Finding Favor

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5 And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it.

6 And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

7 Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah;

8 And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.

Nehemiah 2:5-8

            When last we met we looked at the first four verses of Chapter two which I had entitled “Carpe Diem or Seize the Day”.  It is my hope that everyone got the message that when God provides the opportunity for us we must not be gripped by fear but by courage and Seize that occasion for God’s glory.

            As you will see in as our study continues Nehemiah was very good at seizing the circumstance God so graciously provided. He patiently waited on the Lord but when He opened doors Nehemiah did not hesitate to stick his foot in there. So to must we, as we set about rebuilding the brokenness in our lives be patient but ever ready to plant our foot securely in the opening(s) God delivers?

            Like anything else in life; when those doors open there is a correct (righteous) and wrong (unrighteous) way to proceed. I for one am like a bull in a china closet. Yes sir, a type “A” personality pedal to the metal kind of guy. For sure it has gotten me in some trouble over the years. I thank God I am learning to slow down some (yeah, getting older is having something to do with it). But mostly it is God working in me to correct my faults.

            I often joke that for some folks God needed a 2x4 upside the head to bring them around well for me it was a 6x6. There are days when I bet He wishes He used a 10x10. That is why I have entitled this sermon “Finding Favor”. When the time comes to enter the path God has put before you, you must do so with a proper attitude. One that will find favor with those you encounter along the way and of course with God too.

            Look at verse 5 with me again. Nehemiah says And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it. Twice Nehemiah asks “if”, if it please the king and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight.  I thought Nehemiah was a trusted servant of the King why is he asking “if”? It is because Nehemiah understands his position in life, at that moment in time. Although a trusted servant he is in fact a servant and slave and to ask otherwise would be presumptuous (arrogantly bold) and he would be asking amiss.

            Let me chase a rabbit for a moment. Far too often today I hear of preachers saying (in print, radio and TV) that we have this power of faith and we have no need to ask God if. That is “if it be your will Lord”.  They would have us cast a seeming magic spell by claiming things in Jesus’s name. That is unbiblical; somehow these men and women feeding this garbage to the masses have forgotten to read “The Book”. For in my bible I find Jesus at Gethsemane where He prays Matt 26:3942  And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done. Listen “if” it was good enough for Jesus the living God to pray and ask “if”; you better believe it is good enough for you and me. Further who are you to claim things in Jesus’s name? Are you sinless and able to pay back that marker?

            Ok, back to our text. Let us explore the means by which we find favor with God and Man. I believe there are FIVE (5) essential elements of finding favor with God and man. They are prayer, obedience, humility, diligence and sensibility.

            Psalm 90 is in fact a prayer. In fact many bibles have a heading at its beginning defining it as a prayer of Moses. Moses acknowledges that God is there refuge or hope, that he is Glorious and the creator of all, eternal and powerful. That is we, his children, must be willing to be taught by Him.  It is the final verse that stands out as Moses closes with; PS 90:17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! Moses calls upon God to find favor in their work. Not because their work is so good but because it is in fact the work God ordains or establishes and they wish it to be pleases to Him. Prayer is essential to all we do, never more so than if we desire to find favor in the sight of God and Man.

            Prayers are of no help if we are in a state of disobedience (sin).  Proverbs 3:1-4 tells us My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments: 2 For length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.  3 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.  4 So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Note what is says if we wish to find favor we must keep God’s commandments not just some, not just the ones we find easy or agree with, no all of them. I know, I know that is impossible. True but it is what every true believer strives for daily; to be perfect in the Lord.

            Next we read in Proverbs 3:33-35: The Lord's curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous. 34 Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor. 35 The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace. One of the things I see most often in today’s society is the attitude that I am on equal footing with everyone else. Folks I am here to tell you that is simply a lie. A private in the Army is in no way equal to his squad leader never mind the company commander. It’s called the chain of command for a reason. A person living in South Central Los Angeles has in no way equal financial footing as a person living in Beverly Hills. Obviously one has inherent advantages over the other. An inmate is on no way on equal footing with a guard. It should be obvious but I constantly see inmates mouthing off like they are completely equal. While the private, the kid from South Central and inmates may have some advantages (knowledge, health or a relationship with Christ) over the others they are still disadvantaged in many ways. It is here that this verse speaks to us.

            We must be willing to humble ourselves before God and Man is we wish to secure favor from God. This is a no brainer there is no better example than of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:5-8; Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. It may seem simplistic but if Christ could humble Himself for me it’s the least I can do towards Him.

          We must diligent seek God and Mans favor. Proverbs 22:1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. In today’s society if you mention this most folks think your nuts. “I do not care what others think of me” is an often heard quote. But it is totally unbiblical for a Christian. We should be very concerned what others think of us. Oh not in the sense that they think we are crazy to be a believer but in the sense that they think of us as a person. Our actions as seen by others are a BIG part of our witness for Christ. How many times after you have done something and heard “and I thought you were a Christian” or “and you call yourself a Christian”. I know we have all heard it undeservedly but I for one have had that comment justifiably leveled at me more than one time. Just as importantly we must not be shocked or offended if we cannot find favor simply because of our faith.

            Noah is a great example of this. The language of Genesis 6:8 gives us insight into Noah’s character. “Found” is a simple active perfect verb, not a passive one. Thus, Noah found favor—grace—in God’s eyes because he was diligent that is actively looking for it. He diligently worked at his standing with God. So should we.

            Common or good sense is another thing I find lacking today. People do the dumbest things. If you have driven anywhere lately cell phones are a HUGE problem. Last fall I rounded a corner on our motorcycle and there was a car backing up at full pedal to the metal because they missed the turn into the Gas station. Of course they were taking on the phone. I was blessed and avoided the collision but a friend was not so fortunate and his bike was nearly totaled in a similar incident. What were these folks thinking? The answer is they were not thinking.

            Another sensible thing I see absent amongst so called believers is a lack of understanding there position. Working hand in hand with a lack of humility is this attitude of “Entitlement”. We make demands upon God and others because we feel we deserve to be _______________ you fill in the blank. Really, who am I to make demands on God that is the all-powerful, all-knowing and ever present God of all? It makes no sense.

            In Proverbs 13:14-16 we find: The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life that one may turn away from the snares of death. 15 Good sense wins favor, but the way of the treacherous is their ruin. 16 In everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly. In all things we need to be asking ourselves does doing this make sense. For a Christian that means does it Glorify God and edify others. If not why are you even thinking of it?

            In closing I am not advocating you become some push over. Nor am I suggesting that you should be overly concerned about pleasing everyone. I am however strongly encouraging you to diligently seek to find favor (approval) with God and mam as you work to rebuild your future. That means praying, obeying His commands, humbling ourselves before him and those he has appointed over us. In short doing what is right and sensible to His glory.

