Monthly Archives: September 2013

Genesis 8.1-9.17

Title: The Great Recession

Text: Gen 8.1-9.17

The Implications for us:

–       What’s the Main point? Is not the flood, but rather on Noah – the man who is saved by faith. Heb 11.7; He is the 1st man declared righteous in Scripture; he believed; God made him righteous; he lived a blameless life and walked with God; 4 x’s in Ch. 6-7; for over 100 years.

Transition: a person who believes God, is credited righteous and lives a life of obedience to what he believes – because he believes it! He knows it to be true.

Introduction:

Two halves: 150 days each – destruction (picture) then, a picture of new creation:

The Chiastic Structure of the flood by Gordon Wenham as quoted by R Kent Hughes:

a. 7 days of waiting for the flood (7.4)

b. 7 days of waiting for the flood (7.10)

c. 40 days of rain and flood (7.12; 17a)

d. 150 days of water triumphing (7.24)

d. 150 days of water waning (8.3)

c. 40 days of waiting (8.4, 6)

b. 7 days of waiting (8.10)

a. 7 days of waiting (8.12)

What does this mean for us? Wow! How powerful a message this must be for us for the writer to spend so much thought in constructing a storyline with such a pattern. We looked at the 1st half last week; let’s look at the 2nd half this week; rd 8.1

1.     God Remembers Noah (8.1-20)

exp.: 1a is my 1st point; Did God get busy and forget about Noah and his family and the animals? No. When God remembers, it simply indicates that he is acting in his creation. Gen Abraham – 19.29 and delivers Lott; Rachel – 30.22 and she conceives; Israel – Exodus 2.24; Numbers 10.9; It isn’t always good. Sometimes, God remembers people for their evil and he acts against them; Samson – Judges 16.28; Nehemiah 5.19; 6.14; Rev 16.9; 18.5 – remembering Babylon; rd v 1and then comes the action v1b; wind or spirit to blow; has a parallel meaning when you consider Gen 1 where the spirit hovers over the waters; and he records the abatement of the waters – note his careful record of the days; Noah has been in the ark for 150 days – 5 months!

Have you ever been in a storm where you were locked in your home for a few days, week, maybe? Maybe some folks up north would understand; That’s 3-5 days, maybe? Maybe some of you have had to be locked in w/ youth for 12 hours! Man! Noah has been locked up for 150 days with his family!  I wonder if he ever took the time to build a dingy and asked to be put in it and drug behind the boat for a few hours!

Now, the wind caused the abatement of the waters and sometime during that 2nd 150 days, the Ark ran aground on the top of Mt. Ararat. Rd v 3-4; modern day Armenia; there it sat for 2 more months, read v 5; two more months before they even saw the tops of the other peaks around! That’s a long time to be locked up together!

So, here’s another characteristic of Noah we see: His Patience. So, now, after these two months, he waits another 40 days. Rd v 6-12; so he sends out this raven, but the raven doesn’t return. I’m not sure what this means: it went to and fro. But we get the idea that it doesn’t return. Then, he takes a dove which takes three journeys, interspersed with 7 days between them – a total of two weeks. It goes out and comes back, it goes out and comes back with a

So, Noah is patient, he’s obedient, he displays a tremendous faith as he waits for God’s deliverance. There is no record of God’s voice during the voyage. Wow! What patient obedience.

App.: it reminds me of a principle I heard a preacher once pound home to me.Keep doing the last thing God told you to do until you’re told to do the next thing! The boat stopped moving, but Noah’s work wasn’t done. The boat stop moving, but they couldn’t open up the door! Keep doing the last thing God told you to do until you’re told to do the next thing!

app.: so, we see that God is about to act!

a.     The End of the Sailing Adventure; it began back in 7.1 (review)

i.     It rained for 40 days (7.11: in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.)

ii.     It resided on the earth for 110 more days (total 150 days); 7.24; rd 8.1

Transition: So, 1st we have the End of the Sailing Adventure, 2nd we have the…

b.     The Exit of the Sailing Ark

i.     Faith is seen in the releasing of the dove; It receded for 150 days until it was gone; 8.3; the dove affirmed that the water had receded and the plant life was coming back. I don’t know how high Mt. Ararat is, but for a dove to fly back up the mountain is pretty cool.

