.

 

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The Book of Exodus opens with these ominous words: In time a new Egyptian king came to power

This King grew fearful of the great numbers of Israelites in his country.

He decided to enslave them there in Egypt…

There, the Israelites stayed enslaved in Egypt for 400 years – all the while growing in numbers.

After the 400 years, God raised up Moses to lead them out of Egypt, out of slavery.

The purpose was a people for Himself.

 

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“Let my people go, that they may serve me.” (Ex.8:1) Was the command of God…

Moses was to lead them back to the land that God had promised where Abraham’s offspring would be a great nation – God’s nation.

This was with the understanding that they would drive out ALL of the current inhabitants of that land.

 

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And you shall consume all the peoples that the Lord your God will give over to you. Your eye shall not pity them, neither shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you. Deuteronomy 7:16

 

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Repeatedly God had warned Israel You shall make no covenant with them and their gods. 33 They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against me… Ex.23:33

 

ILLISTR. Methodist pastor? No he wouldn’t do that he thinks we are wrong.

 

But when the Israelites saw the current inhabitants – fear seized them and they refused to do as God had instructed them…

They refused to go in…

Instead they opted to wander in the wilderness between Egypt and Israel for 40 years.

Eventually all of the disobedient generation died off and a new generation arose…

Tired of the cost of disobedience – they went in and took the Promised Land!!

 

However, they failed to do one thing that God had clearly commanded;

The Book of Judges commences with each of the 12 tribes of Israel settling into its own inherited section of the Promised Land…

While at the same time refusing to fully drive out the inhabitants of the land.

 

ILLISTR. Ahhh, we say, that’s so nice.

So much better then driving them out.

Compromise…

Give a little.

Just live together peacefully.

Well, God commands what He commands for a reason.

God directs our paths through leaning not in our own understanding but in acknowledging Him in all of our ways

When we lean on our own understanding we will SOON find it kicked out from under us! Prov.3:5-6

 

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As Judges 2 explains;

Now the angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed my voice. What is this you have done? So now I say, I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.” Judges 2:1-3

 

So God will NEVER break His covenant promise – they are His people!

And what you have here is obedience – my way.

These are people who say they believe and belong to God – but when they obey God – they do it their own way.

It is obedience with compromise…

 

What does God do with that?

He says, “OK, I will give you what you want!”

He USES that decision – that compromise as discipline for you.

Correction for you…

What you wanted to own – now owns you!!!

God says, now I will not drive them out.

You will find yourself wishing, working and wanting these people gone- And I (God) will NOT do it for you.

So that they become thorns in your sides!!!

Literally – in their sides- right next to them – poking and prodding.

 

Here is a clear picture of the sovereign God – using evil for our good and His glory.

 

Paul breaks this down for us;

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 2Cor.12:7

 

 

So now I say, I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.

 

So they are stuck in their own choices!!

 

God’s people living among evil, pagan people.

God’s people oppressed and tested.

Such was the time of the Judges…

Often summarized in one verse:

 

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In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 17:6

There was NO king… that is there was no government.

The God given role of government is to restrain evil.

A healthy marriage stems evil, a healthy church stems evil, a healthy government does the very same thing.

There was no government – and so evil was unrestrained.

Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

It was a lawless, evil time.

 

And so a pattern developed…

A very consistent pattern.

 

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Judges 2:16-19

 

Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. 17 Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord, and they did not do so.

 

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18 Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. 19 But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways. Judges 2:16-19

 

Recall that God had clearly stated His reason for leading His people out of slavery to begin with!

“Let my people go, that they may serve me.”

Yet what did they do?

They got their freedom and they whored after other gods and bowed down to them!

 

 

Such is the pattern that you see repeatedly in the Book of Judges…

Look at Judges Chapter 3

 

1- Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.    Judges 3:7

2- The anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel and God would cause one of the nations that they had refused to drive out to rise up against them!        3:8

3- Israel would cry out under the oppression and God would raise up a leader- a judge. 3:9

4- The Judge would lead the people to victory over their enemy…   3:9-10

1- And yet again the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.  3:12

The cycle would repeat.

 

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1- Sin…        Judges 3:7

2- Oppression / God’s discipline   3:8

3- Cry out!    3:9

4- A Judge is raised up and delivers Israel! Deliverance!        3:9-10

1- And Sin again!    3:12

 

The pattern is designed to cause people to turn to God.

 

 

According to Judges Chapter 3, leading the list of peoples left to oppress Israel

was the Philistines!

 

After many many cycles of sin, oppression, crying out, God raising up a judge/deliverer…

Judges chapter 13 launches the story of Samson with this NOW very familiar pattern;

 

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III. Birth

The remarkable tale of Samson begins at Judges Chapter 13.

 

And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.

There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children.

 

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And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” Then the woman came and told her husband, “A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name, but he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’ ” Judges 13:1- 5 (7)

 

So notice how Samson’s story begins…

Samson’s story begins with the sovereign God – dealing with his people.

It says, the Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord…

God allowed them to be brutally oppressed by the Philistines.

40 years!

God knows that a quick way out never fixes the human heart!

Under this brutal oppression Israel… tried everything;

They tried getting along

They tried fighting back

They tried intermarrying

And cease-fire agreements…

Finally what they did was settled in to oppression.

 

But God wasn’t having it!!

 

God began to raise up a judge to save Israel whether they wanted to be delivered or not.

This is the introduction of Samson, one of the most renowned of the Hebrew Judges.

 

This could very well be our story…

Although we would like to be Samson in the story

We would love to be the hero – truth is – we are better represented by Israel.

We hear God’s call

We answer.

We give partial obedience.

1- Sin…        Judges 3:7

 

2- Oppression / God’s discipline   3:8

 

Will we

3- Cry out?   3:9

 

4- A Judge is raised up to deliver us!      3:9-10

Jesus!

 

1- And Sin again!    3:12

 

These things happened as examples that we to may not set our hearts on evil…

 

God deals with us as individuals not as His nation.

Under the new covenant in Jesus blood – we are not a chosen people

We are individually chosen and saved.

The sin cycle then is also individual

And the power to break that cycle is given individually

“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31

 

Everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin…

We are in Egypt – slaves to sin.

God will lead you out – why?

To serve Him!!

Many of us want out – but once out of slavery – will we go in to the promised land?

Will we go into obedience?

 

Or will we just enter into a cycle of sin, oppression, crying out, deliverance and then sin again?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After his birth Judges 13:24 informs us that Samson grew and the Lord blessed him.

He was old enough to decide for himself what he believed about God and about God’s purpose for him.

And Vs.25 adds that the Spirit of the Lord began to stir Samson

God wasn’t leaving him alone…

God began working in him both to will and work for His good pleasure.

 

Samson’s story begins in the best of circumstances.

God was working.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing is said of Samson’s years growing up…

In Judges Chapter 14 Samson, despite his father’s warnings, chooses a wife from among the Philistines.

On a trip to see her, is attacked by a lion and kills it with his bare hands.

Through a series of misadventures the wife he has chosen is given to his best man and in retaliation Samson kills 30 Philistine men.

However, his anger is not cooled by this act…

 

Chapter 15 Samson burns all of the Philistine crops.

The Philistines retaliate by killing Samson’s wife and her father.

Samson in turn kills 1000 Philistines using the jawbone of a donkey as his only weapon.

 

After this

 

 

 

 

 

He (Samson) had judged Israel twenty years. Judges 16:31

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nazirite law stems from Numbers 6

When either a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the Lord Num.6:2

 

The Nazirite provision is:

 

  1. a vow one could make.

 

  1. a limited time vow.

All the days of his vow… Num.6:5

 

  1. a vow of separation (Nazirite means to separate)

It is a vow of separation.

A provision whereby any man or woman of Israel who wished could take a vow before the LORD to consecrate himself for a stated period of time to serve God.

Setting one apart for God’s use.

A separation to God.

 

  1. a vow unto the Lord.

Until the time is completed for which he separates himself to the Lord, he shall be holy. Num.6:5

 

It essentially has three primary parts:

  1. Internal separation… separation from wine, strong drink or any fermented drink. Vs.3
  2. External separation… separation from cutting of hair. Vs.5
  3. Symbolic separation… separation from death. Vs.6

God is the God of life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tough Stuff #11 Choosing a kingdom 1John 2:15-17

#11 Choosing a kingdom

1John 2:15-17

 

 

Someone suggested “The Lust of the Flesh”

God wouldn’t let me get away from it!!

 

And I thought whats the controversy in that?

It became apparent- this is thee controversy

 

There is a great controversy in our society about what should be pursued

What are we after?

But a little better title is Choosing a Kingdom

 

 

There is a battle going on that I find many people are entirely unaware of…

They don’t even know they are in it.

 

The controversy is who is saved and who is not?

Connected to that is the controversy regarding who is preaching the true gospel and who is not?

 

CLICK>>>

 

Here is the title of an article that appeared in Christianity Today

 

CLICK>>>

 

There are dozens of books representing the controversy

 

Interestingly I took just a sampling from both camps and here is what I found

Your best life now has sold in excess of 4 million copies – placing it on the platinum list among best sellers.

Your Best Life Now, the board game!!

 

Truth war has sold about 100,000 copies

 

The messages clearly have a vastly different set of followers.

 

Many have preached and taught that a simple prayer of belief is all that is necessary to be saved…

But millions of people have prayed that prayer and there is little or no fruit – that would indicate that they are actually saved.

 

CLICK>>>

 

  1. The truth
  2. The Sickness

III. The Cure (real help!)

 

  1. The truth

 

The context of 1st John – the sorting of those who are saved and those who are deceived…

For example: Already in ch.2:4 He has said, whoever says, I know Him but doesn’t not keep His commandments is a liar.

And again, vs. 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.

Again this is His concern for us as we choose a kingdom

Look at verse 15

 

CLICK>>>

 

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1John 2:15-17

 

Here is what is going on:

The world and God are pitted against each other

We see this throughout the Bible

They are pictured and indeed do compete for your first love

To be clear; we cannot have both

The reason love for the world is incompatible with love for God is that everything in the world… comes NOT from the Father but from the world.

So we are forced to choose a kingdom to pursue

 

ILLISTR. A ton of bad teaching has been put out there…

It is easy to find a church where the message is that God wants to give you all this worldly stuff

He wants you to be rich, healthy and

He wants you to have your best life now

This is not the truth!!

 

CLICK>>>

 

God’s promises and rewards are spiritual and eternal

The world’s promises and rewards are physical and temporary

 

CLICK>>>

 

Our text makes this clear;

Gaining the world and the things of the world

That’s not the will of God…

Look at vs.17

What is the will of God?

The will of God is that you LOVE Him- NOT the things this world has to offer

 

Jesus said the greatest commandment is what?

that you Love the Lord with ALL of your heart

Soul

Mind

and strength

Matt.22:37

 

This we cannot do while loving chasing and desiring the things of the world

A couple of scriptures for your consideration:

James 4

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4

 

 

So it makes sense that here in 1 John He says, If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

What does it mean that the love the Father is not in you?

Does it just mean that I am not doing very well at loving people?

That I need to do better with that?

No!

What is saying is a VERY serious thing!!!!!!!!!!!!

Look at the gospel of John Ch.14:23

 

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. John 14:23

Look carefully:

If the love of the Father is not in you – God is not in you.

God is love.

He has not made His home in you if His love is not in you.

In other words, if your first pursuit is the world there is a problem……..

 

There are four possibilities:

If you are pursuing the world

  1. You are newly saved.

That is, you are a brand new believer. who has not been in the process of sanctification for long

  1. You are saved and lacking in understanding. (Be careful if you are more hungry for the world than for God- today is the day for some serious sanctification)
  2. You are unsaved and deceived. (you believe that you are saved)
  3. You are unsaved and fine with that.

 

 

So this business of the world vs. God is a BIG deal-

What we are primarily pursuing may very well show whether or not we are saved.

 

See, so many who call themselves Christian are claiming Jesus with their mouths and chasing the things of the world with their hearts!

 

And it should leave us with the question: am I really saved then?

So God gives us instruction

Why?

To change our hearts!!

 

  1. The Sickness

 

1John 2:15-16

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.

 

CLICK>>>

 

First things first…

Understanding what the world and the things of the world ARE!!

 

  1. The simple list.

 

  1. Desires (lust) of the flesh.

Using your physical body in an attempt to meet spiritual and emotional needs.

Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.” Num.11:4

  1. Eating addictions
  2. Sexual addictions
  3. Drug addictions
  4. Fitness addictions
  5. Alcohol addictions

 

CLICK>>>

 

  1. Desires of the Eyes

Using excess in attempt to meet deep needs.

What I see that I believe will gratify me.

You have heard of the battle of Jericoh – how God gave Israel a great victory there…

But He had also told them not to take the spoils- anything devoted for destruction. This stuff was evil and not to be touched.

Achan: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.” Joshua 7:21

 

  1. Greed (desire for possessions)
  2. Stinginess and hoarding
  3. Selfishness (unwillingness to share)
  4. Envy (desiring what others have)
  5. Laziness (slothfulness) (the world owes me)

 

CLICK>>>

 

  1. The Pride of Life.

Using people to attempt fulfillment.

King Nebecanezzer was warned about his pride- that God was the one who had allowed him to have this power..

…and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” Dan.4:30

  1. Craving for attention / approval / boasting of what you have or do
  2. Craving for position / status
  3. Craving for authority
  4. Craving for identity
  5. Craving for appreciation

 

These are the things of the world that true believers must be overcome.

In other words- we don’t settle

There is a dissatisfaction

There is a hatred for these things as they are SIN

 

 

But what do they look like in everyday life?

How does the devil package them?

 

Go to Genesis 3

  1. Adam and Eve were tempted in the three areas.

Genesis means beginnings and so what we read in Genesis shows us the beginning of many things- the cause and often the pattern ever since the beginning

So it is here in Genesis 3

 

CLICK>>>

 

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:6

 

This then, is the pattern for all worldly temptation

Watch how its packaged:

 

  1. Desire of the Flesh.

the tree was good for food

Using your physical body in an attempt to meet spiritual and emotional needs.

Eve had plenty of other options for food…

But her rationalization was- the tree was good for food.

