Mar 11, 2018
Bethany’s Love for God, Barnwell, and the Nations: Gaining a Paul Mentality: Part Three
A Paul Mentality III
“The Cost of Finishing”
Acts 20:17-27; 36-38
Not Just Anybody
I see in Paul what I would like to be but am not yet. He is a good model to follow in the Christian life and having a good model is a good start. I read this week, “I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific” (Lily Tomlin). The same author said “the road to success is always under construction”. I do not know the lady, but I feel both quotes are humorous and true. Our personal aim should be to go higher, and to do that we must have a higher mark. Don’t just be anybody; model your life after great men and women of the faith, the greatest model being Jesus.
The Name above all Names
The Apostle Paul changed his name, or at least used his second name primarily, for the gospel sake. It was one of many things that he counted as loss for the excellency of Jesus Christ. There is debate on why he dropped Saul and picked up Paul. As mentioned above some hold to the fact that it was his second name much like I have two names but go by one. Others link the name change to Acts 13:12 where a high-ranking Gentile is converted, whose name was Sergius Paulus. Either way the name selection shows early on that Paul was captured by God’s grace and Christ was his supreme prize. Something as personal as his own name would not stand in his way to do the will of God and finish the course set before him. Over Paul’s missionary journeys he would suffer loss of health, friends, freedom, comfort, and self-dependence. Paul’s life looked like a slow execution, which suited the preacher. These losses peeled Paul back layer by layer and revealed the glory and power of Christ in his earthen vessel.
 
This is the Paul-like mentality we have been preaching. Paul treasured Jesus above all things. The shiniest items in life looked grey and dull compared to the bright beauty of the risen Lord. Saul was a dull name compared to the “Name above all Names” so he gladly dropped it to promote a name greater than his. It is this mentality that I pray each of us endeavor to adopt. It is simple, but difficult. It is life changing for the good. It is painful and joyful all at the same time, and it is something that is obtainable. I truly believe every Christian can have the Paul-like mentality to do what it takes to love God, Barnwell, and the Nations by adopting the following convictions Paul had about God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ:
I. Focus on Finishing (V:24)
Great visionaries can look beyond a single point in time and embrace the goal to come. Paul was such a visionary. He looked at the elders of the church and beyond. He looked at the hardships of Jerusalem and beyond. He looked at his life and beyond. He was looking at and through each point in time focusing on the finish line. The traps of the present lay before each of us. We look at what is all around us and count it as surplus. The moment we are in beckons us to stay and many settle with the present missing the blessings of the future. A Paul-like mentality is developed enjoying but not being trapped by the present. Where a person gazes determines their direction. Paul’s focus was on finishing and that is where he was heading!
Enduring to the End “So that I may FINISH my course”- The Christian life is a finished race (2nd Timothy 4:7). It is finished with endurance (Matthew 24:13) and a strong degree of difficulty, so Paul calls it a “fight”. He told Timothy to endure hardness “as a good solider of Jesus Christ” (2nd Timothy 2:3), because the Christians race has many difficult obstacles on the track. Paul spoke of himself as a runner “pressing toward” the finish line with all he had (Philippians 3:14). The Christian life is full hardships, but it is also overrunning with grace that helps us finish our race. Paul ran for God as an athlete in a crowded race. He ran to win! A church with a Paul like mentality looks to Jesus, paces themselves, and sweats into glory. Walk, jog, sprint, crawl, but whatever you do set your mind on finishing. There are many who have shown us how to run the race of faith. The writer of Hebrews tells us we are surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses” that teach us to throw off excess baggage that keeps us from winning. The greatest witness is Jesus who pressed toward the cross every day of His life. He embraced the call of God and never turned back.
 
