A&D Biker Ministries "Growing the Kingdom of God . . . one Biker at a time"

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February 27, 2021

 

EFCA Statement of FAITH 

(Part 2 of 10)

 

The EFCA, Evangelical Free Church of America,  is an association of autonomous churches united around these theological convictions:

 
The Bible - We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, through the words of human authors.  As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged.  Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises. 

 

Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV)

12 For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

 

What Makes The Bible Different?

 

Obviously, the writer of the book of Hebrews was concerned that his readers would see the importance of the Word of God!  In fact, most of the words the author wrote in the first four chapters of the book of Hebrews were from the O.T.!

 

The point is this:  when God speaks (through the Bible, his written Word, or through Jesus, the Living Word ) it is different from the words spoken of men.

 

Our scripture today, Hebrews 4:12-13, describes just what makes God’s Word different from all other words.  (And, all throughout Hebrews, the author encourages his readers to give attention to God’s Word.)

 

SO, what makes God’s Word different?

 

1. The Bible Is Different In Its Inspiration

 

2 Peter 1:20-21 (ERV)

20 Most important of all, you must understand this:  No prophecy in the Scriptures comes from the prophet’s own understanding.  21 No prophecy ever came from what some person wanted to say.  But people were led by the Holy Spirit and spoke words from God.

 

The Holy Spirit is God . . . who inspired every word that is in our Bible!

 

God chose to reveal his Word to humans (this is called revelation ), over the course of about 4,000 years! (This is called inspiration.)  And God’s Word, as the roadmap for our lives, is called illumination.

 

One example is Psalm 95.  David wrote Psalm 95, but Hebrews 3:7-11 tells us that the Holy Spirit spoke Psalm 95 through David’s pen!

 

It isn’t just David’s poems and songs that are inspired by God, the entire Bible is “God breathed.”  And, the Word is always right because God is always right!

 

 

2. The Bible Is Different In Its Operation

 

People can come up with some pretty impressive and inspiring words, like Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address or Martin Luther King Jr’s I Have A Dream.

 

In our scripture today, God’s Word is described in two ways:

 

Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)

. . . the word of God is alive and active (powerful).

 

The Word of God is alive (living).  God’s Word is constantly reproducing life in us!

 

And, the Word of God is active . . . not static!

Active . . . that means energize, bringing spiritual life where there is currently spiritual death.  (That’s like putting a battery in a toy or plugging in a lamp!  God’s Word brings activity where before there has only been inactivity.

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

The Bible stands in witness to itself.  It converts the soul, convinces those who study it, corrects those who submit to it, and it completes those who live it.

 

The Bible encourages the heart.

 

Psalm 119:49-56 (NLV)

49 Remember the word to your servant, in which you have made me hope.  50 This is my comfort in my affliction, that your word has revived me.  51 The arrogant utterly deride me, yet I do not turn aside from your law52 I have remembered your ordinances from of old, O LORD, And comfort myself.  53 Burning indignation has seized me because of the wicked, who forsake your law54 Your statutes are my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.  55 O LORD, I remember your name in the night, and keep your law56 This has become mine, that I observe your precepts.

 

 

The Bible sets us free.

 

John 8:31-32 (NLV)

31 He said to the Jews who believed, “If you keep and obey my Word, then you are My followers for sure.  32 You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”

 

The Bible cleans us up.

 

John 15:3 (NLV)

“You are made clean by the words I have spoken to you.”

(Jesus)

 

The Power of God’s Word operating in our lives cannot be measured but it can be observed.

 

The Bible is alive, active and brings life to things that were once dead!

 

 

The Bible is different in its Inspiration, Operation, and . . .

 

3. The Bible Is Different In Its Penetration

 

Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)

12 For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 

 

The use of the word “sword” does not mean that God uses his Word to slaughter or slay the saints.  It means that the Word of God “cuts” the heart of people - with conviction.  The emphasis here is on the power of the Word of God to penetrate and expose the inner hearts of men and women.

