Dr. Berrey        2/10/17        Titus 2:1-5

When true doctrine is preached and applied it brings about changed living. As the passage goes on, Paul divides up the commands by age and category. The age categories aren’t necessarily rigid and all of the commands really apply to everyone.

One thing that is striking about the list is how different it is from what we normally preach as godly behavior. We might list off soul-winning, SS attendance, tithing, etc. Those things do matter, but in many ways they are kind of external. What the passage focuses on and what sound doctrine will be primarily concerned with is character. When the limit of our preaching and teaching is a list of assignments to fulfill instead of a focus on character, we are actually stripping the gospel of its core content.

The older men are supposed to be sober - spiritually watchful and cautious, for instance of the devil’s attacks.

Grave is of someone who is worthy of respect.

Temperate is the only characteristic that relates to all four categories (the older women teach the younger women to do it). It is someone whose mind is healthy and disciplined and therefore their life is controlled and ordered. We could call it “self-discipline.” This is probably important for the whole book, so that in v. 12 the opposite problem comes up - people that are gluttons.

This is a problem for every culture around the world. All humans have a tendency to be lazy and gluttons. But if the answer is in the gospel and in sound doctrine, then the gospel is what we need. So whatever we struggle with, it often comes down to self-control. The answer is here - for us to have sound teaching.

The older ladies are supposed to be reverent, not gossiping and teaching the younger women. It’s possible that part of the reason that older women are supposed to teach is that Titus would not get too involved in the lives of the women.

The younger women are supposed to be loving and diligent at home.

Conclusion: We could look at a list like this and be discouraged. But the implication here is that true teaching has the power to transform people to look like this. So if we don’t feel like we can do these things, we ought to return to the truth.

If you think of 1 Thessalonians, Paul says that they are his crown of rejoicing. So is there anyone you can point to whose life has been changed because of your ministry?

Pastor Tim Berrey                2/7/17        Titus 2:1

Thesis: Your ministry should change the way people behave.

  1. Your ministry should be this way even if other ministers aren’t doing it.

  1. We should speak out about people’s behavior, not just their beliefs.

  1. Your ministry should change the way people behave.

  1. Healthy doctrine will produce healthy behavior.

You see this emphasis through the rest of the book - the repeated emphasis on “good works.” Titus 1:16; 2:7, 14; 3:1, 8, 14; c.f. 3:5.

Conclusion: You might go somewhere and never see a large ministry established. But what you absolutely must have is a change in the lives of your people.

Pastor Albert Tiangco        1/17/17        Titus 1:10

We look around us at cults and false churches. They seem to flourish and grow. Why aren’t true churches seeing that kind of growth? One out of many reasons is when believers fail to share the truth and truly evangelize. This has an even deeper reason - that many believers don’t feel like they know how to proclaim or defend the truth.

Thesis: Your knowledge and commitment to the Word affect your ability to promote and defend the truth.

If we look at the preceding context, Paul is concerned with someone being able to proclaim and defend the truth. A pastor must be able to effectively refute wrong teachers. It is clear in all of these statements that the pastor goes beyond just knowing or confessing, but actually understanding and having a solid grasp of the truth. Furthermore, the purpose is for them to correct, rebuke and exhort people who hold to wrong teaching.

The ministry is messy. There are a lot of people who are hurting. The ones you deal with and focus on are the ones with problems. Everybody’s problems are your problems.

Applications:

  1. Studying theology is a critical part of ministerial training. Would you like a brain surgeon to operate on you who barely passed? Right before the surgery he’s googling how to open your head.
  2. How you understand and are committed to the word of God will directly affect your effectiveness in ministry. If you are not going to offer to people the word of God, what will you offer them?

When we look carefully at the details, it seems that these people are actually internal to the church; not outside of it. They are teaching (v. 11) and why does Titus need to correct them if they are just outside the church? They are possibly even teachers within the church.

And the result is that it goes beyond even just them. It’s not only they that are being deceived. They are actively deceiving other people.

The idea of them being “silenced” is that they need to be muzzled.

Applications:

  1. False teachers are real and many. You will never minister in a place that is free from false teachers. They’re everywhere.
  2. False teachers will intersect and have a negative effect on your ministry. Don’t dismiss them because they’re “far away.”
  3. The result of their work is that they destroy people’s lives.
  4. It is only good and right to expect those who fight error to know the truth themselves.
  5. Pastors requirement to know doctrine is for this reason - to silence and answer false teaching.

Dr. K                1/13/17                Matt. 20:20-28

True greatness is not position or power; it is serving others.

The wrong view of greatness is common - the idea of having position or power over others. This sense of “significance” can be found in intellect, education, money, achievements, respect, or spirituality. All of these are attempts to find a sense of greatness.

But Jesus teaches straightaway that this is the way the Gentiles or the unsaved view greatness, exercising their authority. (Of course we can still recognize that there is a valid use of authority for a believer. The distinction here is the purpose of the authority. A right use of authority is for the benefit and blessing of other people around us.

Serving others means serving your peers. It’s easier to serve children or other subordinates. But where it really gets challenging is when we need to serve the people that are on the same level - our peers. The one who will be chief is the one who serves all of the ones around him.

Illustration: who wants to be the water boy for a sports team? That’s not even the idea. It’s that the team comes off and because there’s no water boy, one of the team members chooses not to get his own drink and goes to get everyone else’s.

True service is doing God’s will.

There are lots of ways to serve. There are lots of options. But what we ought to pursue would be God’s will, God’s way and in God’s time.

Look at John 12:24-26. Whatever it is we are doing, it is fundamentally serving God. Serving by doing God’s will also means serving in God’s way and in His timing.

For almost all of us doing God’s will means following our spiritual authorities and how God leads us through them.

What is the root of serving God and others? It’s humility. Dying to self is humility. Submitting ourselves to authorities is humility.

Pastor Gary Jones                1/10/17               Titus 1:5-9

We ought to recognize the assumed background of Paul’s writing. He left Titus in Crete to restore the church and deal with the problems that were there. Don’t be surprised to discover that churches have problems. This is the struggle of every church and every work of God.

Acts 20:17, 28 shows us that an elder is equivalent with a pastor and an overseer. It’s the same office described with three different words. Titus was charged with ordaining these leaders in every church.

What are the requirements for an overseer?

For starters, it requires a man. The passage is explicit that this is for men. But there are other requirements as well. The list of requirements that follows emphasizes character and behavior. A person that wants to be a pastor must fulfill these things.

Dr K                1/6/17                Titus 1:1-4

For all of us, our knowledge or education exceeds our obedience. Generally, our problem is not that we don’t know what to do. We just don’t do it.

But true godliness is taking the truth and coming to fully express it in every aspect of our living.

I. The reason that we serve God (v. 1).

We are all servants. You are either a servant to sin or a servant to Jesus. Having been saved, we are now to live fully for the sake of other people’s faith.

But don’t we live for the sake of God’s glory? That’s the ultimate purpose, but as an underlying purpose we are living in the hope that others will come to put their faith in Jesus.

This implies that other people’s faith is critically important. We can say that we serve God for the sake of other people coming to put their faith in the truth.

We could have a mindset that “I don’t need to worry about the results; I just need to be faithful.” But actually God sets a goal in front of us that we would see other people coming to faith and growing in faith.

II. In hope of eternal life.

This connects to both of the phrases in verse 1. Paul serves in hope of this life; Paul wants to see people have faith in this hope.

The idea of hope is a certainty - a confidence and assurance. This renders into a certain and sure life. The idea, then, is a total confidence and assurance that the life we have found will last forever.

Eternal life is knowing Jesus Christ (John 17:3). Do we believe and are we certain that this is what life is all about? Our world tells us that life is all about a long series of sensational experiences or accumulating posessions or indulging the flesh. We have to believe that knowing Jesus is truly the good life. Knowing Him is real life.

III. God has manifested this truth through His word.

God committed to Paul the preaching of His word. Not all of us are called to preach God’s Word. But all of us must learn to highly value preaching. And in a real sense, we are all called to be stewards of the truth and to proclaim it to anyone we possibly can share it with.

There’s only way that your friends, neighbors and other relationships can come to know real life. It’s by hearing the truth of the gospel.

When was the last time you witnessed? Are we actively seeking and searching to help others come to faith and helping other believers come to the truth.

What helps us do that is when our certainty in Jesus Christ becomes a true integral part of our life.

Mr. Bachorik                9/26/16

Why is the world interested in super heros? Probably we enjoy the feeling of seeing something super strong and powerful. We have a kind of curiosity at what it would be like to have those powers.

But why are we never amazed and overwhelmed at the power and majesty of God? Why are we not in awe at who He is? Have you ever been overwhelmed at the power and glory of God? Like John, Paul, Peter, David, Isaiah, and Daniel, have we ever felt this emotion?

  1. God’s Omnipotence

        -Genesis 1:1; Nehemiah 9

Everything you’ve ever seen in your life. God made it all. So Look at the stars. They say there might be a billion trillion of them. God made them all.

It isn’t even just that it came into existence but even that He maintains it all. He gives all things their ongoing existence (Heb. 1:3).

He has all power also in terms of authority (Dan. 4).

**

  1.  God’s Omnipresence

There’s a way of connecting these two ideas. God’s power is universal and therefore He acts universally (Psa. 139).                     .          

God is universally present as well in time. He transcends time itself.

  1. God is Omniscient

        

        Psa. 139 - He knows everything we experience, face or think.

        Prov. 5:21; Dan. 2:22

The statements about God throughout Scripture are clear and direct. We know the nature of God by listening to His word.

Dr. Berrey                9/19/16         Joshua 9

At the beginning of the story there are two different groups with two different approaches. The one decides to fight as an army; the other decides to be deceptive.

And yet Israel is suspicious of the ones that came deceptively (v 7). A key cross reference is Numbers 27:21 - Israel was supposed to have the leading and guidance of God.

The lie that the Gibeonites made even has a kind of spiritual component to it - they claimed that it was because of Israel’s God (v 9).

When Israel finds out the truth, they can’t go back on their promise - they’ve sworn in the name of Yahweh.

Ultimately, the reason that the Gibeonites deceived Israel was that they knew the truth about what Israel was supposed to do (v. 24-25).

Applying the story:

Theme: Overcome your enemy’s trickery by seeking counsel from the mouths of the Lord.

It’s fascinating that God never speaks anywhere in the chapter. Elsewhere God is a key part of the story. Why not here? Because they never asked Him for His input in the story.