            In HIS Service.

GLORIFICATION

 

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

 

29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

 

30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

- - - Romans 8:28-30

 

            As we close our series on Salvation we come to what I believe should be the great hope of every believer, Glorification.

 

            Our main text is often referred to as the “Golden Chain”.  That it is an expression of the Ordo Salutis cannot be denied. Let’s break it down:

 

v.28:  And we know that in all things God works for the good of:

 

Those (The elect) who love him (not by their own efforts), who have been called (effectually not universal) according to His purpose. For

 

Those (The elect) God foreknew He (also) (v.29) predestined (determined beforehand) to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that Jesus might be the firstborn among many brothers. And

 

Those (The elect) those God predestined, He (also) (v.30) called (regenerated)

 

Those (The elect) those God called, He (regeneration, through repentance and faith) He (also) justified (found righteous because of Christ alone)

 

Those (The elect) those God justified, (adopted, sanctified and preserved) He also Glorifies

 

Glorification is the final stage of the Glorification is the final stage of the Ordo Salutis and an aspect of Christian doctrine on Salvation or soteriology. It is also a part of Christian eschatology or last things. . It refers to the nature of believers after death and judgment, "the final step in the application of redemption.[1] The theological doctrine of glorification goes on to describe how believers will be resurrected after death and given new bodies that have a degree of continuity with their mortal selves. [1] c Wayne, Grudem (1994). Systematic Theology. Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press. pp. 828–839.and an aspect of

 

In the Scripture the idea of glorification deals with the ultimate perfection of believers. The word "glorification" is not used in the Hebrew Old Testament or the Greek New Testament, but the idea of glorification is conveyed by the Greek verb doxazo ("glorify") and the noun doxa ("glory") as well as in passages that do not use any word from this root. Although the Old Testament may anticipate the theme to some extent ( Psalm 73:24 ; Dan 12:3 ), the New Testament is considerably fuller and richer in its development, making it explicit that believers will be glorified ( Romans 8:17 Romans 8:30 ; 2 Thess 1:12 ).

 

            In considering what to preach on this topic I listened to quite a few sermons from different well know orators of God’s word. Then I found Brad Baggett’s [1] series of Ordo Salutis on sermon audio and decided to share his thoughts with you. I pray you are uplifted as much as I.

 

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=817081743424

 

            In closing as I was listening to the sermon and writing these few words I had the word of the faithful old hymn Crown Him with Many Crowns running through my mind. Verse four is especially applicable:

 

Crown him the Lord of love;

behold his hands and side,

those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified.

 

All hail, Redeemer, hail!

For thou hast died for me;

thy praise and glory shall not fail

throughout eternity.

 

            Do you see it? In beauty Glorified of course speaks of Christ but remember our main text. Verse 20 of Romans 8 says in part:  he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son. Just as Christ, who today sits at the right hand of the Father is described in this song as beauty Glorified. We too who have been Elected, Effectually Called, Regenerated, Converted, Justified, Adopted, Sanctified, and Preserved by God have the hope nor more the promise to be Glorified by God. And not just any glory will be ours but the same that marks the beautiful image of His Son.

 

In HIS Service

Preached September 3, 2014 Lakeshore Baptist Church, Lakeshore, MS

            Whenever I think of judgment day I think of a court room with God presiding over the proceedings. My mind has it a regal affair yet a dark side as Satan and his minions prepare to demand our souls.

            So I found the following (I cannot remember where) and thought I’d share it.   

After living what I felt was a 'decent' life, my time on earth came to the end.

The first thing I remember is sitting on a bench in the waiting room of what I thought to be a court house.

The doors opened and I was instructed to come in and have a seat by the defense table.

As I looked around I saw the 'prosecutor'.

He was a villainous looking gent who snarled as he stared at me. He definitely was the most evil person I have ever seen.

I sat down and looked to my left and there sat My Attorney, a kind and gentle looking man whose appearance seemed so familiar to me, I felt I knew Him.

The corner door opened and there appeared the Judge in full flowing robes. He commanded an awesome presence as He moved across the room. I couldn't take my eyes off of Him.

As He took His seat behind the bench, He said, 'Let us begin.'

The prosecutor rose and said, 'My name is Satan and I am here to show you why this man belongs in hell.'

He proceeded to tell of lies that I told, things that I stole, and in the past when I cheated others. Satan told of other horrible perversions that were once in my life, and the more he spoke, the further down in my seat I sank.

I was so embarrassed that I couldn't look at anyone, even my own Attorney, as the Devil told of sins that even I had completely forgotten about.

As upset as I was at Satan for telling all these things about me, I was equally upset at My Attorney who sat there silently not offering any form of defense at all.

I know I had been guilty of those things, but I had done some good in my life - couldn't that at least equal out part of the harm I'd done?

Satan finished with a fury and said, 'This man belongs in hell, he is guilty of all that I have charged and there is not a person who can prove otherwise.'

When it was His turn, My Attorney first asked if He might approach the bench. The Judge allowed this over the strong objection of Satan, and beckoned Him to come forward.

As He got up and started walking, I was able to see Him in His full splendor and majesty.

I realized why He seemed so familiar; this was Jesus representing me, my Lord and my Savior.

He stopped at the bench and softly said to the Judge, 'HI, DAD,' and then He turned to address the court.

'Satan was correct in saying that this man had sinned, I won't deny any of these allegations. And, yes, the wage of sin is death, and this man deserves to be punished.'

Jesus took a deep breath and turned to His Father with outstretched arms and proclaimed, 'However, I died on the cross so that this person might have eternal life and he has accepted Me as his Savior, so he is Mine.'

My Lord continued with, 'His name is written in the Book of Life, and no one can snatch him from Me. Satan still does not understand yet. This man is not to be given justice, but rather mercy.'

As Jesus sat down, He quietly paused, looked at His Father and said, 'There is nothing else that needs to be done. I've done it all.’

The Judge lifted His mighty hand and slammed the gavel down. The following words bellowed from His lips.....

'This man is free. The penalty for him has already been paid in full. Case dismissed.'

I asked Jesus as He gave me my instructions where to go next, 'Have you ever lost a case?'

Christ lovingly smiled and said, 'Everyone that the father has given me to represent they have received the same verdict as you, ~ Judgment for the defendant Paid In Full.'

            This is a nice story, kinda one of those feel good stories I you would find posted on Facebook. But there is much more to this, it is full of biblical truths that should not be ignored. I thought tonight we would explore some of the implications for believers and non-believers alike.

1) All mankind will be judged; Hebrews 9:27 - And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment …. 2 Corinthians 5:10 - For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.

