- Colossians 1:3-6 – Hope Laid Up In Heaven – audio Richard Dillon
- Matthew 5:43-48 Love Your Enemies – audio Richard Dillon
- Hebrews 06:17-18 The Unchangeableness of God – audio Don Treadway
Text: Hebrews 6:17-18
A. Hebrews 6 could be called “Encouragement to Go On.”
B. Let us look at these.
1. ENCOURAGEMENT TO GO ON TO PERFECTION – Hebrews 6:1-3
A. Must leave the principles of the doctrine of Christ (Hebrews 6:1)
B. Not laying again (Hebrews 6:2)
1. Foundation of repentance.
3. Doctrine of baptisms.
4. Laying on of hands.
5. Resurrection of the dead.
6. Eternal judgment.
C. This we will do (Hebrews 6:3)
2. ENCOURAGEMENT BASED ON THE PROMISES OF GOD – Hebrews 6:13-20
A. God’s promises confirmed by an oath – Hebrews 6:13-18
B. Hope is anchor of the soul – Hebrews 6:19-20
3. THE IMMUTABILITY OF GOD.
A. Unchanging – Malachi 3:6; Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Ezekiel 24:14; James 1:17
B. God Is Immutable – Hebrews 6:17
1. HARMONIZE? God Intent Has Changed – Genesis 6:6; 18:16-33; Exodus 32:7-14
2. Unchangeableness – is not – “frozen immobility.”
3. God’s feelings/intent changes as man changes.
4. Nature, plan or purpose – never changed!
I. HOW GOD IS IMMUTABLE
A. His Essence. I AM – Exodus 3:14. When became flesh – no change – John 8:24
B. His Attributes.
1. Good – Psalm 34:8
2. Holy – Psalm 99:9
3. Love – 1 John 4:8
4. Just – Job 4:17
5. Merciful – Psalm 3:5
6. Severe – Romans 11:22
7. God Is: Eternal – Psalm 90:2
8. Omniscient – Hebrews 4:13
9. Omnipresent – Psalm 139:7-10
10. Omnipotent – Matthew 19:26
C. His Plans – Eternal Purpose – Ephesians 1:4; 3:9-11
D. His Promises – Hebrews 6:13
E. His Warnings – Acts 13:40
F. Objects of His Love – John 3:16
II. EVIDENCE OF IMMUTABILITY.
A. His Existence – Any argument for existence is for immutability – Romans 1:20
B. His Perfection.
C. His Infinity
III. WHAT IMMUTABILITY MEANS TO US.
A. Keeps His Promises – 2 Peter 3:13
B. Assurance / Hope – Hebrews 6:13-18
C. No Disappointment – Romans 9:33
A. The Immutability of God
I. How God Is immutable.
II. Evidence Of Immutability.
III. What Immutability Means To us.
B. Obey today!
Text: Psalms 111:2
1. Let’s begin by reading Psalms 111:1-10, noting in particular Psalms 111:2
The works of the Lord are great, Studied by all who have pleasure in them.
2. In the psalm, the works of the Lord are His works of redemption for Israel – Psalm 111:5-9
I. HIS CREATION
A. THE WORKS OF THE LORD ARE GREAT
1. God created the heavens and the earth – Genesis 1:1
2. They declare the glory and handiwork of God, His power and deity – Psalm 19:1-2; Romans 1:20
B. HAVE YOU STUDIED THEM…?
1. Like David, contemplating their beauty and intelligent design? – Psalm 8:3-4
2. Viewing a starry night, an illustrious sunset, or even a single flower?
II. HIS WORD
A. THE WORKS OF THE LORD ARE GREAT
1. David praised the value of God’s Word – Psalm 19:7-11
2. Even more so now that we have the living-giving words of Jesus! – John 6:63
B. HAVE YOU STUDIED THEM?
1. Like the truly blessed man? – Psalm 1:1-3
2. Reading that which provides comfort, hope and guidance? – Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17
III. HIS SALVATION
A. THE WORKS OF THE LORD ARE GREAT
1. The salvation of mankind made possible by God’s love – John 1:29; 3:16; 1 John 4:9-10
2. Saved by grace – Titus 3:4-7
B. HAVE YOU STUDIED THEM?
1. With the aid of such passages like Romans 6? – Romans 6:3-7
2. Reflecting on the consequence of such truths? – Romans 8:31-39
IV. HIS CHURCH
A. THE WORKS OF THE LORD ARE GREAT
1. That church built by His Son, purchased with His own blood – Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28
2. Which is the kingdom of God, the bride of Christ, the temple of the Holy Spirit – Colossians 1:13; 2 Corinthians 11:2; 1 Corinthians 3:16
B. HAVE YOU STUDIED THEM?
1. With the aid of books like Acts, Ephesians, Colossians?
2. Learning of the origin, spread, nature of and work of the church?
3. Reveling in its simplicity in contrast to the denominationalism of today?
V. HIS PROMISES
A. THE WORKS OF THE LORD ARE GREAT
1. We can look forward to the resurrection of the dead – John 5:28-29; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58
2. We can look forward to new heavens and new earth – Revelation 21:1-4
3. We can look forward to the new Jerusalem, the city whose builder and maker is God! – Hebrews 11:10, 16; Revelation 21:2
B. HAVE YOU STUDIED THEM?
1. Pondering on how God will raise the dead? – 1 Corinthians 15:35-49
2. Looking forward to that new heavens and new earth? – 2 Peter 3:13-14
3. Reflecting on the great and precious promises? – 2 Peter 1:4
1. We have considered only a few of the great works of the Lord:
a. His creation
b. His Word
c. His salvation
d. His church
e. His promise
2. If you have not yet done so, study the great works of the Lord
a. Reflect on the beauty and design of God’s creation
b. Read and meditate on God’s revelation (His Word)
3. As you do so, obeying the latter, you will find great pleasure both now and in the hereafter..!
Continued from “The Godhead”
1. All authority belongs to the Father.
a) Wait a second… Didn’t Jesus say that all authority belonged to Him. Matthew 28:18. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
(1) Note carefully, that Jesus said that all authority had been GIVEN to Him.
(2) Who did the giving?
(3) The answer is: the Father. 1 Corinthians 15:24-28. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
(4) This passage teaches that the One who put all things under Jesus’ feet (The Father) is not, Himself, under Jesus’ feet (Or authority).
(5) Or, in other words, the one who bestows authority on another is not Himself under that authority.
b) Before His incarnation, Jesus was on an equal footing in terms of authority with the Father.
(1) Philippians 2:5-6. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God
(2) John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(3) Nowhere in the Old Testament do we see any hint of Jesus being in subjection to the Father.
c) However, that all changed when Jesus put on flesh. Philippians 2:7-8. But made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
(1) Notice that it was a voluntary submission to the Father.
(2) Jesus willingly gave up equality with the Father to become a man.
d) Hence, the statement by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:3. But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
(1) Man being the head of woman does not imply that…
(a) The woman is not human.
(b) The woman is inferior to the man.
(2) In the same way, the Father being the Head of Christ does not imply that…
(a) Jesus is not God.
(b) Jesus is inferior to the Father in any way.
e) This relationship is further illustrated by Jesus’ position at the Father’s right hand.
(1) Acts 7:55-56. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”
(2) Hebrews 1:3. Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high
(3) Philippians 2:9-11. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
f) In saying that Jesus is subject to the Father, we are not degrading Him in any way.
(1) Indeed, we are really glorifying Him as He deserves to be glorified.
(2) What an amazing thing He did when He took on flesh!
(3) What a sacrifice He made for us.
(4) 2 Corinthians 8:9. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
(5) 2 Corinthians 9:15. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
2. Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth. (With the exception noted above.)
a) All of the physical creation is under His authority. Colossians 1:15-18. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
b) The angels are under Jesus’ authority.
(1) Hebrews 1:6-7. But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” And of the angels He says: “Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire.”
(2) Hebrews 1:13. But to which of the angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”?
3. The Holy Spirit is under the authority of both the Father and the Son.
a) While the Scriptures do not come right out and say it, several passages in the New Testament imply this fact.
b) If all authority in HEAVEN and earth was given to Jesus, and only the Father is excepted, then the Holy Spirit is under the authority of Jesus.
c) Notice the following passages:
(1) John 14:26. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
(2) John 15:26. “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.
(3) John 16:13-15. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
B. Roles played in the past.
1. In creation. Genesis 1:1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
a) God created the heavens and the earth.
b) But is this God, the Father, God, the Son, or God the Holy Spirit.
c) As a matter of fact, it was all three of Them.
(1) The Father made all things through Jesus. Ephesians 3:9. And to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ (Also see Colossians 1:15-18)
(2) The Holy Spirit was there as well. Genesis 1:2. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
d) It has been said that, in regard to their roles: The Father wills it; the Son accomplishes it; and the Holy Spirit creates order.
2. In the scheme of redemption. 1 Peter 1:2. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
a) The Father wills it. 1 Timothy 2:3-4. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
(1) It was the Father who sent Jesus. John 3:16. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
(2) It was the Father who sent the Holy Spirit. John 14:26. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
b) The Son brings it into being. Hebrews 1:3. Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high
c) The Holy Spirit created order.
