Tag Archives: Discipleship

Jude 1-2

Title: Jude: An Introduction

Text: Jude 1-2

Introduction: Start recording; Let’s pray:

  1. We as human beings have fears that shape us and sometimes lead us. They shouldn’t, but we let them. You have fears. I have fears. You know some of my But just in case you didn’t know about this one, it’s the fear that someone might sneak in and lead others astray through their deceptive leadership or power. Another fear is that I should fail in protecting the church against unhealthy doctrine. A healthy church is so hard to achieve and it is so easy to be led astray. I have to say that it is the most wonderful feeling laying my head down on my pillow at night with the knowledge that our church isn’t perfect, but she is healthy. As I read the NT, I see that it was a constant battle for Paul and the writer of Hebrews and Timothy and Barnabas and Jude and Peter. That battle was against false doctrines and false teachers.
  2. That battle still rages today. I see churches rejoicing over the SCOTUS recent decision to redefine marriage and the family. They’re having wedding celebrations and embracing what the Word of God has clearly rejected. We were reminded this past Wednesday in the Truth Project that God has given us His design in who He is. From marriage to family to all areas of the social order, God has placed his divine imprint on them all. Satan’s goal is to destroy that image – distort that image and replace it with disorder and dysfunction.
  3. And so we must guard against the things that can destroy us and we must work to protect it – like a marriage. A couple will set up boundaries to protect their marriage. And so, we act in like manner. We must set up boundaries to protect the bride of Christ.

To lighten this heavy message, Jude ‘bookends’ his letter with this focus upon their safety in Christ. : v1 and v24; to those who are kept at this moment – and are being kept until the day we are presented blameless to the Father. Ladies and Gentlemen, that is a sermon all to itself! Baptists call this the perseverance of the saints. And we take no credit for it, as Jude says, it is Christ who does the keeping. He keeps us safe.

This safety, this security, this assurance we have, comes with a better understanding of just what it means to be a Christian. The phrase “in Christ” doesn’t appear until after the gospels. It appears for the 1st time in Acts 24.24: 24 After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. Then, ‘in Christ’ appears 90 more times. It is a term used to define the believers: to all who are in Christ Jesus; What does this mean for us? Who are we in Christ? What is ours because we are in Christ? These are questions Jude answers for us this morning.

Well, let’s begin with who he was:

Who was Jude?

exp.: rd v 1a; Jude (lit.: Judas);

  1. Now, there are 6 men who have this name in the NT. It was such a popular name because some 200 years before, Judas was a mighty warrior and leader for the Jewish people. So many people chose that name for their little boy:
    1. Judas Iscariot: One of the 12 (Mt. 10.4)
    2. Judas, the younger: Also, one of the 12; the son of James; (Lk 6.16; Jn 14.22: Judas, not Iscariot)
    3. Judas, the Galilean: a leader whose rebellion was quickly squelched. (Acts 5.37)
    4. Judas, the owner of the home in Damascus on Straight St. where Paul was taken after his encounter with Jesus. (Acts 9.11)
    5. Judas, called Barsabbas: One of the men who traveled with Paul and Barnabas to send the Church’s decision concerning the Gentiles. (Acts 15.22, 27, 32)
    6. Judas, the little brother of Jesus: this is the writer of this letter. Amazing! Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? (Mt 13.55); Jn 7.5 tells us that he was an unbeliever in the time of Christ’s earthly ministry; that he was probably embarrassed by his older brother, Jesus; and, was probably a part of ridiculing him to go up to the feast. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.” (Mk 3.21); But, something incredible happened – the crucifixion, the burial, the resurrection. And somewhere in all of that… Judas gave his life to Christ. He could deny it no longer and was saved! You see it here in his first description of who he is. He could have said: Jude, the little brother of Jesus. But he didn’t; Rd 1b; This brings us to our 2nd question:

Who are we in Christ? Look at these words Jude uses to describe himself and his readers. They tell us who we are in Christ: his statement a slave of Jesus Christ tells us we’re…

  1. Bought: You have been bought with a price. A slave of Jesus Christ; your text probably says ‘servant or bondservant’; the Gk is δοῦλος; J. MacArthur @ the shepherd’s conf.: those who translate the Bible didn’t want to offend anyone; What a shame; HCSB gets it right in the modern translations; The strong Greek word δοῦλος cannot be accurately translated in English as servant or bond servant; the HCSB translates this word as slave, not out of insensitivity to the legitimate concerns of modern English speakers, but out of a commitment to accurately convey the brutal reality of the Roman empire’s inhumane institution as well as the ownership called for by Christ. It is vital that we get this: don’t soften this for a moment. If you are in Christ, then you are not your own. You belong to Him and what he says for your life goes.