  1. Your enemy’s trickery might be more dangerous than a frontal assault (v. 1-5).
  2. Your enemy might trick you into disobeying words that you have every intention of obeying (v. 6-15)
  3. By the time you realize you have been tricked into disobedience, it may be too late to reverse what you have done (v. 16-21).
  4. Your enemy also has a knowledge of what God has said and may use that very kinwledge against you (vv. 22-27).

Better to assume that we are naive and vulnerable. If we trust our instincts to sort out the best way, we have put ourselves in a very dangerous place.

Jam 1:5; Eph. 6:18

Are there decisions, relationships, career options, entertainment choices or other decisions where you have trusted your own discernment and find yourself walking into sin?

Look at all the passages that warn us - “do not be deceived.” False teachers are deceitful. Sin is deceitful. You will sow what you reap. In the end, wrath comes upon children of disobedience.

Never let yourself think that you got away with sinning. Even if noone knew, you didn’t get away with it. God saw.

Never let yourself think that you have your own ability to sort out what the wisest counsel is.

Dr. K                9/15/16                Romans 12:1-2

The Purpose of Being at a Bible College

  1. Is the purpose to get an education? Certainly learning is central to the purpose of a college. And yet education is always just a means to an end. Knowledge alone puffs up and destroys.
  2. Are we here for reformation? Is the goal to help us conform better outwardly to Christian conduct? Certainly we have rules. But we don’t just want to have our external appearances adjusted.

Instead, we are here for transformation. Spiritual transformation is for the purpose of world evangelization which ends ultimately in God’s being glorified.

Looking at Romans 12:1-2 we can see eight truths about transformation:

  1. Transformation is a deep, permanent change.

The goal is that we would actually be changed all the way to our character. The ultimate result is that we would be more honest, have greater joy, be stronger in our faith, show more zeal for God, and even our values would show the results of God’s grace in our lives. Every part of us from our thoughts to our relationships has to be changed.

Do you realize that you need to change and do you want to change?

  1. Transformation is a process which every believer still needs.

The verb “transformed” is a present verb meaning “be being changed.” It has to an ongoing process and we all still need it.

  1. Transformation is a work of God.

God has to do this work in us. We ought to be looking at this semester and hoping not only that we will succeed in our classes, but that God will change us in significant ways. Transformation is a miracle that only God can do, so the only this will happen is if we seek God.

Through your assignments and subjects this semester, be seeking God.

  1. Transformation requires renewing your mind.

This makes our responsibility very clear - our task is to make sure our minds are being changed. We have to learn to think as God thinks; to value what He values. Our thoughts have to come into conformity with what God has said.

So what has control of your mind? What are you thinking about when you have free time? Whatever is happening in your mind will come to define your responses and even your character.

  1. Transformation is by beholding Christ’s glory.

There is a parallel in 2 Cor. 3:18.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. You become what you look at.

  1. Transformation must happen to not be conformed to the world.

If we are not being transformed, we will be conformed. Either we allow God to control and change us, or we will be silently and steadily controlled by the falleness of this world.

Again, we return to the most basic question - do you really want to change and are you prepared to let God do that in you?

  1. Transformation is worship that we owe God.

Romans 12:1-2 is clear that this is central to how we worship God. We worship HIm by being transformed like this.

  1. Transformation is needed to discern and do God’s will.

The word “prove” means to discern but also to actually do it. Maybe part of the reason that many believers do not know how to serve God or where to do it is that they aren’t actually being changed by the truth or being conformed to God’s image and purpose for them.

Pastor Abet Tiangco
9/23/16

If you ask lost people whether they will make it to heaven they'll often answer, "I hope so." Their assumption is that maybe they are good enough to be able to enter. But the NT is clear that it isn't at all related to our achieving righteousness. 2 Cor. 5:21.

If we were all failing students in a class, you can't praise yourself because your failing grade was slightly higher than your neighbors. We're all failing. Romans 3:23.

In our time people are confused by relativism. They assume that maybe most sins are just okay or the goal is to be less wicked than the next guy. But every sin is a sin against God. All sins against an infinite God are infinitely condemnable.

Even if you sinned against God only once a day, across your lifetime it would add up to more than 7,000 times. As humans we would never forgive someone who sinned against us several times. But what about the fact that we have sinned against God constantly and endlessly.

The wages of sin is of course death (Rom. 6:23). Rev. 21:8 records and describes the second death - the horror of hell. Christ says more about hell than heaven.

How then do we escape this condemnation? Romans 3:20 - noone is saved by the works of the law. Ephesians 2:8-9 builds on that further with the reminder that salvation is a free gift.

Romans 5:8 reminds us that it was while we were yet in our state of rejecting and rebelling that Christ saved us.

In 1 Cor. 15:3-4 we are reminded that Christ was raised again for us. His victory has become our victory; His life our life.

Pastor Jethro Malacao          9/13/16

In Matthew 9:35-37 Jesus calls out for the great need of laborers to go out into the harvest.

Jesus ministry involved an active going. It involved ministering to people and serving in many different ways. In context, Jesus had been serving in many different ways already. He had performed miracles all about the surrounding area. And yet at the end there was still more to be done.

His call for reapers begins with his own compassion on the people. He turned in response and challenged the people to be willing to go. Finally He Himself prayed that God would send more laborers out to reach these people.

The metaphor of a sheep is a perfect metaphor for the total confusion and foolishness of a sinner apart from God. Sheep have nearly no protection for themselves and they're completely dependant on the care of the shepherd. A good shepherd feeds his sheep (Psa. 23:1-2), finds his sheep (Lk. 15:4-6) and fights for his sheep (1 Sam. 17:34-35). Life without the good shepherd looks like total chaos and anarchy.

Just as with Jesus response, we must respond likewise.

Look at the harvest.

How do you see people around you? Do you see them as successful and urbane or as sheep without a shepherd?

You will only have compassion on souls if you learn to see them as Christ sees them - as sheep without a shepherd.

Cry out for more laborers.

Every opportunity you have and in every relationship you can influence, call on them to go out and share the gospel.

Pray.

The main verb of the passage is to pray. It is the central command and the thing we are required to do.

Mr. Bachorik       6/17/16

Looking to Jesus Christ

  1. Look to Christ for life - John 3
  1. Nicodemus was a respectful, religious person.
  2. He was presumably serving God in some way, or at least he thought he was.
  3. And yet at the core he was still in desperate need. He needed salvation.
  4. The simple answer was to look to Christ.
  1. Look to Christ for living - Hebrews 12.
  1. In the Christian life we lay off every extra weight, just as you would in running.
  2. The ultimate model is not among the good examples of people in chapter 11. Christ is the model. He has experienced everything we face in our struggles. Look to Him.
  1. Looking for Christ's return - Matt. 25:14-30

June 6, 2016        Dr. Phil Kamibayashiyama

The world has gone mad. Our society is dark in its corrupted thinking and philosophy of wickedness. But when the light is darkest the light shines brightest.

The proclamation of the gospel is that there is victory over every sin through Jesus Christ alone.

You can be dramatically delivered by the Risen Redeemer

The chapter begins with the reminder that they had heard the gospel and that it is the means by which people are being saved.

I. Jesus clearly rose again from the dead.

Scripture describes salvation both using past tense and future tense—we were saved and we will be saved. But we are also right now being delivered constantly from that sin. The gospel is the power to do that.

In these opening verses there are many proofs that Jesus clearly died. But there are also many proofs that He also rose again. Hundreds of witnesses saw and testified to this. There were even guards set there to insure that His body could not be stolen. Who would possibly have taken the time to unwrap the linen cloths? Who would take the time to lay them there just as the body passed through them? Jesus did clearly come to life and His life brings life.

II. Because Jesus rose we can have certainty of life and eternity.

We can take all of the negative arguments in v. 13-19 and negate the condition. Since Christ has been raised our faith is not vain, our sins are forgiven, we have assurance of eternity in heaven, and we know that we are some of the most blessed of men.

This has other implications. (1) Jesus' death and resurrection proves His authority over death and sin and (2) proves our promise of freedom and victory.

III. The route of our victory—it is "through our Lord Jesus Christ." (v. 55ff)

We need victory; we have victory right now. It is already ours through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Conclusion:

Are you trusting tonight in the things you do? Are you confident in your reputation or spiritual accomplishments? It is only through the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ that any person can have confidence. Only in His righteousness do we have any assurance. In verse 58 we hold tightly to spiritual reality to have assurance and confidence. What are you holding on to tonight?

A Theology of the Gospel of Mark        Dr. Tim Berrey        3/15/16

Introduction (1:1-13)

Mark's message starts off with a strong statement of Jesus' deity—it is the gospel of Jesus Christ. But when Jesus is introduced we're reading about a messenger—John the Baptist. The focus is spiritual—repentance. Jesus is even baptized there in a baptism of repentance. Jesus then immediately enters into a ministry of preaching himself.

The Ministry of Jesus—Who is this? (1:14-8:26)

The next section intermingles Jesus' preaching and His miracles. He's proclaiming the fact that He is the Son of God. Jesus Christ is constantly meeting the needs of those He is ministering to as He ministers to their physical and spiritual needs. Even the demons are confessing that Jesus is the Son of God.

Transition—Thou art the Christ (8:27-33).

Jesus' ministry immediately shifts to a focus on the disciples, helping them understand what Christ will do on the cross. Jesus gives three lessons on the cross:

Teaching the Disciples about the Cross (8:34-10:52)

8:31—the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected and be killed and after three days rise again. Peter is offended by the idea and Jesus immediately corrects him—the denial of the cross is a Satanic idea. But not only will Jesus suffer the cross but even the disciples need to take it up.

9:31—The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men and they will kill Him but He will rise again after three days. Again the disciples completely fail to understand, arguing instead about who will be the greatest.

10:32-34—The Son of man will be delivered over, condemned, mocked, spat on, flogged and killed. And He will rise again. This statement is now the longest and clearest yet, but they are still arguing about who will be at His right hand in the kingdom.

The Week of Jesus Passion (11:1-16:8)

If the disciples expected Jesus to take over as king in the triumphal entry, Jesus merely enters and leaves. There is no glorious revolution or overwhelming victory.

When Jesus took the Passover He redefined the most sacred Jewish institution and redefined it in terms of Himself. This bread is my body; this cup is my blood. He is saying to them that "I am that Passover." The death they discussed on the way to Jerusalem is now hear and He will do it as a ransom for them.

But in all three lessons about the cross He specifically mentions the resurrection. Jesus not only died but He also rose again.

Conclusion—Go and Proclaim What Happened (16:9-20)

The last phrase of 16:8 is that they were afraid. But Jesus gave them a commission to go and tell the world about all that He had done.

