Ephesians Pt10 Jesus gives the gifts

Ephesians 4:7-16(HCSB)7 Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of the Messiah’s gift. 8 For it says: When He ascended on high, He took prisoners into captivity; He gave gifts to people. 9 But what does “He ascended” mean except that He descended to the lower parts of the earth? 10 The One who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. 11 And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. 14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. 15 But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ. 16 From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.

Have you ever been “church shopping,” trying to find the perfect church for your family? People look for programs that will help them and their children grow in the faith. This is backwards thinking. The Church is not about us, it is about Jesus Christ. If the Church is a Temple, a “dwelling place for God in the Spirit”, then the Church is God-centered, not John and Mary Doe-centered. We should be approaching the Church as Christ’s Arms, Hands, and Fingers in the world, not to point out where we need some scratching and massaging, but to ask: How can I help? Where can I serve? How can I make this local manifestation of the Temple of God a more pleasing place for God to dwell?

In his book The Empty Church, historian Thomas C. Reeves says: “Christianity in modern America . . . tends to be easy, upbeat, convenient, and compatible. It does not require self-sacrifice, discipline, humility, an otherworldly outlook, a zeal for souls, a fear as well as love of God. There is little guilt and no punishment, and the payoff in heaven is virtually certain. What we now have might best be labeled ‘Consumer Christianity.’ The cost is low and customer satisfaction seems guaranteed.”

There are two seas in Israel. Both are fed by the same source of life, the Jordan River. The Sea of Galilee is full of life. The area around the Galilee supports an abundance of wildlife.  In contrast, the Dead Sea is lifeless. Nothing lives in the sea and few living organisms are found around the Dead Sea.

So, what is the difference? Why is one full of life and the other dead? If you look at the map, the answer is quite obvious. One sea gives; the other only consumes. The Sea of Galilee takes what it needs from the Jordan River, multiplies the gifts and then passes the water on downstream. The Dead Sea takes water and hoards the water, never passing any water on. The Dead Sea only consumes. The water in the Dead Sea evaporates, leaving behind salt, thus making the Sea lifeless.

How about you? Our source of life is Jesus Christ. His love flows in us and replenishes us. He restores us. He redeems us. He is our Savior. He is our everything. Are you hoarding His love or passing that love on because of your gratitude to Christ? Are you replenishing others around you or just draining them? How about in church? Are you sitting on the same pew weekend in and weekend out just being a consumer? Is it time to start producing more for the Cause of Christ instead of only consuming?

Consumer Christianity is KILLING US.

You understand consumerism. America is made up of consumers. Companies make stuff and we consume it. That’s the cycle of economics which is based upon the law of supply and demand. Demand drives the process. And who does the demanding? Consumers…also us…people. Consumerism is predicated upon our choice to purchase things based on our preferences and needs. If we have a family of six and we need a vehicle which can carry all of us together – Mini van here we come. Healthy consumerism drives a healthy economy and the freedom to choose is at the core of this. That’s why capitalism thrives in countries where the people are free to make their own choices. Consumerism, however, does not make for a healthy church.

What happened? You became a consumer and didn’t realize it. Trained by a culture that worships at the altar of “my needs and wants” you actually fell into the same trap and applied it to your relationship with Jesus and His church. You chose a church based on how it would meet your needs rather than how the Lord wanted you to fit in the body. The reason this is so deadly is that it’s exactly opposite of Jesus’ dream for His Church. God is the one who sets members in the body as He wills…that’s not our prerogative.
1 Corinthians 12:18(HCSB)18 But now God has placed each one of the parts in one body just as He wanted. The church was never to be an inward focused people looking to meet their own needs. We were to always be an upward focused people looking to love God and others extravagantly.

When we approach choosing a church the same way we approach where to buy our groceries we step into a consumer mindset which we carry with us during our entire lifetime in the church. We will then complain when the “goods and services” offered are not up to our liking. We will look to “management” to make changes to satisfy our needs. And if our needs are not met, we will vote with our feet, because everybody knows, “the customer is always right.” Is this Jesus’ dream for His church?

“Each one of us” refers to those to whom Paul wrote Ephesians 2:8-9(HCSB)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. If you have not been rescued from God’s judgment (that’s what saved means) by God’s undeserved favor (grace) through faith in Christ’s death as your substitute, then nothing else that I am going to say in this message applies to you. You must receive God’s gracious gift of eternal life before you receive His gracious spiritual gift that enables you to serve Him. If you think that you can earn salvation by serving God, you do not understand the gospel.

In the ancient world, when conquering generals returned home they would bring a procession of prisoners of war as a sign of their victory, and in celebration, give gifts to the populace. Paul quotes Psalms 68 and offers us this image — of the conquering Christ bestowing gifts upon his citizens, the Church. Psalm 68:18(HCSB)You ascended to the heights, taking away captives; You received gifts from people,even from the rebellious, so that the Lord God might live there. He has vanquished his enemies in the “lower, earthly regions” and has now ascended to the heavenly realms where his citizens are enthroned alongside him at the right hand of God.

The poetic picture is that the Lord’s people were in trouble and the Lord came down and delivered them. Then He ascended again into heaven as the victorious warrior. Paul applies this directly to Christ. Second, the verse pictures Christ ascending into heaven after securing victory over His enemies. This includes Satan and his evil hosts, as Christ defeated them at the cross. But it may also allude to all of us who were formerly his enemies, but who were brought into willing submission at the cross. We are now His willing captives, ready to obey the One that we formerly hated. Third, after His ascension, Jesus gave gifts to His church. The picture is of a victorious warrior, receiving spoil after his victory and then distributing that spoil as gifts to his people.

In 1 Corinthians chapter 12 Paul gives two lists of spiritual gifts.
1 Corinthians 12:8-10(HCSB) 8 to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit, to another, a message of knowledge by the same Spirit, 9 to another, faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another, the performing of miracles, to another, prophecy, to another, distinguishing between spirits, to another, different kinds of languages, to another, interpretation of languages.

1 Corinthians 12:28-30(HCSB)28 And God has placed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, next miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, managing, various kinds of languages. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all do miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in other languages? Do all interpret? As in Ephesians 4:4-6, he follows a trinitarian outline.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7(HCSB)4 Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are different activities, but the same God activates each gift in each person. 7 A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial:

1 Corinthians 12:11(HCSB), 11 But one and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as He wills. Twice he states that each one has a gift. Each Christian has a gift.

Besides Ephesians 4, the other text is 1 Peter 4:10-11(HCSB), which groups all of the gifts under the general headings of serving gifts and speaking gifts: 10 Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, it should be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, it should be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. Note, again, each one.

So if you have received God’s gracious gift of salvation, you have also received His gracious spiritual gift to use for His glory. It is for His glory and His glory alone that we receive any gift.

UNDERSTAND THIS: CHRIST DISTRIBUTES THESE GIFTS ACCORDING TO HIS SOVEREIGN PURPOSE.

Paul emphasizes this each time he speaks about spiritual gifts.
Romans 12:4-8(HCSB)4 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, 5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. 6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy, use it according to the standard of one’s faith; 7 if service, in service; if teaching, in teaching; 8 if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness. Here he mentioned that God has given each these gifts and they differ according to the grace that God has given to us. In 1 Corinthians 12:11, he attributes the distribution of the various gifts to the sovereignty of the Spirit. Here (Ephesians 4:7), it is, “according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”

We cannot be jealous when someone has a gift we do not have. We have to bow before His sovereignty and accept how He has gifted us.

SINCE CHRIST GAVE THESE GIFTS, WE MUST USE THEM AS HE DIRECTS.

He is the sovereign Lord who distributes gifts according to His purpose. Thus we are accountable to Him to use the gifts that He has given as He directs.

Some are given leadership gifts to equip the rest of the saints for ministry. But every Christian is “in the ministry” in the sense that every Christian has a spiritual gift and will give an account to God for how he used it. Also, there is no place for grumbling when you serve the Lord. The very fact that you, a former rebel, are serving the Lord Jesus Christ, is pure grace! Think of where you could be, without hope and without God in this world, living for vain pleasures and headed toward eternal punishment. When you’re tempted to quit serving the Lord because someone hurt your feelings or didn’t appreciate you as much as he should have, stop and think about the undeserved privilege of serving Him! But, serving Christ, especially if we should be persecuted as Paul was, only makes sense if Christ is who He claimed to be.

Apostle

“Apostle,” the Greek noun apostolos, comes from the verb apostello, “to send away to achieve an objective.” The noun means “delegate, envoy, messenger.”

Are there apostles today? Some deny that there are. Others see a present-day apostolic role. As far as we are concerned the original apostles are no more but the office of apostle is usually found in people who plant churches.

Prophet

If apostles seem a bit obscure to twenty-first century minds, so do prophets. “Prophet” is the Greek noun prophetes is used of “a person inspired to proclaim or reveal divine will or purpose. Every time a person preaches he is doing the work of a prophet, proclaiming the Word of God.

Evangelist

“Evangelist,” the Greek noun euangelistes, comes from the noun euangelizo, “bring good news, announce good news.” The noun means “proclaimer of the gospel, evangelist.” Local congregations today need men and women as gifted evangelists who bring the gospel to people so their hearts can be changed and have faith in Christ. Local church evangelists are also important because they can instruct other church members how to effectively share their faith.

Pastor

“Pastor” is the Greek noun poimen, “shepherd, one who serves as guardian or leader.” The idea of shepherd as leader was present in the ancient orient. The king is referred to as shepherd in documents and inscriptions in Sumeria and Egypt. Dr. William Yount says this: What is the role of the pastor? Some say the pastor is primarily a prophet, proclaiming the Word of God. Others say a shepherd, nurturing and protecting  the church. Still others  say a leader, managing and administrating the work of the church. Each has its importance, but church leaders must balance all three if congregations are to grow in a healthy way. Yet underlying all these roles is the fundamental calling of the pastor: to “equip the saints for works of service.” that is, to teach.

