Monday, April 25, 2011

Truth

As I have been studying 1 Peter for my sermons I have noticed something that I guess I knew but it struck me like never before.
"Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All flesh is like grass, And all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, And the flower falls off, But the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word which was preached to you." (1 Peter 1:22-25, NASB95)

When we are obedient to the truth (the Bible) it creates chnage. God causes us to be born again through His enduring word. The word preached transformed lives. Do we allow the Bible to change us? In the beginning was the Word. That word changes us. Real change. That's should be the hallmark of inspired preaching. When we allow it to penetrate our predisposed interpatation it will cause change.

I am so tired of how the Word has been hijacked to tickle our ears and indulge our lusts. Christ died to set me free. I am not good enough. I cannot become a better me, it takes a savior and obedience to His word. Christ did not die to make me wealthy, he did not die to make better. I have only one purpose and that is to glorify God. He did not come and suffer so I could command Him.

Can you imagine Peter preaching what is today called the gospel. Would Paul draw a crowd with his message of suffering? Would Dr. Luke be seen as too boring? How about James' denouncement of the rich and call for works to prove faith? We need to rediscover the true messages of the enduring word of God so that we can say as Peter this is the word that was preached to you.

Absalom

Hey guys! I had lunch yesterday with a missionary and as we talked he shared about this teaching. I am not a believere in the Jezebel spirit or the Absalom spirt. They are both dead and their spirt is in hell. However I think that people can devolop the same characteristics given simular situations. Would love some input so I can develop this into a teaching.

THE 12 STAGES THAT INDIVIDUALS GO THROUGH IN BECOMING AN ABSALOM "SPIRIT".

Ultimately, if not dealt with, the disloyalty that spreads through the congregation will bring a church split or the departure of many affected saints.
Here are the twelve stages:

1. AN INDEPENDENT SPIRIT – An attitude of independence emerges when the person no longer wants to serve the leadership but seeks recognition and a reputation.

2. SELF-PROMOTION – The person will maneuver for the praise of men. In II Samuel 15, Absalom stole the hearts of the people.

3. SPIRITUAL PRIDE – As people recognize and praise the deceived individual, he begins to believe that he is more spiritual than the leaders.

4. AN OFFENDED SPIRIT – The Absalom falls into an offended spirit because of spiritual pride. When his ideas and gifts are not promoted by the leadership as he believes they should be, he becomes highly offended. Often he will seek others that will agree with him in his offense.

5. A CRITICAL SPIRIT – Almost all the decisions of the leaders are questioned and undermined to the people. Sadly, with this critical spirit, the Absalom no longer can receive any spiritual feeding or direction from the leadership.

6. A COMPETITIVE SPIRIT – The Absalom sees himself in competition with the church leadership and begins to distort and misrepresent the decisions and directives the leaders are giving.

7. SOWING STRIFE AND DIVISION – The Absalom will take his offenses to many individuals in the church and spread his discontent through various means.

8. ACCUSING THE LEADERSHIP – The Absalom feeds his followers his critical spirit and faultfinding. Minor things, usually not related to God’s spiritual qualifications, will be made major issues, such as what kind of car the pastor drives, how long he takes to receive the offerings, etc.

9. OPEN DISLOYALTY AND DIVISION – The Absalom feels that many are following him so he boldly brings his disloyalty out into the open. At this point the leaders become aware of his discontented splinter group. Now the people are forced to make a choice between the leaders of the church and the Absalom who has deceived them.

10. A BOLD CONSPIRACY – The Absalom justifies his conspiracy to everyone by focusing their attention on all the minor issues that he has found fault with in the leadership. (Usually, the Absalom does not have legitimate accusations such as the preaching of false doctrines or blatant sin on the part of the pastors.)

11. A CHURCH SPLIT – The Absalom leads a naive splinter group out to the birth of a new church or ministry. Declare a new vision.

12. GOD’S JUDGMENT ON THE REBELLIOUS CHURCH – The scripture tells us, “if the root be evil, the whole tree will be evil,” and every church or ministry that is birthed by an Absalom spirit will be full of rebellion, disloyalty, and continual church splits

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Biblical Response to Same-Sex Marriage


I'm sure that there has been much written on the topic of same sex marriage but after following the debate among several friends and friends of friends I have decided to enter the debate with what I believe the Bible has to say on the subject. I will make three brief points to my argument and try not to get bogged down. If you want to argue points, debate semantics or asked for greater detail please leave your e-mail address in the comment section below.

The first argument is based on the reoccurring pattern for marriage within Scripture. A married couple is always depicted as a man and a woman. Nowhere is there any other model given for the marriage as a unit. From Adam and Eve to Aquila and Priscilla a married couple has always depicted as a man and a woman. Some may want to muddy the water by talking about polygamist relationships such as King Solomon and his multitude of wives but Solomon had multiple wives not husbands and he was in violation of God's law found in Deuteronomy 17:17.