(1) 2 Peter 1:19-21. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
(2) 1 Corinthians 12:7-11. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
Continued in “The Godhead – A Closer Look”
Text: Romans 1:18-20
1. What does the term “Godhead” mean?
2. Is there one God or two or three?
3. If there are three Persons of the Godhead, what is our relationship to each One?
4. Do we pray to all three or just one or two?
5. Did the Father die for our sins or did Jesus?
6. We all need to have an adequate understanding of the Godhead.
7. It deals with the very nature of the God that we all serve.
8. While it is fundamental and essential, that doesn’t mean that it is necessarily easy to grasp.
9. As with any Biblical topic, when studying about the Godhead we must be sure to look at all of the relevant passages.
10. We must make sure not to have “made up our minds” ahead of time.
11. We must be aware that there are many false teachings in regard to the Godhead floating around out there.
12. My goal is not to look at each of these false theories but to see what the truth is as revealed by the word of God.
I. A DEFINITION
A. Godhead – Theiotes – divinity or divine nature.
1. Divinity – the quality of being divine.
2. Divine – being a deity.
3. Deity – Supreme being.
B. The word “Godhead” is used three times in the Scriptures.
1. Romans 1:20. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.
a) Referring to the divine nature of the Creator.
b) His limitless power and infinite wisdom that are demonstrated in His creation.
2. Acts 17:29. Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.
a) Obviously, the NKJV renders the word “Divine Nature” here. Which is the true meaning.
b) It could also be translated “the Deity.”
c) A perfect way to distinguish between the one True God and the conflicting gods of paganism.
3. Colossians 2:9. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
a) The Divine Nature is manifest in Jesus Christ.
b) Here, the term means “deity” or “divinity.”
II. WHEN THINKING ABOUT THE GODHEAD, WE MUST REALIZE THAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THREE DISTINCT BEINGS.
A. We see this first illustrated for us in Genesis 1.
1. In Genesis 1:1, the Hebrew word for “God” is “Elohim.”
a) “Elohim” comes from the Hebrew root meaning “strength” or “power.”
b) The “im” on the end makes it plural.
c) However, all of the verbs in the text are singular.
d) Thus, “Elohim” is a plural noun with a singular nature.
e) The Godhead is made up of three beings with a singular nature!
2. Genesis 1:26. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
a) Who was God talking to?
b) Here we have one member of the Godhead talking to the other two.
c) The Holy Spirit was present at the creation. Genesis 1:2. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
d) Jesus was present at the creation. John 1:1-3. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
B. The following passages show that the Godhead is made up of three distinct beings.
1. Matthew 3:16-17. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
2. John 14:16-17. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
3. 1 Corinthians 13:14. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
4. Romans 15:30. Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me.
5. 1 Peter 1:2. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
III. JESUS IS PART OF THE GODHEAD.
A. Matthew 1:22-23. So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
B. John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
C. John 8:58. Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
1. One of the names for God in the Old Testament was “Yahweh.”
2. In the Hebrew it was “YHVH” also known as the tetragrammaton.
3. It is the word translated “LORD” in the Old Testament.
4. It is the word from which we get “Jehovah.”
5. It simply means “to be.”
6. It is used to portray the eternal nature of God.
7. Exodus 3:14-15. And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’
8. In John 8:58, Jesus identifies Himself as Jehovah!
9. Isaiah 40:3. The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ” Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.
a) This passage is referring to John the Baptist’s preparation for Jesus.
b) Matthew 3:3.
10. Micah 5:2. “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”
D. Philippians 2:5-6. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God.
IV. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS GOD.
A. Acts 5:3-4. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
B. The Holy Spirit is not an “it” but an “He.”
1. John 15:26. “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.
2. He is not some nebulous energy sent out from the Father.
3. He is not puppet controlled by misguided men on earth.
4. He is not some mysterious mystical force that is totally incomprehensible to the human mind.
V. WHAT ABOUT PASSAGES THAT TEACH THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD?
A. There are many passages that point out that there is only one God.
1. Deuteronomy 6:4. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!
2. Isaiah 45:5. I am the LORD, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me,
3. 1 Timothy 2:5. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.
B. As we have already seen, the Godhead is made up of three beings who are of one Divine Nature.
1. One can not throw out the doctrine of the Godhead and still have a Bible that makes any sense.
2. It is plain that the Bible teaches that there are three Persons in the Godhead.
3. Therefore, the passages that refer to there being only one God are referring to their Divine Nature or Deity.
C. Three everyday examples.
1. The Cleveland Browns are one team.
a) That team is made up of different people.
b) Yet they are all Browns.
c) They are all one team.
d) “Godhead” is much like a team name.
a) Made up of two individuals.
b) Yet they are described by God as one flesh. Genesis 2:24. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
c) Two individuals but one flesh.
3. An egg.
a) When we think of an egg, we think of a shell.
b) But the egg is actually composed of the shell, the yoke, and the whites.
c) But it is still one egg.
d) Without the yolk or the whites, it would not be a complete egg.
1. The Godhead consists of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
2. All three persons of the Godhead want YOU to be saved.
3. All three have worked toward that end.
4. Are you saved?
Continued in “The Godhead – A Closer Look”
Delivered on: December 9, 2012. Streetsboro.
Text: Exodus 32:1-35
1. Last week we noticed that we need to learn from the past.
2. We can learn from other people’s mistakes and thereby do not have to make them ourselves to learn the relevant lessons.
3. The children Israel made many mistakes that we can learn from today.
a. 1 Corinthians 10:6 – Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.
b. 1 Corinthians 10:11 – Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
4. Of course, one of the events mentioned in 1 Corinthians 10, is the episode with the golden calf – 1 Corinthians 10:7
5. Here are ten important lessons that WE can learn from a golden calf.
LESSON 1 - REMEMBER, IT WAS NOT MOSES WHO BROUGHT YOU UP OUT OF EGYPT
Exodus 32:1 – Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”
A. The children Israel forgot that it wasn’t Moses who brought them out of Egypt. God had delivered them.
1. Forgetting this fact was one of the direct causes of the sinful actions that would follow.
2. If we are followers of mere men, then one man is as good as another.
3. They replaced Moses with Aaron.
B. Man has always had a propensity to follow other men rather than God.
1. We see that many years later, they still had this mentality – 2 Samuel 8:4-5
2. They forgot that they already had a King. His name was GOD – 1 Samuel 8:7
C. We have the same problem today.
1. Countless people today follow preachers rather than God!
2. This problem started early in the church – 1 Corinthians 1:11-13
a) “I am of Luther.”
b) “I am of Wesley.”
c) “I am of the Pope.”
d) “I am of Calvin.”
e) No! I am of Christ!
3. Many sacrifice their souls because they prefer the praise of men over the praise of God – John 12:42-43
LESSON 2 – REMEMBER IT WAS NOT A GOLDEN CALF THAT BROUGHT YOU UP OUT OF EGYPT.
Exodus 32:2-6 – And Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!” So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.” Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
A. Aaron boldly proclaimed, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!”
1. What utter nonsense!
2. What blasphemy!
3. It is easy to see how foolish this statement was.
4. It is also easy to see how foolish it was to believe that statement.
B. Yet, most people in the world today choose to worship the creation rather than the Creator.
1. God’s creation is not God – Romans 1:22-25
2. Colossians 3:5 – Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
a) Covetousness is idolatry.
b) Neither silver nor gold can save us – 1 Peter 1:18-19
c) Man must stop acting as if gold is God.
LESSON 3 – GOD IS A JEALOUS GOD
Exodus 32:9-10 – And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people! 10 Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.”
A. Think about how close the Israelites were to true worship…
1. They desired to worship the God who had brought them out of Egypt – Exodus 32:4
2. They desired to worship Him so badly that they were willing to give of their gold – Exodus 32:3
3. They desired to worship Him at an altar – Exodus 32:5
4. They desired to hold a feast to the LORD (Jehovah) – Exodus 32:5
5. They desired to make burnt offerings and peace offerings – Exodus 32:6
B. Yet concerning their worship, God said… – Exodus 32:7-8
1. They had corrupted themselves.
2. They had turned aside quickly out of the way.
3. They have worshiped the CALF (not God).
C. As a result…
1. God was ready to destroy them and start over with Moses.
2. He had warned them about idolatry – Exodus 20:4-5
3. They had willingly entered a covenant with Him – Exodus 24:3
LESSON 4 – IT IS GOOD TO HAVE AN INTERCESSOR
Exodus 32:11-14 – Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, and said: “Lord, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’” So the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.
A. Moses pleaded with God on behalf of the people.
1. He used three arguments to change God’s mind.
a) He reminded God of all that He had already done for them – Exodus 32:11
b) The Egyptians would think that God brought them out simply to destroy them – Exodus 32:12
c) He reminded God of his promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – Exodus 32:13
2. As a result of his intercession, God relented from His wrath.
a) Not because the people didn’t deserve His wrath.
b) But because Moses begged Him to spare them.
B. We too have an intercessor.
1. Like the children of Israel…
a) We are deserving of death – Romans 6:23
b) We are unable to save ourselves.
2. Jesus has interceded for us.
a) Luke 23:33-34 – And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
b) Ephesians 4:32 – And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
c) 1 John 2:1 – My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
3. It is GOOD to have an Intercessor. Without Him, we would all be lost!
LESSON 5 – DON’T TRY TO BLAME YOUR SIN ON SOMEONE ELSE
Exodus 32:22 – So Aaron said, “Do not let the anger of my lord become hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil.
A. Aaron tries to appease Moses’ wrath by blaming his actions on the people.
1. He should have been more worried about God’s anger.
2. People often worry about how their actions affect other people…
a) And even feel guilt for their actions.
b) Without realizing that, even more important than that, is the fact that their sin has hurt God Almighty.
B. Man has always tried to deflect responsibility to others.
1. Genesis 3:12 – Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
2. They blame their parents.
3. They blame their friends. (Peer pressure)
4. They blame God.
5. The one thing they will not do is say, “My fault.”
C. Exodus 23:2 – You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice.
D. Your sin is YOUR fault. Own up to it – Psalm 51:3
LESSON 6 – DON’T LIE TO TRY TO COVER UP YOUR SIN
Exodus 32:24 – And I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them break it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came out.”
A. Aaron said, “I just threw the gold in the fire and ‘poof’ this calf came out.”
1. This was a bold faced lie.
2. Exodus 32:4 – And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf.
B. When we lie to cover a sin what we are showing by our actions is that we care more about what men think about us than what God thinks about us.
1. We can often fool man.
2. We cannot lie to God – Hebrews 4:13
LESSON 7 – PROPER WORSHIP INVOLVES RESTRAINT
Exodus 32:25 – Now when Moses saw that the people were unrestrained (for Aaron had not restrained them, to their shame among their enemies),
A. As we discussed earlier, they were involved in a worship service. However…
1. They were holding an unauthorized feast.
2. They were offering unauthorized sacrifices.
3. They were bowing down to an unauthorized idol.
4. They were even committing sexual immorality as a part of their worship.
5. They must have truly believed that “anything goes” when it came to worship.
B. Proper worship involves:
1. Realizing that God is the audience – John 4:23-34
2. Realizing that in order to please Him, I must worship Him according to truth.
a) 1 Samuel 13:22-23 – So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.”
b) God is not obligated to receive our worship – Amos 5:21-23
3. Restraint – a measure or condition that keeps someone or something under control or within limits.
a) God has set the limits on worship.
b) It is up to me to stay within those limits – 1 Corinthians 14:32-33
C. Not exercising restraint in worship results in our own shame.
LESSON 8 – YOU ARE EITHER ON THE LORD’S SIDE OR ON THE DEVIL’S SIDE
Exodus 32:26 – Then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, “Whoever is on the Lord’s side—come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.
A. Moses made it clear: You are either on the Lord’s side or you are not.
1. There is no middle ground.
2. There are no shades of gray.
3. They had to decide whose side they were on.
B. We too have a choice to make.
1. Jesus made it clear that there is no middle ground.
a) Matthew 12:30 – He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.
b) Matthew 6:24 – “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
c) John 8:44 – You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
2. Paul made it clear that there is no middle ground – Romans 6:16-18
LESSON 9 – IT PAYS TO BE ON THE LORD’S SIDE
Exodus 32:25-28 – Now when Moses saw that the people were unrestrained (for Aaron had not restrained them, to their shame among their enemies), then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, “Whoever is on the Lord’s side—come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.’” So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day.
A. Many of those who had rebelled against God lost their lives as a result.
B. Those who choose not to be on the Lord’s side face an even worse fate today.
1. Matthew 10:28 – And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
2. Matthew 25:31-33
C. Those who choose to be on the Lord’s side:
1. Enjoy a happier life now – 1 Timothy 4:8
2. Enjoy the hope of eternal life – 1 Peter 1:3-4
LESSON 10 – WE EACH BEAR RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR OWN ACTIONS
Exodus 32:32-33 – Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.
A. If God would not forgive the people, Moses desired his fate to be the same as theirs.
1. Paul said something similar in Romans 9:1-3
2. Fortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
B. Each of us is responsible for our own destiny.
1. Hebrews 4:13 – And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
2. Romans 2:5-9 – But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek;
Delivered on: November 18, 2012. Streetsboro.
It’s clear that God expects a human response in our relationship to him, but do we sometimes emphasize that over what he’s doing?
We need to know that God’s saving us begins, continues, and ends with his initiative, not ours.
Notice how Paul mentions both in this passage:
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure – Philippians 2:12-13.
It’s a play on words, one scholar says: We are to “work out” because God “works in” (R.R. Melick).
I have done, and you have heard, a lot of preaching on the “working out” part, but maybe not as much on God’s “working in.”
Maybe that’s part of the reason we often struggle to feel truly secure in our salvation. We know, more than anyone else (except God), how far we fall short of being who we ought to be.
If it depends on our efforts, we know we’ll miss out on salvation, even if we don’t like to admit it.
On the other hand, when we recognize that God is working in us “to will and to work for his good pleasure,” it directs our focus Godward, instead of inward.
That’s where we find comfort. I’ll always fall short, but he won’t.
In another place Paul wrote this: “So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy” – Romans 9:16
There’s a reluctance to embrace this, because we fear that emphasizing God’s initiative will cause us to relax . . . to fall into spiritual apathy.
But I think we will find that it will do the opposite.
When we put more trust in God’s power to accomplish in us whatever he chooses, we may find ourselves obeying more faithfully out of gratitude, instead of some kind of misguided attempt to try and earn what we can never earn.
It ought to comfort us, in a way that our attempts to measure up never can, that God, who loves us infinitely and wants to save us, is working within us to accomplish His will.
Do we obey?
But we do it in response to what he’s already done, and what he continues to do.
Let God Be True, But Every Man a Liar – Romans 3:4
Who do you trust?
- Your parents?
- Your best friend?
- Your preacher?
Do these people always tell you the truth? Do they always give you the best advice? Are they always right?
Certainly, we ought to place our trust in those who are closest to us, but that does not necessarily mean that those people will always be honest with us, or that they will always know what is best for us, or that the things they tell us will always be right.
Human beings are fallible.
Even when we are being sincere and honest, it is possible that we may be wrong.
God will always lead you in the right direction.
There is one person who will always tell you the truth, always knows what is best for you and is always right about everything. That person is God, and He speaks to all of us through His Word. In Second Timothy 3:16, the Bible says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” The literal meaning of the word, “inspiration” is “God-breathed.” That means that all of the Bible originated in the mind of God, and that it will always lead you in the right direction.
If you want to get to Heaven, don’t trust any human being.
Even your dearest loved ones might lead you the wrong way, but the Word of God will always lead you in the right way (Psalm 119:105).
These were more noble… they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. – Acts 17:11
Men have forgotten God
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn made an astute observation when he wrote: “I heard a number of older people offer this explanation for the great disasters that have befallen Russia: `Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’” He went on to say, “If I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God.’”
Whenever men forget God disaster is inevitable.
The apostle Paul wrote of this ruinous sin in his letter to the church at Rome. He attributed the Roman decline to the fact that men “did not like to retain God in their knowledge” (Romans 1:28). Men had forgotten God.
What happens when men forget God?
They become wicked, greedy, evil, envious, murderous, malicious, gossipers, slanderers, insolent, arrogant, boastful, disobedient to parents, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful (Romans 1:29-31). It’s not a pleasant picture to contemplate, but it is clearly where atheism leads, and we are rapidly going in that direction.
George Gallup, Jr., readily recognized as one of America’s leading pollsters, has observed that “We want the fruits of religion, but not the obligations…That we revere the Bible, but don’t read it…We believe the Ten Commandments to be valid rules for living, although we can’t name them.” We may claim to believe in God and revere the Bible, but most of those who profess to be Christians don’t know who delivered the Sermon on the Mount, can’t name one Old Testament Prophet, and almost never read the Scriptures. We, too, are in danger of forgetting God. The warning of the prophet Hosea bears repeating. He wrote, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). Specifically, they had forgotten God!
Almost a century and a half ago Abraham Lincoln wrote: “We have been recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have grown in number, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown; but we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand that preserves us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior virtue and wisdom of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us… it behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
There are two kinds of atheists in our world. The first make no pretense of believing. They foolishly say, “There is no God!” The second profess to believe, but live as though He did not exist. In reality there is little difference between the two. Both have forgotten God!
NOVEMBER 27, 2011
Trust involves confidence and reliance
The motto on our money reads: “In God We Trust,” but do we? Trust involves confidence and reliance. Quite honestly, for many, the motto would be more accurate if it read, “In Thee (money) We Trust.”
Materialism is a roadblock
Materialism has been and continues to be one of the greatest roadblocks to spiritual growth and maturity. Jesus had more to say regarding this sin than any other. In the Sermon on the Mount He said: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:19-21, 24).
The love of money
The apostle Paul offered a similar warning: “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:6-10). Money is not inherently evil, but the love of money is!
Set your hopes on God
The apostle went on to say: “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19).
Money is not the true measure of a man
It never has been, and it never will be. Thus, Jesus warned: “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).
Men are fallible, not always dependable
Men also have a tendency to place their confidence in other men, only to be greatly disappointed. Because men are fallible, they are not always dependable. God, on the other hand, will never let us down. This led the Psalmist to observe: “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in men. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes” (Psalm 118:8-9).
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil” (Proverbs 3:5-7). We must put our trust in HIM, and HE will never let us down!
OCTOBER 16, 2011
TIME, in its November 21, 2011 edition, asked ten questions of Sting (born Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner), the famous English musician, singer songwriter, activist, actor and philanthropist.
Among them was this query: ”When asked your religion, you write “devout musician.” Does that mean you pray to Angus Young?”
Sting replied: “It’s not a frivolous answer. I’m essentially agnostic. I don’t have a problem with God. I have a problem with religion. I’ve chosen to live my life without the certainties of religious faith. I think they’re dangerous. Music is something that gives my life value and spiritual solace.”
Men are free moral agents
Sting has a right to live his life as he sees fit. God has never forced Himself on anyone. No one has ever been compelled to be a believer. What I found interesting in his response is how many times I’ve heard similar things from others.
Agnostics say that we cannot know if God exists
We must accept Him on faith, and that means for many “firm belief in something for which there is no proof.” Ambrose Bierce’s definition comes to mind. He argued that faith was ”belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge of things without parallel.” Those who accept this premise won’t dismiss God outright, but they also won’t let Him intrude into their lives.
No problem with God, just religion
Like a lot of other folks, Sting has no real problem with God, but he does have a problem with religion. That is the same thinking that causes a man to reject the church and worship on the Lord’s Day because he says he can commune with God just as intimately on the golf course, the river, or in the great outdoors. It also explains why so many who claim to be believers never involve themselves with organized religion.
Finding spiritual solace?
Sting finds value and spiritual solace in music. Others find it in yoga, meditation, the contemplation of nature, or some other outlet. It is impossible to really get away from the innately human need for life to have a spiritual dimension. Men yearn for something higher, better, and eternal. Christianity satisfies that longing better than anything else.
We can know God is real
In response to Sting, and all who share his skepticism, I would argue that we can know that God is real based on abundant and unassailable evidence (1 Peter 3:15). Further, I would insist that there is something in our collective worship which we will not find on the golf course, the lake, or simply sharing in the beauty of nature (Hebrews 10:22-25).
There is no substitute for the assembly of the saints to draw us nearer to God, to encourage us to faithfulness, and to stir us to greater love and good works.
JANUARY 8, 2012
Text: Daniel 6:1-28
1. The faith of Daniel has been an inspiration to many young people…
a. Due to his faith as a young man, when only 15-17 years old
b. In which he purposed in his heart not to defile himself – cf. Daniel 1:8
2. Daniel should also be an inspiration to elderly people…
a. As an example of service and commitment in our “golden years”
b. For we can also read of his faith as old man, perhaps in his mid-eighties
I. THE TRAP IS SET (Daniel 6:1-9)
A. DANIEL IS SUCCESSFUL…
1. He is appointed one of three governors over the kingdom – Daniel 6:1-2
2. Daniel “distinguished” himself above the others – Daniel 6:3
a. His success was due to his “excellent spirit”, not cunning or political maneuvering
b. Proving one can be successful in business and politics without compromising character
c. Darius contemplates setting Daniel over the whole realm
B. DANIEL IS ENVIED…
1. His success leads to envy by others – Daniel 6:4
a. Even the most godly men can have their enemies (e.g., David, Christ)
b. Enemies by virtue of jealousy
2. His noble character is attested to by his enemies – Daniel 6:4
a. They could make no charge against him, finding no fault or error in him
b. Because he was “faithful” (i.e., trustworthy, dependable)
3. His enemies determine there is only one way to defeat him – Daniel 6:5
a. To find some conflict between the law of God and that of the land
b. Which they then set out to do
C. DANIEL IS TARGETED…
1. The king is approached by Daniel’s enemies – Daniel 6:6
2. They propose a royal statute, a firm decree – Daniel 6:7
a. That no petition can be made of any god or man for thirty days, except the king
b. Under punishment of being cast into the den of lions
3. The king is encouraged to establish the decree – Daniel 6:8-9
a. Which according to the law of the Medes and Persians, cannot be altered
b. King Darius signs the decree
II. THE TRAP IS SPRUNG (Daniel 6:10-17)
A. DANIEL CONTINUES TO PRAY…
1. Knowing full well that the decree had been signed – Daniel 6:10
2. Practicing a custom common among the Jews – Daniel 6:10
a. Praying three times a day – cf. Psalm 55:17
b. Praying toward Jerusalem - cf. 1 Kings 8:27-30
c. Praying on his knees (a common posture for prayer) – cf. 1 Kings 8:54
d. Praying with thankfulness to God, even in times of trouble – cf. Philippians 4:6
3. His own custom since “early days” – Daniel 6:10
a. Though great and powerful, fervent prayer was not beneath him
b. Though aged, he had not grown weary of prayer
B. DANIEL IS CAUGHT…
1. His enemies catch Daniel praying – Daniel 6:11
2. His enemies report Daniel to the king – Daniel 6:12-13
a. Reminding Darius of the unalterable decree
b. Accusing Daniel of disregarding the king and his decree
3. The king is forced to abide by his own decree – Daniel 6:14-15
a. Displeased with himself, the king tries to deliver Daniel
b. Daniel’s enemies pressure the king to abide by his decree
C. DANIEL IS THROWN INTO THE LIONS’ DEN…
1. Yet the king is hopeful – Daniel 6:16
a. That Daniel’s God will deliver him
b. Whom Daniel had served “continually”
2. The den is closed with a stone and sealed – Daniel 6:17
a. Sealed with the signet ring of the king and his lords
b. Ensuring that the purpose concerning Daniel would not be changed
3. It appears Daniel’s enemies have won. He is in the lions’ den and it is sealed. Yet could any “seal” by man ever keep God from accomplishing His plans (don’t forget the “sealed” tomb! – Matthew 27:62-66
III. THE TRAP IS SPOILED (Daniel 6:18-28)
A. DARIUS IS WORRIED…
1. His night is restless – Daniel 6:18
a. He spends the night fasting, and without musicians
b. He can’t sleep
2. His concern for Daniel is evident – Daniel 6:19-20
a. Rising early in the morning, going in haste to the den
b. Crying to Daniel with a lamenting voice
c. Wondering if God has delivered Daniel
1) A servant of the living God
2) Who serves God continually
B. DANIEL IS DELIVERED…
1. Daniel answers the king – Daniel 6:21-22
a. With respect to the king (“O king, live forever!”)
1) Despite what the king had done to him
2) An example of blessing those who persecute you
b. With word of God’s great deliverance
1) Saved by an angel of God – cf. Daniel 3:28
2) Who shut the lions’ mouths
c. With affirmation of his innocence
1) Innocent before God
2) Guilty of no wrong before the king
2. Darius removes Daniel from the den – Daniel 6:23
a. The king being exceedingly glad
b. Daniel with no injury found on him
3. Daniel is delivered from the lions, because he believed in His God (i.e., saved by faith!)
C. THE CONSPIRATORS ARE EXECUTED…
1. Cast into the same trap intended for Daniel, along with their families – Daniel 6:24
2. As often happens, those who set the trap get caught in it!
a. Cf. Haman, hung on the gallows he built for Mordecai – Esther 7:10
b. As contemplated by David, warned by Solomon – Psalm 7:14-16; Proverbs 1:10-19
D. GOD IS EXALTED…
1. Darius makes a decree that the God of Daniel be feared – Daniel 6:25-27
a. He is the living God, and steadfast forever
b. His kingdom is indestructible, and His dominion everlasting
2. Another pagan king comes to realize Who is really in control!
a. As did Nebuchadnezzar – Daniel 4:34-35
b. As did Belshazzar, only too late – Daniel 5:26-28
E. DANIEL PROSPERS…
1. In the reign of Darius, who ruled Chaldea – Daniel 6:28
2. In the reign of Cyrus of Persia (who also ruled over Darius) – cf. Daniel 1:21
1. What were the noble qualities of this aged saint? He was a man…
a. With an excellent spirit – Daniel 6:3
b. Without fault in his business dealings – Daniel 6:4
c. Faithful to those over him – Daniel 6:4
d. Committed to prayer throughout his life – Daniel 6:10
e. Willing to obey God rather than man – Daniel 6:10
f. Putting it simply, he was a man who “believed in his God”! – Daniel 6:23
2. “Daniel in the Lions’ Den” is a story that has thrilled many children…
a. But its lessons are not just for children
b. Daniel is a role model for adults as well
1) For politicians
2) For everyone involved in administrative affairs
3) For all Christians, especially older ones
3. May we all learn from the example of Daniel, who exemplified what it means to seek first the will of God (cf. Matthew 6:33), and to obey God rather than man (cf. Acts 5:29)!
Text: Daniel 4:1-37
a. Involving a large image with head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron with feet of iron mixed with clay – Daniel 2:36-43
1) Representing four world empires
b. In which the image was destroyed by a small stone made without hands – Daniel 2:44-45
1) Representing the establishment of a kingdom by the God of heaven
2) A kingdom that would never be destroyed, and would consume the other kingdoms
3) Prompting the king to praise the God of Daniel – Daniel 2:47
2. In Daniel 3, Nebuchadnezzar made a large image of gold…
a. He required all to worship it, under threat of death – Daniel 3:4-6
b. Three young men did not, yet survived the fiery furnace – Daniel 3:23-27
c. Prompting the king to bless the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego – Daniel 3:28-29
3. From Daniel 4, it appears that Nebuchadnezzar had more to learn about God…
a. He knew that God was Lord of kings and a revealer of secrets – Daniel 2:47
b. He knew that God can deliver His servants – Daniel 3:28-29
4. But now it was time for him to learn that God, the Most High and King of heaven, rules in the kingdom of men, including his own!
I. THE DREAM, INTERPRETATION, AND FULFILLMENT
A. NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S FOREWORD…
1. Addressed to all who dwell on the earth – Daniel 4:1
2. To declare the signs and wonders of the Most High God – Daniel 4:2-3a
3. Proclaiming God’s kingdom to be everlasting, His dominion from generation to generation- Daniel 4:3b
B. NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S DREAM…
1. A dream which troubled him and made him afraid – Daniel 4:4-5
2. His dissatisfaction with the wise men of Babylon - Daniel 4:6-7
3. The dream is told to Daniel…
a. The king’s confidence in Daniel – Daniel 4:8-9
b. Elements of the dream – Daniel 4:10-17
1) A tree in the middle of the earth, its height reaching to the heavens
2) The decree of a holy one, a “watcher”, concerning the tree
a) To be cut down, leaving only the stump and roots
b) Bound with a band of iron and bronze
c) Wet with the dew of heaven
d) To graze with the beasts of the earth
e) His heart changed from that of a man to an animal
f) And let seven times (years?) pass over him
3) The purpose of the decree is for the living to know:
a) The Most High rules in the kingdom of men
b) Who gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men
c. The king repeats his confidence in Daniel to interpret the dream – Daniel 4:18
C. DANIEL’S INTERPRETATION…
1. Daniel is astonished and troubled by the dream – Daniel 4:19
a. Yet the king reassures Daniel to tell the interpretation
b. Daniel wished the dream pertained to the king’s enemies
2. Elements of Daniel’s interpretation – Daniel 4:20-26
a. The tree which became strong and tall represents Nebuchadnezzar
b. The king shall be driven from men, dwell among beasts and eat grass like oxen
1) Seven times (years?) will pass over him
2) Till he knew that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, giving it to whomever He chooses
c. The kingdom shall be returned to Nebuchadnezzar
1) Indicated by the command to leave the stump and roots of the tree
2) Once he comes to know that Heaven rules
3. Daniel’s counsel for the king to be righteous and show mercy – Daniel 4:27
D. THE DREAM’S FULFILLMENT…
1. It came to pass at the end of twelve months – Daniel 4:28-29
2. As the king was boasting about his power and majesty – Daniel 4:30-32
3. That very hour he was driven from men – Daniel 4:33
a. He ate grass like oxen
b. His body was wet with the dew of heaven
c. His hair grew like eagle’s feathers, his nails like birds’ claws
4. And the end of the time, understanding returned to the king – Daniel 4:34-35
a. Prompting him to bless and praise the Most High, who lives forever
b. Acknowledging His everlasting dominion and kingdom
c. Who does according to His will in the army of heaven and among inhabitants of the earth, and none can restrain or say “What have You done?”
5. Nebuchadnezzar restored – Daniel 4:36-37
a. His reason, honor, and splendor returned, his counselor and nobles resorted to him
b. But now he praises and honors the King of heaven for His truth and justice, Who is able to humble those who walk in pride
E. THE MAIN POINT OF THE DREAM AND ITS FULFILLMENT…
1. Stated several times in this chapter
a. In the dream itself – Daniel 4:17
b. By Daniel, in providing the interpretation – Daniel 4:25-26
c. As spoken from Heaven when the dream came to pass – Daniel 4:32
d. By Nebuchadnezzar when he returned to his senses – Daniel 4:34-35
2. To learn that “The Most High Rules In The Kingdom Of Men”
a. Which Daniel acknowledged from Nebuchadnezzar’s first dream – Daniel 2:20-21
b. And now does the king, from his second dream!
[The main point is simple enough, but do we acknowledge that it is still true? Do we appreciate that the Most High still rules in the kingdom of men, only now through His Son? Lest we forget, let's review what the New Testament teaches about...]
II. THE RULE OF GOD IN THE KINGDOMS OF MEN
A. CHRIST NOW REIGNS AS SOVEREIGN…
1. As claimed before His ascension to heaven – Matthew 28:18
2. As proclaimed after His ascension – Revelation 2:26-27; 3:21
3. As taught by His apostles – Ephesians 1:20-22; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; 1 Peter 3:22
[So He has the authority, but does He exercise it? Consider the next point...]
B. CHRIST NOW REIGNS IN THE KINGDOM OF MEN…
1. As foretold by the prophets
a. In Psalms 2, which speaks of:
1) The attempt of the nations to reject Christ – Psalm 2:1-3
2) The coronation of Christ despite their efforts – Psalm 2:4-6
3) The exercise of Christ’s rule over the nations – Psalm 2:7-9
4) The importance of kings and judges serving the Lord – Psalm 2:10-12
5) Acts 4:23-28 confirms that this passage refers to Jesus!
b. In Psalms 110, which tells of:
1) The rule of Christ in the midst of His enemies – Psalm 110:1-2
2) The voluntary service of His people (the church), and the priestly service of their King – Psalm 110:3-4
3) The exercise of judgment among the nations – Psalm 110:5-7
4) Acts 2:32-36 confirms that this passage refers to Jesus!
2. As taught by the apostles
a. Governing authorities exist as appointed by God, to serve as ministers of God – Romans 13:1-4
b. Why pray for kings and those in authority, that peace may prevail, unless God through Christ can do something about it? – cf. 1 Timothy 2:1-2
c. Jesus is the “ruler over the kings of the earth” – Revelation 1:5
1) He exercised that rule in the destruction of Jerusalem, foretold in Matthew 24
2) He exercised that rule in destroying the beast of Revelation (the Roman empire) and all his forces – cf. Revelation 17:14
d. Truly Jesus is “King of kings, and Lord of lords”- Revelation 19:16; 1 Timothy 6:15
3. We may not always be able to see how it is so
a. If Christ rules in the kingdom of men, why do evil men and evil empires exist?
b. It helps to understand the nature of Christ’s rule1) He rules “in the midst of His enemies” – Psalm 110:22) He must reign “till He has put all enemies under His feet” – 1 Corinthians 15:25-26
c. Until He comes again, Jesus exercises His authority over the nations in ways we may not always be able to comprehend
1. To know that “the Most High rules” must have been comforting to Daniel…
a. For at that time he and the nation of <a target=”_blank” href=”http://www.biblemap.org/#Israel”>Israel</a> were in captivity
b. Their temple was destroyed, the land plundered and filled with transplanted foreigners
c. Yet Daniel knew the prophecy of Jeremiah, that after seventy years they would return – cf. Daniel 9:1-2
d. Knowing that God rules, even when wicked men seem to prevail, gave him hope
2. We can take comfort in knowing that “the Most High rules” today…
a. That He who rules in the kingdom of men is Jesus!
b. Who is our Savior, Priest, and Friend!
c. Therefore we can look forward to the future with hope, not apprehension
3. But this is true only if we give Jesus sovereign rule in our personal lives…
a. He must be “our” Lord, the King of “our” lives!
b. We must be “volunteers” in the day of His power – cf. Psalm 110:3
4. Have we submitted in obedience to Him who is both Lord and Christ (cf. Acts 2:36-38)?
Text: Ephesians 2:4-10
1. In the previous lesson we saw our true condition outside of Christ:
a. Dead in trespasses and sins – Ephesians 2:1
b. Walking with world and the devil – Ephesians 2:2
c. Fulfilling the desires of the flesh and mind – Ephesians 2:3
d. Truly we were “sons of disobedience” and “children of wrath”!
2. At the close of the previous lesson, I asked, “How can such ‘sons of disobedience’ and ‘children of wrath’ ever become…”
a. “Holy and without blame”?
b. “Receive the adoption as sons”?
c. “Accepted” by God?
3. In the text for this study (Ephesians 2:4-10) we find our answer, where we learn that salvation by grace through faith involves many elements besides just grace and faith to begin with, salvation by grace through faith:
I. INVOLVES THE “GREAT LOVE” OF GOD (Ephesians 2:4)
A. THIS IS THE BEGINNING POINT OF SALVATION…
1. From this, all else flows
2. What mercy, grace, etc., that God shows mankind is founded upon the fact that God has a great love for us – cf. John 3:16
B. THIS LOVE IS NOT BECAUSE OF WHO WE ARE, BUT WHO GOD IS…
1. God did not love us because we were lovable, but because God is loving!
2. As John wrote in an effort to inspire his brethren to love one another, God is love, and that moved Him to offer His Son – 1 John 4:7-10
II. INVOLVES THE “RICH MERCY” OF GOD (Ephesians 2:4)
A. DEFINING MERCY…
1. The word “eleos” is defined by Vine’s Expository Dictionary as the outward manifestation of pity”
2. Mercy, then, is compassion that one has for those in trouble
B. GOD’S “GREAT LOVE” MAKES HIM “RICH IN MERCY”…
1. His great love for sinners enables God to be filled with compassion toward them
2. The riches of His mercy seek to reach out to all who will accept it – 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9
III. INVOLVES BEING “MADE ALIVE TOGETHER” WITH CHRIST (Ephesians 2:5)
A. HERE IS WHERE “GRACE” REALLY ENTERS IN…
1. For notice that Paul says “WHEN we were dead…(God) made us alive”
2. While STILL “dead in trespasses” God has somehow made us alive together with Christ!
3. Though not fully explained in this passage how (and when) this happened, it occurred because of God’s “unmerited favor” (the definition of “grace”)
B. HOW (AND WHEN) WE WERE “MADE ALIVE TOGETHER WITH CHRIST” IS EXPLAINED ELSEWHERE…
1. Especially in Colossians 2:11-13
2. Where we learn that it is in baptism…
a. We are buried with Christ and then raised with Him – Colossians 2:12; cf. Romans 6:3-6
b. We, who were “dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh”, were thus “made alive together with Him (Christ)” – Colossians 2:13
c. Our trespasses were all forgiven – Colossians 2:13; cf. Acts 2:38; 22:16
IV. INVOLVES BEING “RAISED UP TOGETHER” WITH CHRIST (Ephesians 2:6-7)
A. WE SAW IN Ephesians 1:20
1. Where Christ was raised from the dead
2. And then was seated at the right hand of God in the heavenly places
B. NOW WE LEARN FROM Ephesians 2:6-7
1. That we too are raised up and made to sit together with Christ in the heavenly places!
a. This speaks of our present condition in the “spiritual realm” (heavenly places)
b. Because of our union with Christ, we enjoy an exalted position together with Him
c. Which union serves as the basis for our wonderful spiritual blessings – cf. Ephesians 1:3
2. But our present condition, and the blessings it entails, are only the beginning!
a. There is more “in the ages to come”
b. There are “exceeding riches of His grace in kindness” yet to be shown in Christ Jesus!
V. INVOLVES “FAITH”, AND NOT MERITORIOUS WORKS (Ephesians 2:8-9)
A. SALVATION IS FIRST AND FOREMOST, BY “GRACE”…
1. Up to this point, Paul has said nothing about man’s part in the process of salvation
a. It was GOD’S mercy, love, and grace which made salvation possible
b. It was GOD’s working that made us alive, raised us up, made us sit together with Christ
2. Truly, salvation is…
a. “not of yourselves; it is the gift of God”
1) Some understand this phrase to refer to “faith”
2) But I understand Paul to be referring to salvation
b. “not of works, lest anyone should boast”
1) We are not saved by works of merit, whereby we earn salvation
2) But as Paul told Titus “according to His mercy He saved us…” – Titus 3:5
B. NEVERTHELESS, SALVATION IS BY GRACE “THROUGH FAITH”…
1. “Faith”, together with the “working of God”, is how we were “raised with Christ” in baptism – cf. Colossians 2:12
2. In other words, it is an obedient faith that receives the salvation in Christ – cf. Hebrews 5:9
3. So when a person in faith is being baptized…
a. They are not “earning” their salvation
b. Rather, they are “receiving” their salvation which is by God’s grace and God’s working, for in baptism they are receiving Jesus Christ and all He accomplished by His death and resurrection! – cf. Galatians 3:27
VI. INVOLVES BEING “CREATED…FOR GOOD WORKS” (Ephesians 2:10)
A. IN CHRIST, WE ARE “HIS WORKMANSHIP”…
1. As Paul intimated in his discussion of baptism in Co 2:12 (“the working of God”)
2. Through God’s “working” in which He…
a. “made us alive”
b. “raised us up”
c. “made us sit together in the heavenly places”
d. we have truly become “a new creation”! – cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17
B. THE GOAL OF THIS “WORKMANSHIP”: CREATED FOR GOOD WORKS…
1. Though not saved by good works, we are to do good works!
2. God “prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”
a. It is part of His predetermined plan
b. Not just to save, but to create a people diligent in good works! – cf. Titus 2:11-14
3. Therefore, the people of God should…
a. “be ready for every good work” – Titus 3:1
b. “be careful to maintain good works” – Titus 3:8
c. “learn to maintain good works” – Titus 3:14
1. So it is “by grace through faith” that…
a. “Children of wrath” can become “children of God”!
b. “Sons of disobedience” can “receive the adoption as sons” of God!
c. We can be “accepted” by God!
2. Because “Salvation By Grace Through Faith” involves:
a. God’s great love
b. God’s rich mercy
c. God making us alive together with Christ
d. God raising us up together with Christ to sit with Him in the heavenly places
e. An obedient faith that trusts in God’s workmanship, not one’s own works
f. A new creature that is diligent in doing good works to the glory of God
3. How can one receive this wonderful salvation? Let Jesus and His apostles show you the way, for it is when we in faith submit to the Lord’s command to be baptized that we enjoy the blessings of God’s love, mercy, and workmanship… – Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Colossians 2:12-13
Text: Galatians 2:20-21
1. Much that we know of the Christian life is dependent upon the apostle Paul
a. Who wrote half the books of the New Testament?
b. His conduct and attitudes are set before us as an example – 1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 3:17
c. But what principles governed Paul’s life as a Christian?
2. In our text we find Paul expressing some of the principles – Galatians 2:20-21
a. That guided his life as a disciple of Christ
b. As he speaks of “the life which I now live in the flesh”
3. What kind of life was that? Are we governed by the same principles?
4. Notice first of all that Paul says his life which he lived in the flesh was
I. A LIFE CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST (Galatians 2:20a)
A. HOW IS “CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST” POSSIBLE…?
1. We can’t go back in time and join Christ on the cross!
2. But we can be united with Christ in His death when we are baptized! - Romans 6:3-8
3. Note that baptism into Christ is
a. A baptism into His death – Romans 6:3-4
b. Being united together in the likeness of His death – Romans 6:5
c. Crucifying our old man with Christ – Romans 6:6
d. Dying together with Christ – Romans 6:8
4. If we have been baptized into Christ, we can say together with Paul: “I have been crucified with Christ”
B. WHAT DOES “CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST” MEAN…?
1. For some it means a death “to the Law” – Galatians 2:19
a. Paul wrote of himself as a Jew who was at one time under the Law of Moses
b. Those who have been crucified with Christ have died to the Law – Romans 7:1-6
2. For all it means a death “to self” – Galatians 2:20
a. “It is no longer I who live”
b. As Jesus taught, we must be willing to deny self to follow Him – Luke 9:23-24
3. For all it means we have crucified “the flesh” – Galatians 5:24
a. Which occurred in principle at our baptism – Romans 6:6, 11-14
b. Which occurs in practice as we continue to “put to death” the deeds of the body – Romans 8:12-13; Colossians 3:5- 9
4. For all it means we have been crucified “to the world” – Galatians 6:14
a. Before our obedience to Christ, we were in bondage to the rudiments of the world – Galatians 4:3, 9
b. But now, Christ is our rule and authority in life - Colossians 2:8-10, 20-22; 3:17
5. Any external (Law, world) or internal (self, flesh) controls have now surrendered to the authority of Christ
6. One who has been baptized into Christ and is letting Jesus be his or her authority in all things is living a “life crucified with Christ”. But note that Paul also wrote “the life which I now live” is:
II. A LIFE IN WHICH CHRIST LIVES IN ME (Galatians 2:20b)
A. HOW DOES CHRIST LIVE IN ME…?
1. It is like electricity
a. I may not comprehend how it works
b. But I know how to get it working!
2. We are taught how to make sure that He will abide in us
a. By Jesus Himself – John 14:21-23; 15:9-10
b. By His beloved disciple John – 1 John 3:24
3. As we keep the commandments of Christ, we are assured that He lives in us!
B. WHAT BENEFITS COME FROM CHRIST LIVING IN US…?
1. The wonderful love of the Father and the Son – John 14:21
2. There is fullness of joy – John 15:11
3. There is peace, even in the midst of tribulation – John 16:33
4. There is the hope of being with Jesus and beholding His glory – John 17:24
5. These are just a few of the many blessings of a life in which Christ lives in us!
III. A LIFE LIVING BY FAITH IN CHRIST (Galatians 2:20c)
A. WHAT IS LIVING BY FAITH IN CHRIST…?
1. The word ‘faith’ implies trust
2. Living by faith in Christ means constantly trusting in Jesus
a. E.g., for the forgiveness of our sins
1) Trusting in His blood to cleanse us from our sins - 1 John 1:7, 9
2) Trusting in Him as our Advocate – 1 John 2:1
3) Trusting in Him as our Propitiation – 1 John 2:4
b. E.g., that His words will provide a solid foundation for our lives – Mathew 7:24-25
c. E.g., that He will never forsake us – Mathew 28:20
3. Trusting in Jesus, not in self, not in the Law, not in the world!
B. WHY SHOULD WE SO TRUST JESUS…?
1. Because He loves us! – cf. Galatians 2:20
2. Because He gave Himself for us! – Galatians 2:20
3. Shall He not do more if we continue to trust Him? – Romans 8:34-39
4. Such love naturally compels one to live a life of faith in Him - 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
5. Does such love should compel us to trust in Jesus, living by faith in Him?
IV. A LIFE WHICH DOES NOT SET ASIDE GOD’S GRACE (Galatians 2:21)
A. WE MUST DILIGENTLY KEEP JESUS’ COMMANDMENTS
1. As a true indication of our love for Him – John 14:15
2. As a true indication that we really know Him – 1 John 2:3
3. One cannot ignore the commandments of the Lord
B. YET WITHOUT GOD’S GRACE, ALL IS VAIN
1. We cannot nor dare not try to earn or merit our salvation - Titus 3:4-5; Ephesians 2:8-9
2. After all is said and done, we are still unworthy servants – Luke 17:10
3. If not for the grace of God:
a. Our faith would be useless
b. Our repentance would meaningless
c. Our baptism would be fruitless
d. Our salvation would be impossible!
4. And so, from beginning to end
a. We must look to God and the Word of His grace
b. We must trust in His mercy offered through Jesus
c. We are totally dependent upon Jesus and His death on the cross for any degree of true righteousness
5. If we think we have earned or merited salvation on our own, Christ died in vain!
1. Such was the life Paul lived in the flesh
a. A life crucified with Christ
b. A life in which Christ lived in Him
c. A life living by faith in Christ
d. A life that did not set aside the grace of God
2. Can the same be said of us…?
a. Have we been crucified with Christ (in baptism)?
b. Is Christ living in us (manifested by keeping His commandments)?
c. Are you living by faith in Christ (trusting His blood, His Word)?
d. Are you always trusting in the grace of God (not your own goodness or obedience)?
3. May the words of Paul move us to live the kind of lives becoming of those who call themselves Christians!
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” – Galatians 2:20-21
Text: Micah 6:6-8
1. People have always needed to know what God wants from them.
2. He has revealed what He wants and expects.
a. But people have attempted life on their own terms
b. What God wants of them gets “lost” in the darkness of human wisdom and striving.
3. Think about this matter of what God wants from us.
I. HE WANTS OUR ATTENTION
A. People forget God!
1. A very human problem, failing! - Deuteronomy 8:11-14, 17
2. “ye that forget God” - Psalm 50:22
3. Perhaps they remember His name, His existence: but in practice in fact they forget Him – Deuteronomy 8:11
B. Listen to God! – Matthew 4:4
1. this verse comes out of great human need … such need as can cause one to “forget” God
2. but Jesus points direct to God at such a time
3. Are we attentive to Him? - Matthew 17:5
II. HE WANTS OUR LOVE
A. That fact has always amazed me
1. Why would omnipotent God want a puny human’s love?
2. I’m not alone in my amazement! - Psalm 8:3-5
B. Here is what He wants – Deuteronomy 6:5 repeated at Matthew 22:37
1. and this love He wants is not a “casual glance”
2. He wants our undivided, unreserved love!
III. HE WANTS OUR OBEDIENCE
A. Certainly, the obedience grows naturally from our love
1. An important point of understanding – Psalm 51:16-19
2. Something undergirds offerings - Mark 12:33
3. did God command sacrifices and offerings?
a. absolutely! but obedience with our heart, willingness, understanding was not the obedience He wanted
b. obedience without conviction, commitment, concurrence is cold “ceremony” – Romans 6:17
B. So, God wants your …
1. Belief in Christ – John 3:16
2. Repentance of sin – 2 Peter 3:9
3. Burial with Christ in baptism – Colossians 2:12
4. Are these “things” expressions of love for God? – 1 John 5:3
IV. HE WANTS YOUR LIFE
A. Note Galatians 2:20 and Colossians 3:1-4
1. in both passages “life” appears – it is His, He created it
2. on again, off again relationship is not what He wants
3. He wants all of you, not a sort of wise warm (nominal) relationship
B. The practical expression of this?
1. He wants our service in His cause – Romans 6:22
2. He wants the practice, the manner of our life conforming to His pattern and will – Ephesians 4:22-24
3. He wants our unswerving commitment – Philippians 3:13-14
V. HE WANTS YOUR “COMPANY”
A. Surrounded by angels, He wants you there with Him
1. once again, I find a certain amazement in this
2. but the testimony of scripture supports
B. There is a place there for you – John 14:1-3
1. This is “homecoming” – Psalm 116:15
2. This homecoming is for people who have responded to what God wants from them! - Revelation 14:12-13
1. The thoughts are simple enough for all of us to understand.
2. Will we grasp these thoughts as ours?
3. And act on them?
1. When we first come into this world, we are extremely dependent on others
a. We need parents or other providers to feed and clean up after ourselves
b. Even as small children, we sense our need for parental care and protection
2. As we get older, it is common to believe that we no longer need anyone or anything
a. Starting in adolescence, where many think they no longer need their parents
b. Often continuing throughout adulthood, where many think they can take care of themselves
3. Mankind is not as self-sufficient as many would like to believe
a. We are extremely dependent on many things despite our denials
b. Which I intend to illustrate in this series of lessons of why we need God, Jesus, The Bible and the Holy Spirit
4. Assuming that one believes in God, let’s begin with three simple yet significant reasons why we need God in our lives.
I. HE IS OUR CREATOR
A. GOD IS THE CREATOR
1. Of the heavens and the earth – Genesis 1:1; Exodus 20:11; Hebrews 11:3
2. Of mankind, both male and female – Genesis 1:27; 5:2
3. Even in the womb, God has a role in giving us life – Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:5
4. He made us, not we ourselves – cf. Psalm 100:3
B. GOD AS OUR CREATOR
1. Knows us better than we ourselves
2. Even as the manufacturer knows his product better than anyone else
3. Knows our weaknesses and our strengths
4. Is the best source to find the answers to such questions as:
a. Where did I come from?
b. Why am I here?
c. Where am I going?
d. How should I live?
5. We need God because as our Creator He is the only reliable “tech support” to help us make sense and use of our lives!
II. HE IS OUR REDEEMER
A. GOD IS THE REDEEMER
1. Unfortunately, all have made a mess of their lives – Romans 3:23
2. Some more than others, but all are in need of major correction – Romans 3:9
3. But God offers Himself as our Redeemer – Psalm 34:22
B. GOD AS OUR REDEEMER
1. Makes it possible for us to start anew – cf. Psalm 103:1-5
2. This He did by sending His Son, Jesus – Galatians 4:4-5; Titus 2:11-14
3. He offered His Son’s blood to redeem from our sins – 1 Peter 1:17-19
C. We need God because as our Redeemer we have the opportunity to be forgiven of sins and to start our lives anew!
III. HE IS OUR PROVIDER
A. GOD IS THE PROVIDER
1. Of physical life itself – Acts 17:28; cf. Psalm 66:8-9
2. Of that which sustains our physical life – Acts 14:17; Matthew 5:45
3. Of spiritual strength that we need – Ephesians 3:16,20; 6:10
B. GOD AS OUR PROVIDER
1. Has promised to meet our physical needs – Matthew 6:25-32
2. If we will put Him and His righteousness first in our lives – Matthew 6:33-34
3. Has promised to meet our spiritual needs – Philippians 2:12-13
4. If we will put on His armor – Ephesians 6:11-18
1. More things could be said to illustrate our need for God, but for now let these suffice
a. God is our Creator
b. God is our Redeemer
c. God is our Provider
2. Those who reject any need for God
a. Go through life with no true knowledge of self or purpose in life
b. Have no way to atone for or to truly correct the many mistakes they make
c. Have lives devoid of the fullness of God’s providential care
3. How much better to confess our need for God, and look to Him
a. For wisdom and guidance in making the best of our time here on earth
b. For forgiveness and renewal when we mess up our lives through sin
c. For providential care and spiritual strength to live the truly “abundant life”
4. Yes, dear friends and brethren, that is why we need God…!
(Why I Believe in God)
Text: Hebrews 11:1-6
1. I am happy to profess that I believe in God
a. Such faith is a source of great comfort – cf. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
b. And according to the Bible, necessary to pleasing God – Hebrews 11:6
2. Why do I believe in God?
a. I cannot see Him
b. I have never heard His voice
c. Yet I believe it is more reasonable to believe in God than to not believe
3. What reasons are there for believing in God? While not exhaustive, there are several reasons, the first commonly referred to as the teleological argument for God
I. THE EVIDENCE OF DESIGN IN THE UNIVERSE
1. Orderly movement of heavenly bodies, making space travel possible
2. Animal instinct, such as the migration patterns of birds, eels, and salmon
3. The human body itself, e.g., the eye
1. Design suggests a “designer”
2. Design suggests a Being with intelligence possessing purposea.
a. A watch shows design, and implies a watchmaker
b. To credit such intricate and precise workmanship to blind chance is unreasonable
3. Contemplating on the universe and the human body rightfully produces awe, and points man to his Creator – cf. Psalm 19:1-2;139:14; Romans 1:19-20
C. Another reason to believe in God is called the moral or anthropological argument for God, or
II. THE UNIVERSAL SENSE OF OUGHT
1. Everywhere people have a sense of ought
2. That in certain circumstances, certain things should be done
3. People are concerned
a. That people should act a certain way
b. That people do not often act the way they should
4. Even atheists and agnostics have a sense of justice, and are angered when it is violated (as in the case of rape and murder)
1. This moral nature in man suggests a Moral Being as the Original Cause
2. If there is no God, there is no right or wrong, good or evil
3. If there is no God, no atheist can object on moral grounds if I want to kill them
C. A similar reason to believe in God is called the general argument
III. THE UNIVERSAL RELIGIOUS INSTINCT AND BELIEF IN GOD
1. Men in all the world, and throughout all time, not only believe in deity, but also engage in acts of worship and devotion.
2. The religious principle is extremely potent in all nations, dominating their thought and history.
3. Everywhere the human heart has a craving for God. There will be exceptions as individuals, but the exceptions do not invalidate the rule. The atheist is an exception in every society!
1. For every deepest longing of man, there is something that satisfies it
a. E.g., food satisfies man’s hunger
b. E.g., water satisfies man’s thirst
2. There must be a reality (i.e., God) that complements and meets the universal craving for a Supreme Being
3. Paul says this longing for God was placed in man by God Himself - Acts 17:26-27
C. Then there is the cosmological argument for believing in God
IV. THAT EVERY EFFECT MUST HAVE A CAUSE
1. This is also called the argument from first cause
2. It is based upon the premise that every effect must have a cause
1. The cosmos (universe) is an effect that has adequate cause
2. The Bible reveals that adequate cause: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” – Genesis 1:1
3. A common objection is often raised: “Who created God?”
a. The law which states every effect has a cause applies to things that are “physical”
b. God by definition is not physical, and therefore not bound by laws which we may discern to apply to physical things
1) God is a spiritual being – cf. John 4:24
2) His omnipresence is an example of how He defies laws of nature – cf. Jeremiah 23:23-24
c. So the argument does not apply to Him; Hebrews is the Uncaused Cause of all things!
C. There is also the esthetical argument for believing in God
V. THE PRESENCE OF BEAUTY AND SUBLIMITY
1. This argument is based upon the presence of beauty and sublimity in the universe
2. It observes that you have both
a. The presence of beauty in nature itself, and in art produced by man
b. The response of man to such beauty (appreciation and awe)
1. How did this “beauty”, and the “ability to appreciate” it, develop?
2. Were both the result of blind chance?
3. Or did it come from a Supreme Being, who is:
a. Intelligent (an argument from design)
b. Moral (an argument from our sense of ought)
c. Artistic (an argument from beauty and our sense of it) – cf. Psalm 96:4-6
1. These arguments are philosophical arguments, but they are based upon what the Bible itself says can be learned about God from nature – Psalm 19:1-2; Romans 1:20
2. Other arguments can be offered to support the existence of God
a. Fulfilled prophecies in the Scriptures
b. Scientific foreknowledge of the Scriptures
c. Uniformity of the Scriptures
d. Evidences for the resurrection of Jesus from the dead
– We shall examine these when we talk about believing in the Bible, Jesus, etc.
3. Do you believe in God?
a. Faith in God is a choice that we make between two alternatives.
1) The river of evidence for God’s reality runs strong and deep, but its current is not irresistible.
2) Many people do swim against it, at least for awhile.
b. Choosing to believe that God exists is a voluntary act of trust.
1) We believe not because we think the reality of God is absolutely unequivocal, but because we judge the evidence to be greatly in its favor.
2) After careful thought, faith puts its trust and confidence in a premise that is seen to be supported by the weight of the evidence.
3) Faced with the ultimate fork in the road, faith understands that a decision must be made, and it responsibly chooses one alternative.
c. But the decision to believe isn’t merely the adoption of an intellectual position.
1) It’s the courageous taking of a stand. Like all ideas, the idea of God has consequences, and faith dares to accept those consequences.
2) It says: “I have considered the matter and am prepared to make my choice.
3) What I have seen has taught me to trust this thing which I can’t see, the reality of God.
4) I not only believe, I am prepared to follow my faith wherever it leads. – Diligently Seeking God
4. Are you willing to make the decision to believe in God?
a. The time is coming, however, when the reality of God will no longer be a matter of faith.
b. It will be an overwhelming fact, impossible to deny and terrifying in its implications for those who have tried to deny it.
c. “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” – Romans 14:11
5. Only a fool would suppress the evidence for the existence of God that is out there
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,” – Romans 1:20
“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” – Psalm 14:1
Text: Romans 6:1-11
Can we trust in riches?
Jesus said it is hard for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God (Mark 10:24). After all, the rich young ruler would not give them up in order to follow after Christ (Matthew 19:16-22).
Paul said not to “trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17).” Riches are uncertain, for they will pass away (1 John 2:15-17).
Can we trust in ourselves?
Sometimes we think we can, and other times we know we cannot. We are not reliable. We have all sinned (Romans 3:23) and are not perfect. Paul said we should not “trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9-10).
One is tempted when enticed by his desires, and when the desire is conceived it causes sin. When sin is full-grown, death is brought about (James 1:14-15). This all started when Adam & Eve gave in to temptation and sinned when eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2-3).
As a result, “…in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).
If we cannot trust in things or in people, in what or in whom can we trust?
We can trust in Christ!
- We heard the word of truth, the gospel of salvation, and were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise who is our guarantee of the inheritance (Ephesians 1:12-14)!
- We are not sufficient of ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God (2 Corinthians 3:4-6). The Old Testament shows how God provided for the children of Israel, and He will do the same for us (James 1:17; Ephesians 1:3).
- He is the Savior of all men, but especially of those who believe (1 Timothy 4:10). Even when we were in sin, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Those who are obedient to the gospel will be saved (Romans 6:1-11).
How do we show our trust in God?
Peter says the women who trusted in God adorned themselves with the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:1-6).
Paul told Timothy a true widow shows her trust in God by “continuing in supplications and prayers night and day” (1 Timothy 5:5). Christians are to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Ephesians 6:18).
Text: Genesis 1:1
GOD IS OUR CREATOR.
He made the world (kosmos) in an orderly arrangement which includes the moons, planets, stars, earth, and mankind (Genesis 1:1).
GOD IS OMNIPOTENT
- The term omnipotent describes God as being ALL POWERFUL. God created the heaven and earth (Genesis 1:1).
- It was through God’s power that the Red Sea was divided and the Israelites walked on dry ground into the midst of the sea, and the Egyptians also followed on dry ground in the midst of the sea, but by God’s power the walls of water came down and drown all the Egyptians (Exodus 14:15-31). By God’s power, Jesus was resurrected from the grave (Acts 3:14-15).
GOD IS OMNISCIENT
- The term omniscient denotes God as having infinite awareness, understanding, and insight. In other words, God is ALL KNOWING. This is a characteristic that men and women do not posses. And since God knows everything, and we are limited in our knowledge, we should humble ourselves before Him (Hebrews 4:13). God knows when Jesus is going to come back again. We do not know when Jesus is going to return – (Matthew 24:36).
GOD IS OMNIPRESENT
- The term omnipresent is the fact of God being present in all places at all times. In Psalm 139:7-8, David affirms God is everywhere. In Proverbs 15:3, the Bible teaches us the eyes of the Lord are in every place.
GOD IS LOVE
- The message of the Bible is the love that God has for us so that we can be reconciled back to Him through the perfect sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ (1 John 4:9-10).
- God is our shelter or protection, when the storm’s of life arises. God is our source of strength in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1). God is the giver of eternal life through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (John 14:6).
- According to Isaiah 12:2, God is our salvation. Therefore, you and I should be encouraged to Trust the LORD JEHOVAH. Let us also call to remembrance; our God is a consuming fire according to (Hebrews 12:29).
- This is why we all need to respond to the loving call of God. Now is the acceptable time. Why not come to Him tonight as we stand and sing?
HEAR BELIEVE REPENT CONFESS BAPTISM LIVE FAITHFULLY
Presented by Harry D. Anderson, Jr. on May 25, 2011 at the Gahanna Jefferson Church of Christ
Text: Hebrews 13:7-17
1. Throughout his epistle, the author has exhorted his readers to faithfulness
a. With a warning not to drift away – Hebrews 2:1
b. With a promise of becoming partakers of Christ – Hebrews 3:14
c. With exhortations to be diligent – Hebrews 4:11; 6:11-12
d. With a reminder of God’s faithfulness – Hebrews 10:23
e. With a promise of great reward – Hebrews 10:35-36
2. As the epistle’s end, we find some final exhortations that encourage such faithfulness
a. They are throughout – Hebrews 13:7-17
b. They are given in view of the danger of “various and strange doctrines” – Hebrews 13:9
3. The need for such exhortations is no less today as it was then
a. There are many various and strange doctrines today
b. It is easy for us to forget the simplicity that is in Christ
I. THINGS TO REMEMBER (Hebrews 13:7-14)
A. THOSE WHO FAITH IS WORTHY OF EMULATION (Hebrews 13:7)
1. In the original context of the epistle
a. The author here references those leaders who originally spoke the word of God to them
b. That included the apostles themselves – Hebrews 2:3
c. “…considering the outcome of their conduct” implies that they were dead, and that their faith served them well
2. Not only remember them, but “whose faith follow”
a. We should seek to emulate all those whose faith has set a good example – Philippians 3:17
b. Especially those whose faith sustained them to the end!
B. “JESUS CHRIST, THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND FOREVER” (Hebrews 13:8)
1. In what way is “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever”?
a. Certainly not in every respect, for He was once “in the flesh”, but not today
b. The context must determine, and the context pertains to:
1) The word of God which has been spoken – Hebrews 13:7
2) Various and strange doctrines – Hebrews 13:9
c. It is therefore the doctrine of Jesus, which is unchangeable
2. One may therefore rightly ask whenever they hear of some strange or new doctrine: “Did Jesus or His apostles teach this?” – Galatians 1:8-9
C. WHAT WE HAVE IN CHRIST (Hebrews 13:9-14)
1. It is apparent the author has in mind the temptation to return to the Law
a. To the dietary restrictions found in the Law
b. To the altar and tabernacle of the Old Covenant
2. But what we have in Christ includes:
a. Hearts that are strengthened by grace, not food – Hebrews 13:9
1) An allusion to the dietary restrictions of Judaism
2) While they served their purpose, they did not provide what one really needs – Colossians 3:20-23
b. An altar from which those who serve in the physical tabernacle have no right to eat – Hebrews 13:10-13
1) The “altar” is a metonymy for the sacrifice offered on it
2) Our “altar” is the sacrifice of Christ, which is of no benefit to those who hold to the Old Law – Galatians 5:4
3) As our sacrifice, had to suffer “outside the gate” to provide our sanctification, so we should be willing to serve Him “outside the camp”
c. A “city” which is yet to come – Hebrews 13:14
1) Like our father Abraham, we wait for the city “whose builder and maker is God” – Hebrews 11:9-10
2) We are but strangers and pilgrims on the earth, desiring that city which God has prepared – Hebrews 11:13-16
3) Therefore, it is not physical Jerusalem we long for, but “the holy city, New Jerusalem” – Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 3:12; Revelation 21:1-2, Revelation 2:10-11
II. THINGS TO DO (Hebrews 13:15-17)
A. OFFER TRUE SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES TO GOD (Hebrews 13:15-16)
1. We may not “serve the tabernacle” of the Old Covenant (Hebrews 13:10), but we do have “sacrifices” to offer – 1 Peter 2:5
2. One is the sacrifice of praise – Hebrews 13:15
a. That includes singing and prayer, which are the fruit of our lips
b. In which we praise God as we give thanks to His name – This we are to do “continually” (i.e., with stability in our service to God)
2. Another is the sacrifice of doing good and sharing – Hebrews 13:16
a. With such sacrifices God is pleased
b. They are like the “sweet-smelling aroma” of incense – Philippians 4:18
B. OBEY THOSE WHO RULE OVER US (Hebrews 13:17)
1. Earlier he wrote of their previous leadership (Hebrews 13:7); now he writes of their present leadership
2. These are most likely their “elders” (also known as “bishops”, “pastors”)
a. They were given the oversight of the local congregation – Acts 20:17,28; 1 Peter 5:1-2
b. The souls of the congregation were “entrusted” to them – 1 Peter 5:3
3. They watch over us, as those who must one day give an account – Hebrews 13:17
4. Therefore we should “obey” and “submit”
a. That their work will be one of joy, not grief
b. If we grieve them in their work, it will not be profitable for us!
1. Do you wish to remain steadfast in your faith, with stability in your service to God?
2. Then remember such things as:
a. Those worthy of following, and consider the outcome of their conduct
b. Jesus Christ, whose doctrine is the same yesterday, today, and forever – Hebrews 13:8
c. The blessings we have in Christ:
1) Hearts established by grace
2) An altar (the sacrifice of Jesus) to which some have no right
3) A heavenly city whose builder and maker is God
3. And be careful to do such things as:
a. Offer the spiritual sacrifices of praise and doing good to others
b. Obey those who have been entrusted to watch for our souls