Teacher

“Teacher” is the Greek noun didaskalos, “teacher.” The Hebrew title “rabbi,” sometimes used to address Jesus, uses this word. The Great Commission includes this vital teaching function — “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:20). Teaching was “the ministry of the Word” (Luke 1:2; Acts 6:4).

A good case can be made for considering pastors and teachers as two sides of the same ministry. Too many of our people are biblically illiterate. Too many of our children don’t really know the stories and message of the Bible that will bring them to salvation.Leaders who teach are so important to the work of the local church.

The church is sick. This results from what Dallas Willard calls the “Great Omission from the Great Commission.” The third command of the Great Commission “teaching them all things what­ soever I have commanded you” has been omitted from serious application by the modern church. There are grand plans for evangelization and stewardship but rarely is anything but lip service paid  to discipleship. Why because disciple ship is messy. Discipleship is what brings people from spiritual immaturity to spiritual maturity.

Ephesians 4:14(HCSB) Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit.
One positive result from maturity in a believer is not being tricked by false teaching. Those who are “no longer children” can stand against lies and deceit. The goal is to avoid being “carried about by every wind of doctrine.” False teaching changes regularly. Those who are immature can easily be fooled into thinking false teaching is accurate.

This can take place in two ways. First, believers can be deceived by “human cunning.” This is the power of human persuasion; a smooth talker can wield influence over others. Second, a person can be deceived by “craftiness in deceitful schemes.” These are evil plans that may appear good but actually promote something false.

Pastors are to be “able to teach” (1 Timothy 3:2). Jesus is the Model. Pastor Washburn wrote, It is enormously significant that the only time the term pastor is used to describe the spiritual gifts given to undershepherds of the churches, it is directly connected to the gift of teaching: pastors and teachers.

David Hixon reflected his understanding of Paul when he remarked  that the

…pastor’s primary role according to Eph­esians 4 is not to be preacher, or an evange­list, or a counselor. His primary responsibility is to equip or to prepare God’s people to do the work. The church needs to grow and mature through the ministry of the laity and not primarily through,the works of the paid staff.

Hixon wrote, “Many of our people are seduced by false teachers because we, as pastors, have not done our job in growing them up in Christ Jesus. Discipleship is the key to avoiding an infantile ministry.”

Suhling remarked that

…the goal of the teacher is spiritual  maturity in the believer. If this is not achieved, then the result will be that the believer will be like one who is foolish and inexperienced when it comes to doctrine and practice. Indeed, the immature believer will be like a cork tossed about on rough water or a weathervane at the mercy of a hard uncer­tain wind when it comes to believing the right teaching.

Washburn summarized Paul’s thrust this way:

[There is a] popular new approach to church­manship that strives to appeal to the baby­ boomer church-shoppers by offering the most exciting and joyous worship product in the community market. Laboring to tickle the fancy of the worship experience consumer may fill a pastor’s church with warm bodies, but it does little to foster commitment, involvement, and true discipleship.

So what alternative did Paul offer? What is the option? Ephesians 4:15(HCSB) But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ. Here is the kicker. Here is the definitive word from Paul on church growth: to “grow up into Him.” Leonard Griffith explained the difference between growing and growing up like this:

Academic learning leads to knowledge, but not necessarily to maturity. Some adults with high IQs remain psychologically children. This is the difference between “growing” and “growing up.” Is the church seeking only to grow or is it growing up?

Churches grow up in Christ by “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15a). The truth Paul referred to is the gospel, but “speaking the truth” involves much more than saying religious words. Believers cannot speak the truth until they know the truth experientially ( epignosis ). Believers cannot speak the truth effectively until they exercise it in daily living, solving problems biblically.

Dr. Al Mohler  – As a theologian, the pastor must be known for what he teaches, as well as for what he knows, affirms and believes. The health of the church depends upon pastors who infuse their congregations with deep biblical and theological conviction. The means of this transfer of conviction is the preaching of the Word of God.

We will be hard pressed to define any activity as being more inherently theological than the preaching of God’s Word. The ministry of preaching is an exercise in the theological exposition of Scripture. Congregations that are fed nothing more than ambiguous “principles” supposedly drawn from God’s Word are doomed to spiritual immaturity — which will become visible in compromise, complacency and a host of other spiritual ills.

Why else would the Apostle Paul command Timothy to preach the Word in such solemn and serious terms: 2 Timothy 4:1-2(HCSB) I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and because of His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.

Pastors deal with people in different ways and most people will not understand this. They will expect us to love everyone the same. Calling out false teaching is love for the flock. Showing the congregation what heretics and false teachers sound like is one of the most loving things you can do. It keeps them from falling into damnable heresies. Preaching sound doctrine is sort of a vaccine to bad doctrine. John MacArthur says “One of the greatest problems with the modern day church is  lack of biblical discernment. The church basically suffers from spiritual AIDS. It could die of a thousand heresies because its immune system is so totally deficient”John MacArthur(2015 Ligonier Fall Conference)
Preaching and Teaching sound doctrine builds up the immune system of the church. It shows the congregation the truth so when the false comes they know the difference. Waiting for the false to come then showing the truth is not correct nor effective. It is like trying to get a flu shot after you have the flu.

Ephesians 4:16(HCSB) From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.

Only when the whole church, the whole body is exercising their gifts can the church function as it is supposed to. This can only be done by leadership and teaching the truth of the Word. This comes by the way of sound doctrine and pastors, rebuking, correcting and encouraging the flock. He must protect the flock from false teaching and expose it for what it is.

Advertisements

Doctrine and what we believe

What is doctrine? In its basic sense, doctrine is any sort of teaching. The Bible, for example, talks about the teachings of men (Mark 7:7–8(ESV)7 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”, the teachings of demons (1 Timothy 4:1-3(ESV)Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. and the teachings of God (John 6:45(ESV)45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—;

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12(ESV)9 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, 10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, 11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. Here, we are concerned with divine teaching, the teaching of God. According to one definition, doctrine is teaching from God about God that directs us to the glory of God. The word translated “doctrine” means “instruction, especially as it applies to lifestyle application.” In other words, doctrine is teaching imparted by an authoritative source. In the Bible, the word always refers to spiritually related fields of study. The Bible says of itself that it is 2 Timothy 3:16-17(ESV)16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.. We are to be careful about what we believe and present as truth. 1 Timothy 4:16(ESV) Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Biblical doctrine helps us understand the will of God for our lives. Biblical doctrine teaches us the nature and the character of God, John 4:24(ESV)24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”, the path of salvation through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9(ESV)8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Romans 10:9–10(ESV)9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved., instruction for the church (1 Corinthians 14:26(ESV)26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.;

Titus 2:1–10(ESV)But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. 6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. 9 Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior., and God’s standard of holiness for our lives 1 Peter 1:14–16(ESV)14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

1 Corinthians 6:18–20(ESV)18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. When we accept the Bible as God’s Word to us (2 Peter 1:20–21(ESV)20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.),(There is only one interpretation of scripture, not many) we have a solid foundation for our doctrine. There can be disagreement within the body of Christ over secondary points of doctrine, such as eschatology, church organization, or the style of music. But truly biblical doctrine is that which incorporates the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) and draws conclusions based on that which seems most closely aligned with the character of our unchanging God.

Those “untaught” in sound doctrine are most prone to twisting the Scriptures “to their own destruction” 2 Peter 3:16(ESV)16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

The Object of Sound Doctrine

Sound doctrine is important because what we believe affects what we do. Behavior is an extension of theology, and there is a direct correlation between what we think and how we act. For example, two people stand on top of a bridge; one believes he can fly, and the other believes he cannot fly. Their next actions will be quite different. In the same way, a man who believes that there is no such thing as right and wrong will naturally behave differently from a man who believes in well-defined moral standards. In one of the Bible’s lists of sins, things like rebellion, murder, lying, and slave trading are mentioned. The list concludes with “whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:9-10(ESV)9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,. In other words, true teaching promotes righteousness; sin flourishes where “the sound doctrine” is opposed.

Sound doctrine is important because we must ascertain truth in a world of falsehood. 1 John 4:1(ESV)Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. There are tares among the wheat and wolves among the flock (Matthew 13:24-25(ESV)24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.;

Acts 20:28-30(ESV)28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. The best way to distinguish truth from falsehood is to know what the truth is. They teach bankers to identify counterfeit bills by making them handle real money, that way when the fake shows up it is easily identifiable. Therefore it is imperative to your walk that you know the truth from the beginning.

Sound doctrine is important because the end of sound doctrine is life.
1 Timothy 4:16(ESV)16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. Conversely, the end of unsound doctrine is destruction. Jude 1:4(ESV)4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Changing God’s message of grace is a “godless” thing to do, and the condemnation for such a deed is severe. Preaching another gospel (“which is really no gospel at all”) carries an anathema:(a curse,damnation) Galatians 1:6-9(ESV)6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

Sound doctrine is important because it encourages believers. A love of God’s Word brings “great peace” (Psalm 119:165(ESV) Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble., and those “who proclaim peace . . . who proclaim salvation” are truly “beautiful”
Isaiah 52:7(ESV)How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

A pastor has a mandate from scripture to hold to sound doctrine and rebuke those who contradict it.  Titus 1:9(ESV)9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. Therefore I do not care if you think a Pastor should not be “arguing in a public forum such as Facebook, because the bible tells us to rebuke those who contradict sound doctrine.

God loves us; and in His goodness He has given us the good gift of doctrine that we might learn of Him and of His gospel, and that we might please Him in our walk. Doctrine is the teaching of our heavenly Father, revealed in Jesus Christ, and transmitted to us by the Holy Spirit in Holy Scripture, and it is to be received, confessed, and followed in the church, to the glory of God’s name.