This really means so much more because of his next statement (1c): a brother of James. This statement accomplishes for us, a couple of major points:

  • He is the little brother of Jesus. 1st we’re positive this Judas is not any of the other Judas’ mentioned above. 2nd, we know that the only other Judas mentioned was the son of James, not the brother. So, with relative confidence, we can say He is the brother of Jesus. This is also the attestation of the early church, and their confirmation of Jude’s family line.
  • He refuses to say that he is the brother of Jesus. That would give him some status! But he instead, identifies with his brother, James, the pastor and leader in Jerusalem. What he’s saying in all of this is that his relationship to Jesus isn’t brother to brother – familial; but, rather, slave to master. He has been bought by the blood of Christ.
  1. Called: Gk word is κλητός; According to Tom Schreiner, N.T. scholar from Southern Seminary, there are two general meanings for the word ‘call’:
    1. There is a general call (Matt 11:28-30): an invitation; 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
    2. There is an effectual call (Rom 8:30): 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Now, normally we don’t like to talk about these ‘hard to understand’ words; Let me just make this easy and say we cannot fully comprehend this concept of predestination – how God could predestine us. He who knows all things and is the agent by which all things (to quote Paul) live and breath and move – and find their being – How could God predestine? Where does our free will end and His divine sovereignty begin? And visa-versa? Answer: I don’t know. I really don’t. I only know that both are real and both are true.

ill.: It’s like the doctrine of God in the flesh: Was Jesus fully God? Yes – 100%. Was Jesus fully man? Did he sweat and thirst and hunger and get tired? Yes – 100%. How can he be 200%? My answer: Dunno! I only know the Bible teaches us this. So, I accept it by faith.

app.: It’s the same here. God, in and through his infinite mercy, called me. I was undeserving, unworthy and unfit for this grace. And yet, His Holy Spirit wooed me. My heart was softened and I fell to my face and trusted what he said: I confessed my sins and he forgave me.

ill.: Listen to Daniel Akin, president of SEBTS: There is a mysterious wonder in this truth that the sovereign God effectually brings persons to salvation in perfect harmony with their free will and response to the gospel. There is a marvelous complementarity to these twin truths that, if you push them beyond their biblical parameters, you will find yourself lying in your closet, drooling out of one side of your mouth, attempting to do Hebrew and Greek verb conjugations in tantum!

He continues: Timothy George has well said, “God created human beings with free moral agency, and He does not violate this even in the supernatural work of regeneration. Christ does not rudely bludgeon His way into the human heart. He does not abrogate our creaturely freedom. No, He beckons and woos, He pleads and pursues, He waits and wins.” (Amazing Grace, p74)

t.s.: let’s move on: We are bought, we are called, we are loved.

  1. Loved: rd 1d; Beloved in God the Father; lit.: in God the father, being loved; no where else does this phrase occur just like this. It’s a pft pass ptc;

pft: a present state, because of a past action;

pass: meaning we’re the one’s being loved.

part: describing those who have been called.

It’s a great declaration of the Father’s love. There is in one sense a love of the Father for all people; John 3.16; And there is this – a wonderful sense of deep, abiding love that the Father has for His children. I think it might be something akin to my love for kids. I love the children at Calvary, but I have a deeper love for my little girls: Elizabeth, Caroline and Annie.

We are loved!

  1. Kept: rd 1d; and kept for Jesus Christ. τηρέω: appears 5x’s in Jude (1, 6 (2x), 13, 21); Each time it is used in to describe guarding, protecting; Acts 12.5-6 – So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. This is the word that is used to command us to ‘keep’ God’s commands. We don’t just observe them – we protect them, we guard them, we keep them close to us.

app.: this is what is being said of you, believer. You are kept, protected, guarded in Christ Jesus. You are kept by an incredible power! By His death on the cross, purchasing your pardon; by his resurrection and ascension to the Father’s right hand – he keeps you now! He who is powerful enough to save you is powerful enough to keep you.

t.s.: Ladies and Gentleman, this should cause you to stand and applaud! Nothing will happen on this day that God isn’t already aware of! Nothing will touch your life that doesn’t 1st pass through His hands. And if he allows or causes any activity in your life, you can be sure that you are kept and protected and are being preserved.

