“WHAT IS MAN”?

Psalm 8:4 – “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”

INTRODUCTION: We need to get a Biblical perspective of man.  We need to get a Biblical perspective of ourselves in the grand design of things. We need to get a Biblical perspective of pride and humility.

We need to learn to see pride in our life for what it is and to repent of it as soon as we find it. Self-centeredness is in direct opposition of the Biblical perspectives of lowliness and others-mindedness.

Christians, as well as non-Christians, are deceived by the wicked one and his devices in this area of pride. We need to get a proper view of ourselves in relation to others and God.

This proper view involves what is quite contrary to our old sin nature. This proper view involves voluntary humility toward both God, and man, and doing so with the right motives and reasons. If done with the wrong motives, we are right back to wrong thinking again.

**“WHAT IS MAN THAT THOU ART MINDFUL OF HIM?” – A great question to keep in your mind; considering yourself in light of God and His greatness.**

WE NEED TO HAVE AN APPROPRIATE VIEW OF SELF – A proper view would be to recognize that we are so totally below God and unworthy before Him.

  • We are desperately wicked, and totally incapable of anything worthwhile in God’s eyes or our own apart from Him. (John 15:5-6I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.)
  • There is nothing you have accomplished or anything you possess that you can take credit for on your own. (I Corinthians 4:7 – For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?)
  • We basically have no worth in ourselves apart from God; but God has given us, as believers, a standing we did not earn, and He has given us His love we do not deserve. (Ephesians 2:4-7 – But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.)

WE NEED TO HAVE AN ATTITUDE OF HUMBLENESSWE NEED TO SERVE GOD WITH A LOWLY MINDSET. – We need to see how low we are in comparison to God. This is why we need to serve Him with this in mind. Don’t forget how much greater God is than you. Remember it is an honor and a privilege to serve the King of Heaven. We need to voluntarily place ourselves lower than others and serve with a lowly mindset. (Psalm 8:4 – What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?)

  • In order to get this proper mindset and attitude, you will need to recognize and repent of any and all pride in your life and have a proper view of yourself in comparison to God and others. (I Peter 5:5-6 – Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time)
  • We must say the same thing God says about our sin, about our sin of pride. We must confess it, and we must truly repent of it in order to get this true Biblical lowly mindset we need to be living our lives with. (Job 42:1-6 – Then Job answered the LORD, and said, I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.)
  • You cannot not simply acknowledge your sin of pride and think that is enough. You must truly and sincerely see it for what it is and repent of it and forsake it.
  • George Whitefield speaking about sin and pride in our life said “Before ye speak peace to your hearts, ye must be made to see, made to feel, made to weep over, made to bewail your actual transgressions against the law of God”

WE NEED TO STRIVE TO ATTAIN AND RETAIN THE ATTRIBUTE OF HUMILITY IN OUR LIFE As much as pride could be considered an epidemic, humility could be considered an endangered species. True humility is rare because it is not natural to man. Pride is so abundant because it is natural to man. Only a Christian can learn true genuine humility and live it with any success. The more we learn humility and the more humble we become the better our life will be. You can say, just as pride is the root of every evil, humility if the root of every virtue. (Proverbs 29:23 – A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.)

  • Thomas Brooks (an old Puritan preacher in the 1600’s) speaking on pride and humility said “Here is a wonder! God is on high; and yet the higher a man lifts up himself, the farther he is from God; and the lower a man humbles himself, the nearer he is to God.”
  • There are several Old Testament terms translated humility or humble. They mostly refer to the action of bowing low or crouching down. This is what we should do in our hearts in reference to God and others.
  • In the New Testament there are two words used; one meaning servile, base or groveling and the other meaning gentle, meek or yielding. You can get an idea from these meanings what the attitude of our heart needs to be. We need to make ourselves low in comparison to God and others, and we need to do it with a meek and to God a submissive spirit.

**“WHAT IS MAN THAT THOU ART MINDFUL OF HIM?” – Do you have a proper attitude of yourself compared to God? Do you have New Testament humbleness about yourself toward God and others?**

THE ACTION & DEFINITION OF HUMILITY – Humble people are focused on God and others and not themselves. They have no need to elevate themselves above others. A humble person’s goal is to elevate God and encourage others. They have a servant’s mindset a mindset of Christ. They have a pursuit for the recognition and the exaltation of God and not themselves. They desire to please God in all things and by all the things He has seen fit to bless them with.

ADMIRABLE EXAMPLES OF HUMILITY

Abram gave Lot the first choice of land when they needed to part company (Genesis 13:8-9And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.)

Moses – It was said of him “(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)” Numbers 12:3.

John the Baptist acknowledge his position of lowliness before Jesus in Luke 3:16 – “John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:”.

Mary the mother of Jesus submitted herself completely to God (Luke 1:38 – And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. & 46,48).

The great Apostle Paul was perhaps one of the greatest New Testament examples of humility. Paul told the Ephesians elders in Acts 20:18d-19a – “I have been with you at all seasons, Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears,”

The Apostle Paul also referred to himself as chief of sinners in I Timothy 1:15that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” and as the “least of all saints” in Ephesians 3:8. We all need to have the same perspective of ourselves as Paul had in Romans 11:33-36 – “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen”

**“WHAT IS MAN THAT THOU ART MINDFUL OF HIM?” – How about you? Are you an example of humility to others? Or perhaps are you an example of a prideful person to others?**

OUR ABSOLUTE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF HUMILITY – Of all the Biblical examples of humility the greatest example of humility by far is Jesus Christ our Savior. The very act of Christ coming to earth was an incredible act of humility.

