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Saul’s Downfall 1 Sam 15:17

Saul’s Downfall 1 Sam 15:17 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

King Saul had four problems that caused his downfall: pride, the fear of man, envy, and an evil spirit from the Lord.  Three of these were his problems.  The fourth was given to him by the Lord as a result of the first three.

We’re going to study how these problems manifested themselves in Saul’s life and how they affected him.  As we do, you need to check how these problems may be affecting your own life.  How they affected Saul is how they will affect you.  Saul’s downfall resulted from:

Pride – 1 Sam 15:17 – at the beginning of Saul’s reign, he was “little” in his own sight.  He was humble [1 Sam 10:22].  But during his reign, it became evident that he was very proud.  When he offered the sacrifice at Gilgal, he justified himself by saying, “the people we scattered from me,” [1 Sam 13:11].  After failing to keep the commandment of God in his battle against Amalek, Saul said, “I have performed the commandment of the Lord,” [1 Sam 15:13].  Even after he was proven wrong, he said, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord,” [1 Sam 15:20].  When he was rejected by the Lord, he asked Samuel to “honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people,” [1 Sam 15:30].  When David escaped to Adullam, Saul complained to his men, “That all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that sheweth me that my son hath made a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or sheweth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day,” [1 Sam 22:8]?

It was Saul’s pride that compelled him to pretend to be spiritual.  He used “the worship” of God to bring himself personal honor [1 Sam 15:30].  In this regard, he was just like the proud Pharisees [Jn 5:44; Matt 23:2, 5].  When the battle continued after Jonathan’s success against the garrison, Saul made an oath saying, “Cursed be the man that eateth any food until evening, that I may be avenged on mine enemies,” [1 Sam 14:24].  This wasn’t about God; it was about Saul.

Look at the difference between him and Jonathan and him and David.  Jonathan depended upon the Lord and the Lord fought for Jonathan [1 Sam 14:6, 12, 23, 45].  David depended upon the Lord and the Lord fought for David [1 Sam 17:45-51].  These men had real faith in the Lord and the Lord blessed them for his glory.  By contrast, Saul used the Lord for his own glory.  How about you?  Are you being “spiritual” so you can attract attention to yourself? This could be your downfall.

The fear of man – Saul started out as a good man [1 Sam 9:2].  The Spirit of God came upon him [1 Sam 10:10].  And the Lord gave Israel victory through him in battle [1 Sam 11:6-13].  After his initial success, God gave conditions for Israel’s continued success [1 Sam 12:14-15].  They and their king were to fear God, among other things.

However, after this, the next problem appeared.  Saul feared his own people.  Yet, he was not afraid to use God to mitigate that fear.  When the Philistines gathered to avenge their losses after Jonathan defeated the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, the people hid and scattered from Saul [1 Sam 13:6, 8].  So, Saul offered a burnt offering to keep the rest of the people from fleeing [1 Sam 13:11].  When you fear men, you do not fear God.  This was a terrible sin.

Later, Saul called for the priest to bring the ark after Jonathan and his armorbearer killed the garrison of 20 men between Michmash and Gibeah [1 Sam 14:18].  He was just using the ark for the same effect that the elders of Israel had used it in 1 Sam 4:3-5.  He was using it to make it look like God was on his side.  It was for show.  There was no fear of God in that decision.

When Saul disobeyed the commandment of the Lord in his battle against Amalek, he confessed the reason was, “because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice,” [1 Sam 15:24].  He justified his decision by offering to sacrifice some of the spoil to the Lord [1 Sam 15:21].  He was just like the Pharisees [Matt 21:46; Mk 11:32, 12:12].  A big religious show for the people. Is your “worship” motivated by the fear of man?  This could be your downfall.

Envy – 1 Sam 13:3-4 – Saul could not stand anyone else getting more credit than him for Israel’s victories.  Jonathan smote the garrison but Saul took the credit.  When God used Jonathan and his armorbearer to start the great victory against the Philistines in 1 Sam 14, Saul was ready to kill Jonathan over it [1 Sam 14:39, 44].  Of course, he made a big spiritual display by casting lots, but his fear of the people prevailed and he couldn’t go through with his plan [1 Sam 14:45].  Note: Jonathan was taken by the casting of lots because Saul was merely interested in revealing the man who violated his curse [1 Sam 14:24 (yet he was innocent, see 1 Sam 14:27)] rather than the sinner whom God refused to answer [1 Sam 14:37-38].

