Friday, October 30, 2020

The Covenants of God

The Covenants of God

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Definition: "A covenant is a sovereign pronouncement of God by which He establishes a relationship of responsibility

between himself and an individual,

between Himself and mankind in general,

between Himself and a nation, or

between Himself and a specific human family.”

A covenant in one category may overlap others...The covenants are normally unconditional in the sense that God obligates Himself in grace, by the unrestricted declaration, 'I will' to accomplish certain announced purposes, despite any failure on the part of the person or people with whom He covenants. The human response to the divinely announced purpose is always important, leading as it does to blessing for obedience and discipline for disobedience. But human failure is never permitted to abrogate the covenant or block its ultimate fulfillment." (C.I. Scofield)

 

The Edenic Covenant – Gen. 1:28-30; 2:16-17

Genesis 2:15-17
15  And the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 16  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

In this conditional covenant, man is charged with responsibility for propagating the race,

subduing the earth,

exercising dominion over the animals,

caring for the garden in Eden,

and refraining from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

He would suffer the consequences of death should he break the covenant.

 

The Adamic Covenant Genesis 3

Genesis 3:15
 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Consequences of man's fall necessitated a changed relationship between man and God including the following elements:

A curse on the serpent: Gen 3:14

The first promise of a redeemer (the proto-evangelium).

A changed state of woman including bondage and subservience to man's headship and suffering and pain in motherhood.

Loss of the garden in Eden as a dwelling place and light occupation changed to heavy burden of work because of a cursed earth.

Inevitable sorrow and disappointment in life.

Shortened life span and tragedy of death.

 

The Noahic Covenant. - Gen. 8:21-9:17

Genesis 8:21-22
21  And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. 22  While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

This unconditional covenant with Noah (which affects all mankind) establishes principles for all government, and includes the following:

Sanctity of all human life established. Man responsible to protect human life, by the means of capital punishment.

A Promise that another universal flood will not occur, and the ground will not be cursed further.

Man's relationship to the animals and to nature is confirmed.

Man, presumably a vegetarian before the flood, is now allowed to eat meat.

Special characteristics are assigned to the three sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

 

The Abrahamic Covenant - Gen. 13:14-17; 15:1-21; 22:15-18

Genesis 13:14-17
14  And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: 15  For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. 16  And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. 17  Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.

This was an unconditional covenant.

(1) God gave Abraham the promise of a great nation---

Primarily Israel, but also includes those in the line of Ishmael and others sons.

Two peoples descended from Abraham are named specially. They are an earthly group (Israel) "as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore," and a heavenly group (the true church) "as numerous as the stars in the heavens."

(2) Abraham was to be the father of many, to be blessed, to be honored, to be a channel of blessing to others.

(3) Those who bless Abraham are to be blessed and those who curse him will be cursed.

(4) Reaffirmation of the promise of a Messiah.

 

The Mosaic Covenant - Exodus 19:3-6

Exodus 19:3-6
3  And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; 4  Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. 5  Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6  And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.

This was a Conditional Covenant.

 It was a Kingdom Agreement

The history of Israel has been a series of failures to keep their part of the agreement.

Due to their failure they have never enjoyed the full blessings of God as their king.

 It was a National Constitution

The Covenant contained 613 moral, civil and ceremonial laws. All are summarized in Deut. 6:5

 It provided a Guide to Christ

The Law established by the Mosaic Covenant showed our need for a savior – Galatians 3:24

 

The Palestinian Covenant - Deut. 30, Amos 9:9-15

Amos 9:11-15  In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:  That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this.  Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.  And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.

Also an unconditional covenant

Dispersion of the Jews was to be a consequence of disobedience.

Future repentance will be accomplished by God.

God will regather his scattered people and restore them to the land.

The people of Israel will be brought to the Lord as a nation.

The enemies and oppressors of Israel will be punished.

Future national prosperity and preeminence is guaranteed. (Deut. 28, 29) The right of the Jews to live in the land is conditional upon their behavior.

God Promises that He will Revive his Covenants with Israel.

