Biblical Discipline

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Text: Proverbs 22:15  

Sermon-in-a-sentence: Discipline is all about the heart.

Intro:

 Proverbs 13:24 – He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Proverbs 22:15 – Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Proverbs 23:13 – Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

Proverbs 29:15 – The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

What does Scripture say concerning discipline?  Well, the Proverbs, the book of wisdom, speaks well to the issue of discipline in parenting.  We should pay special attention to the concepts being conveyed in Proverbs…

 

Concept #1-  To not chasten your child, is to not love your child.

Proverbs 13:24 – He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. 

This is perhaps the most difficult concept for the world to grasp in what the Bible says about parenting.  Can I say this? Believers don’t be surprised when your unsaved friends completely miss this concept, because this is a spiritually minded concept.  Verse 24 very simply states this profound truth, that genuine love in a parent will produce physical discipline with the child.  This is an evidence of Biblical love, because discipline will aid in producing the kind of servant that God desires.

Parents must employ this type of discipline because it is the picture of how God the Father deals with his children.  This picture is important believers because it points to God.  God chastened Adam and Eve in the garden.  He chastened Abraham and his family.  God continually chastened the nation of Israel, seeking to mold them into the shape he desired.  Jesus Christ came and went about his earthly ministry often chastening the religious leaders and the 12.  In the church age, Scripture says the Holy Spirit resides within us very much about the business of chastening you and I.  Believers we must discipline in a way that accurately reflects our Heavenly Father, with both the rod and with grace, make sure our children are pointed to God by this image.

 

Concept #2-  Foolishness and your child’s heart are fused together.

Proverbs 22:15 – Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.  

Proverbs so vividly describes this concept for us.  The image looks something like this-  on the underside of a boat, a saltwater boat, you will find barnacles.  Small creatures that attach themselves to the boat and do not intend to let go.  You are all familiar with tics, small pesky things that attach to your skin and do their best not to let go.

This is the picture given of your child’s heart.  Foolishness is fused together with their heart.  They enter the world in this condition.  The world and the flesh only encourage this bond, but God has given parents the task of working to cause a separation in this bond.

 

Concept #3:  Discipline is the process of separating or putting space between your child’s heart and the foolishness.

This is the image we see in verse 15, a fusing so strong, that serious labor must be put into causing separation.  I can’t help but picture a man with an axe when I read this verse.  The man strains and expends energy trying to drive the axe head into the wood to split the wood.  This is the image of discipline Scripture employs, a taxing process of trying to put space between your child and the foolishness.

The more you read the Old Testament the more you can see this concept lived out.  During the time of the prophets, God would raise up a man who would labor his whole life essentially trying to separate Israel from the foolishness of their hearts.  Men like Elijah labored intensively for many years in this work, enduring hardships, persecution, and trials to affect the work God wanted them to do.

 

Concept #4: Discipline provides your child with wisdom.

Proverbs 29:15 – The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame

We saw previously that discipline is described as separating foolishness from a child’s heart.  Chapter 29 continues by telling us that the rod and reproof will impart wisdom to your child.  The failure to employ both of these methods in parenting will leave children lacking wisdom that intends for them to receive.

This verse also goes on to state very clearly the end result of unbiblical parenting.  The result will be a mother shamed.

* culture says let children find their own path-  the end result will be shame.

* culture says don’t spank your child it may hurt their personality-  the end will be shame.

* culture encourages children to disobey and even correct their parents – the end will be shame.

 

 

 

 

Last week we considered some myths- statements that are often believed but truly are false according to Scripture.  Many of you spoke with me this week about the myths, so I want to finish today by mentioning three more common myths in parenting today.  I hope you will write these down and put some time into pondering them this week.

 

Myth #5:  ‘Quality time with my children is more important than quantity time.’

This is a common myth today, especially as our society has shifted to the norm of both parents having to work, just for the family to survive.  However, like the others this statement is a myth.  Quality time is not better or even equal to quantity time.  Here is what Scripture says-

Deuteronomy 6:4-7  Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: [5] And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. [6] And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: [7] And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

In this passage God is instructing his people in the task of teaching His Law to their children.  Notice the quantity of time mentioned in the text:  he says to teach his law diligently when at rest in the house, when active outside the home, when it is bedtime at night, and when it is morning of a new day.  Adequate teaching of the Word of God will not happen over dinner and dessert, it must be a continual process through the day.  Great amount of time is spoken of in Deuteronomy 6 in the daily activity of training a child.

The discipline process of a child is best performed through quantity time not through quality time.  In a two parent home, children need the father to take active leadership in the discipline process with quantity time invested.

 

Myth #6: ‘Spanking my children is the key to successful Biblical parenting.’

This myth has been proclaimed by preachers for many years and held to by a good many Christian parents.  This myth is held to because it is often easier and quicker to employ the rod than to live Paul’s instructions in Ephesians 6 or Moses’ instructions in Deuteronomy 6.  The rod as spoken of in Proverbs is not a magic bullet or a genie in a bottle.  The task of discipline is a long, time consuming task, that involves daily, systematic training and instruction.

Consider these thoughts with me:

* the rod can not replace the active presence of a father in the home.

* the rod can not make right unbiblical favoritism shown by the parents.

* the rod alone will not affect heart change in your children.

It is only as the rod is coupled with the regular, systematic instruction of the knowledge of God that Biblical parenting occurs and heart change can one day take place.

 

Myth #7:  ‘The purpose of discipline is to control my child’s behavior.’

According to Scripture, the purpose of discipline is a long-range one, it is this – HEART CHANGE.  The purpose for discipline is ultimately that – to affect genuine heart change in the child.  I will give it to you, when you study the Old Testament, and the nation of Israel you see Jehovah interact with his people in a way that is quite behavioristic.  However, at no point was the goal to control behavior of his people.  That is a very surface observation, God was supremely concerned about the hearts of his people.  He was infuriated by the sinfulness of their hearts, he was fed up with their refusal to repent and make their hearts right, and he was committed to sending his Son into this world to truly clean their hearts.  God was always chiefly concerned with heart change!

Our parenting and discipline should likewise be focused on heart-change!

At any age our desire as parents should be to discipline in a way that leads toward genuine heart-change.  To focus on behavior control will only lead to disappointment and frustration in a parent.  Our discipline is one more tool that assists the work of heart-change that God is trying to do in your child.

 

Why is heart-change needed?

Heart change is the need that every one of us have.  We are all desperately in need of God to do a radical work in our lives. Scripture says we are all sinners, we all enter this world as sinful human beings.  We are all separated from God, our creator, by the presence of sin.  God, who desires a personal relationship with you, took action and sent his Son into this world to die on a cross for you!  Jesus shed his blood on a cross so that when the Father looks at you he no longer sees sin, but he sees the blood of his Son! We are all in need of the heart change that only Jesus can provide!