And when it came to David, the situation was even worse.  After David killed Goliath and then performed valiantly in battle, Saul couldn’t stand David [1 Sam 18:7-9].  As David continued to have success, the problem only grew worse [1 Sam 18:28-29].  And you know, from reading 1 Samuel, that Saul pursued David until he finally left Judah and fled with his men to Achish.  In this regard, Saul was just like the Pharisees [Matt 27:18].  The Pharisees couldn’t stand that Jesus had more power and more of a following than they did.  Who do you envy that the Lord appears to bless more than he blesses you?

The evil spirit – 1 Sam 16:14 – this aspect of Saul’s problems explains his drastic “mood” swings.  On the one hand, he loved David [1 Sam 16:21] and was glad to have him with him [1 Sam 18:2, 5].  He even called him “my son,” [1 Sam 24:16].  But, on the other hand, he was obsessed with killing David.  He relentlessly pursued David to kill him and then he would repent [1 Sam 19:16; 24:16-22, etc.].  This strange, inconsistent behavior was the work of that evil spirt in Saul.  What similar evidence is there that an evil spirit might be messing with you?

Conclusion: pride, the fear of man and envy will ruin you in your walk with God.  Like Saul, it may take years for these things to reveal themselves in their fulness in your life.  If you recognize any of these in you now, cut them off before an evil spirit takes hold and really messes you up.  They were Saul’s downfall; don’t let them be yours.

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Better Than Sacrifice 1 Sam. 15: 22-23

Better Than Sacrifice 1 Sam. 15: 22-23 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

To obey is better than sacrifice.  In other words, do right the first time and you won’t have to sacrifice.  Saul disobeyed God’s specific command and yet boasted that he had “performed the commandment of the Lord,” [1 Sam 15:13].  When Samuel challenged him [1 Sam 15:19], Saul proclaimed, “Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me…” [1 Sam 15:20].  He hadn’t and he knew it [1 Sam 15:21].  But he thought a sacrifice would cover him [1 Sam 15:21].  It wouldn’t and, when he knew it wouldn’t, then he admitted the truth, “I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words,” [1 Sam 15:24].  Sacrificing was worthless.

Cain was the first man to come up with the idea of offering a sacrifice to God [Gen 4].  Your first impression might be that he was pious and religious.  But God tells us that “his own works were evil,” [1 Jn 3:12].  Cain was trying to cover his wicked heart and evil works.  And God wouldn’t accept him.

As men, we get the idea that God is impressed with sacrifices.  And so, if we have a desire to disobey God, we just come up with some sacrifices that we think are sufficient to cover our disobedience.  It’s like coming up with excuses.  When we don’t want to do something, we find a way to excuse ourselves.  Likewise, when we do wrong, our first thoughts are about how to make what we do look acceptable to God.

Men are experts at excusing themselves from doing right.  By coming up with the right sacrifice, doing wrong is suddenly acceptable to God in our minds.  The Catholic Church is built on just such a system.  A man can live like hell all week, go to confession on Saturday, take the sacrifice of the Eucharist on Sunday and walk back down the aisle as humbly and piously as the greatest saint that ever lived.  Men might be impressed with his piety, but God is not.  God sees it as witchcraft and idolatry.  As God said in Prov 21:2, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord pondereth the hearts.”

Baptists have a similar way of handling this.  We know that Jesus is the sacrifice that God accepts and so we offer a blanket confession of sins at night with no intention of stopping what we are doing.  Though the sacrifice of Jesus is the one sacrifice that God did accept for all eternity, he doesn’t want us using it so we can just keep living like lost men.  Obey, brother!  Do justice! Do judgment! Do right!

God is different than we are.  He says, “To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice,” [Prov 21:3].  He wants us to consider what’s just and do that; to consider what passes his judgment and do that.  He wants us to keep from doing those things that are wrong.  When we sacrifice just so we can keep doing what we want to do, God says, essentially, “Forget your sacrifice; I don’t want it.”  See Is 1:11-15.