Isaiah 11:11-12 11  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12  And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

Jeremiah 23:3-8 And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.

 Also Ezek. 37:21-25 and Hosea 2:14-16

 

The Davidic Covenant - 2 Sam. 7:8-16; Psalm 89:1-4, 19-37; Jer 23:5

2 Samuel 7:8-16 8  Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel: ….11  And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house. 12  And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13  He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. …16  And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.

This unconditional covenant promises 

(1) A temple in Israel built by David’s son,

(2) A kingdom given to the sons of David forever,

(3) chastisement on the sons if they disobey.

(4) The Messiah would be of the line of David.

Luke 23:5 - Fulfilled in Jesus birth

Zech 14:3-4, 9 - And one day in His return

 

The New Covenant - Jer. 31 - Heb. 8:8-13

Hebrews 8:8-12 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

An everlasting, unconditional covenant between God the Father and God the Son (Heb. 13:20-21) imparting a renewed mind and heart to the recipients.

 Restored favor and blessing for Israel.

 Complete and final forgiveness and removal of sins.

 Indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

 A rebuilt temple in Israel (Ezek. 37:26,27a).

 Cessation of war and institution of world peace.

The New Covenant will not fully go into effect until the return of Christ.

We as Christians are not parties in the covenant. The Covenant is between the Father and the Son.

Christians receive the spiritual blessings of the covenant, Complete and final forgiveness and removal of sins and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Christians do not receive the physical blessing reserved for Israel.

A rebuilt temple in Israel (Ezek. 37:26,27a).

 Cessation of war and institution of world peace.

Both Israel and Christians are blessed through this covenant in the same way. They accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, whose shed blood cleanses their sin.

The full benefits of the New Covenant, both spiritual and physical, will be experienced during the Millennium.

Though the Millennium is for Israel it is probable that we will share in it’s blessing as we have the New Covenant.

Summary and Review

Definition: "A covenant is a sovereign pronouncement of God by which He establishes a relationship of responsibility between himself and an individual, mankind in general, a nation, or a specific human family.

All the covenants are unconditional except two, the Edenic and Mosiac/Sinatic (The Law).

The Covenants of God which reveal God’s plan of salvation are: The Edenic, the Adamic, the Noahic, the Abrahamic, the Mosiac, the Palestinian, the Davidic and the New.

God’s covenants with Israel will be fully restored in the Millennial Kingdom after the nation has accepted Jesus as their Messiah.

 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Christ and the Church 4: Christ in Our Outward Walk Eph 5:1-20

Christ and the Church 4: Christ in Our Outward Walk

Text: Ephesians 5:1-20

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Introduction:

Joke: Former brawling lumberjack, gets saved and called into the ministry. He takes a small church back up in the mountains among the same kind of lumber camps he used to work at. He preached hard and long against the sin in the camps, especially the drunkenness. One particular man took it personally and one day after he had drunk all night rode out to the church to teach that interfering preacher a lesson.

He rode into the church yard and there was the former lumberjack now a pastor doing some work around the church. The drunk rode right up to him, jumped off his horse told him, “I’m sick and tired of your preaching” and then he took a swing at the new pastor. The pastor had been a lumberjack for good reason, he was tall, well over 6 foot and heavily muscled from all the years of hard work felling trees. He had also been a man who before he got saved loved to fight, but now God was his father and Jesus was his savior and he wasn’t going to brawl with this drunk, especially in the church yard. So he just spun him around picked him up by his collar and by the seat of his pants walked over to the 6 ft high fence on the side of the church yard and lifted the man over the fence and dropped him. As he walked away he heard the man call out and as he looked back around he saw, the now very polite drunk looking through a knot hole in the fence. As he listened the man said, “Pastor, if you’ll just hand me my horse over this here fence, I think I’ll be on my way." 

That pastor had to live and act differently than he did when he was lost. He had to walk a different path and that is what Paul was encouraging the Ephesians to do in the chapters we have been looking at.

