Category Archives: Sermons

Help for Sifted Saints in Trials

Luke 22:31-34 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

A shipwrecked man managed to reach an uninhabited island. There, to protect himself against the elements and to safeguard the few possessions he had salvaged, he painstakingly built a little hut from which he constantly and prayerfully scanned the horizon for the approach of a ship. Returning one evening after a search for food, he was terrified to find the hut completely enveloped in flames. Yet by divine mercy this hard affliction was changed into a mighty advantage. Early the following morning he awoke to find a ship anchored off the island. When the captain stepped ashore, he explained, “We saw your smoke signal and came.” Everything the marooned man owned had to be destroyed before he could be rescued.

The trials and adversities of life are never pleasant, but in them we learn the secrets of His presence. None of us wishes for trials or adversity, but it is through them that God refines the metal of our lives and molds us into His image. Just as metal is placed in a furnace and heated to a white hot state so the dross can be removed, God allows us to enter the furnace of affliction so that He might refine and purify our lives.

In our text, Simon Peter is made to understand the fact that he is about to be tested. He is encouraged in this revelation by the fact that the Lord Himself will take an active part in his trial. I know people who are going through adversity. I know they face battles and trials that cannot be imagined. However, I also know there is hope! This passage lets us know that we do not have to fail in the attacks of life. We do not have to crawl away in defeat, never to be heard from again. Anyone can endure the trials, tests and adversities of life. Even if you have failed, you can still rise from the ashes and salvage what Satan has attempted to destroy. There is Help For Sifted Saints.

“Satan Is Determined To Destroy Your Life with trials!”

Jesus tells Peter that Satan has made a request to have “all” the disciples to test the reality of their faith. The word “desired” means “to demand, to ask for oneself.” The word “you” is plural in nature. It is a request for all the disciples. His demand is that he might “sift” them. This is an agricultural term that refers to the savage process of separating the husk of the wheat from the grain. The wheat was crushed under foot, then it was agitated, or thrown into the air. The chaff, or husk, was blown away by the wind and all that was left behind was the good grain. Satan wanted to tear at the heart of God by proving that there was no reality to the faith of the disciples. Satan believed that he could crush them, sift them and that nothing would be left but a lost heart. He had already done this with Judas! He believed that he could do it to the rest.

We battle a determined enemy. He wants nothing more than to cut the heart of God by sifting our lives. He wants to prove that we are phonies. He wants to show God and the world that there is nothing to our professions of faith. He wants to destroy everything of value in your life.  The Bible tells us in 1 Pet. 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”  He wants to ruin your testimony. He wants to destroy your home. He wants to wreck your influence. He wants to take away everything of value in your life and leave you with nothing but a devastated shell of what you had!

If he can get you to believe a false profession, he will. If he can get your eyes off Jesus, he will. If he can drive a wedge between you and the members of your family, he will. If he can drive a wedge between you and the members of your church, he will. He will do everything he can to cut the heart of God and ruin your life! He will use whatever tactic he deems necessary to get you to fall, just like he did to Adam and Eve in Gen. 3:1-6. He will never stop until you fall, or you die!

If the devil gets his way in your life and you succumb to his attacks, remember this: Your sin doesn’t just affect you, it affects everyone around you! It is the absolute height of selfishness to live just to please yourself, while having no regard to what your sin is doing to your family, your church and to others in your sphere of influence! Surely you will agree with the Bible where it says in Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”! David’s sin with Bathsheba, (2 Sam. 11), affected him, Bathsheba, their baby, Bathsheba’s husband, and the house of David for years to come! You never walk away clean when you choose to walk away in sin!

“The Saints Have A Powerful Ally In Their Corner during trials!”

While all the disciples were in Satan’s sights, Peter received the promise of intercession. Jesus was praying for them all, but He spoke especially to Peter, because He knew that Peter was about to take the biggest fall, v. 34. Sin isn’t a maybe in our lives, it is a given!  The Bible tells us, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10).  All the disciples failed the Lord that night, Mark 14:50 “…they all forsook him, and fled.”  But Peter went beyond simple failure into the realm of outright denial of any relationship to Jesus when he said in Luke 22:57, “…Woman, I know him not.”

The times of testing and failure will come in our lives, but in the midst of them, let us take courage in the fact that we have Someone pleading our case, taking our part, praying for us in Heaven:

  • Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
  • Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
  • 1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

Satan may have his devices and his schemes to tempt us and try us, but he doesn’t have the last word! In the midst of his scheming and planning, Jesus “butts” in to stand by our side until the trial has passed! He will never leave us, regardless of the task or trial.  He says, “…I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”, (Heb. 13:5.)

Just because a temptation is offered to you, that does not mean that you have to fall into sin. Jesus has equipped us with all the resources we will ever need to be able to withstand anything the devil throws at us:

  • 1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
  • Hebrews 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
  • James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

“No Failure from trials Should Ever Be Considered Final!”

Jesus makes it clear that Peter will fall, “when thou art converted”, means “when you have repented, or come back to me”, but that his fall will not be the final statement of his life. He was going to be restored and he was going to be used of the Lord in a great way. His preaching at Pentecost, and the great acts of faith of his life are some of those ways.

People may come under this kind of attack someday and fall into sin. Some have fallen and have already come back. Others have fallen and are still in that fallen state. It is comforting to know that your fall does not have to define your life!

