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20081026 Weathering the Storm 4

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Sixth Year

1. No longer

2. Self centred but Kingdom’s centred.

3. Be connected.

4. Write your testimony

5. Events to bring people to Church.

 

GOD KNOWS; ­ GOD HEARS; ­ GOD ANSWERS.

(I)   Weathering the World Financial Crisis…

  1. In recent times, many of us would be asking the Lord what he desires of us in these perilous times.

                         1)            I am sure in His sweet, familiar voice we heard: "God's greatest joy is to behold unwavering trust in his children."

                         2)            I believe I delight my Lord when I completely trust him while all things are frightful and dark.

  1. As I shared this message,

                         1)            NEWS headlines throughout the world read, "Mounting Fears Pummel World Markets AS BANKING GIANTS RUSH TO FIND BUYERS"; “Worst Crisis Since '30s With No End in Sight."

                         2)            A lot of very scary things are happening worldwide.

  1. No one has answers, only questions: "What has happened? And what is coming next?"

                         1)            We have dear friends who have lost almost everything: stocks, bank accounts, houses, jobs.

                         2)            We are all going to be affected in some way. We are all going to have our faith greatly tested.

                         3)            There is no safe haven now in the earthly things. There is safe haven in Christ and his promises.

  1. God is highly offended at injustice through corrupt systems and holds the propagators to account. Here is the first account of God dealing with corruption in business:

                         1)            Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud... (Ezek 28:16)….. Ezekiel was describing Satan who was the true ”king“ of Tyre

  1. Axiomatically the post-Christian world has likewise strayed away from God's ways like lost sheep.

                         1)            People have lost connection with the Biblical principles of commerce.

                         2)            The world has declared God irrelevant and turned from the currency of the Kingdom to the currency of Greed bringing upon itself the near collapse of the whole financial system:

                         3)            "The International Monetary Fund warned Saturday that debt-ridden banks were pushing the global financial system to the brink of meltdown and wealthy nations had so far failed to restore confidence. Meanwhile, global finance ministers kept searching for ways to tackle the unfolding financial crisis, turning their attention to its effects on rapidly developing countries and poor nations at risk of being swept up in the turmoil." www.msnbc.msn.Com - 12 October 2008.

                         4)            "ABN Ambro analysts estimate that about $4 trillion has been poured into financial markets globally, through capital injections and assistance packages. That does not include blanket guarantees on bank deposits or injections into the economy" - The Age Business Day, 17 October 2008.

                         5)            "The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 6.7% lower at 4013.4 points, forcing many people who borrow to buy shares to add cash to their accounts - or sell a portion of their portfolio" - The Age Friday 17 October 2008.

                         6)            This last quote is a very real illustration of how people have lost their way in the markets - legally!

1.  Rather than create wealth by investing cash in good companies and being rewarded by holding shares in productive growth, we have seen the system wrecked by the world turning to greed - trying to get rich by investing debt on rising markets. The outcome has been the failure of the system (apart from governmental rescue) - when debt funded artificial growth could no longer be sustained:

a.     "We went from a world in which if you wanted a mortgage to buy a home, you needed to show real income and a credit record, towards a world where a banker could sell you a mortgage and make gobs of money up front and then offload your mortgage to a bundler who put a whole bunch together, chopped then into bonds and sold some to banks as far afield as Iceland" - Thomas Friedman, The Age, Friday 17 October 2008.

b.     "It’s a lazy man’s way of making money, it’s a gamble, but at that time we didn’t look at it as being a gamble. We really saw it as a sure thing. We really thought that we could move into this house, keep it for a year and then turn around and sell it and have our retirement money and our retirement house paid for" - Read the full transcript from Four Corners program "Mortgage Meltdown" by Paul Barry (17/9/07) for insight into the whole shocking mess of subprime mortgages at: www.abc.net.au /4corners   

2.  From a Christian perspective Churches have often failed to train their people in God's ways for business,

a.     Christians have not always availed themselves of training and equipping opportunities to learn how to better serve God in their world.

b. Christians are similarly compromised in pursing the maxim: "what's in it for me" then we are falling short of Jesus calling for us to be salt and light in the world.

c.      The cleansing storm needs to minster transformation to both the gathered and scattered church so that we may better serve God in the world.

