Christian Liberty: Freedom to Deny Yourself

Scripture

1 Corinthians 10:23-33 (NASB)
23 All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor. 25 Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience’ sake; 26 For the earth is the Lord’s , and all it contains. 27 If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience’ sake. 28 But if anyone says to you, “This is meat sacrificed to idols,” do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience’ sake; 29 I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I give thanks? 31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the liberty we have as a result of You freeing us from the bondage of sin. As we study Your Word, reveal to us the responsibilities that come with that liberty, especially as it relates to others. Lead, guide, and direct us we pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Probing Question

How can Christians consider others’ needs above their own that others may be saved to God’s glory?

Transitional Sentence

Christians can consider others’ needs above their own by…

Main Points

1. Understanding What Is Lawful

Learn the Law.

  • Study the Law

Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (NASB)
1 “Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, 2 so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. 3 “O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey. 4 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8 “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9 “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB)
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

Romans 15:4 (NASB)
4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

  • Meditate on it

Joshua 1:7-8 (NASB)
7 “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. 8 “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

  • Discern what is important (i.e., SPIRIT vs. LETTER)

Romans 7:1-6 (NASB)
1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? 2 For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. 3 So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man. 4 Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

Matthew 22:36-40 (NASB)
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, ” ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart , and with all your soul , and with all your mind .’ 38 “This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself .’ 40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Love the Law.

Psalms 119:9-16 (NASB)
9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. 10 With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. 11 Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You. 12 Blessed are You, O Lord; Teach me Your statutes. 13 With my lips I have told of All the ordinances of Your mouth. 14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate on Your precepts And regard Your ways. 16 I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.

Psalms 119:97-104 (NASB)
97 O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. 98 Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, For they are ever mine. 99 I have more insight than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation. 100 I understand more than the aged, Because I have observed Your precepts. 101 I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word. 102 I have not turned aside from Your ordinances, For You Yourself have taught me. 103 How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104 From Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.

Psalms 119:113-120 (NASB)
113 I hate those who are double-minded, But I love Your law. 114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Your word. 115 Depart from me, evildoers, That I may observe the commandments of my God. 116 Sustain me according to Your word, that I may live; And do not let me be ashamed of my hope. 117 Uphold me that I may be safe, That I may have regard for Your statutes continually. 118 You have rejected all those who wander from Your statutes, For their deceitfulness is useless. 119 You have removed all the wicked of the earth like dross; Therefore I love Your testimonies. 120 My flesh trembles for fear of You, And I am afraid of Your judgments.

Psalms 119:161-168 (NASB)
161 Princes persecute me without cause, But my heart stands in awe of Your words. 162 I rejoice at Your word, As one who finds great spoil. 163 I hate and despise falsehood, But I love Your law. 164 Seven times a day I praise You, Because of Your righteous ordinances. 165 Those who love Your law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble. 166 I hope for Your salvation, O Lord, And do Your commandments. 167 My soul keeps Your testimonies, And I love them exceedingly. 168 I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies, For all my ways are before You.

Live the Law.

Psalms 119:1-8 (NASB)
1 How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the Lord. 2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart. 3 They also do no unrighteousness; They walk in His ways. 4 You have ordained Your precepts, That we should keep them diligently. 5 Oh that my ways may be established To keep Your statutes! 6 Then I shall not be ashamed When I look upon all Your commandments. 7 I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, When I learn Your righteous judgments. 8 I shall keep Your statutes; Do not forsake me utterly!

Psalms 119:33-40 (NASB)
33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall observe it to the end. 34 Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law And keep it with all my heart. 35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it. 36 Incline my heart to Your testimonies And not to dishonest gain. 37 Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, And revive me in Your ways. 38 Establish Your word to Your servant, As that which produces reverence for You. 39 Turn away my reproach which I dread, For Your ordinances are good. 40 Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me through Your righteousness.

Psalms 119:57-64 (NASB)
57 The Lord is my portion; I have promised to keep Your words. 58 I sought Your favor with all my heart; Be gracious to me according to Your word. 59 I considered my ways And turned my feet to Your testimonies. 60 I hastened and did not delay To keep Your commandments. 61 The cords of the wicked have encircled me, But I have not forgotten Your law. 62 At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to You Because of Your righteous ordinances. 63 I am a companion of all those who fear You, And of those who keep Your precepts. 64 The earth is full of Your lovingkindness, O Lord; Teach me Your statutes.

Psalms 119:105-112 (NASB)
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. 106 I have sworn and I will confirm it, That I will keep Your righteous ordinances. 107 I am exceedingly afflicted; Revive me, O Lord, according to Your word. 108 O accept the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord, And teach me Your ordinances. 109 My life is continually in my hand, Yet I do not forget Your law. 110 The wicked have laid a snare for me, Yet I have not gone astray from Your precepts. 111 I have inherited Your testimonies forever, For they are the joy of my heart. 112 I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes Forever, even to the end.

2. Understanding What Is Beneficial

With respect to ourselves:

  • Receipt of the Gospel

Acts 20:16-24 (NASB)
16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost. 17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church. 18 And when they had come to him, he said to them, “You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews; 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, 21 solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 “And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. 24 “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.

  • Abundant Life

John 14:5-6 (NASB)
5 Thomas said* to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” 6 Jesus said* to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

John 10:10 (NASB)
10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

Romans 5:8-10 (NASB)
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Romans 10:9-13 (NASB)
9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

With repect to others:

  • Supplying Others’ Physical Needs

2 Corinthians 8:7-15 (NASB)
7 But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also. 8 I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. 10 I give my opinion in this matter, for this is to your advantage, who were the first to begin a year ago not only to do this, but also to desire to do it. 11 But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability. 12 For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. 13 For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality— 14 at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality; 15 as it is written, “He who gathered much did not have too much , and he who gathered little had no lack.”