This summer, are you prepared to go and proclaim the gospel everywhere you go? Are you ready to tell the world that the Son of God has come, died and rose again to save them from their sins?

If you really believe in the identity of Jesus Christ and what that means, it will drive you to follow Him. He will transform us to make us fishers of men. Go and preach the gospel to every creature.

March 4, 2016                Joel Arnold                The Subject of Love in 1 John

3/1/16                Mr. Doug Bachorik                2 Tim. 2:1-10

A man in Korea was so dedicated to online games that he actually played until he died. Clearly that is extreme and rather disturbing. But it does illustrate dedication at the total extreme. There is something about it that points us to ask how dedicated we are to God and His purposes.

I. We're called to live and serve as a soldier.

A. Suffering and hardship are expected.

Going to war implies suffering—"endure hardness." Note also the connection in 1:8—the same word. We should expect that suffering would be a normal part of the Christian experience. If you're a true believer and serving the Lord, expect suffering to come. Don't run away from it or try to escape it. When it comes, endure it.

B. Our calling is to endure as a soldier does.

Think of the men that endured foot deep water in the trenches of WW II. They couldn't ask for a break from the difficulty. Or Ruth Woodward, a missionary in the Philippines who languished in a Japanese prison camp during WW II. When the war was over she was back in the Philippines, ministering within 18 months of her liberation.

C. Our calling is for the sake of those God will save (v. 10)

Can you view your suffering in that light? Life as a soldier will be hard—deeply challenging. But it is worth it if a single soul can come to salvation. Our suffering on earth is temporary; suffering in hell is eternal.

II. A soldier separates himself from entanglement.

  1. A soldier doesn't entangle himself in civilian pursuits.

A soldier doesn't finish out his combat, then punch out and go home where he relaxes until the next morning of battle. Paul isn't telling us we can't have families or life life in a normal way. What he is telling us is that we can't be entangled—controlled and limited by distractions. What are the good things that keep us from doing what God has called us to do. They might not be sin or wicked, but they just distract us from the most important things.

We should recognize that there is a balance. God calls us to be good stewards of life and relationships, investing in our families, caring for them and fulfilling all of our calling. But to be a good soldier involves our faithfulness in all these ways, determined to be faithful with what we're called to do.

B. We do this to please the One that chose us.

What greater cause is there than to please God with our life and service. When Jimmy Stewart flew into enemy territory to carry out his mission, he didn't pray that he would survive or come out safely. He prayed that the mission would be successful. Our first longing and goal ought to be that God would be pleased with our work on earth and we would hear "well done."

Mark 10:41-45                Jeff Bernal        Be a Servant Leader

Intro: What do you think you will do after you graduate? We might be tempted to think that God will open up great opportunities for ourselves. Maybe God will give us opportunities. But are we viewing them as becoming great for ourselves?

  1. We are all naturally selfish.
  1. Our hearts desire show what we really value. Note the response of the other disciples. As soon as some of the others might be exalted they are immediately concerned about their own honor.
  2. God's words correct us concerning our desires.
  3. Note the total contrast of these two ways. The world's leadership calls for authority; God's leadership calls for humility.
  1. Christ wants us to serve Him.
  1. The one who wishes to lead should be a servant.
  2. The one who wishes to lead must be a slave of all.
  1. Christ is the greatest example of service.
  1. Christ illustrated this during His own life (c.f. 1 Pet. 2:21; John 13:14-15)
  2. He did this by making the ultimate sacrifice for our sake. He did it for all of us or as a ransom for us all.

Application:

-This means that we should serve all around us—unsaved people around us that need a testimony of God's love.

-Are you willing to sacrifice your own rights personally to serve the people around you?

2 Tim 3:14        Jacob Cauan

Why should we continue in the things we have learned?

I. Because we live in the last days.

        Note the context of 3:1, 13, 4:1-2. All of these verses remind us that things are getting                 worse and worse because of people's rebellion and darkness in their hearts.

        Even the entire context of 3:1-13 is a catalogue of dark and depraved hearts.

II. Because the Scriptures can make us wise to salvation.

III. Because the Scriptures are the truth sent by God.

2/23/16        Dr. Roger Vogel

Numbering Our Days

Psalm 90: 10-12

 

   This Psalm is a prayer of Moses.  He prays this prayer about 1405 BC.  He has spent nearly 40 years in the desert with the children of Israel.  The generation over 20 has nearly all died off in the last 38 years.  38 years, 110 funerals/day, Moses knowing his day is coming.  And he prays, Lord teach us to number our days.

   This is a good Psalm to consider as we begin a new year.  It is always good to take time to look back with thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness.  And it is good to look ahead with a proper perspective on time and eternity.  Or the temporary and the eternal.  That is what we want to do today.  I trust our prayer will be as Moses’ was, “Lord teach me to number my days.”

   If we look closely at our text we will see three truths that are repeated over and over in Scripture.

1.         Verse 10—Our days are limited.

2.         Verse 11—Our world is filled with trouble.

3.         Verse 12—Our response is, Lord help me remember that since my time is short I must live in view of eternal values.

   So, Moses writes this before 1400 BC.  But we find these same three truths emphasized by others at other times.

·      David—Psalm 39: 4-5, “LORD, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am.  Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.”

·      Paul—Ephesians 5: 15-17, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

·      James—James 4: 13-15, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.  Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’”

   Let’s take a closer look at these three truths.

I          Our Days Are Few—verse 10

A.   How ever long we live, our days are few.

                 1.        70 years is 25,550 days; 80 is 29,200 days.

                 2.        Easily counted by man as opposed to that “host that no man can number.”

                 3.        Note, we are to number our “days,” not weeks, months, or years.

                 4.        Job 14:1, “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.”

                 5.        Moses says, even if God gives you extra years, your days are still few.

                 6.        When Israel rebelled against God at Kadesh Barnea and did not go into the Promised Land, there were 603,550 males over 20 years old.

                 7.        God pronounced that all that generation over 20 would die before they entered the Promised Land.

                 8.        So, over the next 38 years all approximately 1 ½ million of them died in the wilderness.

                 9.        So, if you were 21, you died before you were 59.  If you were 30 you died before you were 68.  If you were 40, you died before you were 78.

              10.        At the average of 110 deaths/day for 38 years, God drove home to Moses and the others:  our days are few!

              11.        In Yosemite National Park in California, there are many giant sequoia trees that were alive while Jesus was on earth.  In one especially impressive grove, an early park ranger had a plaque erected that reads in part, “In the presence of such majesty, well may fretting man pause to ponder values and consider the ironic limitations of three score years and ten.”

              12.        James says our lives are “a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” (5:14)

              13.        David says our days are as “handbreaths” (Psalm 39:4) the shortest measure.

B.        Whatever days we have are set by God—verse 10.

                 1.        Isn’t it interesting that the expected average lifespan Moses speaks of is still true today!

                 2.        Psalm 31: 15—David testifies, “My times are in Your hand” (speaking to the Lord).

                 3.        You put that with Ecclesiastes 3:2a, “A time to be born, and a time to die…” and it is pretty clear God is in charge of our life and death.

                 4.        An important part of numbering our days is recognizing that the God who gives life is sovereign over when it ends.

                 5.        As he wrote this, Moses knew by firsthand experience that his times were in God’s hands.

                 6.        As we face 2006, if we are to have a “heart of wisdom” (verse 12) = to fear God, we must bow in submission to His sovereignty over the end of my time and the time of each one here on earth.

C.        My time on earth generally ends in death—verse 10b.

                 1.        I say generally because the exception to that will be those taken up alive in the rapture.

                 2.        But, most of us have an appointment with death—Hebrews 9: 27, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.”

                 3.        Death is no respecter of persons—young and old, rich and poor, king and peasant—all die.

                 4.        Have you thought about how many people have died in “natural disasters” in the last twelve months?

a.           Tsunami—300,000

b.           Earthquake—Pakistan and India—88,000

c.           Famine in Niger—10,000

d.           Earthquake—Indonesia—1,000

e.           Indian monsoon—1,000

f.        Hurricane Katrina—1,300

g.           China floods—567

h.           Earthquake, Iran—500

                 5.        Over 400,000 people have died “unexpectedly.”

                 6.        But the question to ask is not, “Why have all these innocent people died?” Rather the right question to ask is, “Why haven’t more of us non-innocent people died?”

                 7.        All this helps illustrate our second point.

II          Our World Is Filled With Trouble—verse 11

A.   Job spoke of this long before Moses did—Job 14:1.

                 1.        Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.”

                 2.        Paul says we must redeem the time because the “days are evil,” Ephesians 5:16.

                 3.        Moses speaks of why this is—Psalm 90: 8-9, 11.

                 4.        Because of man’s sin and rebellion, judgment and condemnation have come on this world.

                 5.        Man is not exempt from that.

                 6.        Romans 8: 22, “For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.”

                 7.        All of these things that happen in the world should remind us of God’s displeasure with sin.

                 8.        Moses saw this and recognized it.

                 9.        Verse 11 is very important—Moses says that the right response to a troubled world is not to “explain it away;” blame some politician for it, or ascribe it just to chance.

              10.        The right response is to recognize this as God’s wrath on a sinful world and learn to live in the fear of God.

B.        We tend to forget how short life is and how certain death—verse 12.

                 1.        Interesting that Moses sets the example for us of praying that he would remember to number his days.

                 2.        We want to number lots of things, but not our days.

a.           The money in our accounts or investments.

b.           The car’s horsepower.

c.           Our degrees.

d.           Rooms in our house.

e.           Our years till retirement—or since retirement.

f.        Our birthdays, anniversaries.

                 3.        When was the last time you asked someone how long he thought it would be before he died?

                 4.        The fact is folks, if I live a normal life span I have already lived ¾ of my time on earth.

                 5.        A sailor does not have to pray, “Let this compass point north”—it has done it so many times he knows it will and stakes his life on it.

                 6.        A farmer does not have to pray, “Lord help me remember to plant the seeds”—he has done it so often he knows it must be done.

                 7.        We do not pray for the sun to come up—we know it will.

                 8.        But we do need to pray, “Lord help me remember that life is short and death is certain.”

III          Our Response—verse 12

A.   Remembering that life is short and death is certain causes us to live in view of eternal values.

                 1.        We will seek true wisdom—the fear of God.

                 2.        We realize we do not have time to justify wasting a single hour.

                 3.        For the unsaved person, the first act of sanity is to repent and trust Christ as his/her personal Savior.

                 4.        John Beekman was a graduate of Moody Bible Institute—he was told by the doctor that he had a serious heart condition and it was unlikely he would live.

