Personality vs Character

Godly Character

God changes our character but not our personality, they are different things.

Personality refers to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. The study of personality focuses on two broad areas: One is understanding individual differences in particular personality characteristics, such as sociability or irritability. The other is understanding how the various parts of a person come together as a whole. They are broken up into 4 groups.

Sanguine

The sanguine temperament is fundamentally impulsive and pleasure-seeking; sanguine people are sociable and charismatic. They tend to enjoy social gatherings, making new friends and tend to be boisterous. They are usually quite creative and often daydream. However, some alone time is crucial for those of this temperament. Sanguine can also mean sensitive, compassionate and thoughtful. Sanguine personalities generally struggle with following tasks all the way through, are chronically late, and tend to be forgetful and sometimes a little sarcastic. Often, when they pursue a new hobby, they lose interest as soon as it ceases to be engaging or fun. They are very much people persons. They are talkative and not shy. Sanguines generally have an almost shameless nature, certain that what they are doing is right. They have no lack of confidence.
Choleric

The choleric temperament is fundamentally ambitious and leader-like. They have a lot of aggression, energy, and/or passion, and try to instill it in others. They can dominate people of other temperaments, especially phlegmatic types. Many great charismatic military and political figures were choleric. They like to be in charge of everything. However, cholerics also tend to be either highly disorganized or highly organized. They do not have in-between setups, only one extreme to another. As well as being leader-like and assertive, cholerics also fall into deep and sudden depression. Essentially, they are very much prone to mood swings.
Melancholic

The melancholic temperament is fundamentally introverted and thoughtful. Melancholic people often were perceived as very (or overly) pondering and considerate, getting rather worried when they could not be on time for events. Melancholics can be highly creative in activities such as poetry and art – and can become preoccupied with the tragedy and cruelty in the world. Often they are perfectionists. They are self-reliant and independent; one negative part of being a melancholic is that they can get so involved in what they are doing they forget to think of others.
Phlegmatic

The phlegmatic temperament is fundamentally relaxed and quiet, ranging from warmly attentive to lazily sluggish. Phlegmatics tend to be content with themselves and are kind. They are accepting and affectionate. They may be receptive and shy and often prefer stability to uncertainty and change. They are consistent, relaxed, calm, rational, curious, and observant, qualities that make them good administrators. They can also be passive-aggressive.

Character is an evaluation of a particular individual’s stable moral qualities. The concept of character can imply a variety of attributes including the existence or lack of virtues such as empathycouragefortitudehonesty, and loyalty, or of good behaviors or habits. Moral character primarily refers to the assemblage of qualities that distinguish one individual from another

Character is defined as strength of moral fiber. A.W. Tozer described character as “the excellence of moral beings.” As the excellence of gold is its purity and the excellence of art is its beauty, so the excellence of man is his character. Persons of character are noted for their honesty, ethics, and charity. Descriptions such as “man of principle” and “woman of integrity” are assertions of character. A lack of character is moral deficiency, and persons lacking character tend to behave dishonestly, unethically, and uncharitably.

A person’s character is the sum of his or her disposition, thoughts, intentions, desires, and actions. It is good to remember that character is gauged by general tendencies, not on the basis of a few isolated actions. We must look at the whole life. For example, King David was a man of good character (1 Samuel 13:14) although he sinned on occasion (2 Samuel 11). And although King Ahab may have acted nobly once (1 Kings 22:35), he was still a man of overall bad character (1 Kings 16:33). Several people in the Bible are described as having noble character: Ruth (Ruth 3:11), Hanani (Nehemiah 7:2), David (Psalm 78:72), and Job (Job 2:3). These individuals’ lives were distinguished by persistent moral virtue.

Character is influenced and developed by our choices. Daniel “resolved not to defile himself” in Babylon Daniel 1:8 But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods, and that Godly choice was an important step in formulating an unassailable integrity in the young man’s life. Character, in turn, influences our choices. “The integrity of the upright guides them” Proverbs 11:3Honesty guides good people; dishonesty destroys treacherous people. Character will help us weather the storms of life and keep us from sin Proverbs 10:9People with integrity walk safely,but those who follow crooked paths will be exposed.

It is the Lord’s purpose to develop character within us. Proverbs 17:3 Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the LORD tests the heart.
Baptism of Fire, Godly character is the result of the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification. Sanctification, or in its verbal form, sanctify, literally means “to set apart” for special use or purpose, that is, to make holy or sacred. Therefore, sanctification refers to the state or process of being set apart, i.e. made holy.

Character in the believer is a consistent manifestation of Jesus in his life. It is the purity of heart that God gives becoming purity in action. God sometimes uses trials to strengthen character:
Romans 5:3-5 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

 The Lord is pleased when His children grow in character. “You test the heart and are pleased with integrity” (1 Chronicles 29:17;
Psalms 15:1-2 (NLT)Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?2 Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right,speaking the truth from sincere hearts.

We can develop character by controlling our thoughts (Philippians 4:8 (HCSB) 8 Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things., practicing Christian virtues (2 Peter 1:5-6), guarding our hearts (Proverbs 4:23;Matthew 15:18-20), and keeping good company (1 Corinthians 15:33). Men and women of character will set a good example for others to follow, and their godly reputation will be evident to all (Titus 2:7-8).

It comes into being intimate with God through reading His word, praying, and worship. When you spend time with God he will increase in your life as you decrease John 3:30(HCSB) He must increase, but I must decrease.”, His will becomes your will.

Romans 6:6 (NLT)We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin.

Galatians 5:24(NLT) And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 

Colossians 3:55 (NLT)Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 

To have Godly character we must kill the flesh and feed the spirit.

Galatians 5:17 (NLT)The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.

Advertisements

When the Storms of life come

Jesus said that storms will come in our lives, but they don’t have to overcome us. Sometimes he calms the storms, but other times he calms His Disciple. One of the most difficult parts of the Christian life is the fact that becoming a disciple of Christ does not make us immune to life’s trials. Why would a good and loving God allow us to go through such things as the death of a loved one, disease, injury, financial problems, worry and fear? Surely, if He loved us, He would take all these things away from us. After all, doesn’t loving us mean He wants our lives to be easy and comfortable? Well, no, it doesn’t. The Bible clearly teaches that God loves those who are His children, and He “works all things together for good” for us (Romans 8:28). So that must mean that the trials and tribulations He allows in our lives are part of the working together of all things for good. Therefore, for the believer, all trials and tribulations must have a divine purpose.

As in all things, God’s ultimate purpose for us is to grow more and more into the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). This is the goal of the Christian, and everything in life, including the trials and storms, is designed to enable us to reach that goal. It is part of the process of sanctification, being set apart for God’s purposes and fitted to live for His glory. The way trials accomplish this is explained in 1 Peter 1:6-7(ESV) “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which perishes, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The true believer’s faith will be made sure by the trials we experience so that we can rest in the knowledge that it is real and will last forever.

