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The Patriarchs-Abram

In Uncategorized on April 28, 2009 at 2:22 pm

The Patriarchs month of April:

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Abram his call, through the birth if Isaac:

Background passages: Genesis 12-23

Chapter 12: We see Abram called by God to leave his country, family and friends to follow the call of God to a desolate foreign land promised to him. The main message is Go the requirement is trust and obey. God was revealed in his Glory to Abram and he went from polytheism to monotheism after his encounter with the living God. Some basis for this is found by the names they used and his father’s occupation. Then names of his family suggest they were named after the moon, or the moon god, or his associates. Abram’s father was an idol maker and he was probably around 40 something when the tower of Babel was started.

(Gen 12:1-2 HCSB)  The LORD said to Abram: Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

 

(Act 7:2 HCSB)  “Brothers and fathers,” he said, “listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Haran,

 

This encounter and calling was one of the most pivotal moments in history, when a polytheist and idol worshipper was redeemed. We see the rebirth of monotheism in very corrupt and perverse culture. After the flood Nimrod was establishing Babel the mother of harlots. He carried on his oppression and violence in defiance of God himself, daring Heaven with his impieties, as if he and his huntsmen could out-brave the Almighty, and were a match for the Lord of hosts and all his armies. As if it were a small thing to weary men, he thinks to weary my God also, Isa_7:13. (Matthew Henry)

 

We see God choosing to bless Abram soon to be called Abraham with a blessing that reaches through time to today’s believers and Israel.

 

(Gen 12:3 HCSB)  I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.

 

What do you see as a blessing in your life in your life?

 

How can you bless others with that blessing?

 

One of the biggest lessens we learn early on about Abraham is his obedience to God’s call. Even as he had several personal failings just like us, he persevered and obeyed till it was judged as righteous.

 

(Heb 11:8 HCSB)  By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place he was going to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was going.

 

God is calling all of us to leave our familiar spiritual routines, and comfort zones, and every hint of mediocrity and go to a place He will show us. When we settle and stop the journey we miss out on God’s ultimate blessing, an intimate relationship with Him.

 

After Abram had reached Canaan the land that God had promised a severe famine started and God had Abram keep going to the Negev. A desert located in the southern part of Israel. To recap God called Abram from somewhere around the Persian gulf he traveled north to southern Turkey then south to Canaan, where God promised him all the land he had set foot on  and then a major famine sends him to the desert then eventually to Egypt.

 

(Gen 12:10 HCSB)  There was a famine in the land, so Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine in the land was severe.

 

We see Jesus also sent to the desert after his baptism and the Holy Spirit came upon him and God proclaimed him.

 

(Mat 4:1 HCSB)  Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil.

 

Paul after his Damascus road salvation and having his sight restored spent 3 years in the desert.

 

(Gal 1:17-18 HCSB)  I did not go up to Jerusalem to those who had become apostles before me; instead I went to Arabia and came back to Damascus. Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to get to know Cephas, and I stayed with him 15 days.

 

 Have you ever found yourself in a “desert” after following God in obedience to a promise?

 

Take a moment and write about it.

 

To quote Beth Moore” The weaknesses of God’s children do not strain the strength of God”. We see Abram telling Sarai to claim she is his sister instead of his wife to save his life from his own perceived threat instead of trusting God for his protection. Abram panicked all he could imagine was destruction instead of God’s protection.

 

Have you ever discovered that decisions made in panic, fear or self protection mode can have undesirable consequences?

 

God rescued Sarai even if Abram didn’t.

 

(Gen 12:16-17 HCSB)  He treated Abram well because of her, and Abram acquired flocks and herds, male and female donkeys, male and female slaves, and camels. But the LORD struck Pharaoh and his house with severe plagues because of Abram’s wife Sarai.

 

Those who choose to abuse or harm God’s children walk in dangerous ground, wither in this life or the next. God’s providence is to protect his children and to administer justice to those who seek our destruction. We tend to think in the moment and He takes the eternal view. With comfort and without fear we can rely on God in every situation. If you think God forget he didn’t, if you think he doesn’t understand he does! If you try to negotiate with him you assume he needs more information, or lacks a clear view of the problem, or worse he forgot something that you happened to remember. (Are you kidding?) God is sovereign, always present, always watching, never sleeping, always vigilant, always on time and always right. If there is a question in your heart or mind seek his word, his Spirit and his comfort.