Review: Christ and The Church

Chapter One – Who We are In Christ

1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Chapter Two - Salvation In Christ

2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Chapter Three – Grow In Christ

3:18 (You) May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 

Then last week in Chapter 4 we began the practical section of the epistle with Christ in our Walk.

4:1-6 Walk In Unity

4:7-16 Walk in Maturity

4:17-32 Walk In Newness

Imitators of the Almighty:

Then Paul says in Eph 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God

The Gk word is μιμητής (mimētḗs) where we get the word mimic and imitate. Paul is telling us to be like our heavenly Father, to follow him, to imitate him. And he adds a qualifier as to how we are supposed to do that. “As dear children.” God is our father and we are his children therefore, it should be natural for us to imitate and follow Him because this is who we are, we are children of God. There should be a family resemblance.

When I was a boy growing up in the same town where my grandparents and dad had lived, people were constantly asking me, “aren’t you Sammy Minefee's boy?  You look just like him.” I didn't try to look like my Dad. I just was like my Dad because I was his son.

That’s what Paul is telling the Ephesians, be like your Abba, Father. We need to have people around us notice the resemblance. Wouldn’t it be great to hear from a lost person, “I can tell, you must be a Christian.” 

That resemblance is seen in our walk. Now Chapter 5 is a continuation of the theme of Christ in Our Walk from Chapter 4 so I couldn’t understand why in 5:1 Paul says, Therefore. “Be ye therefore followers of God” What was the reason for the conclusion. So I looked at the walks of chp 4 and of chp 5 and I say a difference. If I had seen it last week I would have labeled last week’s sermon Christ in our Inward Walk, because as you look at the descriptions, Unity, Maturity and Newnews, you can see that those are inner qualities, but when we come to chapter 5 these walk are outward walks, our life that is seen by the lost.

And the first outward walk is Walking in Love.

Walk In Love – Ephesians 5:2-14

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

Showing God’s Love

The word for love here is the one you would expect, agape, self-giving, sacrificial love. The love that Jesus had for us is the love that is to empower our walk in Christ.

And this love is meant to be seen. It cannot be agape love unless it is a giving, sacrificial love and that can only be true when we are giving or sacrifice to and for others.

I wanted to sing that chorus, we used to sing as teenagers in the southern Baptist church I grew up in. “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes they will know we are Christians by our love.” I didn’t use it because it also says things like We are one in the spirit we are one in the Lord and we pray that someday all unity will be restored” No Baptist can sing that, it was written by a Catholic priest and that is what they would like for all denominations to be gathered back to Rome, well Baptists were never part of that mess and we can’t sing about unity be restored when there never was unity with error, but I still like the part that says, “They will know we are Christians by our love.” Yes they should know that. The lost world should know the love of Christ in us and through us, poured out to them.

Paul also makes sure that the Ephesians, who were former pagans and many of whom worshipped their Gods by in immoral sexual rites, understand what Christian love was not,

Walking in Love as followers and children of God is not anything like the world’s ideas of love.

He lists the world’s corrupted ideas of love.

Fornication: any sex outside of marriage.

Uncleanness: pornography, voyeurism, lust and creating lust in others.

 Covetousness: love of things

 He exhorts them, “Let in not be named among you, as becometh saints.”  Because of who you are, a saint, a sanctified and separated one.

Then he lists the kind of speech that can’t proceed from a mouth controlled by God’s love

 Filthiness: foul mouth

 Foolish talking: being the fool instead of the saint.

 Jesting: dirty jokes

But rather, Paul says, God’s love is expressed by the giving of thanks.

 Your speech should reflect God’s grace and love not the world’s filth and immorality, because someone out in the world is always listening.

He tells them, “This you know” - this is the knowledge of a child of God,

No whoremonger: lover of whores, prostitutes

Nor unclean person: whose inner man is polluted

Nor covetous man, who is an idolater

Has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Let no man deceive you with vain, empty words, God’s wrath comes upon the children of disobedience because of these things. Be not partakers with them.  Literally, Stop being partakers with them.

