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Binding and Loosing Matt. 18:18

Binding and Loosing Matt. 18:18 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

There are three verses in the New Testament on binding and loosing or remitting and retaining.  These verses have been misinterpreted by the Catholic Church to “prove” that their traditions are of equal authority with the words of God and that their priests have the power to absolve sins in the confessional.  These verses are Matt 16:19, Matt 18:18 and Jn 20:23.

We will look at the context and the content of these three verses to show that the Catholic Church has interpreted these verses in error.  Their motive is obvious.  They wanted a power that was not granted to them so that they could subvert the gospel and create their own religion, all the while pretending that it was given to them by Jesus.

It is important to say, at the beginning of this lesson, that these verses are not about binding the devil or about the Catholic confessional or about the authority of Popes. These verses are about the ability given to the disciples and Christians to establish rules, forgive iniquity, and make binding agreements that God honors.

Matt 16:19.  The context is Matt 16:16-18.  This rock is Jesus [Matt 16:16, 1 Pet 2:6-8].  My church is Jesus’ body, over which he is the head [Eph 1:22, Col 1:18].  The keys to the kingdom of heaven have nothing to do with Jesus’ body, the church, nor with the kingdom of God, which is within us when we are saved [Lk 17:21].  The kingdom of heaven deals with the earthly kingdom over which Jesus will rule when he returns. Thus, these instructions to Peter apply to Matt 19:28, during the millennial reign of Jesus.

Matt 18:18.  The context is Matt 18:15-17.  This passage does have something to do with the church.  It relates to a brother who has a trespass against another brother.  The classic example of something bound and then loosed [Matt 18:18] is the young man who was fornicating with his father’s wife in 1 Cor 5:1-5.  The church put him out in 1 Cor 5:7-13.  The agreement of the church was binding on him and honored by the Lord.

Other examples of the church deciding certain things on earth that were honored in heaven are Gal 2:1-9; Acts 15:1-20; Acts 1:15-26, which we will see.  These didn’t have to do with trespasses among brethren, but they did have to do with binding agreements.

Jn 20:23.  The context is Jn 20:22, where the Lord breathed on the disciples and they received the Holy Ghost [this is not yet the baptism of the Holy Ghost, see Acts 1:2 and Acts 1:5].  The remitting of sin is seen in Acts 2:38, for instance.  The retaining of sin is seen in Acts 8:20-23, for instance.  Truly, any believer can say to the saved, “your sins are remitted.”  And he can say to the lost, “your sins are retained.”  This verse has nothing to do with a Catholic priest absolving sin.

In Acts 15, the Jews held a council to determine what requirements, if any, should be laid upon the Gentile converts. The question came up whether they should be circumcised and whether they had to be under the law to be saved (Acts 15:1, 5). After deliberations, the council decided to only require the Gentiles to observe four things (Acts 15:20). This was “bound” by the council and, therefore, “bound” in heaven.

In Gal. 2:1- 9, Paul conferred with James, Cephas and John because there was a group that was trying to bring Paul and some of his preachers into bondage. After these men saw that the gospel to the Gentiles was committed to Paul, they shook hands and agreed that Paul and his men should go to the Gentiles; and James, Cephas, John, and their men should go to the Jews. This was a God-honored, binding agreement to protect “our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus,” (Gal 2:4).

In 1 Cor. 5:1-5, Paul urged the Corinthians to kick a fornicator out of their congregation. They would not forgive his sin. The congregation turned him over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh. However, during his punishment from the church (2 Cor. 2:6), he got right with the Lord and Paul and the church forgave him (2 Cor. 2:7-10). Thus, his sin was remitted.  The church did the right thing and God honored it [2 Cor 7:11-12].

The basis for our authority to forgive anyone is the forgiveness that God gave us for the sake of Jesus Christ (Eph 4:30-32, Lk. 17:3-4). Christians don’t need a priest in a confessional to forgive sins since we are all “priests” once we are saved (1 Pet. 2:9).

When we preach the gospel to sinners, we have the privilege of telling them that all their sins will be forgiven once they trust Christ. Like Acts 13:38 says, “… through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins.” Col. 1:14 adds, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”

A sinner without Christ, on the other hand, cannot be forgiven by God, no matter who on earth forgives him. A priest cannot remit or absolve sin. Only God can forgive sins (Mk. 2:5-7). And He will only forgive your sins when you “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Like Jesus said in John 8:24, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”

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The Spirit of the Lord

1 Sam 16:13-14 The Spirit of the Lord CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

In the Old Testament the Spirit of the Lord was very active in men’s lives.