 

The first thing to understand is that the desire of the flesh will be wrapped in rational

 

I have good reason to do this

Its going to make me feel good

Its going to make me ok or better

Its going to help me compensate

Beware when you begin to rationalize your choices

If I have to rationalize it in order to make it a good idea- its not a good idea!!

 

  1. Desire of the Eyes.

it was a delight to the eyes

Using excess in attempt to meet your deepest needs.

Eve saw a shiny thing and had to have it!

 

Desire of the eyes is packaged as shiny things:

 

I have to have it

I won’t be complete without it

I’ll hurt people to have it

Beware of impulse

The word desire means longing

ILLISTR. Almost all advertising focuses on this now- advertisers are not worried about what we need as consumers- they are concerned with creating a DESIRE in you.

A longing!!

 

 

  1. The Pride of Life.

the tree was to be desired to make one wise

Using people to attempt fulfillment.

 

Pride of life is packaged as fulfillment / wholeness!

 

Eve wanted to be more

It wasn’t enough to be made by God – for God.

I’m empty and looking to something other than God to be filled

If people would just approve, appreciate or accept me I would be complete

And so… I’m going to adopt this culture, this appearance, this way – and then people will love me.

Beware of the desire to make yourself something.

Beware if you’re a Christian and Jesus isn’t enough- you’re ripe!

 

This is the desire for the things of the world that Eve fell into…

 

Results?

What happened?

Adam and Eve- were cast from God’s presence

ILLISTR. BTW: Where was Adam when Eve was deceived?

Right there!

He was MORE guilty than Eve

Why?

because he didn’t man up and lead

 

Adam and Eve- were cast from God’s presence

If not for the God covering their sin they would have been separated from God forever.

Gen.3:21

Someone says, ALL of that just for eating some fruit?

No…

For loving the world more than God

Yes its that serious!!

 

Sodom sinned in these same three ways and it was destroyed / Ezekiel 16:49

Lust of the flesh

Desire of the eyes

Pride of life

 

Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. Jude 7

 

ILLISTR. We have a tendency to say oh my sin is no big deal

Idolatry gives us a false picture of God

We base that on our own sense of justice and understanding and an inability to see ourselves in sober judgement- which is as God sees us.

 

III. The Cure

 

There is a reason that Jesus is called the great physician

Ps.103 says He cures all my diseases.

 

Listen; why are we in the world?

Turn to John 16:33

 

ILLISTR. Why did God leave you here in the place where there is so much evil and temptation?

Because you must choose!!!

Listen; we cannot just live with these things-

We are here to conquer sin – we are here to overcome the world!!

In Him – you can overcome.

But these are things that we must overcome!!

 

CLICK>>>

 

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

 

It means we have this choice – but we can be overcomers in Jesus.

Turn to Matthew 4

 

  1. Jesus was tempted in all three areas.

 

  1. Desire of the Flesh.

And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Matthew 4:2-4

I’m hungry and here I am the son of God- why not just make myself some bread out of these stones??

Listen, just because everything is in reach- doesn’t mean you have to do it!

Jesus overcame the desire of the flesh!

  1. Desire of the Eyes.

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “ ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ”

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” Matthew 4:5-7

 

Impulse… just throw yourself down!!

Slow down!!

If something is pushing you saying buy it now

Do it now

Get it now

That’s not God!!

In most cases- if we can slow down- we can win!

Again Jesus overcame the desires of the eyes!!!

 

  1. The Pride of Life.

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’ ” Matthew 4:8-10

 

Look at all you could have!

No, it matters where it comes from because worship matters!!

ILLISTR. I have turned down money that came from the wrong place!

Jesus overcame the pride of life!

No one had more to boast about!!!!!!

 

 

Can I withstand temptation like Jesus can??

Turn to Hebrews 4:14

Someone says, well that’s Jesus and Im not

I’m only human…

Wait a minute…

 

CLICK>>>

 

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:14-15

 

Here is what He is saying; Jesus was tempted in all three ways

Lust of the flesh

Desire of the eyes

Pride of life

Same as us…

He overcame

He overcame

 

What does that do for you and me??

Listen… who we need is Jesus

 

*ILLISTR. Made a list of how to recruit gifted people based on needs

Look for someone who is gifted

Jesus is the one who overcame – you need him

See our biggest problem is that we don’t let Jesus into the battle

How many of you know that if Jesus was in it- you would win???

 

  1. How does one get Jesus into the battle on these three fronts?

 

CLICK>>>

 

Three ways:

 

  1. Jesus must be living inside of you.

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

You cannot win- apart from Jesus

 

 

  1. Jesus must be living through you.

 

Turn to Matthew 16:24

Set up: Jesus had just told Peter that he has NOT been setting his mind on the things of God but in the things of man

That is worldly thoughts were dominating Peter.

 

CLICK>>>

 

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24

 

Here is what He is saying;

We don’t get Jesus in the fight with us when we say some kind of sinners prayer…

We get Jesus in the fight when we deny ourselves (our flesh), take up the CROSS and follow…

 

Deny yourself- (talk about this)

 

We don’t want to make light of the mention of the cross

It literally means death

But long before we give ourselves to physically die for Jesus we must have practiced this many, many times

 

CLICK>>>

 

What does that mean?

Look at Romans 8:13

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. Romans 8:13

 

We know that living according to the flesh is a death sentence

Desires of the flesh – same as 1 John right??

For its not of the father but of the world

For those who live according to flesh will die – separated from God for eternity

 

So in order to live I must put to death the deeds of the body

In other words I must put to death the what?

The flesh!!

 

 

You are going to have to come to a place where you HATE your sin so much that cannot stand to have it anylonger

 

If your right eye causes you to sin

If your right hand causes you to sin

 

You must choose a kingdom

The kingdom of the flesh

Or

The kingdom of God

 

  1. You must stay in the battle.

You’ll need to continue to communicate with the general

You’ll never out grow your need for Jesus

You’ll need to continually study the battle plan (the Bible)

You’ll need to continually meet with the troops (church)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIFE Groups

#11 Choosing a kingdom

1John 2:15-17

 

There is a great controversy in our society about what should be pursued

What are we after?

 

The context of 1st John – the sorting of those who are saved and those who are deceived…

Already in ch.2:4 He has said, whoever says, I know Him but doesn’t not keep His commandments is a liar.

And again, vs. 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.

Again this is His concern for us in verse 15

 

Tell…

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1John 2:15-17

Retell and rebuild…

 

Discussion Questions:

 

Q#1- What do you like about our text this week?

What do you not like about it?

 

 

Q#2- Notice vs.16 what are the 3 types of worldly sins?

Give examples of each one… (try not to get into a bashing contest).

 

 

Q#3- Discuss Vs.17.

What does the verse mean?

There are at least two parts to the verse; how do they relate to one another?

 

 

Q#4- What are some things of the world that must be put to death in your life?

 

Q#5- How are you going to move forward in what God has shown you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How?

 

  1. Jesus gave us three answers, one for each area: fasting, giving, and praying.

 

  1. Lust of the flesh.

 

  1. Eating addictions
  2. Sexual addictions
  3. Drug addictions
  4. Fitness addictions
  5. Alcohol addictions

 

  1. Fasting.

And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:16-18

 

  1. Lust of the Eyes.

 

  1. Greed (desire of possessions)
  2. Stinginess
  3. Selfishness
  4. Hoarding
  5. Laziness (slothfulness)

 

  1. Giving.

Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:2-4

 

…for we walk by faith, not by sight. 1 Cor.5:7

 

  1. The Pride of Life.

 

  1. Craving for attention
  2. Craving for position
  3. Craving for authority
  4. Craving for identity
  5. Craving for appreciation

 

  1. Praying.

And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Matthew 6:5-8

 

 

 

  1. Isaiah chapter 58 affirms both the sins and the answer for the sins and also lists some rewards.

 

  1. Their sins.

 

  1. They were doing their own pleasure, fulfilling the desires of the flesh.

 

  1. The were extracting all the labor and burdens from the poor, thus fulfilling the lust of the eyes.

 

  1. The people were fasting but fasting to be seen. This was pride.

 

  1. The answers.

 

  1. They were to humble themselves and fast, by abstaining from their own pleasures.

 

  1. They were to give to the poor.

 

  1. They were to fast to have communion with God (pray).

 

  1. A few rewards.

 

  1. Every yoke of bondage would be broken

 

  1. God would prosper them.

 

  1. They would have fellowship with God.

 

III. How do you fast, give, and pray? (Many books have been written on each of these, some good and some no so good. I will give only some simple guidelines.)

 

  1. Fasting.

 

  1. What is fasting? The Webster definition is “abstinence” (to stop).. It is abstaining from certain physical pleasures, especially food. One may abstain from foods that God said not to eat like pork and strong drink. One may abstain from sweets and wine.   One may abstain from meat for a season. One may abstain from solid foods and only drink water or fruit juices. One may abstain from both food and water. One may abstain from sexual relations during a time of prayer. One may also fast from TV programs.

 

  1. What is the purpose? Fasting is a discipline. Jesus said that his disciples (disciplined ones) would fast. It is to humble ourselves so that we can be in a position to pray. It is to bring our body under subjection. Remember that the flesh has a mind of its own and doesn’t know what is good for it. Fasting also helps detoxify and cleans the body and strengthen the immune system.

 

  1. What kind of fast should you do? Again, Isaiah 58 gives a great outline for fasting, especially on the sabbath? Jesus in Matthew 6 also gives some guidelines for fasting.

 

  1. How long should one fast? The Scriptures give many different fasts from a portion of one day to forty days and even a life style of fasting. Outside of the fast on the Sabbath given in Isaiah 58 there is no set time for fasting that I know. I would suggest that you seek the Lord for guidance and let Him give you direction.   It is generally better to do a shorter fast and succeed than attempting a longer and harder fast and fail.

 

  1. Giving.

 

  1. If you are not tithing, you should start there. God always comes first. However, tithing in the strict sense is not giving at all, but it is paying what God has commanded.

 

  1. The giving to the poor mentioned in Isaiah 58 is where we should begin after giving a tithe. The giving of alms that Jesus mentions in Matthew 6 is giving to the poor after we have tithed.

 

  1. How much or how often should we give? We should give as God directs us to give, not just because we see a need to give.

 

  1. Jesus gives a guide for motives in giving in Matthew 6.

 

  1. Praying.

 

  1. Prayer in a general sense is communion with God. It should include listening as well as asking.

 

  1. How often should we pray?   In the model prayer in Matthew 6, a portion says, “give us this day our daily bread”; therefore, we should pray on a daily basis. We should pray without ceasing, that is be in continual communion with God throughout the day.

 

  1. What kind of prayer should we pray? There are prayer of just asking, there are prayers of supplication (intense prayers), and prayers of intercession (praying for others). Believers are to pray concerning all things.

 

  1. How should we pray? We should pray in faith expecting God to answer, pray according to the promises of the Word, and pray with thanksgiving.

 

 

 

 

 

Tough Stuff #10- God and Government

Tough Stuff

#9- God and Government

 

All of the Tough Stuff subjects kind of culminate in this one

Because an election year brings all of these subjects to the surface

Everything from legalized Marijuana to

Same sex marriage to

Abortion

are in the news every day because the candidates have to take a position on these things

And the hot button issues get even hotter around election time…

2016 is an election year…

We are counting down to November 2016 and government and God and the connection or disconnection between the two – are in the NEWS every day!!!!!!

Our TVs and Radios are buzzing with God and government

So here is the issue in a nut shell:

What should the relationship be between God and our government?

 

So how should we think about this?

 

Bible…

God’s word offer anything about government / politics?

 

CLICK>>>

 

If you ask the right questions it certainly does!!!

Questions:

 

Should God and government have anything to do with one another?

What is our role when God is removed from our government?

 

Should God and government have anything to do with one another?

 

We discovered last week that government does have a rightful place in everyone’s life…

In fact our subjection to government and to the law of the land demonstrates our subjection to God.

In other words we are subject to government but government is subject to God.

Government is His tool for His purpose.

So then, we obey government and all authority as long as it doesn’t demand that we disobey God’s word.

In this way we render to Caesar the things that bear Caesar’s image, and to God we render the things that bear God’s image.”

 

CLICK>>>

 

Well then…

What is our role when God is removed from our government?

 

God seems to be systematically being removed from our government…

What do we do??
One way is by exercising our right to vote and by knowing how to vote

We are asking the question; what is our role when God is removed from our government?

Well we still have a vote!!!

 

ILLISTR. Someone says, I don’t vote because it wont do any good

Im only one vote

Well, we are involved in civic matters to honor God- not to satisfy ourselves.

I vote in a way that will honor God and His word!!

 

How do I know how to vote?

…which candidates will do the right thing?

Look at Luke 6:43

We have to become good judges!!

We have to use His criteria for judgment!

 

 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit.” Luke 6:43-44

 

Good and bad is not a matter of opinion for those who walk with Jesus.

Good is shown through obedience to God’s word…

And bad is shown through disobedience to God’s word.

 

Anytime anything that a candidate says or promises goes against a Biblical command- we know that we cannot vote for that

 

Does it matter what they believe?

 

ILLISTR. If I am going to go have brain surgery – I don’t care if the guy is a Mormon, Catholic or Muslim – I just want to know that he knows his way around the inside of my head!!

 

But controlling the direction of a country is something very different…

 

We should know this from the example of Israel!!!!!

Look at 1Kings 15:25-26

God put this in the Bible for a very good reason

The OT gives us examples so that we might not set our hearts on evil as they did…

So listen, This is how it works- every time!!

 

CLICK>>>

 

Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. 26 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin which he made Israel to sin. 1Kings 15:25-26

We see this language over and over in Israel’s story

 

ILLISTR. The way the leader goes – so   goes the country

 

We need to learn this about our households!!

 

CLICK>>>

 

The morality of a country is closely tied to the morality of its leader

Why?

1- Satan deceives nations Rev.20:3

This is where he concentrates his efforts

Dan. 10:13 prince of Persia withstood Michael keeping a prayer from being answered.

Spiritual warfare

Each nation has assigned to it a demonic spirit that works to kill, steal and destroy.

Eph.6:11-12 we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

 

2- People naturally look to their leader

Israel wanted a king 1Sam.8:6

God said, he will be corrupt and he will corrupt you!

We want him anyway!!