  • Supplying Others’ Spiritual Needs

Matthew 28:19-20 (NASB)
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Romans 10:13-15 (NASB)
13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

  • Not Causing Other Believers to Stumble (IMPORTANT!)

Matthew 18:6-7 (NASB)
6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!

(Note: “little ones” does not just pertain to children physically, but also to new/young/immature believers of any age.)

3. Understanding What Builds Up Others

Demonstrating love:

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (NASB)
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Esteeming others above ourselves:

Philippians 2:1-11 (NASB)
1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Having a servant’s heart:

John 13:12-17 (NASB)
12 So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. 14 “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 “For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 16 “Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17 “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

Being doers of the Word:

Matthew 7:21-27 (NASB)
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness .’ 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

Exhorting others in love and good works:

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NASB)
24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

4. Choosing to Build Up Others for God’s Glory

Romans 14:1-23 (NASB)
1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. 2 One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. 3 The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. 7 For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. 10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written, “As I live , says the Lord , every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give praise to God.” 12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. 14 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. 20 Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. 21 It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. 22 The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.

Romans 15:1-3 (NASB)
1 Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. 2 Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. 3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.”

Conclusion

Christians should consider others’ needs above their own that others may be saved to God’s glory. They can do this by

  • Understanding what is lawful
  • Understanding what is beneficial
  • Understanding what builds up others
  • Choosing to build up others for God’s glory

Romans 13:8-10 (NASB)
8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9 For this, “You shall not commit adultery , You shall not murder , You shall not steal , You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Galatians 5:13-14 (NASB)
13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

1 Corinthians 10:24,31-33 (NASB)
24 Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor. … 31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.

The liberty you enjoy as a result of Jesus Christ freeing you from the bondage of sin, includes the freedom to deny yourself those things, which would not build up others to the glory of God.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word and its instructions for righteousness. Thank You for the liberty we enjoy as a result of being freed from the bondage of sin. Help us to recognize that just because we are free to do something does not mean it is necessarily edifying or profitable, especially when it comes to setting an example for others. Give us the strength to deny ourselves those liberties which might cause others to stumble. We pray this in the precious and holy name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form





Mothers Who Make a Difference

Introduction

The Mother of All: Eve

Eve was the first woman to ever give birth to a child, consequently becoming the first mother. She is the mother of all living people who have been and who will be.

Genesis 3:20 (NASB)
20 Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.

Eve had many children.

Genesis 5:4 (NASB)
4 Then the days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years, and he had other sons and daughters.

However, only three are mentioned by name in Scripture: Cain, Abel, and Seth. Cain murdered Abel, resulting in Eve also being the first mother to experience the loss of a child from death. In fact, she lost two as Cain went into exile. It was through Seth and his descendants that men began to call upon the name of the Lord.

Genesis 4:25-26 (NASB)
25 Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him.” 26 To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.

Since the time of Eve, it’s fallen to mothers to raise their
children for the Lord. Mothers

  • Bring us into the world
  • Nurture us
  • Provide for us
  • Raise us
  • Teach us
  • Discipline us

Mother’s have a remarkable ability to change the world through their children.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, on this special day that has been set aside to remember our mothers, we pray that You exceedingly bless each mother as they have always been a blessing to us and others. Grant each one the joy and happiness that can only be found in You. As we reflect on mothers who make a difference, please help us to search our hearts and determine how we can make a difference for Your honor and glory. We pray in the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Mothers Who Make a Difference

The Protective Mother: Jochebed

Moses’ mother went to great risks to protect him. Recall that in an attempt to control the Hebrew nation, Pharaoh ordered all newborn boys be killed.

Exodus 1:15-16 (NASB)
15 Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other was named Puah; 16 and he said, “When you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, then you shall put him to death; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.”

The midwives however, feared God more than they did Pharaoh.

Exodus 1:17-22 (NASB)
17 But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live. 18 So the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this thing, and let the boys live?” 19 The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife can get to them.” 20 So God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied, and became very mighty. 21 Because the midwives feared God, He established households for them. 22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every son who is born you are to cast into the Nile, and every daughter you are to keep alive.”

Moses mother hid him and cared for him three months before he was too big to conceal any longer.

Exodus 2:1-4 (NASB)
1 Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a daughter of Levi. 2 The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months. 3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch. Then she put the child into it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. 4 His sister stood at a distance to find out what would happen to him.

She placed him afloat in the Nile and trusted God. Her trust was soon rewarded because not only was Moses spared, his mother was hired to be his nanny.

Exodus 2:7-10 (NASB)
7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women that she may nurse the child for you?” 8 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go ahead.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9 Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. 10 The child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. And she named him Moses, and said, “Because I drew him out of the water.”

Mothers protect us in many ways:

  • Physically, by keeping us from danger.
  • Morally, by teaching us right from wrong.
  • Emotionally, by keeping us from things they know will hurt us.

Mothers also protect our spirits and bring us up to love and serve the Lord.

The Supportive Mother: Hannah

Hannah prayed for a son for many years; yet, remained barren. Nonetheless, after years of faithful prayer and endurance, God rewarded her with a son.

1 Samuel 1:20-28 (NASB)
20 It came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked him of the Lord.” 21 Then the man Elkanah went up with all his household to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and pay his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “I will not go up until the child is weaned; then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord and stay there forever.” 23 Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you. Remain until you have weaned him; only may the Lord confirm His word.” So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him. 24 Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with a three-year-old bull and one ephah of flour and a jug of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord in Shiloh, although the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered the bull, and brought the boy to Eli. 26 She said, “Oh, my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the Lord. 27 “For this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him. 28 “So I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.

Hannah had promised the Lord she would give her son back to Him and kept that promise. Samuel was taken to the Lord’s house when he was of appropriate age and he was left with the priests to become a servant of the Lord. Hannah continued to support him in the Lord’s work.