  • He was involved in creation Gen 1:2
  • He was involved in striving with men Gen 6:3 similar to the way that he reproves them today
  • He was involved in Joseph’s life Gen 41:38 giving him understanding and wisdom
  • He was involved in Bezaleel’s life Ex 31:3; 35:31 giving him wisdom, understanding and knowledge
  • He was involved in Moses’ life and in the lives of the 70 elders of Israel Num 11:17-29
  • He was involved in Balaam’s life Num 24:2 turning the curse into a blessing
  • He was involved in Joshua’s life Num 27:18; Deut 34:9 as he was in Moses’
  • He was involved in Othniel’s life Jud 3:9-10 giving him victory over Chushanrishathaim
  • He was involved in Gideon’s life Jud 6:34 giving him victory over the Midianites
  • He was involved in Jephthah’s life Jud 11:29 giving him victory over the Ammonites
  • He was involved in Samson’s life Jud 13:25, 14:6,14:19, 15:14 giving him strength
  • He was involved in Saul’s life 1 Sam 10:6,10:10, 11:6;19:20-23
  • He was involved in David’s life 1 Sam 16:13, 2 Sam 23:2, Ps 51:11
  • He was involved in Azariah’s life 2 Chr 15:1 to prophesy
  • He was involved in Jahaziel’s life 2 Chr 20:14 to prophesy
  • He was involved in Zechariah’s life 2 Chr 24:20 to prophesy
  • He was involved in the lives of the prophets Neh 9:30 to testify against Israel, etc

When David was anointed to be the successor king to Saul, the Spirit of God came on him and remained.  Even in the affair with Bathsheba, the Spirit did not leave him [Ps 51:10-11] though David was concerned that he might.  But here the Spirit left Saul.  You don’t find that said about other men in the Old Testament.  Nevertheless, you do see the consequences clearly stated in 1 Sam 18:12 and 28:15 where it is evident that the Lord had departed from Saul.

Even more troubling to Saul is that an evil spirit from the Lord came on him in v.14.  And this spirit was so evident that even Saul’s servants knew when it was troubling him [1 Sam 16:15].  The right kind of spiritual music would cause that spirit to leave Saul alone [1 Sam 16:23].  What a commentary on the benefit of the right kind of music.  In 1 Sam 18:10, we see that this evil spirit caused Saul to prophesy; so prophesy is no indication that a man is filled with the Holy Spirit.  And in 1 Sam 19:9-10 this spirit caused him to want to kill the successor king.  Note that these problems are significant even today.

As we get closer to the Lord’s return and see more and more evidence of apostasy in the church, you are seeing the influences of this kind of evil spirit on churches manifested in a change in the music, an overwhelming interest in prophesy and a disdain for God’s words and true Bible-believing Christianity.  The root of this is in rebellion and idolatry [1 Sam 15:22-23] just like it was for Saul.

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God Hates Sin, Loves Sinners? Ps 5:5

Does God Hate Sin, Love Sinners Ps 5:5 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

Is it true that God hates sin and loves sinners?  Or does he hate the sinner, too?  This is an unpopular question to answer because of the Biblical truth.

The question is a good one that has been asked by many Christians.  This answer should clarify who or what God hates.  It is not meant to be an exhaustive answer, for you will find, on your own, similar references in the Bible to further establish this doctrine (Matt 18:16).

On the one hand, we have Jn 3:16 that says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  On the other hand, we have Jas 4:4 that says, “… whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”  On the one hand, therefore, God loved the world and on the other he is an enemy of the world.  Which is it?

God’s love for the world was demonstrated at Calvary.  Christ died for the ungodly (Rom 5:6) and “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” (Rom 5:8).  “… when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,” (Rom 5:10).  Thus, God reconciled himself to us as enemies when Christ died on the cross (2 Cor 5:18-19).  This reconciliation, though, doesn’t mean that God loves his enemies, presently, in the condition that they are in.  It means that God is willing to extend them his love if they will accept the sacrifice of Jesus that reconciled them to God.  That’s why John said, “we love him, because he first loved us,” (1 Jn 4:19).