Romans 3:23.  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 6:23- For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:8- But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

 

How do I discipline in a way that facilitates heart-change?

* read and memorize God’s Word as a family.

* quote Scripture to your children during moments of discipline.

* expound to your children what God thinks of their disobedience.

* discipline promptly but with a clear head.

* pray with your child concerning their choices.

* avoid things in discipline that could provoke your child to wrath- favoritism, physical abuse, etc…

* never stop praying for genuine heart change.

Corrupt Words

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Text: Ephesians 4:29-32

Sermon-in-a-Sentence:  Rotten words will not edify, will not minister grace, and will grieve. 

Intro: 

Quotes concerning Words:

Because a woman’s vocal cords are shorter than a man’s she can actually speak with less effort than he can. Shorter vocal cords not only cause a woman’s voice to be more highly pitched, but also require less air to become agitated, making it possible for her to talk more with less energy expended.  – Sparks, quoted in Homemade, Dec., 1984.

Talk is cheap because the supply always exceeds the demand. One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.  -Will Durant.

In 1887 the coffin of Abraham Lincoln was pried open to determine if it contained his body. What makes that act so remarkable is the fact that Lincoln’s body had rested in that coffin for 22 years. Yet, even more amazing is that 14 years later a rumor circulated again that Lincoln’s coffin was actually empty. The furor so gripped the land that the only way to silence it was to dig up the coffin–again. This was done and the rumor silenced when a handful of witnesses viewed the lifeless body of Abraham Lincoln.  -Today in the Word, February, 1991, p. 27.

Previously in our study we have considered two important areas of speech-  Controlled Words and Caring Words.  The first week we discussed the most Biblical way to value words is to ‘hold our peace’.  Last week we considered the example of Christ, that compassion stirs up two types of Caring Words- prayer and evangelism.

Today let us consider what Scripture says concerning Corrupt Words, because to truly value words we need to know what God says concerning this type of speech.  Ephesians 4:29-32 gives us as believers some of the best guidance concerning words and specifically this third area – Corrupt Words.  Let’s consider specifically Ephesians 4:29 today.     

Ephesians 4:29  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

 To get a good grasp of this text it is so necessary that we comprehend the term – corrupt communication.  As with all of Scripture, I do not want to leave any doubt or uncertainty as to this term in the text.  The word corrupt in the text is the Greek word,            , meaning-  rotten, i.e. worthless (literally or morally):–bad.   This term is used a handful of times in the New Testament, mostly in the Gospels, concerning trees and fruit, when Jesus was teaching.

Mt 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

 This is the image we are given of this term corrupt.  It is that vivid picture of rotten fruit.  If you have spent time on a farm or around fruit trees you know what I’m talking about.  Rotten fruit is ugly to the eye, smelly to the nose, and even worse to the sense of taste.  When Scripture uses this word corrupt it is speaking of words that are just ‘rotten’ in every way.  The words sound bad, look bad, feel bad, and taste bad.

This week I came across some words that are just downright ‘rotten’ in my opinion.  I want to share them with you, and see how they strike you-

“The big news today is that Billy Graham was still alive this whole time. Anyway, have fun in hell, bi–h,” Lauren Duca tweeted.   Duca went on to say “’Respecting the dead’ only applies to people who weren’t evil pieces of sh-t while they were living.”  -Lauren Duca, Teen Vogue

With that said, let’s not forget one more important detail concerning this corrupt communication.  God calls this communication corrupt, or rotten.  This is not rotten communication because the preacher said it, this is rotten words because Holy God says it is so.  Believers this kind of communication is called rotten by God because it does nothing but violate his perfect holiness.  If we can apply human characteristics to God, we could say it this way-  these words are stench in the nostrils of God, they are disgraceful to his ears, and they look ugly on the lips of his children.

Now as believers it is incumbent upon us to know what particular words are ‘corrupt’ according to God.  At this point we could make out a lengthy list of things like- gossip, slander, etc…  But our text gives us the instruction for how to speak.  It tells us in plain language exactly what words should proceed from the mouth of the believer.  By this we can likewise tell what are the corrupt words in God’s eyes.

 

I. Use Edifying Words

If it does not edify, then it is ‘rotten’. This is the first instruction in the text, as the believer avoids corrupt communication, Paul says first to use words that are good for edifying.   Ephesians 4:29  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying…   The Greek word is oy-kod-om-ay’, and it means ‘building’, as in ‘building up’.

A recurring theme of the New Testament is the concept of the believer being built up, being fashioned more like Christ, being remade as Christ desires to shape us. Quite simply we are the clay, in the hands of the potter. Paul tells believers to speak words to one another that are good words to aid in the process of building up, and avoid those words that could hinder this process in the Christian’s life.

The responsibility of edification falls to two groups in the church. Most often edification is thought of as the burden for preachers and teachers, which is true. Everything that occurs in this service this morning, in these facilities, should be for the purpose of glorifying God and edifying believers.  The singing, the music, the Scripture, the preaching, all of it should aid in the process of edification.  Preachers and teachers are tasked with the responsibility of making sure that what is done is edifying to believers.  The second group responsible for edifying is – all believers.  In the context of a local New Testament church, every member is responsible for edification, particularly as Paul mentions it here, through the use of words.

* What does this mean practically in our everyday lives?  This means at no point believer are you to speak words that would hinder or hurt the spiritual growth of your brother in Christ.  If it does not edify, then it is rotten! 

* What are some examples of words that hinder spiritual growth?

Complaining:  a failure to see the good, and always focused on the bad.  Complaining does not edify because it trains younger believers to only see the bad, the difficulties in the Christian life, and lose sight of the good God that we serve.

Gossip:  idle talk which may or may not contain truth.  Gossip breeds divisiveness and dissension in the church body.  It does not edify.

* What are some examples of words that build up others?

Encouragement:  finding something positive to say to be a blessing to another.

Worship:  speaking or singing about God.  It’s always good for the believer to be redirected back to a focus on God.

Remember believers- If it does not edify, then it is rotten.

 

II. Use Grace-giving Words

If it does not give grace, then it is ‘rotten’. This is the second instruction in our text from Paul. He tells the believer to use grace-giving words.  …but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  This is terminology we may not use all the time, but it is a very simple concept.  Use words in speaking to others that will be a benefit to them, not corrupt them through what is said.

This instruction is echoed again in Colossions 4:6- Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. There is a Biblical and a wrong way to respond to people, to speak to people.  The principle we see presented by Paul, is the ‘others first principle’.  Believers speak to others in a way that is a benefit to them, put their benefit before your personal desires.  Sometimes they are benefited by concealing a matter, as Proverbs says it.  Some may be benefited by the putting aside of your desire to get even or obtain revenge.  Whatever it may be, we see from Paul that when it comes to our words the chief concern is the benefit of others, not ourselves.