Conclusion: obedience, justice and judgment are God’s desire.  God knows and we know that we are sinners and that Jesus’ blood covers all unrighteousness.  But that’s no excuse for us to keep doing what we know is wrong.  To keep doing wrong when you know what’s right is rebellion, stubbornness, witchcraft, iniquity and idolatry.  Disobedience is rebellion because you are rebelling against God’s command.  It’s stubbornness because you refuse to quit.  It’s witchcraft because you are serving the devil not the Lord.  It’s iniquity because it’s sin.  It’s idolatry because now you are your own god.  Learn to do right the first time and quit trying to buy God off with a sacrifice!!

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When Trouble Comes Ps. 146:1-10

When Trouble Comes Ps. 146:1-10 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

In your life, you are going to face trouble and problems.  Things are going to be tough from time to time.  You might be oppressed, hungry, imprisoned, blind, bowed down, orphaned, widowed or alone [stranger].  What are you to do when you find yourself in this kind of trouble?

Praise the Lord – Ps 146:1-2 – we are instructed to praise the Lord.  The psalmist said, “While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being,” [Ps 146:2].  You know, it is easy to praise the Lord while everything is going your way.  It is much harder to praise the Lord when things are “heading south.”  In this Psalm, the psalmist encourages us to praise the Lord when we are in trouble.  Praising the Lord magnifies him and minimizes the trouble.  It keeps our mind on him and off the problems.  We enjoy God and glorify him despite our distresses.  We become overwhelmed with him rather than our trials.  Paul and Silas did this when they were imprisoned in Philippi [Acts 16:22-25].

Trust God, not men – Ps 146:3-4 – we have a tendency as people to run to other people for help as soon as we need help.  In Lk 8:43-44 a woman spent all her living on physicians and could not be healed.  She touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and she was healed immediately.  Ps 118:8-9 tell us it is better to trust in the Lord than in man.  By trusting in the Lord, he can direct you in his will and to the people he will use to help you.  Sometimes the Lord will direct you to a physician who can improve or restore your health by giving him or her wisdom to understand what’s wrong with you.  Sometimes, he will strengthen you by his grace, instead.  Sometimes, he will show you a way to nourish yourself or change your life that will straighten you out.  And so forth.  He’s the one who fed the Jews in the wilderness, and the one who fed the 5,000 and who miraculously fed the widow in Elijah’s day.  He’s the one who took care of Ruth [a stranger].  He’s the one who will save Israel.  He’s the one who’ll take care of you.

Hope in the Lord – Ps 146:5-6a – the Lord is the only one who knows what he wants to accomplish in you in your present circumstances.  John the Baptist was beheaded in prison, James was killed by Herod in prison, and yet Peter was miraculously released from prison.  There’s not a man on earth that could have helped any of them or figured out what was best for them and God.  Each one had to keep his hope in God.  Jesus had to encourage John the Baptist not to be offended in him.  You cannot anticipate how your situation is going to turn out.  But one thing for sure, you cannot lose your hope in God!  One man’s wife gets healed [Heidi Gonderman] and another man’s wife dies [Angie Ellzey].  The only way for each family to handle this and be happy [and not get bitter] is to hope in the Lord.

Look to the words of God – Ps 146:6b – “the truth”. You must get into the Bible and read with a listening and believing heart.  God will direct you in his words [Ps 119:133] and show you what he wants you to know about what you are going through.  The angel of the Lord showed up when Paul was about to be shipwrecked and gave him the wisdom to understand what was happening and how to spare every man’s life through the storm.  The word of God shows you the way through the trouble.

Stay right with God – Ps 146 :8-9 – when people get into trouble, we tend to run to sin for solace, comfort or escape.  You must stay in a right relationship with God.  You must draw very close to him.  The Lord loveth the righteous.  Don’t run to sin.  The way of the wicked he turneth upside down.  I have seen many people destroyed by turning away from the Lord at precisely the time they needed to turn to him.

Let God rule – Ps 146:10 – the Lord is going to reign forever in Zion.  He is supposed to be ruling in our hearts right now.  Our bodies are his temple.  Let God be God.  Let him work out the circumstances in your life his way.  Take your hands off the reigns and quit trying to dictate to God.  He knows what he is doing.  Let him do it.

Conclusion: and remember to keep praising the Lord [Ps 146:10].  You will get through the trouble.

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Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth : Covenants Lesson #2

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth : Covenants Lesson #2  

In this lesson we will continue to discuss the covenants in the word of God. In this lesson we will look at the Noahic Covenant and the Abrahamic Covenant.