Jesus taught that once you begin do not look back, for those that look back are not fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62). The writer of Hebrews tells us that if we are mindful from where we came, we will return to that place (Hebrews 11:15). Genesis tells of Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction. While Lot and his family fled from the rain of fire, Lot’s wife “looked back” and was destroyed (Genesis 19:26). Jesus teaches His disciples to “remember Lot’s wife” and do not value your life or it will be lost. All these New Testament teachings express the importance of starting the Christian life with the end in mind and never looking back. Count the cost of the building and war ahead that awaits Christian living and make provision or you will not succeed (Luke 14:28-33). Enduring to the end is important for it reveals the grace of God that a person claims to have. Paul knew the scriptures and this knowledge empowered him to endure for the glory of God and sake of man. What is Bethany Baptist doing with the biblical knowledge we have? Are we running and enduring? Or are we watching from the couch of life? Couch potatoes cannot win the race.
Ready to Lose “neither count I my life dear”- Last week I stated that Paul got his mentality from the life and teachings of Jesus. Matthew 16:25 struck at and stuck to the heart of Paul “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” Paul wrote in Philippians 3:8 that he lost all things and counted them as rubbish that he might win Christ. He said his sufferings were not to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in him (Romans 8:18). Paul desired to finish his course to the point he would lose any and all things to finish. The mindset to lose is necessary in order to win as a Christian. I would like each of us to examine the good gifts of God. Family, friends, money, houses, cars, vacations, and all the other things in life that are precious to us. Which of these things are you not prepared to lose for Jesus? Now I ask you to prepare your heart to pray with me and tell Jesus that we are not ready to lose. Let’s confess together that we are not to that point, but let’s not stop there. Together prepare to pray with me that we will gain the “ready to lose” mindset for the glory of God so none of these things will have the power to hinder us from the race that we are to run.
Question: Where is your heart’s focus?
II. Have Faith Beyond Faces (V:25;36-38)
Good-byes are extremely hard especially in the case of not seeing another person in this life. Good-byes are even harder when one of the parties involved can change the outcome if they chose to stay. I once heard divorce described “a greater pain than death”, because the other party had a say in leaving. Paul could have stayed with his friends. He had accomplished more in one life time than anyone else could have done in ten. Timothy could have taken over and Paul could have settled in to some retirement at a local church, instead he decided to leave those he discipled. It was admirable, but heartbreaking. Each face that beheld Paul had to have Christian faith beyond the face of Paul, and Paul had to do the same.
Faces cannot be the foundation of Faith- I look at my wife, children, and the faces of each of you and love fills my heart. I like seeing you every Sunday, and I love seeing the faces of Tara, Isaiah, Elijah, Malachi, and Nehemiah each day. I am surrounded by beauty on every side, but this beauty is temporal and faces will fade. Paul knew this truth and built his life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Faces fade, as I am speaking we are all fading. I ask you today to get the Paul mentality and allow Jesus to command your life and not the faces in your life. Jesus taught in Matthew 10:37 against faces being the foundation of faith. It is impossible to love the face of the smiling person beside you more than Jesus and be a disciple of Jesus. Paul knew this truth and kept it close to his heart. He loved the faces about him, but not more than Jesus. More faces were ahead of him, more lives to touch, and a death to die. We can not be sure whose face Paul saw last before he was executed, but what we know is the person that look at his face last saw the face of a man who loved Jesus more than his own life.
Anne Askew, the daughter of a wealthy landowner in the time of Henry the VII, was burned to death for her faith on July 16, 1546 when she was 26 years old. Before her death she was tortured to the point her main joints were pulled out of socket. She did not let the consideration of wealth or missed faces hinder her from giving her all to Jesus. Before being dragged to the stake to be burned to death she was given one last chance to recant, to which she replied “I am not come hither to deny my Lord and Master.”
 
Question: What is your faith founded upon?
WatchNotesDownloadDateTitle
  • Mar 11, 2018Bethany’s Love for God, Barnwell, and the Nations: Gaining a Paul Mentality: Part Three
    Mar 11, 2018
    Bethany’s Love for God, Barnwell, and the Nations: Gaining a Paul Mentality: Part Three
    A Paul Mentality III
    “The Cost of Finishing”
    Acts 20:17-27; 36-38
    Not Just Anybody
    I see in Paul what I would like to be but am not yet. He is a good model to follow in the Christian life and having a good model is a good start. I read this week, “I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific” (Lily Tomlin). The same author said “the road to success is always under construction”. I do not know the lady, but I feel both quotes are humorous and true. Our personal aim should be to go higher, and to do that we must have a higher mark. Don’t just be anybody; model your life after great men and women of the faith, the greatest model being Jesus.
    The Name above all Names
    The Apostle Paul changed his name, or at least used his second name primarily, for the gospel sake. It was one of many things that he counted as loss for the excellency of Jesus Christ. There is debate on why he dropped Saul and picked up Paul. As mentioned above some hold to the fact that it was his second name much like I have two names but go by one. Others link the name change to Acts 13:12 where a high-ranking Gentile is converted, whose name was Sergius Paulus. Either way the name selection shows early on that Paul was captured by God’s grace and Christ was his supreme prize. Something as personal as his own name would not stand in his way to do the will of God and finish the course set before him. Over Paul’s missionary journeys he would suffer loss of health, friends, freedom, comfort, and self-dependence. Paul’s life looked like a slow execution, which suited the preacher. These losses peeled Paul back layer by layer and revealed the glory and power of Christ in his earthen vessel.
     