                 5.        They told him his only hope was to have a tiny plastic valve inserted in his heart—at that time only two other people had survived the operation—in fact they made a film of his life and called it “Survivor Number Three.”

                 6.        He survived the operation and “counting his days and applying his heart unto wisdom,” he and his wife plunged into pioneer missionary work among the Chol Indians in the jungles of southern Mexico.

                 7.        Their lives were known by their determination and courage as they reduced the Chol language to a written form and then translated the Bible into Chol, taught the Indians to read and saw a civilized people emerge where only savagery, paganism and despair had prevailed.

                 8.        Why?  Because he counted his days and applied himself to eternal values!

B.        Living this way is important because we will give an account.

                 1.        Always remember, God is more interested in our response to what we face than what we face.

                 2.        We will give an account.

                 3.        But, remember, God does what He does in order to conform us to the image of His Son—to help us, not hurt us.

IV          Some Practical Ways to Count Our Days and Gain a Heart of Wisdom—Ephesians 5: 15-17

A.   Verse 15—Walk carefully in wisdom (the fear of the Lord).

B.        Verse 17—Wisely follow the will of God.

C.        Verse 18—Willingly surrender to the Spirit’s control.

D.   Verses 19-20—Worship God in song and thanksgiving.

E.        Verse 21—Wonderful humility in each of life’s relationships. Ephesians 6:1-2, 5,9.

F.        James 4: 13-16—Wholeheartedly acknowledging God’s sovereign control of all areas.

 

   Will you pray Psalm 90:12?  Will you write it out on a card, put it on your mirror; do something to remind yourself to pray this way?  God will answer.

 

                                                   

                        

Nick Mauer                2/12/16                                

                                        

Title: The Christ Who Restores

Text: John 21:15-22

Theme: How Christ restores His people when they fail Him

Inductive Directional Question: How does Christ deal with His people when they fail Him?

Proposition: When Christ’s people fail Him, He restores them.

Introduction:

In March of 1556, one man tortured in conscience and crushed in spirit lay imprisoned in the tower of London.  His name was Thomas Cranmer and he had denied his faith.

·       Cranmer had served as Archbishop of Canterbury under the reigns of Henry VIII and his son, Edward VI, and under those two monarchs, Cranmer had ushered Protestantism into England.

·       Under Cranmer’s watch, England had gone from being a pawn of the pope to being a beacon of pure gospel light to all of Europe.

·       But when Edward died, and his Catholic sister Mary ascended the throne, she immediately imprisoned Cranmer and all of his colleagues, and began the arduous process of trying them, condemning them, and putting them to death.

·       Cranmer watched some of his friends burn at the stake for their faith, and Mary sent her henchmen to try to convince and cajole him into recanting his faith so that he might avoid the same fate.

·       Cranmer stood strong for a while, but finally, under the constant strain of harassment and trial, with the images of his friends’ fiery deaths etched forever on his mind, he folded, and signed a document renouncing the truths of the Gospel that he had so long labored to defend.

·       It was a blow to England and indeed to the whole church.

 

And the question I want to raise tonight is, how does God deal with men like that?—men who fail Him?  More importantly, and more personally, how is He going to deal with us when we fail Him?—When we do those things that leave us wondering, “Can I ever have fellowship with the Lord again?”

·       To answer that question, I want us to look at Christ’s dealings with one of His most obviously failing followers—Peter.

o   We all know Peter.  He liked making bold statements—When Christ asked the disciples, “whom say ye that I am?”  It was Peter who jumped up and declared, “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God!” (Matt 16:16)

o   When Christ walked on the water, and all the other disciples thought it was a ghost, it was Peter who said, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.”  (Matt 14:28)

o   Yet, in John 13, as the disciples and the Lord are talking for the last time together in the upper room before Christ’s crucifixion, Peter makes another of these bold statements, and Christ calls him on it—Peter says, “I will lay down my life for thy sake,” and Christ responds, “Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake?  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.”

o   Peter’s incredulous!  “Not me, Lord!”  And yet, FIVE chapters later, we read that that’s exactly what he did.

o   He’s a failure, and he knows it. (…pause…)

o   So, how’s Christ going to deal with him?

Turn in your Bibles to John 21.  Now, it was in John 18 that Peter denied Christ; In John 19, Christ was crucified; In John 20, He rose victorious over the grave, and yet when we come to ch.21, we’re still not sure where Peter stands in his relationship with Christ.

·       You will recall that after Mary reported that Jesus was alive, it was Peter and John who ran to the tomb to see. And Peter was the one to go in. He wants to find Jesus—he’s full of shame, and he has to know where he stands in his relationship with Him.

·       We know that Jesus appears several times to the disciples, but we don’t know how much direct contact he has had with Peter up to this point.

·       And it appears that Peter is depressed—so he goes back to what he knows best: fishing.

Look at 21:1—[Read and explain from v.1 to v.7]

·       Once Peter knows it’s the Lord, he’s out of the boat, swimming alone—he has to see Jesus!

o   The other disciples hurry as fast as they can with the fish in the boat, and once they all get there, they see Jesus has prepared a fire to cook on (v.9).

·       When Jesus says (v.10), “Bring of the fish which ye have now caught,” look at Peter’s response: he goes—by himself—and grabs the net full of fish, and drags it to land.

·       It says there were 153 fish. Significance? Well, John says they were large. Let’s say 1 kg. So here Peter goes and by himself grabs a net full of 153 kg of fish! It’s like Peter’s saying, “Anything you want, Lord—I’ll do anything for You, Lord! I’m so sorry that I’ve sinned!”

·       And in v.12, Jesus tells them to come and dine.

They’re on the beach in Galilee.  They’ve been out on the Sea of Galilee fishing, Christ has called them to the shore to eat breakfast with Him, and in v.15 it says “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” – an awkward question.  And yet, in asking it, Jesus is reaching down into Peter’s heart and probing the very center of Peter’s problem.        

·       Remember Peter said, “Though all should be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended….Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee!”  And yet, when the hour of trial came, he didthree times.

·       Now Christ is sitting on the beach with 7 of the 12 disciples, and he asks Peter, “do you love me more than these?”  Look around Peter—look at these men.  Do you love me more than James?  Do you love me more than Nathanael?  Do you love me more than John?  He was with me from the garden to the cross—when you were out weeping because you denied me.

·       I mean—He’s just laying-open Peter’s heart!

·       And the only reply Peter can stammer out at the end of v.15 is, “Yea, Lord…thou knowest that I love thee.”  Now, why does he say “thou knowest that I love thee?

·       Because Peter understands that aside from Jesus’ own acknowledgement of the fact, there is nothing in his life that he can point to as evidence of his love for the Lord.  The fact that he made those bold statements about Christ, the fact that he got out of the boat and walked on water, the fact that he followed him for three years—all of that is completely overshadowed by the fact that the week before he said three times, and with an oath, “I know not the man!”

·       And yet, Christ asks this painful question of Peter not once, not twice, but three times!

o   Look at v.15 he asks, “Lovest thou me more than these?”  Peter responds, “thou knowest that I love thee.”

o   In v.16 he asks, “Lovest thou me?”  Peter responds again, “Yea Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.”

o   Then, in v.17, he again asks, “Lovest thou me?”  And look at Peter’s reaction this time.  It says “Peter was grieved, because He said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me?

§  In the original language, Christ’s question gets more pointed the third time he asks it, and at the end of v.17, Peter is left with nothing to say but, “Lord—thou knowest all things.  Thou knowest that I love thee!

o   He has nothing to fall back on but the omniscient Christ Himself, who has now plunged the depths of his once-proud heart and exposed the weakness that is there.  “Though not as I should, I do love thee!

·       And at this point in the passage, we get our first answer to the question, How does Christ deal with His people when they fail Him?  Well, first,

1.     He humbles them by giving them an accurate estimation of themselves.

·       [Application:] Have you been at this point before—just feeling wretched about that thing you said, or did, or thought?  Feeling terrible because of your sin isn’t a bad thing; it’s part of God’s plan.  It’s how Christ deals with His failing followers.

·       Look at David in Psalm 51, after his sin—he was not skipping around, glorying in his forgiveness right away. There was a proper sorrow over the weight and the gravity of his sin!

[TRANSITION:]  So, is that all that Christ does with us when we fail—make us grovel?  No.  Look back at vv.15-17.  After Peter answers each of those three searching questions, Jesus commands him to do something.

·       Look at v.15—After he asks the question and Peter responds, he says, “Feed my lambs”; in v.16 He says, “feed [literally “shepherd”] my sheep,” and in v.17, He says, “feed my sheep.”

·       He is commissioning Peter to do something—a job—a ministry of service for the Lord.

·       Imagine how glad Peter must have been to hear those words—“I’m being humbled big-time, but the Lord still has something for me to do!

·       And Jesus sandwiches the commissions between the humbling questions so that Peter doesn’t lose sight of the fact that the humility must precede this ministry for the Lord.

·       And we see that, in dealing with His failing followers, Christ not only humbles them, but in addition to that,

2.     He re-commissions them for the tasks He has given them.

·       [Application:]  This is a beautiful truth.  Christ doesn’t just leave us in guilt, but still wants to use us—even when we fail.  He re-commissions us when we fail.

·       He did it with Moses after he murdered a man.  He did it with Samson as he sat grinding grain with his eyes plucked-out.  He did it with David after he committed adultery and tried to cover-up with murder.  And he will do it with youjust as he does it with Peter in this passage.

[TRANSITION:]  So, now Peter has been humbled, and re-commissioned, but how is he ever going to succeed at what the Lord is calling him to?  Maybe that’s your question—“Okay, it’s great that the Lord has called me to do things for Him, but how am I going to do that?”  Well, look at the words that Christ speaks to Peter in v.18—He says to him, I imagine in a voice of incredible tenderness, [READ].

·       You say, what does that mean?  Well, John tells us what it means in the first half of v.19—look there [READ].

·       So, Christ’s words to Peter in v.18 were a prophecy of a martyr’s deathand they were the most encouraging thing that Peter could have possibly heard at that moment!  Now, you say, “Wait a minute, I don’t really think of prophesies of martyrdom as being really encouraging thing to hear.  Yet, consider it from Peter’s perspective—

·       Jesus has come and essentially said to Peter, “You’re right Peter—you don’t love me like you should.  In fact, you denied me three times when I was being carted away to bear the weight of your sin!  You’ve lived life your own way and you don’t love me like you ought to, but Oh Peter—the day will come when you will.  The day comes when you will stretch out your hands in a bloody display of your love for me, and someone else will have full control over you, dressing you and taking you where you don’t want to go.”

