Faithlife
Faithlife

Untitled Sermon

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1 view
Notes & Transcripts

Made in His Image

Genesis 1:26–31 ESV
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.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Taken from wikipedia: "The accounts in Matthew 22:15–22 and Mark 12:13–17 say that the questioners were Pharisees and Herodians, while Luke 20:20–26 says only that they were "spies" sent by "teachers of the law and the chief priests".
They anticipated that Jesus would oppose the tax, as their purpose was "to hand him over to the power and authority of the governor".[Luke 20:20] The governor was Pilate, and he was the man responsible for the collecting of taxes in Roman Judea. At first the questioners flattered Jesus by praising his integrity, impartiality, and devotion to truth. Then they asked him whether or not it is right for Jews to pay the taxes demanded by Caesar. In the Gospel of Mark[12:15] the additional, provocative question is asked, "Should we pay or shouldn't we?"
Jesus first called them hypocrites, and then asked one of them to produce a Roman coin that would be suitable for paying Caesar's tax. One of them showed him a Roman coin, and he asked them whose head and inscription were on it. They answered, "Caesar's," and he responded: "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's".
The questioners were impressed. Matthew 22:22 states that they "marveled" (ἐθαύμασαν) and being satisfied with the answer, they went away."
Taken from <https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/1093/why-is-the-give-to-caesar-what-is-caesars-answer-so-great> :
You are making the interpretation that Jesus' answer was great: the text does say that the Pharisees who tried to 'trap' or 'entangle' Jesus 'were amazed' or 'marvelled'1 but the text does not spell out the reason why.
Other's here understand the 'trap' to be a question that would harm Jesus whichever way he chose to answer it, assuming that Jesus would face either:
the people turning against him if he came out in support of paying
the wrath of the authorities if he came out against
However the plain reading of Jesus response is that he does simply state that the tax should be paid (he doesn't only say that, but he does clearly say that), so the Pharisees amazement must have been because they were expecting the opposite response, and not because the response was somehow a clever way of wriggling out of their trap.
So, the answer 'amazed' them because they were expecting Jesus to reject the tax
This is well supported with a close look at the approach the Pharisees took:
16And 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. 17Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” ESV
the Herodians would not have been interested in coming along if they were expecting the answer Jesus gave: they must have been anticipating something they could use against Jesus
the Pharisees make a particular point of goading Jesus to tell the truth in his answer: Jesus enemies did not deny that he did good, but they interpreted his good deeds as a cover for an evil intent. They thought he would tell the truth and were trying to make sure he gave an answer by drawing attention to his truthfulness with evil-intentioned flattery
the question is not about whether it is right to pay taxes to Caesar, but about whether it is legal. This only makes sense if the practice of paying taxes to Caesar instead of the tithes stipulated by the law was occurring. Jesus directly addresses this with his response:
“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
The answer Jesus gives has amazing depth. As well as addressing the legal question the Pharisee's ask, Jesus:
makes the point that Caesar already owns the what he is demanding of them
by implication asserts that God also already owns the things He commands them to give to Him
alludes to the image of God that Adam was created in: the suggestion is that God not only owns the taxpayers money, but also his very being: which must there be offered back in tribute
Conversation with Edith: I grew up knowing that being made in God's image had implications to my relationship with God. Somehow, it helped me understand that I had a vertical connection between me and God, and that in some ways I reflected something of Him. However, it wasn't until I was older that I learned how that had implications on my relationships with other people. I had a unique personality. God did not only create a body when He made me, but He also created a person; a soul, a personality, a will, and a mind.
"Let us make man in OUR image." Notice that God did not say let us make man in my image. There is a community and relationship aspect to God.
Read with me, .
(ESV)
26 Then God said, “Let us [why does He say "us?"] make man in our image [What is the significance of "our" in our image since I am one person?], after our likeness [What did God intend by "likeness?" He didn't mean physical resemblence since God is invisible. So in what way do I reflect Him?].
And let them have dominion [Why did God desire for them to have dominion? And what is 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.”
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. [
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Parallel or contributing Verses to "Image bearers":
;
(ESV)
1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created.
, we try to create God in our image; our likeness. But we cannot recreate Him in our image. We must realize that we were meant to reflect His image. We should show others what He is like. People around us should be able to learn about God by how we live.
- Satan has blinded people from God. They are desperate for hope, and peace and healing. But they don't know what they are really wanting is only found in Jesus. Jesus is the light. gives a brief explanation of how we were made through Jesus, and He is the light that we reflect when we follow Him. And that light in this dark world is being blocked. The true image of God is Jesus, and we were made in Jesus. When we come back to that basic relationship of following Him, we reflect His image.
; When we trust and believe in God, we are like new people. And Paul is saying that Christian person truly reflects the image of God. He gives two characteristics: true righteousness, and holiness.
and teach us that we have altered that image. We need to be renewed to a true knowledge according to God's image. We were meant to reflect God.

Resisting a Rest

Genesis 2:1–3 ESV
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
I. God's Rest is a Promise for Later.
;
II. God's Rest is a Gift for Now.
; ;
Use it to delight in Him.
[Seventh year, and 50th year of Jubilee. , and , ]
Intro: Samuel and I walking. I don't need to slow down or stop because of weariness or the lack of ability. I stop so that Samuel can catch up and be with me. If I continue at my pace and my ability, Samuel will be alone.
Why did God rest?
Why make a big deal about the 7th day of the week?
Why set it apart and make it "holy?"
Should we observe a sabbath day or rest day?
: ; [don't use Luke]
- God desires a relationship, not ritual abiding.
- talking about entering God's rest (Heaven) through faith. God's rest is a foreshadowing of Heaven. But the
The Sabbath day was a rest day so that God's people would delight in Him. (). Here's the point: trust Him to provide you what you need. If you don't rest, it's because you don't trust Him.
We need to stop ignoring God. If you resist God's rest, you essentially resist a gift. God is commanding you, no excuses and no confusion, take a day out of your week to delight in Me. Give an entire day to Me and I will .
Satan has Christians fighting over whether or not it's a religious day to be observed and that of the law, or something we don't need anymore. But neither extreme is true. Like tithing, we look at the Sabbath day and argue: "It's not a law, it's not a law...THAT'S RIGHT! IT'S A GIFT!" Use it to delight in Him. And when you feel like there is no way you can relinquish a few moments from your day or a day from your week, please know that you are shutting the door from Heaven and keeping yourself from God's rest.
If you resist a rest, you're just resisting needed time with God.
Rest day. Sabbath day. God created us for 1/3 of our lives to be unconscious? Every part of the calendar is dictated by solar and lunar patterns, except for the week? This is a constant reminder of God's 6 days of creation, His purposes in which we were made.
What happens when we think we don't need God? Rest is not the same thing as entertainment. And laziness is not the same thing as rest.
Rest is about trust and reliance.  When Russell was in the hospital. He was scared and didn't want the nurse to touch him. I woke up, went over to him, ran my fingers through his soft hair, and with a calm voice told him, it's going to be okay.
God rested from His works in order to invite us into His rest. passage. Disbelief leads to disobedience. Disobedience is what keeps us from entering that rest. We need to remember and trust the good news of Jesus.
---------
rested. Or, rather, ceased, as the Hebrew word is not opposed to weariness, but to action; as the Divine Being can neither know fatigue, nor stand in need of rest.
B. Blayney, Thomas Scott, and R.A. Torrey with John Canne, Browne, The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, vol. 1 (London: Samuel Bagster and Sons, n.d.), 1.
-------
(NASB95)
22 Now on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. When all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, 23 then he said to them, “This is what the Lord meant: Tomorrow is a sabbath observance, a holy sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.” 24 So they put it aside until morning, as Moses had ordered, and it did not become foul nor was there any worm in it. 25 Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. 26 “Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the sabbath, there will be none.” 27 It came about on the seventh day that some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. 28 Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My instructions? 29 “See, the Lord has given you the sabbath; therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day.
(NASB95)
8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. 11 “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
(NASB95)
12 “Six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labor so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female slave, as well as your stranger, may refresh themselves.
(NASB95)
12 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 13 “But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you. 14 ‘Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. 15 ‘For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the Lord; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death. 16 ‘So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.’ 17 “It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.”
(NASB95)
13 And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’ ” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.”
(NASB95)
13 “If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot From doing your own pleasure on My holy day, And call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, And honor it, desisting from your own ways, From seeking your own pleasure And speaking your own word, 14 Then you will take delight in the Lord, And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