Love Walker

We as followers and children of God must be different enough in our walk, in our love to make a difference in this lost world.

We are children of God. Be like Him. You should be a supernatural wonder in a world of supermundane sin.  Yet too many times we lose sight of who we are and see only what the world offers.

Peter Marshall describes 20th century Christians in these words: "They are like deep-sea divers encased in suits designed for many fathoms deep, marching bravely forth to pull plugs out of bathtubs."

We are the children of God and we know what is right and what is wrong.  We know that we need to live our life under the banner of truth.  That we need to see that no excuse for worldliness, will stand one day before God.  That our children are watching us, our lost family, friends and neigbors are watching us. We need to wake up to the reality of a world that is dying and going to hell and it doesn’t know the love that you and I know.  We need to realize that the day is fading and night is fast approaching.  We need to see ourselves as the children of God sent forth into this world to change it by the love of Jesus.

Illustration:

Leslie Flynn in Dare to Care Like Jesus tells the following story: "A Christian baroness, living in the highlands of Nairobi, Kenya, told of a young national who was employed as her houseboy. After three months he asked the baroness to give him a letter of reference to a friendly sheik some miles away. The baroness, not wishing the houseboy to leave just when he had learned the routine of the household, offered to increase his pay. The lad replied that he was not leaving for higher pay. Rather, he had decided he would become either a Christian or a Mohammedan. This was why he had come to work for the baroness for three months. He had wished to see how Christians acted. Now he wanted to work for three months for the sheik to observe the ways of the Mohammedans. Then he would decide which way of life he would follow. The baroness was stunned as she recalled her many blemishes in her dealings with the houseboy. She could only exclaim, 'Why didn't you tell me at the beginning!'

Transition: Paul next goes to our outer walk of light

Walk In Light – Ephesians 5:8-14

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

Showing God’s Light

Walk as Children of light, Paul says, take action, live, conduct your life in such a matter that you make a positive, holy, righteous difference, just be the way you live.

He is telling us still to be like our Father. God is light.  Jesus said, "I am the light of the world."  We also should be light as He is light.

The Paul lists Four Elements of Walking In The Light.

vs. 9 Light walkers bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

 All goodness, All righteousness, and All truth.

Vs. 10 Light walkers prove what is acceptable, (what is pleasing) to God.

Vs. 11 Light walkers have no fellowship with but rather reprove unfruitful works of darkness, this the contrast with the fruit of the Spirit.

Vs. 14 Light walkers awake the dead by bringing them to Christ. Wow, isn’t that a supernatural call to duty? As you walk in light you are awaking the dead by showing them Jesus! We as Children of God should go out into the dark cemeteries of sin and set them alight by just walking in.

 Light Walkers

You these things by being who we are, Children of God, walkers in Christ, walkers in love, walkers in light.

You remember the hero of Star Wars, Luke Skywalker. I always thought at was such a cool name, Skywalker, but you have a better one you for are and I are Light walkers. So next time you introduce yourself you have my permission to say, “Hello there, I’m Kris Lightwalker.” You know people are going to be impressed! Of course, if you have to tell people who you are supposed to be as a Christian, somethings not working in your walk. They should just know you are Chuck Lightwalker, LeeOra Lightwalker, Jason Lightwalker.

Isn’t this what Christ said in Matthew 5:14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Illustration: Daniel Webster’s Responsibility to God

At one time, Daniel Webster was considered the greatest of all living Americans. He was outstanding as a statesman, lawyer, orator, scholar, intellectual and political leader. Twenty-five of the nation’s leaders attended a select banquet in his honor.  One man at the banquet asked Mr. Webster, "Sir, what is the greatest thought that ever entered your mind?" Without hesitation, Webster replied, "The greatest thought that ever entered my mind was the thought of my responsibility to God." As he spoke, he wept, excused himself from the banquet, and went outside to get control of his emotions.

If that story is true then I believe Daniel Webster probably was one of the greatest of all Americans at that time, not because of his intellect but because he understood how he was meant to walk as a follower of God.

 Transition: Paul’s final walk is in vss. 15-20

Walk In Wisdom – Ephesians 5:15-20

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;  Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;  Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Showing God’s Wisdom

See then, in light of what has been said, walk circumspectly, walk wisely. Walk in Wisdom. And again Paul list the elements of our walk, our living that would mark it as a path of wisdom. The Wisdom Walkway is marked by…

Vs. 16  Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Buying up time, making use of every opportunity by use it twice once here on earth during our life and then in eternity when we receive the reward for how we literally spent our time.

Vs. 17  Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. You cannot be a wisdom walker unless you know where God wants you walk and what He wants you to do. You can’t be a wisdom walker unless you know the Lord’s will and that is found in and only in, God’s word. If you are wise you will know this book.

Vs. 18  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit. Now here is some real wisdom, don’t be a drunk. Paul uses wine here because it was the most common intoxicant of his time, but you can put anything here that would fill and control you. The follower of God, the child of God, the wisdom walker knows that they should only be controlled and filled by the Holy Spirit. Anything else makes us look and walk like fools.

Vs. 19  Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. I don’t know if Paul was a musician, but he sure understand the connection between God and us through music. He says if you are wise then sing and worship through, three types of music, 1. Psalms, 2 Hymns 3 Spiritual Songs. This probably means that the worship music of the church was changing because it had moved past just the praise songs of Israel found in the book of Psalm. Psalms were usually songs set to stringed instruments, but now Paul also mentions hymns, which meant a song of celebration, and spiritual songs, which speaks of songs that reflected the Christians new life.

Finally in vs. 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wisdom walkers are thanks givers. Truly wise people, know how much they owe to their Lord and Savior and they give thanks always, for all things in His name. In all ways and for all things means you are perpetually thankful.

Wisdom Walker

There are many things in this overloaded, over saturated world of information that tries to convince us what is wise. We have become so inundated with facts, figures and forms that it has become almost impossible to sift through it all and find real wisdom. It truth it was always that way, the world has always tried to drown us in trivia in order to hide from us the truth.

Aren’t you glad God has cut through all that by giving us His Word, the revelation of what is truth and where wisdom may be found?

This is where we come to understand about redeeming time and the eternity that is coming. Here is where we see the will of the Lord. On these pages is where we realize the power and control of God’s Holy Spirit in us. In these chapter and verses is where we learn to praise God and to know why He is worthy of that praise and of our thanks, in all ways and at all times for all things.

Paul speaking to the Corinthians, a city that was renowned for its places of learning, said this in 1 Corinthians 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God...

Later in 1 Corinthians 4:10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ …

The world can’t understand this wisdom, can’t see it as anything but foolishness, but the world thinks lust is love and darkness is light. You as a child of God have found real love, you have seen pure light and you now walk in Christ in Wisdom.

Conclusion:

 What an awesome calling we have been given

Paul began this section of Ephesians by telling us “Walk worthy of the vocation by which you have been called.”

That is quite a walk when you consider what you have been called to. You been called to salvation, called to grow, called to unity, called to maturity, called to a new man every day, called to be, what you are, children of God, followers, disciples, imitators of our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ.

It is a walk that will fill a lifetime and it begins again with the very next step I take and I must determine with each step that I will walk this path in love and light and wisdom as the child of God that I am.

Friday, October 23, 2020

The Seven Stages of Self: Examine Yourself In Your Relationship To God

The Seven Stages of Self

Power Point Link

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Introduction:

The Bible often tell us to examine and judge ourselves, to use our insight and experience to see who we are and where we are in relationship to God and even to ourselves. Below are some of these admonitions.

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? - 2 Corinthians 13:5 

I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. - Psalms 119:59

Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD. - Lamentations 3:40

Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. - Ezekeil 18:28

Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. - Haggai 1:7

For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. – 1 Corinthians 11:31

This study is meant to help us along the path of knowing ourselves by giving 7 stages of self by which we can gauge the person we are in light of God’s Word.

Self-Deception

Expressed:  I am not to blame. I am not at fault and I do not need to change who or what I am. I need no one to save me because I am not lost.