Secondly, God defined marriage as a man and a woman. Genesis 1:26-27 declares that God created them male and female and bless them and told them to be fruitful and multiply. If one of the functions of marriage is to" be fruitful and multiply" then that requires one of each sex. Christ confirms the original proclamation on marriage in Matthew 19:4-6 "he who created them from the beginning made them male and female... for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh." So God created them male and female and commands that a man leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. And then Christ adds "what God has joined together let no man separate." So by God's definition He has joined together male and female in marriage. The apostle Paul gives this same two sex definition/example of marriage in his instructions to husbands and wives found in Ephesians 5:21-33.

And lastly homosexual unions are prohibited by the Scripture and both the Old and New Testaments. Leviticus 18:22 states " you shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female..." this prohibition is repeated in Leviticus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 23:18. Paul echoes this will enunciation of homosexuality as a sin in Romans 1:26-27 (NASB95)


For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.


Paul condemns both the gay and lesbian lifestyle in these two verses by calling these practices "degrading passions", "unnatural", "indecent acts" and finally calling this lifestyle an "error". Later in 1 Corinthians 6:9 states that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God and finally in first Timothy 1:10 homosexuality is classified with other sins as "contrary to sound teaching."

By looking at the biblical model of marriage, the definition of a marriage unit by God and scriptural prohibition against homosexuality it is evident that the Bible does not condone same-sex marriage. A Biblical argument cannot be fashioned to support such a union. Once again if you want to argue specific points please include your e-mail address. God bless you.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Not Just For Kids

Its number five on the Ten Commandments and it’s not just a rule for children. If you check out the context in Exodus 19 and 20 you will see that God spoke this and all of the commandments directly to the Children of Israel unlike the scene from Cecil B. DeMille. Christ later confirmed it as a commandment for adults in Matt. 15. But how do we as adults honor our parents? Our society has moved us out of extended families so it becomes harder for us to demonstrate this to our parents.
I will first say that visiting the folks twice a year hardly counts towards honor as much as it relieves guilt. Think of the decisions that we have to make in which we could use some good advice. Instead of asking advice of people our own age is it possible that our parents with their greater life experience might be a better choice?
Are you a new parent? Do you think your mother might know something about babies or event teen agers? Our pride often keeps us from going to a great source of child rearing knowledge. Ever have a tough parenting issue? I think your parents have lived through tough times and could help you.
We can honor our parents by keeping communication lines open. When was the last call, card or email that wasn’t related to a special day? Developing a good relationship depends on communication. If your relationship has been stormy, it’s time for you to make a move in the right direction. Don’t wait for them to make the first move. I have never heard anyone say they wished they had talked less to their parents at a funeral.
The biggest way I believe to honor our parents is to keep forgiveness flowing. Some of you have held a grudge against your parents for years. The Bible tells us to forgive as Christ forgave us. I think that means completely. No parent is perfect and they made mistakes. No child is perfect and you made mistakes too. Here is a great exercise to set you free from unforgiveness. Spend time in prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to help you remember wrongs that you have done toward your parents. Step two is to ask mom and dad to forgive you. If it is impossible to do this, write a letter of forgiveness and mail it. If your parents are deceased then read this letter to God and ask Him to forgive you.
Honoring our parents isn’t always easy but it is always right. There is a reward for doing this “So that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.”

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Problem With Adultry

So what's the big deal with adultery? May people in today's culture don't see the big deal with a sexual dalliance. But there is more to this than just violation of the seventh commandment. You see marriage is supposed to be the physical manifestation of the invisible reality of Christ and his bride. Adultery is not for bforbidden  because  sex is bad but because sex is a powerful force for good. It is what seals the marriage, think of it as the covenant cement. The apostle Paul told us that we were not supposed to deprive each other of sexual fulfillment. God designed sexual union to bind us together or as He puts it, "the two shall be one flesh."

Our married union is to exemplify the exclusivity of relationship between Christ and his bride. God has given himself to us wholeheartedly and we are to do the same to him. Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.Then to give our selves to someone outside a covenant relationship is an affront to Christ. We're reminded in first Corinthians that the body is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord. So if we are unfaithful we are cheating not only on our spouse only but on our Savior. Our body is also the Temple of the Holy Spirit which lives inside of us. To join ourselves when someone unlawfully outside the bonds of marriage desecrate the temple of the Holy Spirit. And finally unlawful unions are a sin against our own body.

We are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. We are to honor our covenant relationships to God and our spouses. I could go on into a lot of detail but brevity, hopefully, will be the hallmark of this blog. I would rather speak five words with understanding.. God bless.