The way the leader goes – so goes the country

Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? Luke 6:39

 

Here’s the application:

And so, if a political party develops their platform and that platform closely resembles the sin list of Romans ch.1, you don’t have to guess if it’s bad or good.

This is what’s happened…

Parties that used to differ on economics or foreign policy now differ on GOOD and EVIL.

Lets be clear about what is happening here!!!!

 

CLICK>>>

 

Government invades the realm of God’s law and morality and then they insist that the church should stay out of politics

 

Invade the realm of God’s law??

Here’s what I mean:

1- Their ideal situation / their platform would be that the government passes out condemns so that people can fornicate at will and at any age.

2- For those who get pregnant the program insists that you kill the baby at the convenience of the mother up to the 9th month

3- A platform that Saves the trees but kills the babies

4- At the same time it advocates homosexual marriage while penalizing heterosexual marriage and so doing all they can to discourage families to stay together and Fathers and Mothers to be responsible

5- To take money from those who work and give it to those who refuse

(goes against a Biblical principal)

For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 2Thes.3:10

 

A platform that is meant to leave God OUT – but actually brings God in by way of God’s wrath…

It doesn’t leave Him out at all

That’s a Romans 1 program!

AND It is an affront to Him.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Romans 1:18

 

This is literally creating a platform out of the Romans 1 sin list that brings the wrath of God!!!

We have learned that historically and prophetically God’s wrath comes against societies that insist on this program!!

 

ILLISTR. I like movies- but sometimes I get concerned that I might love things that God hates!!!

But this never seems to cross the minds of those who are campaigning on this platform

No wonder it stirs and stores God’s wrath!!

Since the Bible says that the role of government is to BE God’s hand

To carry out His program of justice

You better have someone in office who has some sense of morality, Knowledge and love for God’s word

What is good and what is evil…

 

How can someone with that kind of agenda protect those who do good and punish those who do evil? (Rom.13)

They can’t!

 

 

 

Now… we vote- but that doesn’t mean things will go our way…

So what then?

First it is very important that we are not shaken by what we cannot control

It is vital that we understand that we are in this world but not OF this world.

John 17:10-15

 

What does that mean?

 

It means that when you give your life to Jesus you are a citizen of heaven first and the US 2nd

Phil.3:20 / Eph.2:19

Jesus illustrated this in His own life perfectly…

 

CLICK>>>

 

When Jesus was on trial and governor was questioning Him;

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” John 18:36

 

What is He saying?

Don’t put too much of YOUR faith, fight, hope or security in what goes on here!!

 

ILLISTR. Why do we get so upset about what goes on?

Its not fair!!

Its because we put to much hope in this life- our security here

Part of that is a reaction to injustice – like God’s

But any inordinate – not sleeping – talking about it all the time…

 

ILLISTR. Frank LIFE Group

Obsessed means faithless

 

Your hope must be in Christ where He is seated on the throne that cannot be moved or shaken!!

We cannot hope to create God’s kingdom here through our efforts!!

Ultimately God will bring His kingdom and establish it on earth

 

Right now though…

Our role is to do what we can to get God back where He belongs NOT so that we might be secure here on earth– but so that we might see others come to know Jesus…

If God allows us a bit more time as a godly country it is because The Lord… is patient… not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2Peter 3:9

 

How can we be in this world but not of this world??

 

CLICK>>>

 

How do we function in this world without putting too much hope in this world or the outcome??

CLICK>>>

 

#1- By being sure that He is where He belongs in our lives as individuals

We live for Him instead of selfishly for ourselves

According to God’s word

 

CLICK>>>

 

Listen; if God is not on the throne of your life – that will show in at least 3 ways:

  1. Obsession
  2. Anxiety
  3. Escape

 

These things show that you are on the throne

You are trying to make things come out your way

 

CLICK>>>

 

The other way that we function in this world without putting too much hope in this world or the outcome??

 

#2- By obedience

One way to be in this world but not of this world is to seek God on how to honor Him in this world

In other words, I’m in it every day

How can I take Him into the world instead of letting the world take ME AWAY from Him?

How can I impact the world as a follower of Jesus?

 

 

 

 

 

We began with the question:

What is our role when God is removed from our government?

 

Give yourself fully to Jesus

Watch and pray

Study God’s word

Stand firm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIFE Group

#10- God and government

 

All of the Tough Stuff subjects kind of culminate in this one

Because election year brings all of these subjects to the surface

November is election time

Out TVs and Radios are buzzing with everything politics

 

At the top is the presidential election

What should we think?

What is our role when God is removed from our government?

 

Tell…

So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” John 18:33-37

Retell and rebuild…

 

Discussion Questions:

 

Q#1- Are you fearful of the direction the country is moving?

 

 

I’ve often wondered what it would be like to talk with Jesus from Pilate’s vantage point.

A man of power, suddenly confronted with Jesus, a man not at all swayed, moved or concerned with Pilate’s power. It almost ends up as if Jesus is questioning Pilate instead of vice versa.

Q2- What do you think was going on with Pilate during this exchange?

What was he thinking? Wrestling with?

 

Q#3- What does Jesus mean when He says, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”?

Discuss this…

 

 

Q#4- According to verse 37 why did Jesus come into the world… What was His purpose?

What does it mean to of the truth ?

Key question: Why does a person who is of the truth – listen to Jesus voice ?

 

Q#5- If you are of the truth, what is Jesus saying to you this week?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I saw a post on Face Book the other day:

ILLISTR. Next time you judge someone using food stamps,

I do my nails myself, my phone has been my Christmas gift from my dad for the last 3 years, the car I drive is my mom’s, my son’s name brand clothes are from Goodwill, and I work 2 jobs. Forgive me for not looking poor enough for your stereotypical view of poverty. I forgot that I am required to dress I rags to appease your prejudice.

 

 

I don’t know what God has for us in the future

But I know that we can take God’s side

 

 

He asked them to give Him a coin used to pay the tax. A Roman denarius, with its image of Caesar, the Roman emperor, made it obvious they were under Roman authority and taxation. (One coin inscription reads, “Tiberius Caesar Augustus, son of the Divine Augustus.”) Therefore the taxes must be paid: Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.

But Jesus also reminded them that a sphere of authority belongs to God: Give to God what is God’s. Individuals are to be subject also to His authority. Man has both political and spiritual responsibilities. Amazed at Jesus’ answer, both the Pharisees and the Herodians were silenced.

 

 

First of all if you are Christian you should vote!

 

The Romans 1 agenda

Good Christian doesn’t = good president (people have different gifts – leadership / administration)

Well gifted doesn’t = good president

Well gifted Christian = good president

The hot button issues – which of them should be most important to voters?

Abortion #1 tragedy

 

Tough Stuff #9- God and Government Matthew 22:15-22

Tough Stuff

#9- God and Government

Matthew 22:15-22

 

Don’t worry- it is not what you think!

 

All of the Tough Stuff subjects kind of culminate in this one

Because an election year brings all of these subjects to the surface

Everything from legalized Marijuana to

Same sex marriage to

Abortion

are in the news every day because the candidates have to take a position on these things

And the hot button issues get even hotter around election time…

2016 is an election year…

We are counting down to November 2016 and government and God and the connection or disconnection between the two – are in the NEWS every day!!!!!!

Our TVs and Radios are buzzing with God and government

So here is the issue in a nut shell:

What should the relationship be between God and our government?

Often times for example a politician- when asked a specific question about a key issue – will state that that is a theological issue.

And yet the government is clearly in the business of making policy on faith issues…

Such as abortion, human rights, same sex marriage and so on…

Nearly four-in-ten Americans (38%) now say there has been too much expression of religious faith and prayer from political leaders, while 30% say there has been too little.

 

What does the country think as a whole?

52% of Americans say that the church should stay out of politics!

That number was 44 percent in 2004 to 52 percent today —

Why the rise?

It appears to be due to a surprising increase in conservative distaste for mingling the institutions —

Those who call themselves conservative went from 30 percent in 2004 to half of conservatives expressing the view today that the church should have NOTHING to do with government and politics!

 

It wasn’t always that way!

 

CLICK>>>

 

The “Johnson Amendment”:

In 1954 senator Lyndon Johnson introduced the 501c3 law which was subsequently passed. The restriction prohibits 501(c)(3) organizations from “directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”

Essentially this law gives the government the right to strip the tax exempt status of any church that endorses or is in opposition to any candidate for public office.

Most if not all churches would be out of business if they were not allowed tax exempt status.

 

Prior to 1954 churches were among the most active in political campaigning!

Pastors and church leaders on a regular basis stated support for specific candidates!

The results are obvious!!

What has happened to the morality of America ESPECIALLY from Washington trickling down – since then??

 

So how should we think about this?

 

Bible…

God’s word offer anything about government / politics?

 

CLICK>>>

 

If you ask the right questions it certainly does!!!

Questions:

 

Should God and government have anything to do with one another?

What is our role when God is removed from our government?

 

CLICK>>>

 

Should God and government have anything to do with one another?

 

Start Matthew 22:15-22

 

Some would say that we have no business talking about this in church.

Many people feel that the church and pastor’s should stay out of these things.

Do God and government have any business together??

What is or should that relationship be?

 

CLICK>>>

 

Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. 16 And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21 They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away. Matthew 22:15-22

 

As I set the text up for you – I would like you to note the incredible similarities between that time and ours…

 

The leaders of Israel had one goal: to get rid of Jesus!!

They would do this through any means possible, even if it meant cooperating with lifelong enemies.

What you see in this text is a representation of two major political parties of Jesus day:

 

Ding ding ding!

Here’s the match up!

 

In the black and white corner wearing blue sashes and gold bling – The Pharisees were the purists or conservatives of the nation who opposed Rome and all attempts by Rome to intrude into the Jewish way of life.

 

In the grey corner wearing whatever makes the most people happy – The Herodians actively supported the rule of Herod the Great and favored making changes with the times as dictated by Rome.

 

But those differences were less important to them than their common fear of losing their power and cushy life because of Jesus.

So they sent a delegation to try to trick Jesus.

 

Being politicians, they began by saying several nice things about Him, we know that you aren’t swayed by the opinions of people… blah blah!!

but their hypocrisy was obvious to Him…

Their question was this; “Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”

With their cleverly devised question they thought they had trapped Jesus.

Why?

Well, If He answered that it was right to pay taxes to Caesar, He would be siding with the Romans against Israel… against the Pharisees.

The conservatives would have Him for dinner!

 

If, however, He said taxes should NOT be paid to Rome, they could accused of being a rebel who opposed the authority of Rome.

The Romans and the Herodians would be against Him.

 

Jesus was aware of the hypocrisy in their approach and also of the implications of His answer.

His answer and subsequent instruction on the subject- can teach us a great deal about how we should be thinking and our responsibility in the political polarization that we are living in today.

 

Vs.19

“Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21 They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

 

Render is a stronger word for give

It means to give over or to surrender to!!

Talk about this…

 

CLICK>>>

 

So…

Picture two columns on a spread sheet representing your life:

The heading over one column is Caesar (the government)

The heading over the other column is God

Jesus said there are things that we rightfully owe our government.

Like what?

The one thing that is certainly clear is taxes

That’s what the question was about to begin with.

Biblically, we should pay our taxes.

What else goes in the government column?

 

Romans 13:1-7

This has been a question for a very long time.

For example back when Rome was the government- it wasn’t exactly fair government for everyone

So the question was, as a Christian, what should I do in this government that I don’t really agree with?

 

CLICK>>>

 

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

 

CLICK>>>>>

 

Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Romans 13:1-7

Things that are the Governments

Subjection to authority outwardly (good citizen / good conduct) Vs.1-4

-The law

 

Subjection to authority inwardly (good conscience) Vs. 5

-Good neighbor

 

Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:22-24

 

A good conscience…

Not just because you may be able to get away with it!

Examples:

Pay taxes, revenues,

Illistr. Roy said people want him to cheat on the amount of the sale to save them tax

respect, honor.

 

Clearly government does have a rightful place in everyone’s life and one can be in subjection to government and God at the same time.

In fact it seems that our subjection to government and to the law of the land demonstrates our subjection to God.

 

Look at 1 John 4:20

The question of 1st John was this: Can I hate people and love God at the same time

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20

Love = obedience

Same goes for the law

The law and government are the visible hand of the invisible God

For example you cannot say “I Love God and then disobey civil government

I love God but I refuse to obey traffic laws – no you don’t!

I love God but refuse to pay taxes – no you don’t!

 

ILLISTR. Mark 3:18 Jesus intentionally called Simon the Zealot to follow Him as one of His apostles!

Zealots—a sect of Jews which originated with Judas the Gaulonite (Acts 5:37). They refused to pay tribute to the Romans, on the ground that this was a violation of the principle that God was the only king of Israel. They rebelled against the Romans, but were soon scattered, and became a lawless band of mere brigands. They were afterwards called Sicarii, from their use of the sica, i.e., the Roman dagger.

 

This is whom Jesus called…

But Jesus didn’t leave Simon there as an angry cause driven zealot!!

No Jesus said when you follow me – Your life will change!!

But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. Matt. 5:39-40

There are things that we submit to government…

 

But Jesus gave us that other column also…

“Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

 

What about that God column?

 

Look at the Rom.13 text again…

 

CLICK>>>

 

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Romans 13:1-7

 

CLICK>>>

 

Well actually the God column goes OVER the government column

So that the ledgers are not side by side but rather government is one of the items UNDER the God column.

ILLISTR. Hence “one nation under God”

That’s not only our tradition pledge- it is Biblically accurate!

 

In other words we are subject to government but government is subject to God.

Government is His tool for His purpose.

When we are obedient to our laws we are obedient to God.

So then, God and government have everything to do with one another.

Frankly God invented government

 

At this point someone will sight the 1st amendment!!!!!

What about the Separation of church and state?

 

CLICK>>>

 

The first amendment to the constitution:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,

or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

 

What does the 1st amendment actually say?

It says, government shall stay out of the God business

Not that God shall stay out of the government business!

 

 

Consider once again the Matt.22 text

“Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21 They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

The image on the coin was whose?

Caesar’s

 

So how do you know what to render unto God?

That which has His image in it!

You!

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLICK>>>

 

Well then…

What is our role when God is removed from our government?

 

God seems to be systematically being removed from our government…

What do we do??
First it is very important that we are not shaken by what we cannot control

It is vital that we understand that we are in this world but not OF this world.