(II) Now, it is important that we have our Bible open at dangerous times

  1. The Word of God must become our very life, our hope, the ground of our faith.

                         1)            The promises of God can no longer be taken for granted.

                         2)            We are going to be faced with life and death issues.

                         3)            There is no turning back; things will never again be the same.

  1. Prayers and intimacy with Jesus

                         1)            Prayers must become "praying without ceasing,"

                         2)            Prayers must be plainly talking to him,

                         3)            Prayers must be pouring out our hearts in faith.

  1. David said in Psalm 31:13-15

                         1)             "Fear was on every side... But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies and from them that persecute me"

  1. I have given you a few Scripture references having to do with “refuge and trust”.

                         1)            Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn  of my salvation, my stronghold.

                         2)            Psalm 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.

                         3)            Psalm 31:19 How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.

                         4)            Psalm 37:40 The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

                         5)            Psalm 40:3-4 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. 4 Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.

                         6)            Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I will trust in you.

                         7)            Psalm 56:11 in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?

 

(III)       What are the issues facing the current global financial storm?

1.  The current world financial crisis has three significant soulish problems:

                         1)            Greed

1)                   Excessive desire for things.  The Hebrews visualized the soul as full of vigorous desires which urged it to extend its influence over other persons and things.

2)                   There was ḥāmaḏ, to desire a neighbour’s possessions.

1.     Dt. 5:21 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

3)                   There was beṣa‘, the desire for dishonest gain .

1.     Pr. 28:16 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

2.     Je. 6:13)

4)                   There was ’āwâ, selfish desire.

1.     Pr. 21:26 All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing.

5)                   There was Gk. epithymia expresses any intense desire, which if misdirected may be concentrated on money,

1.     Acts 20:33 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions.

2.     1 Tim. 6:9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

6)                   Instances of Greed.

1.     Eve, in desiring the forbidden fruit,  Gen. 3:6. 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

2.     Lot, in choosing the plain of the Jordan,  Gen. 13:10–13.

3.     Laban, in giving Rebekah to be Isaac’s wife,  Gen. 24:29–51.

4.     Laban, in deceiving Jacob when he served him seven years for Rachel, Gen. 29:15–30;

5.     Laban, in deceiving Jacob in wages,  Gen. 31:7, 15, 41, 42.

6.     Jacob, in defrauding Esau of his father’s blessing, Gen. 27:6–29;

7.     Jacob, in defrauding Laban of his flocks and herds, Gen. 30:35–43;

8.     Jacob, in buying Esau’s birthright,  Gen. 25:31.

9.     Balaam, in loving the wages of unrighteousness,  2 Pet. 2:15, with Num. 22.

10.                        Achan, in hiding the treasure,  Josh. 7:21.

11.                        The descendants of Joseph,  Josh. 17:14–18.

12.                        Eli’s sons, in taking the flesh of the sacrifice, 1 Sam. 2:13–17.

13.                        Samuel’s sons, in taking bribes, 1 Sam. 8:3.

14.                        Saul, in sparing Agag and the booty, 1 Sam. 15:8, 9.

15.                        David, of Bath-sheba, 2 Sam. 11:2–5.

16.                        Ahab, in desiring Naboth’s vineyard, 1 Kin. 21:2–16.

17.                        Gehazi, in taking a gift from Naaman, 2 Kin. 5:20–27.

18.                        Jews, in exacting usury of their brethren, Neh. 5:1–11; in keeping back the portion of the Levites, Neh. 13:10; in building fine houses while the house of the Lord lay waste, Hag. 1:4–9; in following Jesus for the loaves and fishes, John 6:26.

19.                        Money changers in the temple, Matt. 21:12, 13; Luke 19:45, 46; John 2:14–16.

20.                        The rich young ruler, Matt. 19:16–22.

21.                        The rich fool, Luke 12:15–21.

22.                        Judas, in betraying Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, Matt. 26:15, 16; Mark 14:10, 11; Luke 22:3–6; John 12:6.

