Category Archives: Family

How To Walk Worthy of Your Calling


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In our series on Discovering the Church we have looked at four pictures of the church. We have seen the church as a family and the goal is maturity.  We also saw the church as a field – the goal being the quantity of our fruitfulness. We have seen the church as a building the temple in which God dwells and the goal here is quality! Last week we saw the church as a body and the goal is unity.

The church is a called out assembly (ecclessia) of people who share one thing in common – faith in Jesus Christ for the salvation of their souls. Those of us who are in the church are there because God sought us and called us out! So how do we live up to our calling as the body of Christ and walk in unity?  This brings us to our text for today, Ephesians 4:16:

In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”

  • The Person – I. He is the founder of the church
  • The Promise – Will
  • The Process – Build
  • The Possession – My. Jesus is the owner of the church, he is the Head of the Church.
  • The Product – Church
  • The Power – the gates of hell will not overcome the church!

The book of Ephesians is about what the Father is doing: In the Heavenlies – Through the Church – In Christ – By His Spirit – For His glory – forever (3.21)

What He is doing through the church is calling and redeeming a group of people and:
• Forming them into a Body for His Son to lead (1.22-23)
• Building them into a Temple for Himself (2.21-22)

So that by the Church which is His body and temple, He can:

• Display His grace, kindness, power and wisdom
• Dwell in her fully in such a way that all of this results in the praise of His glory!

In Chapters 1-3 Paul explains what we must “know” about what God is doing in through the church. Now in Chapters 4-6 he explains what we must do based upon what we know!

In Chapter 4.1 Paul beseeches us to “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.”

  • Walk – speaks of our way of life, conduct. A constant and consistent manner of living
  • Worthy – corresponding to. This word is used of the balance beam on a scale. Put something on one side, put something on the other side that will equal or balance it.

Let me be abundantly clear at this point: Conduct does not precede conversion!

Phil. 1:27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,

This morning we want to consider how we can walk worthy of our calling in the church. The main thought of this section is found in v1 & 3:

“Walk worthy of the calling (1.1,3-6,11,2.5-6) with which you were called… endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

A walk worthy of our calling in the church is one that maintains the unity of the Spirit. In our text Paul gives three ways to walk worthy of our calling in unity in the church.

YOU WALK WORTHY WHEN YOU REFLECT THE CHARACTER OF GOD IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE. (2)

Forbearance

To endure, to kindly tolerate. William Barclay describes this attitude as what you would see in an old dog being pestered by a smaller, younger puppy.

Romans 2:4  Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

We express this when we are wronged, when others have an unreasonable complaint or grievance or quarrel with us:

  • We are to put up with those who complain against us
  • We are to put up with those who irritate us
  • We are to put up with those who argue against us.
  • We are to put up with those who sometimes attack us.
  • We do all this because God has rooted and grounded us in love! (3.17)
  • We will have to love one another enough to put up with each other when we are irritated by someone else in the body!

Long-suffering

Long-suffering means to bear under for a long time, to delay wrath, to not break forth with angry words or violent deeds.

1 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

We are to patiently endure these difficult people in the way God patiently and graciously endures wicked rebellious men over a long period of time. (Ga5:22)

We must respond to those who irritate us with long-suffering, we do not respond with resentment or retaliation.

Gentleness

Reluctance to avenge wrongs. To suffer long will require that we develop a gentle and controlled response at all times toward others.

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

Lowliness

This gentleness requires that we think biblically about ourselves this is the essence of humility.  Lowliness was a degrading term in Greek culture used to refer to a groveling servant.  This term was taken by Christians to represent a distinctly Christian virtue.

Two examples:

  • Jesus – I did not come to be served but to serve…
  • Paul – “a bondslave of Jesus Christ…

To rightly esteem other people in the body and their opinions and ideas as more important than your own.  All this because we love them!

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

YOU WALK WORTHY WHEN YOU BELIEVE IN THE GOD OF THE BIBLE (4-6)

This “one body” – the visible church (1.23) has a theological foundation. It is founded upon spiritual truth – doctrine!

One Spirit (4)

It is the Holy Spirit that gives life to the body. That Spirit is the soul of the body without Whom the body cannot exist.

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.