John 17:10-15

 

What does that mean?

 

It means that when you give your life to Jesus you are a citizen of heaven first and the US 2nd

Phil.3:20 / Eph.2:19

Jesus illustrated this in His own life perfectly…

 

CLICK>>>

 

When Jesus was on trial and governor was questioning Him;

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” John 18:36

 

What is He saying?

Don’t put too much of YOUR faith, fight, hope or security in what goes on here!!

 

ILLISTR. Why do we get so upset about what goes on?

Its not fair!!

Its because we put to much hope in this life- our security here

Part of that is a reaction to injustice – like God’s

But any inordinate – not sleeping – talking about it all the time..

ILLISTR. Frank LIFE Group

 

 

Your hope must be in Christ where He is seated on the throne that cannot be moved or shaken!!

We cannot hope to create God’s kingdom here through our efforts!!

Ultimately God will bring His kingdom and establish it on earth

 

Right now though…

Our role is to do what we can to get God back where He belongs NOT so that we might be secure here on earth– but so that we might see others come to know Jesus…

If God allows us a bit more time as a godly country it is because The Lord… is patient… not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2Peter 3:9

 

CLICK>>>

 

How do we function in this world without putting too much hope in this world or the outcome??

CLICK>>>

 

#1- By being sure that He is where He belongs in our lives as individuals

We live for Him instead of selfishly for ourselves

According to God’s word

 

CLICK>>>

 

#2- By obedience

 

For example: by exercising our right to vote and by knowing how to vote

 

How do I know which candidates will do the right thing?

Look at Luke 6:43

We have to become good judges!!

We have to use His criteria for judgment!

 

 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit.” Luke 6:43-44

 

Good and bad is not a matter of opinion for those who walk with Jesus.

Good is shown through obedience to God’s word…

And bad is shown through disobedience to God’s word.

 

Anytime anything that a candidate says or promises goes against a Biblical command- we know that we cannot vote for that

 

Does it matter what they believe?

 

ILLISTR. If I am going to go have brain surgery – I don’t care if the guy is a Mormon, Catholic or Muslim – I just want to know that he knows his way around the inside of my head!!

 

But controlling the direction of a country is something very different…

 

We should know this from the example of Israel!!!!!

Look at 1Kings 15:25-26

God put this in the Bible for a very good reason

The OT gives us examples so that we might not set our hearts on evil as they did…

So listen, This is how it works- every time!!

 

CLICK>>>

 

Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. 26 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin which he made Israel to sin. 1Kings 15:25-26

We see this language over and over in Israel’s story

 

ILLISTR. The way the leader goes – so  goes the country

 

CLICK>>>

 

The morality of a country is closely tied to the morality of its leader

Why?

1- Satan deceives nations Rev.20:3

This is where he concentrates his efforts

2- People naturally look to their leader

Israel wanted a king 1Sam.8:6

God said, he will be corrupt and he will corrupt you!

We want him anyway!!

The way the leader goes – so goes the country

Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? Luke 6:39

 

Here’s the application:

And so, if a political party develops their platform and that platform closely resembles the sin list of Romans ch.1, you don’t have to guess if it’s bad or good.

This is what’s happened…

Parties that used to differ on economics or foreign policy now differ on GOOD and EVIL.

Lets be clear about what is happening here!!!!

 

CLICK>>>

 

Government invades the realm of God’s law and morality and then they insist that the church should stay out of politics

 

Invade the realm of God’s law??

Here’s what I mean:

1- Their ideal situation / their platform would be that the government passes out condemns so that people can fornicate at will and at any age.

2- For those who get pregnant the program insists that you kill the baby at the convenience of the mother up to the 9th month

3- A platform that Saves the trees but kills the babies

4- At the same time it advocates homosexual marriage while penalizing heterosexual marriage and so doing all they can to discourage families to stay together and Fathers and Mothers to be responsible

5- To take money from those who work and give it to those who refuse

(goes against a Biblical principal)

For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 2Thes.3:10

 

A platform that is meant to leave God OUT – but actually brings God in by way of God’s wrath…

It doesn’t leave Him out at all

That’s a Romans 1 program!

AND It is an affront to Him.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Romans 1:18

 

This is literally creating a platform out of the Romans 1 sin list that brings the wrath of God!!!

We have learned that historically and prophetically God’s wrath comes against societies that insist on this program!!

 

Since the Bible says that the role of government is to BE God’s hand

To carry out His program of justice

You better have someone in office who has some sense of morality and concern for God’s word

What is good and what is evil…

 

How can someone with that kind of agenda protect those who do good and punish those who do evil? (Rom.13)

They can’t!

 

ILLISTR. I like movies- but sometimes I get concerned that I might love things that God hates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIFE Group

#9- Who to Vote for

 

All of the Tough Stuff subjects kind of culminate in this one

Because election year brings all of these subjects to the surface

November is election time

Out TVs and Radios are buzzing with everything politics

 

At the top is the presidential election

What should we think?

Bible…

 

Tell…

Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. 16 And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21 They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away. Matthew 22:15-22

Retell and rebuild…

 

Discussion Questions:

 

Q#1- How does the subject of politics make you feel?

Uneasy? Religion and politics!

Angry?

 

Q#2- Why did Jesus say that this delegation were hypocrites?

Use the text!

 

Render is a stronger form of the word “give” or “give over”…

Q#3- How does Jesus instruct us to determine what we should give over to government and what we should give over to God?

 

 

Q#4- What are some things that should be given over to God?

 

 

Q#5- What does God want you to take away from your LIFE Group this week?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I saw a post on Face Book the other day:

ILLISTR. Next time you judge someone using food stamps,

I do my nails myself, my phone has been my Christmas gift from my dad for the last 3 years, the car I drive is my mom’s, my son’s name brand clothes are from Goodwill, and I work 2 jobs. Forgive me for not looking poor enough for your stereotypical view of poverty. I forgot that I am required to dress I rags to appease your prejudice.

 

 

I don’t know what God has for us in the future

But I know that we can take God’s side

 

 

He asked them to give Him a coin used to pay the tax. A Roman denarius, with its image of Caesar, the Roman emperor, made it obvious they were under Roman authority and taxation. (One coin inscription reads, “Tiberius Caesar Augustus, son of the Divine Augustus.”) Therefore the taxes must be paid: Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.

But Jesus also reminded them that a sphere of authority belongs to God: Give to God what is God’s. Individuals are to be subject also to His authority. Man has both political and spiritual responsibilities. Amazed at Jesus’ answer, both the Pharisees and the Herodians were silenced.

 

 

First of all if you are Christian you should vote!

 

The Romans 1 agenda

Good Christian doesn’t = good president (people have different gifts – leadership / administration)

Well gifted doesn’t = good president

Well gifted Christian = good president

The hot button issues – which of them should be most important to voters?

Abortion #1 tragedy

 

Pro life / pro choice??

Tough Stuff

 

Movie Terminator: Man comes back from the future to show a scientist that his invention had caused many people to die in the future.

He was devastated…

 

What if you could see far ahead in your life and saw that some selfish choices that you made caused the death of other people?

 

Abortion…

Pro life or pro choice?

 

This is a very difficult subject…

It has personally touched many of us.

Abortion is so common that I am aware that there maybe those here who have a difficult time with the subject.

Maybe you’ve had an abortion

Maybe you’ve counseled or even forced someone to have an abortion

 

CLICK>>>

 

But I feel that in this tough stuff series we need to include it for 2 very important reasons:

#1- Maybe the truth from God’s word will help someone choose not to have an abortion or to counsel someone you know NOT to have an abortion.

#2- Though it could be very painful there is often healing in hearing the truth from God’s word – calling it what it is and seeking forgiveness – rather than just burying the pain.

 

CLICK>>>

 

Abortion is a very controversial subject

Ever since Roe Vs. Wade – the case that made abortion available in all 50 states the country has been sharply divided

 

Here’s a look at the U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. Facts: January 22, 1973 – The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision, affirms the legality of a woman’s right to have an abortion under the Fourteenth amendment to the Constitution.

The 14th amendment essentially states that all citizens have equally benefits under the law.

Hence a woman’s right to choose…

 

Since then there have been “well over” 54 million abortions.

Twice the population of the entire state of Texas

 

How does this work out?

  • Overall, the abortion rate decreased 8% between 2000 and 2008, but abortion increased 18% among poor women…
  • Some 1.06 million abortions were performed in 2011…
  • The number of U.S. abortion providers declined 4% between 2008 (1,793) and 2011 (1,720). The number of clinics providing abortion services declined 1%, from 851 to 839. Eighty-nine percent of all U.S. counties lacked an abortion clinic in 2011; 38% of women live in those counties.[4]
  • Nine in 10 abortions occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.[5]

 

CLICK>>>

 

  • A broad cross section of U.S. women have abortions:[3]
  • 58% are in their 20s;
  • 61% have one or more children;
  • 56% are unmarried;
  • 69% are economically disadvantaged

 

How should we feel?

What should we think?

What should we believe?

 

CLICK>>>

 

Here are the 2 big questions:

 

When does life begin?

What makes life valuable?

 

CLICK>>>

 

When does life begin?

The big controversy has often been over the question of when life begins

Is this a fetus or a baby?

If this is a fetus- when does it become a person?

 

Look first at Psalm 139:16

Here the Psalmist David is praising God because of God’s omniscience

God knows absolutely everything about us.

 

The first couple of verses he writes,

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;

you discern my thoughts from afar.

God has searched you inside and out…

He knows every detail of your life down the to mundane

When you sit and when you stand!!

This goes so far that God is in your head… He knows your very thoughts!!

 

CLICK>>>

 

Now that’s amazing – but it goes MUCH DEEPER than that!!

Vs.13

For you formed my inward parts;

you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret,

intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

in your book were written, every one of them,

the days that were formed for me,

when as yet there was none of them.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

in your book were written, every one of them,

the days that were formed for me,

when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13-16

 

God sees every life as a life from the moment of conception.

We know this because even when the baby is unformed- God has planned out what that life will be…

Every day of that life is planned even when there has been none of them.

In fact it is all planned even when there maybe none of them.

God looks at that life before hand and says this is what I will for that life.

Here is what I, God, want this life to look like.

He sees that unformed substance as a “life”

No less important and no less developed than a 50 year old!!!

God sees every life as a full and complete life – from the moment of conception.

 

God has always known what Science now affirms:

Here is a quote from F Beck’s textbook entitled “Human Embryology”

Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1985 page vi

 

CLICK>>>

 

“It should always be remembered that many organs are still not completely developed by full-term and birth should be regarded only as an incident in the whole developmental process.”

 

In other words, from the moment of conception the internal organs of a baby are developing.

Some would make the argument that this is NOT a life at conception because it is not fully developed…

However, science states that even when a baby is born, all the organs are not yet fully developed.

 

ILLISTR. When Roe V Wade was passed in 1973 we didn’t have 3D sonograms YET

We couldn’t see our baby’s smiling at us inside of the mother.

By 8 weeks babies suck their thumbs

They respond to sound

They dream

They recoil from pain

Dr. needs to draw blood the baby pulls away- why?

Because all of the major organs are functioning

Nervous system

Brain receives signals that that hurts!!!

 

CLICK>>>

 

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

 

What is He saying?

 

CLICK>>>

 

  1. God knows us before we are born.

This doesn’t mean that we are souls in heaven before we are born.

Rather it means that God knows everything before it happens

He is sovereign in all things – including your life’s moments

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. Ephesians 1:3-4

 

  1. God sets us apart for Himself before we are born.

If you are to come to know Jesus- it is because God chose you to know Jesus.

 

  1. God plans our purpose before we are born.

He told Jeremiah, I appointed you a prophet to the nations.

When?

Before he was born.

We have purpose.

We are not random accidental biological mishaps.

We have a reason for being here.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Eph.2:10

 

In all of these things, God’s word clearly confirms that life not only begins at conception- but that God values that life and has a plan for it.

It is not a mistake or a mishap

It may be unplanned or unwanted by a human mother or father- but God planned every life and every life has a purpose.

 

 

ILLISTR. A United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee invited experts to testify on the question of when life begins.

All of the quotes from the following experts come directly from the official government record of their testimony.

 

Dr. Alfred M. Bongioanni, professor of pediatrics and obstetrics at the University of Pennsylvania, stated:

 

“I have learned from my earliest medical education that human life begins at the time of conception…. I submit that human life is present throughout this entire sequence from conception to adulthood and that any interruption at any point throughout this time constitutes a termination of human life….

 

I am no more prepared to say that these early stages [of development in the womb] represent an incomplete human being than I would be to say that the child prior to the dramatic effects of puberty…is not a human being. This is human life at every stage.”

 

Dr. Jerome LeJeune, professor of genetics at the University of Descartes in Paris, was the discoverer of the chromosome pattern of Down syndrome. Dr. LeJeune testified to the Judiciary Subcommittee, “after fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being.” He stated that this “is no longer a matter of taste or opinion,” and “not a metaphysical contention, it is plain experimental evidence.” He added, “Each individual has a very neat beginning, at conception.”

 

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord… Psalm 127:3

 

So if this is true then a woman’s right to choose is actually a woman’s right to kill…

 

So the controversy becomes does a woman have more of a right to choose than a baby has the right to live.

 

CLICK>>>>

 

What makes life valuable?

How is life valued?

The more the value of human life is diminished the more abortion becomes a nonissue

We are desensitized to it…

 

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared… 1 Tim.4:1-2

 

How is this happening?

One way is to sort of muddy the water…

Confuse ignorant people about what has value.

My right to choose has more value than a baby’s life

You say that’s crazy!

But there is an agenda to get that done…

 

ILLISTR. How is the confusion over what is valuable being confused??

For example: while it is legal to abort a baby for any reason – a woman’s right to choose…

And yet;

The life of an unborn lobster is protected!

It is illegal to ship a pregnant lobster.

Unborn lobsters are protected!

If you are found shipping a pregnant lobster you will be fined $1000

 

In Maryland you can have abortion on demand BUT it is illegal to award a goldfish as a prize.

Why?

“to avoid dulling the feeling toward life in those who would abuse it.”

 

In Illinois an unhatched eagle egg was found in a city park

Someone had stolen the egg from a nest and then became worried about getting caught with it…

1000$ spent to save it and attempt to hatch it.