The Gospel at Work

Genesis 2:4–17 ESV
These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
GENESIS: The Gospel at Work
Intro: {summary of last week, The Sabbath and how it is a day of Ceasing, not resting. Stopping everything in our lives except God.}
It's interesting that God establishes the 7th day of ceasing from work, before He explains the 6th day and why He created work for Mankind. And listen, this is the key question for today: Why did God create us to work?
Let's pray.
Let's read: 
(ESV)
4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. 5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, [
v.5 - no bush, just seeds? Did it take long to grow? How did Adam eat?]6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. 14 And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. 15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
First, we see that work was intended and established BEFORE sin entered into the picture. It's not a punishment or consequence of anything lacking.
I. Our work is a gift. It was part of the unmarred world. It came before sin, before the fall, before anything bad happened. And it was specifically gifted to us. 
v.5 "There was no man to work the ground." 
And you don't normally read in stories, "this wasn't there." You wouldn't waste time explaining everything that wasn't present. So, When there is an absence pointed out, it carries a significant meaning.
God is teaching us that the Earth was made with a need for Man to work it. From the beginning, He wanted a type of partnership with us. We see in verses 5-17, that God built not only a planet, but a garden that needed us to cultivate. Then God gifted us with provisions in order to do the work He gave us.
Do you see work as a gift from God?
Now, you may have thought that verses 10-14 seem out of place. What is the point of the actual names of these four rivers? And not only the names, but then God describes the geographical location of each one. The weirdest fact is how He describes the minerals and metals that were found in those rivers. Why go through all that detail? I know we're not there yet, but in a few chapters, we learn the account of the world-wide flood that changed the face of the earth, literally. We soon find out that those rivers are not even here any longer. So, why the detail? And by the way, this question will be asked many more times as you encounter odd details and strange instructions in the Old Testament of the Bible. 
I believe we can find two reasons for the specifics given in this passage: First, it affirms that these events and places are real. This really happened. We are reading history, not fairytale. There is no reason to includes these details unless God was reinforcing the point that these were real people in a real place. 
And second, it reveals God's interaction and provision for what He made. God is not far off. He didn't wind up the universe and let it go. God explained the setting in verses 5-17, and in it we find everything man needed to survive, to eat, to build tools and other stuff with metals, to be creative.
Don't ignore detail in the Bible. When you get to a passage, and trust me we all do, where you don't understand why God included certain details, step back and think about God as a person who loves you. Somewhere in that personal relationship is a key to God's intention. We won't always understand, but the pursuit of understanding should always lead us back to knowing God on a deeper level.
After the details, we get to verse 15. 
(ESV)
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
This is a focal verse of the passage. Here we receive direction for our work. These two phrases, "work it" and "keep it" are the key to understanding the “what.” What is this God-given work? 
II. Our work is an accomplishment.
The word for work here means to cultivate; to toil or till. Work is exerting physical or mental efforts to accomplish something. Work should not be meaningless. It is creative and achieves a goal. Technically speaking, work can be wasted energy, but not by design.
Think about your work and labors through the week. There are two kinds of work: physical work, and mental work. Physical work is any energy you use with your strength and body. Mental work is when your mind creates and solves problems. Of course, all work involves some of each, but work normally leans on one side or the other. Both are tiring. Both are work. And both should accomplish something.
Ask yourself, what does my work accomplish? What has God called me to do? As a mom, as a builder, as a dentist or administrator or teacher or engineer? God intended for all of our work to accomplish something. What do you accomplish with your work?
III. Our work is a responsibility.
Work involves commitment. The word "keep it" means to take care of, to preserve or protect. Another lexicon describes it as to watch over or to guard. The idea is to keep in a certain state or position. Work takes responsibility. God gave us all work to do, and we should value our work. Take responsibility for everything that has been given under your care.
As Paul instructs us, (NASB95)
23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
And finally, IV. Our work has a purpose.
To use a play on words, it’s the Gospel at work. In our lives first, then in others.
See, God wanted us to live with Him. God didn't make us to be Roomba's; little robotic vacuums that take care of the ground. God wasn’t after a well-maintained Garden. God didn't create a garden because He loved flowers. God created a Garden so that you and I could join Him in His delight. Can’t you see that He wants a relationship you?
ILL: The NBA dad who plays basketball with his toddler. I think of the NBA star who was playing basketball with his toddler son.
God’s intention for our work is really an invitation. God’s actions scream, “I want you to join Me in My work. I want to delight in this WITH YOU. I want a partnership that enhances our relationship. I made you in my image. I enjoy creating and cultivating, and I want to you to do that with Me.” We saw last week that God doesn’t need our work. He simply wants us.
And as He changes our hearts through a relationship with Him, we are able reflect Him in our work. To glorify Him with our lives. This is where the Gospel is at work in others. The good news of God loving sinful people like you and me and sending His Son Jesus to die for us. Dying that we may be forgiven, and rising from the dead so that we may have life. From the very beginning, God wanted a joy-filled, purposeful relationship with us. And nothing has changed. Resting or working, it is all to draw us closer to Him.
Listen to Paul again in
(NIV)
11 …You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders...
Work with your own hands, and don’t let others do your work for you. God cares deeply about how you live your life because “outsiders” or lost people will be loved and warned through it. God wants you to be a witness for Jesus, not a deterrent. He wants you to be a contributor to His Kingdom, not just a consumer. There are people all around us that HAVE NOT experienced the love and grace of God. Your place of work and your home is full of people that need God. Are you the one that God is using to reach them and draw them to Himself?! He is calling and inviting you to be His ambassador to others.
The purpose of Grace Community Church is to love God, love people, and lead others to do the same. I have 7 measures I use to evaluate whether I am truly “leading others to do the same.” I read them off nearly every day, and one of them is this:
My work and labor matter. I work to the best of my ability as if doing it for God. (; ; ; ; ) My work and labor are a testimony of my love and devotion to Jesus. My work joins me to what God is doing in the world. Whatever my hands and feet are doing, I do as if it were for God.
Our God-given work is a gift, and an accomplishment, and a responsibility, and it all has a purpose. It should be drawing us and others to God.
But let the commandment in verses 16-17 serve as a warning to us all. (ESV) 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
As we join God, we are not free to do whatever we wish.  God also included limits and boundaries. God alone has creator's rights over our entire lives, including our work and bodies.
Next Steps
1. Resources: “The Gospel at Work” by ; “Engaging God’s World” by Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.; “Kingdom Calling” by Amy Sherman; “Why Business Matters to God” by Jeff Van Duzer; “How Then Should We Work?” by Hugh Whelchel.