 

As time and opportunity move forward remember Lot his nephew who is traveling with him on this sojourn. Their flocks have grown the need for food and water has out a strain on man and land, they are now out of Egypt and in the Promised Land.

 

(Gen 13:5-7 HCSB)  Now Lot, who was traveling with Abram, also had flocks, herds, and tents.   But the land was unable to support them as long as they stayed together, for they had so many possessions that they could not stay together, and there was quarreling between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were living in the land.

 

Proverbs speaks to quarreling especially in our close relationships.

 

(Pro 13:10 HCSB)  Arrogance leads to nothing but strife, but wisdom is gained by those who take advice.

 

If all were perfect there should be no pride, jealousy, and rivalry especially in our close relationships. Sometimes it seems we get along better with those we know the least and keep at a distance. We rob ourselves of intimate friendship when we keep people at arm’s length son to speak. Just for the record the definition of intimate is more closely aligned to friendship than with physical sexual involvements. We tend to be more crass and base in our understandings on occasion. In the text we see quarreling between Abram and Lot’s clans to settle the matter Abram shows his wisdom and understanding in this matter with Lot.

 

(Gen 13:8-9 HCSB)  Then Abram said to Lot, “Please, let’s not have quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, since we are relatives. Isn’t the whole land before you? Separate from me: if you go to the left, I will go to the right; if you go to the right, I will go to the left.”

 

How did Abram show his wisdom in this matter? (VS. 8-9)

 

(Gen 13:10-11 HCSB)  Lot looked out and saw that the entire Jordan Valley as far as Zoar was well-watered everywhere like the LORD’s garden and the land of Egypt. This was before God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. So Lot chose the entire Jordan Valley for himself. Then Lot journeyed eastward, and they separated from each other.

 

How did Lot choose his portion?

 

Abram gave the Lot the choice of the land and, Lot chooses what appeared to be the best property. Those who earnestly desire to please God (and therefore place others first) may sometimes think humility turns out badly. We can sometimes turn humility into victimhood thinking the more pitiful we are the more piety we have. Not only untrue, but the underlying behavior is anything but humble. God wants to bless us; it’s in his nature he can’t help himself. We are to obedient and He will always prove to be good! When we are motivated by selfishness, what appears to be a good move may very well have us pitching out tents next to Sodom? We don’t earn God’s favor we already have it. We don’t earn his love he already proved it. True love is defined in the Scriptures our choice is to simply love others as Christ loves us. Love should be a verb not a noun. Love isn’t what I say it’s what I do.

 

Col 1:21-22 And you were once alienated and hostile in mind because of your evil actions. But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him—

 

(Joh 3:16 HCSB)  “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

Yesterday’s lesson Are We Letting Jesus Love Us?

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan on April 13, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Are We Letting Jesus Love Us?

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1Jn 4:19  We love because He first loved us.

 

Are we doubled minded meaning trying to think and live 2 separate ways at one time?

Psa 119:113 I hate the double-minded, but I love Your instruction.

 

Jas 1:5-7 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Have we become spiritually ineffective because we don’t know what we believe or why?

(2Pe 1:3-9 ESV)  His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.  For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

 

Would you agree our lifestyle should provoke questions about Jesus?

(Col 4:5-6 ESV)  Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

 

If people aren’t asking us questions, the first thing we should do is not blame society in which we live, but take a closer look inside our own heart and ask how we ourselves are living.

Mar 8:36-38  For what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his life? What can a man give in exchange for his life? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

John Piper said “ Good news that isn’t explained not only isn’t good it isn’t even news” and he also stated that “ God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”

Why did you become a Christian? If the answer to why is the same as how you became a Christian, you are not really giving a reason. Jesus should be the reason we why we are a Christian.

(Col 1:3-6 HCSB)  We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,  for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints because of the hope reserved for you in heaven. You have already heard about this hope in the message of truth, the gospel that has come to you. It is bearing fruit and growing all over the world, just as it has among you since the day you heard it and recognized God’s grace in the truth.

 

(Col 1:15-20 HCSB)  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation; because by Him everything was created, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together. He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself by making peace through the blood of His cross–whether things on earth or things in heaven.