 

“Dividing soul and spirit” is what happened when we were saved.  When the Word of God penetrates our souls, it frees the dead spirit that has been entombed in our own soul.  At the moment God’s sword frees our spirit from our soul, a miracle happens called “salvation.”  The Word of God touches our physical / spiritual / emotional / mental / and social life.  Once that takes place, the Spirit of God rules the spirit of us; God takes possession our souls & spirits.

 

The expression “joints & marrow” is also interesting.  Our joints are on the outside of our bones, and the morrow is inside our bones.  The Word of God works in the internal and external parts of our lives! 

 

Until we surrender to God and his Word, we are spiritually lost.  Our spirit is governed by our sinfulness until we are saved.  When we receive God’s Word as truth we are governed by God!

 

You and I will never be righteous until the sword / the Word of God enters our life and cuts away that which doesn’t belong.

There are multiple examples of the following happening, but this is perhaps the most famous.  In the 1800’s, a young man named Lew Wallace journeyed to the Middle East & Southern Europe to write a book that refuted the Bible.

 

As a he read the Bible he was seeking to disprove, his heart began to be stirred.  Before Wallace could finish writing his own book, he was brought under conviction & was wonderfully saved!  He immediately changed the focus of his book, and the classic novel, Ben-Hur, was born.

 

God’s Word can cut through all of our intellectual arguments to bring any doubter to salvation in Christ.

 

The Bible is different in its Inspiration, Operation, Penetration, and finally . . .

 

4. The Bible Is Different In Its Revelation

 

God knows our hearts and his Word reveals our thoughts.

 

Have you ever thought a Pastor / Preacher was speaking directly to you during a sermon?  Every time you think that, it is actually the Word of God moving in your thoughts!

 

God’s Word reveals to us our motives / intentions.  And, if they are wrong, the Word exposes our sin.

 

Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV)

12 For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

 

Every secret action, every private thought is exposed before the eyes of our Almighty God.  When an unbeliever comes under the scrutiny of God’s Word, he or she will come face-to-face with the perfect truth about God . . . and the truth about themself.

 

12 . . . it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 

 

The word for “judges” is where we get our word for “critic.”  God analyzes the facts perfectly, AND also the human motives / intentions / beliefs.  God makes no mistakes!

 

ALL people will one day give an account to the Judge who already has seen all the evidence!

 

I read this interesting story, recently.  Many, many years ago a man conned his way into the orchestra of the emperor of China . . . although he could not play any instrument.

 

Whenever the group practiced or performed, he would hold his flute against his lips, pretending to play - but not making a sound.  He received a modest salary and made a comfortable living.

 

Then one day, the emperor requested a solo from each musician.  The fake flute player got nervous.  He didn’t know how to play the instrument!  He pretended to be sick, but the royal physician wasn’t fooled. 

 

On the day of his solo performance, the impostor took poison and killed himself!  The explanation of his suicide led to a phrase that found its way into the English language:  “He refused to face the music.”

 

The Word of God makes unbelievers face the music about themselves . . . and believers face the music about the awesomeness of God.

 

The Bible is different than any other book on any shelf in any library or bookstore.  The Bible is different in its . . . Inspiration (it is inspired by the Holy Spirit); it is different in its Operation (it is alive, it energizes, it sets us free & cleans us up); it is different in its Penetration (it awakens our spirit from our soul); and it is different in its Revelation (it reveals our intentions and motives).

 

These truths about God’s powerful Word should really get our attention!

 

The Bible deserves our careful consideration, our constant meditation, and complete application to our lives.  AND . . . God’s Word needs to be shared with those around us.

 

Where God’s Word is ignored or unknown, there is death and darkness.

 

Over 180 years ago, four Indians from west of the Rocky Mountains traveled all the way to St. Louis, MO, just to see General William Clark, who was the Superintendent of Indian Affairs.

 

Two of Indians died, due to exhaustion.  The two remaining Indians were treated with great fanfare  and given a tour of St. Louis.  They were taken to the Opera, symphony, theaters, and a local Catholic Cathedral.