When it died a $50000 reward was posted for information leading to the arrest of the person that had put it there and harmed it.

 

Confusion over what is valuable and what should be protected

What is right?

 

Look at Luke 12

We have things backward from God’s word

The further we get from God’s word the more we become confused as individuals and as a society.

This is why we can so easily say, I am a Christian and at the same time reject God’s commands in His word.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness… 2Tim.3:16

We are ignorant to His word and because this is true- we are upside down in our thinking.

Animal and other life gain an equal standing with human life.

 

CLICK>>>

 

“What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. Luke 12:6-7

Animals are important to God

But human life is vastly MORE valuable.

 

What makes human life more valuable than other life?

Look at Genesis 1:26

This part of the creation story

A time when God was carefully distinguishing differences in life.

 

CLICK>>>

 

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26

 

Here is what He is saying:

God created all life

Only human life was made in His image

What does that mean?

At least 2 things:

1- With a soul… Eternal

2- Able to receive His Spirit and live in fellowship with Him

 

Because of this He gave human life dominion over all other life

Because we can discern

Because we can have compassion and understanding and we can care- God gave us dominion.

Not to abuse or misuse it

But use it to suit our needs

Frankly; what God is saying is that it is all there for us to use- that’s why He created it!!

 

Animals for our work

Animals for us to eat and from which to use the byproducts

Animals for us to subdue and control

 

The Psalmist asks the question of God:

Who are we that you are mindful of us?

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen,

and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea… Psalm 8:5-8

 

Here is what He is saying;

Again in His image WE are bearers of His glory and honor…

No other life can do that.

Human life is sacred and to be valued above all other life on earth.

 

How does the value of human life relate to the abortion issue?

 

Did you know that babys are so fully developed in the womb that at 21 weeks they can survive outside of the womb with a little help?

And yet the majority of the estimated 1 million abortions preformed last year we done AFTER that 21 weeks!!!

 

Now I know the arguments…

But what about the life of the mother?

What about when her health is threatened?

What about rape?

 

Listen… The vast majority of abortions have nothing to do with those catastrophic or life saving issues…

CLICK>>>

 

  • Half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and about four in 10 of these end in abortion.
  • About half of American women will have an unintended pregnancy, [2] and nearly 1/2 will have an abortion.[3]
  • The overall U.S. unintended pregnancy rate increased slightly between 1994 and 2008, but unintended pregnancy increased 55% among poor women, while decreasing 24% among higher-income women.[1,6]

 

It seems obvious that abortion is often a choice of convenience

Perhaps because we do not know the value of human life

 

Maybe that sounds farfetched:

 

Dr. Willard Cates an abortionist for Planned Parenthood published an article for the center for disease control entitled:

Abortion as a treatment for unwanted pregnancy – the 2nd sexually transmitted disease.

 

This is how it is being promoted

Unplanned pregnancy is a disease to be treated with abortion.

 

Eventually we have to look at the facts and the states and call it what it is…

This has become about nothing but the exaltation of SELF

We abort and kill out of selfish convenience…

 

Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote an article on Jan 23 2013

Very

So what if abortion ends life

“yet I know that throughout my own pregnancies I never wavered for a moment in the belief that I was carrying a human life inside of me. I believe that’s what a fetus is. A human life. And that doesn’t make me one iota less solidly pro-choice.

 

Think about the insanity that was just published as if it were rational thought.

 

You want to hear her rational for this?

 

“Here’s the complicated reality in which we live; all life is not equal. That’s the difficult thing for liberals like me to talk about, we wind up looking like death-panel loving, kill you grandma and your precious baby storm troopers. Yet, a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She is the boss.

Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always.”

 

That’s insane!

Let me ask you a question; who gets the right to choose who has more value?

What is the criteria?

 

Sounds like Nazi Germany to me!!!!!!

 

Who decides?

Who gets this power?

Well it’s the woman’s body…

The baby is in the womans body but the baby is not the womans body

The baby has its own life

Its own DNA

Its own dreams

And God’s plan is

 

The argument is that a woman should have the right to do what she wants with her body…

No!!

You don’t

I don’t!!

No one does

Our elected democratic republic gets to tell us all kinds of things we can and cannot do!

 

 

 

When the value of human life is diminished and those who have no voice are deemed expendable- who is next?

 

 

CLICK>>>

 

 

 

 

 

In the beginning I said, Though this message could be very painful there is often healing in hearing the truth from God’s word – calling it what it is and seeking forgiveness – rather than just burying the pain.

 

ILLISTR. Bible story Joseph?

 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

I encourage you to do that

Abortion is forgivable

There is only one unforgivable sin

 

 

It seems the biggest problem is that we are trying to fix the problem by killing the result

ILLISTR. It’s the equivalent of trying to fix the common cold by muzzling sneezes

 

 

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIFE Groups #8

Pro life or pro choice?

 

This is a very difficult subject…

It has personally touched many of us.

Abortion is so common that I am aware that there maybe those here who have a difficult time with the subject.

Maybe you’ve had an abortion

Maybe you’ve counseled or even forced someone to have an abortion

 

But I feel that in this tough stuff series we need to include it for 2 very important reasons:

#1- Maybe the truth from God’s word will help someone choose not to have an abortion or to counsel someone you know NOT to have an abortion.

#2- Though it could be very painful there is often healing in hearing the truth from God’s word – calling it what it is and seeking forgiveness – rather than just burying the pain.

 

Tell

For you formed my inward parts;

you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret,

intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

in your book were written, every one of them,

the days that were formed for me,

when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!

How vast is the sum of them!

18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.

I awake, and I am still with you. Psalm 139:13-18

Retell and rebuild…

 

Discussion questions:

 

Q#1- Have you historically been prolife or prochoice?

Why?

Often we think of conception and the (gestation) growth of a baby in its mother as a scientific thing.

Q#2- In our text how does God describe the gestation process of a baby?

 

 

Q#3- What parts of a person’s life are planned by God in advance?

How does the text state this?

 

Looking at Q#2 and #3…

Q#4- Why are these things significant?

 

 

Q#5- What does God want you to take away from your LIFE Group this week?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gone to Heaven

Gone to Heaven

 

GPS leads us astray

Just back from So. CA

 

I read recently about a unique bird known as the Manx Shearwater, which nests off of the coast of Wales. These birds are noted for their incredible homing instincts. Scientists took a number of them and then tagged and released them at different points around the globe to see whether they could find their way back to the coast of Wales. One bird was released in Boston, some 3,200 miles from home. In just over 12 days, that bird returned to his nest, having traveled 250 miles per day from a place it had never been before to reach home again.

 

Another bird, known as the Golden Plover, which is native to Hawaii, migrates during the summer to the Aleutian Isles, 1,200 miles away. There they mate and lay their eggs, and their little fledglings are born. Then the Golden Plovers return to Hawaii, leaving their fledglings to grow up a little. What is amazing is that these little birds that have never been to Hawaii then make the journey 1,200 miles away to a place they have never been. That is an amazing homing instinct.

 

I think, in a sense, that we all have that in us: a longing for something more … a homesickness for heaven … a desire to be in a relationship with God.

Everything we have here is just a little short of perfect…

So we long for this place where its all going to be right and perfect.
Kike those birds we too have a built in gps that gives us a desire for a place we’ve never been

A desire for heaven

 

…Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart… Ecclesiastes 3:11

Everyone longs for heaven

 

This is evidenced by the flood of books and movies on the subject

 

CLICK>>>

 

Its seems that 90 Minutes in Heaven started this Phenom…

A book written in 2004 by a Baptist pastor who was involved in a head on highway speed collision and was pronounced dead at the scene. 90 Minutes in Heaven remained on the New York Times best-seller list for more than five years and has sold over six million copies.

Made into a movie in 2015.

Since then of course- 100s of books have been published in the same genre.

 

Most popular would have to be “Heaven is for Real”. The book documents the report of a near-death experience by three-year-old Colton Burpo. The book recounts the experiences that Colton relates from visits which he said he made to heaven during a near-death experience. By April 2012 over one million ebooks had been sold, and by 2014 over 10 million copies had been sold. A movie based on the book was released on April 16, 2014, earning $101 million at the box office.

 

The phenomenon is so popular that that it now has an acrostic that fans understand.

NDE

Near

Death

Experience

 

Mally Cox-Chapman, a skilled journalist, read and interviewed and tracked down one story after another. In her book The Case for Heaven: Near-Death Experiences as

Evidence of the Afterlife, we read the fairly common pattern of near-death experiences:

 

Feelings of peace and quiet

Feeling oneself out of the body

Going through a dark tunnel

Meeting others, including one or more beings of light

A life review

Coming to a border or limit

Coming back

Seeing life differently

Having new views of death

 

Not everyone has each element.

But the pattern is so common, and spans the religious spectrum so noticeably, that we can speak intelligently of the “NDE Pattern.”

Christians of all stripes, Muslims, Buddhists, and others tell similar stories.

In fact, there are NDE stories going all the way back to ancient Egypt and ancient Rome.

Many of those stories have similar elements, though each religious orientation causes a reshaping of those elements.

 

CLICK>>>

 

After studying story after story of the NDE Pattern, Cox-Chapman landed on at least three conclusions:

 

#1- First, Cox-Chapman concludes that those who have an NDE become believers in an afterlife or in some kind of heaven.

 

#2- Her second conclusion ought to warn those who find their faith most confirmed by these NDE stories: those who have NDEs become more universalistic in their faith.

Explain universalism

Here is where the extreme departure from the Bible begins and forces us to decide what to do with these stories.

 

#3- Cox-Chapman’s final conclusion is MOST startling:

the diversity of the experiences and the variety of religious ideas at work in those NDEs lead her to conclude that “we will be provided with the Heaven that is right for each of us.”

That is, NDE studies make us think each person gets the heaven they want.

 

Heaven becomes about us instead of about God.

We are the central figure…

 

CLICK>>>

 

This is where our deepest concern ought to come violently crashing through the surface:

Could it be that all of these experiences of the afterlife or heaven are something very dark and dangerous??

Could it be that what they are is but a very well-constructed “angel of light” kind of attack on the truth.

 

CLICK>>>

 

Could it be that – they are designed to capture our attention and lead us AWAY (not toward) from the truth

 

What are we to do with these reports?

What should we do with those who say that they’ve been to heaven and come back?

 

Here is what I propose:

We take a look at what God’s word says

Q#1- What does God’s word say about people who have gone to heaven and come back?

Q#2- What should we do with what God’s word say about people who have gone to heaven and come back?

 

CLICK>>>

 

A few years ago I was given a recording of Jesse Duplantis preaching about his trip to heaven.

Jesse Duplantis is a well known health and wealth evangelist…

Just to help you know where HE IS COMING FROM Jesse Duplantis ministries mantra is You can accomplish everything you say you can!

 

The person who gave his CD to me was really excited!

“You are gonna be amazed”, he exclaimed as he handed me the CD.

The highlight of the CD was that Jesse Duplantis had been in the throne room of God

He had seen the Father and so powerful was God that at one point Duplantis reported that God had accidentally flicked His little finger and sent an angel smashing into the wall!!!!

Well, He was right, I was amazed

And really worried

Everything about that CD bothered me.

 

This represents one of my greatest concerns with these stories, books and movies…

They suck people in who are looking for something.

 

ILLISTR. This is the same man who was sucked into online money making scams and had to borrow money to live on.

A man who later had all his money stolen because he believed he had ordered a wife from Africa.

 

CLICK>>>

 

No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. John 1:18

No one has ever seen the Father except the Son

That’s all

 

In the OT when God showed up to talk with people, He is often cloaked

Or the contact is indirect

Or often in these appearances God is titled the same way: “the angel of the Lord”

 

CLICK>>>

 

These are called a Theophany – a visible manifestation to humankind of God.

In many cases this is the pre-incarnate Jesus – coming to meet with people

These are more accurately called a Christophany

 

CLICK>>>

 

For example Isaiah says at Isaiah 6

I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Isaiah 6:1

Isaiah had a vision of God on His throne

But wait, no one has seen God

Who was it that Isaiah saw?

Well speaking of Jesus the Apostle John clarifies this:

Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. John 12:41

 

Why?

Why can we not see God the father?

 

CLICK>>>

 

1st of all Ex.33:20 says that no one may see God and live…

Paul said it this way, To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 1Timothy 1:17

People have seen visions of God, images of God, and appearances of God, but no one has ever seen God in all His fullness.

 

John 4:24 clearly states that God is spirit.

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24

He does not have a body or a form that is humanly conceivable.

 

Note Jesus concern- we are always looking for some physical experience.

True worship is in Spirit and in in the truth of God’s word.

 

Ok, so if we believe the Bible – then we have a problem with some who says they’ve SEEN God the Father…

 

What if they don’t say that?

I mean they’ve just gone to heaven??

 

First what about the Biblical accounts?????

There are a few people in scripture who have seen heaven…

Look carefully at what they teach us:

 

After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven… Revelation 4:1-2

John was in the Spirit.

This was a vision not a trip to heaven and back.

 

 

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. 2 Corinthians 12:2-4

Paul states that this was so real that it could have been that he was physically there- even so- he would not presume to tell what he saw… He heard things that CANNOT be repeated!!!

I also might mention that Paul immediately talked about the thorn in his flesh that God had given him to make and KEEP him humble…

 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 2Cor.12:7

 

Here is what He is saying: IF you were to so much as get a glimpse of a vision of God’s heaven, it would be so dangerous to your spiritual wellbeing -that it would require a drastic and painful humbling in order to be able to correctly handle it!!!!

 

Lazarus (John 11) was in the grave for several days – plenty of time give us a great description of heaven

But he didn’t.

 

Four people in scripture over the course of 3000 years recorded visions of heaven:

John

Paul

Isaiah

Ezekiel

They all had visions of heaven

And common to EVERY BIBLICAL ACCOUNT is that at center stage is the glory of God

 

But they didn’t go there and come back

 

ILLISTR. John Piper’s book God is the Gospel. He asks:

The critical question for our generation—and for every generation—is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?

 

The Biblical accounts are focused intently on one thing: The glory of God…

Jesus is central in all of them

In the BIBLICAL ACCOUNTS HEAVEN is not heaven without Jesus

Its not about the experiences- its about the person of Christ- that’s what makes it heaven.