 

III. Use Non-grieving Words

If it grieves the Holy Spirit, then it is ‘rotten’. This is the third instruction by Paul in the text.  This instruction applies to many areas of the Christian life, but especially to words. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.   This particular sin is spoken of several times in the New Testament, the sinful acting of grieving the Holy Spirit.  The word grieve in the text means- to distress, to cause sorrow, to cause heaviness.   The idea is much like that of a parent, as a parent watches a child make poor decisions, despite good training, and the parent is heavy of heart because of the poor choices made.

What are some ways in which words grieve the Holy Spirit?

* when words obstruct his work:

* when sin is trifled with:

* when deity is treated carelessly:

* when place is given to the devil: 

* when the spirit of this world is cherished:

 

Application:   remember if it does not edify, or minister grace, then it is rotten!    

Perspective on School Shootings

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In recent days, everyone from politicians to NBA basketball players has weighed in on the social tragedy that is the ongoing occurrence of school shootings.  Some have offered up there opinion based on the color of their skin resembling the color of some victims.  Others have spouted their opinion simply because they get paid large amounts of money to do so on morning television shows.

My perspective comes from working in the public school system as a teacher and pursuing an advanced degree in school administration.  As well my perspective is irrevocably colored by Scripture, the Word of God.  With that said, here is some perspective.

As with many things in life, I see these school shootings like fruit on a tree.  Like fruit, these shootings catch the eye and draw attention.  Also, like fruit, these school shootings are not a stand alone entity, just as a tree makes possible the appearance of fruit, likewise there are some structures making possible the school shootings.  A farmer delights or laments the fruit he produces, and a good farmer knows some necessary keys to producing excellent fruit.

Key #1:  The farmer knows so well that the root system is essential to the production of healthy fruit.  In order to have good fruit there must be good roots.  We would all agree that these school shootings are bad fruit, they are sad, unnecessary, heart-wrenching losses of life.  Furthermore, we know plainly from Scripture that the root of all wickedness- murder, theft, envy, etc… is sin.  Sin is the root of this school shooting issue.

Key #2:  The farmer knows as well that to produce good fruit there must be a healthy trunk, bark, and body of the tree.  If the root system of this problem is sin, then what is the trunk, the body of the problem, that is producing school shootings?  I submit to you there are several clear components that make up this unhealthy trunk.

* For many years now our public school systems have dumped money into teaching programs like character education.  Programs that are in my opinion, good programs.  However, at the same time multiple generations have been taught in the school system, that if a teenage girl doesn’t want that unborn child living inside of her, that she can get rid of it because it’s not a life.  Our school system has labored to teach good character but at the same time taught students that it is okay to value or not value certain lives.  Hollywood and politicians should not act surprised when teenagers walk into a school and murder innocent lives, because for decades we have taught students its okay to selectively value human life.  These teenagers have watched there parents do it and their grandparents do it, and by the standards of the federal government they are old enough to murder a child in the womb.  Truly, how can we be surprised when these school shootings take place?

* Secondly, by what standard can politicians or media say that this activity is wrong?  God and his Word has been removed the school, from the television airwaves.  Many would argue that based on the conscience of culture, the school shootings are wrong.  Historically though, culture’s conscience is a fickle, ever changing matter.  For a time in this country alcoholic beverages of any kind were considered culturally wrong, but of course that changed rather quickly.  There are pockets of culture in our country that hold to polygamy being healthy and good.  So based on the conscience of culture what is wrong today, may or may not be wrong tomorrow.  This is called an absence of absolutes.  The same voices that are screaming how bad it is that these school shootings occur, are the same voices that push incessantly the mindset that there is no absolutes.  So the question remains on what standard can these acts be deemed wrong?

* Thirdly, our education system has thoroughly indoctrinated most young people with the concept that human beings are nothing more than evolved apes or animals.  Our liberal media and elite routinely speak of themselves as being more evolved than those on the other side of the aisle from them.  So, how can we be surprised when a teenager who believes human life is just an evolved animal life, decides to murder the lives of those he feels are less evolved than him?

These are a few characteristics that make up the trunk of this tree.  In simplest terms, we are seeing teenagers fulfill exactly what we have taught them.  Basketball players can blame it on guns, but the hard truth is we produced this problem, not guns.  The fruit is rotten because the tree is sick!

Thankfully, there is a solution, a singular solution.  It is not in politics, or laws, or more restrictions on American freedoms.  The solution is to recognize, exalt, and teach absolute truth.  To know truth you must know the One who spoke truth.  He is the one said all human life is created in His image.  He said he created man.  He said his law is the standard by which right and wrong can be determined.  Romans 1:21- Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 

Caring Words

…A Generation that Values Words…

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Text: Matthew 9:35-38

Sermon-in-a-Sentence:  Compassion is the fuel for caring words spoken by the believer.

Intro: 

Last week we considered Controlled Words in our time in God’s Word.  We emphasized the most Biblical method to ‘value words’ is to ‘hold our peace’.  Today, let’s consider the second category of words that we see mentioned in Scripture- Caring Words.  There are so many examples we could consider from God’s Word concerning this type of speech.  Examples:

John 16:33- These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. 

I Peter 5:7-  Casting all your care upon Him, for he cadets for you.

Isaiah 26:3-  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trustees in thee.

Psalm 62:6-  He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved.

Psalm 55:22-  Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain Thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

II Timothy 1:7-  For God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 

 

There are so many excellent examples in Scripture of caring words, but the best would have to be these:

Romans 5:8-  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 10:13-  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.

John 3:16- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 

Our text this morning is found in Matthew 9:35-38.

Matthew 9:35-38   And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. [36] But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. [37] Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; [38] Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

The Example of Christ:

* Spiritual vision stirs up compassion.

* Jesus saw people, he saw sheep.  (Not politics, not sports, not class or skin color)

 

I. Compassion Fuels Prayer

The first area of Caring Words is prayer. The example given by Christ is that prayer is motivated by compassion. The words that we speak in prayer proceed from a heart of compassion, care and concern for those around us, and love for our God.  This is another important way that we value words, by continual, Biblical prayer.

Verse 38 gives us a rich image of the prayer life that is being spoken of by Christ.  The Greek word translated prayer means:  to beg (as binding oneself), petition. 

This is an earnest, determined, persevering prayer life.  The picture of this is one fixing himself to Christ in prayer, tenaciously grabbing a hold of the throne of God, and refusing to let go.

Illustration:  child grabbing your leg, and refusing to let go.