  • Try to think of all Christ had to forsake in Heaven – the glory, honor, power, pure worship and majesty to come down to be born a babe in a manger. Born to suffer, to be mocked, falsely accused, tortured, and suffer the humiliating death on the cross all for our sins. What an incredible act and example of humility we have in Christ. (Philippians 2:6-8 – Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.)
  • Jesus said of himself I am meek and lowly in heartMatthew 11:29. But he also knew how to be firm and rebuke others as found in the account of when he drove people out of the temple in Matthew 23. Just because you are humble does not mean you are a pushover or that you are timid.
  • Christ was in complete submission to His Fathers will. (John 8:28-29 – Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.) Oh that we could say the same thing Jesus said at the end of verse 29, that we always do the things that please God.
  • In today’s world we are taught that the person who is first is the greatest but Jesus taught us that the least is the greatest. (Mark 10:43-44But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.) This means the humble person is first in God’s eyes and the proud person is last in God’s eyes.
  • One of Christ’s greatest examples of humility was in the washing of the disciple’s feet. Picture what he did, He put on the servants towel, got the bowl of water and washed all the disciples feet one by one, He washed off the dirt and the sweat of the day. The great Creator God washing the dirty feet of the creation. What an incredible example of humility found in John 13:1-17. We find that Christ became a servant of men and taught his disciples to do the same. (John 13:14-17If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.)
  • Christ truly is the greatest example of humility there ever was or will be. He humbled Himself to be born a babe in a manger. Almighty God was willing to stoop so low for us as to wash the feet of the disciples to set an example of servitude and humility; but this was not His greatest act of humility. His greatest act of humility was yet to come. His crucifixion and death on the cross was his greatest act of love and humility, all for the benefit of man. Just because He loved us not because of anything we did or could do, but just because He loved us.
  • It has been said about Christianity – “Christianity is the only major religion to have as its central event the humiliation of its God.”

ANSWERING “WHAT IS MAN?” (Hebrews 2:6 – But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?) What is man any way? What are we in comparison to all of creation? – We are just a tiny spec on a tiny spec (earth) in a tiny galaxy in a tiny part of space. When you think on how seemingly insignificant man is in comparison to all of creation you can understand this question, “What is man”?

  • God was mindful of man before He ever created Adam. God knew He was going to create Adam; God knew every single person who would ever be conceived long before He created man and was mindful of them and loved them already.
  • God loves us very much. All the times He has been with us through trials and tough times, encouraging us, working circumstances out for us, calming our nerves when needed, giving us courage when needed, all the ways He demonstrates that love for us is hard to comprehend.
  • Christ came down to earth and became a man because He loved us and was “mindful of “us. Christ when He lived on earth showed us what life was meant to be, how humility and subjection to God was the best way to live and best path to glory and honor.
  • Andrew Murray said speaking of this passage “His Humanity is the revelation of what we can be; His divinity is the pledge that we can be it.” – a great thought to dwell on.

IN CONCLUSION: “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” – It has been said that if you broke man down into the base elements he is made of he would only be worth a few dollars at best. So what is man that God loves us so much and thinks so much of us?

Jesus left heavens glory came down to earth and became a man; He did not become an angel. Man is God’s favored creation. Man is who God made with His hands, He did not speak us into existence, Man was made in God’s own image, and God breathed into the nostrils of man the breath of life. God took special care and love in the making of man. Man is God’s cherished creation.

Man is of himself nothing. But because of God we are something; He loved so much that He was willing to send His own Son down to earth to die for our sins as a gift of love for us. All we have to do is accept that free gift of sacrificial love in order to be saved from our sins and on our way to heaven.

**WHAT IS MAN THAT THOU ART MINDFUL OF HIM? (John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.) – Man is loved by God. Man is God’s special and cherished creation. Man is who Christ came and sacrificed himself to save. Man is the object of God’s infinite love. We need to therefore live in a state of humbleness knowing what we are in comparison to God and others and knowing what God did for us.**

GOD, GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

GOD, GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.”

Romans 13:1-2 – “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.”

INTRODUCTION: Christians are commanded to willingly submit themselves to the higher powers. We should be an example of some of the best citizens around. We should love our country; honor our country and those who have fought to preserve its freedom. We should give honor to whom honor is due as the Scripture commands us. We should also remember that our true citizenship is not on earth if we are believers. If we have been born again our true citizenship is in Heaven with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So our ultimate allegiance is to God who is on the throne in Heaven and not to a man that rules on earth.

Alexis de Tocquiville came to America in the 1800’s to study our nation; to try to find out what made America so great and what made Americans tic so to speak. In his long study he came to this conclusion as to what truly made America great – “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret to her genius and power. America is great because America is good and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” Alexis de Tocquiville. – He concluded that America’s greatness was based on the righteousness and boldness of the preaching in which the majority of Americans sat under. America was great because of her fear and reverence of God. Would he come to the same conclusion today?

Look at what the congress of the United States used to say was the central and most important element to America – “The great vital and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and divine truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” United States Congress 1854

REMEMBER OUR COMMAND FROM CHRIST (Matthew 28:19-20 – Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.)