 

For a while, it wasn’t clear what the purpose was for the Indians’ visit.  Finally, they revealed that they had heard of “The White Man’s Book of Life,” and had come to “hunt for it” and “to ask for teachers to be sent” to their tribe.

 

At the end of their visit in St. Louis, one of the Indians named Ta-Wis-Sis-Sim-Nim stood at a banquet and gave a farewell address. 

 

He said the following:

 

My people sent me to get the white man’s Book of Heaven.  You took me where you allow your women to dance, as we do not ours; and the Book was not there!  You took me to where they worship the Great Spirit with candles, and the Book was not there!  You showed me images of the Great Spirit and pictures of the Good Land beyond, but the Book was not among them to tell me the way.  I am going back the long trail to my people in the dark land.  You make my feet heavy with gifts, and my moccasins will grow old in carrying them, and yet the Book is not among them!  When I tell my people, after one more snow, in the big council, that I did not bring the Book, no word will be spoken by our old men or by our young braves.  One by one, they will rise up and go out in silence.  My people will die in darkness, and they will go a long path to other hunting grounds.  No white man will go with them, and no white man’s Book to make the way plain.  I have no more words.”  (The Indians parting speech was published in an 1833 issue of Christian Advocate and Journal. )

 

The good news is, over time, approximately 100 missionaries responded to the call of Native missions.

 

People today are still hungry for the guidance and living water found in the Word of God.  We must not be silent or grow weary in living AND in sharing the Word!

 

 

Evangelical Free Church of America

Statement of Faith

The Bible - We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, through the words of human authors.  As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged.  Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises. 

 

 

 

February 20, 2021

 

EFCA Statement of FAITH 

(Part 1 of 10)

 

The EFCA, Evangelical Free Church of America,  is an association of autonomous churches united around these theological convictions:

 

1. God - We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory.

 

Today, let’s look at the question:  WHO IS GOD?

 

Psalm 19:1-11 (NIV)

1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.  3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.  4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.  In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.  5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.  6 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.  7 The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.  The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.  8 The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.  The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.  9 The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.  The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.  10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.  11 By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

 

 

When David (the writer of this Psalm) looked up and saw how beautiful that God’s creation was, he burst into praise to God.

 

Down through the years humankind has wanted to know - Who is God?  What does God look like?  How does God feel about humankind?  What are God’s attributes?

 

Also, what is it that reveals God to us?  God is revealed to us in the Bible / nature / and Jesus Christ, the complete revelation of the Heavenly Father!

 

Jesus showed us, in his life here on earth, the kind of being that God is! Let’s look today at four important areas in this great doctrine of God.

 

1. The Personality of God

 

God is Spirit

 

Although God is very real, he’s not visible to us.  And, if God is real, he must have a form.  (This form is spiritual.)  We will never see the form of God the Creator / Father, until we get to heaven and see him face to face.

 

John 4:24 (NLT)

“For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

 

God is a person

 

God knows, feels, loves, hears prayers, speaks, and acts.  The Bible presents God as a person . . . a living God.  This does not mean that God is a human being.  It means that God possesses “personality” and that God is a rational Being with self-awareness.

 

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  9 As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

 

Like David, how can one look at God’s creation, and NOT believe in God?  That’s like sitting down to a wonderful home cooked meal, of ALL of your favorite things to eat, and chowing down until you cannot possibly eat another bite.  Loosening your belt and groaning in pain and delight, you ask your server to please give your thanks and compliments to the chef.  She looks at you, puzzled, and says, “Well, I’m glad that you enjoyed it so much.  But, there is no chef.”   And with that she turns and walks away!  Really?!

 

 

2. The Attributes of God

 

God is Holy

 

There are many instances in the Bible that show us God’s holiness.

 

1 Peter 1:15-16 (NIV)

15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written:  “Be holy, because I am holy.”

 

Isaiah 6:1-5 (NIV)

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.  2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings:  With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.  3 And they were calling to one another:  “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”  4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.  5 “Woe to me!” I cried.  “I am ruined!  For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

 

When Isaiah saw God, he cried out and hid his face.  We are ALL unclean before our Holy God.