When is the last time you got on your knees and prayed until God gave you an answer?

 

Who is it that we pray to?

We pray to the Lord of the harvest!  He is the master of it all, the absolute authority over the harvest.  Out of his great love he has made possible a salvation plan and he has chosen you and I to serve a purpose in this plan.  The love exercised in our lives reflects, imperfectly, his glorious love.  We call out to, we petition, and we latch unto Him in prayer.

Prayer is the first of two types of caring words because we pray:

  1. As adopted children talking to our Father.
  2. Desiring that he be glorified in this world. (Not ourselves)
  3. Desiring that his perfect will be done. (Not our own)
  4. As his children, bringing requests to Him that can only be done by Him.

 

 II. Compassion Fuels Evangelism

Christ says that we should urgently petition the throne of God, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest. Just as compassion fuels prayer it also fuels evangelism, how we speak to other people.  Now we all interact with people, on a daily basis.  We speak to cashiers at the store, to coworkers at our job, to strangers, to friends, and to family.  But far too often we fail to speak caring words in these interactions, instead we use profanity, we gossip, ridicule, make demands, analyze faults, and in general waste breath with words that are of no spiritual value.   But let’s not forget we have the opportunity to make use of caring words with others.

How do we employ caring words in our day to day interactions with people?

  • Talk about God!

How often do we just spend time talking with someone about God?

Illustration: now I will you tell you this has often been a point a conviction for me.  I will talk for an hour with someone about the Cardinals, about Star Wars, about our education system, or about politics, but rarely do I talk about God for that long.  (For some 4 years, every Wednesday morning, I would spend a few hours with a friend of mine named Don.  One of the things I grew to love so much about Don was the way in which he would talk about his God.  Don it seemed could talk for hours, effortlessly, natural conversation about God.).

How often do we just talk about God?  In this room today I know are at least a few men and women who work in an area of sales or are gifted at sales.  In sales you have a technique called ‘talking points’, specific points about the product that you have prepared yourself to be ready to talk about at the drop of a hat.  Politicians have talking points, salesmen, school administrators, and believers we should have talking points.   There should be a few things about our God, that when the opportunity arises we talk about Him.  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:  – I Peter 3:15.

  • Talk about His Word!

How often do we spend time talking with people about God’s Word?  The stories, the lessons, the wisdom, the beauty, there is so much material in the Word that should be easy for us to talk about.

  • Talk about what His Word says concerning present day debates!

There are so many things going on in our society today that as Christians we need to be prepared not just to give our opinion but more importantly to communicate in a loving way what Scripture says about these issues.  Though the world would like to ignore it God’s Word addresses the issues debated right now and there are teenagers, grandchildren, friends and others who need someone to lovingly show them how God’s Word applies to these discussions.

School Shootings:   Does Scripture speak specifically about school shootings? No.  But the Bible speaks exhaustively about murder, hatred, and how to resolve these issues.  Scripture says these societal issues are the fruit of something much bigger, and that root problem is SIN.  The desire and actions by mankind to utterly disregard and violate the law of God and his holiness.  Man is the only creature created in His image and human life is intrinsically valuable.  Sadly, our education system spends millions of dollars trying to teach character education but at the same time tells our children that it’s ok to murder a child in the womb.  Somebody needs to point out to politicians – don’t be surprised that teenagers selectively choose to value human life, because they have watched multiple generations before them do the same thing.  God’s Word says every human life is valuable in eyes of God!

  • Talk about what Jesus did!

How often do we just have a conversation with someone about what Christ did?  Jesus by his own choice entered this world, took on himself human flesh, experienced a very typical, normal life, willingly laid down his life on a cross, shed his blood on a cross, rose from the grave, and desires to spend eternity with you.  These are the most caring words that can be spoken to another person- to tell them the simple facts of what Christ did for them on the cross.  Every person needs to hear these words and every person needs a believer in their life who will in compassion share this good news.  One of the saddest things in the world is the realization that some people will live and die without ever coming in contact with a believer to hear these words.  When Jesus looked out over the crowds he said they were as sheep having no shepherd and how true those words are today!  There are so many around the world that are like lost sheep, wandering through this life, never coming into contact with the true Shepherd.  Believers we must talk about what Jesus did!  If it’s truly good news to us, we will share it with others!

  • Talk about what Jesus has done in your life!

People need to hear what Christ has done and as well they need to hear what Christ has done in your life.  Tell them about the change that has taken place in your life: what you were like before salvation and what your life is like now.  Talk about the change that reading, studying, and living God’s Word has made in your life.

 

Application:

The reason Caring Words occupy a small percentage of our communication is because of the lack of compassion in our hearts.  Compassion and caring words are directly connected!

* Show me Christians who have little or no involvement in world-wide mission endeavors and I will show you a heart lacking compassion.

* Show me a believer who rarely exercises prayer, and I will show you a believer void of compassion.

* Show me a believer who constantly fights with other church members, and I’ll show you a believer who needs to develop compassion.

Compassion withers away in believers as we become consumed with self, driven by entertainment, and engulfed with the activities of this world.  Caring words should not be a rarity, or even an endangered species, they should be a regular part of the believer’s life!

Steps to Exercise Caring Words:

  1. Make God #1 in your home! (Not entertainment, sports, or career)
  2. Let his cares and desires be your cares and desires. (God’s chief concerns are His glory and the redemption of lost souls)
  3. Choose each day to make Caring Words a big part of your life. (Prayer and evangelism)

Controlled Words

‘A Generation that Values Words’

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Text:   Proverbs 11:12;

Sermon in a Sentence:  the most Biblical way to value words is by holding your peace.

Intro-  Some 19 times in the book of Proverbs the ‘tongue’ and the ‘power of the tongue’ is referenced.  Scripture makes it clear that despite its size the tongue is perhaps the most powerful member of the body.  Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.  –Proverbs 18:21.       James 3:6  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

 Illustration:  On a windswept hill in an English country churchyard stands a drab, gray slate tombstone. The quaint stone bears an epitaph not easily seen unless you stoop over and look closely. The faint etchings read:

Beneath this stone, a lump of clay, / lies Arabella Young, / Who on the twenty-fourth of May, / began to hold her tongue.

Culture of Today:  our culture today, like with so many things, is completely opposite of what the Bible says concerning words and the value of words.  American culture has glorified practice of speaking first, speaking fast, speaking loud and sometime later think.  Likewise our culture has made heroic the practice of always speaking one’s mind.  Both in and out of church, people glorify and make it a point of pride to say whatever they think.  Furthermore, we have a generation of youth that have been indoctrinated with the mentality of – ‘speak your mind, there is no absolute, no right or wrong, everyone has their right’.

The Apostle Paul rebuked the Corinthian church for the immaturity of their conversation, and the many ways in which they failed to value the words which they spoke.