 

And they are visions – they didn’t go there and come back

 

Has anyone?

 

I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.

Who has ascended to heaven and come down?

Who has gathered the wind in his fists?

Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?

Who has established all the ends of the earth?

What is his name, and what is his son’s name?

Surely you know!

Every word of God proves true;

he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Proverbs 30:3-5

This is one of those, if you think you know so much verses.

Like God talking to Job…

The sage is stating that even though he has sought wisdom – he doesn’t know a thing compared to God!

His proof?

Who has done the things that only God can do?

Like what?

Like ascended to heaven and come down

His question is Who has ascended to heaven and come down?

These authors and movies would say, well I have!!

 

What does God say?

Turn to John 3:13

 

CLICK>>>

 

Jesus said, No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. John 3:13

 

Who?

No one

 

And may I add, what a ploy

What a move

What a chess move

Have a little boy tell a story about heaven – who wants to call a cute little boy a liar?

I don’t

In fact let me just say now- I am not calling anyone a liar

Im just trying to point out the truth!!

 

CLICK>>>

 

Q#2- What should we do with what God’s word says about people who have gone to heaven and come back?

 

A very serious issue arises for anyone who cares about how we determine what we are to believe.

 

CLICK>>>

 

What shapes your faith?

 

In other words, many Christians—the numbers who buy NDE books, the numbers who go to these movies—

 

The question is why??

If they believe these stories and have a faith that is shaped from the Bible, then they are only believing what the Bible says, and don’t need the NDE story.

 

In which case, let’s focus more on the Bible and bring the discussion back to what the Bible clearly teaches.

 

But we can turn this around slightly and look at it from a different angle: if many Christians disbelieve elements of many NDE stories because they don’t line up with the Bible—

And let me be clear- the elements that don’t cohere with the Bible are numerous—then these Bible believing Christians don’t need the stories either!

In which case, let’s focus on what the Bible teaches, not what NDEs suggest.

 

There is a more negative perhaps sinister undercurrent to the NDE stories:

 

CLICK>>>

 

If you believe the NDE stories because of the power of the experience being told, then you don’t need the Bible.

If the experience itself is what determines what you believe, then you will believe the experience regardless of what the Bible says about heaven.

 

Permit me to illustrate how this works…

ILLISTR. A new Harris Poll finds that a strong majority (74 percent) of U.S. adults say they believe in God…

And it shows that 42% of Americans believe in ghosts, 36% each believe in creationism and UFOs, 29% believe in astrology, 26% believe in witches and 24% believe in reincarnation – that they were once another person.

The fact is – regardless of what we say we believe about God- we are getting farther away from Biblical orthodoxy.

 

My reading of hundreds of NDE stories is that they in fact MOST don’t confirm what the Bible says.

 

In fact, they bring into the light the faith and convictions and suspicions and hopes and dreams of what that person already believed.

The Bible- God’s word- is being pushed to the side for the sake of the experience.

 

Again, this more negative consideration can be stated from a slightly different angle: if you believe the elements of the NDE stories because of the power of the experiences, you will need to believe every element in these stories.

Because you are throwing the Bible out the window!!!

Which leads me to a question what haunts me every time I hear fellow Christians clap so loud about this stuff:

How then does one distinguish which elements in these NDE experiences is what heaven is really like from what is not?

Who or what is the authority?

 

It seems to me that there is a very effective attack under way.

And many people are casualties in the battle for truth…

 

Why?

Because to believe in Jesus is to believe in His word.

To love Jesus is to love His word and to value it over the word of the culture.

 

I pray that our longing for heaven would drive us to seek the truth

 

ILLISTR. Andy Gholson always another woman

This time native

 

a culture of relativism is being stealthily created around us

 

For more about heaven see Rev. 21&22

 

Scot McKnight is a New Testament Professor at Northern Seminary, the writer of the popular blog Jesus Creed, and author of the forthcoming book The Heaven Promise: Engaging the Bible’s Truth About Life to Come, (Oct. 6, WaterBrook Press).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIFE Group #7

 

People who say that they’ve gone to heaven and come back.

Huge Phenom… Began in 2005 with Don Piper’s book “90 Minutes in Heaven” and really culminated with the massive popularity of the book and movie “Heaven is for Real”.

Since then there has been an enormous influx of books, movies and other media.

Anything published in regard to NDEs makes money!!

 

What does God’s word say about this?

 

Tell…

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. John 3:1-15

Retell and rebuild…

 

Discussion questions:

 

Q#1- What has your position been on movies and books such as 90 minutes in Heaven or Heaven is for Real?

 

Q#2- Where did Nicodemus admit Jesus came from?

Read vs.13

Q#3- What is Jesus saying in this verse?

 

According to our story, there are two distinct parts of a person.

Q#4- What are these parts?

What does it mean to be born again?

What makes Jesus uniquely qualified to bring about this rebirth in us?

 

 

Q#5- What does God want you to take away from your LIFE Group this week?

 

 

 

 

Tough Stuff #5 Same Sex Marriage pt.2 Matthew 19:3-6

Tough Stuff #5

Same Sex Marriage pt.2

Matthew 19:3-6

 

 

On the first night of their 
honeymoon, the husband isn’t sure how to tell his bride about his stinky feet and smelly socks, while the wife is wondering how to break the news to him about her awful breath, which so far, she’s been able to cover up. After some soul-searching, the 
husband gathers his nerve and says, “I have a confession.”

She draws closer, peers into his eyes, and says, “Darling, so do I.”

Recoiling, he says, “Don’t tell me—you’ve eaten my socks.”

 

 

There is a great controversy today over marriage

It involves primarily same sex marriage

 

Some hold what we would call a traditional view

They would say that marriage is one woman one man

Others would like to see this changed

The feel that two men or two women have as much right to be married as a man and woman.

As well as offering other civil liberties

 

 

2 questions:

Q#1- What does God’s word say about homosexuality?

Q#2- What does God’s word say about marriage?

 

CLICK>>>

Q#1- What does God’s word say about homosexuality?

 

 

Q#2- What does God’s word say about marriage?

 

CLICK>>>

 

A lot

 

First of all who gets to define marriage?

Who has that privilege, responsibility and authority?

Who has the right to define marriage?

 

One of the things we looked at last week is that when we reject God as creator practically everything becomes confused

 

Marriage is a PRIME example of this

Who defines marriage?

The creator or the creature?

When the creature defines marriage – anything goes

Where do you get your definition??

There is no basis / no ground rules / no foundation

And we will finish today – later by showing you where this goes when it’s up to us…

So who should decide?

Who gets to define marriage?

 

CLICK>>>

 

Consider this:

John 1:3 speaking about Jesus states:

All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. John 1:3

There is nothing in all of the universe that was not made by the word of Jesus.

 

Col.1:16 phrases it this way: For by him (Jesus) all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible… Colossians 1:16

Jesus is the creator of all…

Even if you cannot see it- Jesus made it.

I was just reading that recently, we’ve found that atoms do not represent the smallest unit of matter.

Particles called quarks and leptons seem to be the fundamental building blocks – but perhaps there is something even smaller.

Jesus made every single one of them!!

In the material world Jesus made everything -even down to the quarks and leptons- He made them.

In the immaterial world- He created feelings and thoughts and instituted godly customs…

Such as marriage

Even if you cannot see and touch it- Jesus made it!!!!

 

So it is pertinent to us that Jesus was asked about marriage and He answered in detail…

Matthew 19:3-6

 

CLICK>>>

 

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:3-6

 

Once again the religious leaders were trying to discredit Jesus by tripping Him up publicly.

So they asked a question which was loaded down with the issues of the day:

“Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?”

Why was this a loaded question?

Because the nation of Israel was divided over this issue in the first century.

There was no right answer- no matter what you say, you alienate half the people.

So what does Jesus do?

He goes to scripture…

 

CLICK>>>

 

Followers of Hillel felt a man could divorce his wife for almost any reason, but others, following Shammai, thought one could not divorce his wife unless she were guilty of sexual offense.

 

In answering their question Jesus gives very clear insight into the CREATOR’s definition of marriage:

Here is what He says;

 

Marriage according to Jesus (creator of all things).

 

CLICK>>>

 

Jesus defines:

  1. The people in marriage… Vs.4

Who makes up a marriage??

People are created male and female

It is a male and a female that make up a marriage.

 

Note this: Genders are distinct and they are meant to be that way

Gen.1:27

Any confusion is manmade / sexual confusion is sin-made not God made

 

 

Some have said that Jesus never mentioned homosexuality;

This is their argument; well Jesus never said anything about it!!

Let me help you understand the truth about this statement…

3 things:

I would say that’s not true

1st– He used the pornia code…

Both in the sermon on the mount (Matt.5:32) and at Matthew 15:19 Jesus refers to the πορνεία [porneia /por·ni·ah/] code found in Leviticus 18 (Vs.22)

Which clearly states that homosexuality as well as other sexual immorality are an abomination to God.

 

 

2ndHe clearly defined marriage and what that relationship is;

One man one woman for life

To do so He reached back to the first book of the Bible

Genesis

When He created this world

He also created men and women and made them as He did for the purpose of marriage

He defined the relationship between them

 

3rd– He is the 2nd member of the trinity

The God head

God the father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit

God in three persons – perfect unity

 

Whatever the Bible says – Jesus said it!

He was there when every commandment of the OT was written down

And He was in perfect agreement with every one of them

He was there when Sodom was destroyed and was in perfect agreement

 

Jesus defines the people of marriage.

When Jesus discusses marriage He does so in the context of one man and one woman.

 

CLICK>>>

 

  1. The priority of marriage… Vs.5

What importance does Jesus give to marriage?

A marriage takes place when a man leaves his father and mother in order to hold fast to his wife (clearly female).

Why do we say that marriage is the highest human relationship?

 

Because Jesus placed it there:

Marriage is a higher calling than the parent-child relationship.

Often this gets confused as husbands and wives fail to love one another first and parents attempt to get their love need from children

 

ILLISTR. Marriage is a higher calling than the parent-child relationship.

Married couples need to prioritize this and meddling parents need to understand this.

 

Your kids need to see mom and dad as a united front in the home

Kids need to have marriage love and respect modeled for the them…

Just as God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit are perfectly united as one

So a man, wife and Jesus are united as one

‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife

We are to honor our father and mother- but for this one reason we leave them – what reason?

For GREATER purpose of marriage

 

CLICK>>>

 

Jesus defines:

  1. The plaster in marriage… Vs.5b

Marriage bonds a male and a female into husband and wife

In order to hold fast to his wife

Titles and roles are changed

Hold fast προσκολλάω, προσκλίνω [proskollao /pros·kol·lah·o/] v. The word for cement or epoxy.

This is a connection that goes far beyond living together.

 

Illistr. In the physical world – when you put to materials together – there must be a cement that holds them together

Two materials PLUS a cement

If I take two boards and push them together then let go- what happens?

They fall apart

If I put wood glue on each piece and then press them together and let go- they stick!!

 

God is that cement and the Spirit of God bind’s two souls together permanently

If that cement of God is already on the husband and the Wife- marriage can be a wonderful thing!!!!!!

It is a fusing together physically and spiritually in which God is directly involved

He explains further: and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. Vs.5c&6a

Marriage takes a male and a female and makes them one.

[Proskollao <4347>,] ‘shall be cemented to his wife

as the Hebrew davak implies; a beautiful metaphor, forcibly intimating that nothing but death can separate them.

The question is asked, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?”

Jesus is illustrating that when two become one it would destroy both if they should attempt to be separated and the one flesh become two again.

Ps.63:8 My soul clings to you; Psalm 63:8

 

CLICK>>>

 

Therefore Jesus defines:

  1. The permanency of marriage… Vs.6

Man should not attempt to separate those who have become one.

Why?

Because God has joined them…

The word separate there – is the root of where our word divorce comes from

What therefore God has joined together

ILLISTR. [Zeugos <2201>,] ‘hath yoked together,’ as oxen in the plow

In centuries past they would actually place a yoke on the bride and groom in order to show this symbolism.

The groom literally could not go any direction other than the way the bride went and vise a versa.

 

It is worth mentioning that the very same language is used a 2 Cor.6:14

Where it commands us: Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.

God’s recipe for a lasting good godly marriage is a man and a woman both highly committed to Jesus and obedience to His word.

 

ILLISTR. Shaunti Feldhahn is a Harvard-trained social researcher, popular speaker, and best-selling author…

In her research she found that “active conservative protestants” who attend church regularly are actually 35% less likely to divorce than those who have no religious preferences.

Notice the active element of the faith commitment.

“Nominal” Christians, however, those who simply call themselves Christians but so not actively engage with the faith (Church, prayer, Bible study), are actually 20% more likely than the general population to get divorced—perhaps there is a link between putting on a show in the religious and relational context.

 

It has been said that marriage is under attack

In most cases we have let down our defenses and allowed that attack!!!!

Now there are a lot of reasons that people don’t have much faith in marriage.

 

CLICK>>>

 

Therefore the Bible teaches…

Let marriage be held in honor among all…

Hebrews 13:4

Here is what He is saying…

Marriage should be held in the highest regard:

Marriage as defined in God’s word is one man one woman for life.

That’s what should be honored

Among who?

All

Marriage should be honored and revered

Held in highest regard

Esteemed by society

When its not- things fall apart in society

 

Well that’s not exactly accurate

The 2nd part of the verse is , and let the marriage bed be undefiled…

What He says is that because marriage is not honored among individual married couples- then society doesn’t honor marriage

It falls apart a family and one marriage at a time

 

People have to be true and faithful in marriage

I heard a comedian say, no wonder gay marriage is gaining popularity, after all traditional marriage work less than half the time!!

He is right…

 

CLICK>>>

 

What happens in society is traditional marriage fails because people are selfish and self-centered

 

As we forget our Biblical roles – boys grow up with masculine controlling mothers and weak effeminate fathers who will not and DO NOT engage and lead in the home

 

Children are sexually confused

And seek to escape…

 

Families are ruined and kids are damaged

And they say, I don’t want what mom and dad had…

 

And this is a generational failure

And society crumbles

 

But we can do something about it

We can

We can hold marriage as Jesus defines it – in great honor

And we can be honest with our children about our failures and our need for forgiveness

We can commit our lives and relationships to Jesus and live for Him instead of ourselves.