Transition: Jude says this of himself and of his readers. Blessed assurance Jesus is mine. Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine; Heir of salvation – purchase of God; Born of his Spirit, washed in his blood. This is my story, this is my song: praising my savior all the day long. This is my story, this is my song: praising my savior all the day long. Security comes in knowing who you are in Christ Jesus. 2ndly, Security comes in knowing what you have in Christ Jesus.

What is ours because we are in Christ? (2)

exp.: rd v 2; Jude has a love of triads:

  • Jude, a slave, a brother
  • To the called, the loved, the kept
  • Be multiplied to you mercy, peace and love.
  1. Mercy: the word ‘multiplied’ gives us a greater understanding of what he is saying here: it’s in the optative mood – which I know means nothing to you, but bare with me: 1st, it is rarely used in the N.T.; 2nd, it is used to express a wish. Paul uses it when he says: μὴ γένοιτο; May it not be; God forbid! Here is Jude’s wish for these people – God’s mercy abounding in the believer’s life. The Hebrew equivalent is hesed; Psalm 23: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. The younger generation learned: Surely goodnes and lovingkindness shall follow me all the days of my life. Akin says: It is a characteristic in God that moves Him to seek a relationship with persons who have no right to be in relationship with Him. The word speaks of compassion, lovingkindness (hesed). It is gracious, undeserved and unmerited; yet it is not blind, dumb or ignorant. It is something in God that moves Him to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

Mercy is a characteristic of God. It is something he pours out on us. Likewise, we’re called to be like him – to show mercy. In v 2 Jude wishes this mercy upon us increasing measure – “multiplied” and

  • in v. 22, he commands the reader to show mercy to others.
  • In Mt 5.7: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
  • Jesus teaches us that this is an O.T. concept when he quotes from Hosea 6.6 (Mt 9.13): 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’
  • Paul calls us ‘vessels of mercy’ in Romans;

app.: in Christ you now have mercy – freely given to you and freely given by you to those in need. 2nd, Peace.

  1. Peace: Another word that finds its meaning in the Hebrew: shalom. It makes me wonder if the recipients of this letter were Jewish believers. My guess is yes – they were.

Shalom has so many meanings. Akin says: Ideas such as wholeness, completeness, prosperity and success are just a few of the concepts that emanate from this word. Douglas Moo writes: By ‘peace,’ Jude may mean the inner contentment that comes from a restored relationship to God in Christ – the ‘peace of God.’ But it more likely means our ‘peace with God.’ that is, the new status of reconciliation that God provides in his Son for us.

In Judges we learn it is God’s name: Jehovah Shalom (6.23). In Isaiah (9.6-7) we learn that it is God the Son’s name, too: Prince of Peace. In the OT they search for peace, but it can’t be found. In the NT Jesus says: 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. Paul affirms this for us when in Romans 5.1 he writes: 1Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

app.: No wonder there is peace for the believer. He is saved from his sins now, he walks in peace because God is his life and when he dies, he has the promise of heaven!

You ask how? You say: “Sure, our sins are forgiven – Sure we have the promise of heaven, but right now is so hard”: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4.4-7) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

app.: yes, this life is hard – but for those of us in Christ Jesus – we have the peace of God. 3rd,

  1. Love: This word appears more than any other in Jude (7x’s; 1,2,3,12,17,20,21); more than any other word of consequence (meaning – if you don’t count the pronouns and conjunctions); Equal to this number is Christ, Jesus and Lord. Next is love – 7 times. And then, kept – 5x’s; really, the focus on this letter is a warning of false teachers and false doctrine, but an argument could be made for focusing upon these words: that in Christ Jesus, you are kept and loved. Just how kept and loved are you?

Romans 8.28-39

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

God’s Everlasting Love

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;

we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Application:

  1. Know who you are in Christ: bought, called, loved and kept.
  2. Know what is yours in Christ Jesus: mercy, peace and love.
  3. Know also, that you are a conduit of these virtues, traits to a lost world.
    1. So in your struggle, hang in there: God is doing a work in and through you – that you might not even know he is doing. It’s easy to focus on yourself and your suffering when in it. But remember, God is using it for his glory.
    2. So in your celebrating this glorious truth, don’t forget that there is a lost world out there – on their way to hell.