The Third Covenant : (Genesis 8:20-22 & 9:1-16)

This covenant is found in the 3rd division and deals with Noah and what God does after the he gets off of the ark. Remember that the previous covenant (Adamic) is unconditional therefore those things are still in effect.

What is found in the Covenant :

1)   God does not curse the ground anymore (Genesis 8:21)

  • Since the Adamic covenant is still in effect the ground is still cursed. What God says here is that he will not curse the ground anymore for man’s sake.

2)  God establishes the seasons (Genesis 8:22)

  • In this verse we see the seasons established and the fact that they will remain.

3)  Noah is told to be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth (Genesis 9:1)

  • Here Noah is given the same commission as Adam. Remember that Noah and his wife and his sons and their wives are the only living people on the planet when they get off the ark.

4)  Animals will now fear man (Genesis 9:2)

  • Notice that the animals are given into the hand of Noah and his sons. The reason that they will now fear man will be clear in the next statement concerning this covenant.

5)  Man can now eat meat (Genesis 9:3-4)

  • Remember that in the garden Adam and Eve were told that the herb bearing seed and the fruit tree yielding seed was to be meat for them.
  • Now God allows man to start eating meat. This is why the animals will now fear man, they are now the prey.
  • A very important note here is that they cannot eat the blood. This is continued under the law (Leviticus 17:10-16) and after the law also (Acts 15:29).

6)  Capital Punishment is established (Genesis 9:5-6)

  • Many like to argue and say that capital punishment is only found under the Old Testament law and that since we are no longer under the law that it should not be practiced today.
  • The truth is that Paul speaks of it at least twice in the New Testament under church age doctrine which is after the law. In Acts 25:11 Paul says that if he has done anything worthy of death he refuses not to die. In Romans 13:1-7 he speaks of the executioner as the minister of God against those who do evil.
  • Some maybe wondering what about what Jesus said in Matthew 5:38-39. Doctrinally this is the constitution of the millennial kingdom and these verses apply doctrinally in the millennium. Note how no one mentions verse 40 in that same passage very much!

7)  The token of the covenant is the rainbow (Genesis 9:13-15)

This covenant would be and unconditional covenant because the things that are given here do not change and are not dependent upon what Noah and his sons do.

The Fourth Covenant : (Genesis 12:1-3 ; Genesis 15:4 ; Genesis 15:8)

This covenant is found under the fourth division and deals with the promises that God gives to Abraham and his seed.

What is found in the Covenant :

1)  Abraham would become a great nation (Genesis 12:2)

  • This is true because the Nation of Israel comes from Abraham.

2)  Abraham would be blessed (Genesis 12:2)

  • If you study the life of Abraham you will find that God blessed him greatly.

3)  Abraham would be a great name (Genesis 12:2)

  • This is true, just think of how many people have named their children Abraham.

4)  Abraham would be a blessing (Genesis 12:2)

  • Not only was Abraham blessed but he was also a blessing to others.

5)  God said he would bless those that blessed Abraham and curse them that cursed him

(Genesis 12:3)

  • This is a great statement because history proves that it is true. Any nation that has totally went against the Jews has been destroyed. For example Spain ceased to be a world power after going against the Jews in the Spanish Inquisition. Germany ceased to be a great military power after what they did to the Jews in World War 2.
  • The other side of this is true to the people who help Israel will be blessed. This is probably one of the main reasons that the United States is still around is because we have not totally gone against Israel.
  • If a nation would just believe the word of God and history they could save themselves a lot of hardship.

6)  God said that in Abraham all families of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:3)

  • One of the main ways that this is true is the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ comes through the lineage of Abraham. Today in the church age anyone can be saved by grace through faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9), and that is truly a great blessing.

7)  Abraham was promised a seed and his seed is promised the land (Genesis 15:4 ; 15:18-21)

  • This is what all the fighting is about in the middle east, it is over that land that God promised to Abraham seed.
  • The problem is that Abraham had more than one son but the word of God shows that the promise of the land went to Isaac and not Ishmael (Genesis 17:19 ; 22:16-18). But then Isaac has two sons also but the promise goes to Jacob and not to Esau (Genesis 27:29 ; 28:13 ; 35:12)
  • Therefore the land rightly belongs to the descendent of Jacob of whom came the 12 tribes of Israel. And they will keep fighting over it until the Lord Jesus Christ returns at the 2nd Advent and sets up the millennial reign and gives Israel all that is promised to them.