Remember our command from Christ. We should be more concerned with winning and discipling souls for Christ than with the temporal things of this world. The Great Commission is not a suggestion from the King of Kings, but a command from the King of Kings, and we can fulfill it in many ways; such as inviting friends to church, speaking up on a hot topic and politely yet bolding giving the Biblical stance on the issue. We can fulfill in part the Great Commission by witnessing for Christ with our social media accounts. We also need to go out and compel the lost to come in. (Luke 14:23 – And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.)

Remember our citizenship is in Heaven with our King. As Christians here on earth we are his Ambassadors to this world. We are his representatives to the Lost. As His Ambassadors we are to follow His commands and do our best to live by His word. We are to live by His commands and His Word not our concerns. As a good Ambassador our priority should be representing our King to the best of our ability. As Ambassadors for the King of Kings, Jesus Christ, we should be striving to follow His orders in every detail and in every way we can. (II Corinthians 5:20 – Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.)

How do we get our orders from our Commander, from our Captain, from our King? ….. By reading His Holy Word. By searching the Scriptures, by meditating on His Word. The Bible is how God talks to us. The Bible is to be our guide for our life. The Bible will guide our life. The Bible will give us comfort in the storm. The Bible will teach us how to live a Holy life. The Bible is all we need. The Bible is what we need. How much time do you spend in the Bible every day? Do you spend any time in the Bible every day? (Joshua 1:8 – This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. & Matthew 4:4 – But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.)

President John Quincy Adams said “Let us, then, search the Scriptures ….The Bible contains the revelation of the will of God. It contains the history of the creation of the world, and of mankind”

REMEMBER IN WHO WE TRUST (Psalm 20:7 – Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.) We should not put our faith and trust in political parties or political leaders. We need to be putting our trust in God. Men and political parties will let you down but God never will. Trust God to meet the needs of your life don’t trust government to meet your needs.

“IN GOD WE TRUST” – If the motto of our country were only true. We find this on our currency and etched on courtroom walls throughout our land. But is this just a slogan of a by-gone era in our county or is it something you live by? As a Christian this should be your motto not just your countries motto.

We can trust God with national and foreign affairs. No matter who is in The Whitehouse, the Congress, or on the Supreme Court, God is on the throne.  (I Timothy 6:15-16 – Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.)

God is Sovereign over all the affairs of this world. He is Sovereign over:

  • Satan and sin – Job 1:12 & 2:6 – “And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life”
  • Over governments and powers – II Chronicles 20:6 – “And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?”
  • Over nature and natural disasters – Psalm 107:29 – “He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.”
  • Over sickness and disease – Revelation 21:4 – “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
  • Over every human being and leader – Romans 9:17-18 – “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.”

God is in control. So why not go through life trusting in Him instead of yourself or others or government. God is sovereign over all anyway so just trust in Him. (Ephesians 1:11 – In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:)

Christians need to focus on what we are called and commanded to do, and trust in God to enable us to do it, instead of being focused on the disaster that our government is, or trusting in it. (I Timothy 1:12 – And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;) – If you are a Christian you have a ministry God is preparing you for. You have your orders given to you by the King of Kings. Put your trust in God and go about following His orders.

“If we ever forget that we are one Nation under God, then we will be a Nation gone under.” – President Ronald Reagan

REMEMBER OUR RESPONSIBILITIES (I Peter 2:12-15 – Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:)

We have a responsibility of living out our Christian faith and letting our faith in God and His word guide our political stance.

Remember our first responsibility is to God and the principles laid out in His word and if our government runs contrary to God and His word we must obey the King of Kings and trust He will take care of us according to His will. (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.)

If our government has laws that run against God and His word, we should work to repeal those laws. (James 4:17 – Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.)

  • What are some laws you can think of that run against God’s word?
  • Are you working and doing your best to get those laws repealed?

We should however respect the authority over us. We may not respect the man in that position or office, but we need to respect the office and the authority of the office. Remember, government is ordained of God, and we are commanded to submit to it and honor those in the position of authority over us. (Matthew 22:20-22 – And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.)

We are called to boldly denounce immorality and unrighteousness but we must do it in a respectful manner. (I Peter 2:17 – Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.)

If our government and its laws are ever in direct contradiction to God and His commands – what is a Christian to do? – A Christian should do what a Christian should always do and that is to follow God and what He says no matter what. (Acts 5:29 – Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.)

Our country is in the midst of a great decline in morals; it is suffering from a self inflicted, through legislation and court rulings and the backsliding of Christians, quick decent into a great moral decay. Is there hope for America? Is there hope for another Alexis de Tocquiville to come to America and find our greatness as a result of the righteousness of God lived out by her citizens? – Yes with God there is always hope; but we as Christians need to get on fire for Him, we need to get busy for Him and start taking the country by storm with our bold statements of our beliefs, we need to start taking stands, drawing lines in the sand, planting a flag and not being moved no matter the hatred and visceral reactions we get from the world. (Acts 4:13 – Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.) – Pray for boldness and take your stand for Christ.

“History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline.” – General Douglass MacArthur

REMEMBER WE ARE TO PRAY FOR OUR NATION AND ITS LEADERS (I Timothy 2:1-2 -I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.) We have no right to complain about the government we have, or its leaders, if we are not praying for them.

In addition to submitting to the laws of our country and having respect for those in authority over us we are also commanded to pray for them too. Paul wrote these words during Nero’s reign. Paul prayed for the king who eventually authorized his execution. Are you praying for your country? Are you praying for its leaders? Are you praying for your President?

Christians should pray for those in authority over us, so that we may lead a peaceful, free and quiet life. Pray we get to keep the freedoms we already have. Pray for the safety of our country and the brave men who are charged with keeping us safe and free. What is your first response when our leaders do something you don’t like? Is it frustration? Is it anger? Is it disgust? Our first reaction should be to pray for them.