An example of this love during Jesus’ ministry can be seen in Mark 10:21.  In Mark 10, Jesus was approached by a rich, young ruler who wanted to know what he must do to inherit eternal life.  The Bible says that “Jesus beholding him loved him.”  Yet, when the ruler refused to follow what Jesus commanded him to do, Jesus let him go, and used the man as an example of how hard it is for men who trust their riches to get saved.  Jesus’ love for this sinner is not the same as his love for the children of God.  It is the same as his love in Jn 3:16.

Now, when you look past Jn 3:16 to Jn 3:17-18, you find this interesting truth.  A sinner who doesn’t “believe on” Jesus is condemned ALREADY.  That is, he doesn’t have to wait until he is dead or judged to be under this condemnation.  He is under it right now.  Notice, it is not the sin that is under the condemnation; it is the sinner.  Look at Jn 3:36 for another example.  “The wrath of God abideth on” a sinner who does not believe on Jesus.  The wrath of God is on him right now.  It is, therefore, inconceivable that God’s wrath could abide on him at the same time God is loving him.  A lost sinner who believes God loves him, refuses to believe that the wrath of God abides on him.

Consider what happened in Nineveh.  When Jonah preached, God was ready to wipe out the city in 40 days.  However, because the king and all the people repented, God changed his mind and extended them mercy and spared them.  It was God’s LONGSUFFERING [not his love] that caused him to send Jonah and give them one more chance.  It was God’s WRATH that would have caused him to kill more than 120,000 “innocent” children (those that could not “discern between their right hand and their left hand,” Jon 4:11). God’s love was not apparent toward them until they repented.

You see, you and I have “the ministry of reconciliation” mentioned in 2 Cor 5:18.  In 2 Cor 5:20, we are ambassadors for Christ.  We are to tell sinners, who are enemies of God, that they don’t have to perish in the wrath of God that abides on them.  They can receive Jesus Christ and be saved.  They can receive Jesus Christ and be loved.  Thus, we must have compassion on them and be willing to tell them the truth about their current state.  And we must tell them the truth about God’s love.

When God finally had it with Israel before he drove them completely out of his house, he said, “I hated them,” and “I will love them no more,” (Hos 9:15).  Of course, at his Second Coming, the Lord will save them and take them back (Rom 11:25-27).  But look what he said.  He HATED them.  Look what he did to them for crucifying his Son and resisting the gospel (1 Thes 2:14-16, “for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost”).  That’s not God loving the sinner and hating the sin!

In Mal 1:3, God said, “I hated Esau.”  See the same thing in Rom 9:13.  In Ps 11:5, we find that God hates the wicked and him that loveth violence.  He doesn’t say that he hates their sin (although he does, Prov 6:16-19).  He hates them.  Ps 5:5 says, “thou hatest all workers of iniquity.”  He said that he hates the workers.  That’s not the same thing as saying that he hates the works, but loves the workers.  He didn’t say, “I love the workers of iniquity, but I hate their sin.”  God certainly hates wickedness (Ps 45:7), but he also hates the ones who do the wickedness.  Consider these verses: Heb 13:4, “… whoremongers and adulterers God will judge;” Eph 5:5-7, “…no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater… because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” In Rev 21:8, it’s the sinners, not their sins, that have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.

Conclusion: it is not palatable to sinners to hear this answer to the question whether God hates the sin or the sinner.  This answer is not even palatable to many who call themselves Christians.  But this answer is the truth, as you can see from the scripture.  What I have found, since entering the ministry, is that sinners who realize the truth of God’s wrath abiding on them, and the depth of God’s love for the world demonstrated in the gift of Jesus, generally get saved.  And when they do, they appreciate the love of God for them, as his children, much more than people who don’t know the whole truth.  Consider how much the woman who was a sinner loved Jesus (Lk 7:36-50).  She loved much because her many sins were forgiven. She had more appreciation than the Pharisee.

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Reproofs of Instruction Prov. 6:20-24

Reproofs Prov. 6:20-24 (There are a Few Gaps in the Message) CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

Reproofs are criticisms to the face.  In their mildest form, they are like “making others take responsibility” for their own actions.  In a little tougher form, they are a correction or a tactful criticism.  A still tougher form is a rebuke.  And in their toughest form they are an absolute bawling out.  Whatever the case, you need them.  They are the way of life.  You and I aren’t going to learn without some appropriate person getting on us about what we are doing.  They’re trying to help us do it better or to quit doing something if we are wrong.