The Spirit is the pledge of our inheritance (1.14)

One Lord (5)

One Jesus Christ – to whom all true Christians owe allegiance.  There is one faith in one Lord unites all believers. There is one baptism by water is the external seal of incorporation into Christ’s body

This includes all people of every race, color, language, background, both Jew and Gentile.

Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

One Father (6)

There are not many gods but one true God and Father of all – all speaking of His paternal relationship through creation (1Co.8:5-6).

  • Above all – He reigns over all
  • Through all – In His creative activity
  •  In you all – He is everywhere present. Specifically he dwells in those who have trusted Him through His Spirit.

1 Corinthians 8:5-6 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.

YOU WALK WORTHY WHEN YOU ARE DOING THE WORK OF MINISTRY (7-16)

People – Equipping by gifted men (7-12a)

  • Apostles and prophets – laid the foundation of the church (2.20).  A foundation is laid only one time.  Jesus is the cornerstone for that foundation.
  • Evangelists are the missionaries who pioneer outreach in areas where the gospel has not yet been proclaimed.
  • Pastor-Teachers are the shepherds of the flock, teachers of the Word. Speaks of local church ministry.

Process (12)

Pastors perfect > Saints serve > Body builds

Product (12c-16)

Equipping results in spiritual maturity (12c-13,15)

The body of Christ is built up (12c). Each one comes to the Unity of the faith – This is a goal to be reached

The depth of a church is determined by the quality of worship and instruction. The breadth of a church is determined by its commitment to fellowship and evangelism.

This unity will come with an increasing knowledge of Christ. In this way the church comes to maturity. Individualism is seen as a mark of immaturity. “Perfect man” – manhood.  To the full measure of perfection found in Christ. When a baby is born the head is unusually large in comparison to the rest of the body, as it develops the body grows in due proportion to the head.

Spiritual Maturity produces spiritual stability (14-15)

We are to abandon childish attitudes. We are to grow out of childish instability in what we believe. We no longer are tossed around by every wind and wave of doctrine. We are no longer susceptible to the deceit and craftiness of false prophets. We understand there is no unity in compromise, there is no unity in false teaching. The church cannot allow falsehood to go uncorrected yet the truth is vindicated in accents of love (15)

Spiritual stability results in spiritual service (16,12b)

The aim of these ministries is the equipping of all God’s people for service. (12b) Christ is the One out of whom all Christians grow. As each part works properly the whole body is supported in the way it needs. We must be what we are in the body, not for ourselves but for the benefit of the other members of the body.

“Half-hearted Christians are the most miserable people of all. They know enough about God to feel guilty, but they haven’t gone far enough with Christ to be happy.” – Ortland

It is time to grow to maturity!

Each of us would do us well to place ourselves on God’s scale to see if we are walking worthy of our calling. May we “endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” This means we must collectively work hard and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Do you need to commit to growing up spiritually – to maturing in the body of Christ so that you do your part in supporting the other members of the body.

Download the mp3 audio for this message here.

Download the .pdf notes for Walk Worthy Of Your Calling

The Church Is A Family


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Nothing brings more joy than the birth of a child.  The goal a family has for a child is not just that a child is born, but it is to see the child grow to maturity and to live a productive life. There is great joy in watching the early development of a baby – the first smile, crawl, standing, walking, or their first word.

There is great sorrow when a baby doesn’t grow normally.  What is cute about a newborn is a cause for concern and sorrow if after a year the child has not developed past the newborn stage.  And that is how Paul feel in our text today.  At a time when these spiritual children should have shown signs of growth and maturity, he was concerned that they could not eat solid spiritual food.  They were still immature and required the milk of the word.

Babies have strong desires, they want whatever they want, and they want it now.  Babies serve their own desires with no thought of the consequences or the future.  This is why they require constant care!

As we continue in our series on Discovering The Church, today we look at the first of three Pictures of the Church.  In our text today, the church is pictured as a family and the goal is maturity. (1 Corinthians 3:1-4)

In our series thus far we have defined the church as “a called out assembly of believers.”  Today we want enlarge on that definition just a bit.

The church is a community of faithful believers, of whom Christ Jesus is the head, called out of the world and empowered by the Holy Spirit to bear witness of His grace and glory.