Genesis 3:1-6

Genesis 3:1–6 ESV
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 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.
Include
Deceived “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Gn 3:13 5378 Why then have you deceived me?” Gn 29:25 7411b And Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by Gn 31:20 1589 have deceived you in the affair of Peor and Nu 25:18 5230 that your hearts are not deceived, Dt 11:16 6601b ban and have both stolen and deceived. Jos 7:11 3584 “Why have you deceived us, saying, Jos 9:22 7411b you have deceived me and told me lies; Jg 16:10 8524 you have deceived me and told me lies; Jg 16:13 8524 You have deceived me these three times Jg 16:15 8524 “Why have you deceived me like this and 1Sa 19:17 7411b “Why have you deceived me? 1Sa 28:12 7411b lord, the king, my servant deceived me; 2Sa 19:26 7411b But they deceived Him with their mouth And Ps 78:36 6601b a deceived heart has turned him aside. Is 44:20 8524 deceived this people and Jerusalem, Jer 4:10 5378 You have deceived me and I was deceived; Jer 20:7 6601b You have deceived me and I was deceived; Jer 20:7 6601b “Perhaps he will be deceived, Jer 20:10 6601b…
New American Standard Updated Edition Exhaustive Concordance of the BibleNASUEECB
ἐξαπατάω 1 aor. ἐξηπάτησα; pf. 3 pl. ἐξηπατήκασιν (Tat. 14, 1); aor. pass. inf. ἐξαπατηθῆναι (Just., D. 8, 3) (s. ἀπατάω; Hom. et al.) to cause someone to accept false ideas about someth., deceive, cheat, τινά someone (Jos., Ant. 10, 111) Ro 7:11; 2 Th 2:3; IEph 8:1. Of the serpent’s deception of Eve (cp. Gen 3:13) 2 Cor 11:3; 1 Ti 2:14; GJs 13:1, in the first and third pass.=lead astray (Hdt. 2, 114, 2). τὰς καρδίας τῶν ἀκάκων the hearts of the unsuspecting Ro 16:18 (Philo, Leg. All. 3, 109 τ. αἴσθησιν). ἑαυτὸν ἐ. deceive oneself (Ael. Aristid. 24, 35 K.=44 p. 835 D.; Lucian, Merc. Cond. 5, end; Jos., Ant. 13, 89; Just., D. 34, 1 al.; cp. Epict. 2, 20, 7; 2, 22, 15 μὴ ἐξαπατᾶσθε) 1 Cor 3:18; τινά τινι ἐ. deceive someone w. someth. τῇ ὕλῃ IRo 6:2.—M-M. TW. Sv.
A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed.BDAG
1818. ἐξαπατάω exapataō; from 1537 and 538; to seduce wholly, deceive:—deceive(3), deceived(3).
New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries: Updated EditionNASB Dictionaries
31.12 ἀπατάω; ἐξαπατάω; φρεναπατάω; ἀπάτη, ης f: to cause someone to have misleading or erroneous views concerning the truth—‘to mislead, to deceive, deception.’3 ἀπατάω: μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς ἀπατάτω κενοῖς λόγοις ‘let no one mislead you with foolish words’ Eph 5:6. ἐξαπατάω: διὰ τῆς χρηστολογίας καὶ εὐλογίας ἐξαπατῶσιν τὰς καρδίας τῶν ἀκάκων ‘by their fine words and flattering speech they mislead the minds of naive people’ Ro 16:18. φρεναπατάω: εἰ γὰρ δοκεῖ τις εἶναί τι μηδὲν ὤν, φρεναπατᾷ ἑαυτόν ‘if a person thinks he is something when he really is nothing, he is only deceiving himself’ Ga 6:3. ἀπάτη: ἡ ἀπάτη τοῦ πλούτου ‘being misled by riches’ Mk 4:19.
Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic DomainsLouw-Nida
ἐξηπάτησεν exēpatēsen
exapataōcheat; deceive
apatē deception; deceitfulness
, , , , ,
Greek Strong’s
Louw-Nida
verb
r Col. 2:4, 8
I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
s [Eph. 6:5]
Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ,
t ch. 6:6
by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love;
u [1 Cor. 3:11]
For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
v Gal. 1:6
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—
Also, , . ; .

Shame, pain, and forever

Genesis 3:7–24 ESV
Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
"Shame, pain, and forever" v. 7 they have something to hide from each other. They tried to cover themselves up. shame is connected to their nakedness. 
V. 8 God showed up and they hid from Him as well. Hid from presence, and "among the trees of the garden". Why point to the great place that God had provided for them? God desires to "walk with us," . Man cannot run from God () They wanted to hide from God, but God sought them out. However, one day, mankind will try to hide from God's wrath () and it will be too late.
V.9 God initiates conversation and confrontation. God calls out to man. He asks, "where are you?" God asks questions, not because of lack of knowledge, but to lead us to the truth (; ) and expose His ways.
V.10 Man responds to God. You made yourself known (sound in the Garden), and I was afraid because I was naked (shame). Fear comes from shame. Shame avoids relationships. Adam's (Our) answer is to run, to quit, to hide, to not cope or deal with the person.
V.11 God asks two questions, the first being a very peculiar question: "Who told you that you were naked?" Why does it matter who told him? What is the point of knowing "who" told him? Verse 7 their eyes were opened and they knew, but v.11 is asking who told them (ears?)? Is the answer, nobody had to tell us. Our eyes were opened. We see now the right and wrong, the good and shameful (something worth hiding).
The second question is not as peculiar, "Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" If their eyes are open enough to see their nakedness, surely they are opened enough to see that it was their own fault and that they are the wrongdoers. But that's not how it turned out.
V. 12 Adam blames the woman, then he blames God, then he mentions that it's a tree (also created and managed and put there by God), and at last he says, "I ate." Your eyes can be open enough to see the shame, but not clear enough to take the blame. I would have thought that God would lay into Adam at this point. Adam is pointing to everybody and everything else except himself. He admits it but doesn't repent. We don't see him asking for kindness or mercy or forgiveness.
V.13 Then God asks the woman. She follows suit with Adam! She points her finger at the serpent. However, she admits that she was deceived. Our minds will be led astray from the simplicity (sincere) and purity of devotion for Christ. This is all Christians, male and female, young and older. However, makes it clear that Adam was NOT deceived. "To cause someone to accept false ideas about something." BDAG.  Does Paul really mean that Adam was NOT deceived? Surely he was tricked or duped in some way…why would he eat it if he knew it was wrong? He decided to listen to his wife instead of God (also 3:17). Now, I don't believe this is trying to teach us men to not ever listen to our wives. I think the point is, this man could have listened to God or to another person. Do you ever do something, knowing it was wrong? You're not deceived into thinking, no, this is a great idea. You know it's a horrible decision, yet you do it anyway. And maybe you have decided to listen to people around you instead of God.
V.14 God then turns to the serpent.
V.15 He shall bruise you on the head (), you shall bruise him on the heel.
V.17 There are two voices that spoke to Adam, God's and Eve's. When we choose the words of other people over God's we end up with "toil" which is another word for "pain." v.19 Logical consequences to sin. Poetry and logic in vv.7-19, all surrounding the effects of sin.
V.20 - There's going to be more of you.
V.21 - God is the only one to clothe them. Only God can cover our shame, only God can save us (3:15) from our enemy.
V.22 - God reveals His own thoughts! If Man stayed in his sinful condition, he would live out eternity hiding from God. He would remain in his messed up body.
V.24 God put boundaries around immortality so that he could prepare a better place, Heaven. A garden where we keep messing up and hiding ourselves from a good relationship with God is NO HEAVEN! We need Him to step in and make some decisions for us, otherwise, left to ourselves, we would live in shame and deception forever.
God stepped into our shame and mess and decided to deal with us and the serpent. God doesn't promise to take you out of pain, but He does promise to be with you through it all. And one day, you will not be restricted outside of the courts of heaven. You will not only see through a dimly veiled foggy mist…you will be with Him. The one who saved you.