Scripture emphasizes the strength, the power of the tongue, and the both positive and negative potential our words possess.  Words are a very valuable commodity!  Far too often though we only recognize their value when spoken, we fail to see what Scripture points out that there is great value in silence.  There is great power in those unspoken words!

The most Biblical way you can value your words is to – Hold Your Peace. 

 Pr 11:12  He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace. 13 A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.

 Proverbs 10:19   In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. 

 Proverbs 17:28   Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

 

I. Holdeth…

There is one Hebrew word from which this phrase is translated, and the Hebrew word is khaw-rash’.  This word appears some 66 times in the Old Testament, most often having to do with this idea of a person holding their peace. This word means to ‘keep silent’, ‘to be still’, ‘hold tongue’, ‘speak not a word’.

There are several important things to consider from this first word of the phrase. The image of this phrase is that of a person placing his hand around his tongue and holding it tight. Now this imagery may seem harsh to us, but it is declared absolutely necessary in Scripture.

Jas 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

Jas 3:8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

1Pe 3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:

 The imagery of a man holding tight his tongue is so evident in the New Testament.  James makes it quite clear that no man can tame the tongue.  The word ‘tame’ here is the word dam-ad’-zo, and we see it pictured for us so well in Mark 5:4-  Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.

 It is absolutely necessary to hold the tongue as Proverbs says, because the tongue can not be tamed.  Just as the man possessed by a legion of demons could not be chained down and tamed, our tongue is a member that will never be tamed.  Because of this God in his word gives us the necessary action that must be taken, we must hold our peace!

Illustration:  You may think you’re better off when you tell someone off, but you’re not, according to research compiled by psychologist-author Gary Emery.  “Although a whole school of thought recommends that you verbally express your hostility,” he reports in his book, Rapid Relief from Emotional Distress, “a great deal of recvent research has found the opposite to be the case.  Researchers have found that freely venting your anger corrodes relationships and breeds more anger, not less.  – from USA Today.

 

II. His…

We must recognize that this command applies to us, it applies to me, it applies to you! The book of Proverbs is the book of wisdom, it is packed full of wisdom for daily living. The words of Proverbs 11:12 are not just good words, they are wisdom you must choose to apply to your everyday life.

Furthermore believers, we should recognize that we are only responsible for our own tongue, for our own words. You cannot hold your spouse’s peace, or your parents, or your friends. As believers we are responsible for what proceeds from our own mouths, and we must give an answer for what we speak.

Mt 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

 

III. Peace…

Merriam Webster defines ‘peace’ this way:  a state of tranquility or quiet;  harmony in personal relations.

There is an old poem that describes beautifully the peace that is possible in the Christian life.  It goes like this…

In the center of the whirlpool,

While the waters rush around,

There’s a space of perfect stillness,

Though with turmoil it is bound;

All is calm, and all is quiet,

Scarcely e’en a sense of sound.

So with us- despite the conflict-

When in Christ his peace is found. 

 

Failure to hold our peace often leads to sin…

Personal sin– Proverbs 10:19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.   (gossip, slander, anger…)

Offending another– This is the Biblical definition of offending another- what we would call today, ‘causing a brother to sin’. When we fail to hold our peace it quite often leads a friend or relative into sinful activity themselves.  (anger, hatred, gossip, …)   

Losing self-control– Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  Temperance is self-control, a spirit led self-control.

 

The benefit of holding our peace.

Avoid sin

Gain respect

Deemed wise and intelligentProverbs 17:28 Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

 

Application:

How do we hold our peace?  Preacher, I recognize what Scripture says, and I agree completely with God’s Word.  But how do I go about practicing this in my daily life?

Decide ahead of time what things in life you will allow to offend you.

What people you will allow to offend you.

Pray, pray, pray. (count to 100)

 

Illustration:  Thomas Jefferson said: When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, one hundred. 

Illustration:  Mrs. Fulton Oursler, whose husband wrote the classic book on the life of Christ, The Greatest Story Ever Told, once said she used to count to ten when becoming provoked.  But one day she thought of the first ten words of the Lord’s Prayer.  Now instead of counting to ten, she slowly says:  Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

 

Be wise!

Illustration:  

If your lips would keep from slips,                                                                                                 

Five things observe with care:

To whom you speak;

of whom you speak;

And how, and when, and where.                      

-William Norris.           

 

 

   

Perspective for a New Year

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Text:  II Samuel 5:12  

Sermon in a Sentence:   Perspective can make or break the Christian walk.   

Intro-

Some context:  David has served at Saul’s side, David has avoided the attacks and hunts from Saul upon his life, David has fought with the Philistines, David has served as king of Judah, now he is being made king over all of Israel.

 

I. Perceived

Perception of things around us can be a very strange animal.

Illustration:

There’s a charming story that Thomas Wheeler, CEO of the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, tells on himself.

He and his wife were driving along an interstate highway when he noticed that their car was low on gas. Wheeler got off the highway at the next exit and soon found a rundown gas station with just one gas pump. He asked the lone attendant to fill the tank and check the oil, then went for a little walk around the station to stretch his legs.

As he was returning to the car, he noticed that the attendant and his wife were engaged in an animated conversation. The conversation stopped as he paid the attendant. But as he was getting back into the car, he saw the attendant wave and heard him say, “It was great talking to you.”

As they drove out of the station, Wheeler asked his wife if she knew the man. She readily admitted she did. They had gone to high school together and had dated steadily for about a year.

“Boy, were you lucky that I came along,” bragged Wheeler.

“If you had married him, you’d be the wife of a gas station attendant instead of the wife of a chief executive officer.”

“My dear,” replied his wife, “if I had married him, he’d be the chief executive officer and you’d be the gas station attendant.”

 

There are dangers in wrong perception:

Emotional difficulties–  depression, anxiety, stress, discouragement, anger, frustration Error in perception:  wrong views of the Christian life (‘prosperity gospel’; ‘once I get saved, everything will be wonderful’)

Financial difficulties– debt, difficulty giving cheerfully…  Error in perception: wrong views of money (‘this is my money, I earned it’)

Spiritual difficulties– apathy, lukewarmness, inactive… Error in perception:  wrong views of God’s house (‘I can take it or leave it’); wrong views of Christian service (‘I’m here, Lord bless me’)

 

II. Perception is Grounded in God

David’s perception is the model for us today. His perception of all that had taken place in his life, was that God had done it. He says in the verse: and David perceived that the Lord had established him king over Israel. At this point David had been king over Judah, the southern part of the kingdom, for some 7 years when all that God had said he would do finally becomes complete in David being made king over all of Israel.  Verse 12 is such a simple verse but it is so radically different than other Biblical characters:

Saul: the first king of Israel, became consumed with himself, attributed his accomplishments to himself.