What we hold to as doctrine; the five solas, doctrines of grace and the Baptist Faith and Message, also the 2nd London Baptist Confessional(1689).
The Five Solas are five Latin phrases (or slogans) that emerged from the Protestant Reformation intended to summarize the Reformers’ basic theological principles in contrast to certain teachings of the Roman Catholic Church of the day. “Sola” is Latin meaning “alone” or “only” and the corresponding phrases are:

•Sola Fide, by faith alone.

•Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone.

•Solus Christus, through Christ alone.

•Sola Gratia, by grace alone.

•Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone.

Faith alone (Sola Fide)

Justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. In justification Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God’s perfect justice. Our justification does not rest on any merit to be found in us, nor upon the grounds of an infusion of Christ’s righteousness in us, nor that an institution claiming to be a church that denies or condemns sola fide can be recognized as a legitimate church.

Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura)

The inerrant Scripture (the Bible) is the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured. It is denied that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian’s conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.

Christ alone (Solus Christus)

Our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father. It is denied that the gospel is preached if Christ’s substitutionary work is not declared and faith in Christ and his work is not solicited.

Grace alone (Sola Gratia)

In salvation we are rescued from God’s wrath by his grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life. It is denied that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques or strategies by themselves cannot accomplish this transformation. Faith is not produced by our unregenerated human nature.

Glory to God alone (Soli Deo Gloria)

It is affirmed that because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God’s glory and that we must glorify him always. We must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone. It is denied that we can properly glorify God if our worship is confused with entertainment, if we neglect either Law or Gospel in our preaching, or if self-improvement, self-esteem or self- fulfillment are allowed to become alternatives to the gospel.

We adhere to a very high view of scripture and sees to derive our theological formulations based solely on God’s word. We focus on God’s sovereignty, stating that God is able and willing by virtue of his omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, to do whatever He desires with His creation. We also maintain that within the Bible are the following teachings: That God, by His sovereign grace predestines people into salvation; that Jesus died only for those predestined; that God regenerates the individual where he is then able and wants to choose God; and that it is impossible for those who are redeemed to lose their salvation.

Sin has affected all parts of man. The heart, emotions, will, mind, and body are all affected by sin. We are completely sinful. We are not as sinful as we could be, but we are completely affected by sin. The doctrine of Total Depravity is derived from scriptures that reveal human character: Man’s heart is evil and sick. Man is a slave of sin. He does not seek for God. He cannot understand spiritual things. He is at enmity with God. And, is by nature a child of wrath.

God does not base His election on anything He sees in the individual. He chooses the elect according to the kind intention of His will without any consideration of merit within the individual. Nor does God look into the future to see who would pick Him.

Jesus died only for the elect. Though Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient for all, it was not efficacious for all. Jesus only bore the sins of the elect.otherwise His death would have atoned for the sins of the whole world and no one would go to hell.

When God calls his elect into salvation, they cannot resist. God offers to all people the gospel message. This is called the external call. But to the elect, God extends an internal call and it cannot be resisted. This call is by the Holy Spirit who works in the hearts and minds of the elect to bring them to repentance and regeneration whereby they willingly and freely come to God.
You cannot lose your salvation. Because the Father has elected, the Son has redeemed, and the Holy Spirit has applied salvation, those thus saved are eternally secure. They are eternally secure in Christ.

Ephesians 1:3-10(ESV)Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us[b] for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

Ephesians 2:1-10(ESV)And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b] But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Romans 5:7-8 – For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:12,19 – sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned… by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners

John 10:3-4(ESV)3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.

John 10:25-29(ESV)25 “I did tell you and you don’t believe,” Jesus answered them. “The works that I do in My Father’s name testify about Me. 26 But you don’t believe because you are not My sheep. 27 My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

John 6:37,44,65(ESV)37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

John 3:16-20(ESV)16 “For God so loved the world,[i] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

Romans 3:10-12 (ESV)10 as it is written:“None is righteous, no, not one;11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;no one does good, not even one.”

1.  We believe in the one true and living God, in three Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, who is invisible, personal, omnipresent, eternal, dependent on none, unchanging, truthful, trustworthy, almighty, sovereign, omniscient, righteous, holy, good, loving, merciful, long-suffering and gracious.

2.  We believe that Almighty God has revealed all that is necessary to life and salvation in the sixty six books of Holy Scripture which are the Word of God.   All Scripture was given by inspiration of God, is infallible and inerrant, and is the final arbiter in all disputes. Its authority is derived from its Author and not from the opinions of men.

3. We believe that God made our first father Adam perfect, holy and upright.   He was appointed representative and head of the human race thereby exposing all his offspring to the effects of his obedience or disobedience to God’s commands.

4.  We believe that Adam fell from his original righteousness into sin and brought upon himself and all his offspring death, condemnation and sinnership.

5.  We believe it is utterly beyond the power of fallen man to love God, to keep his laws, to understand the gospel, to repent of sin or trust in Christ.

6. We believe that God, before the foundation of the world, for his own glory did elect an innumerable host of men and women to eternal life as an act of free and sovereign grace.   This election was in no way dependent upon his foresight of human faith, decision, works or merit.

7.  We believe that God sent his Son into the world, conceived of the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, unchangeably sinless, both God and man, born under the Law, to live a perfect life of righteousness, on behalf of his elect people.

8. We believe that God’s Son died at Calvary to effect propitiation, reconciliation, redemption and atonement for his elect people. God bore testimony to his acceptance of his Son’s work by raising him from the dead.

9. We believe that God’s Son ascended to the right hand of his Father and is enthroned in glory, where he intercedes on behalf of his people and rules over all things for their sake.

10. We believe that God the Son has poured out the Holy Spirit to work alongside the preached Word. The Spirit of God regenerates the elect sinner and draws him irresistibly to faith in Christ the Saviour.

11. We believe the elect, who are called by grace, are justified in the sight of God on account of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ which is received by faith alone.

12.  We believe that such as are regenerated, called and justified shall persevere in holiness and never fall away.

13. We believe that baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper are gospel ordinances belonging only to regenerated believers.

14. We believe that the local church is under the authority of Christ alone.The communion of saints, however, requires recognition of and fellowship with other churches.

15. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ shall come again to raise the dead, both righteous and unrighteous, and that the righteous shall enjoy everlasting life and the wicked endure everlasting punishment.

For more detailed exposition on our beliefs you can look it up in the Baptist Faith and Message.

Purpose of the Church Pt7 Tithe and Offerings

Acts 2:45(ESV) And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.

1 John 3:16-18(ESV)16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Ezekiel 16:49-50(ESV) Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.

James 2:14-17 (ESV)What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Seven Biblical Reasons to Tithe

1. Honoring an Old Testament Principle

Tithing honors an Old Testament principle of how God provided for the ministers he called and the expenses of their ministry.

You recall that in the Old Testament God designated one of the twelve tribes of Israel, the tribe of Levi, to be the tribe that would have the ministry of the tabernacle and the temple. So instead of giving them a portion of the land, God said that these vocational ministers of the tabernacle should live off the tithes of the other eleven tribes. In Numbers 18:20–21(ESV) God said to Aaron,

You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor own any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the sons of Israel. And to the sons of Levi, behold, I have given all the tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they perform, the service of the tent of meeting.

When we tithe today, we honor a principle found here. Some of God’s people are called not to do moneymaking business in the ordinary ways. They are called to be pastors and ministers and missionaries and ministry assistants, and so on. The rest of God’s people (call them “lay ministers”) are to be gainfully employed and support the “vocational ministers”—and the costs of that ministry. In the Old Testament God laid down that this be done by tithe.

If the question is raised whether Jesus, in the New Testament, continued this principle for the sake of his church, one of the strongest arguments that he did is Matthew 23:23(ESV) where he says,

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.

So Jesus endorses tithing: don’t neglect it. It is not as essential as justice love and mercy; but it is to be done.

Yet one might say that he is only talking to Jews in an essentially Old Testament setting. Maybe so. But there is another pointer that the principle was preserved in the early church. In 1 Corinthians 9:13–14(ESV) Paul says,

Do you not know that those who perform sacred services [in the temple] eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar [of sacrifice in the temple] have their share with the altar?

In other words he reminds the church that in the Old Testament economy there was this system in which the Levites who worked in the temple lived off the tithes brought to the temple. Then he says in verse 14:

So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.

A church should definitely provide for the financial needs of its pastor(s) and any other full-time ministers. First Corinthians 9:14 gives the church clear instruction: “The Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.” We pay people to prepare and serve our physical food; shouldn’t we also be willing to pay those who see to our spiritual food? And, honestly, which is more important—physical food or spiritual food—based on Matthew 4:4?

1 Timothy 5:17–18(ESV)“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and ‘The worker deserves his wages.’” There are several points made in this passage. Church elders should be honored, and this honor includes wages. Those elders who serve the church well—especially teachers and preachers—should receive double honor. They have earned it. It would be cruel to work an ox while denying it grain, and we should take care not to treat our pastors cruelly. Let them share in the material blessings of the congregation they serve. Are not pastors worth more than many oxen?

There is nothing spiritual about making a pastor “suffer for the Lord.” Yes, a pastor has been divinely called to his ministry, but it does not follow that a congregation should say, “Let God take care of him.” God says the local church is responsible to take care of him and his family. Caring for the spiritual needs of a congregation is an important work—probably more important than other things we normally spend money on, such as meeting our physical needs, maintaining our vehicles, and entertaining ourselves.
1 Corinthians 9:7.

It is true that the apostle Paul supported himself as he ministered in Corinth (1 Corinthians 9:12). He drew no salary from the Corinthians. But he made it clear that he did this as a voluntary sacrifice on their behalf, “that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel” (verse 18). Paul did take wages from other churches (2 Corinthians 11:8). His arrangement in Corinth was the exception, not the rule.

The least Paul is saying is that those who spend their lives in the service of the Word of God should be supported by the rest of the Christians. But since he draws attention to the way it was done in the Old Testament as the model, it seems likely that tithing would have been the early Christian guideline, if not mandate.