Immanuel: The Gift of Christmas Presence (12/17/2017 at GCC)

Isaiah 9:1–5 ESV
But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.
Immanuel: The Gift of Christmas Presence
;
Walk-out video: http://www.sermonspice.com/product/51483/god-with-us
Story of "how can you do it?" How can you bear the weight of life's pain and struggle? The answer, "God is with me."
Read with me,
(ESV)
20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
Let's look back to examine ; 22 All this took place (what took place?) to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet (what prophet is this; and what did God say through him?): 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
God had spoken through the prophet Isaiah 700 years before Jesus was born, telling of a son who was going to be born of a virgin. Now let me ask you, have you ever studied the context of this prophecy? Let's read it together in Isaiah chapter 7, starting in verse 10 ( ).
v. 1 - So the king of Israel (the 10 northern tribes) and the King of Syria wage war against Judah, the Southern Kingdom. This is like a civil war with Syria as backup.
v. 2 - When the Southern Kingdom heard of this, they were terrified.
v.3 - God sends Isaiah to speak to Ahaz, the king of Judah, the southern Kingdom.
v. 4 - Do not fear.
v.5 - Yes it's true, they are devising an evil plot to obliterate you
v. 7 - But it ain't going to happen. Their plan to destroy you will not succeed.
v. 8 - Within one lifetime, the Northern Kingdom will not even be standing.
v. 9 - Then at the end of verse 9, God says "If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all."
v. 10 - Starting in verse 10, God tells Ahaz through Isaiah to ask for a sign. Then in verse 14 he says,
(ESV)
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
The rest of chapter 7 and 8 give a prophetic description of Ahaz's reign. Although they will not be overtaken by the Northern Kingdom, they will experience war and distress. But then you get to , and you see a different description; a better hope. Somewhere down the line there will be a Davidic king who is righteous and will bring light and peace to God's people. This is clearly not Ahaz, king of the southern kingdom Judah. Isaiah is speaking of the same son that he spoke about in . God is going to be with His people through this boy. He will be a sign for God's people that God will deliver them from their enemies.
give a description of what that boy will do.
()
I. With God, we see clearly.
This passage in v. 2 is quoted in , explaining that Jesus was the great light to the people. Are prophetic words from Simeon about how Jesus would be a light of revelation and glory.
(ESV)
8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 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.”
Darkness is sinful and crooked living. Before Jesus came into my life, I didn't really know right from wrong. But that is exactly what God is promising here. God will come to those living in Darkness. With God, you can see clearly. You can see the light.
Are you seeing clearly today? Is God's direction clear in your heart? Has He put His law and truth in your heart and written it on your mind?
The mom who is hungry for truth? God wants you to go to Him for truth.
What does God want you to know? He wants you to know that only with Him will you ever see clearly. So go to Him for the truth. Ask yourself, "Right now, where am I looking for truth?"
With God, we see clearly. Now let's read .
(ESV)
3 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
II. With God, we have real joy. ()
6 (ESV)
6 There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” 7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. 8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Only in God's presence will you know true joy.
III. With God, we are set free. ()
When Isaiah prophesied about Immanuel, God wanted to give His people hope. He wanted them to know that He would rescue them as they faced their enemies; as they faced destruction. And after Jesus was born, God's people saw His heart in an entirely new way.
Next Steps
1. What does “Immanuel” mean for God’s people in ? What were the Jewish people hoping for in these prophecies of Isaiah?
2. How can you experience life “with God” this week? What is keeping you from the Light, or joy, or freedom on a regular basis?

Joseph: the gift of Obedience (Dave Reimer, GCC 03 Dec 2017)

Matthew 1:18 ESV
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
The story of Christmas was not fairy tale type narrative.
Joseph was a descendent of King David. He was a just man. He was a carpenter. He was a poor man ( gift of doves). He disappears from Scripture. :56 Mary and Joseph had other children. He had brothers and sisters. He was a man of integrity. He maintained sexual purity with Mary.
4th Century doc “History of Joseph” says Mary was 12, he was a widower before Jesus and Mary.
Traditions say this about Joseph: He was a widower with kids already.
Joseph and Mary were betrothed. The outcome would be marriage unless divorce or unseen happened.
Gabriel appears to Mary.
1. The annunciation. ,
A. The annunciation to Mary
B. The annunciation to Joseph. He knew not from an angel , but some other way. He probably found out from Mary. If Mary told him, he didn’t believe her at first. Because he was a man of integrity, he didn’t want to hurt her or his own reputation. How much time went by until the angel came? We don’t know. She would have a deadly punishment for adultery. How did Joseph feel while he thought through this? He thought, how can I distance, without putting her to shame.
Then the angel comes. God doesn’t keep us in our confusion. He appears at the right moment. Then the angel says, do not fear to take Mary as your wife. God doesn’t leave us during our most troubling times, even when that involves shame and disgrace.
Joseph moves from shame and disgrace to obedience and hope. The angel gives more than comfort, he gives him perspective and truths to hold on to. God doesn’t just pat us on the back and say just make it. He gives us truth that offers hope.
Joseph’s gift was simple obedience. .
Take Mary
Flee to Egypt
Return Israel
Settle in Galilee.
We should not live our lives in fear. We shouldn’t make decisions based on fear. He should not fear what? Not fear to take Mary as his wife.
Jesus challenges the pharisees, and they say he was born of sexual immorality. Joseph sacrifices his own reputation for the sake of the Cross. We are all desperate to be vindicated. It’s often easier to sacrifice Jesus’ reputation than our own. Jesus told people to take up his cross. A cross of shame and sacrifice for others.
Christians have endured martyrdom, but can they endure unpopularity?
1. Is there an area of your reputation that you are valuing above Jesus’ reputation?
Without retaliation, without pride, how do you put His Mission above your own?
Evangelism is two nervous people talking to each other. Isn't the importance of the Gospel worth the awkwardness? - J D Greer

Preparing for Jesus

Mark 1:1–3 ESV
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’ ”
The Gospel story begins with prophesies about the coming of Jesus. The prophecies surrounding Jesus began way before this. But this was now the fulfillment of those prophecies. ; Isaiah,
It makes sense that you would keep "Son of God," because the disciples called Him that in
John was the one who prepared the way. He was the last prophet.

Baptism of Repentance

Mark 1:4–8 ESV
John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
What is baptism? Is baptism a part of repentance? What would "immersion of repentance" mean? Or could it be a "symbolic action that represents repentance?