Trials develop godly character, and that enables us to Romans 5:3-5(NLT)3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

1. SOMETIMES HE CALMS THE STORMS:

a. Just because you’re in a storm doesn’t mean you’ve sinned, Jesus said we will have difficulties in life. John 16:33(HCSB)33 I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.

This story takes place right after an amazing miracle of provision – feeding the 5,000.

“Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away.” (Mark 6:45).

The disciples were obeying Jesus and found themselves in a storm.

Just because you’re in a storm doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t care.

Mark 4:35 (HCSB)On that day, when evening had come, He told them, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the sea.” 36 So they left the crowd and took Him along since He was already in the boat. And other boats were with Him. 37 A fierce windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 But He was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke Him up and said to Him, “Teacher! Don’t You care that we’re going to die?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Silence! Be still!” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 Then He said to them, “Why are you fearful? Do you still have no faith?”

41 And they were terrified and asked one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

The apostles’ lack of faith reminds us that even those who lived and walked with Jesus, saw His miracles, and heard His message still found it difficult to be 100 percent faith-filled all the time. In that way, the disciples were a lot like us. However, their lack of faith was rebuked—and, by extension, so is ours. If Jesus was able to rescue the apostles from the storm, He is also able to rescue us from the storms of everyday life: sickness, job loss, marriage problems, and even the sting of death.

c. When you’re in the storm, you will encounter Jesus in a new way.

Matthew 14:22 (HCSB)Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowds. 23 After dismissing the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone. 24 But the boat was already over a mile from land, battered by the waves, because the wind was against them. 25 Around three in the morning, He came toward them walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 Immediately Jesus spoke to them. “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s You,” Peter answered Him, “command me to come to You on the water.”

29 “Come!” He said.

And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out His hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those in the boat worshiped Him and said, “Truly You are the Son of God!”• Jesus doesn’t always come in the way we would like Him to.

• When Jesus comes, He says, “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Even though Jesus seemed absent in the storm, He was watching them.

• In the early morning, Jesus finally came to them.

  • God is never early, but he’s never late. He will come when the time is right.
  • When you’re in a storm, cry out to Jesus for help:

In their first storm, Mark tells us: Mark 4:38(HCSB)So they woke Him up and said to Him, “Teacher! Don’t You care that we’re going to die?”

First Storm Jesus was with them and they asked who was he?

Second Storm Jesus didn’t go with them but met them then they knew who He was!!

When Jesus “gave orders to go over to the other side” (Matthew 8:18), He knew the storm was coming. He is omniscient (John 2:25); even with a storm brewing, He decided to launch out to sea. The Lord never promised we will never see a storm in life (as a matter of fact, He has told us to expect trouble, John 16:33(HCSB)33 I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”. Rather, He has promised that He will be with us in the storm. He will never leave His children alone in the midst of trouble; with perseverance we will overcome James 1:12(HCSB)12 A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.

2. SOMETIMES HE CALMS HIS DISCIPLE:

Acts 27:7-8(HCSB)7 Sailing slowly for many days, we came with difficulty as far as Cnidus. Since the wind did not allow us to approach it, we sailed along the south side of Crete off Salmone. 8 With yet more difficulty we sailed along the coast and came to a place called Fair Havens near the city of Lasea.

Acts 27:18-21(HCSB) 18 Because we were being severely battered by the storm, they began to jettison the cargo the next day. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s gear overboard with their own hands.

20 For many days neither sun nor stars appeared, and the severe storm kept raging. Finally all hope that we would be saved was disappearing. 21 Since many were going without food, Paul stood up among them and said, “You men should have followed my advice not to sail from Crete and sustain this damage and loss. 

• This storm was different than the ones the disciples faced:

o They had several days of rough sailing. The terrible storm raged many days.

o They had to throw out the ship’s cargo and equipment and lost a lot of stuff.

Most of the time its not the strength but the duration of the storm that destroys us.

o Finally, the ship itself was destroyed. “All hope was gone.”

Acts 27:22-26(HCSB) 22 Now I urge you to take courage, because there will be no loss of any of your lives, but only of the ship. 23 For this night an angel of the God I belong to and serve stood by me, 24 and said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul. You must stand before Caesar. And, look! God has graciously given you all those who are sailing with you.’ 25 Therefore, take courage, men, because I believe God that it will be just the way it was told to me. 26 However, we must run aground on a certain island.”

  • Jesus never calmed this storm for Paul, but the Lord gave him peace in the storm.

Remember, peace is not the absence of a storm – it is peace in the middle of your storm. No matter what happens in my life as a Christian, I have the promises of God’s Word for a safe landing on that heavenly shore. The storms of life will come and go but I don’t need to be afraid. Who do I know who may be going through a storm right now and needs my encouragement?

We do not know exactly when the storms will come into our lives. They usually come suddenly and violently, just like the storm at sea came upon Paul and his company.

These storms come when things are going smoothly. Just prior to the storm, Paul and his party were enjoying smooth sailing.

Since we do not know when these storms will come, we must learn to have confidence in the One who is Lord over the storms.

When we are living with in Him, we are braced for the storms that come.

There are five actions to take when you find yourself in one of life’s storms.

  1. Spend some time alone with God; All relationships take time. A relationship with God, while unlike other relationships in many ways, still follows the rules of other relationships.Spending time alone with a loved one provides the opportunity to truly come to know that person. Spending time alone with God is no different. When we’re alone with God, we draw closer to Him and get to know Him in a different way than we do in group settings. Spending time alone with God rids our minds of distraction so that we can focus on Him and hear His Word. Abiding in Him, we enjoy the intimacy to which He calls us and come to truly know Him.
  1. Acknowledge His presence Proverbs 3:5-6(ESV)Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths..

3. Believe His promises (2 Peter 1:3(HCSB) His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. 4 By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires.).

4. Count your blessings (Acts 27:35)James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

5. Get rid of excess baggage (Acts 27:38) Here’s some baggage we all need to eradicate from our lives.

Intellectual baggage.  This baggage keeps us from thinking clearly.  Or understanding correctly.  It may be the wisdom of the world that characterized the Greek culture.  Paul warned of those who allowed their own reasoning from seeing the simplicity in Christ.  Intellectual baggage may fill out minds with useless information.  False information. Or preconceived and prejudicial information.  Get rid of intellectual baggage so your mind can think on the things of God.

Emotional baggage.  Emotions are powerful.  They drive us.  Or drain us.  They motivate us. Or demoralize us.  They can take us to exciting highs.  But also to depressing lows.  The Bible often speaks of controlling our emotions, through sobriety and self-discipline.  The sins of anger, wrath, envy, jealously and bitterness have to do with improper emotions.  And they create a burden that is difficult to bear.  Paul admonished the Ephesians and Colossians to “put off” these things.  Get rid of that baggage that is hindering growth and harming your relationships.