            Most “Christians” will acknowledge the coming judgment. However many believe that they are exempt.   2 Corinthians 5:10 tells a different story. and so does (1 Peter 4:17)  “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”

            The question is are you ready? And what gives God the right to judge me? After all I am such a bad person.

2) All mankind has sinned  Rom 3:23 says all have sinned… Romans 5:12 - Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

            How foolish is man? I recently read an article that claimed that the only reason we have sin in the world is because biblical law points it out to us. Like if the bible went away so would sin? I am afraid to know what fairy tale land this person lives in?

            No the reality of Biblical Law can best be described by A.W. Pink:

3) Sin deserves to be punished 6:23 says the wages of sin is death… Ezekiel 18:4 - Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

            God, The God of the Bible, created all things, h=He alone is worthy of all praise and honor. Yet man chose to defile himself and sin against this God. It is only right that God demands justice.

4) Physical death is inevitable for everyone but what happens next: Matt 25:46 says And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

            What happens after our physical death has been debated for years. And despite tales of folks seeing heaven (the recent film Heaven is for Real comes to mind) there is no proof aside from our faith what happens next.

            But that is the point. We need no story or cute movie to reassure us. We have the Word of God. Our faith; derived from what we read in those pages are all the assurance we need.

5) Satan is real   Job 1:7 - And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

            He walks the earth seeking his next conquest 

6) Satan wants you   Ephesians 6:12 - For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].

            Even the unbeliever understands some right and wrong and wrestles with this daily.

7) Satan will do anything to get you  2 Corinthians 11:14 - And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

            Satan is the great deceiver and will even disguise himself as a child of God. We must be able to discern true believers to avoid falling prey to some of his traps.

            Note on judgment day he has no need of lies or deceit. For our sin is real and cannot be excused away.

8) We are powerless to conquer sin and Satan’s accusations on our own

Romans 7:25b  …So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Romans 8:3   For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh

            See that the law itself was not powerless; no it was only made so because of our weak flesh.

Gal 5:17  For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

            Realize this is the Apostle Paul here confessing he is powerless over sin.

9) The POWER comes from Christ alone  1 Corinthians 15:57 - But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

            This; my friends is the core of this lesson. Our victory over death and eternal destruction can only be found in and through Christ. It is the message of John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, the power of Romans 5:8 - But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us and the promise of Romans 8:1 - [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

            It is the Gospel message in a nutshell the glorious good news Christ lived, Christ died, Christ rose again and Christ sits at the right hand of the father your personal defense attorney. It is He alone who can declare Judgment for the Defendant is Paid in Full.

            Well I hope you see the full impact this little story can have. It is chock full of doctrines such as Election, Calling, Regeneration, Justification, Man’s depravity, God’s Grace, Limited Atonement, and of course Salvation. All of which can be used in our daily lives as we go about God’s work sharing the Good News of Christ.

Until next time may God keep you and bless you in your daily walk.

In HIS Service

SANCTIFICATION

 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, [and] prepared unto every good work.

                        2 Timothy 2:21

           

            Tonight we explore the 7th component of Salvation called Sanctification. It is the next rung in the nine step process. There are three major views on Sanctification (and many competing within), they are:

 

Wesleyan Christian Perfection or Entire Sanctification: in this view, the state of holiness begins at regeneration and is completed by an instantaneous work of the Holy Spirit (the Baptism of the Holy Spirit) subsequent to regeneration, in which the old Adamic sin nature is actually abolished ‘Christian perfection… is nothing more or nothing less than a heart emptied of all sin and filled with a pure love to God and man.

 

Reformed: Ongoing or Progressive Sanctification: In this view, the state of holiness begins with regeneration and conversion, and is to grow throughout the believer’s life through the ministry of the Word and Spirit and through personal faith and obedience. In this understanding, the old sin nature is progressively subdued but never entirely abolished in this life. Westminster Larger Catechism, q 77

 

Pentecostal: Sanctification via The Baptism in the Holy Spirit: “This wonderful experience is distinct from and subsequent to the experience of the new birth… the baptism of believers in the Holy Ghost is witnessed by the initial physical signs of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives them utterance.” Articles Seven and Eight, “Statement of Fundamental Truths,” 35th General Council of the Assemblies of God, August 16-21, 1973

 

            Here are two definitions that may help us better understand Sanctification:

 

“The generic meaning of sanctification is "the state of proper functioning." To sanctify someone or something is to set that person or thing apart for the use intended by its designer. A pen is "sanctified" when used to write. Eyeglasses are "sanctified" when used to improve sight. In the theological sense, things are sanctified when they are used for the purpose God intends. A human being is sanctified, therefore, when he or she lives according to God's design and purpose.” (Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary)

 

            Note the part where it says things are sanctified when they are used for God’s intended purpose. Think about that God intended man to live a life that honored and glorified Him. A sanctified man or women will do just that.

 

“Sanctification is the work of God's Spirit (2 Thess. 2:13), whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God (Eph. 4:24), and are enabled more and more to die to sin, and live to righteousness (Rom. 6:11)” (Puritan Catechism #34)

 

            Less one should think this is a one and done operation we need to remember that just as we get older we mature (grow mentally) so too does the believer grow. We are not infused with all things that pertain unto life and godliness. No these things says Peter are made available to us and over time (God willing) we learn their uses.

 

            I want to spend the majority of our time looking at three areas. They are the 1) Differences between Justification and Sanctification, 2) the processes of Sanctification and finally 3) the results of Sanctification.

 

1) Differences between Justification and Sanctification

            I know it took me a while to distinguish Sanctification from Justification. The following chart may help.

Justification

Sanctification

Attributes Christ’s righteousness

Here it is Christ’s righteousness that is covering the sinner in order to make him acceptable

Instills grace to exercise own righteousness

Here it God’s grace manifested in us so we can demonstrate our own righteousness in Christ

Sin is pardoned

Here God pardons our sin because he sees only Christ’s righteousness

Sin is subdued

Here the power of the Holy Spirit works in us to subdue (conquer) our sins

Total, equal in all, complete                            

Justification is equally handed out to all God’s children. Nothing done by man can change this.                                                   

Partial, different in all, growing

God here hands out only the amount of Grace that each man can handle. Never to little or too much.

We can see from this illustration that the righteousness by which we are justified is imputed or attributed to us via Christ’s work at Calvary. The righteousness by which we are sanctified is instilled or infused into us via the Holy Spriit. Another way of saying could be the first is given the second learned. One requires nothing on our part the other much work is needed to succeed.