God Is Eternal

 

Deuteronomy 33:27 (NIV)

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.  He will drive out your enemies before you, saying, “Destroy them!”

 

Isaiah 40:28 (NIV)

Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

 

God was around before the heavens and the earth and will be here when we have destroyed the earth.

 

 

God Is Omnipotent

 

Jeremiah 32:27 (NIV)

“I am the Lord, the God of all humankind.  Is anything too hard for me?”

 

Mark 10:27 (NIV)

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible,

but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

 

This means that God is all-powerful!  Those of us who subject ourselves to the will of God will be happy . . . but, whether we follow God’s will or not, we are subject to his authority / power / omnipotence.

 

 

God Is Omniscient

 

Psalm 139:4 (NIV)

Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.

 

This means God knows all things.  God can even take the evil acts of people and make them work out for good and for his glory.

 

Romans 8:28 (NIV)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

 

God Is Omnipresent

 

Psalm 139:7-10 (NIV)

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?  8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

This means that God is everywhere at all times . . . during the good and the bad and the most difficult of times!

 

God Is Great

 

God is great in creative power.  Look around.  Look at how complex the human body is, but God made us . . . with a thought and a word!

 

God is great in redemptive power.  Humankind was made in innocence, but sank down into sin.  Yet, God in his mighty redemptive powers saves us from our sin.  The only thing that can change us is God.

 

God is great in keeping power.  When God saves a person, there is no power strong enough to tear that person away from the Father’s love.

 

Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

 

God is sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.

 

That means:  God is free and bound by no limitations; he acts freely.  God’s power is unlimited.  God is highest above all and mightiest over all.  God sees all things and knows all things.  God is the author of universal order in matter, life, and mind.  And, God is present everywhere . . . all of the time!

 

God Is Loving

 

John 3:16-17 (NIV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

 

God’s love is shown in the gift of his Son to die for us.  Sacrifice is the greatest test of love, and God showed his love through the greatest sacrifice.

 

God’s love is also shown in his daily care . . . he is always watching over us.

 

God’s love is shown in his mercy towards sinners.  What mercy God has shown us!  If people would just realize how much God loves them, they would be a changed person.

 

 

3. The Present Relation Of God To The World And To Humankind

 

God Governs The Affairs Of The World

Colossians 1:15-17 (NIV)

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  16 For in him all things were created:  things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 

 

At times it seems that the world is nearing disaster, but God is still upon the throne, and still reigns over the universe.

 

God lifts up nations and cast others down according to his purpose.  In the Bible, God lifted up many nations . . . but when they went astray, he cast them down.

 

God Punishes Sin And Rewards Righteousness

 

Humankind cannot just do as we please - and get away with it . . . God punishes and rewards.

 

Proverbs 10:16 (NIV)

The wages of the righteous is life,
    but the earnings of the wicked are sin and death.

 

Romans 6:23 (NIV)

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God

is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

4. The Future Relation Of God To The World And To Humankind

 

God Will Be A Just Judge

 

Psalm 96:13 (NIV)

Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth.  He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness.

 

God Will Reward The Faithful And Punish The Sinful

 

Matthew 25:31-46 (NIV)

31 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.  34 Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”  37 Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”  40 The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”  41 Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”  44 They also will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?”  45 He will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”  46 Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

 

A Christian’s reward is HEAVEN!

 

A lost person’s punishment is HELL!

 

God Will Live Forever With His Children!

 

 

Evangelical Free Church of America

Statement of Faith

1. God - We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory.

 

 

February 6, 2021

 

Journey of FAITH 

(Part 6)

 

Last week we talked about the first step in receiving the type of faith the scriptures say can “move mountains.”  That first step is to trust that the Word of God WILL do what God says it will do.  (Remember, we talked about Noah trusting in God’s Word and acting on it in faith.)

 

Today, I want to talk about Abram - the man God chose to begin the great nation of Israel (through which Jesus would be born).  Abram also trusted in God’s Word!