God has made provision for the cleansing and the restoration of those who fall into sin. Those provisions include Confession, Repentance and Forgiveness. When we come clean about our sins and turn from them, the Lord will forgive and restore the fallen one to a place of service and blessing.  1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  This truth is illustrated in the life of the Prodigal Son and what happened when he returned to his father, Luke 15:11-24.

When a person walks away from the things of the Lord and goes into sin and stays there, it means that one of two things is true:

  1. They were never really saved.  1 John 2:19 says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would not doubt have continued with us: bur they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”

  2. They are in open rebellion and are subject to the wrath and chastisement of the Lord.  Rev. 3:19 says, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

Genuine faith will falter, but it will never utterly fail! Peter came back because he was saved. When he was sifted, it was proven that his profession was genuine. There was some chaff, but there was a grain of real faith too!

When a believer falls into sin, those who genuinely love them will seek to restore them, Gal. 6:1-2. They will not condone or support their sinful actions, but they will not abandon them completely either!

“Never Say Never during trials!”

When Peter hears this prediction he, in typical Peter style, boasts of his love and devotion to the Lord. He vows to go to prison or even to death to prove his allegiance to Jesus. Peter forgot a very important principle of life, “Never Say Never!” No one is above falling into the snare of the enemy. Only when you are in his sifter can you know exactly what you will do! It is a dangerous thing to rely upon yourself and your ability to withstand temptation and testing.  The Bible says, “…let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor. 10:12). We’ve all seen someone act in certain ways and we have said, “I would never do that!” Be careful!

You are weakest in the area of your greatest strength! That may sound like a contradiction or a paradox, but it is true nonetheless! When you begin to think you have an area of your life absolutely conquered and that sin cannot possibly occur there, you will tend to let your guard down. When that happens you can be sure that the enemy will target you for sifting! Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”  Proverbs 28:26 says, “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”  If you have the feeling that “It can’t happen to me!”, you are in danger of falling today!

The way an Eskimo kills a wolf is grizzly, yet it offers fresh insight into the consuming, self-destructive nature of sin. First the Eskimo coats his knife blade with animal blood and allows it to freeze. Then he adds another layer of blood, and another, until the blade is completely concealed by frozen blood. Next, the hunter fixes his knife in the ground with the blade up. When a wolf follows his sensitive nose to the source of the scent and discovers the bait, he licks it, tasting the fresh frozen blood. He begins to lick faster, more and more vigorously, lapping the blade until the keen edge is bare. Feverishly now, harder and harder, the wolf licks the blade in the Arctic night. So great becomes the craving for blood that the wolf does not notice the razor sharp sting of the naked blade on his own tongue nor does he recognize the instant at which his insatiable thirst is being satisfied by his own warm blood. His carnivorous appetite just craves more–until the dawn finds him dead in the snow!

Such is the power sin has to destroy our lives. Thankfully, it does not have to be that way. Jesus has done everything necessary to provide a plan of salvation that will work for all people. He has promised to pray for us and to see us through the times of temptation and sifting. He has promised to receive, forgive and restore us when we do fail. There is no need for anyone to allow sin to devastate their life. If you want help as you face the times of sifting in life, you will find it in Jesus, and in Him alone!

Being Like Jesus

Luke 6:31-33 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.

 This passage of Scripture describes how we must treat each other during the Millennium if we are to remain in a “right” relationship with the Lord.  Even though it is a millennium passage, it is still profitable for us today (2 Tim. 3:16).

There are some very good principles presented by the Lord Jesus Christ for us to use to navigate the pilgrims passage that we have before each of us.  Although the keeping of these words does not determine our salvation, as it will in the Millennium, it will help us conform to a more likable image of Christ.

Treat others the way you wish to be treated.

Why is there not more of this happening in the church?  Do people treat others the way the wish to be treated?  There seems to be a great disparity between the way we are treated and the way we treat others.  The two don’t always match.  Should they, there would be less conflict.

People are not sensitive enough to observe how others are treating them.  It is often overlooked because others are not looking for it.  Face it, it is quite embarrassing to tell someone, “Now this is the way I wish to be treated…”.  No one is likely to do that.  There are self-help, sharing groups that are full of people saying how they wanted to be treated, but others could just not see it.  It is expressed in statements like, “They knew I didn’t like that, but they did it anyway.”  The answer is: they didn’t know you did not like it because they simply never paid attention to what you liked or not.

On the whole, people have a predetermined idea of how they wish to be treated, but seldom think of how they should treat others.  Their focus is on “self” and not others.  Once they come to that predetermined conclusion of how they wish to be treated, they do not broadcast it because it would not seem a right thing to do.  Others are supposed to perceive it and if they don’t, then watch the sparks fly.

There is the story of Ted and Jane.  Jane made herself up real pretty for her birthday so when Ted came home from work, he would notice something different about her and be reminded of her birthday.  She didn’t feel right about saying to him, “Ted, you know it’s my birthday tomorrow.”  It just felt too selfish of an act to do something like that.  She opted for a more subtle way to help him remember.