    This is the Paul-like mentality we have been preaching. Paul treasured Jesus above all things. The shiniest items in life looked grey and dull compared to the bright beauty of the risen Lord. Saul was a dull name compared to the “Name above all Names” so he gladly dropped it to promote a name greater than his. It is this mentality that I pray each of us endeavor to adopt. It is simple, but difficult. It is life changing for the good. It is painful and joyful all at the same time, and it is something that is obtainable. I truly believe every Christian can have the Paul-like mentality to do what it takes to love God, Barnwell, and the Nations by adopting the following convictions Paul had about God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ:
    I. Focus on Finishing (V:24)
    Great visionaries can look beyond a single point in time and embrace the goal to come. Paul was such a visionary. He looked at the elders of the church and beyond. He looked at the hardships of Jerusalem and beyond. He looked at his life and beyond. He was looking at and through each point in time focusing on the finish line. The traps of the present lay before each of us. We look at what is all around us and count it as surplus. The moment we are in beckons us to stay and many settle with the present missing the blessings of the future. A Paul-like mentality is developed enjoying but not being trapped by the present. Where a person gazes determines their direction. Paul’s focus was on finishing and that is where he was heading!
    Enduring to the End “So that I may FINISH my course”- The Christian life is a finished race (2nd Timothy 4:7). It is finished with endurance (Matthew 24:13) and a strong degree of difficulty, so Paul calls it a “fight”. He told Timothy to endure hardness “as a good solider of Jesus Christ” (2nd Timothy 2:3), because the Christians race has many difficult obstacles on the track. Paul spoke of himself as a runner “pressing toward” the finish line with all he had (Philippians 3:14). The Christian life is full hardships, but it is also overrunning with grace that helps us finish our race. Paul ran for God as an athlete in a crowded race. He ran to win! A church with a Paul like mentality looks to Jesus, paces themselves, and sweats into glory. Walk, jog, sprint, crawl, but whatever you do set your mind on finishing. There are many who have shown us how to run the race of faith. The writer of Hebrews tells us we are surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses” that teach us to throw off excess baggage that keeps us from winning. The greatest witness is Jesus who pressed toward the cross every day of His life. He embraced the call of God and never turned back.
     