 

Genesis 12:6-10 (NIV)

6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem.  At that time the Canaanites were in the land.  7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.”  So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him.  8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east.  There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD.  9 Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.  10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.

 

Just like Noah and Abram, we’re called by God! 

 

And, like Noah and Abram, God’s call on our life is not just about us.  God’s call requires us to make sacrifices; God’s call comes with promises; and, God’s call requires us to step out in blind faith - trusting only the Word of God.

 

Let’s refresh ourselves on the Biblical definition of FAITH:

 

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

 

When Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to him, he did so in FAITH.  He did not know where he was going . . . he went because God said so!

 

Thus began his journey with God.  Thus began the process of Abram becoming a great man of God, and becoming known through the ages as a man of great faith.  So how did this really happen?

 

We all, like Abram, begin our walk with God by faith.

 

Ephesians 2:8

For it is by grace you have been saved, faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God through faith

 

What I want us to see, through the life of Abram, are the various stages of faith.  YES!  We go through stages in our faith.  Look with me at a growing faith.

Having a growing faith means:

 

1. We Go Deeper

 

Deeper in what?  Abram moved deeper into the land God wanted to show him . . . deeper into what God had called him to.

 

Abram didn’t just go to the border, cross over it and then say, “I made it.  Pour the slab, get the bricks, build the house, we are here!” 

 

NO!  Abram went deeper.

 

Genesis 12:6 (NIV)

6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem.  At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 

 

We are NOT meant to stay on the fringe of faith - to stay on the outskirts of the abundant life. 

We need to be willing to go deeper into our walk with Christ, deeper into where he has called us to be.

 

Hebrews 6:1

Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity . . .

 

Listen to what Paul wrote:

 

1 Corinthians 3:1-4

1 Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people.  I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ.  2 I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger.  And you still aren’t ready, 3 for you are still controlled by your sinful nature.  You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other.  Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature?  Aren’t you living like people of the world?  4 When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world?

 

Paul had a problem with the behavior of the Church in Corinth, because they were more focused on the man giving the message than on the message of Jesus Christ!

 

They were stuck on their own salvation - unwilling to grow past just knowing they were saved and to educate themselves on the Word of God.  They did not understand that they don’t live by bread alone - which only supplies your flesh - they needed spiritual bread.  They needed the Word of God so they could grow spiritually!

 

You know what I think?  I think that we don’t want to go deeper in our walk / deeper in the Word, because it is going to make us aware of how unpopular it can make us.  Try it.  You’ll see!

 

The more we know, the more we are accountable for.  The deeper we dig into God’s Word, the more we see his desire for us to pursue holiness.

 

The deeper we go in our relationship with the Lord, the more we realize we are surrounded by the devil’s attacks.

 

Ephesians 6:12-13 (NIV)

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

 

Put on the whole armor of God.

 

If you don’t, you’re going to be walking around in swimming shorts - trying to put out spiritual forest fires!  You will NOT be unequipped for the job.

 

And remember, the deeper we go with Jesus, the more waves we are likely to cause.

 

Abram went as far down into Canaan as Shechem.  (This was about ¾ of the way through Canaan.)  What did Abram begin to realize?  That the Canaanites were still in the land . . . he was in the thick of them!

 

It’s interesting to me, that WE find comfort in the name of Shechem.  Shechem means ‘shoulder.’

 

There’s an email floating around in cyberspace that says the shoulder is the most important part of the body.  The shoulder is where we lay our head, when they need compassion . . . and where we cry on, when we’re really hurting.

 

When my grandson, Enzo, gets scared, or hurt, or is sad and I pick him up - he presses his face into my shoulder and puts his chubby little hand on my face, and he finds peace and security almost immediately.

 

It’s in times of pain, frustration, anxiety - when we have gone deeper in our calling, deeper into the fullness of knowing Christ - that we come to the shoulder of God for encouragement and compassion.

 

It is when we come to (Shechem) the shoulder of God that we realize God’s presence.