The church is first mentioned by Christ in Matthew 16:18… “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”

  • I – Person = Jesus Christ Himself takes responsibility for the building of the church.
  • Will – Promise = Jesus Christ makes a promise concerning the church that cannot be denied, a promise that will not fail.
  • Build – Process = Jesus Christ will build the church, it is based upon the foundation of Jesus Christ himself, built up with every person who puts faith in Christ for salvation.
  • My – Possession = It is His church! He is the owner of the church, He is the founder of the church.  The church is not owned by a pastor, or a denomination or a body of people… he is the owner of the church!
  • Church – Product = This is what Christ is building, a church in which His Spirit will dwell.
  • The gates of hell will not prevail – Power = Religions can march against it, Satan can throw his forces at it, but the church will be triumphant. Even the gates of hell cannot withstand the advance of the church.

The reason the church exists is to reflect God’s glory in the world and before the angels, and to bear witness of Him among the nations.

God’s glory is reflected through God’s children who have grown to spiritual maturity in their walk with Christ.  It is clear in our text that it is possible to remain a spiritual infant, so how can we grow to maturity in our spiritual life?

THE CONDITION OF SPIRITUAL IMMATURITY (1)

Babies are immature in their development (1b).

Newborn babies are expected to be immature, but they are constantly moving toward maturity. Babies demand constant attention from their parents.  You speak to babies simply and authoritatively.

A true pastor must have a servant’s heart. It is his responsibility to feed the spiritual children. But the goal is there should come a time in maturity that they feed themselves and begin to feed others.

Acts 20:28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

Babies are unable to discern (1a).

Babies put everything into their mouth (2:14). At this point the saved and the unsaved can look a lot alike.  Paul could not speak to them as to spiritual people – They had been saved, some of them for several years yet were still babies spiritually.  Spiritually immature Christians cannot easily discern truth, what is good or bad for them.  That was certainly the case in this church!  They were filled with pride in their ignorance (4:18), There was immorality in the church (Ch. 5); They were misusing and misunderstanding the purpose of spiritual gifts (Ch. 12-14) and the had embraced a false teaching concerning the resurrection (Ch.15).

Babies are unable to digest meat (2a)

Word of God is our spiritual food.  Consider the word pictures for the Word of God in Scripture:

Milk –  I Pt 2:2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby

Bread – Mt. 4:4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’

Meat – Heb. 5:11-14 of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Honey – Ps. 119:103 How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Deformity affects our diet.  To drink spiritual milk is to focus on the simple things, the stories of Scripture. To eat meat is to partake of doctrines, focuses on the truths.

An immature believer knows the facts but not the truths, He lives on Bible stories, not Bible doctrines.

THE CAUSES OF SPIRITUAL IMMATURITY (1-3a)

The two enemies of spiritual growth:

The first enemy of spiritual growth is the World.

“Worldliness is having our heart and mind shaped by the values of the world so that we engage in its sinful pleasures and pursue earthly treasures” – Doran.

Worldliness is much more than bad habits (drinking, disco), it is a way of thinking and believing.  Worldliness is looking to the world for our standards, attitudes, and meaning in life. Worldliness is accepting the world’s definitions, measuring sticks and goals.

The second enemy of spiritual growth is the Flesh.

Someone who is carnal or fleshly is one who serves their selfish human nature. They were controlled by their own sinful desires.  They were influenced by the world.

Sit two babies on the floor together surrounded by a multitude of toys and it won’t be long before they are screaming and crying because one baby is grabbing the toy that another baby is holding.  This is a great illustration of our selfish human nature!

Selfishness is the best word to describe our flesh. Sin of Adam, like that of Satan, centered upon setting his own will and desires against God’s.  Sins of the world and of the flesh are interrelated. The Corinthians had spurned the solid food because they were worldly.

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF SPIRITUAL IMMATURITY (3b-4)

Jealousy is the attitude

Jealousy is a severe form of selfishness.  It is begrudging someone else what we wish were ours i.e. Possessions, position – honor, power – authority. ILL: Ahab and Naboth’s vineyard. (I Kn. 21). Selfishness is one of the most obvious characteristics of babyhood. Jealousy and strife are always found in an immature church

A mature Christian practices selflessness.

Ro. 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;

Strife is the action

When our heart is full of jealousy it will always exhibit itself in strife.