There are three things that we can learn from Hannah:

  1. God answers prayer concerning children.
  2. We should give our children to the Lord to use them as He sees fit.
  3. We should support our children in doing the Lord’s work.

The Instructive Mother: Eunice

Who’s Eunice?!? Well I’m not referring to the character on the old sitcom “Mama’s Family”. Eunice was a wonderful mother who changed the world through her children. She was the mother of someone I know you know… Timothy.

2 Timothy 1:1-5 (NASB)
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, 4 longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.

Timothy was a close friend of the Apostle Paul and was one of his chief associates in all of his missionary journeys. Paul relied on Timothy in his ministry. Timothy first joins Paul on his journeys (Acts 16:1-3) after he visits a city called Lystra and we see him being a faithful friend even in Paul’s imprisonment in Rome (Colossians 1:1, Philippians 1:1, Philemon 1).

Timothy, along with his mother and grandmother, were Jewish believers who heard about Christ and accepted Him. The faith that was in Timothy was first in his Grandmother Lois and in his mother Eunice. They were an example of faith to him. They taught him the scripture.

Mothers and grandmothers… how much time do you spend talking to your children and grandchildren about the Scripture.

  • They should first hear about God from you.
  • Teach them the songs about Jesus.
  • They should be singing about Jesus before they are singing about Barney.
  • Teach them about Jesus.
  • Get them into church.
  • Share in their Sunday School lessons.

Illustration

Anthony Campolo, The Power Delusion

Too many times women are made to feel that they should apologize for being mothers and housewives. In reality, such roles can be noble callings. When I was on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, there were gatherings from time to time to which faculty members brought their spouses. Inevitably, some woman lawyer or sociologist would confront my wife with the question, “And what is it that you do, my dear?”

My wife, who is one of the most brilliantly articulate individuals I know, had a great response: “I am socializing two homo sapiens in the dominant values of the Judeo-Christian tradition in order that they might be instruments for the transformation of the social order into the teleologically prescribed utopia inherent in the eschaton.” When she followed that with, “And what is it that you do?” the other person’s “A lawyer” just wasn’t that overpowering.

The Loyal Mother: Mary

John 19:25b (NASB)
25 … But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, …

There stood by the cross of Jesus, His mother. She was loyal to her Son till his death.

Mothers have this wonderful ability that no matter what children do, no matter what they go through, they are loyal to their children. Mom’s don’t give up. This of course does not mean that you condone or approve of their sin. Many of us have moms that could have given up on us; but instead, they hung in there and were loyal to us.

Illustration

An affirmation from Joohn Killinger’s Lost in Wonder, Love, and Praise

I believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the loving God, who was born of the promise to a virgin named Mary.

I believe in the love Mary gave her son, which caused her to follow him in his ministry and stand by his cross as he died.

I believe in the love of all mothers, and its importance in the lives of the children, they bear. It is stronger than steel, softer than down, and more resilient than a green sapling on the hillside. It closes wounds, melts disappointments, and enables the weakest child to stand tall and straight in the fields of adversity.

I believe that this love, even at its best, is only a shadow of the love of God, a dark reflection of all that we can expect of him, both in this life and the next.

And I believe that one of the most beautiful sights in the world is a mother who lets this greater love flow through her to her child, blessing the world with the tenderness of her touch and the tears of her joy.

Conclusion

Caring Mothers

To the moms who protected us, supported us, instructed us, and were loyal to us, we say THANK YOU!

To the young mothers we say:

  • Protect your kids.
  • Support them.
  • Teach them in the Lord.
  • Remain loyal to them.

Women of Strength

Strong women vs. women of strength:

  • A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape;
    a woman of strength kneels in prayer to keep her soul in shape.
  • A strong woman isn’t afraid of anything;
    a woman of strength shows courage in the midst of her fear.
  • A strong woman won’t let anyone get the best of her;
    a woman of strength gives the best of herself to everyone.
  • A strong woman makes mistakes and avoids the same in the future;
    a woman of strength realizes life’s mistakes can also be God’s blessings and capitalizes on them.
  • A strong woman walks sure footedly;
    a woman of strength knows God will catch her when she falls.
  • A strong woman wears the look of confidence on her face;
    a woman of strength wears grace.
  • A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey;
    a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become strong.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for mothers. Thank You for using them as instruments to show Your love, strength, and protection to us. Bless them as they have blessed us. We pray in the precious name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form





God’s Word: Leads to Righteousness and Good Works

Scripture

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NASB)
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, almighty God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, hear our prayer. Lord, open Your Word to us. Through its wisdom and truth instruct us in all righteousness and may we perform good works as a result. We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Probing Question

Why does following God’s Word lead to righteousness and good worls?

Transitional Sentence

Following God’s Word will lead to righteousness and good works because…

Main Points

1. It Is Profitable for Doctrine

It teaches the will of God and points the way to Jesus Christ until His return, resulting in wisdom.

John 1:1-5 (NASB)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

John 8:12 (NASB)
12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

1 John 1:6-7 (NASB)
6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Psalms 111:10 (NASB)
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.

Psalms 119:11 (NASB)
11 Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.

Psalms 119:66 (NASB)
66 Teach me good discernment and knowledge, For I believe in Your commandments.

2. It Is Profitable for Reproof

It convicts the hearts of men, convincing them of the truth and confounding those who would deny it.

Proverbs 1:7 (NASB)
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (NASB)
18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise , And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.” 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts , boast in the Lord.”

3. It Is Profitable for Correction

It restores things to their proper uses and places, correcting false notions and mistaken views.

Romans 1:16-32 (NASB)
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.” 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 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. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

4. It Is Profitable for Instruction

Word Study – Instruction

  • Greek: paideia
  • Transliteration: paideia [pahee-di’-ah]
  • Vine’s Words:
    • Chasten, Chastening, Chastise, Chastisement
    • Instruct, Instruction, Instructor
  • Definition:
    • The whole training and education of children (which relates to the cultivation of mind and morals, and employs for this purpose now commands and admonitions, now reproof and punishment) It also includes the training and care of the body.
    • Whatever in adults also cultivates the soul, esp. by correcting mistakes and curbing passions.
      • Instruction which aims at increasing virtue.
      • Chastisement, chastening, (of the evils with which God visits men for their amendment).