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Luke 12:22–34 ESV
And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
- "Therefore". What is the therefore there for? He just finished preaching the parable of the rich fool. It's a short story of a man who thought life consisted in the abundance of his possessions. He coveted stuff. He was successful and had many possessions. But instead of being rich toward God by knowing that his possessions really belonged to God and should be used for His purposes, he only used his money and stuff for himself. Jesus wasn't saying that possessions and stuff are bad, just that the selfish pursuit of them is pointless. If you climb over
- Living is more than survival.
- God feeds birds. How much more valuable are you than birds?
- What is the benefit of worry?
Why worry over things that haven't happened or things you cannot change?
-
-
- Life is more than survival. Living is more than having. Life is not about survival. Don't spend your life trying to just stay alive. Spending all your energy on food, and drink, and shelter. How much of your resources go to entertainment, and a house? Is it true that we work and toil for the aim of having a home and food?
And don't waste your life worrying about these things. It has been said that an unmet need is a dangerous need. It causes us to worry. It causes us to overlook others and selfishly defend ourselves. It puts us at the top of the priority list and pushes others and their needs down into a forgotten hole of apathy. And Jesus is telling us to reject this lie. Don't go around believing that sly voice in your mind causing you to worry. Causing you to live in fear.
- God promises to provide for you. He knows your needs. All the nations seek after these things because this is how we were created. These temptations for worry are cross cultural. Every nation in the world is concerned for how they will survive. God is asking you to trust him. He knows what you need. He is the creator of all mankind and He is not distant or ignorant or apathetic to your needs.
- Instead of being suspicious of God, put your trust in Him. Putting your needs in God's hands is a major part of what it means to be in relationship with Him. ILL: You've heard people share, "I don't know how people make it without God. When times are tough. When situations are unclear. When I don't know how I am going to make it through, I have to turn to God. He is the only one to carry me through." What do they mean by that? They mean that when deep needs arise, they put their needs in His hands. They expect Him to be the one to provide.
ILL: Native tribes used to catch monkeys by hollowing out a coconut and filling it with rice or other delicacies, then leaving it tethered to a tree for a monkey to find. A monkey would reach in and grab the desired delicacy and be trapped because the hole had been deliberately made just big enough for a flexible hand to enter but not for a closed fist to leave. In short order, the monkey went from getting his dinner to being someone else’s dinner.
Clearly it was not the coconut that was the trapping the monkey. Rather the true trap was in the monkey’s own mind, the monkey’s greed, the monkey’s attachment to his physical possessions, the monkey’s unwillingness to “Let Go.”
Trade your needs for God's wants.
We must change our focus from our needs, to His Kingdom. If you turn your thoughts to God's wants, He will take care of your needs.
Let go of your needs, and grab on to God's wants.
-
-
-

Settle with your accusers

Luke 12:57–59 ESV
“And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.”
If somebody else judges whether or not your actions were right, you will receive justice without mercy. Make a habit of making things right with others. Don't wait for God or others to judge the situation. You will stand before the judge, the one who implements the judgment (officer) will execute without mercy (prison). You will have to pay every bit for your wrongdoing. SO INSTEAD, apologize to those you offend and plead for their mercy and grace.

Tragedy and Repentance

Luke 13:4–5 ESV
Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Jesus points out a tragedy. People died, but not because they were sinners. All people are sinners.
Some were wondering if the people who suffered in such a tragic way were somehow worse sinners. Why would God let this happen to them? But Jesus took the tragedy and made it plain: unless you repent of your sins, your death will be tragic. Take the emotion, fear, sober reality and apply it to your death if you don't repent.

Postponed Healing

Luke 13:10–13 ESV
Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.
The illness was characterized as a disabling spirit...not a medical condition.
Jesus freed her from her disability immediately after He saw her.
Question: Why did God wait to heal her? Why did God let her suffer for 18 years first?

Unwilling

Luke 13:34 ESV
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
Jesus speaks to them and tells them how He would gather their children and care for them if they would only listen to Him.
gives another example where God desires to gather His people. Is this a modern example of a church body?

My conversion

Luke 15:21 ESV
And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
I remember at 16, my conversion is similar.

Difficulty with God or Nature?

Acts 27:4–7 ESV
And putting out to sea from there we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us. And when we had sailed across the open sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia. There the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy and put us on board. We sailed slowly for a number of days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, and as the wind did not allow us to go farther, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone.
Why did God make it so difficult for Paul and his companions to sail? The winds obey His commands. He used the winds to slow them down, and kept them from their normal route.

notes

Romans 1:1 ESV
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
How would you introduce yourself? I would start with my family, my life's calling and work, where I live, basically the social things about me. Greetings are important because you are addressing people who don't already know you. You want to share with them a little about yourself so they can get a small picture of who they are listening to. What is great about Romans
Paul a servant of Christ Jesus
Romans 15:13 ESV
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
2,000 years ago a man named Paul wrote to a church in Corinth saying,
(ESV) 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
When Paul references to Christ's sufferings, I wonder which sufferings he is referring to. How did Christ suffer? Well, we know that He suffered in two ways. First, He suffered physically through torment during the Passion week. He knows what it is like to endure extreme pain and unimaginable circumstances. And He also suffered through temptation. He experienced the pull and draw of the same flesh that you and I have. He understands the temptation to not trust God, even though He never gave in. (ESV) 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Jesus’ suffering that was brought on by temptation is the same suffering we endure when we are tempted. And Hebrew 5:8 says that Jesus learned obedience through suffering. He learned how to trust God by denying His flesh. He learned how to obey God the Father instead of doing what was easy or comfortable. He never gave in to His fleshly desires when situations got tough. He kept His hope in God.
(ESV)
14 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. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
The Bible teaches us to DRAW NEAR TO GOD! He will be the one to comfort you. He understands. He knows what it is like to suffer. Draw near to Him, because in Him alone Hope is found.
(ESV) 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
On behalf of Grace and Vernon, thank you so much for coming. We have all been invited to share this special event with them.
2 Corinthians 1:3–7 ESV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
2,000 years ago a man named Paul wrote to a church in Corinth saying,
(ESV) 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
When Paul references to Christ's sufferings, I wonder which sufferings he is referring to. How did Christ suffer? Well, we know that He suffered in two ways. First, He suffered physically through torment during the Passion week. He knows what it is like to endure extreme pain and unimaginable circumstances. And He also suffered through temptation. He experienced the pull and draw of the same flesh that you and I have. He understands the temptation to not trust God, even though He never gave in. (ESV) 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Jesus’ suffering that was brought on by temptation is the same suffering we endure when we are tempted. And Hebrew 5:8 says that Jesus learned obedience through suffering. He learned how to trust God by denying His flesh. He learned how to obey God the Father instead of doing what was easy or comfortable. He never gave in to His fleshly desires when situations got tough. He kept His hope in God.
(ESV)
14 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. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
The Bible teaches us to DRAW NEAR TO GOD! He will be the one to comfort you. He understands. He knows what it is like to suffer. Draw near to Him, because in Him alone Hope is found.
(ESV) 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
On behalf of Grace and Vernon, thank you so much for coming. We have all been invited to share this special event with them.

Renewed

2 Corinthians 4:16–18 ESV
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Paul is explaining WHY he doesn't lose heart, even though he is afflicted, and perplexed, and persecuted, and struck down, carrying the death of Jesus in his body. He calls it a "light and momentary affliction" that is preparing him for an incomparable glory. It takes place as he looks to the unseen.
Looking at the Invisible. It is better to look at the eternal realities than the temporal. Difficult marriage may be very troubling, but don't focus on that. Focus on the eternal unseen realities. Jesus is going to bring us with Him on the final day (). Also, there is a purpose: ).
Walking by faith, not by sight ().
The conclusive application is that you no longer live for yourself, but for Jesus ().
Chapter 6 seems to start a new section (from ).