Ted totally forgot about Jane’s birthday.  He was completely oblivious to the matter.  Coming home from work, he greeted her as always, with a kiss.  They talked about their day and proceeded with their evening as usual.  Not only had he completely forgot her birthday, he didn’t even notice that she had made herself up nice and pretty.  Jane was deeply hurt inside.  She had an expectation; he was supposed to notice and that would remind him of her special day, but that’s not what happened.  He was not sensitive enough to observe how she was treating him.  The result was pain and hurt.  Had he observed how she was treating him, he would have noticed something different.  The result would have been joy.

People don’t notice how others are treating them because they are more concerned with self; they are more concerned with the way others are treating “THEM.”  This is purely a focus on self.  We want others to notice us, but we don’t notice others.  The Lord Jesus said, “…as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”  That is not: “…as ye do unto men, they should do likewise unto you.”  You treat others the way you expect to be treated, but you make the first step, AND have no expectation that they will treat you likewise.  After some time, it will wear off on them and have an effect.  But, you must take the first step.  You must lead by example, treating them the way that you wish to be treated, all the while observing them so you can be sensitive to their expectations.  There is no room for: “This is the way I am—take it or leave it!”  This command by the Lord is not a goodie box of “what you get,” but rather “what you should give.”

Love those who do not love you.

This is perhaps one of the most difficult things to do as a child of God.  It is difficult because when you love someone, you are laying your heart out before them and there is a risk that they will trample on it.  Even though there is a risk, any attempt to master this precept will make you a much better person.

There is no doubt that the world is lacking in love.  People love themselves (but they don’t know it), their family, and their friends.  There is little room for anyone else.  We hold back from helping others because we fear an obligation might develop, or they might take advantage of me.  But we fall deeper and deeper into a selfish hole until we have no way for mankind to climb himself out.

To turn around this downward spiral we need to take the first step: love our enemies, remembering the weight of the enormous pressure our enemies can bring to bear.  We need to adopt, and develop, a loving life to all.  Yes, we may get bowled over by the world, but just as worldly living is infectious, so is love.  You must not love your enemies looking for immediate results, but for long term solutions.  This does not mean that there are no immediate results.  Adopting this teaching into your life will help you immensely in your attitude towards others and your outlook on life.  If you can do it long enough, it will become habit, and not only will it be easy, but it will make living for the Lord easier on the whole.

To love someone who loves you in return is easy, but to love your enemies is difficult.  It is here where lies the true lessons of love.  When you give out a good helping of your love and get some love in return, you have, in a sense, exchanged some love for some love.  This is similar to purchasing something: you exchange something that is valuable to you so in return you may obtain something that is valuable to you.  The Beatles sang, “Can’t buy me love.”  The reality of the fact is we do it all the time when we love those who love us in return.  We just don’t know we are doing it.

Do good to everyone

Too many people are doing bad things to others.  Even Christians get drawn into the oppressive style of living, repaying evil for evil (1 Thess. 5:15).  We like to “pay back” others who have wronged us.  In fact, we are so good at it, we do it before we even know what we are doing.  A wife says something mean to her husband.  The husband responds with saying something mean back to his wife.  We just react.  So spontaneous is this exchange that we don’t even realize it happened.  The proof is in the making up process when they say to each other, “I didn’t really mean what I said.”  The question remains: “Then why did you say it?”  The response is: they don’t know why, but they didn’t mean to do it.  It is because we are so conditioned to live by such worldly standards that doing otherwise seems impossible, but it is not.

We must take the first step to do good to others.  Although, the world as a whole may not appreciate such living, those whom we do good to will.  When they in turn do the same to others, it begins to spread.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in a society where everyone loved each other?  This is what living in the kingdom will demand, and this is what heaven will be like as well.  You won’t have to worry about someone having some kind of ulterior motive when they do something good for you.

The Lord Jesus lived by this guiding principle.  Not only was it His nature to love (1 John 4:16), but it was to us—His great example.

Judge Not that ye be not Judged?

 

Matthew 7:1-2 Judge not, that ye be not judged.  2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

 

This passage has probably been more misused and misunderstood by Liberals and Christians alike than any other passage in the Bible, other than the so-called “Lord’s prayer.”  Many Christians misunderstand this passage because they take it completely out of context.  They believe that this passage teaches that we should not judge other people.  In many cases it is not their fault that they believe so; they have been TAUGHT wrongly.  Pastors, teachers, and even friends have explained it erroneously.  Or, they have read it in a corrupted bible that has been passed off to be God’s word, when it is not.

 

They are not alone in their error. If the world doesn’t know anything at all about the Bible, it certainly know this passage.  This is testament to the fact that it is one of Satan’s favorite passages, along with Acts 2:38. He has used these passages to “trip up” thousands upon thousands of Christians.

 

By constant repetition of the passage, False teachers have intimidated Christians into not speaking out against anything or anybody doing wickedly.  These same false teachers have even gone so far as to use these verses to teach that you can’t tell whether anyone is saved or not.  That way you have no business dealing with them personally about their soul’s salvation.  Now that’s pretty bad!  That’s not the only result of their false teaching though; they use these verses to teach Christians they must be tolerant of others beliefs and accept all forms of sin, especially if it can fall into any “lifestyle” category.  But, nothing could be further from the truth.