It communicates all initial religious knowledge for schooling mankind.

Hebrews 12:5-14 (NASB)
5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him; 6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.” 7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. 12 Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. 14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.

5. Christians Are Perfected

The truths the christian receives through God’s Word are complete and in no need of additions.

Revelation 22:14-19 (NASB)
14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. 16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” 17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. 18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

Deuteronomy 4:1-4 (NASB)
1 “Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I am teaching you to perform, so that you may live and go in and take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. 2 “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. 3 “Your eyes have seen what the Lord has done in the case of Baal-peor, for all the men who followed Baal-peor, the Lord your God has destroyed them from among you. 4 “But you who held fast to the Lord your God are alive today, every one of you.

6. Christians Are Thoroughly Furnished/Equipped

The truths a Christian receives through God’s Word will not only perfect him personally, if followed; they will equip him to be a successful minister of the Gospel in both word and deed.

Romans 5:1-5 (NASB)
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Matthew 28:19-20 (NASB)
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Philippians 4:13 (NASB)
13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

2 Timothy 4:2-5 (NASB)
2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

We are not here to tickle people’s ears. We are here to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comforted.

Conclusion

Following God’s Word will lead to righteousness and good works because:

  • It is profitable for
    • Doctrine
    • Reproof
    • Correction
    • Instruction
  • Christians are
    • Perfected
    • Thoroughly furnished/equipped

But it requires action on our part.

  • We must study, meditate, and pray to discern the contents of God’s Word.

2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB)
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

  • We must act on what we have learned.

James 1:25 (NASB)
25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

In our zeal for the truth of Scripture, we must never forget its purpose to equip us to do good. We should not study God’s Word simply to increase our knowledge or to prepare us to win arguments. We should study the Bible so that we will know how to do Christ’s work in the world. Our knowledge of God’s Word is not useful unless it strengthens our faith and leads us to do good.

Closing Prayer

Dear God, thank You for sharing Your Word with us. May we take advantage of every opportunity to read, meditate, and pray over it. May it transform our lives for Your honor and glory. Mold us and perfect us through the wisdom, strength, and power of Your Word. In the precious name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form





Seven Questions of the Resurrected Christ

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, Abba, it has been your plan from the very foundation of the world to reconcile mankind to You through the atoning work of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May we never forget the depth and significance of His sacrifice. As we look at seven questions of the resurrected Christ, we pray that You have prepared us ahead of time, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to receive Your Word. May we meditate upon it and have it transform our lives for Your honor and glory. We pray this in the precious and holy name of Jesus. Amen.

Seven Questions of the Resurrected Christ

1. “Why Are You Weeping?”

John 20:15a (NASB)
15 Jesus said* to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? …

  • Jesus asked Mary, “Why are you weeping?”
    • She was weeping in her ignorance of the resurrection of Jesus.
    • Jesus had already risen from the dead.
    • There was no reason for her to weep. Instead, she should have been rejoicing.
  • Sometimes we forget the promises of God and the power of God and we drown ourselves in sorrow.
  • Jesus is asking us why are we weeping when He is alive to help us and deliver us.

2. “Whom Are You Seeking?”

John 20:15b (NASB)
15 Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said* to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”

  • Jesus asked Mary, “Whom are you seeking?”
    • She was seeking a dead Jesus in the tomb.
    • Jesus had already risen from the grave.
  • The God we seek is not a dead, powerless, or helpless God.
  • We serve a living, almighty God Who will never leave us nor forsake us.

3. “What Are You Talking About?”

Luke 24:17 (NASB)
17 And He said to them, “What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?” And they stood still, looking sad.

  • Jesus asked the disciples on the way to Emmaus what they were talking about that was making them so sad.
    • These disciples were confused about the whole situation after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
    • They were ignorant of His resurrection and were still in deep sorrow, pain, and disappointment.
    • Their whole conversation was depressing and confusing.
    • Jesus wanted to help them out of this depressing conversation.
  • Sometimes we talk endlessly about our trials and those things, which we do not understand.
    • This only makes us sad.
    • Let Jesus reveal the truth to us, which will make us glad.

4. “Are Not These Things Foretold In the Scriptures?”

Luke 24:25-27 (NASB)
25 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

  • Jesus asked the disciples were not these things already foretold by the prophets.
  • They were foolish and slow of heart to believe what was already foretold.
  • Many times we are confused and perplexed because we do not search the scriptures diligently.
  • The answers, explanations, warnings, and predictions are already revealed in the Word of God.
  • We suffer needless fears and worries because we fail to read, understand, and believe the scriptures.

5. “Children, Do You Have Any Meat?”

John 21:2-6 (NASB)
2 Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said* to them, “I am going fishing.” They said* to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 So Jesus said* to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.” 6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch. So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish.

  • Jesus asked the disciples on the sea did they have any meat?
    • The disciples had gone back to fishing and had failed miserably to catch any fish.
    • Jesus met the disobedient disciples and lovingly enquired about their welfare and, in fact, did a miracle for them.
    • He did not condem them in anger for having gone back to fishing.
    • He lovingly restored them to Himself and helped them in their difficulty.
  • The Lord wants to restore those who have gone away from Him and help them in their difficulties.

6. Do You Love Me?

John 21:15-17 (NASB)
15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said* to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said* to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said* to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16 He said* to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said* to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said* to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He said* to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said* to him, “Tend My sheep.

  • Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Do you love Me?”
    • Three times this question was asked Peter, who had denied Jesus three times.
    • When Peter replied that he loved Jesus, he was given a responsibility to serve the Lord.
  • The Lord wants us to love Him first, and as a result of that love, He wants us to serve Him.

