Sunday, March 29, 2015

Outline:“Lost, Found, Rejoice” Luke 15:1-10 March 29th , 2015

“Lost, Found, Rejoice” Luke 15:1-10 March 29th , 2015

God’s Perspective - in our own lives - should come from God’s Word
          1 Corinthians 4:7 (ESV)
7 For who sees anything different in you?
What do you have that you did not receive?
If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

On one hand, there is appropriateness to avoid sinful behavior.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 (ESV)  22 Abstain from every form of evil.

On the other hand, we need relationships to have influence.
Luke 7:34 (ESV)
34 The Son of Man ........................ a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’

Big Idea: The repentance of others must be met with joy and celebration

 I. Attitude Check: My way or the highway [1-2]
 1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.
2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying,
“This man receives sinners and eats with them.”                

Consider the Exodus Generation centuries before with Moses,
Exodus 15:24 (ESV)
24 And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”

Exodus 16:2 (ESV)
2 And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness,
II. Attitude Adjustment Needed: celebrate others finding and being found [3-7]
 A. Lost  (3-4)
3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?

B. Found (5)
5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

C. Rejoice (6)
6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them,
‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’

D. Heavenly Application for us (7)
7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

III. Attitude Adjustment Needed: celebrate others finding and being found [8-10]
A. Lost (8)
8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?
B. Found (9a)
9a And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying,
 Some people are offended
           - no matter what you say about the Lord.
          - no matter how you say anything about the Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:18 (ESV)
18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

C. Rejoice (9b)
9b ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’

D. Heavenly Application for us (10)
10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

[your name here]  - a poor sinner  1 Timothy 1:15 (ESV)

1 Timothy 1:15 (KJV)
15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

We need to embrace the reality that none of us are worthy of God’s grace.
All of us are sinners.

We are great sinners, but Jesus is a greater Savior.

Friday, March 27, 2015

A pill or a glass of wine?

If you Google Utah and antidepressant use, you will find some interesting information about high rates of use as compared to other states.  Sometimes, I’ve heard people attribute this to people feeling too stressed about life in a legalistic religious culture.  I heard a comment the other day that shed some light on that topic. More people here are more willing to get the help they need. Also within the predominant faith, abstinence from alcohol is emphasized. So assistance from prescribed medicine is more culturally acceptable. In other areas, people may unwind with a glass of wine. However, abuse of either can lead to major problems.

The main issue is for people to get help when they need it. Although prescribed medicines can be abused, they still have helped many people when properly used. Counseling and appropriate medicine have given many people much more doable lives. My oldest son is diabetic and takes insulin to control his blood sugar. No one gives him grief for taking insulin. Unfortunately, some people who need and take antidepressants are told that if they pray more or read their Bible’s more, then they would be fine. That is an unnecessary burden to put on people who are suffering.

 If an individual has emotional or mental issues, he or she needs to be encouraged to be appropriately evaluated by medical professionals.  Those individuals should be supported by friends, family, and coworkers. If they need medicine to live their lives balanced they should be encouraged and not be told that it is unspiritual. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Outline:“The Challenge to follow Christ” Luke 14:25-35 March 23rd , 2015

“The Challenge to follow Christ”
Luke 14:25-35  
March 23rd , 2015

We are called to loyalty to Christ in fully following Him.

Faith and resultant works.
Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

I. Jesus speaks to Crowd to encourage them to think in following Him(25)
25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them,

II.  Two warnings about Loyalty to Christ. [26-27]
a. It may cause family relationship problems. (26)
 26.  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
How do these words fit with the call to love?
Mark 7:10 (ESV)
10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’
Ephesians 5:25 (ESV)
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,

Luke 6:27 (ESV)
27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

Consider hate as simply to love less.
Matthew 10:37 (ESV)
37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

b. It requires us to set aside our agenda for His. - sacrificial cost (27)
27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

III. Two Considerations about Loyalty to Christ,
a.  Consider the cost before starting a project (28-30)
28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

b. Parable of the king going to war (14:31-33)
31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?
32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.

Philippians 3:7-8 (ESV)
7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

IV. Two warnings about the commitment required for discipleship (33-35
a. Jesus must be first in our priorities (33)

33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Jesus must be first in our priorities... regarding our time, talent, and treasure....

b. Losing Christian character makes us good for nothing (34-35a)
34 “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?
35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away.

The point is that disciples who do not live like disciples are worth as much as unsalty salt: nothing.

V. Following Jesus takes serious reflection and focus [35b]

 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Detailed outline: “Life's Alternatives” TBC March 15, 2015 Psalm 1

“Life's Alternatives”  TBC    March 15, 2015 Psalm 1
The Bible doesn’t wash over immorality. It makes clear distinctions about the consequences of the choices people make.
The Bible encourages godly living and discourages wicked living.
Why does it want to that?
Because there is an eternal difference between the way of the Godly and the way of the wicked.

I. The Way of the Godly (1-2)
A. Actively avoids evil influences
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

“Blessed is the man” This could be translated Happy or Blissful is the man.  The imagery here is of someone who lives in fellowship with the Lord.
The psalmist describes how the godly person, this blessed man or woman, will do two things. The first one here is to actively avoid evil influences.
There seems to be progression of negative involvement.
>walks not in the counsel of the wicked------------------- going after the advice of the wicked
>nor stands in the way of sinners-----------------------participating with outright sinners.
>sits in the seat of scoffers; .----------------------- joining with those who mock the Lord.
Those who take with contempt the things of the Lord.

A godly person is one who will actively avoid those progressively bad influences.

You might be thinking.
Aren’t we supposed to seek to have a positive influence for the Lord in all sorts of circumstances?

Yes, but you need to ask, who is influencing whom?  The first issue is discernment.