 

Perhaps an illustration will aid in grasping the distinction: Here is a wooden post. It is painted on the outside to cover up all the stains and spots, thus to beautify and perfect its appearance; but the paint does not change the inside of its structure. How different with a vine. The sap flows from the vine into the branches, and imparts new life within. It does not simply cover up the outside, but changes the inside. The paint changes only the exterior, while the sap changes the interior.

 

            The paint was “imputed” to the post and covered up its blemishes. Likewise the righteousness of Christ is imputed to cover our blemishes (sins). But the like the sap, Sanctification does not cover the blemishes but imparts or works from the inside of man to change his entire presence.  One of my favorite quotes comes from Theology for the People or Biblical Doctrine Plainly Stated by William S. Plumer: Justification is sin pardoned. Sanctification is sin subdued.            

 

2) The processes of Sanctification

 

                        God tells us in 1 Peter 1:15-16 to be Holy in all our parts of life, why because He is Holy. As we learned last week as Adopted Children of God, we are to obey our Father.

 

            So one morning we wake up having been regenerated and indwelled by the Holy Spirit (First Step in Sanctification) and wham all our sins are subdued. Easy cheesy it is a done deal. No worries mate as they say down under.  

 

            Oh that it could be so easy. How do we get to the point where we are a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master's use as our base text says.

 

            The Second step in the process of Sanctification is growing in knowledge.

 

Romans 12:2 - And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God

 

            How do we grow? By renewing our mind and how do we accomplish that? See the next verse.

 

John 17:17 - Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

           

            We grow via God’s Word. There is NO OTHER WAY.

           

2 Timothy 3:16-17 - All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

 

            Anything we hope to master in life comes only from knowledge. We must apply ourselves daily to God’s word that we might grow in knowledge therein.

 

            The third step is growing in understanding.

           

Prov 18:2   A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.

 

            It is one thing to read God’s Word it is quite another to understand it.  Foolish men have knowledge yet little understanding of how to use it.

 

Proverbs 2:2-5  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.

 

            Notice the words in bold print. They are all actions words. Growing in understanding of God’s Word requires effort on our part. This is not one of those let go and let God moments.

 

1 John 4:6 (AMP) We are [children] of God. Whoever is learning to know God [progressively to perceive, recognize, and understand God by observation and experience, and to get an ever-clearer knowledge of Him] listens to us; and he who is not of God does not listen or pay attention to us. By this we know (recognize) the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error

 

            Although understanding can be a synonym for knowledge biblically speaking they are quite different. Many have knowledge of God without any comprehension or understanding of who God really is.

 

            It is the sluggard (lazy man) who depends only on his own interpretation of Scripture. One who does not take the time to research and  study the original languages with all their distinctions CAN NOT have a right understanding of God’s Holy Word.

 

            God uses many ways to bring us to this understanding. Sometimes it is the indwelling Holy Spirit speaking to us that illuminates a passage of scripture. Sometimes it is through Chastisement Heb 12:10 (AMP)   For [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for only a short period of time and chastised us as seemed proper and good to them; but He disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in His own holiness. Prayer, meditation, fellowship and encouragement from likeminded believers are all part of this process of growing in understanding. 

 

            The final step is growing in conviction.

 

Matthew 6:24 - No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon

 

            As we grown in knowledge and understanding so to should we be growing in faith.

 

1 Corinthians 15:58  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

 

            I love the use of unmovable here. Synonyms for it include: unwavering, unswerving, resolute, determined, firm, unshakable, adamant, unfailing, dogged, tenacious, inflexible, unyielding, unbending, uncompromising, dogmatic, iron-willed; rock-steady, diehard.

 

            Let me back up a moment and put the verse in context. Paul has just finished his discourse on Victory in Jesus. He says listen up because we have a guarantee victory go about your labors for God with confidence and a determined spirit. Because we know the outcome is preordained there is no reason to waiver.     

 

Titus 1:9 - Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers

 

            As our faith gets stronger our conviction or steadfast belief in sound doctrine should be growing so that we might exhort and to convince the gainsayers

 

John Bunyan spent twelve years in jail, but it wasn’t the stone and the steel that held him there. He could have gone free if he simply agreed to stop preaching. Instead, he wrote,

 

"If nothing will do, unless I make of my conscience a continual butchery and slaughter-shop, unless putting out my own eyes I commit me to the blind to lead me, I have determined, the Almighty God being my help and shield, yet to suffer, if frail life might continue so long, even till the moss shall grow on mine eye-brows rather than thus to violate my faith and principles."1

 

            As we noted in the beginning of this section no short cut to the process. Both the Apostles Peter (2 Pt 1:5-11) and John (1 Jn2:3-6) noted that it requires steadfast effort and obedience to His commandments to succeed. That conviction of belief is the rock solid foundation of our faith.  It allows us to weather the storms of life coming out stronger than we entered.

 

3) The results of Sanctification.

 

Our Benefit:

 

            1 Peter 1:2-4 tells us: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

 

            Our growth results in increased Grace, peace, power, and great promises.

 

            Romans 6:13-23:   22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

 

            Obtaining the fruits of holiness and assurance of everlasting life are a definite benefit.

 

For God’s Glory:

 

            John 15:8: Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

 

            James says faith without works is dead. It is real simple God saved you and sanctifies you so you can serve Him. What are you waiting for?

 

            Eph 5:25-27: 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish

 

            The church is described as the “bride of Christ”. By the giving up or sacrifice of Himself, Christ sets the Church apart for God. The sacrifice of Christ sets apart the Church and the world, just as the blood of the Passover Lamb set apart the Children of Israel and the Egyptians.

 

 

            In closing the Greek word translated "sanctification" (hagiasmos) means "holiness." To sanctify, therefore, means "to make holy."Sanctification is the separation of the believer from evil things and ways. This sanctification is God's will for the believer. It is a process that includes knowledge, understanding and conviction requiring effort and obedience on our part. The results will always glorify God and edify your fellow saints.

In HIS Service

 

Preached Aug 27, 2014 @ Lakeshore Baptist Church

image.pngThe thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly

John 10:10

 

 

    Because of the weakness in doctrinal teaching from pulpits today many buy into the false teachings of these name and claim it prosperity teachers. They want you to believe that simply becoming a Christian (how is another matter) entitles you to a better life. That is a life filled with joy and riches.

    According to Kenneth Copland; Bible believers should receive a hundredfold return on their giving. Really? Here are some of the texts they use to justify that position.

Genesis 26:12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him.

Mark 4:20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.

