Sunday, July 14, 2019

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT Part 1


YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT Part 1
“Rhythm of Life” Series

CONNECT I was visiting with a friend the other day and we got to talking about food. Is anyone surprised? He asked me, “What is the most expensive meal you ever ate”? I have been privileged to eat at some fancy places, from Murray’s in St. Paul Minnesota to The Broadmore in Colorado Springs, Colorado to the Riu Resort in Cabo San Lucas.

One meal I particularly remember was at the Three Forks Steak House in Dallas. It was at least six courses: appetizer, soup, salad, steak and lobster, dessert, and coffee. The total bill for our party of 16 was close to $1,000! I’m so glad I didn’t have to pick up the check!

TENSION Many people today are frustrated with their Christian life, or rather, their ability to live the Christian life.

SOLUTION Today I want to talk about the main reason for spiritual frustration and some things that can remedy the situation.

INSTRUCTION This summer we have been talking about finding a spiritual rhythm in life.  Last week we talked about feeding our spirit man. Whatever we feed will dominate us. If we want to grow our spirit we must feed our spirit! The truth is that “you are what you eat”!

Peter lays out a pretty good spiritual feast to grow our inner man!

TEXT 2 Peter 1:2-4 (NKJV) Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

APPLICATION 2 Peter 1:5-7 (NKJV) But also for this very reason, giving all diligence (daily and consistently), add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.

Let’s look closer at each course in Peter’s eight course feast! This is not a buffet where you eat what you want and leave the rest; this is an elegant dinner party where each course is built on what came before.

Faith. This is the beginning point. Until you put your faith in Jesus, you cannot understand what God is up to.

1 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJV) But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Until you are born again, your spirit is dead and cannot be fed. Some never grow because they have never been birthed.

John 3:3 (NKJV) Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

So, the primary question that must be asked and answered is: Have you been born again? Have you ever put your faith and trust in Jesus?

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

So, I seek to begin every counseling and discipleship opportunity with this query: Are you born again? Are you really saved? Tell me about it. I do this because I know there will be no lasting victory if a person is not saved.

Matthew 12:43-45 (NKJV) When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.

I have seen so many people who are frustrated with the Christian life and their inability to live it out. The only person that has ever lived the Christian life is Jesus! Unless He lives through us, the Christian life is impossible!

Galatians 2:20 (NKJV) I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

WHAT ARE YOU FEEDING?

WHAT ARE YOU FEEDING?
“Rhythm of Life” Series

CONNECT Sometime ago I was reading an article about a Chinese family who adopted a stray puppy. It was so cute and playful. But it had a voracious appetite and within several weeks was eating several pounds of fruit and noodles everyday. It grew so large that they had to build an enclosure in their yard to house the still friendly animal. They called the vet to check out this unusual dog and discovered their puppy was not a dog at all, but a rare Asiatic black bear! They wanted to keep it, but realized it would eventually threaten their lives.

TENSION Many of us are feeding a cute little animal in our heart that will one day become a raging beast that will control us and could destroy us!

SOLUTION We need to be feeding our spirits and not our flesh and souls. The question is, how do we feed our spirits?

TEXT Galatians‬ ‭6:7-10‬ ‭(NKJV)‬‬ Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

INSTRUCTION There is a Biblical law called ’sowing and reaping’.

Genesis‬ ‭8:22‬ ‭(NKJV)‬‬ While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Psalms‬ ‭126:5-6‬ ‭(NKJV)‬‬ Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

2 Corinthians‬ ‭9:6‬ ‭(NKJV)‬‬ But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Galatians‬ ‭6:8‬ ‭(NKJV)‬‬ For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

We feed our spirits with the Word of God!

1 Peter‬ ‭2:2‬ ‭(NKJV)‬‬ as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

We feed our spirits through Holy Spirit led prayer!

Jude‬ ‭1:20‬ ‭(NKJV)‬‬ But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

We feed our spirits by going into more in-depth understanding of the Word of God! We can’t live our entire life just on milk! In fact, a Christian nutritionist told me that the adult human body cannot digest milk after the age of 6.

1 Corinthians‬ ‭3:1-2‬ ‭(NKJV)‬‬ And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able;‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

So we need to move on to deeper things. What are they?

Hebrews‬ ‭6:1-3‬ ‭(NKJV)‬‬ Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

God gives us a series of growth steps that lays out a pretty good discipleship process.

2 Peter 1:2-4 (NKJV) Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

APPLICATION 2 Peter 1:5-7 (NKJV) But also for this very reason, giving all diligence (daily and consistently), add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.

1. Faith. This is the beginning point. Until you are born again, your spirit is dead and cannot be fed. Ephesians 2 says we dead in trespasses and sins.