Our connection with unbelievers

2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1 ESV
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
Abandon to Adoption - we abandon ungodliness, God adopts us. Adoption only after Abandonment. What we had to forsake in order to gain God. This resulted in maturity.
v.14 - "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers." Is this only talking about being married to an unbeliever? Would that imply that we shouldn't even date an unbeliever?
39 A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.
"only in the Lord" points to God's direction that you can be married to whom you wish, but they must be a Christian. God desires for you to have a person who will help you love God and follow His leadership. Otherwise, your partner will only lead you away from God. And being happy is not the same as being holy.
Between verses 14b-16a, Paul asks 5 questions with an implied answer of "none" to each question. He uses the terms: partnership, fellowship, accord, portion, and agreement. The idea is that none of these can exist in a relationship between Christianity and unbelief.
v. 16-18 - "We are the temple of the living God." Then Paul uses a collection of OT verses to support this claim that we are the Temple.
v. 16 - God promises to make His dwelling with us. To be with us. He will walk among us. This sounds similar to God walking with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He will be our God, and we will be His people. He promises a sense of belonging.
v. 17 - The people are to: go out from "their" midst. In other words, don't act like unbelievers. We are to intentionally separate from them. We are NOT to touch what is unclean. God wants us to stay clear of wickedness and sinful living. For me, this would include unclean movies and videos.
v.17b-18 - If we separate ourselves from the unclean things of the world, God will welcome us. He will be a father to us. We will be His sons and daughters. Basically, the idea seems to be that if we abandon ungodliness, He will adopt us.
7:1 - There is a part of me that senses a legalistic and religious works needed here. If I do this, THEN He will do that. But Paul says (7:1) that we have these promises already. Based off of the promises, we should let that motivate us to godly living.
Paul describes this process as a cleansing. Like detox. The outcome of this holy detox is a holy maturity. This maturity rests in the fear of God. Notice, it's not a maturity outside of a fear of God. We cannot mature outside of this fear or reverence. Pride will not mature us.

Room for Comfort

2 Corinthians 7:2–7 ESV
Make room in your hearts for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy. For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more.
Make room for other believers.
Words: comfort, joy, affliction, fighting without, fear within.
God comforts the downcast.
v.7 - Comfort is contagious. The comfort we give one will expand to others.
What brings comfort to believers? Longing, mourning, zeal.
I think that part of the problem with discouragement and depression is that we don't make room in our hearts for the comfort we need. We turn to entertainment and gadgets.

Don’t illicit boldness

2 Corinthians 10:2–6 ESV
I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
There is a boldness that Paul prayed for and asked the people to pray for. But there is also a boldness that Paul did not want to use. This seems like a boldness connected to defending themselves and their mission.
v.4 Our weapons have divine power to destroy strongholds. They have weapons of prayer, the Word (sword), shield of faith...
; ;
Weapons:
WEAPONS Since mankind’s beginnings, the desire to impose one’s will upon another person or being has led to active conflict using many types of weapons. Human history shows marked means by which the implements were advanced technologically through the past six millennia. The implements of warfare and defense are known from three sources: excavations; pictorial representations in murals, reliefs, and models; and written documents. Tombs of Egypt contained actual weapons and models. Assyrian reliefs depicted great battles in detail. Excavations have uncovered numerous examples of stone and metal weapons; and biblical and inscriptional sources provide names of objects, strategy and tactics, and methods of construction. Reconstruction of a Roman siege tower with battering ram (first century a.d.). Military action has been defined in terms of ability to achieve supremacy over the enemy in three fields: mobility, firepower, and security. Mobility is exemplified by the chariot and cavalry; firepower …
Holman Illustrated Bible DictionaryHIBD
ὅπλον, ου, τό (s. prec. entry; Hom.+; ins, pap, LXX; TestSol 8:6; TestLevi 5:3; EpArist, Philo, Joseph.; Tat. 31, 1; Ath. 35, 1) ① any instrument one uses to prepare or make ready, tool ὅπλα ἀδικίας tools of wickedness, i.e. tools for doing what is wicked Ro 6:13a (cp. Aristot., Pol. 1253a). Opp. ὅπλα δικαιοσύνης vs. 13b. But mng. 2 is also prob.; it is found in all the other pass. of our lit., and specif. in Paul. ② an instrument designed to make ready for military engagement, weapon ⓐ lit., pl. (Demetr.: 722 Fgm. 5 Jac. ὅπλα εἶχον; Jos., Vi. 99 ἧκον μεθʼ ὅπλων) J 18:3. Riders μετὰ τῶν συνήθων αὐτοῖς ὅπλων with their usual arms MPol 7:1. Sing. τίθησιν Μωϋσῆς ἓν ἐφʼ ἓν ὅπλον Moses placed one weapon = shield (so as early as Hdt.; Diod S 17, 21, 2; 17, 43, 9 [interchanged with ἀσπίδες 8]; 17, 57, 2; Sb 7247, 24 [296 a.d.]; TestLevi 5:3 ὅπλον καὶ ῥομφαίαν) on the other one, to stand on them and gain a better view of the battlefield 12:2. ⓑ in imagery, …
A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed.BDAG
3696. ὅπλον hoplon; a prim. word; a tool, implement, weapon:—armor(1), instruments(2), weapons(3).
New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries: Updated EditionNASB Dictionaries
6.29 ὅπλονb, ου n: an instrument used in fighting, whether offensive or defensive—‘weapon.’ Ἰούδας … ἔρχεται ἐκεῖ μετὰ φανῶν καὶ λαμπάδων καὶ ὅπλων ‘Judas … came there with torches and lanterns and weapons’ Jn 18:3. In the NT ὅπλονb also occurs in the figurative sense of non-material means of fighting: διὰ τῶν ὅπλων τῆς δικαιοσύνης τῶν δεξιῶν καὶ ἀριστερῶν ‘we have righteousness as our weapon both to attack and to defend ourselves’ 2 Cor 6:7.6
Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic DomainsLouw-Nida
m ch. 6:7; [Eph. 6:11; 1 Thess. 5:8]
by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left;
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.
n See 1 Cor. 9:7
Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?
o ch. 13:3, 4; See 1 Cor. 2:5
since you seek proof that Christ is speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you.
For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.
so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
p Jer. 1:10
See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”
q [Isa. 2:11, 12]
The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.
For the Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low;
Warfare:
war•fare \ˈwȯr-ˌfer\ noun [Middle English, from werre, warre war + fare journey, passage—more at fare] 15th century 1: military operations between enemies: hostilities, war also: an activity undertaken by a political unit (as a nation) to weaken or destroy another 〈economic warfare2: struggle between competing entities: conflict
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (Eleventh Edition)MW Collegiate Dict. (11th Ed.)
στρατεία, ας, ἡ - military engagement, expedition, campaign in imagery τὰ ὅπλα τῆς στρατείας ἡμῶν the weapons we use in our warfare 2 Cor 10:4 (v.l. στρατίας is itacism: W-S. §5 A 31). στρατεύεσθαι τὴν καλὴν στρατείαν fight the good fight 1 Ti 1:18 (
A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed.BDAG
4752. στρατεία strateia; from 4754; a campaign, expedition, hence warfare:—fight(1), warfare(1).
New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries: Updated EditionNASB Dictionaries
55.4 στρατεύομαιa; στρατεία, ας f: to engage in war or battle as a soldier—‘to battle, to fight, to engage in war, warfare.’στρατεύομαιa : ταύτην τὴν παραγγελίαν παρατίθεμαί σοι … ἵνα στρατεύῃ ἐν αὐταῖς τὴν καλὴν στρατείαν ‘this command I entrust to you … that by these (weapons) you may wage the good battle’ 1 Tm 1:18. στρατεία: τὰ γὰρ ὅπλα τῆς στρατείας ἡμῶν οὐ σαρκικὰ ἀλλὰ δυνατὰ τῷ θεῷ ‘the weapons we use in our battle are not the world’s but God’s powerful weapons’ 2 Cor 10:4. στρατεύομαιa and στρατεία in 1 Tm 1:18 and 2 Cor 10:4 are used figuratively, and it may be essential to mark this figurative usage as a type of simile. For example, in 1 Tm 1:18 στρατεύομαι may be rendered as ‘you may, so to speak, wage the good battle’ or ‘it is like you are fighting.’ Similarly, in 2 Cor 10:4 στρατεία may be rendered as ‘in what is like a battle for us.’
Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic DomainsLouw-Nida
n See 1 Cor. 9:7
Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?
o ch. 13:3, 4; See 1 Cor. 2:5
since you seek proof that Christ is speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you.
For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.
so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
p Jer. 1:10
See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”
q [Isa. 2:11, 12]
The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.
For the Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low;
r ch. 9:13; [Rom. 5:19]
By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others,
For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
Divine power: our faith should rest in the power of God, not in the wisdom of men. , the proof of this power in Paul is how God spoke through him. We are weak yet strong, just as Christ was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. Strength has a way of blooming through our weakness. We have a divine "ability" more than power. We are capable of doing as humans what only can be done by God.
Destroy strongholds: tearing down or the demolition of a building. We take it apart brick by brick, piece by piece. The people in this day hardly knew of a demolition process that happened in a minute. In our day, we have seen the falling of the Twin Towers, and the demolition of buildings that come down as orchestrated blasts decimate the foundation of a building. But this was not how they demolished buildings. They took things apart piece by piece. It is a process over time, not a boom in a moment.
"Strongholds" is a fortress or strong military installation.
What comes from a military installation? Why would we want to destroy one? What happens if we don't destroy them?
v.5 Destroy in verse 5 is slightly different than the verb used in verse 4. Instead of demolition, this use of the word points toward a "lowering down to a lower level" or to bring down from one level to another.
2 Corinthians 10:7–11 ESV
Look at what is before your eyes. If anyone is confident that he is Christ’s, let him remind himself that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we. For even if I boast a little too much of our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be ashamed. I do not want to appear to be frightening you with my letters. For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.” Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present.
Starting v. 7, ending 11
The content (what we say) is the same when they are there or not there. Paul doesn't want his authority, and the authority present in his writings to "frighten" them. They are focused on the outside, the external. That is why they can say that the letters are "weighty and strong," but have a different opinion about their physical presence and speaking ability are weak. (v.7) Paul tells them to "look at what is before their eyes" because he wants them to understand what they are looking at. The idea is, "I belong to Christ, but so do they."