·       Peter had shamed his Lord by his denials, but Christ assures him that he will glorify God through his death.

·       So, here we find yet another answer to that question, How does Christ deal with His people when they fail Him?  The passage shows that,

3.     He guarantees them His grace to finish well for His glory.

·       [Application:]  God promises the same grace to any of us today.

·       Turn to Jude 24.  Jude refers to  God as the One “who is able to keep you from falling”—and the idea there is not that he keeps you from each individual sin, but that He is able to keep us from ultimately falling away.

·       In fact, in 1 Pet 1:5, this very disciple to whom Jesus is speaking writes 30 years later that believers are “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

·       If you are truly a child of God, then although you may have fallen and failed, God will give you the grace to end well for His glory!

[TRANSITION:]  And yet, I have to ask once more, is that all that Christ does?  Does He just tell you that life will work out somehow for his glory and then leave you to experiment and try to make it happen?  By no means!  Look back at v.19.

·       After he prophesies Peter’s martyrdom, he says two simple words—“Follow me.”

·       Now, it’s quite interesting that Christ would speak those two words to Peter at this moment, because he spoke them to him once before.

o   In fact, if you were to turn back to Matt 4:18-19, you would find that these are the same two words he spoke to Peter when he first called him—and while the wording in the original language is different, the idea is identical.

o   This would have been like a déjà-vu to Peter, taking him back to those first days with Christ.  He must have thought dozens of times after he denied Christ, “If only I could go back!”  Now Christ is, in a sense, telling him that he can.

o   Yes, for Peter, there would be lasting scars from his sin. The memory of it was with him—I am sure—till the day of his death, as he spread his arms and, according to church tradition, was crucified upside-down for Jesus.

o   But Jesus was telling him here, “You can still do what I saved you to do—follow Me!” In that sense, things can be like they once were.  I’ll give you the same calling, and you can follow me, just like I told you to at the beginning.

·       Peter must have rejoiced to hear those words.

·       But what does this tell us about our question?  We see finally at the end of the passage that, in dealing with his failing followers,

4.     He ends by calling them to a daily pursuit of Himself.

·       [Application:]  Christian, Have you failed the Lord?  This is Christ’s word to you—follow me!

·       Think about the promise that is built into the command, “Follow me.”  If we’re supposed to follow Him, that means that He’ll do what?  Lead us!  He doesn’t expect us to go anywhere that He has not gone before.  “All the way my Savior leads me!”

·       Did Christ call Peter to a bloody death?  Yes!  Will he call you to a bloody death?  Will He call you to give up friends?  Or to do painful things for His sake?  Perhaps!  But he doesn’t call you to go anywhere that He has not led the way!

·       He humbles you, He commissions you, He promises you victory, and then He ends with the same call He gave you when He made you His disciple—“Follow me. Follow me….Follow me”

 

The Catholic bishops must have thought that they had cinched a perfect victory in the case of Thomas Cranmer.  They had secured his written recantation, and now he was scheduled to give an oral recantation before the whole city of London.  And yet, as Cranmer ascended the steps of the platform from which he was to address all of London on that fateful day of March 21, 1556, something had changed in him.  Instead of recanting his faith again, he instead affirmed it and denounced the Catholic Church.  As he was closing his speech, he spoke these words, now famous in the annals of church history:  And forasmuch as my hand offended in writing contrary to my heart, therefore my hand shall first be punished; for if I may come to the fire, it shall be first burned.”

 

And church history tells us that when he came to the stake, he thrust his hand in and held it there until it burned to a stub—at which point he walked into the flames and perished for the sake of the Lord who he had once denied.  Just like Peter!

So, How does Christ deal with His people when they fail Him?

·       To put it in three words:  He restores them.

·       He restores His people when they fail Him!

·       He doesn’t leave you to rot away with guilt.  He doesn’t give up on you and leave you by the wayside.  No, though you fail, though you fall, though you deny that you know Him, he says to you, “Follow me!”

·       One of Cranmer’s friends, another who died for his faith in England, named John Bradford, said, “Nothing in all the world so displeaseth the Lord, as to doubt of His mercy.”

·       Both Peter and Cranmer looked for a time like irrecoverable train wrecks.  But they looked to the Christ who restores and found Him rich in mercy and grace.  They went to a painful end, but Christ went before them, and proved in their lives that He will restore us, even when we fall and fail Him.

Pastor Abet Tiangco                2/9/16                

Be a Man or Woman of Faith

Even if you master all the classes here at BJMBC, it doesn't guarantee that you'll have a successful ministry.

Note that as Jesus prepared His disciples for their ministry, he used lots of different means. But fundamentally all of them shared in common that He focused on their faith in Him. Likewise, no matter how we prepare to minister and serve, preparation must essentially be strengthening our faith in God.

The thing that was deeper than his disobedience was a heart of unbelief. Note what happened in 1 Sam. 13. Saul looked at the total situation and the delay of Samuel. The pressure was increasing and he might even legitimately assume that they would die soon if they didn't do something.

God sometimes places us in situations where obedience will cost us something. That is the time when it becomes apparent whether we are really ready to trust God and obey, even in spite of the costs.

In 1 Sam. 15 God's instructions are even clearer and Saul's disobedience is just as clear. Saul did so because he said he feared the people. But at the bottom of it all, it was a willingness to disobey God because He lacked a heart of faith.

Seven reflections:

There will be times when obedience to God's word will look irrational to the human mind.
        •It didn't make sense to wait when the armies were gathering and getting stronger; it                 didn't make sense to destroy all the nice things of Amalek when they could be sacrificed.
        •Whenever we find a belief that rationalizes disobedience, it is a poison. Reject it.
Disobeying God is very irrational because it is an act contrary to the wisdom of the all knowing God.
        •The most irrational thing you can possibly do is to disobey God.
God desires that we make our decisions based on what He has revealed in His word; not on what we think seems right.
        •Note that Saul specifically says it was when he saw the multitudes that he feared and                 changed his plans.
Disobeying God is evil.
        •We shouldn't soften or adjust what we say. In 1 Sam. 15:23 God states it completely                 directly to Saul—it is like the sin of witchcraft!
        •We often don't truly repent because we don't view sin the way God views it.
The fear of man always results in disobedience.
        •You become a slave to what you fear. If you fear man too much to share the gospel and         make disciples, that fear is greater than your obedience.
Circumstances must not determine our obedience to God.
        •You can find some signs of obedience in the life of Saul. He did obey sometimes.                 Except he didn't when the circumstances were the hardest.
We must completely trust God in order for us to faithfully obey Him.
        •You cannot become a man or woman of obedience without faith.

BJMBC is a wonderful place to learn and be trained. But it is not enough. You must learn to trust God. Now is the time to do that. If you have passed all your classes but failed to be a man or woman of faith, you are not yet ready for ministry.


2/1/16                Pastor Roger Vogel        Exod. 33:18-23; 34:5-8

Seeing God's Glory

Questions:

  1. What does it mean to see God's glory?
  2. What do we do when we see God's glory?

  1. His mercy.
  1. Meaning—God's withholding the punishment and judgment that we deserve.
  2. Examples—Nehemiah 9
  1. His Grace
  1. Meaning—God giving us what we don't deserve.
  2. Examples:
  1. Titus 3:5
  2. Eph. 2:8
  1. His Longsuffering
  1. Meaning—He waits, withholding his rightful wrath.
  2. Example—Num 14; Psa. 145:8
  1. His Goodness
  1. Meaning—"lovingkindness"
  2. Examples—Psa. 33:5; 52:1; 27:13; 107. Exod. 33:19 is fulfilled here in 34:6-7.
  1. His Truth
  1. Meaning—faithfulness
  2. Examples—Psa. 108:4; 119:90
  1. His Forgiveness
  1. Psa. 86:5 speaks of "iniquity" (twistedness), "transgression" (rebellion), sin (missing the mark).
  1. His Sovereignty
  1. Meaning—He is merciful, but He will also sovereignty judge sin. He is gracious but He will judge.
  2. Rom. 11:22

As we think of Moses being put in the cleft of the rock, we could recognize the only way we possibly see God's glory—from the standpoint of our position in Christ. Our only proper response will be what Moses did—He urgently bowed His head before God and worshipped.

Pastor Tom Phillips        1/29/'16        The Fear of God

Scripture tells us that God is love that we should love Him (Deut. 6:5). But we also read that we should fear God. How can we put the two together—God's love and his fear?

In both testaments, the words for fear are used sometimes for simple fear—something that people are afraid of. But at other times it's a reverence that drives someone to obey and reverence the object of fear.

Note 1 John 4:18—perfect love casts out fear. In context it is the reminder that true believers have nothing to fear at the judgement because our condemnation has been dealt with in Christ.

Love that is not based on reverence, awe and obedience is not perfected. "Perfected" means "complete, brought to fulfillment."

It's quite clear that we are told to fear God. Note Eph. 5:21; 2 Cor. 7:1; 1 Pet. 2:17; Lev. 25:17; Deut. 6:13-15; Psa. 3:8.

What is the fear of God?

Prov. 8:13—"the fear of the Lord is to hate evil: Pride, and arrogance, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate." It isn't possible to fear God and be proud.

Deut. 6:24—And the Lord commanded us to do all these statues, to fear the Lord our God.

How do I get the fear of God?

Proverbs 2:1-5—to accept the instructions and wisdom of Scripture's instruction is the way to understanding and having the fear of God.
-To "receive" is "to take, bring, carry away."
-To "hide" is to "hoard, protect, esteem."
-To "incline" is to prick up the ears, regard."
-To "apply" is to "influence, bend or bow."
-To "lift up the voice" is to "commit."
-To "seek" is to "strive after, beg, request."
-To "search for" is to "think out."

All of this is followed by the clear transition—THEN

The result is that you would have the fear of the Lord.

Acts 9:31 speaks of the churches prospering and "walking in the fear of the Lord." This was immediately after the death of Ananias and Saphira. Because they saw God's judgment they feared Him.

To walk is "to order one's life." It is "to pursue the journey on which one has entered."

Genesis 20:11—"Abraham said, because I thought, 'surely the fear of God is not in this place.'"

Later God tested Abraham through the sacrifice of Isaac. In Gen. 22:12, the angel of the Lord said "I know that thou dearest God, seeing thou has not withheld thy son, thine only son from me."

Now what about us?