Now, there is some beautiful imagery going on here. A raven, an unclean animal is released. It’s expendable. Next, a dove, the symbol of beauty and peace is sent out. It’s a clean animal, it can be eaten, it can be used in sacrificial ceremonies. The going out and the coming back is a beautiful picture. And so we come to the end in v 13-14; so, 1 year and 10 days later, God dried up the earth. Then God speaks. Rd v 15-19; we see Noah and the animals exiting the Ark. Noah, like a 2nd Adam. If I were a movie director, I’d film the flood in B&W and then when the doors to the Ark, I’d switch to ‘living color’! Much like the Wizard of Oz! There are animals of all colors; plants, trees and such with vivid, beautiful colors. It was glorious, much like what Adam must have experienced in the garden.

app.: Now, here we see another characteristic of Noah – His passion; because the 1st thought of Noah after he exits the Ark is Godward! Rd v 20; after theend of the sailing adventure and the Exit of the Sailing Ark, Noah erects a Sacrificial Altar.

c.     The Erecting of a Sacrificial Altar

i.     Sacrifices offered to God; he took some of every clean animal and offered them to Yahweh. Why? Up to this time, every thought of every person and every inclination was always evil. Noah offers a sacrifice to the LORD and even though humans are still evil, God makes a Covenant with Noah:

And this is the 2nd part of our study tonight…

2.     God Responds to Noah (8.21-9.17)

exp.: in this passage, we see God’s beauty through his grace and goodness, his blessing and his covenant; rd 8.21-22; So, 1st we see his Grace displayed through a promise

a.     Grace and Mercy: never again! Even though you and I are sinners and we see the world around us imploding with sin, God stays his hand to you and me because of his promise. That’s Grace. Getting what we don’t deserve; Mercy is not getting what we do deserve. 2nd, we see God’s Blessing

b.     Blessing: rd 9.1; be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth; Children are a blessing of God! Now, note the change between Adam; rd v 2-4;

i.     Fear came after the fall; but now, meat is normal part of the human diet; except, we can’t eat meat 4b; I think what is being communicated is that we’re different than the animals; have you ever seen animals attack another animal and then feed on that animal? People are to be different; WE find this commandment carried through even to Acts 15; v 20; v 28, 29; the reason is simply respect for life and even more, respect to the giver of life.

ii.     Furthermore, blood would be required as atonement for sacrifice. Therefore, it would take on value and importance.

iii.     Added to this was the picture of what took place after Adam and Eve left the garden. Do you remember Cain and Abel? We saw evil progress throughout the next couple of chapters as men came to a place where they had no concern for life. Murder was rampant. It wasn’t to be that way anymore. Rd v 5-7; That is poetic; we will give account for the shedding of human blood. Even if animals kill humans, that animal shall be put to death. The Hebrew communicates this with force. From what I understand, killing another human, is like killing your brother – so the Hebrew communicates. Homicide, become fratricide. That is how serious it is to God. Grace & Mercy; Blessing; and now…

c.     Covenant: rd v So God sets his bow in the sky as a sign of this precious promise; the covenant is in v 11; The sign of the covenant is in v 12-13;

Conclusion: Rainbows are so beautiful. When do they appear?

–       This covenant is for all people and all animals

–       This Covenant is for all time.

This Covenant can never be broken, because God is the one who makes it.

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Acts 9.10-18; 22.12-16

Title: 5 Steps to becoming a person God uses.

Text: Acts 9.10-18; 22.12-16

Introduction: Alister Begg tells the story of a lawyer with the last name Odd. Struggled with his name. Oddball, odd boy, oddyit, odd man. It was such a struggle, that when he died, he had specific instructions that his name was not to be put on his tombstone, but rather just the phrase: Here rests an honest lawyer. When people would walk through the cemetery, they would stop and look at his tombstone and say: That’s odd.

Some people just can’t escape their past.

History: Saul of Tarsus had been doing his best to stamp out the church. A zealous Pharisee, educated by what standards we would say today was a completed Master’s degree, was studying Law under the famed Gamaliel. As a young man, he was persecuting believers. His most famous, or should I say infamous endeavor against the church is at the stoning of Stephen.

In this message today we’ll look at a part of this incredible story, but not so much the story of Saul, as the story of a man who was used by God in Saul’s life. This month my sermon series has been the focus of Missions. The title of this series is Missions: A foundation. Three columns: Prayer; Obedience; Willingness; Acts 9.10-18; 22.12-15

Transition: concerning willingness and an open heart, I’ve found 5 steps in the life of Ananias that he went through in being used of God in the life of Paul. Therefore, I’ve entitled my message 5 Steps in Becoming a Person God Uses.

Step 1: The 1st step we see in this passage is the calling of Ananias. rd v 10;

1.     God Calls:

a.     He calls him by name: Ananias

i.     “here I am” is lit.: Behold me, Lord. ἰδοὺ ἐγώ, κύριε; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph to his dad, Moses to God, Samuel to the Lord.

app.: the kind of man God uses is a man who is open to the Call of God. I wonder if too often we’re quick to say, “God use me,” but never really open to the idea of being used. We want God to use us, but rather on our terms and on our turf. We get to pick the people and we get to pick the places. Note the Characteristic of a man used by God: WillingBehold me, Lord; Willing to go, willing to serve, willing to sacrifice.