Christians should be praying for the salvation of our leaders. We should be praying for their eternal souls. Pray they will get saved if they are not, and one day be in Heaven, and not faced with an eternity in hell. (I Timothy 2:3-6, 8 – For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.)

Remember true “Change” begins from the inside out. It starts in the heart and then it manifests itself in actions. If we want our government to change, we need to pray for the salvation of the souls of the leaders of our government. Christ living in their heart will change their actions and their priorities and their stances on the issues. (Philippians 4:6-7 – Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.)

We also need to remember true change and revival in a nation also starts with Christians not with the world. We as Christians need to get ourselves right with God and then God promises revival in our land as a result of Christians collectively humbling ourselves and getting right with God as a whole. (II Chronicles 7:14 – If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.)

“It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness …” President Abraham Lincoln

IN CONCLUSION: Remember our citizenship is in Heaven. Though we currently dwell here in America our true home is in Heaven. We are to be in the world but not of the world. We are to influence the world for Christ and not allow the world to influence us. We are Ambassadors for Christ we represent Him here on earth. We are to follow His directions, His commandments, and live by His standards and laws. When earthly laws contradict God’s, we are to follow His as supreme over all earthly laws because He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

Our identity is not defined by being an American. Our identity should be defined by being a Christian first and an American second. If we are saved we are citizens of Heaven here on earth representing our Heavenly King and doing His work and following His commandments. The Great Commission should be a top priority of ours. Heaven is where our fellow countrymen dwell, it is where our names are recorded, it is where our King is at and it is where our Savior sits at His right hand.

President George Washington at his first Inaugural Address had this to say about our earthly country verses our Heavenly home. “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.”

Philippians 3:20-21 says “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Our life is in Heaven. Our Lord’s concerns should be our concerns and He is concerned about the souls of men. We need to “Go ye” and fulfill His command. We as Christians should boldly proclaim the truth in love. We should stand up for right. We should maintain respect for those in authority over us. We should “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s“. We need to pray for our leaders and remember real “change” starts in the heart. If we want change in our country pray for the salvation of our leader’s souls. Remember God is Sovereign over the affairs of men. (James 4:13-17 – Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.) Spend your life concerned about the eternal priorities of your Lord instead of the temporal concerns of men.

Heaven

John 14:1-4 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”

“It becomes us to spend this life only as a journey toward heaven… to which we should subordinate all other concerns of life. Why should we labor for or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end and true happiness? – Jonathan Edwards

The Doctrine of Balaam & Worldly Christians

THE DOCTRINE OF BALAAM

the doctrine of Balaam (Revelation 2:14) – Balaam enticed the Israelites to attend an idolatrous feast and into committing immorality with the Midianites in Numbers chapter 25. (Revelation 2:14 – But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.) – The doctrine of Balaam is the lie that it is permissible for saved people to live like unsaved and that God’s grace gives us the right to disobey God’s law.

The church is the bride of Christ. If you are a Christian you are part of the church and make up part of the bride of Christ. If you are a Christian living in sin and living like an unsaved person you are in effect playing the harlot to the bridegroom of the Church which is Christ. (Revelation 19:6-9 – And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.)·

Why as a Christian would you want to see how worldly you can live; you should instead be striving to live as Christ like as you can! Any teaching that makes it easy and permissible to sin is false doctrine. The Word of God was given to us to help enable us to live holy and sanctified lives. (Titus 1:1 – Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;)

We as Christians should not be seeking to see how far we can push the envelop into a sinful lifestyle. We should not be sinning freely just because we are under grace. We should not think we can do what we want since we have fire insurance now. We should be doing the exact opposite! We should be living for Christ and seeking to be living a sanctified and separated life unto Him; and not seeking to live just like the world and look just like the world. Some Christians need to grow up a little and just start showing some basic respect and reverence to the Lord of lords and the King of kings. (Colossians 3:1-2 – If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.)

God’s Enabling

I Timothy 1:12 “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;”

God enables His servants and puts them into the ministry; but they have to be willing, faithful, and surrendered vessels. Be a willing vessel and don’t miss out on what God intended you to do with your life.

“Those whom He puts into the ministry He fits for it, whom He calls He qualifies” – Matthew Henry

What Could Have Been!

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN

Leviticus 9:23-10:2  “And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people. And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces. And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.”

THE TRAGEDY OF THEIR LIVES – One of the most tragic statements can ever be made about someone’s life is “What could have been” – This is what can be said about Nadab and Abihu.  They could have done so much for the Lord, they could have set a great example, they could have been remembered in their family and history as great men and great men of God; but they are not. They became part of the long line of the “What could have been’s” – They had it all at one point, and then died an early death because of sinful mistakes. What remained of their lives was wasted. Let’s look at what they had going for them.·

  • They were the two oldest sons of Aaron, nephews of Moses, they were among the privileged to see God and live to tell about it. (Exodus 24:9-11 – Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.)
  • God called them out for appointment to the priesthood and ministry to Him. (Exodus 28:1 – And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.
  • After this calling out by God, God Himself participated in their ordination service to the priesthood and His ministry. (Leviticus 9:23-24 – And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people. And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.)

