Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sunday School notes for Romans 15: 1-7

Romans 15:1-7 KJV
[1] … We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. [2] Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. [3] For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. [4] For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. [5] Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: [6] That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. [7] Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. …

Sunday School notes for Romans 15: 1-7

Verse 1-2
In the Christian life we that are strong in the faith are to provide support and if possible lend a hand up to the weak. The strong believer must lay aside any selfish motivation or agenda and seek the welfare of their fellow believers. Our goal should be to build one another up. At times we may have to be patient with a weaker brother or sisters point of view or spiritual maturity in order to help them. We may not agree with them and may see the error of their ways in non-essentials but in order to keep peace and unity, at times we may need not argue the point but just let it go. This can be hard to do but it can be done through the power of the Holy Spirit. However, there are times when we must confront error with truth.

Verse 3 - Paul is quoting Psalm 69.
Psalm 69:7-9 KJV
[7] Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face. [8] I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children. [9] For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me. …

This psalm of David describes the earthly sufferings of Christ. He endured unwarranted insults from His own people for our benefit. He did not seek what was best for Himself but what honored the Father and best for us.

He is our example, He was insulted for zeal for His Fathers house, we should be willing to bear with one another's weakness's for the building up of one another, which is building up the house of God. Lest we think this is too much to bear we are to consider our Lord and Savior.

Hebrews 12:2-4 KJV
[2] Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. [3] For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. [4] Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. …

Now If Jesus the sinless endured this great contradiction of sinners against Himself, how much more should we deal with the weakness of one another, namely, weak in faith, knowledge, and even in moral strength. This does not mean that we should not try to help one another to grow in faith, knowledge and grace but we should be patient as we seek to build one another up and realize that some of our brothers and sisters have different opinions in matters of faith that we cannot change or in some instances try to change. However, we have a moral obligation to help those we can who are seriously erring from the truth, but there will be those who are so set in their ways that they will not listen to sound reasoning. We have to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in dealing with such and pray that God would open their eyes to the truth, actually we need to always be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in all things.

Verse 5 - This is a directive coming down from our King to be of the same mind i.e. agreed together, cherish the same views, be harmonious. Unity in the essentials of the faith. I think it is important for believers to agree to be unified in the essentials.

Verse 6- that with a unified mind and mouth glorify God. Unified in the essentials.

Verse 7- Just as Christ has received us into the family of God, we are to receive one another. No saint should ever be made to feel like a second class saint but should be joyfully received and welcomed as a fellow citizen in God's kingdom.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The True Meaning of Christmas

Matthew 1:20-23 KJV
[20] But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. [21] And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. [22] Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, [23] Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. …

Christmas is one of the most celebrated holidays, yet how many know what it is all about. Some say it is all about the kids, giving them toys that will amuse them for a small span of time. Others might believe it about families getting together and exchanging gifts and eating too much. For others it a time of all the Christmas festivities and cliches, Santa Clause, pretty lights, dreams of snow on Christmas Day or a little baby laying in a manger giving hope to the world though they really don't know much about the hope He gives. 

In the passage of scripture above we have the true relevance of the baby's birth that gave birth to the holiday known as Christmas. I have just a points to make as in I do not want to bore you with spiritual rhetoric but only want to remind us of the signifcance of the birth of Christ.

In verse 20 we see the intervention of God in the affairs of man. God cause a young virgin to conceive. The creator of the universe has created a miracle in the womb of the young Virgin Mary. I believe it is safe to say that God did not do this just to wow us or give another miracle for us to believe in but there was a divine purpose in this divine intervention.
In verse 21 we see the purpose of the intervention. The purpose being that through the baby in Mary's womb He was going to save His people from their sins. We know from other passages of scripture that this include all who will place their faith in Him. Some might ask, "why would I want to saved from my sins?" My answer, why does a cancer patient with a malignant tumor want to be rid of the tumor? The answer of course is that the tumor if not removed will kill them; sin is more deadly than the worst cancer we can imagine. Let's look at Romans  6.

Romans 6:19 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 No good comes from sin it brings eternal death, sometimes physical death and I believe it works the principle of death in our lives, it kills our potential, relationships, peace, joy, influence, productivity, who we really are or who God created us to be and makes us into something else. In short, sin if not atoned for by the blood of Christ will condem us to the Lake of Fire known as the second death when this life is over and will bring death to the life we could have had here on earth if we would have followed Christ.