 

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27

 

We are either contributors to society that has no reason to honor marriage or we – in submission to God – become people who help society to honor marriage…

 

 

Walking with Jesus means changing direction when we hear His word – so that we can continue to walk with Him.

 

The question is; who gets to determine what I think?

After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:66-69

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tough Stuff #5

Same Sex Marriage pt.2

 

 

There is a great controversy today over marriage

It involves primarily same sex marriage

 

Some hold what we would call a traditional view. They would say that marriage is one woman one man. Others would like to see this changed. The feel that two men or two women have as much right to be married as a man and woman. As well as offering other civil liberties.

What does God’s word say about marriage?

 

Tell…

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:3-6

Retell and rebuild…

 

Discussion Questions:

 

Q#1- How do you define marriage?

 

Q#2- Why is what Jesus says about marriage important?

 

Q#3- Why does Jesus bring creation into the issue of marriage?

 

Read vs.5 and 6 slowly and carefully

Q#4- What does it mean that “two become one flesh”?

Is it possible for 2 men or 2 woman to become one flesh?

Why or why not?

 

Q#5- What does God want you to take away from your LIFE Group this week?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tough Stuff #4 Same Sex Marriage Genesis 19

Tough Stuff #4

Same Sex Marriage

Genesis 19

 

There is a great controversy today over marriage

It involves primarily same sex marriage

 

Some hold what we would call a traditional view

They would say that marriage is one woman one man

Others would like to see this changed

The feel that two men or two women have as much right to be married as a man and woman.

As well as offering other civil liberties

 

The argument

About 2.2% of American males identified themselves as homosexual in 2015

With about 1% of females identifying themselves as homosexual

 

Although sharply divided, public attitudes toward homosexuality is rapidly changing to reflect greater acceptance, with younger generations leading the way. The rise in support for same-sex marriage has been especially dramatic over the last two decades. It went from 11 percent approval in 1988 to 46 percent in 2010.

 

The change toward acceptance of homosexuality began in the late 1980s after years of remaining relatively constant. In 1973, 70 percent of people felt same-sex relations are “always wrong,” and in 1987, 75 percent held that view.

By 2000, however, that number dropped to 54 percent and by 2010 was down to 43.5 percent.

 

Pew Research (a statistics firm) has this to offer in regard to where the church is at with all of this:

Amid a changing religious landscape that has seen a declining percentage of Americans who identify as Christian, a majority of U.S. Christians (54%) now say that homosexuality should be accepted, rather than discouraged, by society.

 

It may be important to add that that number is 36% among those identified as evangelicals.

 

Presently there are 37 states that allow and recognize same sex marriage

There are still 13 states with “laws or constitutional amendments that deny the freedom to marry to same-sex couples.”

 

Like all of the tough issues there is a lot of emotion involved

As we established last weekend- the government cannot regulate morality

Nor can government determine what is sin and what is not

Governments can certainly contribute to upholding morality or its decay- that is for sure

But ultimately morality is an individual choice

 

As people who claim Jesus and the authority of scripture; what does God’s word say?

 

 

A couple of comments up front:

I don’t want to do this!

But I have to- there is far too much confusion

I was really struggling with God about it…

Why are you doing it?

Truth…

 

CLICK>>>

 

2 questions:

Q#1- What does God’s word say about homosexuality?

Q#2- What does God’s word say about marriage?

 

CLICK>>>

Q#1- What does God’s word say about homosexuality?

First I would go back to the Old Testament to get an example to teach from…

Gen.19

Probably the most famous of all stories concerning homosexuality

The story of Sodom and Gomorrah

 

The central Character of the story is a man named Lot

2 Peter 2:7 informs us of Lot’s character

It states that Lot was a righteous man

And so Lot was a man who knew God but he was living in the city of Sodom

God sent 2 angels with a message for Lot

The angels appeared to be regular men…

 

CLICK>>>

 

Vs.4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.”

 

To “know them” is a phrase that means to gain intimate knowledge of them

Same language occurs at Judges 19:22 / same context

At Gen.4:1 Adam knew his wife and she conceived and bore a son.

It is clear that the language means that the men of the city planned to have sex with these supposed male visitors.

 

So out of control was the lust of the men of the city of Sodom and so wide was their reputation – that the assumption was that if a stranger entered their city they must have come there to experience the unique sexuality of the city.

What was that?

Men with men

 

Lot was ashamed and tried to dissuade the men of the city

Vs.7 and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly.”

 

Well those were the wrong words just as they are in this generation

Vs.9 But they said, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down.

 

Well, being angels who were changed with Lot’s protection they reached out and reinforced the door of the house with one hand so the men of the city couldn’t break it down and with the other hand- caused blindness to come upon them.

 

In actuality the reason the angels had come to Sodom was to warn Lot concerning what God was about to do…

 

CLICK>>>

 

Vs.12 Then the men (angels) said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, bring them out of the place. 13 For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”

 

CLICK>>>

 

Vs.24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. 27 And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.

 

Well, what does that tell us?

Why is that a BASIS for this study?

 

CLICK>>>

 

It tells us at least three things:

1- that God takes sexual sin very seriously

2- that Sodom and Gomorrah is an example

OT examples

NT direct truth

In fact Sodom and Gomorrah becomes THEE eternal picture of God’s wrath on those who reject His law and demand to keep their sin

 

Jude 7

…just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. Jude 7

 

He says Sodom and Gomorrah serves as an example

12 Bible penman use this example

 

In Deut.

Isaiah

Jeramiah

Lamentations

Ezekiel

Amos

Zephaniah

Matt.10 & 11

Luke 10 & 17

Rom.9

2 Peter 2

Rev.11

 

 

3- that God wants His people to flee from sexual sin

Even if a society endorses it

God wants His people To be separated from it

 

 

Well someone says, but that is the Old Testament

Does everything change between the Old and New Testaments?

Are the rules different?

This is often the argument in favor of same sex marriage

The person who says this doesn’t know God’s word

 

CLICK>>>

 

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-19

 

Jesus came to fulfill the law not to change it

To fulfill the legal demands of it

 

See, the law or what is sin and what is not hasn’t changed

Now sometimes the argument goes like this:

You are picking and choosing verses

The idea is that there are all sorts of laws in the OT that we don’t keep

Why single out certain ones

Are we just trying to have things our way?

Well, maybe some people are…

But there is a proper way to interpret the OT and do it consistently

 

Moral law (God’s will for all people for all times)

Civil laws (how Israel was to operate as a state)

Ceremonial laws (how Israel was to worship God / separated them from the people around them)

 

The remainder of the OT serves as examples of what happens when we ignore God’s moral laws

We are still under the moral law of the OT

 

In fact the New Testament reiterates this precisely:

Look at Romans 1 with me…

 

At Romans ch.1 Gods word explains what happens when we reject the truth of His word to pursue our own view of God…

Look at vs.23

Exactly what the people of Sodom did.

Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

How does sexual confusion get out of hand instead of getting in God’s hands for healing?

It gets out of hand when people claim to know something

The demand that I am wise in myself

Prov.3:7

 

And then because we claim to be wise we believe that manmade religion is better than

The God of the Bible

They are more interested in religion than relationship

And so we look for something more concrete

Statues

Saints

Pictures and the like

 

Because some people reject God and claim to be wise- He lets them go…

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,

When people chase religion it is sensuality that they are seeking

Something to be felt

So naturally sexual lust is fanned into flame

 

25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

A lie (lit., “the lie”) says that the creature or human (Gen. 3:4–5) can exist independent of God,

self-sufficient,

self-directing,

and self-fulfilling.

Mankind made himself his god in place of the true God.

 

“The creature” refers to what God has created

When the God of the Bible is rejected it is not long before that which is created becomes more important or most important – more revered and valued than the one who created it.

In fact the one who created it is replaced by His creation

And people worship trees

And animals

And nature

And man worships himself

 

And of course when creation becomes more important than the creator there is no reason to follow God’s law or the natural order of things

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, (orexei, “sexual lust,” used only here in the NT and differing from the more common word for lust in v. 26 / as if they are the ones driving this issue) men committing shameless acts with men…

Circle the word natural and what is contrary to nature

His point is that the natural way in which we are made shows that God designed males to be with females.

In fact the very fact that you and I are here shows that the natural function is male with female

Apart from that and humanity ceases to reproduce and exist

and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

This type of behavior is subject to severe judgment.

 

We began with Sodom and Gomorrah and here again he mentions God’s judgment of insisting on homosexual behavior…

 

ILLISTR. homosexuals are about 50% more likely to suffer from depression and engage in substance abuse than the rest of the population, reports Health24.com . . . the risk of suicide jumped over 200% if an individual had engaged in a homosexual lifestyle . . . the lifespan of a homosexual is on average 24 years shorter than that of a heterosexual.

2% of U.S. population is gay yet it accounts for 61% of HIV infection

There are obvious consequences

 

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

Debased = corrupted

Spoiled

He gave them up to it

Notice that when we demand to keep our sin

Or demand that our sin is not sin- God will give you up to it

It’s as if He says they insisted on corrupted thinking- so God gave them up to it

 

Because he turned them over to this corrupt thinking Vs.29 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

 

Is any of God’s judgement unfair or unjust?

No, after all Vs.32 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:22-32

There is no innocence in this sin.

It is rebellion in the face of what God says.

And they are not only doing these wicked condemned things – but they are making disciples.

Encouraging others to do the same.

 

It is the rejection of God- that is, pushing the truth away results in a darkened heart to the light of Christ…

And eventually leads into the degradation of sexual sin – and THEN believing that wickedness is righteousness-

Sexual sin and apparently particularly homosexuality is a symptom of rejecting God and relying on your own understanding…

 

But it doesn’t have to be where you land.

It’s not a road to condemnation and hell with no possibility for redemption

It’s not inescapable

Neither is God’s wrath inescapable

Look at 1 Cor.6:9

 

Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:22-32

 

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 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

 

CLICK>>>

 

Here is what He is saying:

#1- These things will keep you out of heaven

There is no such thing as a Christian homosexual

That is an oxymoron

Its like saying I’m a Christian thief

Yes I do rob people but I am a Christian

I’m a Christian swindler

Of course I cheat people but I am still a Christian

 

#2- Practicing homosexuality is a sin

Someone says, well homosexuality is listed with a number of other sins here

YES!

It is and that means that it is a sin

Also notice that temptation is not a sin

Desire is not a sin

Practicing – dreaming – fantasizing is a sin

 

Notice vs.11

#3- You must be washed of it.

When you are justified then dealing with homosexual feelings or behaviors must become part of the sanctification process.

 

Do you realize what He is saying here?

If you have sin in your life that you demand to hang on to

You won’t confess it

You won’t forsake it

Instead you embrace it

That one sin will send you to hell

You love it more than you love Jesus

It’s worth more to you than He is

 

So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:33

 

ILLISTR. The monkey and the banana in the jar

If you don’t let go you cannot be free to enter the kingdom

 

You are under God’s wrath until you let go of your sin…

 

Someone says, well didn’t Jesus die for my sin?

Yes- but not so that you could keep it

He died so that you could be free of it

Like He says there at Vs.9 Do not be deceived!!

 

See, Its not that I don’t have sin…

It’s that I hate it- I’m fighting, battling to be done with it

I’m not fighting to KEEP IT

I am not trying to make some certain sin my identity

Vs.11 And such were some of you.

 

ILLISTR. Robert H

 

Listen why does Jesus teach that if your right eye causes you to sin- tear it out?

He goes on to say, its better for you to lose one of the parts of your body than that your whole body be thrown into hell!!

Matthew 5:29

 

Most people will give up many things to enter

But they will not give up everything

 

Well this isn’t fair because people are born that way

Born that way?

Possibly

Like any sin- we may be born with a propensity toward it

 

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned… Romans 5:12

Total depravity / not utter depravity (Not that there is no good in us but that every part of us is depraved. Body soul, mind.)

 

We all inherited a sin nature

Yes of course you were born with it

 

But no one gets a pass

No one has a special sin that they get to keep

There are no special interest groups in the kingdom of God

 

Often times this is portrayed as a racial issue

That denying homosexual rights is the same as what has been done in the past to African Americans.

Here is the problem with that:

Being African American is neither a sin nor a choice and we know that because God never says to

African Americans – “stop being African American”…

 

But He does say come out of sexual sin.

Stop that!

 

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

 

Here is what He is saying:

We’ve all got something to deal with

 

ILLISTR. Cindy said, I know how you feel about homosexuals – but my brother is one so I cannot feel that way.

 

We must tell the truth

The argument is often that we are not loving unless we are tolerant

Not so

Prov.27:6

If we love we tell the truth

This is sin and there is a way out

 

CLICK>>>

 

Q#2- What does God’s word say about marriage?

 

First of all who gets to define marriage?

Who has that privilege, responsibility and right?

 

CLICK>>>

 

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:3-6

 

Some have said that Jesus never mentioned homosexuality…

First I would say that’s not true

Both in the sermon on the mount and at Matthew 15:19 Jesus refers to the πορνεία [porneia /por·ni·ah/] code found in Leviticus 18 (Vs.22)

Which clearly states that homosexuality as well as a number of other sexual relations are an abomination to God.

 

But in addition notice that He clearly defined marriage and what that relationship is;

One man one woman for life

 

To do so He reached back to the first book of the Bible

Genesis

When He created this world

He also created men and women and made them as He did for the purpose of marriage

He defined the relationship between them

 

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled… Hebrews 13:4

 

 

Walking with Jesus means changing direction when we hear His word – so that we can continue to walk with Him.

 

The question is; who gets to determine what I think?

After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:66-69

 

 

 

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIFE Groups #4

Same Sex Marriage

Genesis 19

 

There is a great controversy today over marriage. Some hold what we would call a traditional view. They would say that marriage is one woman one man. Others would like to see this changed. They feel that two men or two women have as much right to be married as a man and woman. As well as offering other civil liberties.

 

Like all of the tough issues there is a lot of emotion involved… As we established last weekend- the government cannot regulate morality. Nor can government determine what is sin and what is not. Governments can certainly contribute to upholding morality or its decay- that is for sure… But ultimately morality is an individual choice.