 

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

Covenants Lesson #2 Handout

1)  What is the name for the third covenant and where is it found in the Bible?

 

2)  Is this covenant conditional or unconditional?

 

3)  What are some of the conditions of this covenant?

 

4)  What is the name of the fourth covenant and where is it found in the Bible?

 

5)  Is this covenant conditional or unconditional?

 

6)  What are the conditions of this covenant?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fulfilled Prophecy Is 48:3

Fulfilled Prophecy Is 48:3 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

Two of the distinguishing characteristics of the Bible are prophecy and fulfilled prophecy.  Is 48:3 is a profound passage wherein God declares the former things and then brings them to pass.  See also Is 46:9-10, Is 42:8-9.  Only the God of the Bible could do a thing like that.  Fulfilled prophecy is the result of God’s:

Eternity – Is 43:10 – God is not bound by time.  God is present in the present, he is present in the past and he is present in the future all at the same time.  That’s why he said to Moses, “I AM THAT I AM.”  That’s why Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am,” [Jn 8:58].  He is not bound by location either.  That’s why John said, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him,” [Jn 1:18].  That’s why Jesus said, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven,” [Jn 3:13].  So, God can prophecy how a thing is going to happen because he is in the time of the declaration and the fulfillment, simultaneously.

Foreknowledge – Acts 2:23 – God knew that the Jews in Jesus’ day would reject him.  Even Stephen knew that [Acts 7:51-51].  He knew that Pilate would cave in to the pressure applied by the chief priests [Acts 3:13-15; Matt 27:24].  The Lord didn’t have to wait around to find out how things were going to go with Saul [1 Sam 8:9-18].  Even though Saul was a good man [1 Sam 9:1-2], God knew that things would turn out badly with him, and so he could prophesy ahead of time how things were going to go.  Jesus could read men, “because he knew all men, and needed no that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man,” [Jn 2:24-25].  That’s one of the ways he could prophesy how things were going to turn out for him.

Sovereignty – Prov 21:1 – God has a certain way that he wants certain things to work out and so he arranges the circumstances, the people and the events so that things work out just the way that he said they would.  God elevated Pharaoh to king of Egypt so that he could show the world his mighty power through the plagues and declare his name throughout all the earth [Ex 9:16].  He raised up Cyrus and gave him a commission to rebuild Jerusalem [Is 44:28-45:1].  This prophecy was made even before Cyrus was born, nearly 200 years before he came to the throne.  You never have to worry about prophecy with God because he intervenes in the affairs of men to make things turn out his way.

Authority – 2 Pet 1:21 – holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.  These words are not the words of men.  These are God’s words.  Matt 24:35.  The Koran, for instance, is the work of man.  Therefore, the Koran is void of prophecy.  When you’re dealing with God’s words, though, then you are dealing with prophecy [Rev 19:10].

Faithfulness – Is 25:1 – God will never veer from his word.  If he said it then he is going to make it turn out just like he said.  Ps 119:160; Num 23:19.  God keeps his words.  If you see it in the Bible, then you will see it in life.  God said that perilous times would come and perilous times will come.  God said that Jesus will return and Jesus will return.  God said that the lost will spend an eternity in the lake of fire and the lost will spend an eternity in the lake of fire.  God said if you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ you will be saved and if you call on the name of the Lord Jesus you will be saved and you will be forever with the Lord.

Conclusion: for these reasons, it is nothing for God to proclaim in writing how things will go in the future.  The challenge is for you to believe what he said.  If you believe his words then they will work effectually in you [1 Thes 2:13].

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Pray for Others 1Sam. 12:23

Pray for Others 1 Sam. 12:23 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

As a judge in Israel, Samuel considered the failure to pray for others in Israel a sin.  Samuel said, “God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you…” [1 Sam 12:23].  Perhaps, it is not a sin if we don’t pray for others, but Samuel surely considered the failure to pray for others a sin in his capacity.

Likewise, ministers are to pray for others [Acts 6:4; 1 Tim 2:1-3].  We are to pray for the folks in church, for requests given to us by church members, for missionaries, for other pastors, for our neighbors, for our country, for those in authority, for the sick and infirm, and so forth.