Oh, to hear God’s people come to church on Sunday morning with this on their lips: Here I am.

ii.     V. 10 says: A “certain” disciple; so, he was a follower of Jesus; At this point we have to go to Acts 22.12 to find out more about this man.

iii.     Devout according to the Law; before Acts 15;

iv.     Favor amongst the Jews, in spite of being a believer – the Jewish community respected his devotion to God.

app.: Finding the favor of God and man isn’t a quick ascent. It appears that when one does justly, he loves mercy and walks humbly with His God – that man will find favor with God and his fellow man. Might I venture to say also that this doesn’t occur in a day or at one event? This takes years of faithfulness. It is earned. As well, you might note that even a man’s enemies will respect him, too. That is to say, they may hate him for his beliefs in God, but they will respect his integrity.

b.     The kind of man God uses: the one who is open and willing, and 2nd, the man who practices what he preaches; oh, yes, God can use anyone for anything. Think of Pharaoh. But it appears, time and again, that the vessel God chooses and uses is the clean, available vessel.

Transition: So, Step 1, we see the call of God upon the life of Ananias. Step 2, we see God’s Command to Go. Look back to 9.11

2.     God Commands: the 1st command is…

a.     Go  – lit.: having risen, Go; a “passive, imperative” which means he doesn’t go alone and he doesn’t go on his own strength – He goes in God. App.: we, too, go in the power of the LORD

b.     Specifics

i.     To the street called Straight

ii.     To the house of Judas; the 2nd command is…

c.     Look for (ζητέω): seek; Rd v 11b; Luke 19.10: the purpose statement of Jesus – For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. You ever think about that?

i.     Jesus said his purpose was to seek and save the lost.

ii.     We are the body of Christ.

iii.     We fulfill his purpose when we seek and save the lost.

1.     I’m proud of what we’re doing as a church.

a.     UUPG –

b.     UPG

c.     That’s what we’re doing as a body…

2.     How is it going for you as an individual?

a.     My Hope for America

Transition: Let me offer you this encouragement – we want to help you in anyway we can to fulfill your calling from God. But there’s more here than just the call and command. Once he calls and commands, he often confirms, like he does here with Ananias. Step 3, God Confirms;

3.     God Confirms:

exp.: rd v 12;

a.      Saul of Tarsus

i.     he is praying

ii.     he has seen a vision, too;

App.: God works in the lives of others, confirming in us His call and His Command to go;

1.     of Ananias – he calls him by name; 2nd, he gets specific…

2.     laying hands on him

3.     recieving his sight; Now, we’ve got to go back to Acts 22 for a little more insight to what happened. Listen to Paul: rd 22.12-16 12 “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,13 came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him.

exp.: Greek is lit.: Brother Saul, look up. And at that hour I looked up and saw him. That’s too cool! The word ‘came’ there tells us that Ananias did as he was commanded. Next, we see that Ananias is given a special message for him.14 And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; 15 for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard.

App.: And isn’t that really all our testimony is? Our experience in Christ? But look, Ananias doesn’t just tell him what has happened to him and why, but he offers Saul the opportunity to surrender his life to Christ. Here is the challenge; rd v 16;

16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’

Transition: Go back to ch. 9; God Calls Ananias, he then commands him to go and search for Saul of Tarsus at the house of one named Judas. But Ananias pauses. And here we see another side of the Father – Step 4: His compassion in our weakness.

4.     God’s Compassion in a Crisis of Belief –

exp.: Crisis of belief is a term I’ve taken from Henry Blackaby – author of Experiencing God. If you’ve not heard, Henry Blackaby went missing last Friday. It turns out that he had a heart attack which left him confused and disoriented. He was finally located and is in the hospital last I saw. Please pray for him and his family; Rd v 13;

a.     Ananias seems confused or at least concerned: But I have heard (sometimes, What we are most aware of doesn’t match what God is calling us to do); He was probably not one of the fugitives, but has heard from those who have fled Jerusalem that Saul:

i.     He has done much evil (funny how people do evil in the name of God);

1.     the bombing this weekend in Nairobi, Kenya. 59 dead; 175 injured

2.     Suicide bomber bombs church in Pakistan 52 dead; 100+ wounded

ii.     He’s here to do more! Rd v 13-14; he’s under the authority to do evil in your name

But, look at God’s compassion at Ananias’ confusion, concern: rd v 15;

b.     The command is reiterated: Go – but this time, God is patient and let’s Ananias in on His plan.

1.     ὅτι – in order that; because

2.     γὰρ – cause or reason; I will show him…

I find this interesting that his suffering is the venue by which he will present the gospel. You and I know that it was through his suffering as a prisoner that we have so much of the NT.

app.: Suffering: Too often we run from suffering. We protect our kids from suffering and really, suffering is what drives us. Maybe your suffering will be a platform to present the Love and Grace of God. I don’t know. This stage of Acts is the stage where so many believers were scattered from Jerusalem throughout the known world. And once these believers were relocated, the gospel was preached. Listen, I don’t want to suffer and I don’t want you to suffer. But, I wonder if that might be the very way God’s message is communicated?