ONE SEEMINGLY SMALL ACT (OR SIN) RUINED EVERYTHING – Don’t make the same mistakes that Nadab and Abihu did in throwing away a promising future for one moment, for one act, for one lapse of judgment. Always, always, always do things God’s way. Always put God first in your life and in your decision making. Establish convictions on what you will and will not do in certain situations based on God’s word and stick with those convictions. There is a famous song that states “I did it my way”; what a horrible statement this is that can lead to a life of ruin. We should hopefully never be able to say that about our lives. We should always strive to always do things God’s way and never our own way. (Galatians 6:7-8 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.)

No sooner had they enjoyed the great blessing of God consecrating them for His service in a glorious moment in front of the whole nation of Israel, that then Nadab and Abihu ruin everything. Just as Adam and Eve had it all in the Garden of Eden, and chose to disobey God in their pride, so too Nadab and Abihu ruin their lives and bring great grief upon countless other lives by their sin.

THE EFFECT OF YOUR SIN – Your sin does not just effect you, it also effect’s everyone else in your life too. Psalm 119:136 was spoken in reference to the sins of others “Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.”Doing things your way, your mistakes, your sins don’t just effect you, they affect everyone that loves and cares about you; they also affect all those who in the future you could have ministered too if it were not for those mistakes. Just as fire from God had consumed the animal sacrifice, it now fell upon Nadab and Abihu and consumed them because of their tragic sin and mistake.

Biblical Instruction on Gender Identity

Biblical Instruction on Gender Identity

Deuteronomy 22:5 “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.”

Moses gave us some foundational and relevant instruction on a hot topic of discussion happening today. Moses in his writings in the Pentateuch, gave the world God’s foundational teachings and truths on this topic of gender identity and transgenderism.

INTRODUCTION: First, before we delve into this topic of transgenderism and gender identity, we have to establish what sources are used for truth. We have to establish that absolute truth, that absolute rights, and absolute wrongs do exist. Something’s are right or permitted to be done as long as they are in the bounds of God’s Word; and something’s are wrong and sinful to do. We have to acknowledge that there is sin in the world. We have to acknowledge that there are evil things in this world. We have to be willing to accept that certain acts committed by men are in fact evil in the sight of God and condemned as such by Him in His Word.

We have going on in the news today several examples of this topic that we are going to examine in light of God’s Word. We have the new bathroom policy implemented by Target stores – In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”  We also have in North Carolina the law designed to protect the privacy and safety of women and children while using the restroom by restricting people to using the bathroom that corresponds to their sex that is on their birth certificate. Since this North Carolina law has taken affect the state has been threatened and now sued by the federal government claiming the right of a transgender person to use the bathroom of their choice, trumps the right to privacy and safety of the other 99.7% of the population of the United States.

The Texas Attorney General in response to the bathroom policy of Target issued this statement – “As chief lawyer and law enforcement officer for the State of Texas, I ask that you provide the full text of Target’s safety policies regarding the protection of women and children from those who would use the cover of Target’s restroom policy for nefarious purposes,”. American Family Association President had this to say on this topic “Nearly everyone has a mother, wife, daughter or friend who is put in jeopardy by this policy …Predators and voyeurs would take advantage of the policy to prey on those who are vulnerable.” – As you can see, we live in a world that seems to have lost what historically most would have considered basic common sense. What is up is now down, what is right is now wrong, what was wrong is now right. The Bible warned us about this in Isaiah 5:20 “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” “Modern social righteousness often differs from the righteousness of the Bible. Someone has said: ‘A wrong deed is right if the majority of people declare it not to be wrong.’ By this principle we can see our standards shifting from year to year according to the popular vote!”Rev. Billy Graham. Hazen G. Werner, who served as a United Methodist bishop in Ohio, Hong Kong and Taiwan, once said this: “There is no more startling phenomenon in our day than the respectabilization of evil.” We are seeing this phenomenon taking place right before our eyes today. Today we are seeing things that were once generally accepted as being good, getting challenged over and over again. Governments and courts are redefining marriage and ruling that those desiring to live by Biblical standards are law breakers. So how does one know what is right and wrong in areas of morality, and specifically in the area of transgenderism? The answer I would argue is very simple; but we will first consider a few things.

WHAT DO MANY ACCEPT AS AUTHORITY IN MORALITY? 

Their feelings. – If it feels good to them it must be right. The Bible warns us against trusting our feelings. (Proverbs 14:12 – There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.). Others may say I have to follow my heart. The Bible also warns us against doing that as well. (Proverbs 28:26a – He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool:). Many people have destroyed their lives by trusting their feelings or following their heart. (Jeremiah 17:9 – The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?)

Their conscience – As the saying goes “Let your conscience be your guide” – But your conscience will not always be reliable, especially if you are not saved. A better saying would be to “Always let the Holy Spirit that lives in you be your guide”. An example of a conscience not being right is found in the life of Paul. He let his unsaved conscience guide him to persecute Christians. (Acts 26:9-11 – I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.)

Their friends – “Everyone else is doing it” – Remember everyone else in Noah’s day did not trust God and get on the Ark. How did that work out for them? Don’t use what everyone else does as your guide to morality but rather choose the right path and the narrow way that leads to a joyous life. (Matthew 7:13-14 – Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.)

NOW LETS EXAMINE THE CHRISTIANS AUTHORITY IN MORALITY

Jesus has all authority in heaven and earth. (Matthew 28:18). Jesus has all authority in all areas, including areas of sexual morals and behavior. (Ephesians 4:21-24 – If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.)·         Jesus will one day judge all of mankind. (Acts 17:31 –  Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.)·         Jesus will use His Word as the standard to judge all men. (John 12:48 – He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.)

Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, guided what the Apostles wrote about morality in their writings.  (John 16: 12-13 – I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.) – The argument that says Jesus did not say anything about it does not hold water. Jesus used the Holy Spirit to author the entire Bible. The entire Bible is what Jesus said. (II Peter 1:21 – For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.)

This authority pertains to all areas including areas of morality. – Paul charged the church of Thessalonica regarding moral issues (I Thessalonians 4:1-8). Paul also addressed the churches of Ephesus and Corinth regarding issues of morality.

CONFUSION ABOUT MORALITY – With the sources of authority the world uses you can see why there would be confusion about morality. This brings me to my original point in order to get to where one can know for sure what is really right or what is really evil in the sight of God; one has to acknowledge that absolute truth does exist and the authority for establishing that absolute truth comes from Christ Jesus. The Christian need not to be confused about moral issues, because God, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” II Peter 1:3. All need to know and accept by faith what Jesus said “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6. If God is not the author of confusion then who is? —- The father of lies – Satan; and he uses his lies to help cause the confusion of the transgender person. (John 8:44 – Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.)

SO WHAT ABOUT BEING TRANSEXUAL OR TRANSGENDER?  – Deuteronomy 22:5 says “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” We find also that Jesus spoke about this in Matthew 19:4 “And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,” – Notice Jesus said it is God that makes people male or female. They do not later get to decide or identify as a different gender, it is God that makes that determination and that determination was made before their conception.  This verse tells us clearly that women are not to dress in a way or present themselves in a way that would lead one to possibly confuse them with a man or present themselves in a masculine way, with masculine characteristics to their dress or hair. It also teaches us clearly that men are not to dress up like women or present themselves physically in a way that could lead them to be confused for a women or to dress or present themselves in an effeminate manner.

Charles Ryrie said this about this passage – “In that society male and female dress were similar, making distinctive styles for the sexes especially important to help prevent transvestism and homosexuality.” 

The British Family Bible Commentary states this about this verse in Deuteronomy “If there were no distinction of sexes, made by their habits, it would open a door to all manner of impurity: for which reason, if there were no other, this law was very wise and pious.”

It goes against nature to blur the distinction between male and female. When such blurring of these distinctions begins it creates confusion and opens the door to all kinds of unspeakable sins. It is not just a blurring of the distinctions between male and female but those who proclaim themselves as transgender or transsexual most likely are really suffering from a psychological disorder or the effects of sinfulness of some kind; because the Bible clearly teaches all people were made either male or female by God. God is not the author of confusion and thinking one is supposed to be the opposite sex of one’s birth is a clear indication of major confusion. (I Corinthians 14:33 – For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.)

AN EXAMPLE OF THE CONFUSION INVOLVED IN THE SIN OF TRANSGENDERISMThere was a man who had medical procedures in the 1980’s to become like a women. He has since reverted back to his biological gender as that of a man. He changed back because he said he found God and God redeemed him, forgave him and changed his life and gave him the hope he had been searching for. This man lived for 8 years as a woman. He said the physical change did nothing to resolve his mental and emotional struggles. He simply needed God and instead searched for fulfillment in other things. He said one day he had an epiphany, he was not transgender he realized he was simply a man with a psychological problem. He now says that no one is born transgender but people can suffer from psychological disorders brought about by sin. Either their own sin or by being abused sinfully by others usually at an early age. This man said “God designed man; He designed women, God will redeem the lives of people who struggle with gender identity issues just like I did. He redeemed my life, and I’ve been free from it as a result of that. I can see that changing genders, quite frankly is just pure foolishness.” God’s power, love and forgiveness can redeem sinful man; it can redeem the transgender person. We need to demonstrate God’s love and compassion to the transgender person, while making sure at the same time to not condone their sin. Remember, such were some of the church at Corinth and God changed their lives and used them to do great things for Him. (I Corinthians 6:11 – And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.)

SO IS TRANSGENDERISM ACCEPTABLE OR SHOULD WE ACCEPT IT? – NO, it is NOT acceptable in God’s sight. It should NOT be accepted. It is not intolerant to be against sin. It is loving to be against sin and proclaim sin as sin. It is wrong to remain silent on the issue when you know the truth; and you know the truth has the power to set men free from the shackles of sin and the shackles of the sin of transgenderism. (John 8:32 – And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)

It is not acceptable because God created two distinct genders and roles at creation. (Genesis 1:27 – So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.)

It is not acceptable because nature teaches us that transgender conduct is sinful. (Romans 1:26-27 – For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.)

It is not acceptable because it disregards our God given gender. (Deuteronomy 22:5 – The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.)Ø  It is not acceptable because it promotes homosexuality. (Leviticus 18:22 – Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.)

It is not acceptable because it dishonors God’s creation. (Romans 1:24 – Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:)

It is not acceptable because it dishonors marriage and the home as ordained by God. (Genesis 2:23-24 – And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.)

IN CONCLUSION: Temptations and sin are not insurmountable. There is no sin too big or egregious that God cannot forgive and help the sinner to overcome it. We need to be ministry minded to those who are affected by this sin. Remember how God was able to use those that used to be affected by this sin in the church of Corinth to do service for Him. God can change lives and change hearts if the person affected by this sin will open up and let Him. It is that God forms our identity as male or female and He knows us before our birth. (Jeremiah 1:5 – Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.)