 

Christians are commanded by God to: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment”(John 7:24). Christians are commanded to judge things and people, but when they do, they are commanded to judge “righteous judgment.”  I know this may be a shock to you, especially if you have been taught otherwise, but just open the Bible and read it.  If you are of the world, then this just goes to show how ignorant you are of Christianity; probably because your only exposure to it has been the news media.

 

The vital command in Matthew 7:1 to “Judge not” has to be reconciled with:

 

  • “He that is spiritual judgeth all things” (1 Cor. 2:15),
  • “Why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?” (Luke 12:57),
  • “We shall judge angels” (1 Cor. 6:3).

 

Of course, if you are a Bible reader and believer you know the Liberal overlooks these texts.  Every time that someone uses “Judge not that ye be not judged” to try to make you feel “un-Christian” about not tolerating their sin, in your mind you know they are just ignorant.  Or, like the Devil, they are using bits and pieces of God’s word to justify themselves.

 

At times you will hear from the uninformed Christian that this passage in Matthew concerns judging wether someone is going to hell or not.  There is no mention of “Hell,” in the passage at all.  Think for a moment!  If the issue is judging a man to be lost, no one has to judge that, for the man is already judged and condemned.  Consider the following verses:

 

  • 1 Corinthians 5:13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
  • John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

 

This “righteous judgment” has something to do with the way we suffer for Christ in this life, and for the rewards we will receive in the Kingdom.  2 Thessalonians 1:5 says: “Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:”  It means to judge in a manner that keeps man’s relationship with God right.  Therefore, A Christian who is tolerant of sin when exposed to it, is affecting their relationship with Christ.

 

A Christians motive for judging should never be based on what judgment will be placed on him/her later along life’s pathway.  The correct motive for judging should always be based on how to please God and NOT how to please self or how to be tolerant of sin.  If a Christians motive and focus is truly on how to please God, then the Christian will naturally be doing right by others as would expected.

 

Here are some examples of misguided judgment as a result of not interpreting Matthew 7:1-6 properly:

 

  • I should not tell anyone about Jesus because I don’t want them to tell me about their religion.
  • I should not condemn sin because I don’t want anyone to condemn my sin.
  • What goes around comes around.
  • If I do good to others then others will do good to me.
  • I’ll give money to the church so that God will give money to me, (maybe I’ll win the lottery).
  • I’ll help someone, (be their friend), so that in the future they can help me.

 

On the other hand, a Christian does not have some special “duty” to seek out people to judge.  What other people do is their business.  But if the things they are doing somehow affect a Christian so that the Christian has to make a decision or judgment, then the Christian is to judge righteously in a manner that will be pleasing to God, regardless of how it will affect self or others.  Some Christians feel that they have a free license to stick their nose into other people’s business because the Bible teaches them that they are to judge the righteous judgment.  This is not true and they are confused because they neglect to realize that God told them what kind of judgment they are to judge by;  They are to judge a “righteous” judgment.  This is the judgment that pleases God.  It does not please God when Christians go around looking for something to judge, but when a Christian is faced with a judgment to make and judges righteously so as to please God it does this very thing: pleases God!

 

Why then does Jesus mention this matter of judgment?

 

Because He is speaking to them about how things will be in the kingdom of heaven (or, the Millinium).  During that dispensation (time period), the judgment that He will impart to a person will be based on how they judged other people.  Therefore, He encourages them to make sure that their own relationship and life is right before they make any decisions or judgment upon others.  He teaches them to examine themselves first before they make any decisions so that they won’t be hypocrite’s.  He encourages them to do right, but their motive for doing right is concerning obedience to their Jewish king, otherwise they will suffer the consequences and be judged in the same manner that they judged others.  So, the rule for judgment in Matthew is a general rule concerning rules of conduct between Jewish saints, with a direct reference to the Kingdom-age.

 

For the Christian, the judgment that God imparts to us is primarily our acceptance of His Son: Jesus Christ.  We are encouraged to: judging righteously and consider our relationship with God and what pleases Him.  Therefore, our motive for judgment is not so much one of obedience, but of love; a love that expresses thankfulness to God for the grace that we received from Him.  The Christian does not judge in order to receive something or to give something.  The Christian judges righteously in order to demonstrate his love toward God so that God will be pleased.

 

Unlike the idea of those who say, “Christians should not to preach against anything or anyone, and be tolerant of everything,” Christians are to  judge and discern.  The Bible clearly teaches that Christians should:

 

  1. Judge things in their own life and the lives of others

 

  • 1 Corinthians 11:13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
  • 1 Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
  • 1 Corinthians 5:3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
  • 1 Corinthians 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
  • 1 Corinthians 6:4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

 

  1. Not judge a brother as unsaved if that brother disagrees with him on MINOR doctrinal points of practice.

 

  • Romans 14:1-10 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 5One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. 7For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. 9For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. 10But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
  • Romans 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

 

  1. Not judge anything hastily, when not required, unmercifully or from an unscriptural standpoint.
  2. Identify and avoid preachers and teachers who do not believe the word of God, or who profess to believe it but, practically, deny it by their preaching and teaching.