Question: why is it that we worry so much about that which we have no control over? Is not God in charge? Then let him be in charge. God does for Ananias what Paul tells Timothy God has done in his life: For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

2nd app.: so often, when people are suffering, God is at work in their lives. When they come to you or you’re sent to them, don’t bow to the PC god! Tell them how they can get their lives together! I’m so glad that Ananias didn’t think to himself that Saul was Jewish and Ananias was Christian and therefore, in order not to offend him, he’d just go help him get back to Jerusalem. He didn’t just buy him a bus ticket back to Jerusalem. He didn’t just rent him a room for the night or send him to the food pantry in town.

Transition: So, what does Ananias do… and this is step 5: he complies with God’s command.

5.     Ananias’ Compliance

exp.: rd v 17a; I’ve labeled this:

a.     Making Tracks: Gk lit.: went out from and went into (moving forward); this matches God’s 1st command: getup and go!

i.     You can’t stay where you are and go with God, too! Max Lucado?

ii.     This might mean making changes to your life right where you are.

iii.     This might mean moving – literally.

b.     Ministry –

i.     Laying on of hands: v. 12; rd 22.12-16; “look up”; and “looking up, I saw him.” rd 9.17b;

ii.     Think about Saul’s predicament. He was blinded by a bright light; rd 22.6; a light brighter than the bright sun at noon! A voice has spoken to him. This is an arrogant man who is broken. He has to be led to Damascus by those who are with him. He is praying and seeking God’s direction. This moment has been so overwhelming for him. He’s broken and ready for God to do his work. Enter Ananias!

c.     Message – He tells him about Jesus – he challenges him to call upon his name. rd 22.14-16; this is why we go; yes, we go to serve; yes, we go to minister; But what good does it do to feed those in need, to meet the person at the point of their need, if we don’t tell them about eternity? I believe God uses our ministry for this purpose – to share a message from God.

Observations & Implications:

1.     God is at work in someone’s life. It might be yours or someone near you.

2.     Some people are trying to escape their pasts with no real future. God’s been preparing them for an encounter with you. Are you ready? Are you willing?

3.     Questions:

a.     Do you have an ear open to hear the call of God?

b.     Do you have a will that is obedient to the command of God?

c.     Do you have a life that is a living sacrifice in service for his pleasure?

I can’t answer those questions for you – only you can. Will you be honest and answer these questions before the Father?

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Genesis 6.9-7.24

Title: The Ark & The Flood

Text: Gen 6.9-7.24

Introduction: What has happened…

  • God’s perception – he sees the wickedness of man; 6.5; we’re bad, but not at this place! Two main areas here:
    • The men were violent and vicious
    • Sensuality was rampant
    • There was a combination of both; v 4
  • God’s pain – he’s sorry and regrets – godly qualities man has
  • God’s plan – wipe ‘em out! God will wipe out the entire pre-dilluvian period. Tonight, we’ll look at this even in greater detail;
    • We see here how a soul is saved from destruction
    • We see the kind of a person who saved – he’s not perfect!

Note the Chiasm:

1st half 150 day rise of the waters – a ‘de-creation’

2nd half 150 day recession of the waters – a ‘re-creation’

Noah is a refurbished/revived Adam

–       both walked with God

–       both are recipients of the promised blessing

–       both are made caretakers of the animals

–       both father three sons

–       both are workers of the soil

–       both sin from the fruit of the tree

–       both father a wicked son under a curse

  • Cain
  • Ham

Moses also had some parallels to Noah

–       Ark; Exodus 2.3 (basket); both pitch covered

–       Grace;

–       The Red Sea a microcosm of the flood; God preserving his people

The Implications for us: this is a carefully constructed chronicle with massive theological implications.

–       What’s the Main point? It’s not the flood; it’s not the judgment; it’s a story about a man who is saved in a lost world!

–       How can I preach the gospel from this text? Grace; God’s favor; righteousness (6.9; 7.1); judgment;

–       How does this text help me know and love God?

I.            Three characteristics of Noah: V 9-10; righteous, blameless, walked with God;

  1. Righteous: not because he was perfect, not of his own accord, he was righteous because he believed God. Gen. 15.6; not works, not inherent, only because he believed God; Heb. 11.7; By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. So, as a righteous man, one who believed God, he is…
  2. Blameless – not perfect, but blameless. Just like Abraham he is credited as righteous because he believes, trusts God. 3rd, he
  3. Walks with God, like Adam, like Enoch.

app.: a faithful man, just the opposite of the corrupt and evil men we see earlier in Ch. 6; and here in v 11-12;

  1. Corrupt
  2. Violent

exp.: 2 Peter 2.5 – Noah was also a preacher of righteousness; κῆρυκος; herald, whose duty it is to make public proclamations; not a popular thing to do!

app.: Military Chaplains have been told by the NAMB that they cannot participate, perform, etc. at gay ceremonies. Two choices, resign or find another sponsor; Chaplains in the military can’t tell gays they’re in sin; Counselors in California can’t tell gays their in sin! We’re not where Noah was, but we’re moving there quickly!