Can God say that we fear Him because we obey Him? Can you put your name in for Abraham in Gen. 22:12?
The test is if we desire to apply our hearts to the word of God.
Do we desire to pursue the journey on which we have started—pursuing God, fearing Him and loving Him.

Joshua 1               1/5/16         Pastor Albet Tiangco

Be Strong and Courageous in Fulfilling God’s Will

What do these words mean? They often appear together in the OT. Israel was commanded to be strong and courageous; likewise David; also Hezekiah to his captains.

But sometimes the two words are translated the other way - the Hebrew for strong as courageous and the converse. The words are probably put together to communicate one idea.

  1. Be Strong and Courageous because of God’s Promises
  1. Just after these words we see promises of victory - no one will be able to stand before you. Likewise in 2 Cor. 12, God’s grace and strength is made perfect in our weakness.
  2. We also see the promise of God’s presence (v. 9) - God will go with him wherever he goes. Think also of Christ's words in the Great Commission - He will be with us until the end of the age. Or Heb. 13 - I will never leave you nor forsake you.
  3. God’s promises aren’t just words. He will fulfill them. Are we ready to make a choice whether we will believe the promises of God or not? Whatever you’re facing academically or personally right now in your work, you can trust in the promises of God.
  1. Be Strong and Courageous to Carefully Obey God’s Word
  1. Sometimes careful obedience to God’s Word requires courage. Have we failed to do what we should have done because of fear?
  2. God’s will isn’t always the easiest way to go. When you do the math on the wars and battles Joshua had to fight, it was probably 4-5 every year. And yet true courage is to step forward resting in God’s promises. Only in obedience do we really show true courage.
  3. Careful obedience to God’s Word results in success (v. 7). Success isn’t just any kind of success - starting a business. It is specifically in connection to accomplishing God’s will - what God had told Joshua to do. Don’t think that by giving enough money or attending church regularly you will win God’s favor on your other labors. Success is really quite simple - consistently knowing and accomplishing the will of God. Maybe following God won’t bring you the biggest church in the Philippines. But you will have been successful if you are faithful to God.
  4. This is possible when our mind is filled with the Word of God (v. 8). The first thing to ask about in a counseling situation when someone is struggling is about what’s happening in their personal devotions. If you aren’t fulfilling yourself with God’s Word constantly, you shouldn’t be surprised when you struggle.

1 John 2:15-17         12/4/15        Pastor Anton Sarne

60 years ago the Allies moved in on Normandy after a full year of preparation. It was supposed to happen on June 5 but it was delayed to June 6. Why? Because of bad weather.

We all want to follow God and serve Him. But what things might endanger our opportunity to serve and obey God?

The main command in this passage is not to love the world. The way it’s constructed tells us to stop loving the world. The meaning of “world” would be the whole evil system in opposition against God. John uses it in 1 John 5:19 of that system against God - “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”

Three reasons why we have to obey this command:

1. Because of the love of God.

        This can refer to our love for God or His love for us. Better probably to think here of God’s love for us. Because He loved us so much we have to stop loving the world. 2 Cor. 5:14 talks about God’s love compelling us - since He died for us we are compelled to live for Him. It goes the opposite way too. If we are truly in love with our Savior we must faithfully serve.

2. Because of what is in the world - the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.

We as Christians are regularly threatened by this desire. We find ourselves pulled to follow our dreams or our desires to achieve things for our own desires. And to be worldly is to be an enemy of God based on James 4.

3. Because the world passes away.

The idea is that the world is already on its way to irrelevance. It's already disappearing. So don't place your trust or love on these things. They're already vanishing now. It goes out of fashion, it gets outdated and eventually it will be destroyed by the judgment of God.

In contrast, the person who will abide is the person who is continuously and steadily doing the will of God. God has a purpose for you and for what you should be doing. Be faithful with it. Keep on doing it and don't stop.

Phillip Henry, the father of Matthew Henry faced a great persecution where many pastors were forced out of the ministry because they had no support. Phillip Henry once asked God to let his earthly comfort be like oil to the wheels of his obedience to God. That is the way we ought to view the things we have here on earth. Blessings, yes. But only so that we can more faithfully use them to serve God.

Mark 7:1-8              12/1/15       Mr. Doug Bachorik

When we think about Christmas, one of the first things that comes to mind is gifts. How do we decide about what gifts we will give to an individual person? We do it based on knowing them and what they would want. So how would we give the Lord a gift?

These people were the foremost experts of their day on Scripture. And yet they denied it by their actions. Jesus quotes Isa. 29:13, speaking of how they reduced the fear of God to a mere set of things people must do. And yet we find that they went even further. Matthew 15:3 tells us that their traditions took on such a life of their own that it actually trangressed God’s commandments. And in Mark 7:8 they actually set it aside. They dismissed it below the authority of their own words! Finally, Mark 9:9 gives us the final result - replacing it with their own teaching.

Note the trajectory. Bit by bit they are minimizing God’s truth until it gets completely replaced. No one comes under greater condemnation in the gospels than these teachers. They were not only ignorant and disobedient but actually hypocritical and rejecting the truth they had been given.

How did they get there? The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart. The one thing God desired most is the thing they were furthest from obeying and fulfilling. They had an excellent outward display of holiness with no true reality on the inside. Isaiah tells us that they actually removed their hearts from God. It’s almost as though they even thought God was swayed by their deception.

So what is it that God wants from us? He wants our hearts. Mark 12:28-34 says that very thing - what God really wants is our hearts. By gradual steps we can come to slowly live for posessions, or even recognition for being a good Christian and a skillful teacher and lose the true purpose of our lives - a heart that loves God and serves Him.

God wants us to serve Him and do things for Him. But He doesn’t want any of that apart from our hearts. John 14 reminds us, “if you love me, keep your commandments.” If your heart has strayed and you’ve lost your love, start obeying and bring your heart back in line with what He requires of you.

This plays out as well among human beings. Those whom God has most greatly blessed and used are those who truly live out their faith, loving God more than anything else. Conversely, when you hear of a great known teacher who falls away from the truth or falls into sin, this is how they have failed. Their heart has not been true with the professions of their outward appearance.

The Life of Enoch     11/24/15           Pastor Roger Vogel

We can start out with the “great cloud of witnesses” in Heb. 12:1-2. Sometimes we make the mistake of imagining these people in heaven like spectators, witnessing our race. Rather the idea is that they are giving us a testimony of what we should do - they’re speaking from their lives and telling us what a life of true faith looks like.

Going back to 11:5, we see the specific example of Enoch. We learn several things about him here:

  1. He was saved by faith, just as we are (v. 1, 5, 39)
  2. He was taken directly to heaven rather than having to face death.
  3. He pleased God, and it is only by faith that anyone can possibly please God (v. 6).
  4. He was a man to whom God was real - he believed that “God is” (v. 6).
  5. He believed that God rewards those who diligently seek Him.
  6. He had a fervent prayer life - “those who diligently seek Him.”

We can look at this example and derive seven lessons from Enoch’s life about what it means to walk with God.

  1. It starts with a conversion experience. While the time or circumstances aren’t recorded, we know that he had to be converted and come to faith at some point during his life. Have you been born again? Have you been converted?
  2. We must have the same nature with God. Amos 3:3 asks “can two walk together except they be agreed?” The NT speaks of our needing to become “a new creature.”
  3. We must be living a transformed life. Once you work out the chronology, Enoch’s contemporary in the line of Cain is Lamech (Gen. 4:19-24). Enoch lived in a profoundly broken, depraved world (c.f. Gen. 6:1-5). And yet he walked with God in total contrast to his surroundings. See also 1 John 1:6-7, saying “if we claim to have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth.”
  4. To walk with God means we continue to walk in faith; we don’t quit. Genesis records that he walked with God for 300 years after he fathered his son at 65. That’s a long time!
  5. To walk with God means we follow our faith at home as well as everywhere else. He had sons and daughters so he had a home life as well.
  6. We must be surrendered to God. It required that for him to stand against his pagan society. “We walk by faith, not by sight.” “We walk in love.” “We walk circumspectly.” “We walk as He walked.”
  7. We are proclaiming His message. The only other passage that mentions Enoch is Jude 14-15, where we learn that he preached “the Lord is coming with ten thousand of His shining ones.” Enoch was not a “secret saint.” His faith and obedience before God was evident to all. He proclaimed it. And what Enoch proclaimed was pertinent to the second coming of Christ - promises fulfilled thousands of years in the future. That leads us to the words of Rev. 12:11 about how anyone overcomes as Enoch did.
  1. By the blood of the Lamb.
  2. By the word of your testimony.
  3. By not loving your life, even if it requires you to give up your life.

When you are willing to proclaim your faith like this,

  1. It eliminates wrong friendships. They aren’t interested in being with you anymore.
  2. It requires you to back up your words with a testimony. Even with the lost you have a kind of accountability.
  3. It requires us to use our spiritual armor - shield of faith and sword of the Spirit (word of God). Our need to share the gospel and evangelize people is a spiritual discipline that we desparately need.

1 Thess. 1

Genesis 11         11/13/15           Dr. Phil Kamibayashiyama

The tower of Babel shows us not only the origin of all human languages, but also the basic spiritual principle that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.

  1. The character of humanity is the same - we are all proud and rebellious.

The passage immediately shows people’s rebellion and pride. These people are our ancestors; we share their character. Their first goal was to make a name for themselves. Furthermore, God’s purpose for humanity is clear - for humanity to glorify Him. Their pride is also their rebellion.

Their purpose also to not be scattered is at odds with God’s purpose. He told humanity to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth. They want to stay in one place.

This spiritual reality also includes nice people. There aren’t nice people and mean people. There are proud rebels and proud rebels that God has humbled. Those are the only true categories. Until we recognize ourselves for what we are, we won’t understand who we really are in biblical perspective.

We are complicated enough that we can find a way to do good things for really bad reasons. Our hard work in ministry, preparing to preach well or sing well can actually be rooted in our pride. The more we grow, the more we will recognize how profoundly permeated we are with sin.

So start here. Are you ready to admit that you are proud and stubborn? That’s the only way there is hope and the only way you can have change.

II. Despite our pride and rebellion, God still cares for us.

We should be sure to understand, first, that God is in no way endangered by what they’re doing. They want to build a tower up to heaven. God has to come down to see it. God is not afraid of them; He is concerned for them. If they band together, their depravity will have no limits on their ability to self-destruct. God’s action is stepping in to deliver them from themselves.

Part of the result of confusing their languages was weakening them. But more at the core, not being able to communicate with people is humbling. Part of God’s intention was also to humble them with their own limitations and ignorance.