In other words when we tithe today, we honor a principle and plan of God that sustained the ministry in the Old Testament and probably sustained the New Testament ministry as well.

2. Honoring the Creator as Owner of All

When we release a tenth of our income and give it over to the ministry and mission of Christ in the world, we honor the Creator rights of God who owns everything, including all our income.

One objection to thinking of a tenth of our income as especially belonging to God is that ALL our money belongs to God. Psalm 24:1(ESV)The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.

That is absolutely true. What you do with every cent says something about your view of God and what he means to you. And what your values are in this age. And what you think your few years on earth should be spent for. That’s true.

But God is wise and knows us deeply. He knows that there is something wrong with the husband who answers his wife’s complaint that he doesn’t give her any time by saying, “What do you mean, I don’t give you my time? ALL my time is yours. I work all day long for you and the children.” That has a very hollow ring to it if he doesn’t give her any “especially time.” Giving her some evenings together and some dates does not deny that all his time is for her, it proves it. This is why God declares one day in seven especially God’s. They are all his, and making one special proves it.

And this is the way it is with our money and God. Giving God a tenth of our income does not deny that all our money is God’s, it proves that we believe it. Tithing is like a constant offering of the first fruits of the whole thing. The tenth is yours, O, Lord, in a special way, because all of it is yours in an ordinary way.

I believe the tithe should be the first check we write after the income deposit is made in the bank. And when you write it, you put a seal over what’s left: GOD’S. The tithe reminds us of that, and proves that we really believe it.

3. The Antidote to Covetousness

Giving away a tenth of our income to the mission and ministry of Christ is an antidote to covetousness.

The last of the Ten Commandments says: “Thou shalt not covet.” Jesus said in Luke 12:15(ESV) “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of covetousness [or greed].” And in Colossians 3:5(ESV)5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Paul calls covetousness “idolatry.” Wanting things too much is incredibly dangerous for your soul. Hebrews 13:5(ESV) says,

Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have.

Every time you give a tithe, you must deal with the desire for what you might have bought for yourself. To give is not to buy. And that weekly crisis is utterly important to maintain. We must fight covetousness almost every day. And God has appointed an antidote: giving. He tests us again and again: what do we desire most—the advancement of his name or 10% more security and comfort and fun? As Jesus says, Matthew 6:21(ESV)21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Tithing is one of God’s great antidotes to covetousness.

4. Governing Ever-Expanding Spending

The fourth reason is almost the same as the last one, but not quite. When we go to the tithe and beyond, as I am suggesting we should, it puts a governor on ever-expanding spending.

There is an almost infallible human rule: spending expands to fill the income. This is why you could have a book a few years ago entitled Getting By on $100,000 a Year. If you make more, you buy more, and the things you buy have to be stored and repaired and insured. Spending begets spending. If you have less at your disposal, you spend less. And most of the time you don’t even think about it. I spend absolutely no time thinking about world cruises and $30,000 cars. But if I made two or three hundred thousand dollars a year, pretty soon things like that wouldn’t seem any more strange to me than all the stuff I buy now—because I could afford it.

If this is true—if expenses almost inevitably expand to fill the income—how shall we restrain ourselves from accumulating more and more stuff and more and more expensive stuff, and looking to the world like we have all the same values they do in our little earthly prelude to eternity? The answer is that as our income grows, we move beyond the tithe. We resolve to give a greater and greater percentage of our income to advance the kingdom. This puts the brakes on our natural impulse toward luxury.

2 Corinthians 9:6–14(ESV) 6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written,“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;his righteousness endures forever.” 10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you.

Two Kinds of Giving

Notice first that in verses 5, 6, and 7 two kinds of giving are contrasted.

▪Verse 5: “So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren to go on to you before me, and arrange in advance for this gift you have promised, so that it may be ready not as an exaction but as a willing gift.” (Literally: “not as covetousness but as blessing.”)

▪Verse 6: “The point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (Don’t give sparingly; give bountifully, generously.)

▪Verse 7: “Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (Don’t give begrudgingly; give freely and cheerfully.)

Three descriptions of how not to give, and three descriptions of how to give:

▪Verse 5, NOT as an exaction or covetously; verse 6, NOT sparingly; verse 7, NOT reluctantly or begrudgingly.

▪BUT, verse 5, as a willing gift; verse 6, bountifully; verse 7, cheerfully.

How Not to Give

Let’s think for a moment about bad giving. In each of these three descriptions the essence of what’s wrong is the desire to hold back. There is giving! But it’s coming from a heart that wants to hold back.

Take the word “sparingly,” for example, in verse 6. If I say, “Spare my life!” I mean, let me keep it; don’t take it from me. If I say, “Spare no effort!” I mean, hold back no effort. Give all the effort you can! When Paul said, “God did not spare his only Son,” he meant, God did not hold him back. He didn’t keep just for himself. He shared him.

So to give sparingly is to give from a heart that deep inside wants to hold back. There are enough external constraints and pressures to make us give something. But the real feeling of our heart is not to think of how much we can give, but how much we can keep.

That’s how not to give.

How to Give

Take the positive side now. In verse 6 the word is “bountifully.” In the Greek it’s the same word as the one used in verse 5. Literally, it means give on the basis of blessing. Our giving should rest upon the great truth that God is a bountifully blessing God, and then our gift in turn should be a bountiful blessing to others. Verse 7 says, it should be “cheerful.”

So giving bountifully means giving from a heart that wants to share things. Something has happened in the heart so that the basic desire is now to give and share as much as possible instead of keep as much as possible. It’s as though there was a magnet in the soul that used to be turned so that it pulled possessions into itself; and now something has happened to turn it around to the other pole so that it pushes things out toward others.

God as Giver Before Our Giving
Verse 8 talks about God’s giving on the backside of our giving, that is, the giving he gives first that enables us to give: “And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance [or: make every grace abound to you], so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work.” So here he says very clearly that God wants to be known as a bountiful God. He is able—he omnipotently able to give us whatever we need in order to be generous. He IS a giver in this affair, not a Taker.

Free and Generous Giving
Verse 9 picks up an image that Paul used in verse 6, namely, the image of sowing seed. In verse 6 he said that if you sow bountifully, you will reap bountifully. Now in verse 9 he gives an illustration taken from Psalm 112:9(ESV) of a person who sows seed bountifully. “As it is written, ‘He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever.'”

So the sowing of seed in verse 6 and the scattering of seed in verse 9 is the free and generous giving of help to meet the needs of people. And this generosity is called righteousness in verse 9.

Now in verse 10 he takes that Old Testament quote from verse 9 and brings out its relation to God. He is the one who gives the seed for scattering and he is the one who will bring a harvest from this righteousness. “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources [lit.: ‘your seed’ or ‘your sowing’]”—so there God is the Giver on the back side of our giving again: he gives the seed so we can scatter it abroad as verse 9 says.

God as Giver After Our Giving
Then verse 10 goes on and says, ” . . . and he will increase [or: cause to grow] the harvest of your righteousness.” Now what does that mean? Well, “righteousness” in verse 9 is the generous scattering of seed to those in need. The harvest of righteousness is probably what grows up as a result of this scattering. In other words, “God will increase the harvest of your righteousness” means the same as “He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” Bountiful sowing is righteousness. Bountiful reaping is the increased harvest of this righteousness.

So the point of verse 10 is that God is the Giver, not Taker, on both sides of our giving: he gives seed before we give so that we can sow it generously; and he gives harvest after we give so that we are rewarded for our generosity.

The great truth of this text is that God wants to be known and trusted and loved as the Giver not the Taker in this whole affair of giving. Otherwise all our giving is draining, burdensome, oppressive, legalistic, and sparing. And who needs it!

5. God’s Way of Bringing About Good Deeds

The fifth reason for going to the tithe and beyond in our giving is that this is God’s way of bringing about many good deeds for his glory.

At the end of verse 8 Paul says that when you sow bountifully and cheerfully, you will “have an abundance for every good deed.” The goal is good deeds. Excess money is for good deeds. These are the things that make your light shine and cause people to give glory to your Father in heaven. If you lay up treasures on earth, people have no reason to think your Father in heaven is glorious. You look like you love what everyone else loves. According to Titus 2:13(ESV) Christ died “to purify for himself a people who are zealous for good deeds.”
2 Corinthians 9:8 says that the aim of material bounty is “for every good deed.” Verse 11 says, “You will be enriched in everything for all liberality.” Excess money is given to us so we can show where our treasure is by giving it away.

So the fifth reason for going to the tithe and bountifully beyond is that this is God’s way of providing for many good deeds.

6. God’s Way of Providing for You

The sixth reason for pressing to the tithe and beyond is that it is God’s way of providing you, the tither, sufficient money for your needs.

Giving is a way of having what you need. Giving in a regular, disciplined, generous way—up to and beyond the tithe—is simply good sense in view of the promises of God. Verse 6 says, “He who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully.” Then verse 8 says, “God is able to make all grace abound to you that always having all sufficiency . . . ” In other words the “bountiful reaping” promised in verse 6 is explained in verse 8 by God’s pledge to give a sufficiency for us and an abundance for good deeds.

This seems to be Paul’s way of expressing Malachi 3:10(ESV)10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

This is an amazing challenge from God. Test me, he says. You think you can’t afford to tithe? Well test me. And what we will find when we test him is that we cannot afford not to tithe—and beyond! This is the only safe way to handle our money. Jesus once said, in Luke 6:38(ESV)Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap.

This is not a guarantee of getting rich. It’s a guarantee of “an abundance for every good work” and sufficiency for yourself.

7. Proving and Strengthening Our Faith

Finally, in our giving we should press toward the tithe and beyond because it will prove and strengthen our faith in God promises.

There is an absolute correlation between faith in the promises of God and peace of mind in giving away what we may think we need but don’t. Hebrews 13:5(ESV) Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; [why? because of a promise] for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.”

Every time you doubt that you can live on 90% of your income, let the glorious promise of God strengthen your faith: “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:19(ESV).

What tithing boils down to is a faith issue. Do we trust God’s promises? Trust God. He will never fail or forsake you. He will supply all your needs.

Excerpt from John Piper

Purpose of the Church Pt6 Teach, Correct, Rebuke

2 Timothy 3:16-17(ESV)16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Correction is not judgment, as the Bible says that we should correct, rebuke and be bold to those who are sinning. It is to be done in an act of caring for them in the hope that they will believe. That way we could contribute to the saving of a soul. If we don’t, we could be responsible for suppressing the truth which could mean eternal death instead of eternal life for that person. James 5:20(ESV)20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

The Word of God is inspired so that you might trust it to be accurate when you…TEACH

To teach you must know what is right. You can’t teach if you don’t know what is right.

Therefore you must study. Read the Bible on your own, attend church, fellowship with other believers, attend Bible study, have devotions, pray, etc.

Learn about the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the resurrection, salvation by grace, the consequence of sin, hell, heaven, the return of Christ, etc.

The Word of God is inspired so that you might trust it and be accurate when you…REBUKE

To rebuke means that scold and correct in a sharp way.

To urge someone to stop sinning: Perhaps a Christian is in sin. You are to warn him.

1 Timothy 5:20 (ESV)As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.

Perhaps an unbeliever is not aware of his sin; therefore, you offer correction, warning, or admonition.

1 Corinthians 5:12 (ESV) For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?

The Word of God is inspired so that you might trust it and be accurate when you…CORRECT

To correct here means to restore to an upright or right state with the improvement of life or character. You can correct erring doctrines or understanding or even bad interpretations of scripture You can even correct yourselves when you examine the Word and discover any errors you may have in understanding or practice.

The Sovereignty of God is the biblical teaching that all things are under God’s rule and control, and that nothing happens without His direction or permission. God works not just some things but all things according to the counsel of His own will. Ephesians 1:11(ESV)11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, His purposes are all-inclusive and never derailed Isaiah 46:11(ESV)calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.; nothing takes Him by surprise. The sovereignty of God is not merely that God has the power and right to govern all things, but that He does so, always and without exception. In other words, God is not merely sovereign de jure (in principle), but sovereign de facto (in practice).

RC Sproul says “Don’t you realize that if there is one molecule in this universe running around loose outside the scope or the sphere of God’s divine control and authority and power, then that single maverick molecule may be the grain of sand that changes the entire course of human history, that blocks God from keeping the promises he has made to his people?” It may be that one maverick molecule that will prevent Christ from the consummation of his kingdom. For if there is one maverick molecule, it would mean that God is not sovereign.

 If there is any element of the universe that is outside of his authority, then he no longer is God over all. In other words, sovereignty belongs to deity. Sovereignty is a natural attribute of the Creator. God owns what he makes, and he rules what he owns.

Psalm 115:3 (ESV)Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.

Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Job 42:2 (ESV)“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

Isaiah 46:9-10 (ESV)Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’

Proverbs 19:21 (ESV)Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

God’s sovereignty in salvation means that He saves whom He will, and those whom He saves owe nothing to anything in or of themselves. They are saved because God graciously chose them in eternity and regenerated and called them in history. They cannot even take credit for their faith because it is the gift that He Himself sovereignly bestows. The blood of Jesus saves exactly everyone it was meant to save, not one more not one less. Everyone that is saved is part of God’s plan.

Predestination is the teaching that God has, from all eternity, freely determined whatsoever shall come to pass.  We find this in Ephesians 1:11 which says, “also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.”  Notice Paul teaches that predestination occurs according to the purpose of God and that God works all things after His will.  The “all things” means exactly that, all things.

•Predestination:  “God’s actions in willing something to a specific result; also called “foreordination.” Some Christian theologians, particularly in the Reformed tradition, have seen it as indicating God’s eternal decree by which all creatures are foreordained to eternal life or death. It may also be used synonymously with “election” and indicates God’s gracious initiation of salvation for those who believe in Jesus Christ.”1

•”The divine determination of human beings to eternal salvation or eternal damnation. The doctrine of predestination is a branch, so to speak, of the doctrine of election; God’s predestinating activity is a function of his existence as the electing God.

The word predestination comes from the Greek προορίζω, “prooridzo.”  The word occurs six times in six verses in the New Testament.

1Acts 4:28(ESV)28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.

2Romans 8:29-30(ESV)29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

31 Corinthians 2:7(NASB) “but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory.”

4Ephesians 1:5(ESV) “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.”

5Ephesians 1:11(ESV), “also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.”

By looking at these verses we can see that predestination reveals God’s great sovereignty and right to do with His creation as he desires.  But also we can see that predestination deals with salvation.  Unfortunately, many Christians do not accept the biblical teaching on predestination.  Many do not like the idea that God predestines people for salvation, but the fact is the Bible teaches it.

So, predestination is God determining certain things to occur ahead of time. What did God determine ahead of time? According to Romans 8:29-30, God predetermined that certain individuals would be conformed to the likeness of His Son, be called, justified, and glorified. Essentially, God predetermines that certain individuals will be saved. Numerous scriptures refer to believers in Christ being chosen.

Matthew 24:22(ESV) 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.

Matthew 24:31(ESV) 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Mark 13:20(ESV) 20 And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days.

Mark 13:27(ESV) 27 And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

John 6:44(ESV)“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

John 6:65(ESV)65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

John 15:16(NASB) “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you.”

Acts 9:15(NASB) “But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel.”

Romans 8:33(ESV) 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

Romans 9:11(ESV) 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—

Romans 11:5-7(ESV) 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened,

Romans 11:28(ESV) 28 As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers.

Ephesians 1:4-5(ESV)4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 

Ephesians 1:11(ESV) 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

Ephesians 2:10(ESV)10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Colossians 3:12(ESV) 12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,

1 Thessalonians 1:4(ESV) 4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14(ESV)13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 2:10(ESV) 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Titus 1:1(ESV) Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness,

1 Peter 1:1-2(ESV) Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

1 Peter 2:9(ESV)9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 

2 Peter 1:10(ESV)10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

Predestination is the biblical doctrine that God in His sovereignty chooses certain individuals to be saved.

The most common objection to the doctrine of predestination is that it is unfair. Why would God choose certain individuals and not others? The important thing to remember is that no one deserves to be saved. We have all sinned (Romans 3:23), and are all worthy of eternal punishment (Romans 6:23). As a result, God would be perfectly just in allowing all of us to spend eternity in hell. However, God chooses to save some of us. He is not being unfair to those who are not chosen, because they are receiving what they deserve. God’s choosing to be gracious to some is not unfair to the others. No one deserves anything from God; therefore, no one can object if he does not receive anything from God.

Reformed theology is generally considered synonymous with Calvinism but traces back to Jesus in John 6 and Paul in his letters to Rome and Ephesians. Although there had been significant earlier attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church before Luther – such as those of Jan Hus, Peter Waldo, and John Wycliffe – Martin Luther is widely acknowledged to have started the Reformation with his 1517 work The Ninety-Five Theses. Luther began by criticizing the selling of indulgences, insisting that the Pope had no authority over purgatory and that the Catholic doctrine of the merits of the saints had no foundation in the gospel. The Protestant position, however, would come to incorporate doctrinal changes such as

•It means to affirm the great “Solas” of the Reformation. “Sola” is Latin meaning “alone” or “only” and the corresponding phrases are:

• Sola Fide, by faith alone.

• Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone.

• Solus Christus, through Christ alone.

• Sola Gratia, by grace alone.

• Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone.

These phrases may be found individually expressed in the various writings of the 16th century Reformers

•It means to affirm and promote a profoundly high view of the sovereignty of God.

•It means to affirm the doctrines of grace, to see God as the author of salvation from beginning to end, commonly referred to as the acronym TULIP.

Calvinism and Arminianism are two systems of theology that attempt to explain the relationship between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility in the matter of salvation. Calvinism is named for John Calvin, a French theologian who lived from 1509-1564. Arminianism is named for Jacobus Arminius, a Dutch theologian who lived from 1560-1609. Calvinism got coined as the name for Reformed theology and Reformed theology is just another name for Biblical Theology.

Both systems can be summarized with five points. Reformed Theology holds to the total depravity of man while Arminianism holds to partial depravity. Reformed Theology’s doctrine of total depravity states that every aspect of humanity is corrupted by sin; therefore, human beings are unable to come to God on their own accord. Partial depravity states that every aspect of humanity is tainted by sin, but not to the extent that human beings are unable to place faith in God of their own accord. Note: classical Arminianism rejects “partial depravity” and holds a view very close to Calvinistic “total depravity”. In general, Arminians believe there is an “intermediate” state between total depravity and salvation. In this state, made possible by prevenient grace, the sinner is being drawn to Christ and has the God-given ability to choose salvation. But No one seeks after God’s plan of salvation on his own accord.
Romans 3:10-1810 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;11no one understands; no one seeks for God.12. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;no one does good, not even one.”13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”15  “Their feet are swift to shed blood;16 in their paths are ruin and misery,17 and the way of peace they have not known.”18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Those without Christ are blind to their need for salvation.
2 Corinthians 4:4(ESV)4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
This only changes when God begins drawing a person to Himself. It is God who opens eyes and enlightens minds to the need for Jesus Christ as Savior. A person cannot repent (change the mind about sin and the need for salvation) unless God grants repentance Acts 11:18(ESV)18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.” Therefore, if you understand God’s plan of salvation, recognize your need for it, and feel compelled to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior, then believe, and you are saved.

Reformed Theology includes the belief that election is unconditional, while Arminianism believes in conditional election. Unconditional election is the view that God elects individuals to salvation based entirely on His will, not on anything inherently worthy in the individual. Conditional election states that God elects individuals to salvation based on His foreknowledge of who will believe in Christ unto salvation, thereby on the condition that the individual chooses God. Which would not make God sovereign but a time traveler.

Reformed Theology sees the atonement as limited, while Arminianism sees it as unlimited. This is the most controversial of the five points. Limited atonement is the belief that Jesus only died for the elect. Unlimited atonement is the belief that Jesus died for all, but that His death is not effectual until a person chooses Him by faith.

Reformed Theology includes the belief that God’s grace is irresistible, while Arminianism says that an individual can resist the grace of God. Irresistible grace argues that when God calls a person to salvation, that person will inevitably come to salvation. Resistible grace states that God calls all to salvation, but that many people resist and reject this call.

Reformed Theology holds to perseverance of the saints while Arminianism holds to conditional salvation. Perseverance of the saints refers to the concept that a person who is elected by God will persevere in faith and will not permanently deny Christ or turn away from Him. Conditional salvation is the view that a believer in Christ can, of his/her own free will, turn away from Christ and thereby lose salvation.

Here are some theologians and teachers of reformed theology over the years Augustine,John Wycliffe,John Hus, William Tyndale, Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli,John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, Isaac Watts, John Bunyan, John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, A.W. Pink, Sinclair Ferguson,James White, Paul Washer,Voddie Baucham,J.C.Ryle,Alistair Begg, Wayne Grudem, R.C. Sproul,R.C. Sproul, Jr., John Piper, John MacArthur,R. Albert Mohler, David Platt,Tim Challies,Mark Dever, Matt Chandler, and many more

A main opponent that has reared its ugly head thoughout the last 2000 years has been something called pelagianism.

Pelagianism derives its name from Pelagius who lived in the 5th century A.D. and was a teacher in Rome, though he was British by birth. It is a heresy dealing with the nature of man. Pelagius, whose family name was Morgan, taught that people had the ability to fulfill the commands of God by exercising the freedom of human will apart from the grace of God. In other words, a person’s free will is totally capable of choosing God and/or to do good or bad without the aid of Divine intervention. Pelagianism teaches that man’s nature is basically good. Thus it denies original sin, the doctrine that we have inherited a sinful nature from Adam. He said that Adam only hurt himself when he fell, and all of his descendants were not affected by Adam’s sin. Pelagius taught that a person is born with the same purity and moral abilities as Adam was when he was first made by God. He taught that people can choose God by the exercise of their free will and rational thought. God’s grace, then, is merely an aid to help individuals come to Him.

Pelagianism fails to understand man’s nature and weakness. We are by nature sinners (Eph. 2:3; Psalm 51:5). We all have sinned because sin entered the world through Adam: “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12, NIV). Furthermore, Romans 3:10-12 says, “There is none righteous, not even one; 11 There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; 12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.” Therefore, we are unable to do God’s will (Rom. 6:16; 7:14). We were affected by the fall of Adam–contrary to what Pelagius taught.

Semi-Pelagianism is a weaker form of Pelagianism (a heresy derived from Pelagius who lived in the 5th century A.D. and was a teacher in Rome). Semi-Pelagianism (advocated by Cassian at Marseilles, 5th Century) did not deny original sin and its effects upon the human soul and will; but, it taught that God and man cooperate to achieve man’s salvation. This cooperation is not by human effort as in keeping the law but rather in the ability of a person to make a free will choice. The semi-Pelagian teaches that man can make the first move toward God by seeking God out of his own free will, and that man can cooperate with God’s grace even to the keeping of his faith through human effort. This would mean that God responds to the initial effort of person, and that God’s grace is not absolutely necessary to maintain faith.

The problem is that this is no longer grace. Grace is the completely unmerited and freely given favor of God upon the sinner; but, if man is the one who first seeks God, then God is responding to the good effort of seeking him. This would mean that God is offering a proper response to the initial effort of man. This is not grace but what is due the person who chooses to believe in God apart from God’s initial effort.

•Semi-Pelagianism says the sinner has the ability to initiate belief in God.

•Semi-Pelagianism says God’s grace is a response to man’s initial effort.

•Semi-Pelagianism denies predestination.

Semi-Pelagianism was condemned at the Council of Orange in 529.

Condemned as a heresy

Pelagius has been condemned by many councils throughout church history including the following:

•Councils of Carthage (412, 416 and 418)

•Council of Ephesus (431)

•The Council of Orange (529)

•Council of Trent (1546) Roman Catholic

•2nd Helvetic (1561/66) 8-9. (Swiss-German Reformed)

•Augsburg Confession (1530) Art. 9, 18 (Lutheran)

•Gallican Confession (1559) Art. 10 (French Reformed)

•Belgic Confession (1561) Art. 15 (Lowlands, French/Dutch/German Reformed)

•The Anglican Articles (1571), 9. (English)

•Canons of Dort (1618-9), 3/4.2 (Dutch/German/French Reformed)

Here are some Arminian/pelagian/ semi pelagian teachers/preachers, A.W Tozer, John Wesley, Charles Finney, Billy Sunday, Billy Graham,Bill Johnson, Leonard Ravenhill, David Wilkerson

William J. Seymour (1870–1922) Azusa Street Revival

Charles Parham (1873–1929) Speaking in Tongues

•Aimee Semple McPherson (1890–1944) Foursquare Church

Smith Wigglesworth (1859–1947) Pentecostalism

William Branham (1909–1965) Faith Healer

Kathryn Kuhlman (1907–1976) Faith Healer

Oral Roberts (1918–2009) Oral Roberts University

Jimmy Swaggart (1935–) Assemblies of God

Kenneth E. Hagin (1917–2003) Word of Faith

Mark J. Sheppeard (1982–) Apostolic

Kenneth Copeland (1936–) Prosperity Gospel

Joyce Meyer (1943–) Prosperity Gospel

Benny Hinn (1952–) Prosperity Gospel

T.D. Jakes (1957–) Prosperity Gospel

Joseph Prince (1963–) Prosperity Gospel

Joel Osteen (1963–) Prosperity Gospel

Also here are some religions and denominations that are ArminianArminian direction include Methodists, Free Will Baptists, Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, General Baptists, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Church of the Nazarene, The Wesleyan Church, The Salvation Army, Conservative Mennonites, Old Order Mennonites, Amish,Assemblies of God, Four Square, Pentecostals and Charismatics.

The Word of God is inspired so that you might trust it and be accurate when you…TRAIN IN RIGHTEOUSNESS.

This includes the training and education of children with the cultivation of mind and morals.

As saved sinners, we are in constant need of training. We must hear the Word, study it, and apply it.

Training implies that it is something that is done over and over with the aim at improvement.

These four things: Teaching, Correcting, Rebuking, and Training in Righteousness are each outward as well as inward. We are active in each of them. The inspired Word of God is there for you also, so that you might be able to do Good Works. It is part of the calling: To do Good. Before being a Christian, you could not do good. You may “accidentally” do something seemingly good but it was sinful in its intent. It is only because of the Cross of Christ, because of His shed blood that you even attempt to do anything that is good.

You do good to glorify Jesus, not simply for the sake of doing good.

Ephesians 2:10(ESV)“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do,”.

Good works are a manifestation of what you know and believe.

That is why the Scriptures are there to Teach, Correct, Rebuke, and Train. The Word of God is your guide to that which is right, pure, holy, and truthful.

So that you might believe that which is true, not false, and in truth, accurately do that which is pleasing in the sight of God, to His glory.

There is no other source of inspiration on earth.

Purpose of the Church Pt5 Communion

Communion – the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level or the service of Christian worship at which bread and wine are consecrated and shared.

So, when we take Communion, it’s about who? Jesus! And I need you to know this ‘cause at so many churches, they either don’t take Communion, or they take it and don’t tell you what it’s about.

Jesus says, “Do this in remembrance of me,” so we do. And that when we partake, it’s not literally Jesus’ body and blood but a symbolic representation.

Catholics believe the Eucharist, or Communion, is both a sacrifice and a meal. We believe in the real presence of Jesus, who died for our sins. As we receive Christ’s Body and Blood, we also are nourished spiritually and brought closer to God.(Transubstantiation is the transformation in the Eucharist of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ. This transformation of substance does not affect the appearances of the elements, which continue to appear to be bread and wine. The substance changes; the appearances do not.) This term was coined in the 1200’s, but the reality of the change of substance from ordinary bread and wine into the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ was believed by the apostles and their successors from the day of the Last Supper to the present.  So many anti-Catholics walk by sight, not by faith in regards to the Eucharist, but that is the exact same mistake the Pharisees and the Roman soldiers made about Jesus. If they could have seen him at His Transfiguration like Peter, James, and John did, they never would have treated Him with any disrespect like the anti-Catholics do. Similarly, if we could all see what the Eucharist REALLY is, we would all beg to be in the Blessed Sacrament,But Catholics walk by faith, not by sight.
Doctrine about the Eucharistic sacrifice. Holy Mass is a real sacrifice, instituted by Christ at the Last Supper. It represents Christ’s sacrifice of the Cross, but in an unbloody manner. Priest and victim are both Christ, who offers himself through the priest. The laity also offers the sacrifice, but does not have the power to transubstantiate. The Eucharistic sacrifice is offered to God in praise, thanksgiving, petition and atonement, for the living and the dead. Saints may also be commemorated in honor and petition. The Church has the responsibility of determining the rites and prayers to be observed. The liturgy as a whole is the public worship by the mystical Body of Christ. In every liturgical activity Christ is present, in a manner that must be properly interpreted. In the 16th Century, a lot of men came up with their own peculiar traditions of what they erroneously believed the Eucharist to be, some kind of “symbol,” a word to be found nowhere in Scripture when describing the Eucharist.