    Jesus taught that once you begin do not look back, for those that look back are not fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62). The writer of Hebrews tells us that if we are mindful from where we came, we will return to that place (Hebrews 11:15). Genesis tells of Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction. While Lot and his family fled from the rain of fire, Lot’s wife “looked back” and was destroyed (Genesis 19:26). Jesus teaches His disciples to “remember Lot’s wife” and do not value your life or it will be lost. All these New Testament teachings express the importance of starting the Christian life with the end in mind and never looking back. Count the cost of the building and war ahead that awaits Christian living and make provision or you will not succeed (Luke 14:28-33). Enduring to the end is important for it reveals the grace of God that a person claims to have. Paul knew the scriptures and this knowledge empowered him to endure for the glory of God and sake of man. What is Bethany Baptist doing with the biblical knowledge we have? Are we running and enduring? Or are we watching from the couch of life? Couch potatoes cannot win the race.
    Ready to Lose “neither count I my life dear”- Last week I stated that Paul got his mentality from the life and teachings of Jesus. Matthew 16:25 struck at and stuck to the heart of Paul “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” Paul wrote in Philippians 3:8 that he lost all things and counted them as rubbish that he might win Christ. He said his sufferings were not to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in him (Romans 8:18). Paul desired to finish his course to the point he would lose any and all things to finish. The mindset to lose is necessary in order to win as a Christian. I would like each of us to examine the good gifts of God. Family, friends, money, houses, cars, vacations, and all the other things in life that are precious to us. Which of these things are you not prepared to lose for Jesus? Now I ask you to prepare your heart to pray with me and tell Jesus that we are not ready to lose. Let’s confess together that we are not to that point, but let’s not stop there. Together prepare to pray with me that we will gain the “ready to lose” mindset for the glory of God so none of these things will have the power to hinder us from the race that we are to run.
    Question: Where is your heart’s focus?
    II. Have Faith Beyond Faces (V:25;36-38)
    Good-byes are extremely hard especially in the case of not seeing another person in this life. Good-byes are even harder when one of the parties involved can change the outcome if they chose to stay. I once heard divorce described “a greater pain than death”, because the other party had a say in leaving. Paul could have stayed with his friends. He had accomplished more in one life time than anyone else could have done in ten. Timothy could have taken over and Paul could have settled in to some retirement at a local church, instead he decided to leave those he discipled. It was admirable, but heartbreaking. Each face that beheld Paul had to have Christian faith beyond the face of Paul, and Paul had to do the same.
    Faces cannot be the foundation of Faith- I look at my wife, children, and the faces of each of you and love fills my heart. I like seeing you every Sunday, and I love seeing the faces of Tara, Isaiah, Elijah, Malachi, and Nehemiah each day. I am surrounded by beauty on every side, but this beauty is temporal and faces will fade. Paul knew this truth and built his life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Faces fade, as I am speaking we are all fading. I ask you today to get the Paul mentality and allow Jesus to command your life and not the faces in your life. Jesus taught in Matthew 10:37 against faces being the foundation of faith. It is impossible to love the face of the smiling person beside you more than Jesus and be a disciple of Jesus. Paul knew this truth and kept it close to his heart. He loved the faces about him, but not more than Jesus. More faces were ahead of him, more lives to touch, and a death to die. We can not be sure whose face Paul saw last before he was executed, but what we know is the person that look at his face last saw the face of a man who loved Jesus more than his own life.
    Anne Askew, the daughter of a wealthy landowner in the time of Henry the VII, was burned to death for her faith on July 16, 1546 when she was 26 years old. Before her death she was tortured to the point her main joints were pulled out of socket. She did not let the consideration of wealth or missed faces hinder her from giving her all to Jesus. Before being dragged to the stake to be burned to death she was given one last chance to recant, to which she replied “I am not come hither to deny my Lord and Master.”
     
    Question: What is your faith founded upon?
  • Mar 4, 2018Bethany’s Love for God, Barnwell, and the Nations: Gaining a Paul Mentality: Part Two
    Mar 4, 2018
    Bethany’s Love for God, Barnwell, and the Nations: Gaining a Paul Mentality: Part Two
    Bethany’s Love for God, Barnwell and the Nations
    Embracing the Unknown Week 2
    Acts 20:17-25
     
    Last week we started preaching about developing the Paul mentality. That is, we know that Paul loved Jesus and people and nothing stopped him from showing that love, and we want that mindset. I want that mindset personally and I want us to have that mindset corporately. Bethany Baptist Church wants to show the love of God to Barnwell and all the nations. We exist to Love God, Love others, and Serve both and we do the best job of being who we are destined to be when we have a Paul like mentality.
    Why Paul’s Mentality?
    The reason we are after having Paul’s mentality is that he was very successful in following Christ. He worshiped God and served man unto death. He planted churches and affected countless lives. He reached out to people not like him and spent all he had for the glory of God and sake of man. Can we get that mentality? Can we operate like Paul? I believe we can.
    Proposition: We can have the Paul like mentality to do what it takes to Love God, Barnwell, and the Nations.
    Transition: By adopting the following convictions Paul had about God and the Gospel:
     