God likewise gives us weakness and struggles for the same reason - to weaken and humble us. What things do you struggle with or get frustrated about yourself? Appearance, intelligence, skills, handicaps are all given to us by God to help us. In the process we’re compelled to look to Him for grace.

Take what God has given you - your talents, physical limitations and intellectual struggles. Accept those and live them out for God’s glory.

Psalm 1    11/11/15            Dr. Phil Kamibayashiyama

The Truth Transforms

This psalm presents for us two ways that end in profoundly different results. The results are between death and blessedness; suffering in sin or rejoicing in God. But how does God’s word lead to blessedness?

When we think of transformation, maybe we would imagine a caterpillar turning into a beautiful butterfly. The truth does that in people; it changes us from the inside out.

The world also desparately needs that. It shows the scars of sin everywhere. Only the truth has the power to answer that desparate situation. But we’re no different - we need it to.

Are you truly willing to change? Are you ready to have that happen this semester? We will see three truths here about that reality.

  1. Transformation begins with our rejecting the world’s way and delighting in God’s Word.

This is obvious in verse 1. This person has consciously chosen to reject the world’s way. This could include lots of things.

        We reject those attitudes because real life is much greater - delighting in fellowship with God through His word!

The blessed man turns instead to the word of God and makes that His full joy and delight. This involves both (1) what we look at or make our focus, and (2) what we choose to love and find our joy in.

Illustration: When Dr. K was getting to know his wife they would exchange notes. He had a little process everytime he got a note. (1) He would quickly read through the whole thing. (2) He would go back through slowly and make sure he didn’t miss anything. (3) He would give it one more look to make sure he didn’t miss any hidden meanings somewhere. (4) He would think about what she had said and ponder it. Why such a process? Because he loved her and valued her words.

Your daily devotions is a chance to do that very thing. Ponder it, think about it, write down what you learned, and use that truth throughout the day to focus on God.

2.   The truth transforms you.

If we don’t let the truth change us, two decades from now, we’ll be the same we are today.

None of us starts like this tree. Before that we were all like the chaff, blown away and destroyed. So how does this happen? How did the chaff get turned into the tree? Only by the transforming power of the word. This is why Jeremiah compares the Word of God to a hammer breaking a rock. It’s powerful!

Imagine a huge waterfall like Niagra Falls. Every second millions of gallons fall. Standing right next to Mrs. K, they had to shout to communicate. God’s word is like that water that can refresh and satisfy a hungry soul.

They recently saw a tree filled with fruit. When they asked more questions they found out it was planted near a well and the roots were wrapped around that reservoir of water.

What is your heart and mind immersed in? What do you delight in and meditate upon?

3. The truth can transform others through you.

The results and blessing of the truth can touch not just your life but the lives of others around you. The more you’re transformed, the more God can use you as an instrument in transforming the lives of others around you.

What can be more precious than having a part in transforming the people around you? What could we possibly give ourselves to greater than that change?

Give yourself to the truth. Push away every other thing that would pull you from that truth. Make your life about knowing, loving and living truth. If that is your choice, that truth will transform you and God will use you in transforming others.

Grace        11/6/’15            Dr. Tim Berrey

Humanly speaking, a lot of things in the Christian life are humanly impossible - pleasing God, staying pure in a perverted world, seeing people put their faith in God… all of these things are impossible without the power of God.

What we need here and in everything else we do is grace. Grace makes all of these things possible.

Definition: Grace is God’s undeserved but promised empowering to do what He wants in a way that is humanly impossible.

Let’s look at Scripture and prove this definition.

Romans 1 - “grace to you and peace.” This is the recurring pattern throughout the NT epistles.

1 Cor. 1:3 - “grace be unto you”

1 Cor. 16:23 - “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

2 Cor. 1:2 - “grace be to you.”

2 Cor. 13: - the grace of the Lord JEsus Christ be with you all…

Gal. 1:3 - “grace be to you.”

Gal 6:18 - “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”

Eph 1

Eph 6:24 - grace be with all themn that love our Lord Jesus Christ

This pattern shows us two things:

  1. Grace is really important. It’s the core thing mentioned in all these connections.
  2. Grace comes from God - that’s why we need to pray for it.

Romans 4:4, 16 - if you worked for something it isn’t grace.

Eph. 2:8-9 - grace means that we are saved as a gift.

In fact, even the word grace is related to another word that means “gift.”

That means that we don’t do something to deserve or merit grace; it is only given.

2 Cor. 12:9 - “my grace is sufficient for thee.”

Rom. 8: “how will He not freely give us all things.”

That means God’s grace is promised.

2 Tim. 2:1 - “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

2 Cor. 12:9 - “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Notice how the wording moves directly from talking about grace to talking about strength and power.

In Acts believers were entrusted to God’s grace.

1 Peter 1 - grace lets us use our spiritual gifts, humble ourselves, and suffer.
2 Cor. 8:1-4 - these churches gave in an extraordinary way and the reason was clearly because of God’s grace.

1Cor. 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” So he labored in an extraordinary way but really that was about the grace of God enabling him

All of these references demonstrate that grace results in enabling us to do what we otherwise could not do.

Definition: Grace is God’s undeserved but promised empowering to do what He wants in a way that is humanly impossible.

So how will you do well this semester at BJMBC? Grace enables the humanly impossible. You need grace.

And grace is something you grow in - “grow in grace…” It’s as though as we respond to God’s grace in obedience God gives us more grace to be able to go further. Think of a child having to depend and trust in the strength of his father as they walk further and further into deep water. Sometimes we aren’t experiencing His grace because we aren’t willing to trust Him to go to the next depth.

It’s the times when we feel like we can’t go any further that God answers and gives us grace. Go further, deeper and trust His strength to do what is humanly impossible.

Psalm 25      11/3/'15          Dr. Tim Berrey

Introduction: It’s not always easy to start again. The break is nice, but how do you return to studying again. More specifically, what do you do when you’ve failed in the past. Maybe you’re discouraged from struggles last semester or even you failed in a class. What is the Christian response when we realize we need to start over and try again?

Illustration: There was once a student that seemed to be failing academically and not able to keep up. They worked together and created a plan for him - if he would maintain perfect attendance and complete an extra project he could pass the class. Everything seemed encouraging. Then he didn’t show up for the next class period. Several more classes he was absent again. When asked, the student said he knew he had failed and so he felt like he should punish himself because he knew he failed. Is that a biblical way to handle failure?

This psalm is a lament psalm. There are more lament psalms than any other type - 61 by one person’s count. It is also a psalm of David.

Multiple times the psalmist mentions enemies and people that hate him. Another theme is needing guidance from the Lord about what he should do (vv. 3-4, 8). He also mentions shame many times - a major concern is apparently his embarassment at failure before those that want to see him destroyed.

So why is he facing this trouble? What’s the problem before him? There’s one more theme - his sin. Note his lamenting sin in vv. 6-7. In v. 8 he takes comfort at the fact that God teaches sinners - the implication is that he needs it. Most clear is v. 11, begging for pardon because he has sinned greatly. He isn’t minimizing his sin in any way.

But there’s a connection. In vv. 17-18 he speaks of the troubles of his heart and connects it to his sin. In other words, David acknowledges that his troubles are connected in some direct way to his own sin.

We don’t know what circumstance this was, but plenty of times in David’s life would be a close parallel. After he sinned with Bathsheba he loses the kingdom and has to run from Jerusalem from his own son. His enemies are multiplying and the king is running away to hide. That was the epitome of shameful.

So what do you do when you’ve failed? Do you punish yourself? Do you excuse or minimize your sin? Biblically you should do neither. David’s response is clear. He ran to God for deliverance and guidance.

So maybe you failed last semester. Maybe you failed during the break. What you need to do is simple. Go to God. Admit your sin; be completely honest. Talk to God about exactly what happened; hide nothing. And then beg Him for deliverance.

Think of the illustration of Jonah. Everyone else on the boat prayed but not Jonah. He knows he’s guilty but he seems to just hopelessly think he needs to die. God had different plans. God put Jonah in the belly of a fish until he was ready to repent. When Jonah repented God returned him back to where he had started.

At the beginning of a new semester, let’s handle our failures God’s way.

1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Matt. 28:19-20       10/9/'15          Pastor Albert Tiangco

The King Has Spoken

Introduction: Last semester there was a cancelled quiz and only two students knew about it. The others refused to believe them until the teacher showed up. Sometimes the difference between two things people have said is not the words but the one who said it. Only when the teacher confirmed were people willing to believe.

What we're reading here are the words of the King - the theme of the book of Matthew. We should recognize that the concept of kingship here is different. Our governmental authorities are not absolute in their authority. Here, on the other hand, the assumption is of a King that does whatever He wants.

So what is the content and emphasis of the book of Matthew?

I. Jesus is the King of the Jews.

A. This is obvious even from the genealogy at the beginning of the book (Matt. 1). It's given as the son of David and Abraham. The genealogy then takes us directly through a long list of kings.

B. It's evident in the story of His birth (Matt. 1:20ff) Joseph is "the son of David."

C. Matthew identifies Jesus as the fulfillment of the Messianic prophesies. Matthew repeatedly comments that "this happened to fulfill what was spoken..." (1:22).

D. Jesus' words and works demonstrate His authority.

        -Note that Matthew switches back and forth between discourses and stories:

He is King of Heaven and earth - discourse in chs. 5-7; then stories in chs. 8-9;

Discourse in ch. 10; stories in chs. 11-12; so on.

As we progress through the narrative accounts, we discover that He has authority over storms, illness, nature, and even death.

Application: This One with total authority is also our King. He can give us help and grace in whatever we face right now.

But what do we think when we come to His death? It seems that the King has lost; He seems to have fallen to their power and resistance.

This is the context and significance of the Great Comission. He died; but He is also alive! He has now received all authority over everything. He stands before us to give a command because He is the true King.

When He tells us to go and make disciples, we are calling people to follow the Master. Our goal, therefore, is not just to get someone to pray a prayer; we're trying to see people submitting themselves to the Savior and willingly obeying Him.

Applications:

In one of the great battles between the Persians and Xerses the had to retreat to a ship. When they faced a storm he was told that they had to lighten the ship or it would sink. He turned to his soldiers and told them to show him regard by jumping. They bowed and jumped to their death.

The difference between Christ and Xerses are many. He died for us so that we can live. But if pagan soldiers willingly perished out of regard for their selfish king, are we ready to give our lives in obedience to the King of the universe?