Book of Romans introduction

Did you know that there are 27 books in the NT, and 21 of them, 3 out of 4 are letters to people or churches? Why would God include letters as His Holy Scripture? Let's take a moment to think about that. Letters are personal addresses from a person to somebody else. They contain personal insight from the writer to the recipient.
God wanted a huge majority of His instruction and direction to us to be personal letters. And we are going to look at one.
If God were to send you a personal letter in the mail, you?

March 18, 2018 - Genesis 6:5-8:22

Genesis 6:5–8:22 ESV
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you to keep them alive. Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up. It shall serve as food for you and for them.” Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him. Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate, and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate, and seven pairs of the birds of the heavens also, male and female, to keep their offspring alive on the face of all the earth. For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.” And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him. Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came upon the earth. And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him went into the ark to escape the waters of the flood. Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah. And after seven days the waters of the flood came upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark, they and every beast, according to its kind, and all the livestock according to their kinds, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, according to its kind, and every bird, according to its kind, every winged creature. They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the Lord shut him in. The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days. But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided. The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, and the waters receded from the earth continually. At the end of 150 days the waters had abated, and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. And the waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen. At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent forth a raven. It went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. Then he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground. But the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him. He waited another seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark. And the dove came back to him in the evening, and behold, in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. Then he waited another seven days and sent forth the dove, and she did not return to him anymore. In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out. Then God said to Noah, “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—that they may swarm on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by families from the ark. Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”
From
As a side note, the passage also points out that there was no rain. This is something only God can provide. Ultimately, all of creation is dependent on God, not mankind.

part of sermon Pour out Your Heart to God

Matthew 26:36–44 ESV
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.
What do we do when hard times come? What or whom do we turn to when it's worse than a little struggle. I'm not talking about an overdraft that is going to cost you $35. That's a bad day, but that's not a defining moment. I'm talking about grief and devastation. I'm talking about the kind of difficulty that you
People say that you cannot prepare for devastation. Some situations you won't know what you will do until you get to that moment. And you cannot escape the pain in those moments, like losing a child or finding out your terminally ill. I've heard there is no pain like losing a young child. In a sense, you cannot lessen the pain through preparation. You cannot make it hurt any less. However, there are habits you can put into your life that will affect that season.
 
What do you do when your heart is heavy? When you are grieving? When you are sorrowful? Where do you go with your pain?
 
Regular habits prepare for defining moments.
 
Jesus went to the Father with the small stuff, the big stuff, and all the things in between. He went to God on a regular basis and shared from the heart. He didn't have a prayer list of things He was supposed to ask God for. He went off alone to be with God His Father. Notice, He didn't have to switch gears and try something new when devastation or a defining moment came. He knew where to take His grief and heavy heart because He had already been doing it for 30 years. Is that the habit of your life? Do you have a regular habit of getting away to a private place and opening your heart up to God? Because if you don't now, you won't then when you need it more than ever.
 
Imagine your heart like a small house. How often do you open it up to God, and invite Him in? Or do you spend most of your time coming and going and waving to Him across the street? Does He live with you or is He more like a neighbor that you wave to every now and then as you walk in and out your door?
 
This is not meant to be a guilt trip. God is extending to us a sober moment of clarity. Jesus was having the worst day of His entire life and He didn't have to do anything new. And I know it's tempting to say, "Well, He's Jesus. I'm not Jesus."
 
----------
• Jesus got alone with God.
• Jesus didn't live life alone. And even though Jesus got alone to be with God, He didn't live His life alone.
• Jesus humbled Himself.
• Jesus had faith, and prayed in faith.
• Jesus lived with purpose. He taught with purpose. He prayed with purpose. What is the point, the purpose, the reason for your daily living? Do you know why you do what you do?
Verse 38: This wasn’t a normal situation. This wasn’t a weekly or monthly or yearly event. This was a defining moment. One that happens maybe once a decade. So don’t think of this like a situation when you find out you have to pay an extra $150 on a bill. My friends tell me, “Oh, you’ll never believe what just happened. I ordered the wrong couch cover on amazon and now I have to pay like $20 extra bucks to send it back...my soul is very sorrowful, event to the point of death.”
verse 39 and 41 – He turned toward God in his pain, even though He knew that God was the One bringing Him to this moment. ILL: I have a young nephew that is not so fond of going to the doctors. Whenever he goes to get his shots, it’s a real show. Last time he went, he punched the nurse. And his parents tried telling him that the nurse was doing this for his good. Now, he didn’t punch the needle; the instrument that actually caused the pain. He punched the nurse. He was convinced that the nurse was the one causing the pain, and he wasn’t changing his mind. And we are convinced that God is the One who is really at fault here, the real culprit.
Jesus could never say, “Father, you didn’t want this for me. You don’t want me to experience this pain and grief.” God and Jesus planned this before they made the world. “But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief”

Effective Witness and Faithful Giver (old version; before GCC)