We just examined a foundational truth as found in the writings of Moses in Deuteronomy 22:5. This truth is a key teaching to be familiar with in light of current events going on in our country. We have to establish that absolute truth that absolute rights and absolute wrongs do exist. In order to get to where one can know for sure what is really right or what is really evil in the sight of God; one has to acknowledge that absolute truth does exist and the authority for establishing that absolute truth comes from Christ Jesus. We learned that this passage given to us through Moses clearly teaches women are not to dress in a way or present themselves in a way that would lead one to possibly confuse them with a man or present themselves in a masculine way and that men are not to dress up like women or present themselves physically in a way that could lead them to be confused for a women or to dress or present themselves in an effeminate manner.

Prepare, Seek and Do

Ezra 7:10 “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord , and to do it , and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.”

To Ezra the law of God was more important than the teachings of the day. Gods Word took the preeminence in his life. Ezra sought to learn the law of the Lord. He searched the Scriptures seeking knowledge of God. Then he set about to teach and share what he had learned about God with others.

Is God’s Word that important to us? Are we purposely seeking to learn His Word so we can then share the good news of Christ with others? – Have you prepared your heart to learn of God and live for Him? Are you seeking out the truth of God’s Word? Are you seeking to grow spiritually?

The lack of spiritual growth in the life of a Christian is a very dangerous thing. It can lead you to live a life of foolishness, it can lead you to make dumb and dangerous decisions that can have drastic and life altering consequences for you. The lack of spiritual maturity is sad and dangerous because there may be blessings to be enjoyed in Christ that only the mature or maturing Christian can truly understand and enjoy. The spiritual immature do not fully understand or grasp the incredible importance of their standing with Christ. Staying spiritually immature is dangerous in that in leaves those people wide open to falling for the “wiles of the devil”.

Are you preparing your heart to seek and to learn the Word of God? Are you acting on what you have already learned of the Word of God? Are you teaching and sharing what you have learned from the Word of God with others?

A Guaranteed Inheritance

Proverbs 10:30 “The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.”

The joy and hope only found in the Lord shall never leave the righteous. The righteous have a guaranteed hope in the Lord; we have a guaranteed inheritance. “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,” I Peter 1:4

The wicked on the other hand have certain and eternal ruin and destruction coming. II Thessalonians 1:9 “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;”

Make sure you have accepted God’s free gift of salvation today. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

ABOUND IN HOPE!

“ABOUND IN HOPE”

(Romans 15:7-14)

Romans 15:13 – “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

We can abound in hope because we have trust in a risen Savior. We can abound in hope because we have the Holy Ghost within us. We can abound in hope because we have a merciful and gracious God that will enable us to abound in the Hope only He can provide.

INTRODUCTION: Christians are to live a life abounding in Hope. Are you abounding in Hope right now? Do you have the hope of God living in you right now? Have you accepted the only source of this true hope as your personal Savior?

Notice in verse 13 “Now the God of Hope” – God is the foundation on which our hope is built; and He is the Builder of that hope. God is both the object of our hope and the Author of it.

Now man can have earthly hope of things to come. A child can hope to get a certain present, a young man can hope to get his driver’s license or a car; an adult can hope to get a nice house; but this kind of hope is man based, man centered, and man built. Hoping for all these things is not wrong necessarily; but Christians should also have a heavenly minded hope, this heavenly minded hope should be the predominant hope of our life. We should not worship at the altar of earthly things but we should be worshipping at the altar of the Author of our eternal hope – Christ Jesus! Psalm 39:7 says “And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.”

Is your hope in the Lord tonight? Or is it in your ability? Or is it in your plans? Or is it in your dreams? Or is your hope where it should be, in the Lord?

To help get a better understanding of what Biblical hope is and how we get it, how it is defined, how it is described in the Bible, how we develop it in our lives, how we demonstrate it, and how we act in out in our lives, I am going to ask a series of questions about hope and try to answer them as we go along.

 WHAT IS HOPE? – It is joy and peace and not sorrow and stress! (Proverbs 13:12 – Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.)

  • What is hope? – Hope is anticipating or trusting in something to come to pass that we can’t yet see. (Romans 8:23-25 – And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.)
  • What is hope? – It is something worth defending; it is something we should be prepared to defend. (I Peter 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:)
  • What is hope? – Trusting in God to always work out for the good the events that transpire in our life. (Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.)

HOW DO WE GET HOPE?

  • By believing patiently and without wavering in God. (Hebrews 6:11-12 – And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.)
  • By the Word of God. (Romans 15:4 – For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.)
  • By the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13b – …that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.)
  • By being a Christian. By making sure you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. (Romans 15:13a – Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,…) – You need to make sure you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith in order to have access to true Biblical peace and hope.

HOW IS HOPE DEFINEDThe Greek word translated as hope in Romans 15 is “el-pece” which means to anticipate with pleasure, an expectation either concrete or abstract, or a confident faith or expectation. It has the meaning of dealing with the unseen or the future.

  • Hope as found in the Scriptures is not just a wish for something but a strong confidence that is placed in God.
  • According to its proper Biblical meaning in is inseparable from faith. (I Peter 1:21 – Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.)

HOW IS HOPE DESCRIBED – what are some descriptions of true Biblical hope?