When you were a child you learned much of what you learned by reproofs, don’t do this and do that.  You learned in school by reproofs of instruction as well.  Boot camp is a loathsome experience for a soldier, but it conditions him to stay and fight when every instinct tells him to run.  Thus, he will be responsible for his own life and the lives of his fellow soldiers.  Good preaching mixes encouragement with reproof to keep us saved sinners close to God and far away from sin and the world.

Today, society can rarely tolerate reproofs.  They are so sensitive to criticism and so touchy about love.  They say “Love” but they don’t mean it.  They mean the feeling that is associated with love and thus iniquity abounds [Matt 24:12].  Few want to reprove iniquity.

Reproofs can be harsh, embarrassing, pointed, and even shameful.  They are designed to get you back on track with God.  Notice these reproofs in the Bible:

To get the Pharisees back to God – Matt 23 – Jesus’ motive was Matt 23:37.  He wasn’t trying to provoke them to kill him; he was trying to provoke them to get right.  He wouldn’t lie to them about their true condition Jn 8:44-45.  His rebuke set some of them up to be saved under Peter’s preaching in Acts 2.  See Acts 2:36-47.  Yet, some didn’t repent [Acts 5:29-33].

To get a Pharisee saved – Lk 7:36-50 Simon was judging a woman who was a sinner [Lk 7:39] whom Jesus would forgive.  Jesus reproved Simon in Lk 7:44-47.  He reproved him in front of the woman and in front of his other guests.  I won’t be surprised if we see Simon in heaven.  But we probably won’t see his guests [Lk 7:49-50].

To get a disciple out of trouble with the devil – Matt 16:23 Jesus rebuked Peter because Peter was listening to the devil instead of believing the words of God.  This was a harsh rebuke given to a man to whom God had just revealed a great truth [Matt 16:16-17].  Nevertheless, Peter got the message and was used mightily by the Lord in the early preaching after Christ’s ascension.  And look what happened later in Acts 5:1-11.  He gave a strong rebuke to Ananias for lying to God. Often, when men have been reproved, they can deliver the same reproof to others because they have learned their lesson.

To get Jews straightened out on Gentile salvation – Gal 2:11-14 Paul reproved Peter in front of them all to keep them from all becoming hypocritical in their dealings with the Gentiles.  Peter got the message and was used by God in Acts 15:6-11, 20 to keep Gentiles from being put under the yoke of the law.  And Peter appreciated the rebuke because he refers to Paul as “our beloved brother,” [2 Pet 3:15].  You are never too old for a good reproof.

The best place for you to receive a reproof is at home, from your parents.  The context of Prov 6:23 is Prov 6:20, which refers to thy father’s commandment and the law of thy mother.  These lead you when you go, keep you when you sleep, and talk with you when you are awake.  Parents, don’t ever be afraid to give your children a good reproof.  And children, listen to what they say when you are reproved.  That way, when you hear your preacher reproving you, his will be the second “witness” to something you have already heard.

I’ve heard preachers address their congregations in this same manner when they needed a good reproof.  One said to the flock, “you’re so crooked you could fall through a barrel of fish hooks and not even get stuck.”  Another said, “her tongue was so long [gossip] that she could sit in the living room and lick the skillet in the kitchen.”  Sam Jones said, “When I started preaching I was afraid I would hurt somebody’s feelings; now I’m afraid I won’t.”  He said, “nobody but a scoundrel will sell whiskey and nobody but a fool will drink it.”

Conclusion: Now the next time the preacher points his telescopic finger at your nose and tells you that you’d better get right with God, don’t be so quick to accuse him, because he may just be doing it to help you, not offend you.  Remember Ps 119:165.  And remember that reproofs of instruction are the way of life.  So, just get used to them.

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Overwhelmed Luke 10:38-42

Overwhelmed Luke 10:38-42 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

You get overwhelmed when you are stressed, cumbered, careful and troubled about many things.  Oftentimes, you bring these things on yourself; sometimes you can’t control them.  When you are feeling overwhelmed, you can bite your fingernails, post your trouble on Facebook so others can see the shape you’re in, complain to God, make a prayer request at church, or whatever.