7. “If He Stays Alive Until I Come, What Does It Matter To You?”

John 21:20-22 (NASB)
20 Peter, turning around, saw* the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 So Peter seeing him said* to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” 22 Jesus said* to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”

  • Jesus asked Peter not to worry about His plans for John.
    • Jesus revealed to Peter his future and how he would die; but, Peter was curious about what would happen to John.
    • Jesus replied that Peter need not worry about God’s plan for John.
    • He wanted Peter to follow Him.
  • Jesus does not want us to waste our time and energy in trying to understand His plan for others.
  • He wants us to concentrate on following Him and fulfilling His plan for our lives.

Conclusion

Jesus asks:

  1. Why are you weeping? Jesus is alive to help us and deliver us.
  2. Whom are you seeking? The God we seek is not a dead, powerless, and helpless God, He is a living, almighty God who will never leave us nor forsake us.
  3. What are you talking about? Sometimes we talk endlessly about our trials and those things which we do not understand, this only makes us sad. Let Jesus reveal the truth to us which will make us glad.
  4. Are not these things foretold in Scripture? The answers, explanations, warnings, and predictions are already revealed in the Word of God. We suffer needless fears and worries because we fail to read, understand, and believe the Scriptures.
  5. Children, do you have any meat? The Lord wants to restore those who have gone away from Him and help them in their difficulties.
  6. Do you love Me? The Lord wants us to love Him first and as a result of that love He wants us to serve Him.
  7. If he stays alive until I come, what does it matter to you? Jesus does not want us to waste our time and energy in trying to understand His plan for others.  He wants us to concentrate on following Him and fulfilling His plan for our lives.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, we thank You for the gift of Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Lord, when we suffer from sadness, worry, confusion, and other disenchantments, please help us with our unbelief and lack of faith. Encourage us through the Holy Spirit and Your Word. Remind us You are living and all powerful and that if we will only remember to come to You, seeking your strength, peace, and love, that we can overcome all obstacles to serving You in peace and love. Please lead, guide, and direct us in Your wisdom and righteousness. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form





Rejoice in Suffering

Scripture

1 Peter 4:12-19 (NASB)
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? 19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, Creator of Heaven and Earth, hallowed be Thy name throughout all eternity. You gave Your only begotten Son, who willingly suffered, bled, and died and defeating death, rose on the third day so that we may have eternal life reconciled to You. Until that day of eternal rest comes, please lead, guide, and direct us through life’s sufferings. help us to walk in the light of Your righteousness for Your namesake. Help us to rejoice in righteous suffering we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Probing Question

Why should Christians rejoice in suffering for Christ?

Transitional Sentence

Christians should rejoice for suffering in Christ because…

Main Points

1. They Are Sharing in Christ’s Sufferings

1 Peter 4:12-13 (NASB)
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.

There is nothing unique or strange about the trial or temptation you are going through.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NASB)
13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

So why do Christians suffer? Because Christ suffered.

John 15:18-20a (NASB)
18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; …

But, make sure you are suffering for righteousness’ sake.

1 Peter 4:15 (NASB)
15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler;

2. Christ Is Glorified

1 Peter 4:14 (NASB)
14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

Matthew 5:11-12 (NASB)
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Gamaliel, discussing what to do about Peter and John with the council:

Acts 5:38-42 (NASB)
38 “So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.” 40 They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. 41 So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

Paul reminds us:

Romans 8:16-18 (NASB)
16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

3. Christ Will Preserve Us to the End

1 Peter 4:16-19 (NASB)
16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? 19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

Paul encourages us through his encouragement to Timothy.

2 Timothy 3:10-12 (NASB)
10 Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! 12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

God is faithful.

Isaiah 51:11-16 (NASB)
11 So the ransomed of the Lord will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, And everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away. 12 “I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you are afraid of man who dies And of the son of man who is made like grass, 13 That you have forgotten the Lord your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens And laid the foundations of the earth, That you fear continually all day long because of the fury of the oppressor, As he makes ready to destroy? But where is the fury of the oppressor? 14 “The exile will soon be set free, and will not die in the dungeon, nor will his bread be lacking. 15 “For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea and its waves roar (the Lord of hosts is His name). 16 “I have put My words in your mouth and have covered you with the shadow of My hand, to establish the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’ “

Conclusion

Why should Cristians rejoice in suffering for Christ? Because

  1. They are sharing in Christ’s sufferings
  2. Christ is glorified, and
  3. Christ will preserve us to the end.

Colossians 1:12-23a (NASB)
12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. 13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. 21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, …

Revelation 5:6-14 (NASB)
6 And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. 7 And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. 8 When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang* a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. 10 “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” 11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” 13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” 14 And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, our suffering on this Earth is for but a brief moment compared to the eternity of joy in which we will rejoice in Your holy presence. During those times in which we are suffering for Christ’s sake, please remind us that they are worthy of rejoicing too. Please set our eyes eternally fixed upon you we pray in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form





Who Do You Say That I Am?

Scripture

Matthew 16:13-16 (NASB)
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He said* to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, as we open Your Word today, please reveal to us the truths You would have us receive. Please burn them into our hearts and minds that they would become an everlasting testimony of You imprinted on our souls for all eternity. We pray this in the precious name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Probing Question

What is your answer to Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?”

Transitional Sentence

Who is Jesus?

Main Points

1) According to Some, a Good Teacher

Matthew 16:14b (NASB)
14 … “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”

  • John the Baptist – great preaching ability
  • Elias/Elijah – miracles performed
  • Jeremias/Jeremiah – weeping prophet

2) According to His Disciples, the Son of God

Matthew 16:16 (NASB)
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

In response to Peter’s confession:

Matthew 16:17 (NASB)
17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

3) According to Him, God Himself

In response to the Jews in the temple in Solomon’s Porch:

John 10:22-30 (NASB)
22 At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; 23 it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. 24 The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. 26 “But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. 27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 “I and the Father are one.”