    I. Embrace the Unknown (v:22-23)
     
    How do you picture the Christian life? Is it a well-planned, well managed, well equipped life? Or is it more of an adventure that you plan for, but are never prepared for? What I have discovered is trying to live the “well maintained” Christian life is a struggle. Trying to stay away from adventures and hardships are draining and unfulfilling. I believe Paul was on to something when he decided to embrace the unknown. I think this mentality of Paul’s helped him survive and thrive as a Christian leader. I will go a step further and say I truly believe it is a biblical teaching to embrace the unknown if we are to follow Jesus to the fullest. To verify this giant claim let us look at the teachings of Jesus, James, and Paul
    A. Jesus- Matthew 6:25-33
    Fearing the unknown cripples Christians. If I do “a” then “b” may happen. We begin to think of the negatives of following Jesus or being saved. “If I follow Jesus my family and friends will look at me differently, I may not care about my own pleasures any more, I may miss my old hang outs, habits, hopes. If I follow Jesus everything I hold dear will fade”. The fears of what the future may hold keeps us captive more than we want to admit. Volunteering may interfere with something you like. Giving may interfere with something you want to buy. Traveling to spread the gospel may put you in situations you do not like. Jesus taught to take “no thought” or do not let thoughts of temporary things hinder you from eternal reward.
    Why Did Jesus Teach This? Natural desire for food, drink, and comfort is very powerful. It is so powerful that it can hinder true life. These things can consume us while disguising themselves as good. Jesus taught that life is “more” than food, drink, and comfort. These things are not to be the determining factor in what we do in life.
    What more is there to life? If I told a group of people like you that the highest pleasure and good in life is to do the will of God only the Christians of the group would give me audience. It sounds ludicrous to the natural man that wealth, health, a beautiful woman, and seeing the world was not the height of all heights. We are told that the working from 20-60 is all about getting the American dream, so that when we are older we can “live it up”. Yet Jesus lived and taught that the will of God is supreme and the high mark of our existence. Jesus placed a supreme price on doing the will of God. Many Christians refuse the will because food, drink, and comfort may be or will be compromised. If food, drink, and comfort come before God then they are idols and God is not supreme.
    What is the main theme in Jesus’s teaching? God is supreme above food, drink, pleasure, comfort, and anything or anyone else. Jesus lived a life and died a death that witnessed to the fact God is supreme. When our thought life is saturated with bare necessities and comforts of life following Jesus is brought to a halt. Jesus desires that His followers get the bigger picture of life. Paul’s mentality came from Jesus’ teachings? Where do you get your mentality?
    Question: Is God supreme in your thought life?
    B. James- James 4:13-14
    You do not know what will happen so trust in Jesus and bind yourself to His will. James had a “work now trust God attitude”. The business of tomorrow should not affect the work of today.
    What Occupies Your Day? To what you give your mind and time you give your life. James knowing the temptation and weight of worldly plans and gain, encouraged believers to measure life as a water vapor. Serve God today, worship Him as supreme today, plan tomorrow in the light of eternity because your life may not make it till tomorrow, but it will make it to eternity. Spend your money wisely, conduct business wisely, plan wisely, but do so in view of eternity for you are nearer eternity than tomorrow. Paul occupied his mind with eternal things. These eternal things were pleasant to Paul and I believe he described them as the “whatsoever things” listed in Philippians 4:8 which were a direct result of his decision to go to Jerusalem.
    Why Does Worldly Gain Mean so Much? Gain means security. It means we can eat, drink, and have the comfort we desire. We can afford vacations, doctors, insurance, educations, gym memberships, food, and many other things that give us security. James did not see these things as ultimate security. He saw them as hindrances to do the will of God. He saw them as smoke and mirrors. James saw real life as vanishing away no matter the plots and planning of man. James knew God as the real gain in life and nothing was to distract from that truth. Paul looked at his worldly gains and counted them as loss for the excellency of Christ. The Paul mentality places value you on eternity not temporal gains.
    Question: Do you live today with eternity in view?
    C.Paul- Paul’s ministry was marked by adventure. He planned mission trips and went into cities with gospel plans, but every time he turned around he was being beat, imprisoned, thrown out of cities, and ridiculed. He did not retreat, rather he embraced the unknown of the mission.
    Bound in the Spirit- Paul was a driven man. He had been captured by the glory of Christ years ago on Damascus road. What and Who he saw changed him forever. It is debated what Paul meant when he stated he was “bound in the spirit”. Some say it was his own desire to go, and others say he was bound to the Spirit of God. Either way he was compelled by an impulse that was greater than him. He was united with a desire that moved him beyond fear and brought him to embrace the unknown.
    Going to Jerusalem-Paul loved the city and the people. He wanted to be there more than anywhere else. Dangerous and unknown what would happen Paul moved in the direction of the city.
    Not Knowing- The embrace of the unknown is a hard thing, but it is a necessary thing. Faith is not knowing, but going for God anyway. Abraham did not know where he was going when God called him from his home. David did not know what was to befall him when he was anointed king. When a couple is married they do not know what lies ahead of them, but they walk the path anyway, bound by promise when love seems to fade, they walk on. Not knowing is not to equal not going.
    What Paul Knew-The Holy Spirit told Paul, repeatedly, he would be chained and afflicted if he went to Jerusalem. I for one would have believed God didn’t want me to go. It would seem God was warning me to keep my health and freedom, but Paul saw it as knowing Christ “and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Philippians 3:10). The unknown nor the known changed Paul’s mind. A Paul mentality is a mentality that says, I will go forward into the dense for of life for the glory of God and sake of man.
    Why Paul Went- Paul was heading to Jerusalem to share the message of God’s grace and the forgiveness of sins. Paul states in Romans 9:3 “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh”. Paul, if possible, would have taken hell for his people to gain Christ. He could not take hell for them, but he could take chains and afflictions to reach all that he could.
    Question: What drives you to serve Jesus?
  • Feb 25, 2018Bethany’s Love for God, Barnwell, and the Nations: Gaining a Paul Mentality: Part One
    Feb 25, 2018
    Bethany’s Love for God, Barnwell, and the Nations: Gaining a Paul Mentality: Part One
    Bethany’s Love for God, Barnwell, and the Nation
    Acts 20:12-24
    This is my 10th year of pastoring Bethany Baptist Church. The past decade for me has been filled with God’s glory. I have personally witnessed the power of His Word, His People, and His grace. I am not the only one who has witnessed these things. There are many in this congregation that have been a vital part of the ministry of Bethany. We have watched God work while we work. We have walked through buildings projects, baptisms, missions, fire, fundraising, and glorious worship services. We have experienced marriages, births, deaths, salvations, sickness, healing, blessings of hard work, unity, and a move that proved we were not a congregation built by location or buildings but a people founded on the gospel of Jesus Christ.
     