Nebuchadnezzar: became so consumed with himself that he forced people to worship his image.

 

There are two main sources that people often go to in grounding there perception, outside of God. We interact with these two types of perception on a daily basis, in the world, and sadly even in the church at times.

#1:  Chance.  This is the popular perspective of most of our world.  The origins of the universe are attributed to chance.  The length of your life is attributed to chance.  Your accomplishments, struggles, circumstances, health issues, money problems, are all attributed to chance.  Some ‘cosmic roll of the dice’.  It is in this world view that so many people ground their perspective.  Everything is viewed through this window, this lens if you will.  Can I say this morning church, this is a truly sad perspective!  It is so void of God, absent of God’s Word, and utterly at odds with all of what God has said.  It should stir us up emotionally to consider the process and ending point of this logic.  To ground one’s perspective in chance is a recipe for depression, stress, anxiety, worry, and anger.

#2:  Self.  This perspective is perhaps one of the favorite tools of the Enemy.  In this perspective God is laid aside and everything is perceived through the lens of self.  This one is utterly void of God, the influence of God, the sovereign plan and working of God in every aspect of this world.  The sadness of this perspective is that it is often found even among those that name Jesus Christ as their Savior.  A little taste of success in business, a little taste of success in a career combined with an absence from God’s house and his Word, and you will often find this perspective.  Notice David did not make any reserve for himself, he placed all of it upon his God.  He said the Lord established him and the Lord exalted his kingdom.  What a beautiful perspective!

 

III.  Perception will Make or Break Your Christian Walk

As we finish this year of 2017, and plunge into 2018, can I express a significant truth to you- Your perception will make or break your Christian walk. From your perception will develop your priorities, responsibilities, spiritual growth, obedience and so much more.  To finish today I want to leave a list of fundamental principles concerning perspective going into this new year-

 

#1- Your perspective of God–  God is Holy, Righteous, loving, kind, the absolute authority.  When our perspective of Him is correct, then our view of ourselves can be correct.  We are his creation, redeemed to Him through the blood of His Son, we are sinful, fallen human beings that God chooses to use anyway, we are his method of proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ, we are his lighthouse in a spiritually dark world.

#2- Your perspective of the church-  God says its His church, his local body of believers, it is to bring him glory, to strengthen believers, and accomplish God’s commission.  The church is not about what you can get, it is about what you can give to God and others.

#3- Your perspective of priorities- Scripture indicates the order of priorities for the believer, there is no doubt about it, it goes like this-

GOD

G O D

G  O  D

Your marriage

Your family

Your job

Now you may say well preacher where is church suppose to be in our priorities?  My response is when you make God, #1, #2, and #3 there is no you will be disobedient to what he says concerning his house, concerning his tithe, concerning his service, concerning his Word, concerning his great commission.  When God is truly the priority you cannot separate out the things that he says are His, the things that belong to him.

#4- Your perspective of the lost- 

“Surely those who know the great passionate heart of Jehovah must deny their own loves to share in the expression of His. Consider the call from the Throne above, “Go ye,” and from round about, “Come over and help us,” and even the call from the damned souls below, “Send Lazarus to my brothers, that they come not to this place.” Impelled, then, by these voices, I dare not stay home while Quichuas perish. So what if the well-fed church in the homeland needs stirring? They have the Scriptures, Moses, and the Prophets, and a whole lot more. Their condemnation is written on their bank books and in the dust on their Bible covers. American believers have sold their lives to the service of Mammon, and God has His rightful way of dealing with those who succumb to the spirit of Laodicea.”― Jim Elliot

Matthew 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

Romans 1:15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

 

 

Closing: 

“I pray that the Lord might crown this year with His goodness and in the coming one give you a hallowed dare-devil spirit in lifting the biting sword of Truth, consuming you with a passion that is called by the cultured citizen of Christendom ‘fanaticism’, but known to God as that saintly madness that led His Son through bloody sweat and hot tears to agony on a rude Cross—and Glory!”― Jim Elliot

Biblical Authority

‘A Generation of Baptists’

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Text:  II Peter 1:12-21

Sermon in a Sentence: Biblical Authority, the foundation of Baptist Distinctives.

Intro:

Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. – Psalm 12:7

Defined: Baptists believe and live that the final authority for faith and practice is the Word of God.

We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men supernaturally inspired; that it has truth without any admixture of error for its matter; and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the age, the only complete and final revelation of the will of God to man; the true center of Christian union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried.  – Articles of Faith, Baptist Bible Fellowship International.  

I. The Word is Totally True                      

We also have a more sure word of prophecy…  -v.19

The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.  – Psalm 12:6

Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.  – Psalm 119:140

 

II. The Word is the Final Authority 

…whereunto ye do well that ye take heed…   -v.19

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. – II Tim. 3:16-17.

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scripture might have hope.  -Romans 15:4.

 

III. The Word is Supernaturally Inspired

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they wore moved by the Holy Ghost. -v.21.  

Baptists believe that these books were produced by men supernaturally inspired so that God’s Holy Spirit overshadowed, empowered, breathed upon and directed them to write the exact words He desired to convey, the record of events and instructions He determined to reveal to mankind.  – Dr. Mike Randall, Our Baptist Distinctives.  

My God

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Text: Psalm 22

Sermon in a Sentence:   Trust What You Know! 

Intro-

Ps 22:1   My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? 2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. 3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. 4 Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. 5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. 6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. 7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8 He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. 9 But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. 10 I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly. 11 ¶ Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. 12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. 13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. 16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. 18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. 19 But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me. 20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. 21 Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. 22 ¶ I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. 23 Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. 24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. 25 My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him. 26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. 27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. 28 For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations. 29 All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul. 30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. 31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.

 

When what you are feeling pulls you down, trust what you know! 

 

I. Silence does not mean God is not hearing us.

O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. David pours out his emotions to God in this song.  Verse 2 reveals the depths of turmoil and suffering in which David found himself.  He was crying in the daytime and crying at night.  He was not silent, he was speaking to his Lord.  But in all of that, David feels as if God is not hearing him.  Have you ever felt the way David feels here?   Have you ever been so overwhelmed, so spiritually shaken, so physically drained and on top of it all felt that God is not listening to your prayers?

In these times, we need to ask this question- what do we know?  We know that God is the Teacher!    I have always liked this quote- the teacher is always quiet during the test.  Scripture speaks to God’s ability to hear, he always hears his children, but he responds in his perfect will.

* 1Jo 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:   God always acts in accordance with his perfect will, within the framework of his master plan.  We can have confidence that he hears, even if we do not get the response we desire.