In response to Philip and the rest of the disciples:

John 14:6-11 (NASB)
6 Jesus said* to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. 7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” 8 Philip said* to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said* to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.

Conclusion

Illustration

C.S. Lewis observed:

“You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us.  He did not intend to” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (Macmillan, 1952, pp. 40-41).

Whom do you say Jesus is?

  • A good teacher
  • The Son of God, yea God Himself

Your answer to this question will dictate how you live the rest of your life here on earth as well as how you’ll spend eternity.

Closing Prayer

Dear Jesus, Lord and Savior, Son of God, and yea even God Himself, may we never doubt Your true identity. May we always be ready in season and out of season to defend our belief in who You are and Your importance to our very existence both now and in eternity future. May all creation rejoice in You. We pray this in Your holy name. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form





Continuing to Live Life During Troubled Times

Scripture

Jeremiah 29:4-11 (NASB)
4 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, 5 ‘Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 ‘Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. 7 ‘Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.’ 8 “For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Do not let your prophets who are in your midst and your diviners deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams which they dream. 9 ‘For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them,’ declares the Lord. 10 “For thus says the Lord, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. 11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, creator of all that exists, fountain of everlasting truth, knowledge, and wisdom, please open our eyes to your word. Give us discernment and understanding. Reveal to us its application to our daily lives. May we be transformed for your honor and glory. Protect us from any distractions. We humbly ask these things in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Probing Question

How can Christians continue living life during troubled times?

Transitional Sentence

Christians can continue living life during troubled times by…

Main Points

1) Continuing daily routine

Life does not stop, nor should we.

Jeremiah 29:5-6 (NASB)
5 ‘Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 ‘Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease.

2) Praying for peace

Jeremiah 29:7 (NASB)
7 ‘Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.’

1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NASB)
1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NASB)
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

3) Ignoring ungodly counsel

Jeremiah 29:8-9 (NASB)
8 “For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Do not let your prophets who are in your midst and your diviners deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams which they dream. 9 ‘For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them,’ declares the Lord.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (NASB)
13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

4) Trusting in God

Jeremiah 29:10-11 (NASB)
10 “For thus says the Lord, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. 11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Psalms 40:5 (NASB)
5 Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count.

Romans 8:24-28 (NASB)
24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Lamentations 3:24-26 (NASB)
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him. 26 It is good that he waits silently For the salvation of the Lord.

Conclusion

Christians can continue living life during troubled times by

  • Continuing daily routine
  • Praying for peace
  • Ignoring ungodly counsel
  • Trusting in God

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, help us to continue living life during troubled times based upon these truths You have shared with us. Help us to remember that despite our circumstances, You are still, and always have been, in control. Strengthen our confidence with the knowledge that no matter our current dilemma, all things work together for good to those who love you and are called according to your purpose. May we have peace knowing that your plans for us are good and not evil, to give us a future and a hope. We pray this in the precious name of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form





Hope

Scripture

Illustration

  • Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of American English

HOPE, n. [L. cupio.]

A desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. Hope differs from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or the possibility of possessing it. Hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.

  • Holman Bible Dictionary

HOPE

Trustful expectation, particularly with reference to the fulfillment of God’s promises. Biblical hope is the anticipation of a favorable outcome under God’s guidance. More specifically, hope is the confidence that what God has done for us in the past guarantees our participation in what God will do in the future. This contrasts to the world’s definition of hope as “a feeling that what is wanted will happen.” Understood in this way, hope can denote either a baseless optimism or a vague yearning after an unattainable good. If hope is to be genuine hope, however, it must be founded on something (or someone) which affords reasonable grounds for confidence in its fulfillment. The Bible bases its hope in God and His saving acts.

Text

John 14:1-3 (NASB)
1 “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, Creator of Heaven and Earth, we thank You for your love, mercy, and grace. Please block all attempts, by Satan, to distract us, as we learn about the difference of hope between the lost and the saved. Lead, guide, and direct us as we study your Word and please forgive us our sins, we ask in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

Probing Question

Why is Christians’ hope secure?

Transitional Sentence

Christians’ hope is secure because…

Main Points

1) If God can be trusted, Jesus can be trusted

John 14:1b-2a (NASB)
1 … believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; …

God’s character is unchanging and can be trusted.

James 1:17 (NASB)
17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

Numbers 23:19 (NASB)
19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

Jesus and God are one.

John 10:30 (NASB)
30 “I and the Father are one.”

Consequently, Jesus’ character is unchanging and can be trusted.

Hebrews 13:8 (NASB)
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

John 1:17 (NASB)
17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.

2) Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us

John 14:2b (NASB)
2 … for I go to prepare a place for you.

Jesus makes intercession for us in the presence of God.

Hebrews 9:24-26 (NASB)
24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

3) Jesus will return for us

John 14:3 (NASB)
3 “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.

Jesus is coming back and will take us with Him.

Hebrews 9:27-28 (NASB)
27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

John 17:24-26 (NASB)
24 “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 “O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; 26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

Conclusion

Christians’ hope is secure because

  • If God can be trusted, Jesus can be trusted
  • Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us
  • Jesus will return for us

Hebrews 6:10-20a (NASB)
10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 13 For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, “I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.” 15 And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. 16 For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute. 17 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, 20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever…

The security of this hope is what encourages and motivates Christians to press forward regardless of current circumstances.

Philippians 4:4-8 (NASB)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

John 14:27-29 (NASB)
27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. 28 “You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 “Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe.