 

  • Romans 16:17-18 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
  • Philippians 3:18-19 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
  • Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

 

  1. Judge the “fruit” quickly and accurately by the standard of absolute truth.

 

  • John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

 

The Liberal teaching that we are not to judge whether or not a doctrine is true is nothing but a Satanic snare for those who are too lazy to “search the scriptures.”  The problem is that it works in many cases.  Christians buy the world’s teaching over the Bible all too often.  This is why they stick with this tactic.  This is why apostate “Christians” are given a hearing over Bible believing Christians any day, but when one person crosses a Bible believer and begins to hear the truth’s of God’s word, they are refreshed and curious.  The Devil just has to get Bible believers to keep quiet.

 

Practical Lessons

 

There are a lot of practical things however, that we can learn from this passage of Scripture to help us Christians.  It is good for us to consider ourselves before making a judgment of righteousness so that we can identify with a person.  If we do so we will often see an avenue for dispensing mercy.  “Mercy” is when a person does not receive something that they rightly deserve.  “Grace” is when a person receives something that they do not rightly deserve.  If a Christian considers and examines his own life first he will certainly be reminded that he has received not only mercy from God but grace also.  This can only influence the Christian to judge righteously in a manner that God would judge using mercy and grace rightly.  Otherwise the Christian runs the danger of judging in a corrupt manner that would please self or some other man.  It is also very practical for the Christian to remember that he too is a sinner and that he deserves the harsh judgment of God for his sin, and if he judges the sin of others without remembering this he is a hypocrite.  When the Christian acts in a hypocritical manner it does nothing more than to push people away from Jesus Christ.

Finding and Finishing Our Course

 

Luke 14:25-33 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

 

The Christian life is pictured in the Bible as a race to run; a course to finish.  The Apostle Paul was determined not only finish his course, but to do it with joy (Acts 20:24).  This is exactly what he did.  Shortly before his death, he gave this testimony: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2Timothy 4:7).  He finished his course.  Each of us needs to be aware that God has a course for us, and He wants us to carry it out to the end; He wants us to finish our course.

 

Gods plan for each of us is specific to us.  No one else can carry it out for us.  It is ours.  However, He will help us find and complete that plan.  Still, many Christians never even find their plan, let alone finish it.  In fact, they hardly even try.

 

The passage above speaks of one who intends to build a tower.  Building this tower is like running a race and finishing a course.  Yet, because of many pitfalls, the tower may never get built.  By looking at the necessary ingredients for building this tower, we can see how to succeed as well as learn why so many people fail.

 

God wants us to finish our course

 

The first requirement of those who would build a tower is that they must be “intending to build” (vs. 28).  If they do not at least intend to build, then nothing else can be accomplished.  To “intend” means to “have in mind as a purpose.”  When we intend to finish our course our vision of the race goes well beyond the starting line.  It also allows a view of the finish line, or in this case, the placing of the final brick.  Granted, the way to the end may not be understood but a vision of accomplishment is formed.  You cannot go someplace if you don’t know where it it.

 

This intention or vision is also spoken of as our “purpose.”  In 2 Timothy 3:10, Paul told Timothy, “But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience.” Probably the greatest number of Christians fail to finish their course because they have no purpose in their lives.  Or, their purpose has been skewed by the Devil or self.  So, we must have the right purpose.

 

It Must Be For God: We cannot finish our course by living our life for self.  We must lose the life we want to live for the sake of Jesus Christ.  Luke 9:24 says, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.”  Jeremiah told the scribe Baruch, “And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not…” (Jer. 45:5).  We must seek great things for the Lord.  Jesus told His disciples, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.” (Luke 22:25-26)

 

It Must Be From God:  Many Christians try to serve God on their own terms.  They choose what they want to do for the Lord and then expect Him to support them in their labors.  But this will not work.  It is not enough to be doing something for the Lord.  The mission has to be the one He has given us.  When Saul got saved, he began his Christian life by asking, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6).  As with Paul, we too must seriously asked the Lord what He would have us to do.  Paul, when praying for the Colossians, asked the Lord that they “might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Colossians 1:9).  In other words, to know and understand the course He had planned for them.  Caleb claimed the promise of God when he said, “Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day” (Joshua 14:12).  But note that he claimed only what God had already promised him.

 

To finish our course we must find God’s purpose for us and follow after that purpose.  God may not tell us everything at once. He will at least give us a starting direction and will always show we the next step to take.  But we need more than a purpose.

 

We need a plan:  Good intentions are cheap.  In fact, without some action behind them, they are worthless.  But before we can act, we must know where we are going.  Our passage in Luke tells about the builder who sits down before he begins to build and “counteth the cost” (vs. 28).  That is what we do when we establish a plan and determine if we are willing to give the necessary effort to accomplish our purpose.

 

Why Do we Need a Plan?  We need a plan to discover God’s way of accomplishing the purpose.  He must be the source of the purpose and the plan as well.  We seek His face through prayer and meditation and wait for Him to give us a plan.  Proverbs 3:5-6 teaches us to, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

 

We need a plan to discover God’s timing.  God’s timing is beautiful (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and He will make all things work together for good (Romans 8:28).  But our timing may destroy the entire purpose and will certainly cause unnecessary delays and detours.  We need God’s timing in order to determine several things:

 

  • When to begin action.
  • What steps to take.
  • What our priorities are.
  • What can be left for later.

 

How Do We Get This Plan?  We seek God’s direction through prayer.  Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”  If we seek God’s answer and wait for it, He will let us know what He wants us to do.