That’s when God’s people are filled with the Holy Spirit and they gather as God’s family, and Jesus is honored, and remembered, and celebrated, and sin is repented of, and the cross of Jesus Christ is adored, the Holy Spirit is really present with God’s people, and it’s a sacred moment for the family to honor Jesus.

It’s more than just a looking back and a memorial feast, but we’re not gonna recrucify Christ every Sunday, because in Hebrews 10:10(HCSB) 10 By this will of God, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.

”And that’s where, if you’re not a Christian, you turn from sin, trust in Jesus by faith, and you partake of Communion as an act of faith, as a demonstration of faith. And we get out of our seats and we do it together, remembering Jesus got out of his grave and one day we’ll get out of our graves, and together we’ll be with him forever.And let me say this: as God’s people take Communion, what we’re showing is, “I’m friends with Jesus and his people.” You can’t be a Christian and not connected to the church. I don’t get this. This is like a dad with five kids who adopts a kid, and that kid says, “He’s my dad, but I don’t have any siblings and I’m not part of the family.” It’s all together. God’s a Father, adopts you, you’re now part of a family. You got brothers and sisters. I don’t get this solo, independent, me and Jesus has our own thing,rebelling Christianity. It doesn’t make sense. The Bible knows nothing of it. If you’re connected to God, you’re connected to his people.

And when we partake in Communion in service or in homes together, what we’re doing is we’re doing it together saying, “I’m friends with Jesus, and I’m friends with you, and I’m part of the family.” And this happened in early Christianity. It says in Acts 2:42-47(HCSB)42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers.43 Then fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. 44 Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. 45 They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. 46 Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved. When the Christians started gathering, they would meet from the temple courts, big meetings like we do for services, and from house to house.

“And to the,” what? “Breaking of bread, having meals together and praying.” I’ll tell you the easiest way to build a friendship with somebody: have a meal and pray together. Eat together, pray together. Like, let’s say you’re married, you’re not getting along. Eat together, pray together, your friendship will grow because God always blesses those kinds of connecting moments. You’re struggling with your friends, try to resolve it over a meal. Start it, end it, bathe it in prayer. That’s how things get worked out relationally.

A study of the Lord’s Supper is a soul-stirring experience because of the depth of meaning it contains. It was during the age-old celebration of the Passover on the eve of His death that Jesus instituted a significant new fellowship meal that we observe to this day. It is an integral part of Christian worship. It causes us to remember our Lord’s death and resurrection and to look for His glorious return in the future.

The Passover was the most sacred feast of the Jewish religious year. It commemorated the final plague on Egypt when the firstborn of the Egyptians died and the Israelites were spared because of the blood of a lamb that was sprinkled on their doorposts. The lamb was then roasted and eaten with unleavened bread. God’s command was that throughout the generations to come the feast would be celebrated. The story is recorded in Exodus 12.

During the Last Supper—a Passover celebration—Jesus took a loaf of bread and gave thanks to God. As He broke it and gave it to His disciples, He said, “’This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you’” Luke 22:19-21(HCSB)19 And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”20 In the same way He also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood; it is shed for you. 21 But look, the hand of the one betraying Me is at the table with Me!. He concluded the feast by singing some psalms Matthew 26:30(HCSB)30 After singing psalms, they went out to the Mount of Olives. It was there that Jesus was betrayed, as predicted, by Judas. The following day He was crucified.

The church is a family, a community of imperfect people on a spiritual journey together to become more like Christ and less like our old selves. When you get a bunch of people who are imperfect together trying to live a new life, sometimes sparks fly, people get upset, offended, and feelings get hurt.

Colossians 3:12-17(HCSB)12 Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13 accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. 14 Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity. 15 And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful. 16 Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Some of people are partaking in an unworthy manner. You’re in open rebellion and sin.

Here’s a scary word of caution: there’s a church in Corinth. It’s not a great church. They’re getting drunk, they’re suing each other, they’re sleeping together, they’re hiring prostitutes. One guy’s sleeping with his mother or mother-in-law. Now days we call it legalistic to speak against,or we call it pulpit entertainment, politically correct sermons, diversity, openness, tolerance, we parades in honor of it, a magazine, a website, a whole Facebook group, and, t-shirts. God was very unhappy, and he said, “You’re not repenting. You’re claiming to love me and then you’re disobeying everything I say. You’re a bunch of rebellious, spoiled bratty kids.”

So then, through Paul, God speaks to them, and here’s what he says about Communion: 1 Corinthians 11:27-32(HCSB)27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 So a man should examine himself; in this way he should eat the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 This is why many are sick and ill among you, and many have fallen asleep. 31 If we were properly evaluating ourselves, we would not be judged, 32 but when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord, so that we may not be condemned with the world. “Therefore,whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way.” So, let me say this: there’s a worthy and an unworthy way. In our day of pulpit entertainment, politically correct sermons, tolerance, diversity, it’s, “Oh, no, no, we’re all—” Nope. There’s worthy and unworthy. There’s right and wrong. There’s obedient and disobedient. There’s qualified and disqualified. God’s grace doesn’t just forgive our sin. God’s grace empowers us to put our sin to death because Jesus died for it.

The bible is a mirror not a microscope, we are to read it and see our faults and change to be like Christ. Not to use to pass judgement on each other.

James 1:22-25(HCSB)22 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but one who does good works—this person will be blessed in what he does.

WHEN WE LOOK INTO THE MIRROR OF GOD’S WORD, WHAT DO WE SEE?

1. We see our flaws. We see that we are sinners.

2. We also see that Jesus Christ died for our sins so we can now be sons and daughters of the Most High God!

3. We see that by believing in Jesus Christ, we can be changed forever.

2 Corinthians 3:18(HCSB)17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.

The first point is that the central requirement of love in the church community is both a gift and a command. Our life together originates in the covenant love of God and so one essential mark of our covenant relationships in church is love. And this love is the work of God.

This means that a church community is a bunch of imperfect people on a spiritual journey together. We have been saved from condemnation and transferred from death to life and from darkness to light but in this new relation to God we are not yet perfected or completed, but are on the way to becoming what we should be.

The first commitment of the our church community is love. In a sense all else is an unfolding of that. And the commitment of love and holiness is not a static one, because none of us has arrived, but a commitment to strive, forward,advance,promote and sustain holiness.

Luke 22:14-20(HCSB) 14 When the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you, from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” 20 In the same way He also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood; it is shed for you.

Jesus constantly promoted community among His disciples. He enjoyed being with them.Jesus had fervent desire to eat with His disciples, FERVENT –  very hot glowing exhibiting or marked by great intensity of feeling, Passionate
DESIRE – a longing or craving, as for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment:

Communion is common unity, common Union. Communion it literally means intimacy. It is the divine remembrance of the life of a holy God invested into the heart of a people to transform the way the did life in front of a culture of people.

Luke 22:19(HCSB)19 And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”

Jesus said to do this before He went to the cross, He could’ve waited till after the resurrection because He ate with men after He was resurrected. So if he just wanted them to remember the cross, He would’ve done it after the resurrection and said now do this in remembrance of me. Why did He do it before? Because Jesus didn’t come just to save us from hell. He came to give us permission to gain back what Adam forfeited in the garden. Jesus restored what Adam failed in. FELLOWSHIP with the father. Now instead of the ritualistic slaughter of animals that they had to do in the temple. It is his blood that let’s us into the holy of holies to talk with our father. He didn’t come as fire insurance He came to show us we can live a life free from the bondage of sin and conquer the flesh by a desire and have a hunger to go after God. He conquered temptation everyday and He said when you eat this remember that. Remember that your not at the mercy of your enemy anymore, remember I defeated him at the cross, I defeated him when I snatched the keys of death and the grave. I defeated him with I sit at the right hand of the father forever making intercession for you. Remember your not at the mercy of your flesh anymore, because for 33 years I lived not subject to the desires of my flesh I conquered the desires of the flesh and did not give into temptation. Do this in remembrance of me. And your going to remember that you are what you eat.

Jesus is showing us that we can come together as a company of people who can come together from all different points of life, different stages of our walk, different races and economic backgrounds because we can walk together in common union. Because we are now part of the family.

Romans 8:14-16(HCSB)14 All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children,

1 Corinthians 10:16(HCSB) The cup of blessing that we give thanks for, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? 

The idea of community denotes a “common unity” of purpose and interests. By engaging in this united relationship a new level of consciousness and conscience emerges that spurs the group to higher order thinking and action, thus empowering and encouraging its members to exist in a mutually beneficial relationship. Thus community and family become closely intertwined, because aiming at a common unity strives to overcome brokenness, divisiveness, and, ultimately gaining wholeness with each of the members, with their environment, and with God. By giving mutual support, friendship and family merge. Both fellowship and community imply an inner and outer unity.

Don’t let this become a glorified hand washing station, but let us come together as a people who worship, praise and do life together as Jesus did with His disciples. We look at each other’s as brothers and sisters, fathers, mothers, our kids look at the older people as aunts and uncles. It not just something we do on Sunday’s but something we do everyday and our lives start being intertwined. Some of us don’t want that but those that do will ask “how can we get more deeply rooted in Him?” How can we get more passionate about Jesus?” What can we get rid of in our lives to make more room for Him? Jesus lived His life in front of His disciples that caused them to live in such a way that we are still reading and talking about it today. Colossians 3:1-4(HCSB)So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

So we can stay in our home and scream at the darkness or we can go out and shine His light.

2 Peter 1:4 (HCSB)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.

Galatians 5:16-17 (HCSB)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.

The question is not rather or not is it right or wrong but does it generate a hunger or thirst for the things of the spirit.

If you don’t want it to live quit feeding it. If you quit eating it long enough you will stop craving it. If you don’t want time with Jesus it’s an indicator that you haven’t spent time with him to perpetuate the cravings in your spirit for more of Him. Hunger is not a gift but a choice. If you see someone with a supernatural hunger for God it’s because they chose to eat those things of the spirit and starve the flesh.

We start looking for liberties, it’s not sin but it’s not healthy for the spirit. Some music out there is not sinful but it will not generate the appetite inside of you to successfully feed your spirit.

It’s not sin to listen to it and it’s not legalism to not listen, it’s liberty to let the appetite of the spirit dictate what you are ingesting.

The question for me is not is this sin or not anymore, I moved on from that , I grew. The question now for me is, will it feed my spirit? Will it bring the spiritual nourishment I need for my spirit or will it feed my flesh? Can I watch that? Sure but will I grow spiritually from it?

Will it make me hungrier for Him? Or will it generate a hunger, a craving for things that I don’t want to be hungry for anymore?

The more we eat Him. The more we will produce his nature naturally. We will start responding to people differently.

Do you know why stray cats and dogs hang around? Because you feed it. Lust hangs around because you feed it. You can’t say you can’t get rid of lust when you keep going to those sites, looking at women, etc.

You must have an appetite for one meal. The meal of the spirit.

The idea of community denotes a “common unity” of purpose and interests. Thus community and family become closely intertwined, because aiming at a common unity strives to overcome brokenness, divisiveness, and, ultimately gaining wholeness with each of the members, with their environment, and with God. By giving mutual support, friendship and family merge. Both fellowship and community imply an inner and outer unity.

This church will never become a glorified hand washing station,or a museum for saints, or a country club that doesn’t welcome sinners but let us come together as a people who worship, praise and do life together as Jesus did with His disciples. Let us not point the finger at our brother’s and sister’s and their faults but let us forgive quickly, love plentifully and help joyfully. We look at each other’s as brothers and sisters, fathers, mothers, our kids look at the older people as aunts and uncles. It not just something we do on Sunday’s but something we do everyday and our lives start being intertwined. Some of us don’t want that but those that do will ask “how can we get more deeply rooted in Him?” How can we get more passionate about Jesus?” What can we get rid of in our lives to make more room for Him? Jesus lived His life in front of His disciples that caused them to live in such a way that we are still reading and talking about it today. Colossians 3:1-4(HCSB)So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

Community, Our Family Changes

The church is a family, a community of imperfect people on a spiritual journey together to become more like Christ and less like our old selves. When you get a bunch of people who are imperfect together trying to live a new life, sometimes sparks fly, people get upset, offended, and feelings get hurt.

Colossians 3:12-17(HCSB)12 Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13 accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. 14 Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity. 15 And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful. 16 Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Church is the one place that the littlest thing will keep people from coming back. If you haven’t been offended by someone in church you haven’t been here long enough. We need to learn each other and forgive each other. We need to learn how to live and grow together. People will offend you, talk about you, not tell you hi, but we cannot let that stop us from being part of the community of believers.
Family and community is a very important aspect of church, Jesus emphasized it many times in scripture.

Jesus once used His family as a picture of His relationship with His followers. Matthew 12:46-47(HCSB)46 He was still speaking to the crowds when suddenly His mother and brothers were standing outside wanting to speak to Him. 47 Someone told Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to You.”

Jesus Himself had siblings—brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, and an unknown number of sisters.

Matthew 13:55-56(HCSB)55 Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t His mother called Mary, and His brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? 56 And His sisters, aren’t they all with us? So where does He get all these things?.

In saying this, Jesus was not disrespecting His family or saying they were not important. Rather, He was likening a close family relationship to the bond He shares with everyone who believes in Him. In fact, Jesus’ bond with believers is even stronger, since it is not marred by jealousy, anger, frustration, or disagreements.

It’s important to understand that conflict between church siblings is not part of God’s plan for the church family. God wants us to live in love and unity with one another. When conflicts do arise we are to learn and grow from them.

There are a few principles that can be applied to any relationship. First, we are to love others in a way that reflects the love of Christ:

1 John 4:7–8(HCSB)7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Second, we are to show kindness to each other, treating those around us the way we want to be treated. Ephesians 4:32(HCSB)32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.; Luke 6:31(HCSB)31 Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them. This means that we should not only respond gracefully in the face our siblings’ anger or accusations, but also go out of the way to serve them John 13:12–14(HCSB)12 When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

Romans 12:9-17(HCSB)9 Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. 10 Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. 13 Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. 16 Be in agreement with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes.18 If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone.

Believers are instructed by Paul to live at peace by avoiding arguments and conflict and playing the role of peacemaker when disagreements arise within our church families.

The bible is a mirror not a microscope, we are to read it and see our faults and change to be like Christ. Not to use to pass judgement on each other.

James 1:22-25(HCSB)22 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but one who does good works—this person will be blessed in what he does.

WHEN WE LOOK INTO THE MIRROR OF GOD’S WORD, WHAT DO WE SEE?

1. We see our flaws. We see that we are sinners.

2. We also see that Jesus Christ died for our sins so we can now be sons and daughters of the Most High God!

3. We see that by believing in Jesus Christ, we can be

changed forever.

2 Corinthians 3:18(HCSB)17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.

1 Thessalonians 3:11-13(HCSB)11 Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone, just as we also do for you. 13 May He make your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. Amen.

The first point is that the central requirement of love in the church community is both a gift and a command. Our life together originates in the covenant love of God and so one essential mark of our covenant relationships in church is love. And this love is the work of God. “May the Lord cause you to increase and overflow in love.”

This means that a church community is a bunch of imperfect people on a spiritual journey together. We have been saved from condemnation and transferred from death to life and from darkness to light and from the dominion of darkness to the kingdom of God’s Son, but in this new relation to God we are not yet perfected or completed, but are on the way to becoming what we should be.

The first commitment of the our church community is love. In a sense all else is an unfolding of that. And the commitment of love and holiness is not a static one, because none of us has arrived, but a commitment to strive forward,advance,promote and sustain holiness.

Jesus constantly promoted community among His disciples. He enjoyed being with them.Jesus had fervent desire to eat with His disciples, FERVENT –  very hot glowing exhibiting or marked by great intensity of feeling, Passionate
DESIRE – a longing or craving, as for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment:

Luke 22:14-20(HCSB) 14 When the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you, from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

19 And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”

20 In the same way He also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood; it is shed for you.

Communion is common unity, common Union. Communion it literally means intimacy. It is the divine remembrance of the life of a holy God invested into the heart of a people to transform the way the did life in front of a culture of people.

Luke 22:19(HCSB)19 And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”

Jesus said to do this before He went to the cross, He could’ve waited till after the resurrection because He ate with men after He was resurrected. So if he just wanted them to remember the cross, He would’ve done it after the resurrection and said now do this in remembrance of me. Why did He do it before? Because Jesus didn’t come just to save us from hell. He came to give us permission to gain back what Adam forfeited in the garden. Jesus restored what Adam failed in. FELLOWSHIP with the father. Now instead of the ritualistic slaughter of animals that they had to do in the temple. It is his blood that let’s us into the holy of holies to talk with our father. He didn’t come as fire insurance He came to show us we can live a life free from the bondage of sin and conquer the flesh by a desire and have a hunger to go after God. He conquered temptation everyday and He said when you eat this remember that. Remember that your not at the mercy of your enemy anymore, remember I defeated him at the cross, I defeated him when I snatched the keys of death, hell and the grave. I defeated him with I sit at the right hand of the father forever making intercession for you. Remember your not at the mercy of your flesh anymore, because for 33 years I lived not subject to the desires of my flesh I conquered the desires of the flesh and did not give into temptation. Do this in remembrance of me. And your going to remember that you are what you eat.

John 17:20-22(HCSB)I pray not only for these,but also for those who believe in Me through their message. 21 May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me.22  I have given them the glory You have given Me. May they be one as We are one.

Jesus is showing us that we can come together as a company of people who can come together from all different points of life, different stages of our walk, different races and economic backgrounds because we can walk together in common union. Because we are now part of the family. Romans 8:14-16(HCSB)14 All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children,

Paul calls communion “The Lord’s Supper” 1 Corinthians 10:16(HCSB) The cup of blessing that we give thanks for, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?
Koinonia (COY-NOE-KNEE-A )communion, joint participation; the share which one has in anything, participation, a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, inter course etc. It identifies the idealized state of fellowship and unity that should exist within the Christian church, the Body of Christ. Any common meal certainly could represent a “sharing”. The koinonia is viewed as much deeper, however, when the meal is associated with a spiritual purpose.
It literally means our courses intertwine. It means my course is intertwined with your course. It is one of the reasons why it is given as a term to the intimacy that goes on inside of the marriage bed. Because it is not just about two people having a physical experience, it’s about two peoples courses being intertwined. Your people will be my people, your God will be my God, where you go I go. It’s the beautiful words of a covenant that says all our people will come together and share a meal and share whatever we have in common that cancels out whatever we don’t have in common. Our courses get intertwined. We are bound together with cords that cannot be broken.

The idea of community denotes a “common unity” of purpose and interests. Thus community and family become closely intertwined, because aiming at a common unity strives to overcome brokenness, divisiveness, and, ultimately gaining wholeness with each of the members, with their environment, and with God. By giving mutual support, friendship and family merge. Both fellowship and community imply an inner and outer unity.

This church will never become a glorified hand washing station,or a museum for saints, or a country club that doesn’t welcome sinners but let us come together as a people who worship, praise and do life together as Jesus did with His disciples. Let us not point the finger at our brother’s and sister’s and their faults but let us forgive quickly, love plentifully and help joyfully. We look at each other’s as brothers and sisters, fathers, mothers, our kids look at the older people as aunts and uncles. It not just something we do on Sunday’s but something we do everyday and our lives start being intertwined. Some of us don’t want that but those that do will ask “how can we get more deeply rooted in Him?” How can we get more passionate about Jesus?” What can we get rid of in our lives to make more room for Him? Jesus lived His life in front of His disciples that caused them to live in such a way that we are still reading and talking about it today. Colossians 3:1-4(HCSB)So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.