Text:
Title: Effective Witness and Faithful Giver (The Spotlight - Series) Doing the right things, for the right reasons.
Focal Verse: “But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,” (, ESV)
ETS: Paul urges the Thessalonians to increase and abound in love by living peacefully, responsibly, and diligently so that they would be effective witnesses and faithful givers.
Proposition: In order for a believer to be an effective witness and faithful giver, they must live peacefully, responsibly, and diligently.
Purpose: I want church members to live peaceful lives, attend to their own responsibilities, and work hard so that they can be effective witnesses and faithful givers.
Introduction: I got married to my wife on January 5th, 2008. And I still remember the tongue-in-cheek humor that my father-in-law gave me in the weeks leading up to the wedding. He said, “Jack, after 25 years of marriage, Renee still wants to hear and feel every day that I love her. And I want to tell her, ‘I told you I loved you when I married you, didn’t I?’” We all know there’s never a point at which it’s okay to stop showing love. We never say to God, “Okay. You don’t have to show me any more love.” We never tell our spouse, “I don’t need you to show me any more love. You’re done. You can sit down now.” On top of that, God never tells us to limit the extent of our love. Our love should continue to grow for the rest of our lives. We should be loving more and more people, and continue to do it better and better.
Transition: Paul prays this kind of life ambition for the church members in Thessalonica. We’ll be looking at . But first, I want us to hear Paul’s prayer for them in 3:11-12. “Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you,” Now turn to 4:9-12. Read 4:9-12. EXP: Paul begins with an affirmation in vv.9-10a. He wants them to know that they don’t need to be given a new commandment to love one another. They know to love one another, and they do it. God has already burned that into their new heart at conversion. There is a special intangible kind of fellowship with other people who love Jesus once you’re saved. But He does want to urge them to grow in that love and live it out practically. God wants us to have this life of ambition and aspiration. There are three areas of expression in which you can grow in your love inwardly: your personal behavior, your personal responsibilities, and your personal labor; it’s what you do, what you take care of, and how you work. In addition, there are two areas in which you grow outwardly: your public witness, and your public giving; it’s how you look, and how you help.
I. Personal Behavior (what you do): Live Peacefully Toward Others (4:11)
EXP: Paul urges them to “lead a quiet life” or “to live quietly.” This means that we should live a peaceful life. We shouldn’t be a disruption to others.
Ill/App: Have you ever known a busybody. Somebody who gossips or stirs up trouble. They are always stirring up drama wherever they go. Sometimes we can be dramatic too, can’t we? Have you ever seen a video of a tornado? It’s so powerful and leaves you full of awe. Yet it is so destructive. Everything that it touches is laid waste in its path. App: That may be an image of what we look like on the inside. Maybe something is bothering us. Maybe you hadn’t prayed that morning and spent time with the Father; and you didn’t get much sleep the night before so you were a little irritable. And before you give a second thought to what you’re about to say or do, it’s something you regret. Maybe you barked back at your spouse, or snapped at your child. You made a very ungodly comment at work or said stuff in anger and frustration that you wish you could take back. We go around leaving destruction and waste in our path because of what’s going on inside. A major part of living a peaceful life is having inner peace. The fruit of the spirit is peace. (Pause) Is there someone you have offended or sinned against? It’s hard to self-evaluate in this area. But it’s necessary if you want to grow in love and aspire to a life that honors God.
1) Live peacefully toward others; or “Don’t be a disruption to others.”
II. Personal Responsibility (what you take care of): Live Responsibly Among Others (4:11)
EXP: Paul urges them to attend to their own business, or mind their own affairs. This simply means to take care of your own responsibilities. Don’t leave a mess for others. ILL: Have you ever sat down in a restaurant and noticed some old food at your table or on your seat? A little bit of ketchup or sauce gets on your nice clothes or dress. Have you ever sat down in the theater ready to see a show you’ve been waiting on and felt something gradually get colder and more wet on your arm or thigh? Or have you ever been driving down the street and somebody in front of you throws some trash out of their car window? For some, those things don’t ultimately matter. (Pause) But have you ever heard on the news about a little child who was purposefully left inside a car in the middle of summer? APP: There are times when I just want to ask God to call down fire from heaven. I want immediate justice because the lack of responsibility has hurt somebody so bad that something inside me can’t bear it. Other people’s messes or lack of responsibility can really hurt. Don’t leave your responsibilities undone so that somebody else has to clean up after you. Specific ILL/APP: A husband is supposed to love his wife and train his children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. He is supposed to aspire to be a godly leader in the home. Now, sanctification takes time, and everybody has room for improvement. But if a man who’s been in church for more than a year knows the current scores and names of coaches and key players on his favorite teams, but doesn’t love his wife well, barely ever spends quality time with his family, and can only quote and “Jesus wept” out of the Bible, then he’s fooling himself. The world sets the bar of responsibility pretty low: if a man works hard outside the home, puts a roof over heads, and food on the table, then he has met the golden standard of manhood. Even possums do that.
And what is one of the church’s responsibilities? We know that “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (, NASB95). We should take care of those that can’t care for themselves. We should take care of those in dire need and distress.
If we’re going to increase and abound in love, we can’t leave messes for other people. We must mind our own affairs, and tend to our own business.
First, Live Peacefully Toward Others. Second, Live Responsibly Among Others.
III. Personal Labor (how you work): Live Diligently For Others (4:11)
EXP: Paul also urges them to work with their own hands. Don’t let others do your work. If you are able to work, you should. In reality, there are a lot of people that work in tough conditions. Work is hard. It takes perseverance and endurance. It leaves calluses, bruises, cuts, stinky socks. Even office or non-labor jobs are stressful and difficult. The difficulty in work can leave people unhealthy, depressed, distraught, and even disabled. But we are commanded to work. And if we do it God’s way, it ought to serve for our growth in love and sanctification. There shouldn’t be any excuse for people to purposefully ignore work so that somebody else will do their work for them. APP: Are you tempted with laziness? Anybody can be tempted with laziness on a daily basis. When (not if) you are, you have to find helpful accountability so that you don’t often rest near that temptation. If you’re going to grow in your love and apply it biblically, you must work with your own hands.
Live Peacefully Toward Others. Live Responsibly Among Others. Live Diligently For Others.
Transition: At the end of verse 11, Paul reiterates that he’s already given this command. This ambition and aspiration in life ought to be theirs already. But in verse 12 he gives the two-fold purpose of this way of living. Read verse 12.
IV. Public Witness (how you look): Live as an Effective Witness (4:12)
EXP: One of the purposes of living a quiet life, minding your own affairs, and working with your hands is your witness. Paul writes, “so that you may walk properly before outsiders” or “behave properly toward outsiders.” Jesus wants your life to attract lost people, outsiders. Even lost people can see right living. It makes logical sense that if you’re not a disruption, you don’t leave a mess, and you do your own work, you will have a good witness. If you believe right, you will live right. APP: Take Paul’s exhortation for yourself and live as an effective witness. Transition: There is also a second result in living this way.
V. Public Giving (how you help): Live as a Faithful Giver (4:12)
- EXP: The second purpose or result is that you will be dependent on no one, or so you won’t be in any need. What is Paul trying to get at? You must understand God’s principles concerning possessions to appreciate this. Either having (not being dependent on anybody) is for the purpose of storing up goods for yourselves; or having is in order to give more. This goes beyond being a burden on the church or other people. The issue of needing vs. giving is really a heart issue, it just has social implications. Greed is a strong poison in the heart. Let’s read together. “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
Scriptural Illustration: A good parable to glean wisdom concerning this is the parable of the rich fool in . “And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” ’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
From this story we can discern that when people are not in need, they should be rich toward God by giving. Store up treasures in heaven by giving to those who need on earth.
Conclusion: So have this ambition to lead a quiet life, a peaceful life, not disrupting people. Attend to your own business, mind your own affairs, and don’t leave a mess for other people. Work with your own hands, and don’t let others do your work for you. “But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more,” (verse 10) this is how your love will increase and abound. If you live this way, you prepare yourself to be an effective witness and a faithful giver.
Invitation: Some of you here today may be sensing conviction about the way you’re living your life. God may be speaking to your heart, letting you know that you have not been living peacefully, attending to your own business, or working in a God honoring way. Maybe God has brought to mind some offenses you have made, and you know you need to get right with somebody else. Why don’t you take this time right now to pray and ask God for forgiveness? Ask Him to help you reconcile with that person.
RELATED MEDIA
See the rest →
RELATED SERMONS
See the rest →