 

We develop the plan through meditation.  The virtuous woman “considereth a field, and buyeth it” (Proverbs 31:16).  God can and will work through our thought processes if we are submitted to Him.  This is why Bible reading coupled with meditation upon His word is so important.

 

We gain wisdom through counsel.  Others may counsel us personally or we may find help through published materials that can help us.  God uses all of these ways.  Proverbs 11:14 – “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”

 

Planning is crucial to finishing our course.  But there are people who have spent their life making one plan after another and yet have accomplished very little.  Planning must be coupled with action.

 

In Luke, the builder of the tower must get to the point where he has “laid the foundation” (14:29).  For Christians to accomplish their purpose for the Lord, they must lay a solid foundation.  Jesus told a story about two men who built houses (Matthew 7:24-27).  He does not mention any difference in floor plan, or size, or exterior covering.  He only mentions one difference: the foundation on which the houses were built.  One was built on the sand and the other on the rock and when the storms came, only the house with the firm foundation stood.  The type of foundations also told us something about the men who built the houses.  The man who built on the rock was called a wise man.  The one who built on sand was called a fool.  What kind of builder are we?

 

The Baptist preacher and teacher, B. H. Carroll (1843-1914), said, “Only prepared men accomplish great things.  And the greater the preparation, the less need for long time to do great things.”

 

Prepare For the Work:  Proverbs 24:27 states, “Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.”  Picture someone in early America who is homesteading in a new land.  What is most important?  Should they build a nice house first?  Of course not!  To make our work fit in the field would be to prepare for defense against any hostile Indians and to make sure that the crops get planted in time for harvest.  A house is no good if we are killed or if we have no food to eat.

 

Many people want to put the cart before the horse in Christian service.  Paul spoke of those who were, “desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm” (Titus 1:7).  There are people who want to teach but do not want to do the study or get the training necessary to be a good teacher.

 

Any significant work for the Lord requires some form of preparation.  More and more people want to skip this step.  For us, it may mean BibleCollege or some special form of training.  It may mean working under someone for several years and learning from them.  It may mean getting our financial house in order.  But, if we are ever to finish, our course, we must prepare.

 

Prepare for the Winter: Proverbs tells us that the ants are wise because “they prepare their meat in the summer” (Proverbs 30:25).  They use summer as a window of opportunity to gather food so that when the winter comes and there is not food to gather, they can live off that which is in store.  Preparation means that we use opportunities and do things at the best time to do them.  If our purpose requires some form of learning that is easier to obtain before marriage, then we need to make a choice between the two.  Attending school later may be necessary, but timing is important.  We often want to skip the dull stuff but the dull stuff is often the key to success.

 

Okay, so we have discovered God’s purpose for our life.  We have made plans and have laid the foundation through preparation.  Now what?  Now…it is time to push!

 

We Must Push with All our Might:  The main thrust of our passage is that someone wants “to build a tower” (Luke 14:28).  To build a tower we must do the work of a builder.  We must put forth the effort.  We must push.  A worthy purpose requires a working servant.  Many Christians fail to finish their course because they are lazy; they have no push.  Solomon admonishes us, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).  Paul tells the Colossian servants, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (3:23).  Doing a work for the Lord takes all we have…and then some.  Are we working as if for the Lord?

 

We must be Persistant (vs. 29, 30):  Yet, to finish the tower, one thing yet is needed.  The builder must be “able to finish.”  Some men start many things but finish none.  Paul finished his course.  Will we finish ours?  Is so, we must refuse to faint (Proverbs 24:10; Galatians 6:9).  We must finish by faith (Hebrews 12:1-3; 1Corinthians 15:58).

 

We have been looking at the Christian life as one in which we build a tower or finish a course.  Another picture used in the Bible is that of sowing and reaping (Psalm 126:5-6).  In order to reap, we must work the land, sow the seed, care for the plants and refuse to quit.  God promises that those who refuse to faint will eventually, in due season, reap the harvest (Galatians 6:9).  What would it take for us to fail?  Why not just keep on going on for the sake of the Lord?

 

I Am Crucified With Christ

Date Created: 11/8/11

Text: Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

 INTRODUCTION:

There are stories upon stories about people who were addicts, got victory over their addiction and then returned to it once again.  Usually, each time when they return to their addiction, they fall deeper and deeper into it, until they feel so hopesly lost, that it is no longer an addiction, but life for them.

Christians too are such addicts, but they are addicted to something else.  They can have victory over it, if they learn one simple principle:  TO BE CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST.  They must crucify the root cause of these addictions.  They are…

1.       The Crucifixion of Death to Self.

Each Christian must come to the point of giving in.  Not just for salvation, but to defeat self and allow Him to lead us through this journey of life.  We must realize the cross is continually calling.  As it took the death of the Lord Jesus Christ to allow us eternal life, so it takes dying to self for us to come alive.  Being alive to Christ can only come by death to the world, self and sin.

A)   Self wants to  Control.[1]

Self is continually struggling to dominate control of our life.  When you get control of one area, self dominates another.  It is like the elephant trying to stomp out the hordes of bothersome ants.

B)    Self wants to Conceal.