In verse 23 we see God coming down to us to help us with our sin problem which was brought about by man's transgression. What a loving God we have that instead of telling us to somehow try to make it up to Him, He came down to us. "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. …"

Merry Christmas to all.

What the Bible Says about Sexual Sin

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 KJV
[9] Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, [10] Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. [11] And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. …

This passage of scripture that Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson spoke of has stirred up a heated debate about the subject of homosexuality. In this portion of his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul goes from discouraging lawsuits to pointing out that those who refuse to turn from their sins and turn to Christ will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Paul goes on to point out that some those in the church of Corinth had been guilty of the previously mentioned transgressions, but something had happened to them and that something being the saving grace of Jesus. After pointing out their current position in Christ he then speaks of his liberty in Christ.

1 Corinthians 6:12-14 KJV
[12] All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. [13] Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. [14] And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. …

Paul uses the illustration of food as things that he was free to partake of without regard to the source of the meat or the type of meat. He pointed out that the both the stomach and the meat would be destroyed one day so it really didn't make much difference what you put in your gut. However, Paul makes a key statement next, while it may not matter what kind of food you put in your body, it does matter what you do with your body.

Paul stated that the body is not for fornication(sexual sin) but for The Lord. I believe it would be safe to concur that any sex outside of a marriage between a man and woman is a sexual sin.

1 Corinthians 6:14-20 KJV
[14] … own power. [15] Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. [16] What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. [17] But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. [18] Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. [19] What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? [20] For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. …

Paul in the passages above explains the logic behind the admonition for believers not to engage in sexual sin. I have listed 5 points that I got from Paul's admonition not to engage in sexual sins.

1) Believers are part of the body of Christ. When a believer engages in sexual sin they are taking Christ into that sin. Verse 15

2) In the sex act two people become one flesh, believers are joined to Christ and one with Him, if they engage in sexual sin they are as stated earlier taking Christ into that sin and joining Him to immoral person. Verse 16

3) Sexual sin is a sin against a persons body. I believe it is because they are taking a very personal, valuable part of their person and cheapening by illicit sex. Verse 18

4) Believers belong to Christ and their body is actually a temple for the presence of God. Verse 19

5) God has paid a high price to redeem believers, therefore they are to glorify God with their body and spirit that belongs to God. Verse 20

It is clear in this passage that is God's will for believers to abstain from sexual sin of any kind. While many Christians are all up in arms about A&E firing Phil Robertson for his remarks about the sin of homosexuality, it is equally important that we tell heterosexuals within the church to abstain from sexual sin.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sermon Notes on Matthew 6: 19-34

Matthew 6:18-34 KJV
 [19] Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 

The folly of pursuing and treasuring material wealth.

[20] But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

 The wisdom of laying up treasures in heaven

 [21] For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Our heart follows our treasure and indicates what we truly value.

[22] The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 

When our heart is right with God concerning wealth, His light will illuminate our being.

[23] But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

If our heart is not wealth then the illumination that God desires for us is darkness, a great darkness that obscures our spiritual vision from what is truly important in life. To borrow a line from a movie, that speaks of the immaterial becoming the material. What is deemed as immaterial by some will one day be clearly evident as the material.

 [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.

It is clear that we cannot have divided devotion, Jesus is speaking of material wealth. I believe this principle can be applied to other arenas of life as well.

 [25] Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 

 In this verse Jesus gives the hearers a clear application of this teaching, lest the poor people hearing this message thought that because of their poverty that they were exempt from this teaching. The application is that believers are not to be worried or consumed about the material things of life, even the bare necessities.

[26] Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? [27] Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? [28] And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: [29] And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. [30] Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Jesus gives the reason not to worry, just look around and see how God takes care of His creation. Jesus points out that if God takes care of the animals and plants how much more will He take care of His children.

 [31] Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? [32] (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

An admonition not to worry, those without God depend upon themselves to meet their own material needs. However, Jesus points out that our Heavenly Father knows all about our needs.

 [33] But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

The focus and pursuit of believers should be God's kingdom and to be in and walk in a right relationship with Him. As believers make that the focus and pursuit of their life it is God who supplies their needs during their stay on earth.

 [34] Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. …

Don't worry about the future, there is enough to be mindful about in the present. Worry about the future can rob us of enjoying what God has for us right now and can rob Him of our worship, devotion and service that we should give Him at all times.









Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Lights in Blue Ridge, Georgia

Christmas tree lights in Blue Ridge, Ga. I took these pictures last night after work last night.