 

 

2. We Realize God’s Presence With Us

 

Genesis 12:7 (NIV)

7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.”  So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him. 

 

The fact that the Canaanites were in the land could be a problem for Abram.  The comfort is in the fact that God was also very present in Canaan.

 

Don’t forget for a minute that when God calls you somewhere, he is already there!  He goes before you, preparing your way to arrive. God is walking with you along the way.

 

Jesus said in the great commission . . .

 

Matthew 28:18-19 (NIV)

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations . . .

 

If we are going to make disciples, we’ve got to go deeper!  That means we have to be able to be surrounded by the things of this world, but not be in fear of them.  When we go deeper and experience the things around us that make us uncomfortable, we can truly feel the presence of God with us.

 

When God is present with us, it is for a reason.  He is doing a work around us.  Even in the midst of the wicked Canaanites, God was working and making promises to Abram . . .

 

Genesis 12:7 (NIV)

7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.”  So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him. 

 

God did NOT tell Abram how this would happen, but he was lead deeper into the calling of God.  (Abram was in the presence of God, so “how” is not important to Abram.)

 

How is God going to bring the promises for your life to pass?  I don’t know.  You don’t either.  We are not supposed to know all of the how’s with God.  We are to continue growing in our faith, going deeper with God, and realizing his presence in our life . . . and then do what Abram did.

 

 

3. We Worship God

 

Genesis 12:7 (NIV)

7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.”  So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him. 

 

Part of growing in our faith means that we have genuine worship

 

Abram provides a good example of what worship is:

  • Praising God for who he is.  (God called Abram out of the idolatry of his home land.)

 

  • Praising God for what he has done.  (God brought Abram safe so far, showing him the land he said he would, in his faithfulness.)

 

  • Praising God for what he is going to do.  (7 . . . “To your offspring I will give this land.” )  

 

How many of us truly worship the Lord today?  Too many times we alter our worship, because of our busyness / laziness . . . instead of just building an altar and worshipping.

 

An altar is a memorial to God for his faithfulness.  Your life should be the altar you build . . . a living memorial to God for his faithfulness!

 

Our attitudes, our actions, our songs, our prayers, our testimonies, and our meditation on the Word of God - should all be reflective of God’s faithfulness.  What I mean is, all those things should reflect Who God is and what he has done, and what he will do in our lives.

 

when we take time to worship God, we are able to continue to go deeper into his calling.

 

We’ve been in his presence, reassured he is fulfilling his promises to us, and reassured of his faithfulness to continue fulfilling those promises.

 

Abram did this . . .

 

Genesis 12:8-9 (NIV)

8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east.  There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD.  9 Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev. 

 

He moved on . . . worshipped . . . moved on!

 

When we are growing in our faith, we find ourselves going deeper with God and following his lead into spiritual depths that we once only imagined!

 

As we begin to realize how God’s presence is abiding with us, he reveals himself to us in new and fresh ways. And, as a result of all that, we begin to genuinely worship the Lord!

 

This should be a continuous cycle in the life of EVERYFOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST who is growing in their faith!

 

Is this evident in your life today?

 

Do you have a growing faith?

 

 

 

January 30, 2021

 

Journey of FAITH 

(Part 5)

 

Some of the roadblocks to our faith growing, which we have talked about the past few weeks, include unforgiveness, not reading God’s Word, and not being thankful.

 

Today, I want to talk about Biblical Faith - what the Bible says faith is, and the different levels of faith.

 

Genesis 6:6-13 (NIV)

6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.  7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created - and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground - for I regret that I have made them.”  8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.  9 This is the account of Noah and his family.  Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.  10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.  11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.  12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.  13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them.  I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.”

 

The New Testament was originally written in Greek,  and the Greek word for faith in the Bible is pistis.”Pistis” (faith) simply means trust.

 

I believe there are steps to having the type of faith that can move mountains.  And, each of these steps take us to the next step - and our faith will grow. 

 

with greater faith . . . WE can better serve the Lord!

 

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