Ro. 13:13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

Strife is the outward expression of selfishness. What is in the heart will come out the mouth.

Mt. 12:33“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

3. A mature Christian practices love!

I Jn. 3:23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.

Division is the end

Division can only occur when there is selfishness. Immaturity focuses on the teacher instead of the teaching (4) and is willing to divide and argue over the teacher rather than the truth.

James 4:1-2 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.

When immature Christians, w/o spiritual discernment, get into places of leadership in the church the result is disastrous. Age is no guarantee of spiritual maturity

Mature Christian practices unity! (Ps. 133:1; Eph. 4:3)

THE CURE FOR SPIRITUAL IMMATURITY

Good food (Lk. 4:14; I Tim. 4:6-8)

Hear the Word and respond in obedience to that Word.  Following Jesus happens one step at a time.  You will grow no further than your last “no.”

Ps. 119:105 Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path!

Healthy exercise (Gal. 5:16-24)

Study the Word, spend time every day in prayer and meditation on what God is showing you in His Word. Practice what you are learning.  In other words it is not enough just to attend a service and hear a message, or to read the Bible and then go on about your life.  Spiritual exercise involves intentionally putting what you have learned into practice.

Regular rest

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

The development of children illustrates the way we are to grow spiritually. From Newborn > Child > Man > Mature > Equipped.

2 Tim. 3:14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

How much influence do your desires have over your life? The Corinthians had not grown in faith because they were influenced by their own desires and acting like the world around them.  Paul lamented, “Are you not carnal, behaving like mere men?” (3c)

God has a higher expectation for us. We are to mature into the likeness of Christ!

Ephesians 4:12-13 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—

The church is a family!  The goal in this family is spiritual maturity!  Where are you in your growth?

Maybe you have been on the sidelines listening and evaluating what is being taught week after week.  Your next step is to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and believe in Him.  This is called the new birth… this is where spiritual life begins!  Won’t you come to Jesus today for forgiveness and salvation?

Once you have been born into God’s family through faith in Jesus God’s goal for you as His child is maturity!  It’s time to go on with Christ, it’s time to grow in Christ!

Download Church Is A Family, here.

I Am The Door


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Owners of the house come through the door! If you see someone climbing through the bathroom window in the dark of night – its a pretty good possibility that its either your teenager trying to sneak home after curfew or it is a thief!

We moved to Kitwe in May 1993 and moved to a house on Lukanga Drive. One morning in late November I woke, and walked down the hall toward the kitchen. As soon as I opened the door to the main part of the house I knew that we had been visited by thieves. The dining window was pried open and the burglar bars broken and twisted back. Our few possessions had been ransacked and anything deemed valuable was gone – tools, office equipment, kitchen wares. I was particularly angry when I saw my Bible and family devotional lying in a puddle outside the broken window.

Thieves didn’t break in out of love for us.

They didn’t come to bless or encourage us.

They came to steal. They came to take what didn’t belong to them for their own selfish purposes. They were thieves and that is what thieves do!

That is exactly who these religious leaders of Israel were: thieves and robbers!

They were false shepherds! They had demonstrated that by the way that they treated the blind man who Jesus healed (9:34). This man had experienced an unprecedented healing and had come to the obvious conclusion – this man Jesus came from God! No one could heal one born blind unless he came from God. The Scribes and Pharisees cast him out of the temple – excommunicated him – for saying so!

Jesus now points out obvious conclusions about these men! They are false shepherds!

Our text in John 10:1-10 Jesus draws undeniable conclusions regarding the religious leaders of Israel. The sheepfold in our text speaks of the nation of Israel and specifically Judaism.

How do you know who is a true shepherd of the sheep? The Shepherd comes to the sheep though the door. The shepherd knows the sheep and the sheep respond to their voice and follow the shepherd.

THE PURPOSE OF THE DOOR (1-5)

In ancient Palestine the sheep fold was usually made of piles of stones in a circular or share fashion with thorn branches around the top. Sometimes the fold was made from weaving together thorn branches. There was one doorway into the fold. Shepherds would bring their flocks together in one common pen such as this for the night. One of the shepherds would build a fire and lay out his bedroll and sleep across the opening of the pen. Anyone, or anything going in our out would have to pass through him.