II.         The Ark of the Covenant

  1.      Salvation by floatation:
  • God speaks and his message is framed with judgment.

exp.: rd v 13; 17; The size of this thing would have been unbelievable. Contemplate with me: no tractors, no sawmills, no cranes, just Noah and his sons. For 300 years! 1.5 football fields in length;

  • God speaks and a covenant of salvation is established.

exp.: rd v 18-21; we’ll see the specifics at the end of the flood in 9.8-17; Contemplate with me Noah’s Obedience.

  • God speaks and Noah obeyed!

exp.: During the long century of building; rd v 22; during the gathering of the animals rd 7.1-5 (rd v 9); when the floods began; rd 7.11-16; Compare: Gen 2.16; 3.11; 3.17; There appears to a compare and contrast going on here;

app.: this is truly amazing to me! consider his obedience:

  • Building the ark required planning, engineering, organization, strategy – for a century!
  • When the 450ft of foundation was laid, can you imagine the jokes? Think of how many jokes we come up with for a president’s 4 or 8 years in office. Can you imagine 100 years!
  • 450ft long is hard to hide. 75 ft wide- a football field is 53’ wide. It was basically the height of a 4 or 5 story building. It would be hard to hide!
  • Beyond the ridicule and derision, the wicked, evil generation must have demonized him! Remember 2 Peter 2.5; His explanations for why he was doing what he was doing must have outraged these people. The only explanation for his survival is that God protected him.
  • I wonder, since they couldn’t kill him, because God was obviously protecting him, did they persecute him and his family in any way? Did they mess with his work, wood, tools, his mind?

Transition: Yet, through it all we read: Noah was obedient to all that God commanded him.

    2.     Death by Deluge.

exp.: rd v 17-20; here is a picture of a violent, torrential flood. Colorado has nothing on this! It’s like a gnat in a washing machine! Here we see our 1st sub-point:

  • This flood is Universal: There are some who believe this flood was geographically specific. Here is my problem with that.
    • The Bible doesn’t say that. It communicates all and everything. 6.7, 12, 13; 7,
    • The OT doesn’t contradict a universal flood.
    • The NT writers concur with a universal flood.
    • Jewish scholars through rabbinical tradition have held to a universal flood.
    • Church History held to a universal flood.
    • Indeed, only in the 19th century do we find contradiction.
    • This death is Universal; save Noah and his family, save the animals God spared, all of creation is destroyed. There are no survivors! Rd v 21-24; Do you think there were people who were angry with God because they hadn’t been warned? 1 Peter 3.20; for 100 plus years God was patient with men. Listen to Peter in 2 Peter 3.5-7;

Transition: So, what then is the message?

Is it about a big flood? No, not so much;

Is it cute story for children with animals and boats and rainbows? No, not so much.

I think this story is a message of hope for those who need to know how they can be saved. Who can be saved? It is the righteous people, who by their obedient lifestyles, believe that what God tells them is true. You know they believe it because their lives prove it.

Observations & Implications:

  1. Hebrews 11.1: Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Doesn’t that describe Noah? Does that describe you? Are you living your life in obedience –  in the face of ridicule and derision and possibly persecution?
  2. Hebrews 11.6: And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
  3. Hebrews 11.7: By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

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Quandary and a Mountain Goat

Image
This past month, Lisa and I spent some time hiking. I actually got a chance to summit a couple of 14ers (4-14ers, 1-sub, and we drove up Pike’s Peak!). When I got to the top of Quandary Peak, I met a mountain goat. So, I thought I’d share a couple of photos. You’ll see him to my 3 o’clock, behind me about 40 yards. The other photo is an close up shot. Image

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Acts 2-4

Title: Missions @ Home

Text: Acts 2-4

CIT: The NT Church was active in Mission work at home.

CIS: Missions really begins right where you are.

Introduction: Last week I began a sermon series on Missions. Specifically, this month I’ll be dealing with Missions: A Foundation. So what characteristics can be identified in a mission foundation?

Prayer (Mark 4.26-29) – the parable of the farmer who works, but leaves the harvest to the Father; we work in the physical realm like it all depends on us, but we must work in the spiritual realm by spiritual matters – prayer.

Obedience (Today) – Faithfulness and obedience continue the process of a strong foundation. This morning I want to identify seven (7) markers in the early church where faithfulness and obedience were demonstrated in their mission work at home. We find these markers in Acts, Chapters 2-4. The 1st marker is really more like bookends to these passages. They’re two separate events found in 2.1-4 and 4.31; read them; Marker #1:

 

Mission work at home:

  1. 1.     Is started with a movement of the Holy Spirit. (2.1-13)

exp.: Jesus had told them this would happen; Think about this for a moment: are there promises that you and I have from Jesus?