 

Matthew Henry states concerning Col 15 and on:

Here is a summary of the doctrine of the gospel concerning the great work of our redemption by Christ. It comes in here not as the matter of a sermon, but as the matter of a thanksgiving; for our salvation by Christ furnishes us with abundant matter of thanksgiving in every view of it: Giving thanks unto the Father, Col_1:12. He does not discourse of the work of redemption in the natural order of it; for then he would speak of the purchase of it first, and afterwards of the application of it. But here he inverts the order, because, in our sense and feeling of it, the application goes before the purchase. We first find the benefits of redemption in our hearts, and then are led by those streams to the original and fountain-head.

 

John Gill states:

Col 1:15  Who is the image of the invisible God,…. Not of deity, though the fulness of it dwells in him; nor of himself, though he is the true God, and eternal life; nor of the Spirit, who also is God, and the Spirit of the Son; but the Father, called “God”, not to the exclusion of the Son or Spirit, who are with him the one God: “and he is invisible”; not to the Son who lay in his bosom, and had perfect and infinite knowledge of him; nor, in some sense, to angels, who always behold his face, but to men: no man hath seen him corporeally with the eyes of his body, though intellectually with the eyes of the understanding, when enlightened; not in his essence and nature, which is infinite and incomprehensible, but in his works of creation, providence, and grace; nor immediately, but mediately, in and through Christ, in whom he gives the light of the knowledge of the glory of his person and perfections; and this not perfectly now, but in the other state, when the saints shall see him face to face. But chiefly the Father is said to be invisible, because he did not appear to Old Testament saints; as his voice was never heard, so his shape was never seen; he never assumed any visible form; but whenever any voice was heard, or shape seen, it was the second person that appeared, the Son of God, who is here said to be his “image”, and that, as he is the Son of God; in which sense he is the natural, essential, and eternal image of his Father, an eternal one, perfect and complete, and in which he takes infinite complacency and delight: this designs more than a shadow and representation, or than bare similitude and likeness; it includes sameness of nature and perfections; ascertains the personality of the Son, his distinction from the Father, whose image he is; and yet implies no inferiority, as the following verses clearly show, since all that the Father hath are his. Philo, the Jew (f), often speaks of the λογος, or Word of God, as the image of God. Also, this may be understood of him as Mediator, in whom, as such, is a most glorious display of the love, grace, and mercy of God, of his holiness and righteousness, of his truth and faithfulness, and of his power and wisdom:

 

C. S. Lewis: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see.”

 

Is there such a thing as absolute Truth?

Post Modernism: Widespread philosophical movement that followed the modern era; rejecting Enlightenment ideals, it devalues rational knowledge and dismisses the premise that truth can be objectively known.

Stanley Grenz: Two foundational assumptions in the post modern world.”

1. Post moderns view all explanations of reality as constructions that are useful but not objectively true.

2. Post moderns deny that we have the ability to step outside our constructions of reality.

Michel Foucault: The act of knowing is always an act of violence.

The Modern Legacy (Feuerbach, Marx, Freud): Belief in God is a projection of repressed or sublimated needs or desires.

Ludwig Feuerbach: A German philosopher and anthropologist who lived from 1804-1872; in his book The Essence of Christianity, he made the case that God is nothing more than the outward projection of man’s inward nature.

Richard Dawkins and the “New Atheists”: Belief in God has nothing to do with rerality and should therefore be stopped.

1. Meme: Word invented by Richard Dawkins to describe an idea that is transmitted from one generation to the next; an idea that is contagious in the way that a virus is contagious.

What is it?

Os Guinness on truth:

“‘What is truth?’ someone will immediately ask. Let me answer straightforwardly. In the biblical view, truth is that which is ultimately, finally, and absolutely real , or the ‘way it is’, and therefore is utterly trustworthy and dependable, being grounded and anchored in God’s own reality and truthfulness. But, this stress on the personal foundation of truth is not—as in postmodernism—at the expense of the prepositional. Both accuracy and authenticity are important to truth.”

Truth, by nature, is:

• Noncontradictory – it does not violate the basic laws of logic.

• Absolute – it does not depend upon any time, place, or conditions.

• Discovered – it exists independently of our minds; we do not create it.