Mark 10:29-30 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, 30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

2 Corinthians 9:6-12 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 9(As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. 10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) 11Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. 12For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;

    Another says; God wants to do something new and supernatural in your life. Did you know He wants to do something supernatural in your finances? L. Comes; of Joel Osteen Ministries quotes:

Isaiah 43:19 says, "Behold, I am doing a new thing! …Do you not perceive it and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." (AMP)

He then says; can you perceive it? Are you making room for it in your mind, or have you already made up your mind not to expect anything new due to your present circumstances? God is interested in all your needs, desires, and even, your prosperity. In fact, Psalm 35:27 says that God delights in the prosperity of His people.

    Really? I am not sure how Is 43:19 relates but ss that what Ps 35:27 really says?

ESV PS 35:27 Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, “Great is the LORD, who delights in the welfare of his servant!”

    The KJV says “which has pleasure in your prosperity”. Listen it is a matter of rightly discerning the Word of God. The Greek word used for prosperity is Shalowm, yes the word most folks would associate with peace. Its most common meanings are completeness, soundness, welfare, and peace. Yes it does mean health and prosperity but ONLY in the context of our welfare.

    Ok before I chase a rabbit let us go back to our base text:

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly John 10:10

    There can be no doubt that Christ came to give life. Equally we can see that the life He offers is an abundant one. So I ask you, are the claims of these modern pulpiteers valid? I dare say not. One must read in context what Jesus is speaking of in order to understand the abundant life we are promised.

    Our Lord has just finished telling all that he has come into this world for JUDGEMENT John 9:39, then starts His discourse in being the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd that has come not to steal kill or destroy His flock but give them life (eternal) not only an ordinary life but an abundant one.

Strong’s lists the Greek word here for abundant as Perissos - per-e-sows'

• Exceeding some number or measure or rank or need

• Over and above, more than is necessary, superadded

• Exceeding abundantly, supremely

• Something further, more, much more than all, more plainly

• Superior, extraordinary, surpassing, uncommon

• Pre-eminence, superiority, advantage, more eminent, more remarkable, more excellent

    Again there can be no doubt that God’s intent is for us to have an abundant life. So let’s look closely at what I believe the bible tells us about it. I want to break it into three sections for ease of study. They are God’s Plan, God’s Purpose and Man’s Performance.

God’s Plan

    God’s plan is simple and unchanging from before the foundation of the earth. His plan was always for our wellbeing, always focused on Christ, fulfilled in Christ and by His Grace and mercy alone.

    Does God’s plan include great health, wealth and prosperity (material) in this life? For some yes, to claim it is for everyone is to make a mockery of scripture. I know many a Pastor, far greater men than me who struggle to make ends meet, who have infirmities and consider themselves greatly blessed by God.

    Consider this if God’s plan was for everyone to be “prosperous” with things of this world why bother with the first commandment? Since for certain our focus would shift away from God unto those material things.

Isaiah 35:2 Was predicted for the New Covenant

It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.

Psalm 72:7 Fulfilled in Christ

In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.

Romans 5:17-18,20 Given through Chris

17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

Ephesians 1:3-6 By Grace alone

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

God’s Purpose

    I am not God. Ok, I know Duh! So I cannot be (nor anyone for that matter) expected to know God’s purpose in every circumstance. What I do know is He is sovereign and in control of everything. That He always without fail looks out for the best interest of his children. That the things we go through in life are used to [provide us with greater rewards; the ability for greater service; more joy, thanks and rejoicing; and to recharge the batteries when needed.

Matt 13:11-12 Greater Reward 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

1 Cor 15:10 Greater Service 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.

2 Cor 8:2 More Joy How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

2 Cor 4:15, 9:12 More Thanks

• For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

• For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;

Phil 1:26 Added Rejoicing That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

Titus 3:5-6 Renewal and Reenergize Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

    God abundantly provides for us. He has furnished all we need in this life. Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ understood this when he wrote 2 Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

Man’s Performance

    If you are still with me we have learned that God has a plan and purpose for our lives. Now what do we do with that? Sit back and reap the benefits? Complain when we see those (believers and non-alike) around us with more stuff? Maybe we should be like the psalmist and declare: The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands. (PS 138:7) And maybe as we rejoice in His Grace and mercy we can finally recognize what James meant when he wrote For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also (2:26).

   The true measure of a man is not is the worldly stuff he possesses. No the true worth of a man is found in his obedience and relationship to God.

Lev 26:3-13 Given to the obedient 3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; 4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. 6 And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. 7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 8 And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. 9 For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. 10 And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. 11 And I set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. 12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. 13 I am the Lord your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.

Deut 11:26-28 We have a choice Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; 27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: 28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.

Eccl 5:10-12 Worldy Abundance cannot fulfill us 10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. 11 When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes? 12 The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.

Mal 3:10-12 and Matt 6:32-33 Is conditional

10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.

• 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Luke 12:15 Not the measure of a man 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. 22 And he said unto his disciples, therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. 23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.

Luke 12:23-21 Can be forfeited 15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth

    One of the other prime scriptures used to declare God wants us to be healthy wealthy and wise as it were is:

Psalm 37:4 1 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.  2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.  3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.  4 Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart 5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass

    Can you identify their glaring error? Delight thyself in abundance? Commit thy ways to Abundance? Of course not how absurd; we are to delight in and commit to Christ. Who in case anyone forgot is the Word of God In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God John 1:1 and we have just seen what the Word of God really says about this abundant life.

C.H. Spurgeon; in his work Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on Ps 37:4 says: There is an ascent in this third precept. He, who was first bidden not to fret, was then commanded actively to trust and now is told with holy desire to delight in God. Delight thyself also in the Lord. Make Jehovah the joy and rejoicing of thy spirit. Bad men delight in carnal objects; do not envy them if they are allowed to take their fill in such vain idols; look thou to thy better delight, and fill thyself to the full with thy more sublime portion. In a certain sense imitate the wicked; they delight in their portion -- take care to delight in yours, and so far from envying you will pity them. There is no room for fretting if we remember that God is ours, but there is every incentive to sacred enjoyment of the most elevated and ecstatic kind. Every name, attribute, word, or deed of Jehovah, should be delightful to us, and in meditating thereon our soul should be as glad as is the epicure who feeds delicately with a profound relish for his dainties. And he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. A pleasant duty is here rewarded with another pleasure. Men who delight in God desire or ask for nothing but what will please God; hence it is safe to give them carte blanche. Their will is subdued to God's will, and now they may have what they will. Our innermost desires are here meant, not our casual wishes; there are many things which nature might desire which grace would never permit us to ask for; these deep, prayerful, asking desires are those to which the promise is made.

    Let us look back to our main text for a moment before I close. Dr. Gill in his commentary makes an interesting point: the sense is, that Christ came that his people might have eternal life, with more abundant evidence of it than was under the former dispensation, and have stronger faith in it, and a more lively hope of it: or, as the words may be rendered, "and that they might have an abundance": besides life, might have an abundance of grace from Christ, all spiritual blessings in him now, and all fullness of joy, glory, and happiness hereafter.