Likewise, church members are to pray for others [1 Thes 5:17].  Obviously, those with more time will have more time to pray.  And this is the blessing of being in a church.  Some can devote themselves to pray for others more than others can.  But all those for whom we need to pray will be covered in prayer when we are all praying.

Through prayer for others:

The lost get saved – on old farmer, who had been a customer of mine at the bank, was saved in a nursing home through our ministry in that home.  His grandson had prayed for him for many years.  A lady in Robstown was saved on her front porch 50 years after her mother, who had been saved under the ministry of Billy Graham, first witnessed to her and began praying for her.  The lady said, after she received Jesus Christ, “You are an answer to my mother’s prayers.”

Wayward saints get right – two women were responsible for me getting right with the Lord.  One was my wife’s paternal grandmother and the other was our bank Cashier.  When I thanked our Cashier for praying for me, she said, “Well, somebody had to do something.”  Brother, she did excellent work on her knees and I still thank God for her to this day.

The infirm get help – they don’t always get healed but they always get help.  God gives them grace to strengthen their weakness, he gives comfort to assuage their suffering, he gives wisdom to their doctors to prescribe the proper medicines, perform the proper procedures, and recommend the right treatments, he gives supernatural healing, he gives financial provision and personal care, he gives joy, and he gives many eternal life, who would have never considered their need if it weren’t for their infirmity.

Saints get protection – many missionaries have testified of the supernatural protection they have received in direct response to the prayers of others.  A missionary in Africa, many years ago, was rescued from an attempted murder and theft by 26 tribesmen in the bush.  When recounting the story in America, while on furlough, he met the 26 men in one church who prayed for him on the precise day and at the precise hour that these would-be murders were about to kill him.  That’s a sure testimony to the value of praying for others.

Marriages get restored – many years ago, a fellow was married to a woman who started an affair with a naval pilot.  His pastor advised him to pray for her each time she stepped out on him and to remain in prayer for as long as she was gone.  One night, while interceding for her, she came home early from her rendezvous.  In grievous tears, she told her husband that her lover had been killed that night in a mid-air plane explosion.  She repented and through much work their marriage was restored.

Conclusion: with all that God does in answer to prayers for others it appears that it would be a sin against the Lord for us to not pray for others.  If you are not interceding for others, then now would be a good time for you to make a list and start praying for other people you know who need prayer.

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Saul’s Spiritual Character Flaws

1 Sam 13:11-16 Saul’s Spiritual Character Flaws CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

Saul did something very foolish when he offered a burnt offering and this foolish decision revealed some spiritual flaws in his character that plagued him for the rest of his life.  These flaws were that:

He knew what he was doing was wrong – v.12 – he forced himself to offer the sacrifice – when making a decision or considering an action the first question you need to ask yourself is, “Is it right?”  And if it is not, then you have no business doing it.  Bob Jones, Sr. said, “It’s never right to do wrong to get a chance to do right.”  No matter if Saul thought that he might be a genuine reason to offer the sacrifice, he knew it was wrong and that was reason enough not to do it.

He did not consider the consequences – v.13 – his disobedience cost him the throne – he had to know that the conditions of meeting Samuel in Gilgal and waiting for him to offer the sacrifice were connected with his anointing as king of Israel [1 Sam 10:8] – and the failure to do those things was connected with his removal as king – you cannot do evil and get away with it – there are always consequences to sin and disobedience [Gal 6:7-8]

He formulated his spiritual excuses before making his decision – v.11 – he had three excuses for doing what he did – he blamed the people, Samuel and the Philistines – you cannot excuse disobedience – the idea that you are even considering your excuses before doing the wrong thing only shows your determination to be a fool – and Saul was certainly  foolish [v.13]

He didn’t consider the Lord in his decision – v.11 – it seemed to never enter Saul’s mind to inquire of the Lord in his decision – he decided to offer a sacrifice just because his troop strength was being diminished – this is very contrary to the way that Gideon and David handled the situation – they both knew that their ability to defeat the enemy was not dependent upon the number of soldiers but rather the presence of the Lord – and you must make your decisions based upon what the Lord tells you to do and not based upon what you see

He didn’t even bother to repent – v.15-16 – it was bad enough that he disobeyed and even worse that he was told that he lost the kingdom as a result of his foolishness, but to then just go right on about business as usual without repenting was, as they say, “over the top” – he was completely callous to the Lord’s reproof – you cannot be that way – when you mess up and the Lord makes you aware of it, you need to drop what you are doing and get right with the Lord [2 Chr 33:11-13, 18].

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A Faithful Steward 1Cor. 4:2

A Faithful Steward 1 Cor. 4:2 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

Abraham’s eldest servant was a faithful steward (Gen 24).  He accomplished what he was sent to do. He was sent to find a bride for Isaac and he succeeded. Nothing took precedence over the task at hand (Gen 24:17).  He would not eat until he knew for certain that Rebekah and her family would agree to her marriage to Isaac. In this regard, the eldest servant was like Jesus Christ (John 4). Jesus said, “my meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work,” (Jn 4:34).

You have a stewardship, and a responsibility, if God has given you anything to do for him. You have a stewardship over your family and any responsibility that you have in the church. Be faithful. A faithful steward:

Is a servant­ – Gen24:2; Gen24:9­ – this man was a servant.  We are servants (Matt 20:25-­28, Matt 23:10).  We have a master.  Without a master we are nothing.  In John 15:5 Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing.”  God calls a particular person for a particular reason.  He expects you to apply yourself.  Not everybody can do what you do.  However, you are still just a servant.  In Gen 24:2, this steward was Abraham’s eldest servant.  That’s all he ever was.  Though he ruled over all that Abraham had, he was never more than a servant.  And, no matter how much responsibility you have in the ministry, you are nothing more than a servant.

Owns nothing­ – Gen24:10 – ­all of the goods of his master were in his hand.  Yet nothing he was over was his own.  Everything was owned by Abraham and then by Isaac (Gen 24:36, Gen25:5). He was like Joseph in that regard (Gen 39:8). The unjust steward in the New Testament made the mistake of thinking that some of what he oversaw was his own (Lk 16).  When he had to give an account of his stewardship, he treated his master’s assets as his own and changed their value for his personal benefit.

In your stewardship, if you ever think that you own what you oversee, you will be in trouble.  In the early church, “Neither said any of them that all of the things which he possessed was his own,” (Acts 4:32).  As a matter fact, we don’t even own ourselves.  We are bought with a price (1 Cor 6:19 ­20).

Is blessed – ­Gen24:31 – ­God was over and in all this man did.  Prov 28:20 says, “A faithful man shall abound with blessings.”  God gave the servant provision (Gen 24:7).  He sent his angel before him.  God answered this man’s prayer (Gen 24:12-­14).  Everything he did was bathed in prayer.  Thus, the servant gave God praise (Gen 24:21, 26-­27).  This is God’s work and God must bless in order for us to be successful.  We have a saying, “too much man and not enough God.”  Too often men try to accomplish God’s work without God’s blessing and it becomes evident that the work is their own.  God must bless the things that we do.  If we are doing what we do for God’s honor and his glory, it will be evident to all that God is the one getting the work done through us (Gen 24:50).

Is a no name­ – Gen24:2­ – presumably this servant is Eliezer (Gen 15:2). However, the steward who is the servant of Gen 24 does not draw attention to himself.  He was like we are supposed to be (Luke 17:10).  All of this work was for Isaac and for Abraham; none of this work was for the servant’s benefit.  Until you met David Edens at our missions conference you did not know who he was.  Yet, he has served the Lord faithfully in Niger, Africa for 45 years.  He did that work for God, not for his personal recognition.  Ronald Reagan said, “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

Rachel Metzler served the Lord faithfully in Haiti leading children to the Lord Jesus Christ who would have otherwise been killed by their mothers.  Through her work many came to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Nevertheless, you have never heard of her.  Miss Metzler said, “There is no limit to what God can do with a servant who will not touch the glory.”

Conclusion: I encourage you to be a faithful steward. Remember these characteristics of faithful stewards and discharge your responsibility faithfully for God’s glory.

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Enemy Attacks Eph. 6:11-12

Enemy Attacks Eph. 6:11-12 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

We know that we are subject to enemy attacks from three enemies.  They are the devil [Eph 6:11-12; 1 Pet 5:8-9], the world [Jas 4:4; 1 Jn 2:15-17], and the flesh [Rom 7:18-21; Rom 8:7-8].  The devil attacks mainly through deception [Rev 12:9].  He attempts to separate you from the Lord and from his words [Gen 3:1-8].  The world attacks predominately through affection [Col 3:2].  The world attacks by attempting to fill your heart and mind with temporal things rather than eternal things.  The flesh attacks predominately through lust [Gal 5:16-17].  The flesh attacks by attempting to consume you with physical and carnal thoughts and desires rather than with spiritual things; with the natural rather than the supernatural.