* 1Pe 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.  According to Peter, God continually looks over his children and his ears are open to them.  Much like an earthly parent, God hears the voice of his adopted children.  He does not always respond with yes or no, sometimes we must simply patiently wait.

* Joh 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.  Scripture does tell us who God does not hear.  He does not hear sinners, those who have never placed saving faith in the Lord Jesus.  God has not committed himself to hear the prayers of those who have rejected his Son.

* Ps 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: 19 But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.  In the life of the believer, God always hears, the only hindrance to our prayers is the presence of sin.  When we willfully hold on to sin in our hearts, refusing to repent and turn from it, our prayer lives will be affected.

* Pr 15:29 The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.

God hears the prayers of the righteous, the prayers of his children.  Silence does not mean God is not hearing.  Believers when you are weighed down by what you feel, trust in what you know.  Trust in those things that are absolutely certain!   God is your Teacher and his silence is doing a work in your heart and life.   

 

II. Feeling overwhelmed does not mean God has abandoned us.

Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. 13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.  David continues to pour out his heart and these deep, overwhelming emotions.  You can read in David’s words the condition of physical exhaustion, ever present danger, and bodily suffering.  Have you ever founds yourself so overwhelmed?  Be it finances, health, danger, job, family relations, etc…

In these times we should ask this question-  what do we know?  We know that God is the Deliverer!  The songwriter Rich Mullins penned it this way – My deliverer is coming, my deliverer is standing by…  God is the Deliverer, and he is your Deliverer.  Let’s see what Scripture says…

* Eph 6:10  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  God is the all powerful!  In him we have certain deliverance.

* 1Sa 2:2 There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.  The Lord is our rock, in the midst of overwhelming life, God is the ever-stable, ever-solid rock that you can depend on.

*  Ps 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. 8 The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.  God is our strength!  There is no other source, no other place that we can go to find the strength needed in overwhelming times.

When it seems that God is quiet and we are overwhelmed, rest in the absolute truth that God is the Deliverer!  He is the only source of strength for your life and my life.

 

III.  The presence of evil does not mean God is weak.

For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.  David continues to express the severe depths of his suffering and difficulty.  He feels as if he is surrounded on all sides by the wicked.  Have you ever felt so closed in by evil?  Has it ever seemed that wickedness is just pervading into every part of life.

In these times we should ask this question- what do we know?  We know that God is Omnipotent!   He is all-powerful!  The evil in this world may seem so strong, so prevalent, but it’s strength is nothing compared to our Omnipotent God.  Let’s see what Scripture says…

*  Re 19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 

* Mt 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

* Eph 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

* Lu 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

When so overwhelmed like David, and it seems that God is quiet, trust in the absolute truth that God is Omnipotent!  He is continually working his plan, his purpose and nothing can stop him.  All the evil in the world, all the wickedness, only causes the light of Christ to shine more magnificently!

 

Application: 

            Have you ever found yourself in the place of David?  Overwhelmed, suffering, and doubting?  Trust in what you know!   God is the Teacher, God is the Deliverer, and God is Omnipotent.  You can rest in these truths.

Our Great God

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Text: Psalm 19:1-11  

Sermon in a Sentence:   The greatness of God declared by creation and the Word.     

I. Creation Declares God’s Greatness                                        v.1-6

The greatness of God is declared by his creation. A continual testimony pours forth to the absolute greatness and sovereignty of Almighty God. The Psalmnist makes reference to several specific areas of creation.  He mentions the heavens, the firmament, day, night, and the sun.  All of this beautiful creation we experience around us screams to the truth that there is a Creator God.

The Psalmnist goes on to say that the creation shouts the existence and greatness of God.  He is declared in the day, and declared in the night.  Both darkness and day give testimony to God.  Moreover, their testimony goes throughout the whole earth.  There is no place unreached by their voice, no jungle village untouched by their speech, no remote tribe that cannot hear their testimony.   The writer continues to pile on this truth by emphasizing the sun.  Just as the heat of the sun touches every area of the earth, so does this testimony of the creation, it is not hid at any place on the earth.  If a person will but stop, slow down, and look around he will be bombarded by all the beauty, detail, and sheer magnitude of God’s creation.  At the end of it all, we must say – “There is a God!”

 

II. The Word Declares God’s Greatness                                    v.7-9

Secondly, the Psalmnist declares the greatness of God through his Word. The creation shouts to the glory of God, as well, the Word of God proclaims His greatness. The writer describes the Word of God using six terms, then he tells us what the Word of God does in the life of the believer.

The Word of God is…

* The perfect law– the law of God is perfect, without spot.  His law is perfect because God is completely Holy.  There is no spot, no imperfection, no sin of any kind in God, and likewise his law is absolutely perfect.  Because it is perfect we fail at every attempt to measure up to it.

* The sure testimony– God’s Word is the sure testimony, in it God speaks of what has taken place, what is taking place, and what will take place in the future.  He gives account of creation and of eternity.  His testimony is sure, you can place full trust in God’s account in His Word.

* The right statutes– the Word of God is a guide for how we should live.  His guide is absolutely right, clean and pure.  Contrast that with our government- our government says it is wrong to kill an endangered eagle, but it is morally and ethically right to kill an unborn baby in the womb.  God’s Word provides statutes for living and his Word is right!

* The pure commandment– God’s Word is often treated like a book of suggestions, like a really big ‘Chicken soup for the Soul’, like a list of wise proverbs, but God’s Word is much more than that.  It is the pure commandment!  God’s Word contains within it all of the authority of Almighty God.  His Word does not make suggestions, it gives commands.

* The clean fear– this is the way in which we ‘revere’ God.  God’s Word shows us how to revere, honor, and serve Him.

* The righteous judments– the ‘decrees’ of the Lord, the execution of His will are true and righteous.

The Word of God does…

* converts the soulPs 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 

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

* makes wise the simple–   Ac 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Ps 119:130  The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

* rejoices the heart–  Ps 119:162  I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.

* enlightens the eyes–   Eph 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

* endures forever-   1Jo 2:14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. 15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

 

III. You Declare God’s Greatness

Value the Word of God

Ps 19:10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Creation proclaims the greatness of God, the Word of God declares his greatness, and you declare a message about God.  Your lifestyle, in words and deeds, speaks a message about the greatness of God.  This message may or may not be consistent with the creation and God’s Word are saying, but nonetheless you are proclaiming a message about God.  The Psalmnist mentions three ways you proclaim the greatness of God.  The first way is by treating God’s Word as valuable.   Value the Word of God and let your friends, family, and coworker see it.  Make God’s Word of the utmost value in your home.  There are so many things we consider valuable in life- gold, precious stones, land, businesses, guns, entertainment.  The writer says God’s Word is more to be desired than gold.  Do you treat God’s Word this way?   Would your children say God’s Word is more important to you than gold?  You declare God’s greatness in how you value His Word.