  • I will never leave you nor forsake you.
  • Lo, I am with you always…
  • Where two or more are gathered in my name…
  • Ask and it will be given, seek and you shall find, knock and the door…

2 Peter 1: His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. “His divine power has granted to us his precious and very great promises!” Q: Are we being obedient in patient awareness? As we gear up for missions at home and abroad… Let those two words echo in your mind, patient awareness. Rd 2.12-13; the work of God is evident to those who are watching!

app.: They may believe, they may mock, but they’ll be aware…

Transition: Mission work @ home is started (and sustained by the Holy Spirit). Marker #2: Mission Work @ home…

  1. 2.     Is established on the Word of God. (2.14-41)

exp.: we don’t have time to read every verse, but Peter’s sermon is replete with Scripture. You may notice that from the quotations, how they’re indented; basically he says: this may seem odd to you, but God told us this day would come; rd v 22-24 – that’s the gospel! He then quotes more Scripture to strengthen his message! Rd v 36;

  • He tells them what they need to hear in v 36, then
  • He tells them what they need to do in v 37, 38

* all from Scripture.

app.: that is so often too hard for us to do; we fear hurting people’s feelings; it’s not politically correct; They need to hear that:

  • God had a plan
  • God put that plan into play
  • Jesus was and is that plan
  • Now, they need to respond

ill.: I’ve only had a couple of times when sharing that someone asked me a question like v. 37, what shall we do. The best was a couple who was visiting our home. She had been reading the book, Left Behind and had many questions about Revelation. Our families had dinner together, then we sat in the living room. I said, you had some questions for me? She replied: well, it really all boils down to one question. How can I know for sure that I won’t be left behind? Boom!

Application: As the Spirit moves in our lives, we must be attentive to opportunities to share Christ. When the Holy Spirit has gone before us, the doors will just open up. Listen, you don’t have to be smart, you don’t have to be witty – just be faithful in sharing God’s Word.

Transition: because Mission work @ home is started with a movement of the Holy Spirit, is established in the Word of God and…

  1. 3.     Is validated in the fellowship of the believers. (2.42-47)

ill.: Lyle Skills said in the New Member’s class yesterday that we invite guests to our Business Meetings! We do this because our QBM are filled with laughter and excitement and warm fellowship.

exp.: These folks in Jerusalem are watching these weirdoes closely and what do they see? They see the validation of what they’ve been preaching in their lives! Well, What were they doing? Rd v 42

  1. They Devoted themselves to each other

i.     Discipleship

ii.     The Fellowship – the fellowship is the group, not an activity

iii.     The breaking of bread – that’s an activity.

iv.     Prayers

v.     Ministry to the body

  1. Signs and Wonders
  2. Shared their belongings as people had need

Summary in v 46f:

  1. Worshipping together
  2. Fellowshipping together
  3. Attitude
  4. Blessing
  5. Additions

 

Transition: Mission work at home is started with a movement of the Holy Spirit, is established in the Word of God and is validated in the fellowship of the believers. Plus, Mission work at home

  1. 4.     Is initiated when you care about those in need around you. (3.1-26)
  • The Lame Beggar

exp.: rd v 1; so they’re basically doing what they normally do at this time; rd v 2-4; I think it’s interesting that our normal response is to look the other way. We pull up to a red light and we choose not to make eye contact, hoping that they won’t approach. If they do, we simply keep our eye on the light, or on something in our car, etc. Those days were different: family and friends would help, no govt. assistance. But let’s not focus on that. Here’s what I want you to see. Ministry can only begin to happen when we actually see the needs. When people are content, for the most part, they don’t appear to me to seek for God. Now, I don’t like making broad, brush-stroke statements, because you can always find an example that doesn’t fit the mold; however, with that being said, God is usually at work in someone’s life, drawing them to himself through their circumstances. That is when it seems to me that people are most receptive. We must be sensitive to that. We must understand that God has been at work in their lives before we even say hello. Then, as God has been moving them to where He wants them, he has also been moving us to a place where we can be used. But that won’t happen if we look the other way.

Peter says he doesn’t have money to give, but he has something else very special and he offers it to this man. The man is healed. But that’s not the end of the story; rd v 9-12; Now, with eyes open, Peter and John see that God is giving them another opportunity. Peter once again presents the gospel. At this time, however, we don’t see a record number of people getting saved. We will in a few moments, but for Peter and John, they apparently don’t get to see the fruit because their presentation is interrupted by the priests, the temple guard, and the Sadducees. Rd v 4.1-3; I’m guessing, that because they’ve been arrested and put behind bars for the night, they don’t know what is happening outside the place they’re locked up in. But look at what happens; rd 4.4;

app.: It might work that way in your life as you begin to obey God in Mission @ Home. You might not see the fruit of your labor, but nevertheless, take advantage of the moments God gives and then trust that he’s using you. You see, God used them to touch the beggar, but also to touch the crowd. And, that’s the 2nd sub-point.