 

Tell…

Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:22-32

Retell and rebuild…

 

Discussion Questions:

 

Q#1- Does the subject of same sex marriage or homosexuality in general cause any emotion in you?

Why?

 

 

Read Vs.26&27 again. Some people who want to twist scripture insist that these verses mean that it is unnatural for a heterosexual male or female to engage in homosexual relations but it is not unnatural for a homosexual male or female to do so since homosexuality is such a person’s natural preference. (While it may not be our choice concerning the type of sin we are most tempted with, it is our choice to pursue or reject God’s truth concerning that sin.)

Q#2- In what ways does this passage teach that homosexuality is a choice?

 

Q#3- Look carefully at vs. 26 and vs.28. Why does God sometimes “give people up to” sin?

 

Q#4- Has God ever taken this action with you (given you up to sin)?

What was the result?

 

Q#5- Spend some time together in prayer asking God for a right heart concerning this issue. Cry out to God in prayer for those who are blinded by passion and a debased mind, caught up in this damaging lifestyle choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tough Stuff #3 Legalized Marijuana

Tough Stuff #3

Legalized Marijuana

Presently there is a huge controversy over whether we should legalize marijuana or not

 

It has been left to some degree to the states.

Currently, the use of both recreational and medicinal marijuana has been entirely legalized in the states of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington.

Then there are some cities who have individually decided to do the same:

The cities of Portland and South Portland in Maine; as well as Keego Harbor, Michigan, have fully legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use.

The District of Columbia has fully legalized recreational and medical marijuana, but recreational commercial sale is currently blocked by Congress.

Twelve states have both medical marijuana and decriminalization laws.

Ten states, plus Guam, and Puerto Rico have only legalized medical marijuana.

Three states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have only decriminalized possession laws.

The remaining twenty-two states and two inhabited territories state that marijuana possession and sales are illegal and prohibited entirely.

 

The argument for legalizing cannabis goes something like this:

Marijuana should be removed from the criminal justice system and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco.

Legalizing and regulating marijuana will bring it under the rule of law, creating jobs and economic opportunities in the formal economy instead of the illicit market.

 

CLICK>>>

There was a recent headline in the wall street journal entitled:

Marijuana moves from the black market to the stock market

The article states that it is America’s largest cash crop and now we are gonna make some money!!

 

Another portion of the argument states that: If marijuana usage was legalized – scarce law enforcement resources that could be better used to protect public safety would be preserved while reducing corrections and court costs.

Those are really good- actually very convincing arguments for Legalizing Marijuana.

There are powerful people and lobbying organization pushing for this…

 

Like all of the “tough” issues we will be dealing with- there is a lot of emotion in this battle.

On both sides…

Obviously there are those who just want it legalized so they can do it.

Others fight legalization because of some issue they have with the idea of it.

 

But as people who claim to believe in Jesus and His word- what He says must be our authority.

What does the Bible say about legalized drug use?

 

A couple of things before we start:

  1. God’s word never uses the word marijuana anywhere in the text

So… before we can discuss marijuana I think we have to talk about alcohol and perhaps see if the two are tied together in anyway in scripture…

  1. I want to do this by asking and then answering a couple of questions.

 

CLICK>>>

 

Here is what they look like:

Q#1- Is it a sin to drink alcohol?

Q#2- Is it a sin to use marijuana?

 

CLICK>>>

 

Q#1- Is it a sin to drink alcohol?

 

It could be…

Jesus created wine at a wedding- apparently for them to drink.

There are several places in scripture that talk about drinking alcohol without condemning it as sin.

 

CLICK>>>

 

However let me give you

3 circumstances where drinking alcohol would be a sin:

 

  1. If you get drunk it’s a sin

 

Consuming to much alcohol is certainly a sin

Why?

Because we are absolutely instructed not to!!

 

CLICK>>>

 

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit… Ephesians 5:18

Debauchery: excessiveindulgenceinsensualpleasures

So He says, do not get drunk with wine…

Is it a sin to drink alcohol?

If you’re going to get drunk – it’s a sin

What is drunk?

  1. μεθύσκω [methusko /meth·oos·ko/] v. A prolonged (transitive) intoxicated.

The prefix “meth” means altered

Methusko indicates then An altered state of mind

Do not do anything that would give you an altered state of mind

That would take away your normal natural mental function

 

Why would that be?

 

CLICK>>>

 

See the Bible teaches that we should be alert at all times

Why?

1st– Because Jesus is coming again

Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. Mark 13:33

 

2nd– Because you are in a battle

…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints… Eph.6:18

 

3rd– Because we are children of God (of light)

So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 1 Thes.5:6

One of the distinctive of believers is that we are alert

We know what’s going on

We have the truth- we need to be alert

 

In addition and this is very significant…

Drinking until drunk is destructive:

Turn to Prov.23:29-35

 

CLICK>>>

Who has woe? Who has sorrow?

Who has strife? Who has complaining?

Who has wounds without cause?

Who has redness of eyes?

30    Those who tarry long over wine;

those who go to try mixed wine.

31    Do not look at wine when it is red,

when it sparkles in the cup

and goes down smoothly.

32    In the end it bites like a serpent

and stings like an adder.

33    Your eyes will see strange things,

and your heart utter perverse things.

34    You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,

like one who lies on the top of a mast.

35    “They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt;

they beat me, but I did not feel it.

When shall I awake?

I must have another drink.” Prov.23:29-35

 

 

Who has woe? Who has sorrow?

Who has strife? Who has complaining?

Who has wounds without cause?

Who has redness of eyes?

Six questions call attention to emotional problems (woe and sorrow), social problems (strife and complaints), and physical problems (bruises-from beatings or bumping into things while staggering-and bloodshot eyes)

 

31   Do not look at wine when it is red,

when it sparkles in the cup

and goes down smoothly.

32   In the end it bites like a serpent

and stings like an adder.

Alcohol is deceptive

It is a tool of the great deceiver- Satan

Like Him- it masquerades as an angel of light

It looks attractive and inviting

But in the end it has the same effect as a poisonous snake

ILLISTR. Kelly in an alcohol poison induced coma

 

Drunkenness also leads a person to lose him or herself:

33   Your eyes will see strange things,

hallucinations and imagining confusing

Did you notice by the way how Eph.5:18 is put together?

And do not get drunk with wine… but be filled with the Spirit… Ephesians 5:18

Alcohol- or any drug that alters your state- opens you up to demon possession or influence.

What do they call alcohol? What is another name for it?

Spirits!!

Its either the Holy Spirit of God that you are filled with or you are open to an evil spirit… a demon.

So naturally when you drink what happens?

Next vs.:

 

and your heart utter perverse things.

Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks and what does the drunkard speak?

Perverse things ; twisted logic and foolishness.

34   You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,

like one who lies on the top of a mast.

Physically a drunkard is off balance as he walks. In his stupor he may imagine himself moving like a sailor swaying at the top of a ship’s rigging.

 

Feelings and emotions are lost in alcohol abuse:

35   “They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt;

they beat me, but I did not feel it.

 

Why?

Because 40% of state prisoners convicted of violent crimes were under the influence of alcohol at the time of their offense − the more violent the crime, the greater the likelihood that alcohol was involved…

 

Also a drunkard is insensitive to pain.

In fact drinking my become an escape from pain.

Instead of handling things – we may medicate

 

Lastly he asks; When shall I awake?

I must have another drink.

Sensing his stupor he still longs to escape by having another drink.

Alcohol controls him; he is NOW a slave to it!!

 

Now it is a new type of sin- idolatry

A very serious one!

  1. If drinking becomes idolatry it is a sin

Alcoholism and addiction is idolatry

If we hope to be free of it we have to call it what it is

When it masters us- it takes the place of God

It sits on the throne of our life and makes our decisions for us

 

That’s what John is talking about when He says,

There is sin that leads to death; 1John 5:16

 

Google stats on alcohol:

 

Nearly 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making it the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

In 2013, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 10,076 deaths (30.8 percent of overall driving fatalities).

 

Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 51 minutes.

 

CLICK>>>

 

Is it a sin to drink alcohol?

If you’re going to get drunk and if it is an idol – yes it’s a sin

 

Is it a sin to drink alcohol?

  1. If you’re going to destroy others it’s a sin

 

One way that alcohol destroys others is through the family

A parent cannot parent with any clarity when alcohol is in control

The Bible says for example that Jesus turns the hearts of Father’s to their children

 

 

But that’s not the only way others may be destroyed through alcohol

For some people consuming a single drop of alcohol is a sin.

For me for example touching the stuff would be a sin

Why?

Because I am an example to others of what is good and what is not

 

CLICK>>>

 

It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. Romans 14:21

Explain the meat issue

 

Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. 1Cor.8:13

 

ILLISTR. Couple who left the church because I told them they shouldn’t have bought alcohol for a drunk

 

CLICK>>>

 

OK then?

 

Q#2- Is it a sin to use marijuana?

Well if any of the above are in play in using marijuana – then yes- it is sin

If it puts me in an altered state

If it is an idol

If it destroys others

Then yes it is sin

 

ILLISTR. Someone says, well its not as bad or destructive as alcohol

Maybe…

But should we legalize one thing because another thing is worse?

That’s like saying well assult is not as bad as murder so lets legalize assult!!

That’s stupid!!!

CLICK>>>

 

Here are some other things to consider;

3 ways that using marijuana is a sin

 

  1. If it is misused it’s a sin

 

The first thing I would say is this;

Medicinal use is different than recreational use

Medicinal use is different than recreational use

 

The difference between medicinal and recreational use

If marijuana is legalized for medicinal use and it is helpful for certain medical conditions it is possible that by prescription – like many other drugs- it may be acceptable in certain cases.

Paul instructed young pastor Timothy:

(No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.) 1Tim.5:23

Notice the two words: “use”

“a little”

Use indicates purpose- not recreation

 

A little indicates the minimum

You with prescriptions- Use the bare minimum

 

If it will help you so that you are not sick…

If you are unable to serve God because of frequent illness – then by all means- under a doctor’s care – use a little.

The minimum

 

 

What about recreational use?

 

Again compare what we have learned from God’s word about alcohol

For example: There maybe those who can sit down and have a glass of wine with dinner and stop with one and never get drunk

Never get into an altered state- though tipsy IS an altered state

 

The difference between one glass of wine at dinner and recreational marijuana use is that you cannot use marijuana without getting in an altered state-

That is its purpose!

the only reason you use marijuana is to get buzzed

That’s all

So it cannot be used recreationally without it being sin

Any use other than medicinal where it is prescribed would be sin!

 

How serious is God about that?

Remember: 1 Cor.6:10 says, “No drunkard will enter the Kingdom of Christ…”

No one who insists on living in an altered state of mind will enter.

 

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  1. If God’s word is twisted it’s a sin

Anytime God’s word must be twisted to support our position- we are in grave sin

For example, if I have to twist God’s word to make it acceptable to use pot- it’s a sin.

 

Often the verse that is thrown out is 1 Tim.6:17

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 1 Tim.6:17

Acts 17:25

Everything is for your enjoyment…

The person who says this doesn’t know His Bible

Its true that that’s how God made everything…

But something happened!!!!

 

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. Rom.8:20-21

We could have- Before the curse

 

God created everything and then said it was good

Then because of sin creation was subjected to futility- it was corrupted

Not everything is good

God is still good and so Now instead of EVERYTHING being good – God USES everything to bring about good

 

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Now there is good and evil and believers are to grow to know the difference

But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:14

 

What God want is for you to grow in discernment!!!!!!

 

 

Everything?

How about poison berries?

 

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  1. If it is illegal it’s a sin

The Bible says that God put the authorities in place

So if something is illegal it might be a sin to do it just because its illegal

 

However, to sort that out further, we have to ask a very important question:

Who decides what is sin and what is not?

First of all the government doesn’t necessarily decide what is a sin and what is not

 

In other words if something is legal it’s not automatically ok for a Christian!!!!!

 

ILLISTR. Young man was a Christian and his dream was to graduate and move to Amsterdam and open a pot store.

2 reasons:

1- It was legal

2- He needed to make a living

 

If something is legalized it is not now something you are free to do

That’s not how sin is determined

Sin is determined by the word of God and the Spirit of God

 

SO… If it is illegal and God’s word does not command that you do it- it is a sin to do it.

 

Illistr. Speeding – God’s word doesn’t say you must speed.

Therefore speeding is a sin

The government and God are in agreement

 

 

ILLISTR. If government legalizes pot- it’s still going to be a sin to smoke it.

Why?

Because God’s word is the authority

 

Conversely: what if the Bible commands you to do something and the government says its illegal?

 

If it is illegal and God’s word commands you to do it – then it’s a sin not to do it.

For example; if the government says, you cannot mention the name of Jesus any longer- it is still a sin not to mention His name because He has commanded us to make disciples…

 

God’s word is the authority- always.

 

And that really brings up the real issue

 

The problem with all of this is the heart

 

“Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. John 14:22+

 

When you give your life to Jesus – He transforms you

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. Rom.12:2

 

You have little chance at being a truly discerning person unless you give your life to Jesus.

There’s not even a battle inside until you do that

You may say, Im gonna do the right thing

But without God’s Spirit inside of you – your flesh is going to win

Gal.5:17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tough Stuff #3

 

Legalized Marijuana

Presently there is a huge controversy over whether we should legalize marijuana or not.

Now there is a lot of emotion in this battle.

Obviously there are those who just want it legalized so they can do it.

Others fight legalization because of some issue they have with the idea of it.

What does God’s word say?

For our life groups I’ve prayed and chosen a related passage.

 

Tell…

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,

and arise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:11-21

Retell and rebuild…

 

Discussion questions:

 

Q#1- Have you had an opinion about legalization of marijuana?

What is it and why?

 

Read Vs.11

Q#2- What are the works of darkness?

How are they defined in our text?

 

Ask someone to reread vs.15-17

Q#3- Is there anything in these verses that help you determine God’s perspective on the use of marijuana (and other drugs and alcohol)?

 

Vs.18-21 states the important truth that an altered state of mind affects how we deal with other people as does being filled with the Holy Spirit. Seems to be one Spirit or another that controls us…

Q#4- What are some of the things listed in our text that are a product of being filled with the Holy Spirit?

How are you doing with that?

 

Q#5- What does God want you to take away from your LIFE Group this week?