23.                        The unjust steward, Luke 16:1–8.

24.                        The Pharisees, Luke 16:14.

25.                         Simon Magus, in trying to buy the gift of the Holy Spirit, Acts 8:18–23.

26.                        The sorcerers, in filing complaint against Paul and Silas, Acts 16:19.

27.                        Demetrius, in raising a riot against Paul and Silas, Acts 19:24, 27.

28.                        Felix, in hoping for a bribe from Paul, Acts 24:26.

29.                        Demas, in forsaking Paul for love of the world, 2 Tim. 4:10.

 

                         2)            Debt

1)                   borrowed money or property that a person is bound by law to pay back to another. In all periods of history, people have always had to borrow money. In Bible times many were willing to lend the desired money, but at a price. Excessive interest rates of 50 percent or higher per year were often charged.

2)                   Ro 13:8.. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.

                         3)            Fear

1)                   anxiety caused by approaching danger

2)                   2 Tim 1:7.. 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

 

(IV)       Is God disciplining his people? Is God disciplining nations? Is God care about corrupt systems? Does God have a cleansing purpose in the storm?

  1. Yes God disciplines his people, but what about nations and financial systems - are these also called to accountability before God?
  2.  “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” (Heb 12:5)

(V) Let look at four storms in the Bible.

1)      God intervening to change the direction and intent of his rebellious people.

2)      Headstrong people acting in disobedience to the prophetic word of God.

3)      God transforming the self sufficient from arrogant independence to worship.

4)      God discipling his people to move on from FEAR to FAITH in terrifying circumstances.

1.  Category 1 Storm:  Intervention

1) Don't think the story of Jonah is fiction.

                                                       1)      I have been told that in the Eden Killer Whale Museum (south coast of NSW) where the story is recorded of a whaler who was lost overboard and swallowed by a whale that was later beached, split open and the sailor released to live out the remainder of his days.

                                                       2)      So in the account of Jonah who caused his storm and why?

                                                       3)      Is his storm connecting with your story?

                                                       4)      Are you running away from God or his purposes?

2) Who caused Jonah's storm: the Lord.

                                                       1)      Jonah 1:4 Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up.

3) Why: to stop Jonah fleeing from God's purposes.

                                                       1)      Jonah 1:3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.

4) What was the solution: humility, honesty, turning back to God.

                                                       1)      Jonah 2 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. 2 He said: “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry. 3 You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. 4 I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ 5 The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. 6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O Lord my God. 7 “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. 8 “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. 9 But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord.” 10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

 

2.  Category 2 Storm:  Disobedience

1) Paul was under arrest and sailing from Israel to Rome.

                                                       1)      The ship sailed against the clear advice of Paul and between Crete and Malta they were caught in a hurricane force storm that resulted in the destruction of the ship, although all on board were saved.

                                                       2)      Are you caught in a storm as a result of your disobedience to the word of God to you?

                                                       3)      Acts 27:9-12… So Paul warned them, 10 “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” 11 But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. 12 Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest.

2) Who caused Paul's storm: natural weather occurrence.

                                                       1)      Acts 27:14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the “northeaster,” swept down from the island

3) Why: disobedience to the prophetic word of God .

                                                       1)      Acts 27:21 21 After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23 Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul.

4) What was the solution: humility, honesty, turning back to God.

                                                       1)      Acts 27:24 You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”

 

3.  Category 3 Storm. Transformation

1) In Psalm 107:23-32… Maritime merchants were caught in a tempest that melted away their courage caused them to reel and stagger like drunken men and drove them to their wits end.

                                                       1)      When they cried out to the Lord in their trouble He brought them out of their distress, stilled the storm and brought them to their desired haven.

                                                       2)      Will it take a huge storm to bring you back from arrogant independence to the worship of almighty God?

2) Who caused this storm: the Lord.     

                                                       1)      Psalm 107:25 25 For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves.

3) Why: to bring people to their wits end to seek God.

                                                       1)      Psalm 107:28 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress.

4) What was the solution: humility, honesty, turning back to God.

                                                       1)      Psalm 107:32 Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people and praise him in the council of the elders.

 

4.  Category 4 Storm. Discipling.

1) "Then he (Jesus) got into the boat and his disciples followed him.

                                                       1)      Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.

                                                       2)      But Jesus was sleeping.

                                                       3)      The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us!  We’re going to drown!”

                                                       4)      He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”

                                                       5)      Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

                                                       6)      The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

                                                       7)       (Matt 8:33, Mark 4:35, Luke 8:22).