Eccl. 9, 12:13-14        10/6/’15        Joel Arnold
 

"Work well; Rest Well"

1 Peter 5:6-7    9/27/15        Pastor Alexis Garcia

"Proud Men are Anxious"

A painter had 50 paintings to finish and had a tough deadline. People offered to help him but he refused their offers. He ultimately fell asleep. When he awoke he barely finished the work. But the result was terrible and his boss was angry with him - specifically because he refused all the help he was offered.

As Christians, God offers us help, strength and grace. The only thing that would hold us back would be simple pride. Since God is our helper, we must humble ourselves.

Peter wrote to people facing persecution. But our problem is not our circumstances; it is our need to look to God as our deliverer and redeemer. We cannot afford to trust our own hearts or our own strength. Our trust must be in our helper - God.

The same is true of ministry. We are just workers and helpers in God's vineyard. Therefore there is no way we can trust in ourselves or our own strength.

I. Since God is powerfully sovereign, let us humble ourselves (v. 6).

Since God is in control of every circumstance, we can trust His power and watchcare.

We submit and humble ourselves that way in the confidence that He will exalt us in His due time.

We tend to worry about our position and status in life. God is able and willing to bless us in His timing. So we can endure the suffering and struggle waiting for the proper timing of God.

God knows your circumstances and He put you there. You can trust Him and wait for His help.

II. Since God cares for us, let us humble ourselves (v. 7).

We are called on to take our sorrows and sufferings and be rid of them - giving them all to God.

In a group of students like this, how many things do we have to worry about? We are all worriers and our worries take all kinds of various forms.

Rom. 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

So since we have been given the most precious possible thing - salvation through Jesus Christ - how can we worry about mere things?

It takes a core humility for us to turn away from our worries and our efforts, to entrust those problems before God and let go of them.

Brethren, humble yourselves because a sovereign God is bigger than your worries.

Psalm 15:1    9/22/15        Casey Weich

"LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?"

Have you ever met someone and their whole nature seems different? Even their countenance seems fundamentally unique. They was actually a direct reason that I originally became a Christian.

Theme: Those near the Lord are characterized by a moral excellence and a victorious life.

The psalm breaks into three parts:

  1. Questions (v. 1)
  2. Answers to those questions (v.2-5)
  3. Applications of those answers (v. 5ff)

Applications:

  1. Never think that God's standards of moral excellence are something that's impossible to do.
  2. Be prepared to be a shining light of moral excellence in a profoundly dark world. We will either influence people by our lives to want to know more about our God or to want to reject Him.
  3. Do you want to have true victory over your sin; to experience the faithful walk with God that you should have?

Psalm 67          9/18/15       Dr. Berrey

This psalm has been called "the missionary psalm."

Immediately it's obvious that the focus is much broader than just the nation of Israel. Note the many occurrences of "all" throughout (4x) and "the peoples" (4x).

We don't even know who wrote this psalm. So it's an unknown Israelite praying for God's blessing on the whole world. He's looking around him and yearning for the world to praise God.

Consider the example of William Carey, moved especially by Isa. 54:5—"the God of the whole earth."

Can Filipinos make a difference? Could God use us to make a difference in the world. We know the answer is yes. But it takes a willingness to give of ourselves to reach the world.

Or consider Robert Morrison, the first Protestant missionary in China (1782-1834). He asked that God would give him a very difficult place so that he could be forced to depend on God. That's the heart it would take for us to reach the "restricted access nations."

What about OFWs - the 10% of the Filipino population that is working abroad. Is this just about feeding the Philippines? Or is it not a great opportunity to reach these nations. Are they not missionaries in some sense, sent out from the Philippines, the most evangelized country in Asia?

Paul supported himself making tents (Acts 18:1-3). Could believing OFWs also view themselves that way. So how should we think of it?

1. Challenge and reorient those who are already going as OFWs.

2. Strategically plan for how to do this

Don't leave a family here. Even lost people recognize that people are ruining their families by leaving them here. Also don't limit yourself to just reaching Filipinos there. Reach all types and groups of people.

But if you were committed biblically and took your family you could do much good.

Biblical parameters:

  1. Commitment to cross-cultural disciple-making.
  2. Be careful of abusive situations (especially single ladies)
  3. Avoid dishonest or questionable ethics. If you say you're there for work you should also work.
  4. Fulfill family obligations (to wife and kids). Take them all there and stay together. If the visa is denied to your family there, you will have to leave and come home too.

Be willing to ask God to put you in a hard place, like Robert Morrison. Start here being diligent with your evangelism and discipleship. Talk to your pastor and get his advice. And then follow God's leading wherever that goes.

Luke 17:32       9/11/15       Pastor Blu

"Remember Lot's wife."

Introduction: Plowing a field is really hard. You have to be really steady. If you're just a little off in any direction you'll end up getting badly off track. That's why Jesus said they no man who plows and looks back is worthy of the kingdom of God.

In this context, Jesus gave two illustrations. The first was of the surprised people in the flood. They weren't prepared. The second is the example of Lot.

That brings us to recognize what went wrong in her life. They lived with an eye to the world instead of a concern for the kingdom of God. Afterwards Jesus commented that the person who tries to save their life will lose it. So the core is that God's people can't turn back from their commitment to God's kingdom and purposes.

If we go back to Genesis 19 we see the following truths:

  1. Disobedience to a simple command from the Lord (v. 17).
  1. The words and commands of the angel were clear. There was no question of what she was supposed to do.
  2. It's often the simplest, clearest commands in the Bible that we chose to ignore and disobey.
  1. Her turning suggests that she loved her goods more than her God.
  1. Even in vv. 15-16, it's obvious that he family didn't really want to leave. Afterwards Lot asks to be sent to a nearby city. Lot's wife is apparently thinking more about what she's leaving than her deliverance.
  2. This is the emphasis of Jesus' words about losing and saving your life. So we can focus on saving our stuff and die in the process.
  3. So would we invest more in our cellphones than our Bibles?
  1. Her hope was not in the Lord but in the things of the world.
  1. She apparently turned around with a heart that was more concerned with what was being destroyed.
  2. Serving the Lord has no turning back. That's life now.
  3. Actions speak louder than words.

Conclusion:

  1. Are you willing to serve the Lord with no turning back? Or are you interested in going back to the things of your past life?
  2. You will not be used by God if you have a double heart.
  3. When times of difficulty come in ministry, remember Lot's wife. When temptations from the world come, remember Lot's wife. Whatever you face as a believer and servant of God, remember Lot's wife.

1 Kings 17       9/1/15          Dr. Tim Berrey

This chapter is our introduction to Elijah the prophet. At the beginning of the chapter he's introduced as declaring that there will be no rain. Does he have the authority to do that? Who is he? The stories lead us to answer that question.

The key verse of the chapter is v. 24 - "now I know that you are a man of God."

That leads back to the key verse - her confession that Elijah is truly a man of God. What was it that ultimately convinced her? It was the fact that God heard Elijah's prayer.

Key truth: Our experience with God in prayer is a key part of our credibility in being a man or woman of God.
 
Your learning to struggle in prayer and God's answering your prayers is part of demonstrating that you are who you say you are. As a student, it's even part of knowing yourself as a true minister so that you're persuaded of your own calling.

While you're in school, this is a core time to learn how to pray. This is the time to pray and see God answer your prayers in specific ways so that you are prepared for the hardship of life and ministry.

Are you utterly persuaded in your heart that God can work in hearts and move in people's hearts in response to prayer?

Various  8/25/15 Dr. Joel Arnold

Pro. 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

"And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."


Proposition: The number of people that actually get life right is incredibly small.

Matt. 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: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

That, of course, describes salvation and justification. I'm speaking even more specifically, after salvation, of doing life the right way. I'm talking about being able to finish your life without a long list of deep regrets.

Talk to any pastor and they know lots and lots of middle-aged people in their church in this category. It's people that have made bad marriage decisions, financial decisions, or raised their kids wrong, and now they can't rewind the tape.

Every day you make hundreds of decisions. Little by little, those decisions define you. There are decisions you can make in marriage or the way you raise your kids that can't ever be changed.

I want to pause and acknowledge the situation of people who are older and have things they can't undo. It's not too late for you to serve God. In fact, in some sense you also have a unique way you can be a testimony, like 1 Cor. 6. So for you, the message would be simply to start living our your life today differently than the mistakes you made in the past.

The greater burden is for people who are on the younger side of the timeline. You still have open-ended decisions to make. I'm hoping tonight to warn you somehow; to stop you before you make decisions that define and limit you.

I. The blessed life doesn't just happen - Prov. 2:1-9

Read the blessings first; Also Psa. 1 blessed man.

My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; 2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; 3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; 5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. 7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. 8 He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. 9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. Prov. 2:10   When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; 11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee.

That doesn't just happen. That comes about when you're meditating in the Word of God all the time. Or here, it comes when you seek it—when you're determined to find and have this wisdom at any cost. It comes when you're like the man who found the pearl of great price and sold everything else to get it.

If you do nothing, you inherit the wind. The only people that live life right are the ones who were determined to get there at all costs.

II. God's commands are there to help you - Prov. 7:22-23; 9:16-18; 9:10-12

Prov. 7:21-23—With much seductive speech she persuades him;
with her smooth talk she compels him. All at once he follows her,
as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.
Pro. 10:27—The fear of the LORD prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short
Pro. 11:3—The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.
Pro. 11:5-6 The righteousness of the blameless keeps his way straight,
but the wicked falls by his own wickedness.6 The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the treacherous are taken captive by their lust.
Pro. 13:6 Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless,
but sin overthrows the wicked.
Pro. 13:14—The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
that one may turn away from the snares of death.
Prov. 13:18—Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction,
but whoever heeds reproof is honored.

Application—do you despise the restrictions around you?

III. The most joyful life lived is the obedient one - Eccl. 11:9-10

Ecclesiastes is quite clear on enjoying life. Life is beautiful—so love it!

Eccl. 9:7-10 Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. Eccl. 9:8   Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head. Eccl. 9:9   Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

So is that okay for the Bible to say that? Love life to the fullest? Enjoy life? The idea is there is no better life lived than the one submitted to God.

The truth is people walk through life and choose their own path. They make a royal mess out of everything. They destroy themselves. Go ask them; go see if that's the way to do life. It isn't.

And on the other hand, there are people whose lives look like this—"Pro.
4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day."

Conclusion:
What's sad is that people here will make decisions that destroy their lives. Other students will make decisions that limit them and keep them from ever really amounting to much of anything spiritually.

Phillip. 4:10—13    8/14/15    Dr. Tim Berrey

Phil. 4:10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Life has ups and downs. How we handle them is another matter.

Theme: You can be content in any circumstance.