Exhibited:  This is the natural state of man before he is convicted of sin and confronted by the Holy Spirit. Left to themselves, this person will become bitter, hateful and have no hope in this world or in the world to come. Self-deception can often become self-hatred and self-destructive.

Exhortation: Romans 3:10-18

What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways:  And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Example: Adam Genesis 3:11-12

And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

Self-Gratification

Expressed:  I don’t care whose fault it is. I am willing to change but only if I get what I want. I can care for others but only if they meet my needs.

Exhibited: This is the selfish self. In this state only today is important, while everything about this person is centerd on themselves. There is little or no real love for others. This state is reached when we move from self-hating to self-loving without the insight of God’s Word or the leadership of the Holy Spirit. In the end there is no true knowledge of what love is.

Exhortatation: 2 Titus 3:1-7  This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth

 

Example: Samson

Judges 14:1-3 And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife. Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.

Self-Acknowledgment

Expressed: I am responsible for my own life and circumstances. I now realize that I can truly change but only through Christ in my life.

Exhibited: Here we understand  and accept blame, guilt and sin but realize that with repentance there is hope in Jesus Christ. This person has sees themselves as lacking what is necessary for salvation, growth and happiness. They reach outside themselves to God, have been saved and everything about them has the potential for lasting, eternal change.

Exhortation:

Romans 10: 8-13 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Example: Jacob

Genesis 32:9-12, 24-26 And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands. Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.

 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.  And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

Self-Esteem

Expressed: I know what I was but Jesus died for me and my past will not hinder my future. My Father loves me, I have been forgiven and my sins have been forgotten. I am not worthless, or a failure for God has redeemed me.

Exhibited:  This is the Child of God looking with hope and expectation to the future with Jesus as their Savior. This true self-esteem comes to us when we realize I am not worthless in the eyes of God for Jesus gave his life for me.  I have been bought with the priceless gift of God’s own son.

Exhortation: Romans 6:1-11

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Example: Zacheus

Luke 19: 8-10 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Self-Confidence

Expressed: Through Christ I am changing and growing everyday. My Spirit led, Bible directed choices will define my life, protect my family and bless me today and will also bring God’s reward in eternity.

Exhibited:  This saved sinner, has faith and confidence in Christ and through Christ in themself. They look at the future as a positive thing filled with hope. Self-confidence is confidence in the person I am now in Christ.  It is achieved as I walk with Christ in the experiences of life and learn to trust Him more and more.

Exhortation: 2 Tim. 1:7

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Example: Peter & John

Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

Act 4: 13  Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

Self-Empowered

Expressed: I am responsible to God and in the future will be everything He wills me to be.

Exhibited: This person knows themself in Christ and in their duty toward Him. They have begun to see the power of Christ and hear the call of Christ in their life. The peson who is empowered finds great power through an intimate relationship with Christ and it is seen as they serve Him.

Exhortation: Philip. 4:11-13

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Example: Timothy

2Timothy 1:6 6-8 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

Self-Sacrificed

Expressed: I have given myself completely to God and all I am, all I will ever be is completely in His hands. 

Exhibited: This is the believer who has come to a place of sacrifice through the denial of self. They desire God to shape them for His service, no matter the cost. The self-sacrificed person has come to a place of absoulute, unconditional surrender. It is here at the point of their greatest surrender, that the greatest victory is realized.

Exhortation: Romans 12:1-2

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Example: Paul - 2 Timothy 4: 6-8

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 

Conclusion

The encouragement to examine ourselves can’t be fully carried unless we also seek examination outside our own perceptions. Many times we can be blind to the most glaring weaknesses, faults and failures. Part of this growing of ourseleves in relationship to God is to also give ourselves to his searching of our lives. No one knows us better and can bring about the changes we need better than the one who created us.

David knew this and prayed in Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

If we are to move grow from stage to stage, closer and closer to God and the happiness of a fulfilled life, then David’s prayer must also be our own. “Search me, O God.”