In New Orleans, the summer of 1985, the city threw a big part for the lifeguards who worked that summer. The New Orleans Recreation Department wanted to recognize their workers for a safe summer. Combining all of the pools in the New Orleans Community Pool system, it had been a drown-free summer. Hundreds of guest gathered and celebrated together. Four life-guards were hired to sit and guard the pool, while over 100 lifeguards were recognized and celebrated. When the evening was over and the guests had left, one of the lifeguards cleaning up and putting things away noticed something dark in the deep end of the pool. Jerome Moody, age 31, was found drowned in the deep end. This man drowned, with over 100 trained lifeguards were gathered all around.

It makes me wonder about the church: do we miss those ‘drowning’ near us because we’re so busy celebrating our successes?

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Filed under Church Membership, Evangelism, Faith, Jude, Scripture

2 Corinthians 10.1-11

Title: A Random Check: Scan your files!

Text: 2 Corinthians 10.1-11

CIT: Paul is giving them ample warning: He is coming so they need to deal with these problems.

CIS: Church discipline is a necessary tool to keep the church pure in it’s doctrine.

Introduction: We’re in 2 Corinthians 10.1-11

John Huffman, Jr. tells the following story: Over lunch, several friends were discussing a church that had been so decimated by internal strife that it had become common knowledge in that community. Some members had no stomach for the fight and were drifting into neighboring churches. Those who remained were being pushed by the opposing groups to take sides. The whole affair was becoming very unpleasant.

What was the issue that had precipitated such a furor? Believe it or not, the whole upheaval was over the changing of the job description of the organist. She had been there for years and had built a small empire in her area. She had developed great skill in using a loyal following as a power base for budget, program and calendar advantages. So when a special Lay committee brought a report to the congregation suggesting a slight change in her duties, she took it as a personal rebuke and declared war.

None of the friends who were discussing this at lunch were members of that church. Therefore, they didn’t have to deal with the situation. They quickly agreed with one who said, “That doesn’t sound like a big enough problem over which to split a church!” Then one of the group reminded the others of a truth that is too easily forgotten, “Any problem that has to be dealt with by people who are spiritually immature can divide a church, no matter how small a matter it may appear to be.”

Think back to the issues you have experienced that have torn apart brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. It’s often the little matters that divide-issues over the color of the walls or the carpet in the sanctuary. I knew a church that split over the size of a door being put into the fellowship hall. The lady leading the fight won and got her 4-foot door. Her reason was so that her daughter, who was getting married soon after the fellowship hall was finished, would be able to wear her wedding dress out of the door when she and her new husband left. What’s more is that when the day of her reception came, the young bride chose to use a different exit! Added to this, the mother quit coming to church after her daughter’s wedding.

So, what actually divides churches? I think the lady in the conversation mentioned above got it right: Spiritual immaturity divides churches.

In Corinth, we find a church that is divided: 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” That’s a bad split. Now, it appears, as we get to our text today (2 Cor 10.1), that Paul is still dealing with the issues of Corinth that divide them.

So, Paul issues a warning to them: our text illustrates this with bookends. Rd v 2; I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. And again at the end; read v 11; Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present.

There are two words that appear in both v 2 and in v 11; the 1st is translated count on and understand; the 2nd word is translated when I am present and again, when present. So, the emphasis here being made by Paul is: count on my action when I am present.

In the rest of the text, Paul will make this plea while explaining the reality of the situation to the Corinthians and issuing them a stern warning.

  1. The Plea
  2. The Reality
  3. The Warning

1.     The Plea: Deal with this matter before I come. (1)

exp.: rd v 1-2a; I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!— and again in v 2 – I beg of you;

  • His Authority: 4x’s when you consider the vb, too. I, Paul, myself I encourage;
  • His Humility: His power is presented in meekness and gentleness; his speech isn’t harsh and the volume of his voice isn’t loud. The tone is even: the meekness and gentleness of Christ.