Thieves targeting the flock would sneak up and try to break through the enclosure to steal the sheep, or slaughter one or two.

The owner of the sheep had rightful access to the fold and to the sheep. In the morning the shepherd would enter the fold and call out to his sheep. The sheep who belonged to him would respond to his voice and gather together to follow him out to the pasture.

The door is protection for the sheep (1)

Sheep are weak creatures! Sheep cannot fend for themselves, they need someone to look after them all the time. They need protection.

Mt. 9:36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.

Sheep are simple creatures! You can teach dogs tricks and you can train horses but not sheep! They are pack animals and easily get lost. One sheep will follow another, and if one jumps off a cliff the whole flock will follow.

Sheep are defenseless creatures! Leave a cat or dog in the bush and they will turn wild and fend for themselves. Leave a sheep in the bush and they will get killed. They do not have sharp teeth or claws and cannot defend or protect themselves.

The door is proof of who is shepherd and who is thief. (2)

A shepherd comes through the door! Simple as that!

The shepherd comes through the door because he cares for the sheep. When a shepherd realizes that even one is lost he will search until he finds it.

Mt. 18:12-13 “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.

The door is the point of access to the fold (3-5)

There is only one way into the fold and that is through the door!

The Shepherd has rightful access to the fold (3a). The shepherd knows the sheep. He knows them by name (3b). There is an intimate relationship that the shepherd has for his sheep. If you are one of Christ’s flock, He knows you! He knows everything about you, your aches and bruises, your failures and successes and He lovingly calls you by name!

You can drive a herd of cows, but you cannot drive sheep! You must lead them. The shepherd leads the sheep out and then he goes before them (4).

Whatever you are going through right now, Jesus has already been there! He is leading you – though it may be the darkest of valleys and you cannot see where you are or where the path leads, know this! Your shepherd has been there ahead of you.

Who are His sheep? Surgeon said that there are two identification marks that can clearly be seen:

  • There is a mark on their ear: The sheep know & respond to the voice of their shepherd.
  • There is a mark on their foot: The sheep follow their shepherd (4-5).

Door-of-the-Sheepfold

THE IDENTITY OF THE DOOR (6-8)

The door is Jesus! (7,9)

Anyone entering another way is a false shepherd! (8)

Any religious leader who rejects the person and work of Jesus is a thief and robber!

Consider some local examples of religious leaders who reject the person and work of Jesus Christ!  They deny that He is the door and claim that there is another way:

  • Jehovah’s Wittness – Jesus is not Almighty God, he is Michael the Archangel
  • Mormons – Jesus was the brother of Lucifer
  • Islam – Jesus is a prophet – a good moral teacher
  • Judaism – Jesus is not God, not the Messiah. He was a prophet. (See Jn. 9)

Ezk 34:8 “As I live,” says the Lord God, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock.”

THE BENEFITS OF THE DOOR (9)

Salvation (9a)

Salvation means to be delivered from danger and death.

You must be saved!

  • Political Salvation – The Jews of the OT and NT were looking for political salvation.  Many today are putting their hopes in the same thing.
  • Physical Salvation – They looked for physical deliverance in times of war, famine, danger or death.
  • Eternal Salvation – Jesus did not come to bring political or physical salvation.  According to Matthew 1:21, Jesus came to ‘save his people from their sins.’

Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Rom. 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

Here’s an acrostic to help you understand the gospel message: (http://www.christianpost.com/news/the-best-method-for-sharing-the-gospel-82820/)

G – God created us to be with him. Genesis 1-2

O – Our sins separate us from God. Genesis 3

S – Sin cannot be removed by good deeds. Genesis 4-Malachi 4

P – Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. Matthew-Luke

E – Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. John

L – Life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever. Acts-Revelation

Freedom (9b)

This is not a prison, but a door! The sheep have freedom to pass through and enter for protection, safety, comfort.

Many feel that coming to Christ will restrict them, lock them up, put them in religious bondage – they refuse to come to the fold, they hesitate to enter by the door. In actual fact they are in bondage to what will destroy them – sin in its various forms promises joy, comfort, fulfillment but all of it is a lie! When you walk through the door of sin you find that it locks you up, puts you in bondage!