It is more important for you to live a holy life, than to go into an environment which might cause you to stumble with a vague  urge to be a positive influence for the Lord.

The Apostle John wrote concerning the influence of false teachers:
2 John 1:10-11 (ESV)
10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
The godly individual...
B. Actively delights & Meditates on the Lord
2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

The first verse was the negative of what to avoid. This verse speaks of the positive of what to pursue
We should have great pleasure toward the law of the Lord.
God’s word helps us live in harmony with His perfect will.

The word of God is powerful....

The author of Hebrews writes:
Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
A godly person actively mediates and delights in the word of God.

Meditation in our current American culture has the sense of emptying one’s mind.
Mediation in the Bible has the sense of filling one’s mind with the word of God.

Verses 1 and 2 looked at the way of the Godly in first actively avoiding evil and secondly in actively delighting and meditating on the law of the Lord.

II. The Future of the Godly (3)
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
The future of the godly is someone who is solidly rooted in the character and purposes of God.

A commentator said
[K & D] 86]1-3} The green foliage is an emblem of faith which converts the water of life of the divine word into sap and strength, and the fruit, and emblem of works, which gradually ripen and scatter their blessings around; a tree that has lost its leave, does not bring its fruit to maturity.

Bloom where the Lord has planted you. He wants to use your circumstances as an opportunity for His grace and power to be revealed in His perfect time.

Jesus uses another type of imagery describing the value of listening to His Word and putting it into practice.
Matthew 7:24-25 (ESV)
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.

III. The Future of the Wicked (4)
4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

The future of the wicked is ultimately unstable.
From God’s perspective it is like chaff that the wind blows away.

Jesus also uses this contrast.
Matthew 7:26 (ESV)
26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.
IV. The Final Judge (5)
A. Responding to the wicked
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

Ultimately there is a judgment. It is more enjoyable to preach that God is love, which is true. But need to recognize and remember that God along with being love, He is holy, righteous and just.

B.  Responding to the Righteous. 
6 for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

The way of the righteous is characterized by Love for God and Love for Man.

(Mark 12:30 NIV)  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' (Mark 12:31 NIV)  The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
Fill your mind with the good things that God has provided.    
Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV)  For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. "
Right thinking leads to right living.                   


Monday, March 9, 2015

Outline: “When Faith Doesn’t Stick” Hebrews 6:1-12, March 8th 2015

The author of the book of Hebrews in writing primarily to a Jewish Christian audience. People who had grown up traditional Jewish, but then came to know the Lord Jesus as their Savior.

Some of them out of the comfort of familiarity of Judaism and the discomfort of ungrounded faith in Christ were considering leaving Christianity and going back into Judaism. He is calling on them to push on to maturity and not stay in stagnation or drift back to the Old Covenant.

How do we respond when faith doesn’t seem to stick?

“Four Responses to a Stagnant Faith”

I.     Press on to Maturity [1-3]

a. Foundation (1-2)

1 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

We are called to grow spiritually.
2 Peter 3:18 (ESV)
18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

b. Perspective (3)
3 And this we will do if God permits.

This work of maturing will occur as people strive for maturity and as God works to bring them to maturity.
James 4:14-15 (ESV)
14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

 Life is a book in volumes three:
      The past, the present, the yet-to-be.
      The past is written and laid away;
      The present we're writing day by day;
      The last and best of volumes three – which is the yet to be, The future. Which Is locked from sight--God keeps the key.
      -- Anonymous
II.     Do Not Fall Away  [4-6]
a. Christian or non-Christian?  (4-5)
4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened,
who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and
have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come,

The Main Views
1. Saved persons who are subsequently lost.
But (John 10:28 NIV)  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
2. Professed believers who were never really saved.
3. Hypothetical case to illustrate the folly of apostasy
4. Saved persons who backslide from grace to legalism.

b. restore them again ?  (6)
6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

God has a higher standard for those who should or should have known better regarding their attitudes, beliefs, and actions.

Numbers 14:22-23 (ESV)
22 none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the test these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, 23 shall see the land that I swore to give to their fathers. And none of those who despised me shall see it.

This call to restore is expressed in
James 5:19-20 (ESV)
19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

III.  Learn From Your Garden [7-8]
a. Vegetables (7)
7 For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God.

b. Thorns (8)
8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.

The Apostle Paul wrote that some Christians in Corinth died under the discipline of God.
1 Corinthians 11:30 (ESV)
30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.

The fearfulness of discipline is also expressed in
1 Corinthians 3:15 (ESV)
15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

IV.  Persevere in the Faith [9-12]
a. Author’s Perspective (9-10)
9 Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. 10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.

A man came to a construction site, where stonemasons were working. The man said to one, "What are you doing?"
   The stonemason said, "You can see, I'm chipping a stone."
   The man walked over to another mason and said, "What are you doing?"
   He answered, "I'm building a wall."
   The man walked over to a third mason and said, "What are you doing?"
This mason answered, "I am building a cathedral." Ha! All three were doing the same thing, but what a difference perspective makes!
   -- Gordon Johnson

What are you doing?

Going through the motions of life till you die?
Seeking to Serve God whenever, however, and wherever he allows?

Life makes more sense when we live with an eternal perspective.

b. Author’s Desire (11-12)
11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Put your name in the Verse....
Isaiah 53:5 (ESV)
5 But he was pierced for [----------------our] transgressions;
 he was crushed for [--------------------our] iniquities;
 upon him was the chastisement that brought [----------us] peace, and
with his wounds [----------] are healed.

Put your name in the Verse...
John 3:16 (ESV)
16 “For God so loved [____________],
that he gave his only Son,
that [_______________] believes in him should not perish
 but [____________________ ] have eternal life.