  • The Crowd that was stirred

Transition: Mission work at home is started with a movement of the Holy Spirit, is established in the Word of God and is validated in the fellowship of the believers. Plus, Mission work at home is initiated when you care about those around you. But there is a 5th marker, and that is Mission work at home is…

  1. 5.     Is experienced when you’re willing to take a bold stand for Christ. (4.1-22)

exp.: and that’s what happens to the disciples. They’re locked up overnight. They’ve got time to think about what they’re going to say. Rd v 5-10

  • If you experience success in ministry, blame Jesus! Let’s be honest here, you and I both know you didn’t do this, there has to be another explanation. There is, it’s all Jesus! But there’s a 2nd action you should take…
  • If you experience success in ministry, build upon it! rd v11-12; I love this passage – there is no other name by which you must be saved! Talk about bold! They’re speaking to the religious leaders who just a few weeks ago killed the Savior. You’d think that might shut them up! Which brings me to my 3rd sub-point…the 3rd action you should take.
  • If you experience success in ministry, be bold! Rd v 17-20;

app.: isn’t that really what ministry is? It’s simply telling others what Christ has done in your life, telling them what Christ has done for their lives, and the hope that you now have because of that work.

Transition: Mission work at home is started with a movement of the Holy Spirit, is established in the Word of God, it is validated in the fellowship of the believers, it is initiated when you care about those around you. And it is experienced when you’re willing to take a bold stand for Christ. Sixth, Mission work @ home…

  1. 6.     Is strengthened with cooperation in prayer. (4.23-31)

exp.: Now, this was my message last week; I basically pleaded with you to continue praying for our mission work. Three areas to be praying now,

  1. UUPG – in **********
  2. NBDF – church plant her in Tyler (a UPG)
  3. My Hope for America – Nov. 9th, 6:30 pm at your house.

How to pray for mission work at home:

  • Praise God – rd v 23-28; no matter what happens or how things turn out, God is sovereign and in charge! So praise him.
  • Pray for boldness: rd v 29; no matter what happens or how things turn out, pray that God would grant us the boldness needed to share his truths.
  • Pray to be used by God: Use us Lord to display your power and your glory; rd v 30;

transition: Mission work at home is started with a movement of the Holy Spirit, is established in the Word of God, it is validated in the fellowship of the believers, it is initiated when you care about those around you, it is experienced when you’re willing to take a bold stand for Christ and is strengthened with cooperation in prayer and finally, Marker number 7, Mission work @ home is…

  1. 7.     Is possible when we work together. (4.32-37)

exp.: this final passage declares the unity within the body. They worked together to ensure that every need was met.

  • We can tell the world Jesus loves them, but if they don’t see us loving each other, it sends a message of contradiction. Rd v 34a;

Observations & Implications:

  1. Faithfulness and Obedience are seen. They’re not just words we throw out…
  2. As we look at the church of the NT, we see the church we should be…
  3. The gospel is not just spoken, it’s demonstrated. Good news isn’t just heard, it’s experienced – that’s what makes it so good!
  4. Remember God has a plan; this passage clarified that twice for us (2.23; 28); God’s working that plan, and we get to be a big part of it!

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Filed under Acts, Scripture, Sermons

Genesis 6.1-8

WEBS: 11 September 2013

Title: Going From Bad to Worse

Text: Genesis 6.1-8

Introduction: Enoch (5.21); how many generations pass before they begin to deteriorate spiritually? From Enoch on, there is a head-first dive in to depravity. How quickly people forget God’s goodness!

Transition: that’s what we’ll see today.

1.     The Degeneration of Man: (1-4)

Ø    Marriage is devalued, watered-down; v 1-2;

exp.: rd v1-2; short easy explanation:

·      Chapter 4.17-22 gives the ungodly genealogy of Cain and Chapter 5 gives the godly lineage of Seth. So, context might lead you to believe that these are the two groups: godly line, taking on ungodly wives and producing ungodly offspring. That’s the easiest explanation.

·      I’ve also heard, but disagree with Kings marrying subjects/peasants.

·      But, there is the miraculous, the unexplainable by human intelligence.

o   Look at the link between fallen angels and the flood

§  1 Peter 3.19-20 – allusion to Christ preaching upon his death “to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.” BTW; the Gk word for spirits (pneumata) is used in the bible to describe supernatural beings – here “fallen angels” in Gen 6;

§  2 Peter 2.4-5, 9: references the same fallen angels in the context of the flood, as Peter warns that God will also hold the unrighteous for judgment.

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;… then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.

·      We find a similar reference in Jude 6: And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—

·      Added to this, there are many ancient texts which teach this doctrine:

o   1 Enoch, The book of Jubilees, LXX, the writings of Philo & Josephus, the DSS;

o   Early Christian scholars like Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen.

o   Furthermore, The OT does declare sons of God to be human, most often, it is a reference to angels; Job 1.6; 2.1; 38.6; Daniel 3.25

o   The NT refers to demons as craving for bodies: Mk 5.11-13; Luke 8.31-33; 11.24-26;

·      So, It’s possible that the sons of God were fallen angels who demonically, through possession, took over male bodies for the purpose of fulfilling their lusts. I say possession, because of the previous verses and Luke 20.34-36 says angels cannot marry nor procreate.