The only freedom mankind can find is found in Christ! In Him you can be free from the bondage to Satan and free from bondage to sin.

Jn. 8:36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

Access (9c)

They can follow Him in to enjoy fellowship, guidance, and instruction. They can follow Him out to serve.

Nourishment (9d)

The sheep can go out to find pasture – they are led to green fields and clean water! (Ps. 23). They are strong and healthy because they are nourished in the Word! All of this is only because they passed through the door!

THE NATURE OF THE DOOR (10)

The Sheep on their own face death & destruction (10a)

Satan is “the thief”. He is a deceiver, a destroyer, a killer! (I Pt. 5:8 – Lion)

The condition of the sheep is that they are lost in their trespasses and sins.

Is 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

The Sheep enjoy abundant life provided by the Shepherd (10b)

Jesus came to give life to the sheep – We pass from death unto life through Jesus Christ. He is the shepherd who goes out and finds the ones who are lost! (Ill: The blind man in ch.9. Healed him and came back to him to reveal himself.)

Jesus came to give his life for the sheep – I lay down my life (15)

Jesus came not just to give life, but to give abundant life! The shepherd comes and says to you:

  • My mercy is abundant for you!

Ps. 86:5 For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.

  • My peace is abounding for you!

Jn. 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

  • My comfort reaches the deepest part of your being!

2 Cor. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation…

  • My joy permeates every aspect of your life!

1 Pt. 1:8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.

  • My eternal provision is adequate, bountiful and free!

Titus 3:4-7 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

You can make all of this personal by asking yourself two questions:

  1. Have you heard the voice of the Shepherd call your name?
  2. Are you following Him?

Jesus Christ is the Door to eternal life! If you wish to enter the Kingdom you must come through that Door! If you are hearing his voice in your heart calling to you, respond in faith like the blind man (9:38). Do not reject his voice and remain in bondage to sin like the Pharisees (9:41).

If you would like to discuss a spiritual need, email me at philhunt66@gmail.com.

Download a pdf copy of I Am The Door

The Compassionate Forgiver


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In our text John 8:1-12 we read of a woman caught in an adulterous relationship who is dragged to Christ.  Through this story we see Christ revealed as the Compassionate Forgiver!

We all need to  receive that forgiveness that only He can offer.

In these verses we will discover five attitudes that unlock for us God’s response to man’s sin, and man’s response to Christ!

The attitude of Christ toward the people teaches us that Christ will gladly teach those who desire to learn. (1)

Christ got up early in the morning to go to the temple to teach people who wanted to learn.   All those who want to learn the truth will be instructed by Christ.  If you come to Him with an open heart, Christ will instruct you too!

The attitude of the people to Christ teaches us that Believers show a genuine hunger for more truth despite the world’s opinions. (2)

The people who wanted to learn came to HIm. If we would learn, we must do the same. Blessings await those who desire God.

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
John 4:14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
John 7:37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

We can illustrate the truth this way: You may say that you trust a chair will hold you up, but that faith is not real until you act upon it by actually sitting in the chair. Trust is to put your entire weight upon it!

Matthew 11:28–30  Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

To come and sit at the feet of Christ and willingly obey means you have made a choice to trust Him.

Here is an illustration that helps us understand what we are talking about:  In India, when a wild elephant needs to be trained, it is yoked to a bigger trained elephant. The wild elephant learns what is expected because of the yoke. When we enter the yoke with Christ, He will teach us. Our part is to enter the yoke and follow His lead.  He will take the load we are pulling.

The Attitude of the Jews toward Christ teaches us that unbelievers attack the truth when they choose not to trust it. (3-6)

The Pharisees set out to entrap this woman, so that they could trap Jesus.  Their question was a set-up! While Jesus is spending the night on the Mount of Olives praying, the Pharisees are “peeping through keyholes” trying to find someone they could use to trap Jesus!  These religious leaders are not the kind of people you want to rely upon for compassionate forgiveness!

The OT Law demanded stoning as the punishment for an engaged person who is unfaithful with another person before marriage.  The punishment is same for both the man and the woman, but where here the Pharisees do not bring the offending man, only the woman. This punishment wis wha Joseph wanted to avoid when he determined to put Mary away privately (when she was carrying Christ (Matt. 1:19).