Q.: Why? Why is Paul using his Apostolic Authority to warn the Corinthians? Because their regard for Paul had been undermined by those who twisted his words and made wrongful comparisons of Paul to themselves. They need to take care of their church body. They need to protect the body from those who would lead them astray.

app.: It’s called Church Discipline; Really, for us – you trust the elders to take care of you in spiritual matters. To ensure that false doctrine isn’t being spread; that people aren’t trying to worm their way into positions of power or prestige. And we take that calling serious.

t.s.: So, just how is that done;

2.     The Reality: We walk in the flesh, but we wage a spiritual war. (2-6)

exp.: Paul is distressed at their disregard of the Truth. They’ve cast it aside to follow these ‘super-apostles’ who have wowed them with clever and articulate speech. They appear so strong:

  • Handsome
  • Intelligent
  • Clever
  • Witty
  • Their sermons entertain
  • The numbers are there to support their success.

ill.: While on the other hand, Paul isn’t much to look at and not very articulate like some other polished orators. He’s already said as much in his letters to them: And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. As for his appearance…

I’m not sure how accurate it is, nor the extent to which the NT played in the following writing; but, there is a 2nd Century apocryphal text entitled: The Acts of Paul and Thecla. 1:4 And a certain man named Onesiphorus, hearing that Paul was come to Iconium, went out speedily to meet him, together with his wife Lectra, and his sons Simmia and Xeno, to invite him to their house. 1:5 For Titus had given them a description of Paul’s personage, they as yet not knowing him in person, but only being acquainted with his character. 1:6 They went in the king’s highway to Lystra, and stood there waiting for him, comparing all who passed by, with that description which Titus had given them. 1:7 At length they saw a man coming (namely Paul), of a low stature, bald on the head, crooked thighs, handsome legs, hollow-eyed; had a crooked nose; full of grace; for sometimes he appeared as a man, sometimes he had the countenance of an angel. And Paul saw Onesiphorus, and was glad. I think a more modern translation might read: He was short, bald, bow-legged, hollowed eyes and a crooked nose. I get the idea he wasn’t much to look at!

app.: but Paul’s argument is quite simply that these folks are not seeing reality. For, the reality of the situation is that, as preachers, we don’t do what we do in the flesh. Oh, sure (rd v 3); though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. rd v 4 – For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power… It’s a spiritual battle. Look at his remarks in v 4ff: For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power

  1. to destroy strongholds – Now, this word only appears here in the NT; however, appears 69x’s in the OT! A stronghold is:

1: a fortified place

2a: a place of security or survival

2b: a place dominated by a particular group or marked by a particular characteristic; I think this is the closest definition to the context of v4;

  1. 5to destroy arguments – the word used here means reasoning powers – that is what people are thinking. Which, then, matches this next phrase…
  2. every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God – This deals with reasoning thoughts; All of these working and running together, look at the rest of v 5;
  3. take every thought captive to obey Christ, look at v 6;
  4. being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

exp.: many think that Paul is going to go off on these people – Like Nehemiah who in chapter 13 goes all Chuck Norris on the people – 25 And I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair. And I made them take an oath in the name of God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves.

app.: But I don’t think Paul is threatening like that. No, the texts makes it clear that it has to do with thoughts and reasoning.

t.s.: it really becomes clearer as he continues in his warning…

3.     The Warning: Take care of this now, or I’ll deal with it when I come. (7-11)

exp.: rd v 7a; I love the Gk; it’s more descriptive, like: Watch out for what’s in your face. Rd 7; And then, Paul identifies for us just what’s at stake: rd v 8; Barrett, in his commentary on 2 Corinthians writes: It is the nature of the apostolic Gospel, and the apostolic authority behind it, that are at stake. Paul can’t let this slide, and he must confront the church on this issue. I think he’s meek and gentle still as we read v 9-10;

app.: who can understand the passion a pastor has for his congregation? How can anyone other than a pastor comprehend this great calling and the earnest desire to keep the church he’s planted remain pure and unmolested? He let’s them know in v 11 11 Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present.

Conclusion: Now you might be wondering to yourself if there is trouble at Calvary. Not that I know of! I’ve just been making my way through 2 Corinthians and have come to this passage. What a great reminder for us to visit this practice of church discipline. We must be diligent to keep the doctrines of the church strong and healthy.

So, how does this apply to us? Application:

  1. If someone has hurt you – go talk to that person.
  • Most grievances are unintended. That’s what is so beautiful about the model in Matthew 18. So many misunderstandings have gone unchecked and people get hurt. Most of the time that’s all it is: a misunderstanding. Most brothers and sisters just want to serve – they’re not out to hurt anyone. If they knew they had hurt you, they would do anything they could to fix it. That wasn’t their intent.
  • One on one protects the person from embarrassment. When we’re caught in our sin, we’re embarrassed! To save face, we get defensive; we try getting the attention off of us and on to someone else. The fight or flight instinct kicks in and neither one are beneficial for the church.
  • Some grievances are intentional. When a person has been hurt they will begin to find validation for their hurt. Hurt comes in so many ways. The best way to fix this is to go talk with the person who has hurt you. Someone can’t fix what they don’t know is wrong.
  • Trust – Trust is foundational to the church. It’s how we become believers. It’s how we work and do ministry. Some people feel like you don’t trust them or maybe they don’t trust you. No ministry can flourish without trust.

Think about the implications here. A church is only as strong as it’s weakest link. We could have dozens of trusted ministries; however, if we are found negligible in one area, we lose trust. And, the whole body suffers.

If trust is lost between members of a team, a breakdown will occur – that ministry within the church suffers. Let me just say we’ve got to build trust between members and teams. Anyone who refuses to confront this hurts the whole body. We could stay here, but let’s move on.

  1. Often times, the reason people are fighting isn’t the real reason. There’s an issue deeper down that isn’t being discussed.
  2. If you see a brother or sister in sin – confront them. The road that leads to destruction is smooth, paved and downhill. Sinking deep into sin is a quick, easy process. The sooner you deal with sin, the quicker a person can be restored. Again – ALONE!
    1. Don’t go to the pastor – go to that person!
    2. Don’t go to the elders – go to that person!
    3. Don’t go seek counsel from a friend – go to that person!

Why can’t we learn this one? Do you not comprehend that he who brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

  1. Let’s take a personal inventory. Pretty much across the board, most of us feel we’re in the right and others are in the wrong. But that isn’t always the case. Is the ministry you’re involved in becoming too much of you? Is it your puppy, your pet? Do you have too much responsibility for money and budget and people? Would you pray about giving that ministry to someone else? Would you step down and let someone else do that ministry or lead that ministry. If the answer is, “no,” then you need to do a personal inventory.

I wonder what would have happened to that church I was talking about in the beginning – the story from that pastor – I wonder what would have happened if those folks would have practiced some of these principles. What could have saved that church? Maybe someone should have approached that organist a long time ago? It sounds like she was in sin. Maybe, not. Why didn’t one of her friends talk to her in private as she began to wage this war on those who sought to get the ministry under control.

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Filed under 2 Corinthians, Church Discipline, Sermons

Faith Path: An Overview

faithpathTitle: Faith Path: An Overview

Text: Ephesians 5.1-17

CIT: A call to imitate God in love and life.

CIS: I will attempt to give an adequate overview of the Faith Path initiative.

Introduction: Faith Overview: to 2:12

We asked Wendy and Phil to coordinate our Family Life ministries 4 years ago. Since that time we watched as the ministry in their area has flourished. Their goal when they came was to help us build strong families. We’ve had marriage conferences, schools begun; Speech and Debate tournaments and what I’ve been most excited about is a focused initiative that we call Calvary Cornerstone. Cornerstone is located at the back of the worship center and is an attractive center designed with you in mind. We’ve attempted to provide resources to equip you for just about every major struggle we face: for those with a concern for aging parents to becoming new parents.

Today, I’m excited to tell you about new initiative to equip our families for life: Faith Path.

Play video: from 2:12 to 6:18

Open your Bibles to Ephesians 5.

I had a professor in Seminary who told us as students a story about walking with his daughter Amy. They were out in the woods, walking along when he turned and didn’t see Amy anywhere. He called out and heard her nearby. He went to her and brought her back to the path. He scolded her sharply because his heart skipped a beat at the thought of losing his daughter out there in the woods.

Amy, stay on the path.

Yes, Daddy.

They walked along a little further when he realized he had lost her again. It only took a second to find her, and bring her back to the path. He gave her a good swat and told her to stay on the path.

Do you understand?

Yes, Daddy.

Daddy, what’s a path?

App.: I think it’s one thing for us to encourage you with our sermons and programs to keep your children on the path, but it’s another thing for you to teach them to stay on the path. Deut 5.32-33 says: 32 You shall be careful therefore to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 33 You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.

