God’s Work vs. Our Responsibility

Context: In whatever stage or position of life we are in, it is an easy trap to fall into to think that we are in charge of good results in our life, the lives of others and this church!  However, the truth is that we have never been given the charge of fixing the results of our lives or the lives of others!  It is God who works in us to work His will…

God’s Work in us – Romans 8:28-39

  • (predestined, called, justified, glorified) – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose. 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. 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
  • It is God that justifieth.” – Romans 8:33
  • Sanctification – 1 Cor. 6:11
  • Spirit’s work -1 Cor. 12:13, Ro. 8:9, Eph 1:13
  • Completion of work started – “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

2 extremes of thought about our responsibility

  • The legalist that thinks that as long as he dresses, acts, and speaks a certain way that this shows his spiritual maturity! (What I have to do)
  • The “freedom in Christ person that thinks they can do as they please since they have God’s forgiveness already! (What I can do)

The balance

  • Although there are things that we can and should do (works) it is only God that can get the glory! What do we take credit for? What do we take the blame for?

(Philippians 2:13 –For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”)

Our Responsibility (a few things)

  • Love God – “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” – Mark 12:30
  • Faithfulness – “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” 1 Cor 4:2
  • Obedience – John 14:15
  • Stand…with God’s Armor – Ephesians 6:10-20
  • Continually submit ourselves to God – “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” Romans 6:13


Spiritual Warfare – The Walk of Repentance

2 Samuel 12:1-23
  • David was greatly blessed by God, but he was blinded by his lust – How quickly we can forget!
    • 2 Sam 12:7-8: God gave his the kingship, delivered him from Saul, gave him Saul’s house, his wives, and the house of Israel and Judah…if that wasn’t enough God would have given him more!
  • David’s sin first was against God!
    • Psalm 51:4Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight…”
    • 2 Sam 12:13 – “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord…”
  • David despised the commandment of God!
    • 2 Sam 12:9 – Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight?…”
    • 2 Sam 12:10 – “Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me (God)…”
    • Despise = to disesteem, disdain, contemptible

Can a child of God despise God? YES!

  • God’s word can be despised – Numbers 15:31
  • You can serve God or money – you’ll love one and despise the other – Matthew 6:24
  • We can despise God’s goodness – Romans 2:4
  • We can despise God’s chastening – 12:5
  • We can despise God – 1 Thessalonians 4:8

BUT, God gives us the ability to Repent/Turn

  • Rom 2:4 – “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.”

The walk of repentance/The walk of pleasing God!

  • Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
    • Question – is my walk pleasing God?

Psalm 16 – You Won’t Walk Alone – God’s Presence

  • He preserves us!
    • 2 Timothy 4:18“And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
  • He is our strength – 16:8
  • He shows us the path of life – 16:11
  • He is always with us – 16:11, Hebrews 13:5
    • In God’s presence there is fullness of joy!
  • When we walk with God it pleases Him and we feel His pleasure in us!16:11


Spiritual Warfare – Repentance

“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” – 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Repentance = Greek word “Metanoia” which means “to think differently”.  Your thinking changes your actions!

Jesus and repentance

  • “I (Jesus) came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”Luke 5:32
  • “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew 4:17

Repentance is a gift

  • “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.Acts 5:31
  • “When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.”Acts 11:18

God’s Goodness in repentance

  • Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”Romans 2:4
  • “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”2 Peter 3:9
  • “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”Luke 15:7

Repentance brings refreshing

  • “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;”Acts 3:19

Flee and Repent

  • Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” – 2 Timothy 2:22-26

 

Everyone should repent

  • “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:”Acts 17:30

Repentance looks like…

  1. We see our sin for the grossness that it is – Psalm 51
  2. We have sorrow of our sin
  • . For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10
  1. We take ownership of our sin (confess it) – Ps 51:1-6
  2. We feel the shame of our sin
  • The opposite of shame – Ezra 9:6, Jeremiah 6:15
  1. We hate our sin “our sin should disgust us” – Acts 9
  2. We turn from our sin
  • Ezekiel 14:6 – “…repent, and turn yourselves from your idols…”
  • Ezekiel 18:30 – “…Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions…”
  • Ezekiel 33:11“…but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways,…”
  • Acts 26:20 – “…repent and turn to God, and do the works of repentance.”