Behavioral baggage.  Too often we justify bad behavior by saying things like, “that’s just the way I am.”  Or, “I’m only human.”  God wants us to model our lives after Jesus.  To live as He lived. To walk as He walked.  To talk as He talked.  He gave us a behavioral example.  But when we take on the sins of the flesh, with habits that hurt us, and with addictions that alter our minds, wound our emotions and harm our bodies, we have acquired baggage that we need to unload and leave behind.

Intellectual, emotional and behavioral baggage negatively affects all of our relationships, with our family, Friends, Co-workers, Church Family and

most of all with our Heavenly Father.

Get rid of the excess baggage.  Hebrews 12:1(NLT)Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

3. GOD WILL COMFORT US SO WE CAN COMFORT OTHERS:

2 Corinthians 1:4-7 (HCSB)4 He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so through Christ our comfort also overflows. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is experienced in your endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will share in the comfort.

  • When you go through storms, God will comfort you so you can comfort others.

• Is it a storm of addiction – trying to break free from a bondage you have had for years?

• Is it a storm of sickness – praying believing God for healing?

• Is it a storm of financial pressures – trying to get out of debt?

• Is it a storm of relationship challenges – trying to restore a broken relationship?

• Is it a storm of doubt and hopelessness? How can we hope to survive the storm?

In order to face the storms of life successfully, we must be committed to Jesus as well as having confidence in Him. Paul gives us an example of such a commitment. He stood before the frightened group and related to them the vision that he had experienced. He told them that an angel of the God to whom he belonged and whom he served had appeared to him assuring him that there would be no loss of life.The storms of life are going to come. We must learn to face them. How are we going to face them? I pray that we will face them with confidence in Jesus, with commitment to Jesus. If so, we will be able to face the storms victoriously, and we will be able to assure others in their storms of life.

Mighty Warrior

Judges 6:1 (HCSB)The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord handed them over to Midian seven years, 2 and they oppressed Israel. Because of Midian, the Israelites made hiding places for themselves in the mountains, caves, and strongholds. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites, Amalekites, and the Qedemites came and attacked them. 4 They encamped against them and destroyed the produce of the land, even as far as Gaza. They left nothing for Israel to eat, as well as no sheep, ox or donkey. 5 For the Midianites came with their cattle and their tents like a great swarm of locusts. They and their camels were without number, and they entered the land to waste it. 6 So Israel became poverty-stricken because of Midian, and the Israelites cried out to the Lord.

7 When the Israelites cried out to Him because of Midian, 8 the Lord sent a prophet to them. He said to them, “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I brought you out of Egypt and out of the place of slavery. 9 I delivered you from the power of Egypt and the power of all who oppressed you. I drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 I said to you: I am Yahweh your God. Do not fear the gods of the Amorites whose land you live in. But you did not obey Me.’”

Midianites are the descendant of Abraham with his wife Ketorah

Genesis 25:1(HCSB)Now Abraham had taken another wife, whose name was Keturah, 2 and she bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. 3 Jokshan fathered Sheba and Dedan. Dedan’s sons were the Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim. 4 And Midian’s sons were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All these were sons of Keturah. 5 Abraham gave everything he owned to Isaac. 6 And Abraham gave gifts to the sons of his concubines, but while he was still alive he sent them eastward, away from his son Isaac, to the land of the East.

The enemy does not go to war where there are no spoils, He will not attack you if there is nothing to gain from going into battle with you. The greatest deception in Christianity is that when you become a christian there are no battles. The truth is the battles are won because of the blood of Jesus but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to fight. The fight is fixed and the way to win a fixed fight is to be standing when the bell rings.

It’s not how you start but how you end that matters.

Judges 6:11 (HCSB)The Angel of the Lord came, and He sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash, the Abiezrite. His son Gideon was threshing wheat in the wine vat in order to hide it from the Midianites. 12 Then the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and said: “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

Gideon was threshing wheat in the wine press. Wheat is a symbol of  food basic food, wine is a type and shadow of celebration. wine was the most valuable thing that they could make at the time. They were so oppressed that they were barely sustaining instead of being in celebration.

Kind of like most christians today.

He was changing Gideon’s perspective of who Gideon thought he was.

Judges 6:13 Gideon said to Him, “Please Sir, if the Lord is with us, why has all 

this happened? And where are all His wonders that our fathers told us about? They said, ‘Hasn’t the Lord brought us out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to Midian.”

Judges 6:14 (HCSB)The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and deliver Israel from the power of Midian. Am I not sending you?”

15 He said to Him, “Please, Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Look, my family is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.”

16 “But I will be with you,” the Lord said to him. “You will strike Midian down as if it were one man.”

17 Then he said to Him, “If I have found favor in Your sight, give me a sign that You are speaking with me. 18 Please do not leave this place until I return to You. Let me bring my gift and set it before You.”

And He said, “I will stay until you return.”

Gideon had a perception change and something had to die in honor of that taking place

Judges 6:19 So Gideon went and prepared a young goat and unleavened bread from a half bushel of flour. He placed the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot. He brought them out and offered them to Him under the oak.

20 The Angel of God said to him, “Take the meat with the unleavened bread, put it on this stone, and pour the broth on it.” And he did so.

21 The Angel of the Lord extended the tip of the staff that was in His hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire came up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the Angel of the Lord vanished from his sight.

22 When Gideon realized that He was the Angel of the Lord, he said, “Oh no, Lord God! I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face!”

23 But the Lord said to him, “Peace to you. Don’t be afraid, for you will not die.” 24 So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it Yahweh Shalom. It is in Ophrah of the Abiezrites until today.

Gideon now having his perspective of who he was change now had to rid his life of the idols

Judges 6:25 (HCSB)On that very night the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s young bull and a second bull seven years old. Then tear down the altar of Baal that belongs to your father and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. 26 Build a well-constructed altar to the Lord your God on the top of this rock. Take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah pole you cut down.” 27 So Gideon took 10 of his male servants and did as the Lord had told him. But because he was too afraid of his father’s household and the men of the city to do it in the daytime, he did it at night.

The false gods are just that, false gods. they have no power to do anything so why are we so scared to tear them down?

Judges 6:28 (HCSB)When the men of the city got up in the morning, they found Baal’s altar torn down, the Asherah pole beside it cut down, and the second bull offered up on the altar that had been built. 29 They said to each other, “Who did this?” After they made a thorough investigation, they said, “Gideon son of Joash did it.”

30 Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son. He must die, because he tore down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.”

31 But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Would you plead Baal’s case for him? Would you save him? Whoever pleads his case will be put to death by morning! If he is a god, let him plead his own case because someone tore down his altar.” 32 That day, Gideon’s father called him Jerubbaal, saying, “Let Baal plead his case with him,” because he tore down his altar.

We are to know who we are in Christ, get the right perspective, Crucify the flesh(Make a sacrifice) and tear down the idols.

Identity

John 1:12(NLT)12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

Have the right perspective

1 Peter 2:7(NLT) Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him.[d] But for those who reject him,

“The stone that the builders rejected

    has now become the cornerstone.”8 And,

“He is the stone that makes people stumble,

    the rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.

9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

10 “Once you had no identity as a people;

    now you are God’s people.

Once you received no mercy;

    now you have received God’s mercy.

Crucify the flesh

Colossians 3:5(HCSB)5 Therefore, put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry.

Ephesians 4:21 (NLT)Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

Galatians 5:24 (NLT)Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

Remove the idols in your life

1John 2:15(HCSB)15 Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. 16 For everything that belongs to the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever.

The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me

Isaiah 61:1-3(NLT)

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,

    for the Lord has anointed me

    to bring good news to the poor.

He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted

    and to proclaim that captives will be released

    and prisoners will be freed.

He has sent me to tell those who mourn

    that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,

    and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.

To all who mourn in Israel,

    he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,

a joyous blessing instead of mourning,

    festive praise instead of despair.

In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks

    that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

Verse 1-3 put Jesus’ words into the mouth of the prophet Isaiah.

Luke 4:16-22(NLT)16 When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. 17 The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:(Which is Isaiah 61:1-3)

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

    for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,

    that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free,

19 and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”

20 He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. 21 Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”

When Jesus said that, it must have freaked out the gathered crowd. Luke tells us that before this encounter was over, the synagogue crowd turned into a lynch mob, and tried to kill Him.

Jesus was reading a passage that everyone in the temple knew was in reference to the much-longed for prophesied Messiah, who would deliver Israel from their oppressors and bring justice to the world. And then He said, “That Messiah that Isaiah spoke of? You’re looking at Him.” Jesus was saying that He was the fulfillment of the prophecies about the Heaven-sent Deliverer. He is stating one of the  most explicit statements in Scripture about the ancient prophecies speak of in the coming of Christ.

Watch what Jesus sys at His very first Sermon!

The Spirit of the Lord God is on Me (how awesome to name the Trinity first!), because the Lord has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. That is His purpose. It pulls everything else together.

He has good news for those who are poor( as in those without anything), humble, lowly, the needy, the afflicted. Christ looks for those who have been passed over, the outcasts, who realize that they need Someone to rescue them. He comes for those who know they are sick, not for those who think they are well. The Church is a Hospital for the sinners, Not a country club for those who are well. He has good news for those who realize just how desperately they need a Savior.

1. He comforts the brokenhearted

He has sent Me to heal/comfort the brokenhearted. Isaiah is speaking to some people who are about to see their nation topple. The Temple will be demolished. Everything they knew would be gone. Would God be their Helper in that day? “Does He care about what I’m going through?” The message of Isaiah is, “He will be there to bind up the wounds of your heart.” He cares. He knows what you’re going through. He will be there for you. But what HE is about to do(go to the cross) is greater than what any of us will ever go through.

But on a deeper, spiritual level, this speaks of those who are broken over their sin, grieved over what they have done to God and against God. Can God forgive me? Will He take me in when He knows what I’ve been doing, been saying, been thinking? Yes, He will.

2. He will set captives free

He has sent Me . . . proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. For the people of Judah, deportation meant living as slaves to a foreign, pagan power. You have no will, no say, no vote. You are under the mastery of another. Can anyone rescue me, break the chains of my slavery?

And spiritually, this speaks of the captivity of sin. We are slaves to our father the Devil, says God’s Word. But not any more!

3. He will restore what has been taken away

Verse 2: He has sent me . . . that the time of the Lord’s favor has come. The year of the Lord’s favor is a reference to the “Year of Jubilee.” The provision of the Law was that every 50th year, all the slaves were to be set free, all debts cancelled, and all land sold or taken for debt returned. It would be like having all your credit cards paid off, your mortgage canceled, and your debts settled.

This “Year of Jubilee” was meant to be an Old Testament picture of salvation through Christ! When a Christian is saved he is set free from his sins (his sin debt is cancelled), from the devil (to whom he had been enslaved to), and from his sinful nature, and now the Lord begins to restore to him the years that he had squandered when he was away from the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:16-20 (HCSB)16 From now on, then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way. Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer know Him in this way. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. 18 Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.”

To understand the new creation, first we must grasp that it is in fact a creation, something created by God. John 1:13 tells us that this new birth was brought about by the will of God. We did not inherit the new nature, nor did we decide to re-create ourselves anew, nor did God simply clean up our old nature; He created something entirely fresh and unique. The new creation is completely new, brought about from nothing, just as the whole universe was created by God ex nihilo, from nothing. Only the Creator could accomplish such a feat.

Second, “old things have passed away.” The “old” refers to everything that is part of our old nature—natural pride, love of sin, reliance on our works, former opinions, habits and passions. Most significantly, what we loved has passed away, especially the supreme love of self and with it self-righteousness, self-promotion, and self-justification. The new creature looks outwardly toward Christ instead of inwardly toward self. The old things died, nailed to the cross with our sin nature.

Along with the old passing away, “the new has come!” Old, dead things are replaced with new things, full of life and the glory of God. The newborn soul delights in the things of God and abhors the things of the world and the flesh. Our purposes, feelings, desires, and understandings are fresh and different. We see the world differently. The Bible seems to be a new book, and though we may have read it before, there is a beauty about it which we never saw before, and which we wonder at not having perceived. There are new feelings toward all people—a new kind of love toward family and friends, a new compassion never before felt for enemies, and a new love for all mankind.

The things we once loved, we now detest. The sin we once held onto, we now desire to put away forever. We “put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:9), and put on the “new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).

Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)

To all who mourn in Israel,

    he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,

a joyous blessing instead of mourning,

    festive praise instead of despair.

In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks

    that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

The crown of beauty for ashes is better translated as “A right thinking mind instead of a mind in despair. When the people were in despair/mourning they cover their heads in ashes and dress in sackcloth. Romans 12:2 (ESV) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

He will give us a new transformed beautiful way of thinking instead of the old nasty guilt ridden way we thought before.

Guilt is what takes place when a person realizes their failure. False guilt, which is what Satan is known to throw at us, is where the sin has been repented of and forgiven, but he still wants us to feel guilty or see ourselves associated with our pasts. We are speaking of false guilt(condemnation), because true guilt(conviction) should prompt the person to repent and turn from their sin, but false guilt is what Satan uses to rip apart the lives of countless believers around the world.

Condemnation is from the enemy and pulls you away from God, 

Conviction is from the Holy Spirit and draws you closer to God.