(Isa. 29:15;  Rom. 13:12; Eph. 5:11)

The evil works of man are done under the cover of darkness.  Self wants to dominate your night.  It wants to bring you into the dark areas of your life and if it can’t bring you there, it will create them.  The way to combat self is to put on the armour of light–the word of God.  Then to stay away from them, therefore getting a bigger picture and being able to identify what is wrong with them.  Stay in the light.

C)   Self wants to Condemn.

Job 9:20    John 3:18    Titus 3:10-11

Self wants to condemn a person so they will live a defeated life; always feeling like they are good for nothing.  People convince themselves that there is really nothing wrong with them.  But, the greatest condemnation in the world is to not accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your saviour.  The good news is—all you have to do is just DO IT!.  Self can be ignored for a little while.  Once you have the Lord in you, you will begin the long series of battles for domination of self, not self domination.

ILLUSTRATION:

2.       The Crucifixion of Death to this world.

Galatians 6:14 

The saviour calls for daily dying because we live in the world day by day.  If we do not surrender our hands to the piercing nails which hold us to the cross, then we cannot be set free from the world.  We must ignore the world and abide in the suffering eyes of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is possible to live in this world yet abide in the power of his resurrection.  Instead of living in a hopeless death, we do have the power to come alive.

A)   World wants to Influence.

James 4:4 

The world wants us to befriend it.  A little compromise here, a little there, then later a little more; and more and more, until it has completely influenced us to live as an enemy of God.  It’s influence is so subtle, that we don’t even realize it is happening to us.

B)    World wants to Infiltrate.

1 Timothy 6:17

The more the world can infiltrate our life, the more control it has upon us.  Practically speaking, this can be seen in worldly peer pressure: hair cuts, clothes, make up, music, talk, etc.  Why is it that Christians are not as submissive to Christianly peer pressure as they are to worldly pressure?  Because the world is infiltrating our lives in a much greater way.  We can turn that around by seeking more time with Christians and less time with the world.

C)   World wants to Inhabit.

2 Timothy 4:10 

When the Christian finally allows the world to “set up camp” in their lives (to inhabit), there is no desire at all for Christian influence.  THere may be token attempts to go to church once in awhile when times are bad, but their zeal and love seem to be gone.  When the world inhabits the life of a Christian, it is hard to begin living for the Lord again.

ILLUSTRATION:

3.       The Crucifixion of Death to Sin.

Sin’s influence on a Christian is not nearly the same as the world’s or that of self.  Sin is worst of all, yet for the Christian who has read his Bible, is the easiest to identify.  Simply put, sin is the bad things we do that we know God does not like; it is the things we do that make God angry.  We do not need sin in our life.  We must nail our sinful nature to the cross.  This is where it belongs.

A)   Sin wants to Separate.

Isaiah 59:2 

God can abide much, but He cannot abide sin.  Sin is too much for a perfect God to accept.  It is beyond His principles to accept it.  It must all be dealt with harshly. Because of its corrupting nature, sin must all be separated from Him; every single bit of it.  Thank God for the Lord Jesus Christ who paid for our sin.

B)    Sin wants to Shackle.

Hebrews 12:1 

Sin ties us down so we cannot run the race for God that we ought.  It holds us back as we drag it around like so many spiritual anchors, trying to hold us in one place.  We must crucify it to the cross.  We must die to it to unshackel its weighty influence.

C)   Sin wants to Shame.

1 Corinthians 15:34 

The greatest shame that sin causes in the life of the christian is in not telling others how to be saved.  If the blasphmy of the Holy Ghost is not accepting Christ and getting saved, how much are Christians adding to this sin by not telling others how to be saved?

ILLUSTRATION:

4.       The Crucifixion of LIFE to Christ.

Romans 6:4-6 

I Live By God’s Faith

I Live By God’s Love

I Live By God’s Sacrafice.

A)   Life wants to Lighten.

John 1:4 

Living a crucified life allows you to see things like you never did before.  His wisdom shines through the muck and mire of the world, sin and self.  there are new discoveries and revelations of old things known.  all things become new by the light given from a crucified life.

B)    Life wants to Liken.

1 John 3:1-2

We will be called the sons of God.  We are likened to Him by our crucifixion of Sin, self and the world.

C)   Life wants to Live.

Romans 6:23 

Life is eternal and you can have it.  A defeated Christian can have it right now.  An unsaved person can have it right now.  all you have to do is to accept it.

ILLUSTRATION:

 CONCLUSION:

There is no greater sacrifice, than to be crucified with Christ.  Yet it brings life.

INVITATION:

Why Thank the Lord

Date Created: 11/22/2013

Text:

(Psalm 107:1) O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

(Psalm 118:1) O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

1.        He is Good

A)    He is good when it is fashionable to be Bad

In order to impress others as being different, each generation degenerates yet a little farther, just to be different.  People have such a need to be different from others that they do terribly bat things.  I recently saw a photo of a person who had his lower lip pierced, inserting a large window in it so that you could see his teeth and gums.

B)    He is good when the world is becoming Evil.

(Psalm 40:12) For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.

C)    He is good when we need something good in our life.

Nobody NEEDS bad things.  They WANT to do bad, for whatever reason.  When troubles and trials come, people want something good to happen for them.

ILLUSTRATION:

2.        He is Merciful

A)    He is Merciful when the Devil is NOT!

The Devil has no mercy at all.  Even though you get saved, he still keeps working on you.