It’s better to do these things when you are overwhelmed:

Be still – Ps 46:10 – you must STOP when your life is spinning out of control.  You must be still and turn to God.  When you are still you remember that God is in control.  When you are stressed it’s easy to forget that he is God.  He reminds you when you are still that “I am God.”  You must remember that you are not in control of the universe; he is.  God doesn’t lose control when you do.  He will get you through the trouble just like he got the disciples safely to shore in their storms.  You will be amazed how he works things out.

Be strong – Jos 1:9 – be strong in the Lord and the power of his might.  Don’t be discouraged.  When you are overwhelmed you get discouraged.  The devil will take you down with discouragement.  When you dread things, you are discouraged before you even try to tackle them.  The Lord is with you.  Martha got through the meal.  You toughen up when you make it through trouble [Jn 12:2].

Be thankful – Eph 5:20 – count your blessings.  Joni Earekson Tada learned that her paralysis was beneficial to her witness for the Lord when she was thankful for it.  When trouble comes, you get tunnel vision and forget all the blessings you have already received.  Thankfulness changes your perception and, suddenly, your trouble seems so insignificant compared to everything the Lord has done for you.

Be merry – Prov 15:13, 17:22 – you don’t have to be mad or sad when trouble comes.  You don’t have to be overwhelmed.  Don’t grieve the loss of a loved one when they are still alive.  Enjoy your time with him or her.  Jesus Christ went to the cross with the joy that was set before him [Heb 12:2].  No one else could understand that joy; and they won’t understand how you can be merry in trouble.  Being merry is health; a broken spirit will dry your bones.  For example, you recover from surgery better when you are merry.

Be truthful – Eph 4:25 – about yourself, about your situation, and to others.  You are only so much man; you are only so much woman.  You have convinced yourself that you can handle the situation you’re in.  Martha should have just sat down with Mary and said, “I am making a big deal out of something; no one here even cares besides me.”  You can’t handle many of the things that overwhelm you.  So, don’t walk into things you can’t handle. Listen to those who are close to you when they tell you to leave it alone.  And don’t blame “Mary” when it isn’t her fault.

Be merciful – Ps 18:25 – there are others who are in worse shape and they need your care.  Caring for them will help you.  A friend who is making regular trips to M.D. Anderson for cancer treatments said, “That’s a great place to witness; there are so many people in need.”  When you are merciful to others, your problems don’t seem as big as theirs.  And the Lord is merciful to you, in exchange for your mercy to them.  You won’t be overwhelmed by what you are going through.

Conclusion: Be saved.  If you are here today without the Lord, and you are overwhelmed, you can trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour and you will never be overwhelmed in eternity.  You will be forever with the Lord.  And you will have him to help you every day until you get to heaven.

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Deacons 1 Tim. 3:8-13

Deacons 1 Tim. 3: 8-13 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

After Paul wrote about the qualities of pastors, he gave Timothy a list of qualities for deacons.  Since deacons are an extension of the pastor’s ministry [Acts 6:1-7], it follows that their qualities should be very similar to that of pastors.  That’s why Paul starts this list with “Likewise,” [1 Tim 3:8].

Deacons must be:

Grave – synonyms for “grave” are serious, sober, earnest.  The office of deacon is not a political office, nor is it an office of recognition.  It is an office of service and the man occupying this office must take his work seriously.

Not double tongued – we used to say about a person that was double tongued, “he talks out of both sides of his mouth.”  A person who is double tongued is prone to say one thing to his pastor and something completely different to people behind the pastor’s back.  A double tongued man is often a flatterer.  He is a deceiver and he is not to be trusted.

Not given to much wine – a deacon cannot be controlled by addictive substances and behaviors.

Not greedy of filthy lucre – a deacon can’t be covetous; he might be inclined to embezzle.  He also should not be chosen because of his money; he might be inclined to run the church and treat it as a business.  Paul’s reference to filthy lucre is certainly appropriate.  We say of the very wealthy, they are filthy rich.

Faithful – the office of a deacon is a spiritual office like the bishop’s office.  Thus, he must be faithful because he is also a steward of the mysteries of God [1 Cor 4:1-2].  The mystery of faith refers to the gospel [Rom 16:25-27; Eph 3:2-12], which he holds with a pure conscience [1 Tim 1:5, 19].  He must be saved and know it and know how to tell others to be saved.  In this he will be in complete agreement with the pastor.  If he can’t agree with the pastor and the statement of faith of the church, he should resign.  Likewise, to protect the church, if the pastor becomes heretical in his doctrine, the deacons should hold to the correct doctrine and the pastor should resign.

Proved – deacons conduct themselves as deacons before they are ever chosen to be deacons.  You avoid problems by following 1 Tim 5:22.

Blameless – in this a deacon’s character and reputation are above reproach, like a bishop [1 Tim 3:2].

Husbands of one wife – see the discussion concerning this subject in the Sunday school lesson on a Bishop.  Basically, he is not a polygamist, as so many of the kings in the Old Testament were, and as men are in certain societies even today.

In charge of their homes – a deacon must be able to rule his home and his children in the same way that the bishop must rule his home [1 Tim 3:4-5].  The reason is that he must uphold and enforce the decisions of the church and the pastor.  Likewise, he must not be under the authority of his wife.  She will end up running him and, indirectly, the church.  The devil got to Adam through his wife.

Deacons’ wives must be:

Grave – as their husbands must be [see above].

Not slanderers – see Ps 101:5 and Prov 10:18.  Because of her husband’s office, she is in a position to know things about other people.  She cannot utter anything that could be damaging to another person’s character or reputation.  She could say things that could damage another person for the rest of his or her life

Sober – see Titus 2:4, temperate.  This should be the character of all Christian women.

Faithful – her husband is a faithful servant and she must be, too.  Consider the qualities of a widow, whom the church can support, as a good example of her faithfulness [1 Tim 5:10].

Conclusion: deacons who handle their responsibilities well “purchase to themselves a good degree.”  That is, they are worthy of the respect this office affords.  They are also bold regarding the faith.  That is, they stand firm on the words of God and resist any movement in the church away from the doctrines and principles of the Bible.

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Rich in This World

Rich in This World

1 Tim. 6:17

Yes, you are rich in this world. The bottom 5% of American income is richer than 68% of the world’s income. If you earn $10,000 per year, you are wealthier than 84% of the world population. If you earn $50,000 per year, you are in the top 1% of income of the world. Yes, we are rich in this world. Paul is telling Timothy to charge us with some very important instructions.

Don’t:

Be not Highminded

  • [Gal.6:3] Thinking you are something when you are not, an elevated self-worth
  • [Rom.12:16] Conceited, [Prov.18:11] your high wall!
  • Take away all your stuff, and that is the real you! Not the things that you have, [Lk. 12:15-21]

Nor Trust in uncertain riches

  • [Prov.23:5] they fly away
  • [2 Cor.4:18] because they are temporal (they don’t last) and not eternal, you know not what tomorrow brings.

Do:

Trust in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy

  • [Deu.8:17-18] God giveth thee power to get wealth
  • [Rom. 8:31-32] freely give us all things
  • [2 Cor.9:8 & 11] all sufficiency and bountifulness
  • [Eph.3:20] He is very good at it; did you have need to pray today for food to eat?

Do Good, be rich in good works

  • [Eph.2:10] We are created unto good works, and should walk in them
  • [Rom.12:1-2] All God ask for is your reasonable service
  • Very seldom will you ever do good works by accident, you must do them on purpose
  • “rich in good works” means the same as if you were “rich in cash”, Do you have a big pile that can be seen? You ought to be rich in what you give, not in what you keep.

Be ready to distribute

  • You must be prepared, [Eph.5:28] you can’t give something you don’t have. So, to be ready is to be financially prepared to give money, or physically ready to serve. (your time, self, and money)
  • [Rom.12:13] named in a great list of duties, distributing to the necessity of the saints

Be willing to communicate (giving) [Phil.4:15]

  • [2 Cor.8:3,12] You must be willing, first, or it will never happen
  • [2 Cor.9:7] God loveth a cheerful giver

Lay up in store

  • [James 5:1-3] Wrong things
  • [Matt.19:21] treasure in heaven, [Matt.6:19-21] your heart is where your treasure is.

 

We are truly rich and should take heed to the charge that Paul spelled out to Timothy. We need to humble ourselves and not trust in our uncertain riches. We need to put our trust in the living God that gives us richly all things to enjoy.

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Who and what are you following?