Savor the Word of God

Ps 19:10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. The Psalmnist goes on to tell us a second way you declare the God’s greatness.  He says it is ‘sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb’.  Just as one enjoys the sweet taste of honey, the writer says we should also delight in God’s Word.  Savor God’s Word!  There are many things we delight in, but as the children of God, His Word should be at the top of the list.  Savor His Word because it is precious.  How do we savor the Word of God?

* take it in to your heart and mind – read it!

* hold it in your heart – meditate on it, memorize it.  Like Joseph storing up grain during the years of plenty to be used during the years of famine that lay ahead, may we store up the truths of God’s Word in our hearts as much as possible, so that we are prepared for whatever suffering we are called upon to endure. – Billy Graham.

* speak it – witness to others, sing His Word.

Live the Word of God

Ps 19:11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.  The third way you proclaim God’s greatness is by living out the Word of God.  This is studying and obeying what the Word says.  When you live the Word of God before your lost friends and family it speaks out loudly to the greatness of God.  On the flipside of that truth is this-  when Christians choose not to live as they know God’s Word tells them, it speaks a message equally loud.  You see a Christian is not an island to themselves, lost people see you and they receive a message from how you choose to live out God’s Word.  Your children and grandchildren see you and hear you, and they are noticing how you live out God’s Word.  Your choices about obedience proclaim a message about God’s greatness.  What message is your life proclaiming?

The Call

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Text: I Samuel 3:1-10   

Intro-

1Samuel 3:1  And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision. 2 And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see; 3 And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep; 4 That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I. 5 And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down. 6 And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again. 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him. 8 And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child. 9 Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

 

Verses 1-5:

Precious in those days…  the Word of God was rare at that time in Old Testament history.  Remember this is some 300 years after the leadership of Moses and Joshua.  It was also rare because of the abundance of sin.  The people had turned their back on God.  Eli’s sons were a very real picture of the entire group of Israel, they had chosen to ignore God’s instructions and do their own thing.  The people reflected the sad condition of those who were ‘religious leaders’.

God calls people who are already submitted to authority.  Samuel thinks that Eli is calling him and he responds quickly with a servant heart.  Here am I is Samuel’s response.  You see in his behavior a habit of obedience to Eli.  When God calls Samuel he is already living a life of obedience, a life submitted to authority.  God calls people who have truly submitted their lives to authority.

* children submitted to parental authority.

* adults submitted to spiritual authority.

When Christ called Paul, he was already living a life wholly devoted to Jehovah.  When God called Noah he was already living a life submitted to authority of God.

When God called Abraham, his life was ready to obey-   Heb 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

When God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt-  Heb 11:24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

Here am I… These are the words of a life characterized by obedience.  God calls to Samuel, Samuel thinks that Eli is calling for him, so he runs to Eli and responds- Her am I.  These simple words reveal a mindset, a heart condition grounded in obedience.  Consider the opposite with me- Adam and Eve sin in the garden, they know they have done the one thing that God said not to do.  The voice of God comes calling to them in the garden, but how do they respond?  They go and attempt to hide themselves.

 

Verses 6-7:

And the Lord called yet again…   when God calls a person to do a work in his plan, he calls with persistence.  Consider Moses, when God called him at the burning bush to go back to Israel, Moses had excuses why he could do not do the work.  But God persistently took away Moses’ excuses and enabled Moses to go and do the work.  God persistently calls his servants.

Did not yet know the Lord…   Samuel had a head knowledge of Jehovah.  He was living and training from childhood with the priests.  He was familiar with the law of God and the history of God working in the Israelite people.  However, head knowledge does not mean he had a heart knowledge.  Like the other Old Testament prophets Samuel would receive direct revelation from God, but to this point God had not spoken directly to him.  I see a couple of points in this verse so applicable to the believer today-

* Make sure your faith is a personal faith.  For some time Samuel most likely lived in obedience to the faith of his mother.  That carried over to living under the authority of Eli.  But at some point Samuel’s faith had to become a personal faith.  Is your faith personal?  Or are you going through the motions because of your parent’s faith?

* Know the still, small voice of God.  Unlike the prophet Samuel, as a believer today you have the Holy Spirit dwelling within you.  You can commune with him every day.  Know the voice of God!  Know it because you communicate regularly.

 

Verses 8-10:

Eli said unto Samuel…   Verse 9 is an important verse, notice it with me.   9 Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.   When Eli perceived that God was the one speaking to Samuel, he takes it upon himself, he makes it his duty to instruct young Samuel in how to respond to God.  This is so significant!  There is a right way to respond to God’s call and there are lots of wrong ways to respond.  Parents, grandparents, teach your children how to respond to God.  Tell them what to say, when they believe God is speaking to their heart.

Speak, for thy servant heareth…    These are the words Eli tells Samuel to speak to God.  These were words that the prophets often responded to God with.  It is so important the words that Samuel speaks to God!   The word servant, in the Hebrew means simply ‘a slave’.  Samuel responds to voice of God and says:   Speak Lord, for your slave hears.   Despite what our culture thinks, the word slave is not a bad term.  The apostle Paul referred to himself as a ‘bondservant’ a slave to Jesus Christ.  Believers we are bought with a price, just like a slave on the market, and that price was the precious blood of Jesus Christ.  That blood poured out on a cross for you and I and like young Samuel we are slaves who simply need to respond when our Master calls!

 

Truths about the Call:

 #1:  He calls to perform mighty deeds!  

1Sa 3:11  And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.  When God calls he intends to do mighty deeds!  All of Israel was going to see and recognize that God was a doing something.  When God called the prophet Jonah to preach to Nineveh, God intended to do a mighty work.  Despite the prejudice and unwilling heart of Jonah, God still performed an amazing work in the city of Nineveh.  When Christ called the 12 to follow him, he intended to do a mighty work through them.

* Mighty works are not buildings or property.  Those things are simply tools.

* Mighty works are a spiritual work done in people.

 

#2:  He calls for His glory! 

God doesn’t call a person, so that person can receive earthly praise.  He doesn’t call so the servants can receive glory.  NO, God calls for his glory!   His and His alone!   Php 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 

 

#3:  He calls to fulfill His plan!

God called to Samuel, to use Samuel’s life in his Master plan.  God called in Paul’s life to use him in the Master plan.  God is still calling today.  Some may preach that God isn’t calling men anymore, but that would mean that God’s plan is finished.  And believers, I want to tell you, God’s Master plan is not completed yet.  There are still so many lost souls in Buffalo, so many souls that have never heard the name of Jesus all across this world.  His plan is not finished, he is still calling, the question is are you listening for Him to call?