B)    He is Merciful because we need MERCY!

We do wrong things and need forgiveness.  When we don’t have the funds to pay our debts, it is nice to know there is a place we can go for mercy.

ILLUSTRATION:

3.        He is Enduring

A)    He is Enduring because He is Stable.

He refers to Himself as a rock (Psalm 18:2) and a foundation (Psalm 40:2) upon which we can build our lives.  He is not a shifting sand of conformity with world opinion.

B)    He is Enduring because there is an Eternity (Isaiah 57:5).

(Revelation 21:6) And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

C)    He is Enduring because we will be forever.

(Jude 7) Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

(Jude 21) Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

ILLUSTRATION:

CONCLUSION:

INVITATION:

 

Foundations

Text: Psalm 11:3 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

Introduction:

The most critical part of any structure is the foundation.  It supports the whole thing.  It must be built right for everything it supports to be right.  Of course, if the structure strays from the foundation, then it will be perverted.

1.        What Are Our Foundations?

Isaiah 28:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

A)      Foundations are Physical

Our society was built on certain principles, morality and ideals.  Those being outlined in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights, in which there is an acknowledgement of a Creator (GOD), who is our chief cornerstone.  The mindset of the framers of these documents reveal their interpretation in Black and White and can be read by all.  It’s in our history which cannot be changed no matter how angry it makes the rebellious progressive liberal feel.  IN GOD WE TRUST.

The foundation of our society is not in the government, it is in God.  The government does not teach you about God, the church does.  That is the whole purpose of not allowing the government to meddle in the business of the church, but to allow the church to influence the government.  It is the church (using the Bible) that is supposed to teach the foundational principles of our society such as:

  • GOD[1]— You ought to have God in your home, in your conversation and amongst your friends.
  • Prayer[2]–We ought to have prayer often in private, as well as public.  We should not be ashamed to talk to God.
  • Biblical Morality[3]— We should do right before God and our neighbors.
  • Marriage[4]— We should love that husband or wife.  Nothing should be more important to us other than God.  Not any hobby, interest, children or anything.
  • How to raise and educate Children[5]
  • How to live in a Free yet governed Society[6]

These are the foundations that our society is built on.  And, this is the foundation that we must continue to build upon.

B)       Foundations are Spiritual

The foundation of a persons life is either in one of two places: God or self.  We will either trust in God and His instruction or in our own understanding.[7]   If we trust in our own understanding, our life will crumble because our foundation is in self.[8]  But, the person who trusts in the Lord and makes Him the foundation, their life will not have need or want.[9]  You cannot have a correct foundation of Society without a correct foundation of the individual.

ILLUSTRATION:

2.        How are our Foundations Destroyed?

To destroy society, there must be an attack on individuals first.  To bring down a building, you destroy the pillars that are holding it up.  There are three very distinct elements that are constantly attacking the foundation of man that have the goal of bringing down the structure.

A)      Foundations are Destroyed by Sin

Sin is any transgression of the Law of God.[10]  It is an offence against a personal lawgiver.  It attacks a persons fundamental belief and subjection to God.  It causes a person to rebel against God and therefore move off the true foundation.

B)       Foundations are Deceived by Satan

The Enemy of God wants to destroy mans faith in a sure foundation (Isa. 28:16). He does this through deceit and deception.  He offers alternatives that are almost the real thing.  They look, smell, taste, feel and sound like the real thing and this is how people go astray.  They think they are on the sure foundation of Christ when all the time they are following their own way of righteousness.  (Examples: false Bibles, false churches, religion, false gods, idols, ism’s, government, etc.)  The alternatives he makes available are:

  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Advertising (lust)
  • Abortion
  • Evolution
  • Humanism
  • Socialism

All of these are forms of promoting self.

C)       Foundations are Dieafied by Self

Self is the biggest enemy of all.  Naturally, man wants to follow self.  He must get control of self and do what is right.  Self is the largest of all addictions and is difficult to ignore.  Anyone who has given up smoking, drinking or drugs can attest to the difficulty in gaining control over the control of self.  Self wants what self wants.  It wants to be its own foundation.  It wants to be pre-eminent.  Anything else requires humility, but self is full of pride.  It is often accompanied with phrases that heavily incorporate the word “I”.

ILLUSTRATION:

3.        What can we do about Destroyed Foundations

Psalm 11:7 For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.

When the foundations are destroyed, the righteous can turn to the Lord, for He loves the righteous.

Righteousness always has something to do with relationship.  How do we do that?

A)      Repent of Sin

Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

Repent is to change your mind and your way.  It requires action.  It does not just end with words.  It must be acted upon.  Our nation cannot experience repentance without the personal repentance of its people.

B)       Return to the Lord

Acts 26:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

Coming to the Lord with a repentant heart is what provides forgiveness.  Forgiveness is what is needed to erase the past and allows for the new start.  Forgiveness is essential for the foundation to be reconstructed, repaired or reclaimed.

C)       Remain in His presence

Repenting is like being sorry for doing something.  It is like taking something that is wrong out of your life.  But, you must replace it with something good or it is quite likely that some sin will fill the void in it’s wake.  You must come to the Lord, but more importantly, you must continue to walk with Him.  You must keep on top of the right foundation and not waiver off to the side.

ILLUSTRATION:

CONCLUSION: