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Archive for the ‘Christian Living’ Category

From my sermon yesterday on Luke 12:31-34 …

Look, Jesus is not against investing. He’s against bad investing.

So, an Armani-suited, rolex-wearing, slick-haired man comes up to you and says, “I have an investment opportunity for you. Listen to this. Take all you have and I’ll invest it for you and you will lose every penny of it … and your house … and your car … and your clothes … and your beauty. All of it.” Now the Bible says this: “16 Be not afraid when a man becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases. 17 For when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not go down after him.” (Psalm 49:16-17)

And another man dressed in rags with bleeding hands and a bleeding side with a crown of thorns comes up to you and says, “I have an investment opportunity for you. Give me all you have and I’ll invest it for you and you will receive 100 times back what you gave me. 100 Times.” Now the Bible says this: “29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)

Now, which one of those men do we believe?

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From my sermon on Luke 12:22-31 …

Now, if we are not careful, right here, you can totally turn Jesus’ message upside-down. Let me show you what I mean. Look at vv29-31 again and zero in on the word “seek.” “29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”

Do you see the point? The reason God does not want us to seek (set our heart on) – chase, pursue, obsess over, run after, worry about these things is because he wants us to seek, chase, pursue, obsess over, run after the kingdom of God. Beloved, God is not saying, “Don’t worry about these things because I will provide for you so that you will have great emotional health and stability and a peaceful, easy feeling and a comfortable life – so that you can ‘eat, drink, and be merry’ (v19).” If we use these words of Jesus just to bring us earthly comfort, use to ease our mind, … and we stop right there, we’ve missed it – totally missed it! We will have turned this teaching on its head and used it to seek our own kingdom instead of God’s.

But can’t we see what Jesus is saying: “I don’t want you to worry about these things. I’ll provide these things for you. Why? So that you can focus on me, on seeking my kingdom, on seeking me, on living for me.”

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From Sunday’s sermon on covetousness, Luke 12:13-15:

Beloved, I have no rules for you today. And in fact, the NT does not give a lot of rules concerning giving or investing or keeping or tithing. Basically it says, “Be generous. Give lavishly to others. Don’t keep it but give it away. And when you give, give willingly and cheerfully.” It doesn’t say you have to tithe but I think it assumes you will and you should and that a tithe (10% of your income) would be a good starting point. So, 2 Cor. 9:7 says you should give what you have determined in your heart but do so, not begrudgingly, but cheerfully. And see, if your heart is not right, right there you are thinking, “Oh, I don’t have to give 10%. I can give whatever I want, whatever I decide in my heart. I can give 1%.” See, if that’s you, you’ve missed it. The issue is your heart. Look, some of you, all you can give to the church or to others is 10%. You can’t really pay your bills if you go more than that. But for some of you, 90% is way more than you need to live on. You could give more than 10%. You should give more. We’ll look at this more but the point is, we have to look at our hearts – When you think about money and possessions, are you looking to give the minimum you can and still be a good Christian? Is this the question going on in your heart: “What’s the least I can give and still be godly?” Or, “What’s the most I can keep and still be godly?” It’s a heart issue. Jesus wants to deal with that.

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An excerpt from yesterday’s sermon on Luke 11:29-32:

This is the question: Is God’s Word enough? Do you believe it is enough? If you do, then you’ll live by it’s wisdom and turn from sin to obey it. Perhaps Jesus was suggesting this with his two illustrations. Maybe that bit about Solomon was Jesus’ way of saying: “Look, if you want to know what it looks like to respond in the right way to me, it looks like seeking the wisdom of God no matter how much it costs you.” [That thought came from Lig Duncan.] The Queen of Sheba traveled 1000 miles to hear God’s wisdom come from the mouth of God’s servant Solomon. Friend, how far do you have to travel? How far is it to your Bible? To your church? To your Bible Study? How difficult would it be to listen to sermons online? How hard would it be to read solid books on truth and living according to the Bible? To pump God’s truth into your heart? How hard would it be to change your life based on the wisdom of God’s Word? To order your life around His Word? Those are questions worth asking. Here’s another question worth asking: Will the Queen of the South rise up at the judgment to condemn you because you would not seek God’s wisdom?

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I’ve adapted the following statements from my “Counseling in the Local Church” course syllabus. This may make you see yourself and your life in a different way:

  • You are a counselor/discipler, whether or not you think of yourself as one.
  • You are a counsel/disciplee, whether or not you think of yourself as one.
  • 99.9% of life-influence counseling/discipleship does not take place in the professional counselor’s office.
  • Counseling/discipleship takes place in everyday life: every day, in every life. In fact, everyday life is counseling/discipleship.
  • Your words influence others for good or ill. Your actions influence others for good or ill.
  • You are similarly influenced by others.

What kind of counselor or disciples are you? How wise or foolish are you? Who has God call you to help? What are your opportunities to help others change into God’s image?

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1 Thess 2:1-8 1 For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. 3 For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, 4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

How can you declare the gospel and it not be in vain?

1. Declare the gospel with boldness, even if it will be opposed. (v2)

2. Declare the gospel accurately. (v3)

3. Declare the gospel without adding to it or taking away from it so as to add impurities to it. (v3)

4. Declare it honestly, with no attempt to deceive. (v3)

5. Declare it as a steward entrusted with a precious treasure. (v4)

6. Declare it so as to please the One who entrusted it to you, not those who will hear it. (v4)

7. Declare it so as not to flatter men (which would please them – see #6). (v5)

8. Declare it not for financial gain. (v5)

9. Declare it not for the praises of men. (v6)

10. Declare it plainly, boldly, but gently and lovingly. (vv7-8)

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1 Cor 15:1-2 1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

First, we are to be reminded of the gospel. How can we forget and yet how easily we forget? We return to our performance as the basis of our right standing with God. We return to our vomit – the vomit of our sin and self. We return to the world. We forget how they make us pay and how Jesus paid it all.

Second, we are to preach the gospel. It is by the foolish act of preaching that people are saved. Someone told you about Jesus. Someone told me. Somebody opened their mouth and spoke what they knew.

Third, we are to receive the gospel. It is by the simply act of receiving Christ that we are saved. It is by looking unto Him. It is a free gift. It is to be received.

Fourth, we are to stand in the gospel. Once you receive Christ, it is not over. Stand! Stand by faith. Stand for Christ. Stand against the world, your flesh, and Satan. Stand like a good soldier. Stand with your feet firmly planted on the gospel.

Fifth, we are being saved by the gospel. It’s not merely that you were saved at some point. It’s not merely that you will be saved at some point. But right now you are being saved – being saved from the penalty and power of sin. You sinned today. OK. That’s not good but you are being saved right now from that sin, from it’s penalty (There is no condemnation!) and from it’s power (Sin shall no longer have dominion over you).

Sixth, we are to hold fast to the word. The word of Christ no doubt. Don’t let it go. Don’t forsake the one who gave himself for you. If you forsake him that means you went to someone else. Who? Why? Hold on to Jesus by faith. Storms can howl and trials may assail you, but you hold on.

Seventh, we are not to believe the gospel in vain. We can believe in a false way, a wrong way, the kind of way that uses God for his gifts and not Himself, the kind of way that let’s go of God when things get difficult, the kind of way that betrays your disappointment that God did not let you keep your idols or the trouble-free life you wanted. Don’t believe in vain! Stand fast! Hold fast! Receive Him again today.

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