Now, some may say this is a hard teaching. I agree, but isn’t some of our theology difficult. How was Jesus formed in Mary’s womb? Did not the H.S. come upon her? Lk 1.35ff;

·      Note the similar wording in the Hebrew between Gen 3.6 & 6.2; Here is a picture of unmitigated lust for an object (Eve the fruit; fallen angels human bodies);

This raises a question: why? Why would these humans desire to intermarry with fallen angels? The answer might be found in the next verse, v 3. Maybe, just maybe, Their lives were long, but they desired immortality. This complicity by the parents to give their daughters, I think, demonstrates how far their culture had fallen. These weren’t proper marriages. These weren’t ordained of God! you may ask how could a dad do this? Well, we find dad’s doing this in the cultic worship before, during and after Jesus’ time. Dad’s gave their daughters to the temple to be prostitutes. That’s depraved.

Next we see, man’s life span is cut short;

Ø    The Life span of man is shortened; v 3; as I mentioned before, the goal was probably extending their long lives to immortality.

o   God shortens the span from hundreds of years to 120; roughly translated, 1/7 of the original time span.

o   Notice though, it doesn’t happen right away. Noah – rd 9.29; 11.10-26; It appears to decline through the generations.

o   Notice then Abraham – 175 years; Isaac 180 years; Jacob 147 years; Joseph 110 years (Gen 50.26); Moses 120 years (Deut. 34.7); Joshua 110 years (24.29). Aaron is the only one who actually lives long than 120 years from Moses on – 123 years (Numbers 33.39).

Ø    Violent men become idolized:  

exp.: v 4; Nephilim lit.: fallen ones; Older translations use the word Giants because that is the meaning in Numbers 13.33 when the Israelites refused to enter the land because they were scared. They said their were giants in the land. Indeed, the offspring of fallen angels and daughters of men might have created a ‘giant’ species. These cannot be the same people in the land, because of the flood. So, who were they?

o   The mighty men of old, men of renown. Note in v 4: the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. There is an implication that this is done by violence and force.

o   We’ve seen throughout history where men have forced women to become their slaves. Indeed, that is a ministry that Julieanne has been a big part of. She’s helped, or tried to help, women leave the bondage of slavery and drugs to find freedom and a new start.

app.: Can you draw some comparisons to our society and culture today? Have we not diluted marriage and changed the definition? How has the media played a role? How has sports played a role? MMA/WWF; football; boxing; the steroid scandals?

Let me ask: who is in control of this degeneration? Eph. 6.12

Transition: 1st we see the Degeneration of man, now we see the depravity of man at it’s lowest!

2.     The Depravity of Man (5)

exp.: What did God say when he created the heavens and the earth (1.9, 18, 21, 25) and how did he conclude in v 31? Now, not the stark contrast of v. 5; rd v 5; note: every, only, continually; also, every intention lit.: is every forming; this is a metaphor for a potter who is in the act of molding and shaping his vessel; Von Rad’s commentary says: It means even the reflections of fantasy, the rising and freely formed movements of the will were ‘only evil continually’. There is no remorse, no repentance – only total depravity.

Transition: The Degeneration of Man, the Depravity of Man and now, the Divine Judgment of God.

3.     The Divine Judgment of God (6-7)

exp.: Notice 1st,

Ø    God’s Grief: rd v 6; compare w/ 1 Samuel 15.29; Listen to R. Kent Hughes:  Though God’s eternal joy and happiness cannot be disturbed, he is not a disinterested observer of the human scene. One of the marks of personality is feeling and here in Genesis we read that God’s heart was filled with pain. One of my commentaries said that this word is filled with human emotion, “a mixture of rage and bitter anguish.”

Ø    God’s Plan: rd v 7; His plan: erase what’s there and start over; God would erase all that exists, except for one small part to start all over again with; The result of sin, the consequence of sin will reap it’s full benefits. The Human race now was beyond repair in it’s current state and the best course of action was complete annihilation. Except for one thing: the grace of God.

4.     The Divine Grace of God (8)

exp.: God doesn’t do things half way; Just as judgment will be poured out full measure, so is God’s grace; rd v 8; Noah found – ‘grace’; rd v 9; Noah was like Enoch, he walked with God! Please note: Noah was a sinner like the rest of mankind; Noah was a wretched man, like the rest of mankind. Noah, like us, is saved by grace and not by any righteousness (v9) of his own! He wasn’t saved because he built a boat; he was saved by grace. He wasn’t saved by his righteousness; he was saved by grace.

Now, today, we don’t fear a flood like the one in Noah’s day; however, we do fear the flood brought about by the consequence of our own sin. We need God’s grace today, too. We are a sinful people:

Observations & Implications:

1.     Romans 3.10-12; our souls are condemned in word and deed; rd v 13-14; our words condemn us; rd v 15-17; our deeds condemn. We need God’s grace.

2.     Hear the words of Jesus for our time: Matt 24.37-39

3.     We need God’s Grace: Ephesians 2.8-9; Titus 3.5-7Image

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Filed under Genesis, Scripture, W.E.B.S.