It’s time to repent!

  • Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow (untilled) ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”

Everyone should repent

  • “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:”Acts 17:30

Repentance looks like…

  1. We see our sin for the grossness that it is – Psalm 51
  2. We have sorrow of our sin
  • . For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10
  1. We take ownership of our sin (confess it) – Ps 51:1-6
  2. We feel the shame of our sin
  • The opposite of shame – Ezra 9:6, Jeremiah 6:15
  1. We hate our sin “our sin should disgust us” – Acts 9
  2. We turn from our sin
  • Ezekiel 14:6 – “…repent, and turn yourselves from your idols…”
  • Ezekiel 18:30 – “…Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions…”
  • Ezekiel 33:11“…but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways,…”
  • Acts 26:20 – “…repent and turn to God, and do the works of repentance.”

It’s time to repent!

  • Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow (untilled) ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”


Spiritual Warfare…Strongholds

“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” – 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

(Strongholds are patterns of thinking based on our family history, our personal experiences, and our worldview

)

Generational/family influences form strongholds

Jacob’s Family – Lying/Deception

  • Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife (Gen 12, 20) Isaac lied about Rebekah being his wife (Gen 26:7) Jacob/Rebekah lied to Isaac (Gen 27:18-24)
  • Jacobs sons lied about Joseph (Gen 37:31-35)

Jacob’s Family – Favoritism

  • Abraham favored Isaac over Ishmael
  • Isaac favored Esau, Rebekah favored Jacob (Genesis 25:28)
  • Jacob favored Joseph (Genesis 37:3)

Generational Sins

“Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.” – Deuteronomy 5:9-10

  • The influence of fathers (parents) can be felt for generations, but our sins are our own, and no one else. We will stand before the Lord one day to give account for what we did, not our parents.
  • “For we all must 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.” – 2 Corinthians 5:10

God works in amazing ways Genesis 31:7, 36-42

Jacob’s strongholds led to fear-based decisions

  1. God promised to be with Jacob (Gen 31:9) but Jacob still feared Esau (Gen 32:7, 11) His fear (rather than trusting God) led to disbelief!
  2. Jacob continued to try to figure things out by using his own thinking (Gen 32:13-15, 20)
  3. When in trouble we easily can revert back to strongholds

Strongholds begin to break apart…Genesis 32

  • When were confronted w/ the pain of our decisions
  • When you are get alone with God
  • When you wrestle with God
  • When God prevails over you
  • When we repent!

“Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.”2 Corinthians 7:9



Spiritual Warfare, Part 2

“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.” – Ephesians 6:12

What Satan uses to tempt us…

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” – 1 John 2:16

See Matthew 4:1-11 (The devil attacks hardest when we are at our weakest points….tired and hungry)

  • 1st temptation (1-4), Satan used the lust of the flesh to tempt Jesus
  • 2nd temptation (5-7), Satan used the pride of life to tempt Jesus
  • 3rd temptation (8-11), Satan used the pride of life to tempt Jesus!
Satan did the same thing in

Genesis 3:6

  • “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food (Lust of the flesh) and pleasant to the eyes (Lust of the eyes), and a tree to be desired to make one wise (Pride of life), she took the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”

 

 

Human effort alone cannot stop a spiritual attack!

  • It was the Word of God that Jesus used…
    • 1st temptation – Jesus used 8:3
    • 2nd temptation – Jesus used 6:16
    • 3rd temptation – Jesus used 6:13
  • “It’s hard to use a weapon if you don’t know the weapon!” Jesus knew the Word!

Jesus’s reason to be tempted

  • “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.” – Hebrews 2:18

Jesus had victory over temptation

  • “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” – Hebrews 4:15

Submission and Resistance

  • Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

2 sides of submission

  • Surrender to God and draw close to God

How to resist?

  • Using the Word of God to fight off the devil
  • Have faith – 1 Peter 5:9a…”Whom (Satan) resist stedfast in the faith…”

Remember – “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” – 2 Timothy 4:18



Spiritual Warfare

Knowing the Enemy
  • Satan (Lucifer) is a created being (angel) that cannot be everywhere at every time! Only God can do that! He uses his demons to work his plan.
  • As a created being, he is capable of sinning. Satan was kicked out of Heaven because of his prideful attempt to be greater than God – Isaiah 14:11-14
  • He is the father of lies – John 8:44
  • He is known as the “god of this world” that blinds the minds of unbelievers – 2 Corinthians 4:4

What Satan attacks?

  1. Faith – if he can get you to not believe in God and His Word, he is winning in your life!
  2. Peace – Once he gets you to disbelieve in God and His promises, your peace is attacked
  3. Purpose – A lack of faith and no peace leads to wondering what your purpose is as a Christian (“If this is the best there is, why live for God?”)

After this = Satan has you! Any sin is possible!

How to fight off the Attacks

  • “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
    • Satan is a coward! By the authority of God he has to flee as we submit to God!

 

  1. The Word of God
    1. “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” – Psalm 119:11
  2. The Holy Spirit
    1. “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” – 1 John 4:4
  3. Prayer and Fasting – 2 Chronicles 20:1-4
    1. When you are in great distress – Fast!
    2. And being in an agony he (Jesus) prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”Luke 22:44
  4. Other believers – Galatians 6:1-5

Will there ever be complete victory? YES!!!

  • The 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ ( 19:11-21)
  1. Jesus is on a white horse; His eyes are a flame of fire, many crowns, and vesture dipped in blood, bringing the wrath of God.
  2. Armies on white horses, dressed in white. These are His saints (all believers)
  3. 1 Thess. 3:13 – “To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.” (see 14:4,5)
    • Anti-Christ/armies are defeated. Anti-Christ/false prophet in Lake of Fire.
  • Satan is thrown into bottomless pit 20:1-3
  • Satan loosed from the bottomless pit – 20:7-10 – cast in lake of fire forever!


Growing a Healthy Church, Part 7

Don’t be too alarmed; there is a “great falling away” from God that is going to happen! (We have been moving this way for a long time) – 2 Thess. 2:1-17
  • Don’t be shook up! Don’t be troubled!  Don’t be weary in well doing2 Thess. 3:13. Apostasy is coming! Apostasy = A Falling Away
  • Read 1 Timothy 4:1-3
  • This falling away refers to the time of the “Great Tribulation”, but we are in the pre-stages of this.

Falling away…

  • Man of sin, son of perdition = Anti Christ
  • The Holy Spirit will hinder Satan and the antichrist until the rapture of the church. After the rapture of the church, the devil will not be restrained!
  • Those that do not believe the truth of Jesus are damned! See John 3:15-18
  • The church will be gone during this time, but people can still be saved, thus, the Holy Spirit is still work, just not restraining the Wicked. We have been chosen:

Chosen us…

  • To be saved – 2 Thess. 2:13 (also see 1 Pet 1:2)
  • A chosen generation – 1 Peter 2:4-9
  • In Him before the foundation of the world 1:4
  • The foolish things to confound the wise – 1 Cor. 1:27…foolishness of the gospel – 1 Cor. 1:18
  • To be a soldiers –Read 2 Timothy 2:1-4

What to do:

  • Go to war and hold the faith – 1 Tim 1:18-20
  • Stand fast and hold to the Word – 2 Th. 2:15-17

Remember:

  • God is faithful! God will establish and keep you! – 2 Thessalonians 3:3

A Healthy Church takes a team approach towards discipleship – Ephesians 4:11-16

  • Church leaders are given by God for:
    • The perfecting (maturing) of the saints
    • The work of the ministry
    • The edification (building up) of the church
  • With the purpose of:
    • Having unity of the faith
    • a knowledge of the Son
    • producing mature believers who are grounded in their faith and not swayed false teaching and sinful living!


Growing a Healthy Church, Part 6

Goals of a Healthy church – 2 Thessalonians
  1. That our faith will grow exceedingly!
  2. To glorify Jesus Christ by how they live!

What Grows our Faith?

  1. The Word of God helps grow our faith
    • “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” – 1 Peter 2:1-3
    • “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” – Romans 10:17
  2. Enduring persecution grows your faith – 2 Thess. 1:4
  3. Believing the Word of God that God will make all things right in the end
    1. We can be patient through suffering and pain by knowing that he will take care of us now and in the future! Will punish the evil!
      1. 2 Thess. 1:4-10

Benefits of a growing faith

  1. Growing in faith helps us to have a right understanding of giving
    • “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;” – 2 Thess 1:3
  • You please God!
    • “But without faith it isimpossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”  11:6
  • God’s power will work through your faith!
    • “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the wok of faith and power.” – 2 Thess. 1:11

Faith in 2 Chronicles 20:1-30

  • 4 ways that Jehoshaphat responded to his enemies (20:3-13)
  1. He feared, He sought God, He fasted

He/Judah prayed

  • The Prayer (20:5-13) that recognized…
  1. God’s sovereignty, covenant with His people, presence, and goodness
  • God’s response: have faith, don’t be afraid!
  • Their response = switch from fear to worship!


Growing a Healthy Church, Part 5

The Church at Corinth – An Unhealthy church…
  • The church was losing its vision of serving Christ, first and foremost! Given over to worldliness!
  • Divisions (1 Cor. 1:10-17) Fornication (1 Cor. 5:1)
  • Lawsuits among the church members (1 Cor. 6)

…That got healthier – 2 Corinthians 7

  • They sent Titus to comfort Paul (7)
  • They were “clear” from wrong doing (11)
  • THEY REPENTED (9)
  • They had Godly sorrow instead of worldly sorrow!
  • They were abounding in faith, utterance, knowledge, love, and in grace! Especially the grace of giving! – 2 Corinthians 8:6-8
  • Their giving provoked others – 2 Cor. 9:2

An Attitude of Giving – 2 Corinthians 9:1-15

  • Give little = get little: Give much = get much (6)
  • You give what you purpose to give (7) Purpose is not an amount, but the nature of your heart to give!
  • Your attitude of giving reflects your heart and is steeped in appreciation towards God (7)
  • God will always provide for you! (8)
  • God blesses you so you can bless others! (8)
  • God increases what you give (10)
  • God gave the greatest gift = Jesus! (15)

More Money and Heart Verses:

  • “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” – Matthew 6:21
  • “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.” – Ecclesiastes 5:10
  • 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.” – Matthew 6:24
  • “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into thisworld, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”1 Timothy 6:6-10
  • “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:”Proverbs 3:9
  • Luke 6:38 – “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”


Growing a Healthy Church, Part 4

The different seasons of life in Abraham’s Family
  • MarriedGenesis 12:4-5
  • Problems:
    • Not able to have kids (Gen 11:30)
    • Abe lied about Sarah being his wife…twice ( 12:10-20, 20:1-16)
    • Lot didn’t prefer Abe in picking out the land ( 13:5-13). Lot paid for it!
  • Life changes:
    • Abe took Sarah (and all their people and stuff) and moved away from the family at age 75 ( 12:4-5) then moved back to Bethel (Gen. 13:1-4)
  • Times of doubts:
    • Abe laughed about having a child at his age ( 17:16-19)
    • Sarah laughed about having a child at her age ( 18:9-15) gave Hagar to Abe (Gen 16) then kicked them out after Isaac was born (Gen 21)
  • Times of victories and faith:
    • Abe’s belief counted for righteousness ( 15:6)
    • God made a covenant with Abe (Gen 12:1-3) renewed it twice (Gen 13:14-18,15:7-11)
    • Was going to sacrifice Isaac (Gen 22)

How do we grow a healthy family in any season?

  1. In the home and church family, the older are teaching the younger how to have a healthy family…and the younger are listening and applying! – Titus 2:1-10
  2. In the home and church family, we share our lives together – 2 Timothy 3:10-17
  3. In the home and church family, we live out what we have been taught – 1 Timothy 4:6-16
  4. In the home and church family, if there is slow growth we are patient, proactive, loving and forgiving – Luke 15:11-32
  5. In the home, husbands are loving their wives like Jesus loves us
    1. “The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” – John Wooden
    2. Wives are submitting to the husband
    3. Children are obeying their parents
    4. Fathers are not provoking their children to anger

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.  Husbands love your wives, and be not bitter against them.  Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.  Fathers. Provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” – Colossians 3:18-21

 

These things will help: (From last week’s message)

  1. Be in the Word
  • “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.”Colossians 3:10
  • “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” – Colossians 3:16
  1. Don’t be given over to Drama – Have God’s peace
  • “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”  3:15
  1. Focus on Christ
  • “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, doall in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” – Col. 3:17