    We are an imperfect people that have failed, are failing, and will fail and yet in Christ we succeed. His grace has proven sufficient in our many weaknesses and God has not let us go. Today I can proclaim Bethany Loves God, Barnwell, and the Nations and we will continue to do these things walking together toward the future until one day our children and grandchildren will pick up the torch we lit and march on. Some of them may march on from here and plant other churches, reach other towns, influence other cultures, write songs, feed the hungry, or they may stay here in Barnwell and continue to do great work in this rural community.
     
    We will teach them to Love God, Barnwell, and the Nations. Hopefully they will look back on us, the planters of this church, and see what we cannot see today. Soldiers of the cross, strong men and women that stood for biblical truth without wavering, people that bore the burden in the heat of the day, those that prayed, cried, gave, and served through hurt, pain, and exhaustion but by the grace of God moved forward to show the Love of Jesus to Barnwell and the nations.
     
    A Hard Task
    Experience and God’s Word has taught me that the task to Love God, Barnwell, and the Nations is a large task. The call is a costly one. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23). If we read the text like it is there is no denying that following Jesus is a great call meant for the fully determined who do not count their life dear! Do we expect fatigue, pain, stress, sorrow, and execution of ourselves? If we get this we have gotten the cross and all the glorious suffering of it. Loving God is a costly affair!
     
    What makes the Great task of following possible?
    Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2). The writer of Hebrews says “joy” is the fuel. Joy that God is Supreme, Jesus is Savior, and the Spirit is Comforter. It is “joy” that will cause each person here and the church as a whole to Love God, Barnwell, and the Nations through the carrying of the cross. Does the joy you have in Jesus fuel you today?
     
    Loving God, Barnwell, and the Nations to Death.
    What caused a handful of people to start Bethany Baptist Church? What caused men and women, some which have given to financial hurt, physical fatigue, and moaning’s of the soul to continue? What causes people to invite friends and neighbors weekly? What caused Bro. Al and Ms. Debbie to relocate to Barnwell? Why did Ruth and Scott move their family to Barnwell? I would say it was the joyous drive to love, honor, and serve God. Why are we encouraging people to adopt a neighborhood for Easter, attend mission week, serve at VBS, and help fund a 10-year revival celebration during this year? Because we love God, Barnwell, and the Nations. And the more we prize God the farther we will carry our cross, the more I love for God and our community will show. Who wants to blaze a glory trail through the county?
     
    E/C can have the Paul like mentality to do what it takes to Love God, Barnwell, and the Nations
    By adopting the following convictions Paul had about God and the Gospel
     
    I. Hold Nothing Back (V:20)
     
    Paul claimed “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.” (Romans 1:14) He, by the gospel of Jesus, was obligated to preach the gospel to all people. Paul pens his all out holding nothing back mentality like this: And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.” (2nd Corinthians 12:15). We can conclude that:
     
    Paul gladly spent- There was no “woe is me” in Paul’s spending of self and substance. He did not have a limit where he hated preaching and serving Jesus. Paul had a pleasantness about him in his successes and sorrows in ministry. Paul’s teachings to the Corinthians concerning giving had a similar ring: Corinthians 9:7 “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” Our spending physically and financially should have a cheerful overtone. Notice the text says what a man has decided in his heart. The gift has been mentally and spiritually calculated occurring to the gospel and the release of the sacrificial gift is done with joy. Have you ever given charitably to the cause of Christ knowing that was your out to eat money? Did you go home smiling that you were eating food cooked out the can that day instead of a steak? Have you ever served another knowing those you served would like you the less or care less? Paul had the “I will give you respect rather you give it or not” mentality. This great weapon of cheer, gladness, and joy in the gospel empowered Paul to be Paul!
     