2. Virtue. This is the inward witness of the conscience we talked about last week. We can walk in the Spirit.

3. Knowledge. A general and deeper understanding of God and His ways. Israel knew God’s acts but Moses knew His ways. Hosea said God’s people are destroyed by a lack of knowledge. Tools: Bible, Concordance, Dictionaries, Commentaries, Cross references. Can all be done now on our phones.

4. Self-control. Paul told Timothy‬ ‭that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (discipline, self-control).‬‬‬‬‬‬

5. Perseverance. If we endure to the end we will be saved.

6. Godliness. Do people see God in me? We are being changed into His image from one degree of glory to another.

7. Brotherly kindness, brotherly love, philadelphia.

8. Love, agape, unconditional love.

INSPIRATION 2 Peter 1:8-11 (NKJV) For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

MINISTRY TIME

Saturday, June 22, 2019

A BATTLE I CAN WIN


A BATTLE I CAN WIN
“The Rhythm of Life” Series
Oscar Wilde, the Irish playwright said in Lady Windermere’s Fan, “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it; I can resist anything except temptation.”
This may be the experience of all of us at one time or another as we walk in “The Rhythm of Life”. But the Bible promises us a different reality.
2 Peter 2:9 (NKJV) The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,
1 Corinthians 10:12–13 (NKJV) Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Sometimes there is an elephant in the room with us. There is something we struggle with. We all struggle; we all have areas where we fight. That area may be different for each of us.
Today, I want to talk about temptation. It could be pride, immorality, porn or some other addiction, anger, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, the lists are long and varied. Let’s read just one of them in the Bible.
Galatians 5:19–21 (NKJV) Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like (gluttony, laziness, waste, etc); of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
I think that about covers it for most of us. If your particular struggle was not listed, just call me and I’ll give you some more!
I want to answer some questions about temptation and then apply the tools we looked at in the first talk in this series.
Is temptation sin?
No. It has been said that you can’t stop birds from flying over your head but you can stop them from building a nest in your hair! But temptation is the beginning point of a downward spiral that will result in death if not stopped. An outward trigger produces a thought; if we sow the thought we reap a temptation; if we sow the temptation we reap a sin; if we sow the sin we reap a habit; if we sow the habit we reap a stronghold; if we sow the stronghold we reap a demonic oppression.
Where does temptation come from?
James 1:13–15 (NKJV) Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Temptation comes from our own desires, our own drives. Temptation is the desire to fulfill a God-given drive in the wrong way or the wrong time.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV) To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NKJV) He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
Proverbs 14:12 (NKJV) There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
Song of Solomon 8:4 (NKJV) I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.
Peter Lord: God gave us drives, hunger drive, thirst drive, sex drive, justice drive, compassion drive, etc. Those drives were impacted by the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. This is what it means to be totally depraved. Every area of our being, spirit, soul, and body, has been affected.
Illustrations: someone getting splashed with muddy water; me falling off the stage…
So, we go through life with these drives that are out of balance and the enemy plays on them.
Where do we win the battle?
2 Corinthians 6:12 (NKJV) You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.
Paul is saying that our affections, our emotional attachment to something brings us into bondage.
The battle is not in our body; it wants what it wants all the time. Yet, the body obeys the will. The battle with sin is in our soul: our mind, our will, and our emotions. But the soul is only the battlefield; we don’t win with our mind or will or emotions. We win with our spirit! Victory comes by living out of our spirit.
Romans 8:5–6 (NKJV) For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
2 Corinthians 10:3–6 (NKJV) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
Galatians 5:16 (NKJV) I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Colossians 2:20–23 (NKJV) Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using— according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
Now let’s put this all into action!
How do we win the battle?
Let’s remember our theme verse for this series…
Psalms 119:133 (NKJV) Direct (order) my steps by Your word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me.
And our two application verses…
2 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
In battling temptation, the second verse is most applicable. The Word divides our soul from our spirit. It separates our mind, will, and emotions from the faculties of our spirit: conscience, intuition, and communion.
The Process
Our body, our flesh, is longing for the desire to be satisfied. Remember, it wants what it wants. That’s all it knows.
Our soul is operating also. Our emotions long for fulfillment; our mind is justifying the behavior; and our will is making a decision one way or the other.
If our spirit does not rule us, we will fail. When we are tempted our spirit is instantly alerted. Our conscience sends out a warning signal that this is sin. Our intuition immediately begins to instruct us as to why this is wrong. And God speaks through our communion faculty about the way of escape!
We must become might in spirit! When our spirit rules us, the soul becomes a tool of the spirit. The mind applies the truth of the Word (doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction); the emotions delight after the law of God; and the will makes the body yield to right action!
Some final thoughts…
Our drives have been made new by salvation. They can be directed to find fulfillment in God alone. Here is a couple of examples.
Psalms 40:8 (NKJV) I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.
Matthew 5:6 (NKJV) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Another practical application
Alba has trained her teachers and talked to our parents about “Spirit Directed Discipline”. I want her to come and briefly share about it.
Ministry Time