It is clear that these religious leaders did not desire justice, they only wanted to see Christ discredited. If Christ refused to affirm the law of Moses, He would be discredited. If He upheld the Law, he would be in direct violation of the law of ruling Roman government (Jn. 18:31).

Under Rabbinic law it was nearly impossible to secure a death penalty in a case of adultery. There had to be witnesses — two or three of them — and these witnesses had to observe, not merely a compromising situation but the very act of adultery. Moreover, in their testimony they had all must agree about every particular.

The reaction these Pharisees had toward Christ is also seen today in the way people reject Christ by reacting against His image in believers.

Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

The attitude of Christ toward the Pharisees teaches us that Christ focuses on the heart. (6-9)

According to the OT Law, the witnesses must cast the first stone (Deut. 17:2-7). This response of Christ forced these men to consider their own hearts!  Sinful actions are wrong, but all sins of action come from a heart dominated by sin. That is Christ’s focus here! The accusers were no more righteous than the woman they were accussing.  This did not make her sin less sinful, but it did convict them that they too were guilty!

Matthew 15:18–20 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man.

The Attitude of Christ toward the Woman teaches us that Christ offers compassionate forgiveness to those who acknowledge their failure. (10-11)

A man was walking on the road in the dark and a passing car splashed water all over him. When he reached the streetlight he was able to see what a mess he was and knew he could not continue on. He chose instead to go home and change clothes. Next week we will see Christ as the Light of the World. He is the “streetlight”! His light reveals the conditionhearts. Our problem is that we don’t have any other “clothes,” no good nature of our own at “home.”

The woman knew she did not have a solution! The Pharisees on the other hand thought they did. She stayed to get help. They left relying on their own righteousness. She received help, they remained lost in sin.  Which one are you?

“Jesus’ attitude provided both the motivation and the assurance she needed.”

The Attitude of the Woman to Christ teaches us that respectful obedience must characterize our response to Christ’s compassionate forgiveness. (11)

She called Christ “Lord,” the relationship of slave to Master. What He told her to do, she did. “The Son of God refused to press the issue. Her sin was not just set aside; soon Jesus would pay the penalty for both the woman and her accusers.”

“Forgiveness rests upon the Lord’s grace. Salvation does not come from suffering; it comes from grace — from the suffering and death of Jesus on our behalf.”

This same Jesus offers forgiveness today to whose sins equal that of the woman or that of the Pharisees. And not only forgiveness for initial salvation but also for daily sins of anger, disobedience, envy, greed, and the judgmental character shown by the Pharisees which gave birth to this episode.

Click the link for a pdf download of Compassionate Forgiver

Sources:

Boice, J. M. (2005). The Gospel of John: an expositional commentary (p. 608). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Tenney, M. C. (1981). John. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: John and Acts (Vol. 9, p. 91). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

Gangel, K. O. (2000). John (Vol. 4, p. 160). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Going On To Spiritual Maturity


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Becoming a Christian happens when you turn from your sin to Christ and receive God’s forgiveness by faith Jesus. John calls this being “born again” (Jn. 3:1-18).

Birth is a wonderful thing but ecoming a Christian is just the beginning of a new life.  God’s plan for His children is that they go on to spiritual maturity.  This requires growing in our understanding of God and His word.  True saving faith results in obedience and maturity.

There are several elements necessary for our spiritual maturity.

We must take in God’s Word (Prov 2.1)

We cannot grow apart from a steady diet of the Word of God, it is our milk and it is our meat! We take in God’s Word formally and informally.  We take in God’s Word formally by participating in the corporate worship of the church… attending the preaching and teaching ministries of the church, by participating in Bible Studies and discipleship classes.  Informally we take in God’s Word through personal time in the Word and prayer and fellowship with others who also love God.

We must have an outlet to minister to others (Prov. 2.2)

We take in to give out.  This is where we must realize that to grow we must be involved in ministry.  The thought may fill us with trepidation but there can be no growth apart from getting involved in service.  We are to minister to others what God has entrusted to us.  This is done through personal interaction and through the guidance of the local church.

We must cry out to God for strength and help (Prov. 2:3)

The overwhelming sense we have of our own inadequacy and inability when we look at ministry causes us to cry out to God for help.  (Prov. 2.3).  Prayer becomes serious as we plead with Him to help us fulfill our ministry responsibility.