CONCLUSION

    The story has been the same throughout the ages God does want His chosen to have an abundant life. 1 John 1:1-4 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

That joyful abundant life we all crave is available to those who:

• Are obedient to His commands

• Put away sin

• Ask God for it

• Are unselfish in asking

• Are committed to asking

• Expect it in Faith

• Accept whatever is given if it was good enough for Jesus it is good enough for us.  Matt 26:42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

In HIS Service

Copied from http://www.challies.com/ ; TIM CHALLIES

I am a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband to Aileen and a father to three young children. I worship and serve as a pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto, Ontario, and am a co-founder of Cruciform Press.

 

If you have read this blog for any length of time, and especially the daily A La Carte posts, you know that I’ve got a thing for info graphics. What appeals to me about them is their ability to display information visually. Just as there are many words that can be used to describe any one fact, there are also many ways to display facts.

Today I’ve got an info graphic for you, and one that I is going to kick off a series called “Visual Theology”—an attempt to display theology using a combination of words and pictures.  I have asked one designer to take a shot at displaying the ordo salutis, which is to say, the order of salvation, which refers to the sequence of conceptual steps involved in the salvation of the Christian. I will let the graphic explain it from here.

OrdoSalutis_Infographic_HIGH

Please note this is a PDF file and takes a few moments to load.

That Ye may Prove

Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

I remember in the days of my youth trying to prove I was big enough to hang with the older guys. This usually resulted in my getting totally embarrassed or having some serious bumps and bruises. I was attempting to “prove” I was grown up, bigger than I really was, and therefore deserved something, in this case hanging with the big guys.

The Apostle Paul is not asking us to “prove” anything is that context. We have nothing to test only to proclaim. No here we are by our actions (words and deeds) “proving” (To ascertain the genuineness or validity of; to verify; as, to prove a will) God’s will.

Amplified 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].

Let’s break it down some:

The word prove:

In Greek Dokimazo: to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy

Calvin: As all were not true prophets, the Apostle here declares that they ought to have been examined and tried. And he addresses not only the whole Church, but also every one of the faithful.

a. Who is proving? ALL BELIEVERS SERVING GOD and as believers we are to prove or test all things.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Prove all things,.... That are said by the prophets, all the doctrines which they deliver; hear them, though they have not the gift of tongues, and all desirable advantages; do not reject them on that account, and refuse to hear them, for so, many useful men may be laid aside, and the Spirit of God in them be quenched; try their gifts, and attend to their doctrines, yet do not implicitly believe everything they say, but examine them according to the word of God the test and standard of truth; search the Scriptures, whether the things they say are true or not. Not openly erroneous persons, and known heretics, are to be heard and attended on, but the ministers of the word, or such who are said to have a gift of prophesying; these should make use of it, and the church should try and judge their gift, and accordingly encourage or discourage; and also their doctrines, and if false reject them, and if true receive them.
Hold fast that which is good; honest, pleasant, profitable, and agreeable to sound doctrine, to the analogy of faith, and the Scriptures of truth, and is useful and edifying, instructive both as to principle and practice; such should be held fast, that no man take it away; and be retained, though a majority may be against it, for the multitude is not always on the side of truth; and though it may be rejected by men of learning and wealth, as Christ and his doctrines were rejected by the Scribes and Pharisees, and rulers of the people; and though it may be reproached as a novel, upstart notion, or a licentious one, since these were charges against the doctrine of Christ, and his apostles; and though it may be attended with affliction and persecution, yet none of these things should move from it, or cause to let it go

Proving all things is especially true for your calling. I think God wants me… is no substitute for God has clearly called me to …

1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try ( or prove) the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

b. What is being proved? That which is GOOD, acceptable, and perfect

Let us look at some “good” things ALL believers will do

Profess God, Christ and the Holy Spirit Ps 14:1The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. Notice apart from God there is nothing “GOOD”. All works done by unbelievers are corrupt.

Helps others, Prov 3:27 Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.

Submits to authority Rom 13:1-4 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. The caution in this verse is that those in authority doing antichrist things, anti-biblical things are not to be obeyed.

The good will of God will always agree with scripture.

Now let’s look at some acceptable things:

Our words and deeds must be pleasing to God PS 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Proclaiming the Good News is acceptable Is 61:1-2 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

Righteous work that is not controversial is acceptable Rom 14:16-18 Let not then your good be evil spoken of: 17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. 18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.

Now let’s look at some perfect things:

God’s Law is perfect Ps 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

Displaying God’s Perfect love Matt 5:43-48 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Perfection is only obtainable in Christ Col 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

c. Why are we proving it? To demonstrate by our conversation (life) the will of God to unbelievers, fellow believers and ourselves.

The last point I wish to make today deals with God’s will. The often asked question is “How can I know what God’s will for my life is”? Before one can begin to answer that we must understand God’s will.

The following from R.C. Sproul on the will of God taken from Essential Truths of the Christian Faith

1. The three meanings of the will of God:

(a) Sovereign decretive (directive) will, the will by which God brings to pass
whatsoever He decrees. This is hidden to us until it happens.

(b) Preceptive will is God's revealed law or commandments, which we have the power but not the right to break.

(c) Will of disposition describes God's attitude or disposition. It reveals
what is pleasing to Him.

Doris Day sang a popular song entitled "Que Sera, Sera," "What will be, will be." At first glance this theme communicates a kind of fatalism that is depressing. Islamic theology frequently says of specific events, "It is the will of Allah."

The Bible is deeply concerned about the will of God---His sovereign authority over His creation and everything in it. When we speak about God's will we do so in at least three different ways. The broader concept is known as God's decretive, sovereign, or hidden will. By this, theologians refer to the will of God by which He sovereignly ordains everything that comes to pass. Because God is sovereign and His will can never be frustrated, we can be sure that nothing happens over which He is not in control. He at least must "permit" whatever happens to happen. Yet even when God passively permits things to happen, He chooses to permit them in that He always has the power and right to intervene and prevent the actions and events of this world. Insofar as He lets things happen, He has "willed" them in this certain sense.

Though God's sovereign will is often hidden from us until after it comes to pass, there is one aspect of His will that is plain to us---His preceptive will. Here God reveals His will through His holy law. For example, it is the will of God that we do not steal; that we love our enemies; that we repent; that we be holy. This aspect of God's will is revealed in His Word as well as in our conscience, by which God has written His moral law upon our heart.