Imperfect parents often make mistakes like that: assuming our children know and understand when they don’t. I guess that’s why Paul told the Ephesians to: rd 5.1; rd 5.1a; be imitators of God; He’s the perfect parent – the exact opposite of: 4.17-32; and concludes with 5.1 – as beloved children; then he gives a list. A simple list really. I’ve identified them in this way:

  1. Walk in Love
  2. Teach in Love
  3. Redeem the Time

Transition: let’s begin with

1.     Walk in Love (1-2)

exp.: rd v 2a; I think it’s interesting that Paul says to imitate God, mimic God as beloved Children. God has given us a paradigm, a pattern to be followed: Him. How many times does he call us to be like him? Be Holy as I am holy; God made man in his image, in the image of God he created him. He is our Father. We are his children and he loves us perfectly. BTW: the words be imitators of God is an imperative – it’s a command. So then, we are commanded to be like Him when we love, when we parent, when we teach. Then, Paul gives us an example: Christ. Rd the rest of v2;

  • As Christ
    • Loved
    • Gave
      • A fragrant offering
      • A Sacrifice

app.: I was thinking that sometimes it feels like a sacrifice; however, when it’s all said and done – we don’t really feel like we’ve sacrificed at all. We’ve only loved.

t.s.: So be the example to your kids: walk in love – as God is an example to us, 2nd,

2.     Teach in Love (6)

exp.: rd v 6; Let no one deceive you; you could leave this task to someone else, but do you really want to? I’m not saying you have to homeschool your kids. That’s not the message. But you still have the responsibility to protect them from those that would deceive them.

I saw this in the news on Friday and it pertains to the Public School System (Thank God for Christian Teachers who work with our children in the Public and Private Schools):

From: Todd Starnes, Fox News: The Fairfax County Public Schools School Board voted Thursday night to add “gender identity” to its nondiscrimination policy in spite of massive opposition from parents and the area’s religious community.

Police were summoned to control a standing-room-only crowd as board members approved the controversial measure.

Critics argued it would allow boys who identify as girls to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice — and vice versa. Parents also had concerns about the possibility of transgender teachers.

School Board Chair Tamara Derenak Kaufax issued a statement calling the measure a way to “provide an environment which promotes equality where every student and employee is treated with dignity and respect.”

“The School Board has taken this proactive step to protect our students and staff from discrimination,” she wrote.

The district said they were mandated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to add “gender identity” to the policy — or else risk losing federal funding.

Here’s the point: If you choose to let someone else chart their path, your kids might be deceived; you teach your children, first by example in love and 2ndly, with words;

Here’s how we’re committed to help you accomplish this: There are 13 steps on this Faith Path…

Parent Dedication (Birth-2)

Blessing (3+)

Family Time (4+)

Prepare to Lead your Child to Christ (5+)

Prayer (6+)

Bible (7+)

Worship (8+)

Giving & Serving (9+)

Preparing for Adolescence (11+)

Purity (13+)

Rite of Passage (16+)

Launch (18+)

There is one more: Salvation and Baptism. This decision isn’t really attached to a certain age. It happens when it happens. So there is no age assigned to this stepping-stone.

ill.: here’s more of an explanation: play the video from 6.18 – 8.57;

t.s.: In the video you saw a dvd and audio cd in the packet? Well, we’ve posted them on line, so that you can access them through our website. So, model the model of love you’ve learned from Christ and teach Biblical principles that come from Christ. And 3rd,

3.     Redeem the Time (15-17)

exp.: rd v 15-17; As a parent of three adult children I can say with authority: you don’t have much time. It feels like it when you’re in it, that you’ve got plenty of time. But, you don’t. You will be amazed at how the time passes so quickly.

CALL: I’m wondering this morning if you’re willing to surrender that to the Lord this morning. Would you pray a simple prayer: Lord, help me live the life you’ve called me to live – a life that demonstrates your love, that teaches your love, that doesn’t waste today. Lord, help me live a life that calls for followers – that I would live my life in such a way that I can say – follow me, do as I do.

Pause… Lord, bless our prayers with your structure for our lives. Give us a passion to know you more and to be more like you in every way. Conform us to the image of your son, carving and chiseling away the parts that you don’t want, until all that is left is a beautiful reflection of you. In Jesus name, Amen.

ill.: play the video from 12:08 and stop at 14:07

t.s.: Regrets you’ll never have.

Conclusion: Paul says elsewhere:

1 Corinthians 4.16: 14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.

He repeats it in 11.1: Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

And in Philippians 3.12 and following he writes:

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

Application: Parent, Grandparent, Disciple-maker, teacher, Uncle, Aunt, Christian Leader

We have an overview packet for you today – with that overview packet, we have a video accessible on our website.

Wendy, KK, Phil, Tracy, will you guys come forward and be available to hand these out?

Play video as these people get in place from 14.07 to the end.

So, here’s the call: Mimic God, for the benefit of those who follow you – mimic God.

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