  • We have The Hope of Righteousness – Paul writes of the hope of righteousness in Galatians 5:5 “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”
  • The context of this verse involves justification. Galatians 5:4 says “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”
  • Justified” and “Righteousness” in these verses come from the same root Greek word which means to render just or innocent, free and righteous.
  • Paul is talking about the hope of being made righteous or being made not guilty of sin.
  • This hope, spoken of here, is a strong desire and expectation of being declared guiltless before God. Amen!
  • We have The Hope of Revelation.
  • The revelation or the appearing of Jesus when He returns. (I Corinthians 1:7 – So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:)
  • The Hope of revelation in which we will receive praise, honor, glory and joy. (I Peter 1:7 & 13 – That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; & 4:13 – But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.)
  • The Hope of revelation whereby we too are revealed the sons of God. (Romans 8:19 – For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.)
  • This hope, spoken of here, is a strong desire and expectation of Jesus’ revealing and ours as well.
  • We have The Hope of Resurrection. (Acts 23:6 – But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. & Acts 24:15 – And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.) – You need to make sure you are part of the resurrection of the Just and not the unjust. You need to make your salvation sure if it is not.
  • The resurrection of our mortal bodies and the putting on immortality. (I Corinthians 15:42-44 – So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. & 50-54 – Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.)
  • The hope of resurrection is made possible by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:20-21 – For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.)
  • This hope, spoken of here, is a strong desire and expectation of being raised from the dead to eternal life!

HOW IS HOPE DEVELOPED – How do we develop our hope? How do we develop hope in our life?

  • We develop it Through Grace – it is God that loved us and gives us good hope by His grace. (II Thessalonians 2:16 – Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,)
  • We develop it Through the Word
  • The Old Testament provided hope. (Romans 15:4 – For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.)
  • The Gospel of Christ provides hope. (Colossians 1:5 – For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;)
  • The Apostles wrote that we might know the hope of God’s calling. (Ephesians 1:18 – The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,)
  • We develop it Through Experience – Experience involves tribulations. Experience involves trials, experience involve unpleasant circumstances, experience involves things not going the way we would like them to go, experience involves problems. (Romans 5:3-4 – And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:)
  • Experience can produce perseverance in the Christian and this can lead to confidence. (James 1:2-4 – My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.)
  • Our hope strengthens the longer we live for Christ.
  • We develop it Through the Spirit – We through the Spirit eagerly wait for our hope. (Galatians 5:5 – For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.)
  • Heavenly pointed hope does not disappoint. Because it is the consequence of God’s love poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:5 – And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.)
  • Because of this we can abound in hope. Our hope is strengthened by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Look at Romans 15:13 again “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

HOW IS HOPE DEMONSTRATED – How is hope demonstrated by the Christian? How is hope demonstrated in your life?

  • By Christians who are eagerly awaiting for the coming of Jesus. (I Corinthians 1:7 – So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:) – A vibrant hope is one with a strong desire for what is to come! – How is your hope level? – Is it strong or is it weak? – Are you looking forward to the coming of Christ?
  • By Christians who are patiently working for Christ. (I Thessalonians 1:3 – Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;) – A vibrant hope is one in which work is being done for Christ. – I ask again, how is your hope level? – Are you demonstrating a good hope level by your patient and consistent working for Christ?
  • By Christians who are rejoicing in their current state. (I Peter 4:13 – But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. & Philippians 4:11 -Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. ) – A vibrant hope is one filled with joy. – Again how is your hope level? – Do you rejoice in your circumstances whatever they are?

HOW IS HOPE ACTED OUT – How does a Christian act out the living Hope that is within us? (I Thessalonians 4:13-18)

  • We as Christians have hope and Paul exhorts us to act like we do. He says to not act as if we have no hope, but act out what we say we believe. Act out our hope in Heaven, act out our Hope in the resurrection, act out our hope of seeing loved ones again who have fallen asleep in Jesus. Act out our belief in God’s Word! And in so doing we will comfort those around us.
  • Act as if we have hope; because if you truly are a Christian you truly do have the greatest hope of hopes. You have a living hope. You have the hope of living eternally with Christ and all of your saved loves ones in heaven. – Now that is some Hope!!!
  • That is some hope we want to possess that is some hope we want to have and this is some hope we should be sharing with those around us.

IN CONCLUSION:

So what is the hope of a Christian? – It is the Desire and expectation of…

  • The righteousness found only in Christ
  • The revelation of Jesus and our glory with Him when He comes
  • The anticipation of spending eternity with Jesus and our loves ones in Heaven

So what is the hope of a Christian? – it is the Desire and expectation made possible by…

  • The grace of God
  • The Word of God
  • The experience of Christian service
  • The empowerment of the Holy Ghost

So what is the hope of a Christian? – It is the Desire and expectation manifested by…

  • Our eagerly waiting
  • Our patiently working
  • Our rejoicing all the while

So what is the hope of a Christian? – It is truly the helmet of our salvation. (I Thessalonians 5:8 – But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.)

Hope is the anchor of our soul. (Hebrews 6:19 – Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;) – For which we should praise God.

If you are born again in Christ you are a partaker of a lively hope, a living hope, and an eternal hope through the death and shed blood of Jesus Christ. (I Peter 1:3-7 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ;)

Are you a possessor of this true Biblical hope? – Have you ever admitted you are a sinner, in need of a Savior? Have you ever accepted the gift of salvation and eternal life from Jesus Christ? Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

If you have not accepted this gift of salvation why don’t you accept it today?

Are you abounding in hope?

If you need to renew your eager anticipation, if you need to refresh your hope in Christ why don’t you do that today?

If you need to ask God to give you peace and hope to face your current circumstances make sure and do that today too.

If you are feeling convicted because your life does not always demonstrate the hope you should have as a Christian why don’t you get that right today?

 

 

 

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