• Descriptive – it is the agreement of the mind with reality (coherence).

• Inescapable – to deny its existence is to affirm it (we are bound by it).

• Unchanging – it is the firm standard by which truth claims are measured.

 

What it takes

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan on April 10, 2009 at 6:24 pm

If Hilter had understood this millions would still be alive!!

 

John 3:16-17  “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. one who believes in Him is not judged, but anyone who does not believe is already judged, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God. “This, then, is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.”

Gal 5:14-25  For the entire law is fulfilled in one statement: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour one another, watch out, or you will be consumed by one another. I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar, about which I tell you in advance–as I told you before–that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit.

By the very definition stated above a “Christian” term was first used by Pagans to describe the group people who behaved this way in AD 90. We never called ourselves Christians we are actually followers of the way listed in the above versus.

The question begs to be answered did Hitler, Mussolini, and anyone else who claims Christ as their Savior and Lord meet the behaviors listed above?

 

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What makes a believer? 

The Bible stands as the authority for instruction on becoming a believer and follower of the way.

(1Jn 5:13 HCSB)  I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

 

Grace-

Heaven is a free gift

(Rom 6:23 HCSB)  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Remember religion is man’s attempt to reach God. Teaching people they must earn God’s favor by doing something to earn God’s favor and make themselves worthy. Hence all the abuses you see in the past. True belief proclaims that God’s favor, including entrance into Heaven can only be obtained as a free gift.

 

It is not earned or deserved

(Eph 2:8-9 HCSB)  For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift–not from works, so that no one can boast.

 

We see here the contrast between God’s way and man’s way.

 

So why can’t we earn eternal life?

 

Man-is a sinner

(Rom 3:23 HCSB)  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

 

This more than few bad deeds but a rebellion against God and denying him as Sovereign in our lives.

 

He cannot save himself

 

(Mat 5:48 HCSB)  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

 

So the simple answer is be as good as God and you deserve to be in Heaven. So if our lives contain any sin at all we are certainly not perfect and are not acceptable to God. This becomes clearer when we see what the Bible teaches about God.

 

God-is merciful and doesn’t want to punish us.

 

(1Jn 4:8 HCSB)  … because God is love.

 

If God didn’t have mercy he wouldn’t be loving!

 

But God is also just and must punish our sin

 

(Exo 34:7 HCSB) ..But He will not leave the guilty unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ wrongdoing on the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation.

 

If he didn’t punish sin he wouldn’t be just! God displayed both his love and his justice in the person of Jesus Christ.

 

Christ-is both God and Man

 

(Joh 1:1 HCSB)  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 

(Joh 1:14 HCSB)  The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

There was a popular song back a couple of years ago “What if God were one of us” was the lyric. You can see by the scripture he has already accomplished this.  He was Very God of Very God and Very Man of Very Man!

 

He died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay the penalty for our sins and purchase a place in Heaven for us

 

(Isa 53:6 HCSB)  We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the LORD has punished Him for the iniquity of us all.

 

Like a judge who passed sentence on a criminal and then come off the bench to pay the penalty he has just passed on the guilty. Jesus did that for us taking on our penalty and paying the price. He died on the cross, paid the penalty for our sins and purchased a place in Heaven for us which is received through faith…

 

Faith-

Saving faith is not just head knowledge nor just temporary faith

 

(Jas 2:19 HCSB)  You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe–and they shudder.

 

You see saving faith requires us to go beyond head knowledge, physical proofs, good behavior, striving to achieve success, name any action you can produce and it isn’t enough.

 

Saving faith is trusting in Jesus Christ alone for our eternal life.

 

(Act 16:31 HCSB)  So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.”

 

We must place our faith (trust) in Jesus Christ alone to receive the gift of eternal life.

 Think about it!

1.     Transfer your trust from what you have been doing to what Christ alone has done for you on the cross.

2.     Receive Christ as Savior open your heart to receive Jesus Christ as your personal savior. 

3.     Trust Christ as Lord give him the controls of your life.

4.     Repent be willing to turn from anything you know would not please Him, and do those things He reveals through the Holy Spirit as His will.

 

In closing if any of this is not clear or you want to go deeper let me know! You see I had to complete the above instructions just like every other follower of the way did in order to be a “Christian”.

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