We must return to the Word of God to find the answers (Prov 2:4)

As we minister we realize that there is so much more we must know, so many questions that need answers (Prov 2.4).  This stimulates us to dig deeper into God’s Word to find those answers.

The digging into God’s word results in increased ministry that in turn causes us to cry out to God and dig back into the Word.  With each successive passing through these four steps our roots go down deeper and we find we are growing!

Are you serious about “Going on to Maturity”?  Get into the Word everyday!  Through your church invest what you are learning about God into someone else!  Bathe your study of God’s Word and your ministry to others in prayer!

Your Greatest Threat – It May Not Be What You Think!


peril of pride the_wide_t_nvDo you battle with pride like I do?  I bet you do (even if you are too proud right now to admit it! 🙂

Someone has said that they view pride is the source of all other sins… I think they are right. How about joining me in a little self-evaluation.  Consider the following:

  • Pride mocks others “The proud have me in great derision…” Psalms 119:51.
  • Pride lies about others “The proud have forged a lie against me…” Psalms 119:69.
  • Pride mistreats others “Let the proud be ashamed, For they treated me wrongfully with falsehood…” Psalms 119:78.
  • Pride seeks to destroys others “The proud have dug pits for me…” Psalms 119:85,.
  • Pride oppresses others “… Do not let the proud oppress me.” Psalms 119:122.
  • Pride deceives others “The proud have hidden a snare for me, and cords; They have spread a net by the wayside; They have set traps for me. Selah” Psalms 140:5.
  • Pride is communicated by lips and looks “A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood,” Proverbs 6:17.
  • Pride uses the mouth to beat others down “In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride, But the lips of the wise will preserve them.” Proverbs 14:3.
  • Pride must display itself, cannot stay home. ““Indeed, because he transgresses by wine, He is a proud man, And he does not stay at home…” Habakkuk 2:5.
  • Pride embellishes the truth “Let the lying lips be put to silence, Which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.” Psalms 31:18.

Remember that God fights against the proud person and will destroy everything they attempt to accomplish. “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

One of the greatest dangers of pride is that it lies at the root of our rebellion against God.  Every refusal to receive Christ as Lord and Savior is driven by pride!  That is a sobering thought!

If the above list convicts you do something about it!  Humble yourself by gazing at Christ! Evaluate yourself, your achievements, your possessions and everything else in relation to God.  “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and He will exalt you in due season.”

Six Tips For Successful Parenting


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How would you define a home?

Perhaps you would give me your street address, describe your house – the style, how many rooms or the color of your gate.

The dictionary defines a home as a family or group of people who live together, it is the place where somebody feels he or she belongs. Home is a place where a person can find refuge and safety, a place where they can live in security. You see, a home is not a building; a home is a place where relationships exist and are nurtured.

Often relationships in a home include children. It is important that these relationships are intentionally nurtured. If you are like me though there are times when you feel like your home is “out of control.”

Here are six tips for successful parenting that came from an article by Dr. William Goode.  These tips have helped me evaluate how I am relating to my kids.

  1. Encourage a lot – the child who is encouraged as well as corrected consistently can tell the difference between right and wrong. (Ro. 13.7)
  2. Play a lot – While we as adults must be firm, life has many problems and they need to see us work, laugh and be serious, taking enough personal interest to play their games with them. (Prov. 17.22)
  3. Pray a lot – We need God’s help. Talk to Him much about them. (James 1.5)
  4. Teach a lot – Eph. 6.4: “Instruction” = putting into the mind; building inner convictions.
  5. Use cause and effect a lot – …for correction. This is the most natural way of learning that actions have results (Gal. 6.7).
  6. When you do spank… do it lovingly, slowly, prayerfully, and thoroughly so you do not do it often… and never do it when you are angry

Developing healthy relationships in the home take an investment of time, energy and effort.  Be intentional!  invest in the relationships in your home!

May God grant us healthy and happy Christian homes!

If you are in the Kitwe area and would like to get in touch please email at philhunt66 (at) gmail.com.  You are invited to attend the Kitwe Bible Study Fellowship meeting each Sunday at the Polo Club (Show grounds) at 10:00.  Phil Hunt.