    The Question for Bethany Baptist is: Do we pray cheerfully for others, invite others to Christ cheerfully, worship cheerfully, give cheerfully, serve cheerfully? Do we have that Paul mentality? As we move toward Easter and beyond in 2018 will we spend gladly? Will we hold nothing back?
     
    Paul Measured Gladness differently- He spent everything gave up his very life and was “loved” less and less. People’s appreciation did not affect Paul’s desire to spend. If you applauded Paul he loved and preached; if you booed he loved and preached. His pleasantness in loving, though he was not loved, was based of the joy of the supremacy of Jesus Christ. I do not preach to hear how could I did, or if I connected with this generation, or to be labeled a toe-stomping preacher. I preach because of Jesus. If the seats are filled I preach if they are empty I preach. If volunteers show up I preach if they lay out I preach. If the money bags are full I preach and if they are empty I preach. Jesus must be the motivation to spend and be spent or your spending is in vain. As a church and personally we need to be reminded early and often our prize for giving is not new things, our inviting is not to fill seats, our praying is not for show, our serving is not for acceptance or appreciation, but it is all to please God! All the others things can be added to us, but our sole goal is to please God for He is supreme!
     
    Assuming the role of happiness (Acts 26:2)- Later in the book of Acts Paul is standing before King Agrippa awaiting trial. He told the king his position was a “blessed”, “happy”, “fortunate” position that others should “envy”. The Greek word he used for “happy” carries with it those ideas. Paul stepped up to speak as a prisoner, examined his surroundings, his audience, and declared it a position to be envied! Do we do that? Do I get out of bed, get a feel of the day, and say “this is a GREAT PLACE TO BE”? Do we come to worship and look around and declare “I am fortunate”? Do we look at God, Barnwell, and the Nations and say “what a privilege to spend and be spent here”? Let’s change the way we measure the great opportunities to pray, serve, sing, give, and suffer for the cause of Christ!
     
    Everything gave Him the “nothing” attitude- (1st Corinthians 3:21) Paul knew that Christians were given all things. Salvation through Jesus Christ, The Spirit of God to indwell them, and a Father who made them heirs of all things with Jesus. The sure promises of God made Paul say “nothing”, even his own life, held him back for all is his in Jesus Christ! Wouldn’t that be a motto to have “nothing”? Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ and nothing can stop us from growing and spreading the love of God to Barnwell and the nations.
     
    Much Gain Lost (Philippians 3:7)- Paul looked at all he gained, his surplus in life, he examined his name, breed, education, money, and life and decided not to get his value there. It is basic Christianity to deny yourself, forsake all, and follow Christ. Paul had a lot to forsake and he was able to do it. Where you get your value determines your power. Paul wanted to draw his strength from God who is all powerful and everlasting.
     