While guilt is seeing what you’ve done, shame is seeing yourself as a failure because of what you’ve done. Guilt is looking at the sin, shame is looking at yourself. If you allow yourself to meditate upon guilt, it will turn into shame. Guilt, if not properly dealt with, turns into a stronghold called shame.

Meditating on false guilt builds strongholds

If we continue to think about our past failures, it will wear us down spiritually, and the next thing the enemy aims at is getting the picture of ourselves distorted. He wants us to look at our past failures so much that we begin to see ourselves as failures!

Anybody who has been thinking about their past sins for long will begin to see themselves as dirty sinners and failures. The complete opposite of what they really are, providing they have repented of their sins and turned to God!

Shame is one of those things that the Bible speaks of as an imagination/human reasoning that must be cast down:

2 Corinthians 10:4-5(NLT)4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

Shame and guilt are based upon deception, which is the opposite of truth. So how are we supposed to worship God in Spirit and truth, if there are imaginations hanging around in our minds that are contrary to the truth?

John 4:24(NLT) For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”How do we defeat or overcome guilt and shame?

You need to stop thinking about your past failures. Are you ignoring them? No! You are ignoring a lie, not the sin, because the sin has been dealt with and washed away. Therefore, you are meditating on something that no longer exists! If your sins are in the depths of the ocean, then why are you still thinking about them?

Micah 7:19(NLT)Once again you will have compassion on us.

    You will trample our sins under your feet

    and throw them into the depths of the ocean!

You need to stop focusing on the problem (which has been dealt with), and begin to praise God for the solution to the problem, and think about how you have been washed clean from those failures! We can believe that the blood of Jesus can forgive us of the sins BEFORE we got saved but most of us don’t think it can cover the ones we made yesterday.
Instead of meditating on a lie, begin to meditate on the truth in God’s Word concerning your past failures.

Isaiah 1:18,“Come now, let’s settle this,”says the Lord.“Though your sins are like scarlet,I will make them as white as snow.Though they are red like crimson,I will make them as white as wool.

1 John 1:9 (NLT)9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Romans 8:1-2(NLT) So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.

Psalms 103:2-6(NLT) “Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.3 He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. 4 He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.5 He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! 6 The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly.”

When the devil says your no good remind him of 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.

Disassociate yourself from your past!

Why do you think God wanted us to be new creations? Because He did not want your past to be a part of you anymore!

Psalms 103:12(NLT)He has removed our sins as far from us

    as the east is from the west.

Now that our past failures have been forgiven, we need to leave them there and press forward towards the things God has for us:

Philippines 3:12-13(NLT)12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[d] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 

Not only are we supposed to forget our pasts, but God Himself has chosen to completely forget our sins as well!

Hebrews 8:12 (NLT) And I will forgive their wickedness,

    and I will never again remember their sins.”

When the devil says your not saved just tell him I know I’m saved because I was there when it happened.

When the devil says to worry, just remind him that God said don’t worry about anything

When the devil says be sick just tell him by his stripes I am healed

When he says be afraid remind him God said my peace I give to you.

When he says be defeated you say we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

Isaiah 60:18(ESV)Violence shall no more be heard in your land,

    devastation or destruction within your borders;

you shall call your walls Salvation,

    and your gates Praise.

God is surrounded in a city, by a wall called salvation. The way to get into that city is through the gate of praise.

We don’t gain access to his presence by needs and petitions but by praise.

2 Chronicles 20:21)HCSB)Then he consulted with the people and appointed some to sing for the LORD and some to praise the splendor of His holiness. When they went out in front of the armed forces, they kept singing: Give thanks to the LORD, for His faithful love endures forever.

It is easy to send the band in to praise AFTER you won the war. God told Israel to send in Judah first, Judah means praise. You always send praise in first no matter what you are going through, You PRAISE the Lord. Nothing that you are going through is greater than what He went through to save you. Some people need a revelation that Hell is real and He saved you from going there, if that ain’t a reason to praise then nothing is.

When you end praise and worship in first you are disarming the enemy! You are inviting God to deal with the defeated enemy.

We cannot wait for ideal circumstances to show up for us to praise God. There will never be an ideal time when everything is perfect.

It could be the recent tragedies or trials feel so heavy that it’s hard to imagine any good thing coming your way, and you can barely hear His voice, calling so tenderly, Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28-29(NLT)28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” He stands ready to restore what has been taken away, to set you free from self-imposed addictions and the slavery of sin. He longs to heal your brokenness. Come!

Feed the Sheep, Shoot the Wolves

The big idea is that some go too far, and some don’t go far enough.

Some people won’t fight for anything. Some fight for everything.

1. Christians are to feed the sheep.

We deal with different people differently, and we have to discern who goes into what category. When we’re dealing with Christians, the effort should be to love, encourage, grow them. I love my people with all my heart, and I’ve given them my life. I love and adore my people.

Jesus gave Peter a three-fold command to “feed my sheep” in John 21:15-17(HCSB)15 When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.”

“Feed My lambs,” He told him.

16 A second time He asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.”

“Shepherd My sheep,” He told him.

17 He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?” He said, “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You.”

“Feed My sheep,” Jesus said. . Each time Jesus said, “Feed my sheep,” it was in response to Peter’s three-fold declaration of love for Jesus. The setting was one of the last of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances to His disciples on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus prepared a breakfast of fish and bread for them, and then commissioned Peter with the task of feeding His sheep and tending His lambs.

Jesus is both our Good Shepherd and the Door of the sheepfold. By describing His people as lambs, He is emphasizing their nature as immature and vulnerable and in need of tending and care.

The second time, the literal meaning is “tend My sheep” (v. 16). In this exchange, Jesus was emphasizing tending the sheep in a supervisory capacity, not only feeding but ruling over them. This expresses the full scope of pastoral oversight, both in Peter’s future and in all those who would follow him in pastoral ministry. Peter follows Jesus’ example and repeats this same Greek word poimaino in his first pastoral letter to the elders of the churches of Asia Minor: 1 Peter 5:2 (ESV)“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers”

The third time, the literal translation is “pasture (tend) the sheep” (v. 17). Here Jesus combines the different Greek words to make clear the job of the shepherd of the flock of God. They are to tend, care for, and provide spiritual food for God’s people, from the youngest lambs to the full-grown sheep, in continual action to nourish and care for their souls, bringing them into the fullness of spiritual maturity. The totality of the task set before Peter, and all shepherds, is made clear by Jesus’ three-fold command and the words He chooses.

What is this food with which shepherds are to feed the flock of God? It can be no other than the Word of God. Peter declares that Christians are to desire the pure spiritual milk of the Word so that by it, we can mature in our salvation 1 Peter 2:2(HCSB)2 Like newborn infants, desire the pure spiritual milk, so that you may grow by it for your salvation,. As early as the book of Deuteronomy, we see the Lord describing His Word as food for His people who live not by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from His mouth (Deuteronomy 8:3). Jesus reiterates this thought in His temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:4). The importance of the Word of God as food for our souls cannot be over-emphasized.

Clearly, the job of the shepherds of God’s people is to provide them with the pure milk of the Word of God so they can move on to the meat and solid food of the spiritually mature (Hebrews 5:13-14(HCSB)13 Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature—for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil. Pastoral ministry should be primarily one of pastors feeding their people the Word of God. Only then can pastors declare, as Peter did, their love for the Lord Jesus.

We see this in the ministry of Jesus. He speaks to the woman at the well in a loving way. Jesus speaks like this to Zaccheus. Romans 14 shows us this as well. Paul says “It doesn’t matter what you eat or don’t eat. Love your brother.”

Ephesians 4:32 – “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” This is speaking of sheep. We’re NOT supposed to be kind to wolves or false teachers. We’re not to be kind to those speaking false doctrine. Some Christians, when you begin to critique others, quote Ephesians 4:32. We are supposed to be kind, but to one another. We are not to be kind to wolves.

The importance of being under a solid leader who preaches just the Word, one that doesn’t put opinions in the Word or taint the Word, or proof texts the Word,One that encourages you and equips you to read and understand the Word is that when the Wolves or the False teachers come in you can discern the truth.

Pastors(used that term loosely) that are too afraid to shoot the wolves or call them out are nothing more than hired hands, they are false teachers.
John 10:11-13(HSCB)11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and doesn’t own the sheep, leaves them and runs away when he sees a wolf coming. The wolf then snatches and scatters them. 13 This happens because he is a hired man and doesn’t care about the sheep.

Shoot the wolves.

Galatians 4:16(NLT)16 Have I now become your enemy because I am telling you the truth?

These are false teachers. Martin Luther says, “With the wolves you cannot be too severe. With the weak sheep you cannot be too gentle.” My point is that many of us have become worldly, thinking that you only say certain words. Worldliness is not having courage or speaking truthfully. We worship a guy who got murdered. The cross is an offense, and if we don’t speak of it in an offensive way at times, we may be false teachers.

Matthew 7:15-16(NLT)15 “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. 16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

The Pharisees were wolves but they were the devoted Biblicists.

Matthew 23:13 – (ESV)“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.”

You are so worried talking about what you should be against that you don’t win people to Jesus.

Matthew 23:16-21 – (ESV)“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it.”

These are people that have memorized the entire Pentateuch. Didn’t Jesus tell us not to call people fools? He did. We should call fools fools. That takes discernment.

Matthew 23:27-28 – (ESV)“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

You look nice, ladies,you put your makeup on, gentleman,you comb your hair,. You cover tattoos, wear suits and ties,etc.You look wonderful to everyone but God who sees the heart.

Matthew 23:29-33 (ESV)– “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?”

These are church-going folks, they teach Sunday school, they have memorized books of the Bible, they have given their lives to teaching Scriptures, they have masters degrees in theology, and he says “How can you possibly escape being sent to hell?”

Jesus shoots the wolves. Some of you get very frustrated because you want everyone to be treated like sheep, but the problem is most people are acting like wolves. We are supposed to love the sheep and shoot the wolves because we love the sheep. A wolf who cries is still a wolf.

Consider the following examples from the New Testament:

Philippians 3:2 – (ESV)“Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.”

Colossians 2:8 – (NLT)8 Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.

Be watchful for those people who tell you they have visions and speaks to angels but are not connected to a church.

Colossians 2:18 –19(NLT) 18 Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, 19 and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it.

when 2 Corinthians 11:14-15(NLT)4 But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve. tells us that “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light,” it means that Satan capitalizes on our love of the light in order to deceive. He wants us to think that he is good, truthful, loving, and powerful – all the things that God is. To portray himself as a dark, devilish being with horns would not be very appealing to the majority of people. Most people are not drawn to darkness, but to light. Therefore, Satan appears as a creature of light to draw us to himself and his lies. Satan presents sin to us as something pleasing and beautiful to be desired, and he presents false teaching as enlightening and life-changing. Millions follow his pied piper songs simply because they do not know God’s truth.

Joseph Smith – (MORMON)Angel of light called Moroni appeared to him and told him there were “more” gospels and that the bible was in error and not reliable.

Muhammed (ISLAM)said an angel of light proclaiming to be Gabriel told him he was a prophet at a young age

1 Timothy 4:1-2 (NLT)Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. 2 These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead.

1 Timothy 6:3-5 (ESV) “If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.”

2 Peter 2:1-3 (NLT) But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. 3 In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed.

We feed the sheep, we shoot the wolves. Paul does it. Look at Galatians 5.

Galatians 5:11-12 – “But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!”

The Judaizers are saying “Jesus plus circumcision.” Jesus plus anything for justification ruins everything. This is a very serious issue. The gun needs to be loaded and wolves need to be shot when they are hurting the sheep.

Paul here is fighting for the sake of the gospel and the welfare of the church.

The cross is offensive by itself. We will offend people by preaching it. What we believe is so offensive that half the pastors don’t want to talk about it. Seminaries are saying “Don’t say that; you might get hurt.” The guy who first preached it got murdered. I don’t expect anything better.

These people in Galatians 5 are saying a little circumcision makes you closer to God. Paul is saying, “Go all the way! Cut it all off if that makes you saved.” You don’t say that to sheep. You say that to wolves.

Paul goes on to say, Galatians 5:13-14(ESV)“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” 

Sometimes the most loving thing you can do is destroy someone’s self made theology before they go to hell.

People love to prooftext verses, and they don’t read the context. The guy (Paul)who said “love one another” prefaced it by saying “cut your thing off.”

Paul even names people sometimes who are false teachers. He is saying,”Don’t read their books, go to their conferences, don’t watch them on TV, etc.”

1 Timothy 1:18-20 – (ESV)18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

2 Timothy 2:16-17 (ESV) 16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,

2 Timothy 4:14-15(ESV) 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15 Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.

You shoot the wolves, and occasionally you have to name them.

We’ll talk about Martin Luther, the man who, outside of Scripture, elevated this into an art form. Some of you would judge Luther and say he was too hotheaded. Well, we got the Reformation out of it.

Luther said that he has “not been hesitant to bite my adversaries….What good does salt do if it does not bite? What good does the sword do if it will not cut?”

We are told that our speech is to be seasoned with salt

(Colossians 4:6(HSCB)6 Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.. You know what salt is? Salty.

The Papists would never quote verses. Luther called on them to quote Scripture, calling them “coarse asses.”

Hebrews 4:12(NLT)12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

Luther often debated Erasmus of Rotterdam. “Erasmus of Rotterdam is the vilest miscreant that ever disgraced the earth. Shame upon thee, accursed wretch! Whenever I pray, I pray for a curse upon Erasmus.”

Here’s what he says of his anger: “I have no better remedy than anger. If I want to write, pray, preach well, I must be angry. My entire blood supply refreshes me….My mind is made keen and all temptations depart.”

Matthew 10:34-39(HCSB) Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother,

a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.

37 The person who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; the person who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And whoever doesn’t take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. 39 Anyone finding his life will lose it, and anyone losing his life because of Me will find it.

Pastors have a very difficult job, because we have to decide who is a sheep and who is a wolf. We don’t know peoples’ heart, and sometimes we get it wrong. It can become so paralyzing that we treat everyone like a sheep and wolves take over the church.

<script>
(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i[‘GoogleAnalyticsObject’]=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){
(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),
m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)
})(window,document,’script’,’//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js’,’ga’);

ga(‘create’, ‘UA-61854036-1’, ‘auto’);
ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’);

</script>

Walls & Gates

The book of Nehemiah in the Bible serves as a great metaphor for living the spiritual life. In the book, the Temple represents our heart (where God meets with us); the city of Jerusalem represents our mind; the walls of the city represent our spiritual walls and the health of our relationship with Christ, and the gates of the city represent our eyes, ears and mouth.

Nehemiah built the city walls and installed the gates to protect the city and the temple. Walls keep bad stuff or bad people out. Gates allow good stuff and good people in. But sometimes, the gates allowed bad stuff and bad people in. It’s not what the gates were designed for, but it happened because those in charge of the gates weren’t guarding them like they should.

The Book of Nehemiah, one of the history books of the Bible, continues the story of Israel’s return from the Babylonian captivity and the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem.

 Nehemiah was a Hebrew in Persia when the word reached him that the Temple in Jerusalem was being reconstructed. He grew anxious knowing there was no wall to protect the city. Nehemiah invited God to use him to save the city. God answered his prayer by softening the heart of the Persian king, Artaxerxes, who gave not only his blessing, but also supplies to be used in the project. Nehemiah is given permission by the king to return to Jerusalem, where he is made governor.

In spite of opposition and accusations the wall was built and the enemies silenced. The people, inspired by Nehemiah, give tithes of much money, supplies and manpower to complete the wall in a remarkable 52 days, despite much opposition. This united effort is short-lived, however, because Jerusalem falls back into apostasy when Nehemiah leaves for a while. After 12 years he returned to find the walls strong but the people weak. He set about the task of teaching the people morality and he didn’t mince words. “I argued with those people, put curses on them, hit some of them and pulled out their hair” (13:25). He reestablishes true worship through prayer and by encouraging the people to revival by reading and adhering to the Word of God.

 Nehemiah led the Israelites into a respect and love for the text of Scripture. Nehemiah, because of his love for God and his desire to see God honored and glorified, led the Israelites towards the faith and obedience God had desired for them for so long. In the same way, Christians are to love and revere the truths of Scripture, commit them to memory, meditate on them day and night, and turn to them for the fulfillment of every spiritual need. Second Timothy 3:16tells us, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” If we expect to experience the spiritual revival of the Israelites (Nehemiah 8:1-8), we must begin with God’s Word.

Each of us ought to have genuine compassion for others who have spiritual or physical hurts. To feel compassion, yet do nothing to help, is unfounded biblically. At times we may have to give up our own comfort in order to minister properly to others. We must totally believe in a cause before we will give our time or money to it with the right heart. When we allow God to minister through us, even unbelievers will know it is God’s work.

Apply the metaphor to our spiritual lives. We build our spiritual walls each day as we engage in spiritual disciplines (reading the Bible, praying, obeying God…). We put a lot of work into building those walls, because we want to do our best to follow the Lord. But there’s a problem. Sometimes, we don’t do a very good job of guarding our gates (our eyes and our ears). We allow bad stuff to come into our city (our mind), and give it access to our temple (our heart). All the hard work we put into building our walls is now compromised, because we didn’t guard our gates.

Genesis 4:7(HCSB) If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

The Enemy will get into our hearts and minds any way he can. If we’ve built strong spiritual walls with no gaps in them, he’s going to attack us at our gates. We need to be as diligent about guarding our gates as we are about wall-building. So, the question is, are we?

I think we underestimate the power of media in our lives. Not just “the media,” though I’m including them. I’m talking about all the types of media that we watch or listen to in a given day or week. Music, television, magazines, newspapers, email, advertisements, gossip… We let that stuff into our brains! Are we being selective enough?

We shouldn’t be naive about this. There is programming going on. When we open our eye-gates and our ear-gates to the media around us, it gets into our brains. If enough gets in, it will make its way to our hearts. That’s okay if we are only opening our gates to God-honoring messages. Program away! It will help us walk straighter. But most of us are not guarding the gates carefully enough, and bit by bit, we are filling our minds with things that don’t honor God.

When I teach kids, I do an illustration of this with a large bowl of water and some food coloring. I tell them that the bowl of water represents their minds as God created them – pure and clean. The food coloring represents some of the bad stuff we can let into our heads – profanity, the Lord’s name used in vain, music with inappropriate themes, movies with inappropriate scenes, jokes with inappropriate punch lines, stories told from inappropriate motives…

Each time I mention a new bad thing that can get into our minds, I have one of the kids drop a little food coloring into the bowl. By the time I’m done, the pure, clean water is dark and murky. It doesn’t take much to spread all throughout the water – just like it doesn’t take much bad stuff in your gates before your thinking starts to change. “It’s not so bad.” “Everyone is doing it.” “You can’t get away from it – you just have to ignore it.” “That’s just the way things are these days.”

Our brains are incredible. They can hold more data than any computer on earth. But the bad news is that they never purge all the bad information and images we put in them. Once it’s in, it’s in for good and forever. Our only hope is that we can dilute it by allowing more good stuff in our gates. That’s hard work, and it takes time.

Nehemiah set up rules for guarding the gates of Jerusalem, and he got rid of all the riff-raff that were hanging right outside the gates. Maybe we should do the same. A few gate-keeping rules might do us some good.

These are the places where things come into our minds. It’s important that we exercise some control in this area, because what gets in begins to influence how we think and how we act over time.

There’s one more gate that I may not have mentioned; it’s your mouth gate. While the ear and eye gates control what comes into your mind, the mouth gate controls what comes out of it.

You may have heard this expression before. GIGO means “Garbage In – Garbage Out.” It mainly refers to computers (i.e., don’t blame the computer…if you put in bad programming, you’re going to get a bad result.), but it applies to our mental computers, as well. If you stock your brain full of garbage, be certain that it will find it’s way back out – usually through your mouth gate.

Men, if we allow large shipments of sexual images to enter our eye gates, it won’t be long before it affects our thinking. We will start to see women more as objects than as people. When enough shipments come in, some of that thinking will find its way across our lips; I almost guarantee it.

We’ll find ourselves making lewd jokes or engaging in sexual innuendo. We’ll talk about co-workers and neighbors in terms of how they look rather than focusing on their more meaningful qualities. We’ll find it hard to resist the double entendre when we hear someone make a harmless remark.

Women, your temptation comes through both your ear gates and your eye gates. If you listen to frequent gossip and critical assessment of those around you, it will start to color your thinking. Before long, you will find yourself evaluating people in just the same, graceless way. If you watch shows or read magazines about shallow, superficial judgments of others, you will struggle not to descend to the same behaviors in your personal life.

You’ve heard the principle, “what goes up must come down.” How about “what goes in must come out?” The more junk you allow in your ear gates and eye gates, the more likely it is to find it’s way into what you talk about and how you talk about it. Jesus was communicating this principle when he said:

Matthew 15:17-20 (HCSB)17 “Don’t you realize that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18 But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a man. 19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. 20 These are the things that defile a man, but eating with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

Be careful what you allow in through your gates. When your heart and mind are full of garbage, you won’t be able to hide it long before the neighbors start noticing what you’re putting on the curb.

THE WALKING DEAD

Have you ever seen the TV show The Walking Dead, or any zombie movie? The basic idea behind them all is that during the apocalypse at the end of the world, there is some kind of virus that reanimates dead bodies – and turns them into the living dead – and causes them to walk around looking for human brains or bodies to eat.

  • That’s very similar to the Bible’s description of our lives before Christ!
  • Their whole existence is to satisfy their hunger for the flesh, they are mindless zombies walking around looking to satisfy a never ending hunger for flesh.

1. FIRST THE BAD NEWS – WE ARE THE WALKING DEAD:

Ephesians 2:1-3(HCSB)And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens,the spirit now working in the disobedient.3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also.

Sir William Wallace in Braveheart says this “Every man dies. Not every man really lives.”What does it mean to be truly alive? Just because you’re breathing doesn’t mean you’re living life to the fullest!  God’s original intent for us is to experience abundant life John 10:10 (HCSB)10 A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance..

But because of Adam and Eve’s sin, we are all born with a sin nature.

This Scripture says we were dead in our sins, following the passions of our evil nature.

Genesis 4:7(HCSB)7 If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

Sin is bondage, being chained to something you don’t want to do.

Romans 3:23, (HCSB)23 For all have sinned and fall short of the[s] glory of God.

Romans 3:10(HCSB)10 as it is written:There is no one righteous, not even one.

Romans 7:24(HCSB) What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body?.

The Apostle Paul is saying that before Christ, we are the walking dead – bodies of death!

Living in sin is not really living. It’s not being fully alive.

I don’t know about you, but I want to live life, I want to be fully alive!

2. THE GOOD NEWS (THE GOSPEL)– GOD WANTS TO MAKE US FULLY ALIVE:

Ephesians 2:4-5(HCSB)4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us,5 made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!

  • I like when God butts in. Not because we texted him,Facebook messaged, tweeted him, we rejected Him!
  • Romans 5:8-10(HCSB) 8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! 9 Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life! 

• BUT GOD: in spite of our ignorance and rebellion, He is RICH in mercy, and His GREAT love! Think about this… When we were at our worst God reached down and saved us from His wrath!! He loved us so much that HE made a way for us.

John 3:16 (HCSB)16 “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.

Ephesians 2:4-9(HCSB)But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, 5 made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! 6 Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens, 7 so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast.

HIs Mercy fell upon us that while we were deep in sin His love was deeper, God demonstrates his love that while we were separated, Christ died for us. God demonstrates his love through one man’s obedience we’re bought back in blood.

• Even though we were the walking dead, He made us alive in Christ.

• A dead man cannot make himself alive. If there’s a body floating in the bayou, you can throw a life ring to him, but he can’t grab it! Therefore, Only God can make us alive!

Just because you’re alive in Jesus doesn’t mean everything will go well with you!

John 16:33 (HCSB)33 I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”

Apart from Jesus, we are all the Walking Dead. But because of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, we can become fully alive.

3. WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Now brothers, I want to clarify for you the gospel I proclaimed to you; you received it and have taken your stand on it. 2 You are also saved by it, if you hold to the message I proclaimed to you—unless you believed for no purpose. 3 For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,4 that He was buried,that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

• Apart from the resurrection of Jesus there is no Christianity.

• Jesus was a great teacher, but Christianity is not based on his teachings.

• Jesus was a great miracle worker, and Christianity is not based upon his miracles.

• All of those are incredibly important and teach us a great deal about Jesus.

• The core of Christianity is the life, death, burial, resurrection of Jesus Christ.

THE STORY OF THE RESURRECTION:

Matthew 28:1-9(HCSB)After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to view the tomb. 2 Suddenly there was a violent earthquake, because an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and approached the tomb. He rolled back the stone and was sitting on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his robe was as white as snow. 4 The guards were so shaken from fear of him that they became like dead men.

5 But the angel told the women, “Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here! For He has been resurrected, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell His disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead. In fact, He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there.’ Listen, I have told you.”

8 So, departing quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, they ran to tell His disciples the news. 9 Just then Jesus met them and said, “Good morning!” They came up, took hold of His feet, and worshiped Him. 

• Through His resurrection from the dead, Jesus proved that He had power over death.

• His resurrection also proved that He is God, and that He is who He said He is.

• The Good News is that because of Christ’s resurrection, we too can become fully alive!

HOW DO WE COME ALIVE IN CHRIST?

It is though Jesus and only through Jesus.

John 14:6(HCSB)6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

John 11:25-26(HCSB)25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. 26 Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die—ever. Do you believe this?”

• Do you believe this? Do you know Jesus in the power of His resurrection?

• The resurrection reminds us that no matter how dark the night, day always comes!

• It is the promise of new life, dead to sin and ALIVE in Christ, the hope of life everlasting!

• It’s a day to celebrate – though sorrow may last for the night, joy comes in the morning!

• Do YOU know Jesus today in the power of His resurrection?

• Too many people are stuck on Good Friday – in some churches, He’s still on the Cross!

  • Romans 8:11(HCSB)11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you.. This is resurrection power!

Why is the resurrection of Jesus Christ important to salvation? It demonstrated that God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. It proves that God has the power to raise us from the dead. It guarantees that those who believe in Christ will not remain the walking dead, but will be resurrected unto eternal life. Eternal life starts at the moment of Salvation!!

• Jesus is alive! God wants to take our old and broken lives and make us ALIVE!

• Everyone is a sinner,Have you given your life to Jesus and repented of your sins? He died on the Cross to pay the price for your sins to be forgiven.

• Are you depressed? He wants to give you joy unspeakable and full of glory!

• Are you sick? He will heal your sicknesses and diseases!

• Jesus is the Savior, Healer, Deliverer, Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God!

• The Scriptures say Come to Jesus all you weary and heavy burdened and find rest for your souls!