This hope is foreign to the lost because they are unable to claim its benefits and promises without having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, Almighty God, hear our prayer. You are everlasting through everlasting, unchanging in your ways. You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. As such, we can place our hope and trust in You and not be disappointed. You tell us that You have prepared a place for us and that You will come to take us so that wherever You are there we will be also. Because of this we have a hope that is steadfast and sure. Unlike the world’s hope, which is based on the perishable, our hope is based on the imperishable. Lord, use us to display our hope to a lost and dying world, such that they would see the difference and desire to have our hope over theirs. Help us to bring honor and glory to your name. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form





Following Christ’s Example: Suffering In the Flesh

Scripture

1 Peter 4:1-6 (NASB)
1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. 4 In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the privilege of being able to share your Word with people around the globe through the Internet. I pray that the message you have placed on my heart will, through the power of the Holy Spirit, touch the hearts and minds of those receiving this message. I pray the Holy Spirit will bring conviction, and through conviction, transforms our lives for your honor and glory. And may all praise, honor, and glory be yours forever more, for You are worthy of such praise. Amen.

Proposition

A Christian must follow Christ’s example especially in the midst of suffering.

Make no mistake however. We’re not speaking of your everyday, run-of-the-mill example; but, an example that leads to and requires personal sacrifice.

Illustration

Source unknown

On one occasion the great Paderewski came to London for a piano concert. Joseph Parker, a former pastor of City Temple in London, and an accomplished musician himself, went to hear him play. The minister was so moved by what he heard that he did a very strange thing when he returned home. Standing by his piano, he called to his wife, “Bring me an ax! Today I heard great music for the first time. By comparison, what I can do amounts to nothing at all. I feel like chopping my piano to pieces.”

Although Parker did not follow through with this threat, he realized that he could never be a Paderewski by simply following his example. To do so, he would need Paderewski’s hands – yes, the very soul of the great musician.

Illustration

Leadership, v. 4, #3, p. 108

If Christ was meant just as an example, He’s over engineered – i.e., a Porsche sports car engineered to do 150 m.p.h. that can only be driven at 55 m.p.h. A good example would be Mother Teresa. She was within reach. If Christ is an example, no one needs him. If He’s a sacrifice, we all need him.

Probing Question

So, how does a Christian follow Christ’s example in the midst of suffering?

Main Points

1. Arming Oneself with the Same Mind

1 Peter 4:1a (NASB)
1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose,…

Christ is our example, our pattern. We’re to have to the same disposition as He had, the same forgiving spirit, with meekness and gentleness.

Illustration

In his book One Hundred Prison Meditations (Middlebury, IN: Living Sacrifice Books, 1982, p. 3), Richard Wurmbrand, who spent 14 years in prison as a Romanian pastor, wrote,

I have accepted this proposal. Christians are meant to have the same vocation as their King, that of cross-bearers. It is this conscience of a high calling and of partnership with Jesus which brings gladness in tribulations, which makes Christians enter prisons for their faith with the joy of a bridegroom entering the bridal room.

2. Ceasing from Sin and No Longer Living in the Flesh

1 Peter 4:1b-2 (NASB)
1 … because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

When we became Christians, we we’re born again, no longer slaves to sin, having instead accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. That rebirth began a process through which we are constantly being conformed to the image of Christ, partaking in His sufferings, not only ceasing from but in fact despising sin and instead seeking the righteous will of God.

Romans 8:28-29 (NASB)
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

Romans 12:1-2 (NASB)
1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Illustration

Our Daily Bread

There’s an old story about a man who tried to save the city of Sodom from destruction by warning the citizens. But the people ignored him. One day someone asked, “Why bother everyone? You can’t change them.”

“Maybe I can’t,” the man replied, “but I still shout and scream to prevent them from changing me!”

Lot was a righteous man (2 Peter 2:7) who should have done some screaming. The record of his life reminds us of how our sense of moral indignation can be dulled by the world. Lot chose to dwell in cities where there was great wickedness (Gen. 13:12,13). When Sodom was invaded by hostile kings, he was captured. Even after Abraham rescued Lot, he was still drawn back to that wicked city (Gen. 19:1). And the last chapter of his story is an account of heartache and shame (Gen. 19). What a contrast – this nephew and his uncle! Abraham trusted God, prayed for the righteous, and lived a moral life. But Lot was “oppressed with the filthy conduct of the wicked” (2 Peter 2:7). Although the sin of his day bothered him, he apparently said little about it.

3. Leaving the Past Behind

1 Peter 4:3 (NASB)
3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.

Before accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior, we were slaves to sin. Our lives were wasted in all manner of evil pursuits. However, having accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior, we can now leave that past behind and focus on the future. If we live in the past, we’ll be needlessly distracted by those things which burdened us with a hopeless future. By focusing on the present and God’s will for our lives, we’re able to remain fixed upon the hope we’ve been given through Jesus Christ.

Illustration

Christian Medical Society Journal, Winter, 1978, p. 2

One man said to his friend: “Say, you look depressed. What are you thinking about?”

“My future,” was the quick answer.

“What makes it look so hopeless?”

“My past.”

4. Not Giving in to Intimidation

1 Peter 4:4 (NASB)
4 In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you;

People you associated with prior to your spiritual rebirth (e.g., friends, family, loved ones) who have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will be confused that you no longer have the same sinful desires you once had. Still slaves to sin themselves, they’ll mock you, intimidate you, and speak evil of you, trying to return you to the person they remember. You must not succumb to this intimidation.

Illustration

Ben Carson, MD, Johns Hopkins University neurosurgeon who grew up on the streets of Detroit

Go down to the fish market and look into the crab barrel. They never have to put a lid on it because if one crab starts to crawl out, the others will grab onto him and pull him back down.

That’s what negative peer pressure does. And that’s what you must fight against.

Conclusion

How does a Christian follow Christ’s example in the midst of suffering? By

  1. Arming oneself with the same mind as Christ
  2. Ceasing from sin and no longer living in the flesh
  3. Leaving the past behind, and
  4. Not giving in to intimidation

1 Peter 4:5-6 (NASB)
5 but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.

All will give account to Jesus Christ for their attitudes and actions, whether for the persecution of the elect or the elect’s response to that persecution. How have you responded to-date? How will you respond from this day forward? He provided the example that we as Christians are to follow; an example that leads to and requires personal sacrifice.