Who and What are You Following

Proverbs 2:20

Whether we realize it or not we are following something or someone. In this verse we see both the people to follow and the path that they are on. Jesus in the New Testament simplified life into two paths. The Narrow way and the Broad way (Matthew 7:13-14)

1)  The Narrow way pictures Salvation following Jesus (John 8:12)

 

2)  The Broad way pictures a lost person following Satan (Ephesians 2:2)

Many today would not consider themselves to be following Satan but they must remember that as the god of this world even worldly things that would keep us from Jesus Christ are designed and promoted by him and those already on the path. Note the illustration in Exodus 32:1.

As saved born again children of God we should be following God and this is obvious from the scriptures (Ephesians 5:1). Therefore let us look at some principles in regards to following God.

1)  We have to follow the right things (1 Timothy 6:112 Timothy 2:22)

  • In these two verses we see 9 different things we are to follow; Righteousness, faith, charity, peace, godliness, love, patience, meekness, and those that call on God out of a pure heart.
  • If we could manage this list not only would we be better off spiritually but we would have very little time for following what is wrong.

2)  We will eventually follow others (1 Corinthians 11:1)

  • We are told to follow Paul as he followed God. This is why he told us in Philippians 3:17-19 to mark those that are right and follow them.
  • But we also have to avoid the wrong people (Proverbs 28:19) and this is why he told us to mark them that are doing right.

3)  Who you follow rubs off on you (Acts 4:13)

  • By the actions and manners the people knew that the disciples had been with Jesus.
  • Does anyone know that you are a follower of Jesus Christ, we must not only tell them but we must also show them we are followers of Jesus Christ.

4)  We leave a legacy to follow (Revelation 14:13)

  • Depending on who and what we follow we will leave a legacy (Psalm 23:6).
  • Also we have to consider the fact that someone we be watching and following us we should not leave a bad example.

Whether saved or lost you are on a path and that path has a destination. If you are saved consider your path for the Lord and the others that may be following you.

 

Who and What are You Following : Handout

Proverbs 2:20

 

1)  What is the passage where Jesus simplified life into two paths?

 

2)  What are those two paths and what do they represent? Give references.

 

3)  What is a New Testament reference for saved people following God?

 

4)  Make an outline in regards to principles for following God.

 

 

 

 

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Victory Over Sin 1 Cor. 10:13

Victory Over Sin 1 Cor. 10:13 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

Victory over sin is a moment by moment and day by day thing.  You don’t wake up one day and suddenly find that you have no more trouble with sin in your life.  Your trouble with sin stems from one of two problems: 1. You are unsaved and therefore incapable of getting victory over sin; or 2. You are saved you don’t know the scriptures that you must believe to strengthen your faith in the battle with sin.

If you are unsaved, watch the video on our web site called “Eternal Life.”  That is a plain presentation of the gospel that will help you get saved. If you need more help than that, I encourage you to call so we can direct you to other verses that will show you how to be saved.

If you are saved but you are defeated by a particular sin, then you have a different thing to deal with.  We have some verses for you to read very carefully.  Meditate on them until the Holy Spirit gives you some light.  Here are some verses that will help you get victory over sin:

1 Cor. 10:13 – Your temptation is common, God is faithful, he’ll make a way to escape.  Your trouble with temptation is a common problem that all people have. We may not do the same sin that you do, but we are all tempted exactly the same way. It’s God’s faithfulness that gets us through the temptation, not our own resolve. And there is a way to escape every time, if you will trust God to get you through.

James 1:14-15 – The root of your problem is lust.  Lust leads to sin and sin leads to death.  So, this is a serious problem.  You must deal with your sin at the root of lust.

Rom. 7:15-21 – Sin is in your flesh.  Your new birth in Christ didn’t get rid of your problem with sin in the flesh. That problem will not go away until you die or we are changed at the Rapture.  So, you must learn how to fight sin and win if you are ever going to have victory over sin.

Rom. 6:13-14 – Don’t yield your members to sin.  One of the ways to win is “don’t yield” to the temptation.  People get the idea that they can imagine a thing in their minds without sinning. No way. The least amount of thinking on a particular sin allows the flesh to build a lust that will not be satisfied until you “give in.” The way to fight is to not even think about the sin for one second.  And then yield to the Holy Spirit instead of to the lustful thoughts.