His laws, whether they be found in the Scripture or in the heart, are binding. We have no authority to violate this will. We have the power or ability to thwart the preceptive will of God, though never the right to do so. Nor can we excuse ourselves for sinning by saying, "Que sera, sera." It may be God's sovereign or hidden will that we be "permitted" to sin, as he brings His sovereign will to pass even through and by means of the sinful acts of people. God ordained that Jesus be betrayed by the instrument of Judas's treachery. Yet this makes Judas's sin no less evil or treacherous. When God "permits" us to break His preceptive will, it is not to be understood as permission in the moral sense of His granting us a moral right. His permission gives us the power, but not the right to sin.

The third way the Bible speaks of the will of God is with respect to God's will of disposition. This will describes God's attitude. It defines what is pleasing to Him. For example, God takes no delight in the death of the wicked, yet He most surely wills or decrees the death of the wicked. God's ultimate delight is in His own holiness and righteousness. When He judges the world, He delights in the vindication of His own righteousness and justice, yet He is not gleeful in a vindictive sense toward those who receive His judgment. God is pleased when we find our pleasure in obedience. He is sorely displeased when we are disobedient.

Many Christians become preoccupied or even obsessed with finding the "will" of God for their lives. If the will we are seeking is His secret, hidden, or decretive will, then our quest is a fool's errand. The secret counsel of God is His secret. He has not been pleased to make it known to us. Far from being a mark of spirituality, the quest for God's secret will is an unwarranted invasion of God's privacy. God's secret counsel is none of our business. This is partly why the Bible takes such a negative view of fortune-telling, necromancy, and other forms of prohibited practices.

We would be wise to follow the counsel of John Calvin when he said, "When God closes His holy mouth, I will desist from inquiry." The true mark of spirituality is seen in those seeking to know the will of God that is revealed in His preceptive will. It is the godly person who meditates on God's law day and night. While we seek to be "led" by the Holy Spirit, it is vital to remember that the Holy Spirit is primarily leading us into righteousness. We are called to live our lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. It is His revealed will that is our business, indeed, the chief business of our lives.

Recapping this series we find the Apostle Paul (as should all reputable teachers of God’s word) begging the reader to present themselves holy and acceptable to God. This can only be accomplished by our determined effort to not be like the world around us. But by a total renovation of our minds; we focusing on the things of God; can by our very lives prove the good, acceptable and perfect will of God to all.

 

Changing Your Mind

Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    In part II today we are going to look at the second point of this verse, be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.

You know me by now, I love the “buts” in the bible this one is no different. Paul puts his foot down as it were and tells the Romans and us in part I ‘do not fashion your life after those of the world around you’ then down comes the other foot so to speak and he says BUT “be ye transformed”. Listen I never saw this before and I have read this hundreds of times. A prohibition or ban on something should not cause us to stop in our tracks and give up. No we are all to be God’s faithful servants and if he prohibits one thing get busy looking for the thing He wants you to be doing. It is all part of the sanctification process.

A woman's mind is cleaner than a man's: She changes it more often.
Oliver Herford

    I hope I am not insulting and one with this quote. It helps make the following point. That changing one’s mind on a whim is an acceptable practice in the world today. Folks will tell you that both our constitution and the bible are “living” documents meant to change as people become more enlightened. That is a bunch of crap. “Christians” who accept that and profess to be believers but spout lies like “old earth creationist”, who go with the flow as it were and do not take time to determine the truth, are living in sin. That is not what Paul under inspiration of the Holy Spirit is implying at all when he tells us we must be transformed by the renewing or changing of our minds. Prior to our conversion we were already willing to compromise and accept the “norm”. No, a true believer will feel compelled to be different and not compromise the bible. Ok slightly off subject so let’s break down this phrase.

A) But be ye transformed:

Greek word Metamorphoo - to change into another form, to transform, to transfigure as in Christ appearance was changed and was resplendent with divine brightness on the mount of transfiguration

This is where we get our English word, metamorphosis:

Noun; meaning to change of form or shape; transformation; particularly, a change in the form of being; as the metamorphosis of an insect from the Aurelia or chrysalis state into a winged animal.

How are we to morph or be transformed? Are we going to suddenly grow heavenly wings?J Maybe we will just get the halo glow. Or how about we change personalities, like we all become peace loving sweet talking lovable types.

Ok I know I was clowning but seriously we do change. But unlike some insects of this world it is not our outward appearance that changes, nor many times our personalities. No it is our THOUGHTS and ACTIONS that change.

How? Simple read on the bible won’t leave you hanging.

B) By the renewing of your mind:

Anakainosisa: renewal, renovation, complete change for the better

I love the second definition from Strong’s, Renovation. As a carpenter I have renovated many an old home making it appear new after decay, destruction or depravation. To see the transformation is amazing made more so by the grin of acceptance on the homeowners face when the process is done. Think of God and how we become acceptable to Him. It is only through the complete renovation of our souls, brought about by the blood of Calvary. I know this is not found in scripture but I picture God in Heaven smiling as each new saint enters into the family. Galatians 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,

Websters 1828

1. The act of renewing; the act of forming a new; as the renewal of a treaty.

2. Renovation; regeneration.

3. Revival; restoration to a former or to a good state

Wait a minute we all agreed weeks ago that man had no good in him (John 3:19) that he had SOS (Stuck on Stupid) disease and was incapable of good on his own. How can the #3 definition apply?

Through the renewing of our minds, by the indwelling power of the Holy Ghost we are restored to a state that God had intended mankind to be in at creation. It is a renewal; the renovation of the heart by grace. We are restored to a “good” state one that worships and honors Him. Just as the homeowner is well pleased with the work of the carpenter God is well pleased with the work of the Holy Spirit is us.

Again only one other use: Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done , but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Nooce: the mind, comprising alike the faculties of perceiving and understanding and those of feeling, judging, determining the intellectual faculty, the understanding reason in the narrower sense, as the capacity for spiritual truth, the higher powers of the soul, the faculty of perceiving divine things, of recognizing goodness and of hating evil the power of considering and judging soberly, calmly and impartially a particular mode of thinking and judging, i.e thoughts, feelings, purposes, desires

MIND, noun

1. Intention; purpose; design.

The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination; how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind Proverbs 21:27.

2. Inclination; will; desire; a sense much used, but expressing less than settled purpose; as in the common phrases, 'I wish to know your mind; ' 'let me know your mind; ' 'he had a mind to go; ' 'he has a partner to his mind '

3. Opinion; as, to express one's mind We are of one mind

4. Memory; remembrance; as, to put one in mind; to call to mind; the fact is out of my mind; time out of mind From the operations of the intellect in man, this word came to signify.

5. The intellectual or intelligent power in man; the understanding; the power that conceives, judges or reasons. I fear I am not in my perfect mind

So we speak of a sound mind a disordered mind a weak mind a strong mind with reference to the active powers of the understanding; and in a passive sense, it denotes capacity, as when we say, the mind cannot comprehend a subject.