Illustration

Laurence Houseman, “Repayment,” quoted in Anthology of Jesus, ed. Warren Wiersbe

Thou the Cross didst bear: What bear I?

Thou the Thorn didst wear: What wear I?

Thou to death didst dare: What dare I?

Thou for me dost care: What care I?

If you’re a Christian, Jesus’ example is before you. If you’re not a Christian, if you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ in which you intimately know Him as your Lord and Savior, won’t you come to Him today? He endured horrible persecutions, bore your sins and the sins of the rest of the world upon His shoulders, and sacrificed Himself upon the cross for you. Why? Because, He loves you. Won’t you come to Him today?

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, almighty God, please hear my prayer. Lord, I pray that You have not allowed any of my shortcomings to be an obstacle in the delivery of your message. You promise your Word will not return void. I pray the Holy Spirit will lead us to meditate upon today’s message and will convict us of those areas in our lives that need attention and correction. Heavenly Father, I pray that we will always set our minds on You and that we will be like-minded in everything we do, especially in the midst of suffering. Lord, please forgive me of my sins and shortcomings. Lead, guide, and direct me I pray in the name of my Lord and Savior. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form





Running the Entire Race

Scripture

Illustration

When it was said to Diogenes, the Greek philosopher, “Thou art now an old man, rest from thy labors;” he answered, “If I have run long in the race, will it become me to slacken my pace when come near the end; should I not rather stretch forward?”

Hebrews 12:1 (NASB)
1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

Text

Philippians 3:13-14 (NASB)
13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for your love, mercy, grace, and other blessings too numerous to count. Please bless the reading of your Word. I pray You have adequately prepared my to deliver your message as well as the hearts and minds of those You would have receive it. May the lessons learned bring us into a closer, more intimate relationship with You and assist us in bringing honor and glory to your name. Please forgive me of my sins. I pray these things in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Probing Question

How should Christians run the race?

Main Points

As Christians, if we are still breathing, we are still in the race.

Philippians 3:13a (NASB)
13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;…

Paul expressed to the Philippians that whatever blessings, graces, honors, and gifts he had already received from Jesus Christ; he still considered everything incomplete until his earthly work was done and he was called home, receiving his resurrected, glorified body.

So how should the race be run?

1. Christians Should Run the Race With Purpose

Philippians 3:13b (NASB)
13 … but one thing I do:…

Paul recognized his most important reason for existing, his sole purpose for being, was to honor and glorify Jesus Christ by fulfilling the will of God in his life.

Philippians 1:21a (NASB)
21 For to me, to live is Christ…

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NASB)
31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

What is God’s will for our lives? That’s a subject for many other sermons; but, to name just a couple:

  • God wills that all be saved.

1 Timothy 2:3b-4 (NASB)
3 … God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

  • God wills that the Gospel be given to all nations of the Earth.

Matthew 28:19-20a (NASB)
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;…

2. Christians Should Run the Race With Focus (i.e., Without Distractions)

Philippians 3:13c (NASB)
13 … forgetting what lies behind…

Paul recognized his conduct was not regulated or influenced by others; only his Master, calling, work, and objective.

Looking back is sure to end in going back.

Luke 9:61-62 (NASB)
61 Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

While others might mistakenly think they had time to linger, Paul knew he did not. Time was of the essence, eternity was at hand, and everything was at stake. Peter confirms:

1 Peter 4:7 (NASB)
7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.

3. Christians Should Run the Race With Effort

Philippians 3:13d (NASB)
13 … and reaching forward to what lies ahead,

Paul recognized he was not only running for life; but, running for his life. The race required all the strength he could muster.

Illustration

The story is told of the big lumberjack who bought a brand new chainsaw and was told it could cut down at least 100 trees a day. But on the first day he only managed to cut down 25 trees. The next day he tried harder and finally cut down 33 trees. The third day he started early, worked late, and even cut his lunch break short, but he still managed to cut down only 48 trees.

He went back to the store and confronted the manager with his complaint. He told him of his efforts and of the results. The manager couldn’t quite understand what had gone wrong, so he asked to take a look. He grabbed the starter rope and pulled hard, and the motor started with a roar.

The lumberjack jumped back in alarm and yelled, “Hey, what’s that big noise?”

4. Christians Should Run the Race With Integrity

Philippians 3:14a (NASB)
14 I press on toward the goal…

In Paul’s day, there were white lines, in the stadium where the races were held, which stretched from the starting line to the goal, upon which the runners would focus; for if they ran either to the left or the right or ran beyond the line, they violated the rules and were not crowned victorious, even if they were the first to reach the goal.

Paul recognized how we run the race is just as important as our running it. In one of his letters to the Corinthians he comments:

1 Corinthians 9:27 (NASB)
27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

5. Christians Should Run the Race With Encouragement

Philippians 3:14b (NASB)
14 … for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Finally, Paul never lost sight of the rewards that awaited him for faithfully serving God. This provided encouragement for him regardless of any trial or tribulation he had to endure.

Conclusion

Paul knew that as long as he had breath, he was to be in service to Christ. His service would not be complete until Jesus’ return or until the Lord called him home. Therefore, he would serve the Lord with all his being and rejoice at such time the Lord considered his work complete and called him home.

Philippians 1:20-21 (NASB)
20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Make no mistake, we are running in a race.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NASB)
1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Let us faithfully run it to completion to the honor and glory of God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for your Word. May we meditate upon it and listen carefully as the Holy Spirit convicts us of those things in our life, which need attention. May You find us faithful and obedient to respond. May we sense the urgency in our Christian lives and run the race with a renewed sense purpose, focus, effort, integrity, and encouragement. We pray these things in the name of Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form