2 Cor. 10:3-6 – Make your thoughts obey Christ.   Allow Christ to take control of your mind.  He will do that as you read your Bible.  It takes several pages of reading each day to get your mind under Christ’s control each day. Read from Genesis all the way to Revelation and read it over and over.

Phil. 4:8 – Occupy your mind with pure thoughts.  You cannot keep thinking the way you have in the past.  I am convinced that much of the trouble with sin is in the thoughts of the heart.  Victory over sin begins on the inside with truthful, pure thinking.

1 Cor. 6:9-11 – Realize that you are a new creature and not what you were.  Believe what the Bible says regarding God’s forgiveness.  The devil tries to defeat you by getting you to look at your sin.  God encourages you by getting you to look at what you are after you get saved.  You are washed (that’s clean), sanctified (that’s set apart as a clean vessel to do something for God), and justified (that’s declared “not guilty” at a judgment before God).  Look at the sins in the list.  They are vile.  But the people who committed those things are no longer what they used to be.  And neither are you if you will simply believe what God said about it and yield yourself to do God’s will instead of your own.

Rom. 6:11-12 – Practice dead reckoning.  Remember that, as far as God is concerned, you are physically a “dead man.” Corpses don’t give in to lust.  They can’t [Gal 2:20].

Phil. 3:13 – Forget the past. The devil uses guilt over the past to get you to think about the sin again. It’s a clever way to bring up the lustful thoughts and to discourage you. Instead, look at the things that are before you and what God wants you to become.

Heb. 9:14 – Plead the blood.  That is, when the thought comes up, cry out to the Lord to put it under the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He’ll purge your conscience.

Col. 3:23-24 – Dedicate your time to serving the Lord. Do everything you can to glorify him.

Conclusion: I hope this helps you get victory over sin. We are not talking about an overnight success. These are tools that you will use till you die.  If you follow them, you will find yourself strengthening over time.  Be patient and be practical.  If you fall, get back up and keep going for God.

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Dreams That Never Come True Is. 29:7-8

Dreams That Never Come True Is. 29:7-8 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

I heard a message over 25 years ago titled, Dreams That Never Come True.  I found the outline in my Bible and so I am going to preach it for you today.  Dreams in the Bible often come true.  The butler and the baker’s dreams came true within three days.  Pharaoh’s dream regarding the feast and famine in Egypt came true.  Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great image has been coming true.  Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the tree came true.  And so forth.

The following dreams, however, will never come true.  You’re dreaming if you think you can:

Sin without punishment – Gal 6:7-8; Heb 12:5-11; 2 Cor 5:10 – these verses show you that:

  • You reap what you sow. When you sow to the flesh, you reap corruption.  The consequences of sin carry their own punishment, as they take their toll.
  • You bear the chastisement of the Lord. He chastens us when we sin to make us quit and make us better.
  • You’ll be punished in eternity for the things done in your body that were bad.

Separate without persecution – 2 Cor 6:17-18; 2 Tim 3:12; 1 Pet 4:3-5 these verses show you that:

  • We must separate from the world.
  • We will suffer persecution when we separate and live godly.
  • Our old friends will speak evil of us.

Surrender without purity – Rom 12:1-2; Prov 15:8; Prov 21:27 these verses show us that:

  • When we surrender, God wants a holy and acceptable sacrifice.
  • The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord.
  • It’s even worse when our minds are wicked.

Serve God without problems – 2 Cor 11:23-28; Acts 14:22; 1 Pet 5:8-9 these verses show us that:

  • The “best” apostle, Paul, never was without problems when he served God.
  • We enter the kingdom of God through much tribulation.
  • We don’t escape the typical problems of the world just because we serve God.

Be saved without a personal Savior – Jn 14:6; Jn 1:12-13; Jn 3:5-7 these verses show us that:

  • Jesus is the only way to the Father; there is no other way.
  • We are born again by God; not by ourselves.
  • We must be born again by the Spirit of God. Note: the other verbs in this list are all active.  The verb in salvation is passive.  In other words, sin is something you do, separate is something you do, surrender is something you do, serve is something you do, but being saved is something that Jesus does for you when you trust him.

Conclusion: Christians who try living in the first four dreams are shocked when they see reality.  Lost people who try living the fifth dream will be shocked when they wind up in hell.  Wake up; you don’t have to go there.  Trust Jesus to save you.

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