6. The heart or seat of affection.

Which were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah. Genesis 26:35.

7. The will and affection; as readiness of mind Acts 17:11.

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so

8. The implanted principle of grace. Romans 7:23.

But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

Rom 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

Rom 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Rom 11:34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?

Defender’s Study Bible 12:2

We are predestined ultimately to be “conformed to the image of [God’s] Son” (Romans 8:29); therefore it is eminently logical that we should not be conformed to this world, which is at “enmity with God” (James 4:4). See also I John 2:15

Our “renewed minds” were once “blinded” by the “god of this world,” Satan (II Corinthians 4:4). Now they should be, and can be, in harmony with and guided by “the mind of Christ” (Romans 11:34; I Corinthians 2:16).

Gill But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind; which regards not the first work of conversion and renovation; for in this sense these persons were transformed, metamorphosed, changed, and renewed already; but the after progress and carrying on the work of renovation, the renewing of them day by day in the spirit of their minds; see Ephesians 4:23; which believers should be desirous of, and pray for, and make use of those means which the Spirit of God owns for this purpose, attending to the spiritual exercises of religion, as reading, meditation, prayer, conference, the ministration of the word and ordinances, which is the reverse of conformity to the world: and the end to be attained hereby is, God's continual charge in both the Old and New Testaments to not conform to the ways of this lost and hell bent world...

Let us look at a few other verses that warn us to be non-conformists.

Ex 23:2 “You shall not follow a multitude in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice;

Deut 18:9 “When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations.

John 15:19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

2Cor 6:14-18  Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. 17 “Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you. 18 “And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty.

2Cor 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Eph 4:17 This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind...20 But you did not learn Christ in this way,

Jas 1:27 This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Jas 4:4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

1Pet 1:14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,

1Pet 4:2 (1Pe 4:1) so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

1John 2:15 Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Rev 13:8 And all who dwell on the earth will worship him (Antichrist - Rev 13:7), everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.

In summary we are not to fashion ourselves after the models of this world. But we are to be transformed by the renovation, the complete transformation of our minds by the Holy Spirit. This is the foundation of our sanctification.

Next week we will look at Testifying to God’s Will.

Following Who’s Fashion Romans 12:2

Over the last two weeks we looked at verse one of Romans 12 in two sermons entitled Acceptable Reason. Today we continue our introduction to sanctification with verse two of Romans 12.

Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

If you remember we said that Sanctification is a theological term used to describe the process of growing holy, mature in our faith. We also determined that this process requires that the things we do as we mature must be acceptable to God and reasonable for us to undertake. We looked at a number of verses that demonstrate actions God finds acceptable. Now we will look at what the object or goal of sanctification is for believers.

I believe the Apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit points out three goals for the maturing Christian to strive towards. They are to not be like the world around them, to change the way they think and therefore act and their action should prove to all who witness the will of God.

And be not conformed to this world:

Conformed or Greek Suschematizoto means; conform one's self (i.e. one's mind and character) to another's pattern

World:

  1. forever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity
  2. the worlds, universe
  3. period of time, age

The homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople,

on the epistle of St. Paul the apostle to the Romans:

Ver. 2. “And be not fashioned[6] after this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

For the fashion of this world is groveling and worthless, and but for a time, neither hath ought of loftiness, or lastingness, or straightforwardness, but is wholly perverted. If then thou wouldest walk upright, figure not thyself after the fashion of this life present. For in it there is nought abiding or stable. And this is why he calls it a fashion (σχμα); and so in another passage, “the fashion of this world passeth away.” (1 Cor. 7:31.) For it hath no durability or fixedness, but all in it is but for a season; and so he calls it this age (or world, Gr. α& 241·ν), hereby to indicate its liableness to misfortune, and by the word fashion its unsubstantialness.

I love that Chrysostom choses to use the word fashion here ILO the KJ translation of conformed. Especially considering the importance on fashion and looks in today’s society. Now I will not claim to know much at all about fashion, I am a cowboy boots and jeans kind of guy, but I do know fashion seems to change with the seasons. This is Chrysostom’s point, do not fashion or pattern your life after an ever changing world view of things. No we as believers are to fashion our lives after the model Christ Himself left for us.

We could paraphrase the phrase to read, do not fashion your lives after the ever changing patterns of non beleivers. The Apostle Peter used the same word fashion in 1 Peter 1:14

13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy

You all know how much I love conjunctures in scripture. Wherefore, gird up you loins, Peter is telling us to put our big boy britches on. Why? Read the previous 12 verses and it becomes clear, in short Peter blesses them for being regenerated, that the promise they have in salvation is cause for great rejoicing even when trials and temptations come. That this joy is to so glorious prophet’s spoke of it and angels desire it. Now because of all that get ready and act like obedient children of God and do not go after former lusts but, Just as God is Holy so to must we in all we do be Holy. That is how we must fashion our regenerated lives.

This will not be easy. There will be trials and temptations all along our path (note if you have never read John Bunyan’s classic Pilgrims Progress you need to) let us look at a few verses that confirm this.

James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

Note James says “when you” not should you. Kind of shoots all those name it and claim it prosperity preacher’s theories down huh.

1 Peter 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations

Peter paints a rosy picture when he tells us there will be manifold or multiple temptations.

Isaiah 20:2-3 At the same time spake the Lord by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot. And the Lord said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia

Isaiah is walking around naked and barefoot for three years. Sounds like a great time to me.

Ezekiel 24:15-18 Also the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 16 Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down. 17 Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead, bind the tire of thine head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet, and cover not thy lips, and eat not the bread of men. 18 So I spake unto the people in the morning: and at even my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was commanded

Here is (in my opinion) one of the toughest assignments ever handed out in the Bible. God tells Ezekiel not to mourn the death of his beloved wife. Not only that, but God Himself was the one who took his wife from him. Now most men would be really ticked off but Ezekiel is obedient.

The Old Testament too is full of such stories such as Elijah’s trials in 1 Kings 19, Hannah in 1 Samuel 1, Joseph who was sold by his family or dare we forget the examples Jesus Himself endured. These and many more verses show that Christians who are being obedient to God’s calling and doing things for the Kingdom of God to His glory are going to have trails and temptations in their lives. If your life as Christian is just smooth sailing all the time you need to consider if you are doing God’s will.

We will close tonight with a verse from Jesus:

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Our Lord and Saviour Himself; points out that we will have tribulations in the world. But, gotta love those conjunctures in the Bible, He says we can have joy in these situations. How can one possibly have joy in such times? Simple by being non-conforming to this world and by understanding He who has overcome the world.