2) What can we learn from the detail of this story?

                                                       1)      How does it speak to your situation and the future impact of the current global financial storm?

                                                       2)      This storm occurred in the disciple’s marketplace - their fishing fleet on Lake Galilee.

                                                       3)      Jesus took the initiative to go to sea at dusk (Mark 4:35)

                                                       4)      They were on the RIGHT journey; with the RIGHT people; at the RIGHT time; heading to the RIGHT destination; and Jesus was with them in the boat.

                                                       5)      The disciples had not done anything wrong to bring on the storm!

3) Imagine you are in the boat. Check again the picture at the top of this article - this is a terrifying situation: it is dusk, you are out of sight of land, you are in a furious storm and the waves are coming over the side of the boat. You are in a life threatening situation!Questions:

                                                       1)      who caused the storm (God, the devil or natural weather conditions)?

                                                       2)      why did Jesus knowingly sail into this storm?

                                                       3)      why was he asleep in the boat during the storm?

                                                       4)      knowing what you know now... how would you like to have reacted to the situation?

                                                       5)      Take time to think through with these questions before proceeding.

 

(VI)       In reality you have either been in a storm;  you are in a storm;  or you will be in a storm!

1.  The last question above is the critical application to how you will handle your storm.

1) The disciples had CHOICE: look at the waves and FEAR... or look to Jesus and TRUST.

2) The outcome for us will be determined at 3:30am as we make a conscious and disciplined choice - give in to FEAR (what can you change at 3:30am anyway), or in your mind write TRUST on the ceiling of your room and in your soul.

2.  Pray:

1)    that the Holy Spirit will rise up within you to overcome soulish FEAR and gain mastery over your emotions by FAITH (i.e.: trusting Jesus in your circumstances even if he's asleep and you’re not)

2)    that God will give you divine wisdom so that you can progressively bring His order to your disorder - for this is the creation mandate from the beginning (see Genesis 1:28).

3.  This is a journey of discipleship. It takes time.

1)    The storm will blow until God says the job is done and he stills the storm.

2)    You do not have control.

3)    This is why Jesus was asleep in the boat... not that he isn't present, but that he is taking you on a journey into maturity and he is waiting for you to move on from FEAR to FAITH.

 

(VII) Does God discipline Nations?

1.     Nearly one third of the old testament.

a.     Comprises an account of the disciplining of a corrupt Israel and her consequently being invaded by Babylon at God's initiation.

b.     Warnings about the impending discipline of Israel is the main topic of the prophets.

2.  But what about secular nations or nations following other religions, are they also accountable to God?

a.     Read Ezekiel chapters 29 and 30 to learn how God dealt with Egypt,

b.     God turned her from a mighty power into a lowly kingdom.

c.      This prophecy was fulfilled in 605BC when Babylon crushed Egypt at God's initiation.

d.     Read Daniel chapter 4 about the way God dealt with Nebuchadnezzar.

(VIII)    What about the current Global Financial Crisis? Is this a Cleansing Storm?

(X)  So where is God in the Storm?

 

1.  To answer this question we first need to ask:

a.     What is the currency of the 'world'? - dollars > greed > "what's in it for me"

b.     What is the currency of the Kingdom? - fruit > sacrifice > what's in it for God

c.      What is God's message through the storm? - turn back to biblical principles!

2.  God is in the business of reconciling all things to himself including the way we live and do business:

a.     "For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross" (Col 1:20).

3.  And in this great purpose every Christian has been given a ministry of reconciliation:

a.     All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors (2 Cor 5:18-20).

4.  So what are authentic Christians to model to the world in the way they live and do business?

1.           having the right priorities and motivations:

a.     Matt 6:19-34 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

2.           being on guard against greed and materialism:

a.     Luke 12:15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

3.           working hard with Godly integrity:

a.     Col 3:22-24.. 22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

4.        getting out of debt:

a.     Rom 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding,

5.        being productive:

a.     Matt 25:14-30 …14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talentsa of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ 21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 22 “The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ 23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 24 “Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ 26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. 28 “ ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

6.        producing good fruit:

a.     Matt 7:16,  By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

b.    John 15:1-7,  “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you

c.      1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect

7.        resting in God:

a.     Phil 4:4-7. 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


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