The devil tripped up Hymenaeus and Philetus [2 Tim 2:15-18]; the world tripped up Demas after he faithfully served the Lord [2 Tim 4:10]; and the flesh tripped up the Corinthians [1 Cor 5:1-5].

We are to be on guard against these enemy attacks constantly, armed with the whole armour of God.  If we were to take a poll today, we would probably mostly agree that we are well protected and that our enemies are still outside our perimeter trying to get in.  However, upon closer examination, I believe you will find that our enemies are already inside our perimeter and, in some cases, are thoroughly in control of our troops.

Our affections are to be set on things above [Col 3:2], we are to maintain constant fellowship with Jesus [1 Jn 1:3], and our steps are to be ordered in the words of God [Ps 119:133].

Our enemies separate us from these things.  Some of you aren’t in fellowship with the Lord; your prayer life is naught.  We intercede for you because you can’t always pray as much as you want to, but you can pray more than you do.  Some of you aren’t in the word.  We study and prepare lessons and sermons to help you because we minister [Acts 6:4].  But you can be in the word more than you are.  Your spiritual life depends upon you spending time in the words of God.  Some of you don’t make decisions based on the leadership of the Spirit, but rather on the desires of your flesh.  You must put down the flesh and let God lead you.  No one else can do that for you.

We must all carefully examine our lives and determine how much ground we have already given up to our enemies.  We must draw near to God and turn away from the things that have separated us from him and his words.  We must stand strong against enemy attacks and be vigilant in our relationship with the Lord to love him and obey him.

And if you are lost here today, without Christ, you must be saved.  We know that you are afraid to give up your fleshly desires.  We know that you love the world and see no need to concern yourself with eternal life.  We know how easily you can be deceived by the devil.  If you want to be saved, we want to preach the gospel to you so that you can be saved.

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What a Blessing

What a Blessing

Acts. 12:5

 

Prayer is a blessing. Too often we totally disregard who we are speaking to. We also throw “in Jesus name” in front of Amen as a good Christian sounding sign off. This lesson is a reminder of what a blessing and privilege it is to be able to access the throne of God at our convenience.

 

We Pray to God

  • [Acts 12-5] Prayer was made “unto God”, We as born again children of God go directly to the top. Lord God Almighty, Creator of all, All Knowing, All Powerful, And Everywhere at one time. We don’t pray to Mary, or even Jesus, but to God.
  • [Eph.3:11-12] We have access with boldness and confidence, wow.
  • [Heb.4:16] We can come boldly to the Throne of God! What a blessing

We Pray Through Jesus Christ

  • [Rom.1:8, 7:25] Our access comes “through Jesus Christ”
  • [Jn.14:13-14] [Jn.16:23-24] We are allowed access by praying or asking “in his name”
  • Illustration: We have friends that have a great private box at the baseball field. Sometimes they give us their tickets. When they do, we then have access to something that we could never had done on our own. We are allowed this access because of “their” name and not ours.
  • [1Pet.3:18] Jesus is the one who brought you to God in the first place
  • [1 Tim. 2:5] He was and still is our mediator
  • [Rom.8:34] He intercedes for us, especially in salvation [Heb.7:25]
  • [Heb.9:24] But he has not stopped, He intercedes for you NOW. What a blessing

We pray in The Power of The Holy Spirit

  • [Eph.6:18] The Holy Spirit is a huge part of your prayers
  • [Rom.8:26-27] He also intercedes for you, and helps to get your prayers in God’s will
  • [Lk. 24:49] Promised that we would be endued with power
  • [Acts 1:8] They were waiting to receive that power, the Holy Spirit
  • [Jn.14:13-17] Read this passage and you will see that we should pray in Jesus name and the promise again of the Holy Spirit in the same context.
  • Jesus gives you access and the Holy Spirit gives power to your prayers. What a blessing

Next time you bow you head to pray, think about how blessed you are to be able to pray to God, himself. You also have access to Him through your Saviour, Jesus Christ, and you have the help you need from the power of the Holy Spirit. Wow, what a blessing

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