    How did Paul forsake gain? He looked at the infinite glory of Jesus Christ and decided nothing he had could compare with the glory that was to be revealed. Loving God, Barnwell, and the Nations with a Paul like mentality will take an evaluation of all that you hold dear and pleasing a big minus mark beside it. When you stack all you have dear together you may have a well put together idol, but does it compare to the thrice holy God? Is what you have or what you do greater than God? Is there anything you can compare to the majesty of our King? This morning let’s look at everything we have and measure it to the eternally vast worth of God. Let us ask what can we do, give, how can we pray, live, and serve God, Barnwell, and the Nations the rest of the year.
    Application: What in life holds you back from showing others the Love you have for God, Barnwell, and the Nations?
  • Feb 18, 2018Shades of Glory: The Need for Heartfelt Worship
    Feb 18, 2018
    Shades of Glory: The Need for Heartfelt Worship
    Shades of Glory
    Scripture: Psalm 57
    Title: The Power and Need of God Centered Worship in the Mission of God.
    The Great Commission of The Resurrected Christ
    God created the nations and will redeem the nations to know and worship Him. God’s redemption program for all the nations is laid out in the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation with most of the Old Testament focused on the nation that God elected to receive the Word of God, rituals of worship, and bring forth Jesus, The Savior and Ruler over all nations. The New Testament, Matthew thru Revelation, begins with the Jewish people under Roman rule, highlights the life, disciples, teachings, sacrifice, and resurrection of Jesus and then introduces us to the New Testament Church age. The New Testament Church begins with disciples of Jesus from the Jewish nation that spread the message of God to other nations. It was through the Jewish nation that the great commission of God commenced. Jesus gave the church the great commission and here is how He expressed it.
    Matthew 28:18-20
    I remember first learning these verse at Vacation Bible School as a child. It is a simple enough commission a child can understand and a vast enough commission it takes millions of adults to fulfill it! The great commission breaks down like this.
    Jesus has all authority and power
    Go with this power to all nations
    Teach all nations the truth of salvation in Jesus
    Baptize the nations
    Teach the nations to know and worship God
    Trust that Jesus is with You ever step of the way.
    That is a simple way to put it and most of us can see that in the scripture without a preacher breaking it down for us. There are, however, some implications of the text that can be pointed out to make the great commission richer to every believer.
    Performing the great commission only can be done with the power of Christ.
    God desires for all nations to be saved and worship Him. Thus, implying that the nations are without God and therefore without true worship.
    Those following Jesus most know about Jesus in order to teach the nations about Jesus.
    A disciple experiences full discipleship in the great commission.
    Today I want us to understand that the mission of the Church exists because worship of God does not exist. When we invite people to be forgiven of sins and baptized into the family of God we are asking them to position their lives, through Christ, so they can worship God. Knowing this leads me to the conclusion that the greatest task of the Church is worship and true worship is attractive and empowering. I look at it this way: We are sent out to bring people in. That is we are sent from a house that is filled with glory, passion, reality, and the very presence of God to bring people outside of all this into all of this. Where we are is attractive to the unchurched if Christ be lifted up in the place. Worship attracts the outside world and it empowers believers to go to the lost in the name of Jesus. Genuine worship, passionate worship, and biblical worship are magnets to bring all shades of people together for God’s glory. John saw glorious worship of God by all nations which signals that the great commission that Jesus left with His church was fulfilled. Evidently, we are going to worship God and be motivated to bring others to do so as well. The true church is going to worship and go tell others about Jesus. It is something I can rejoice in as a pastor and you can trust in as a congregation.
    Now that We Know
    Knowing that worship is the first and last call of the church should make Bethany Baptist Church desirous of great worship services. We should look forward to and make the most of our 52 times a year we gather together. Having the desire to worship God is the crux of a great mission’s program. Knowing how to worship God makes for a great mission’s program.
    How then can we make the church a place that is attractive to the those who are lost?
    Every Christian can know how to worship God in a way the fulfills, attracts, and empowers
    By activating heart felt worship found Psalm 57
    I. Heartfelt Worship Comes from Service
    (Psalm 57:1)
     
    David was the poet king of Israel. He wrote poems and songs that magnified the God he loved. There was no temple, but there was much worship. The worshiping king came before the building king. That is worship proceeded the building of the great temple. The same is true with the tabernacle. Abraham Isaac and Jacob did not have a tabernacle, but they had worship. Worship is so powerful and attractive it moved the people of Israel to fund and build a tabernacle, temple, and dedicate a whole tribe to the service of worship.
     
    Worship is no less powerful today than it was in the times of Israel, and should be considered more powerful because we have Christ, the cross, the resurrection, and the Spirit of God dwelling in us. The introduction to the song shows that David (the anointed king of Israel) was on the run from the reigning king of Israel Saul when David’s soul poured out in poetic worship before God. David’s powerful worship experience took place and flowed from his obedience to God. It was God that made David king and it was for this reason Saul sought his life. David told Jonathan “there is but a step between me and death” (1st Samuel 20:3). Worship pours out of our lives when we “risk it all for God”.
     
    When we say yes to what God says we are placed in God’s will to except whatever may come for saying yes to God. It is when we hazard our lives for God in service to His call that heartfelt worship pours from us. It could be shame that we suffer for saying, doing, and being what is right in the eyes of God. It could be the financial despair we come into from spending all on God. It could be the sickness we received from ministering to others. But rest assure when you say “yes” to Jesus hazards will come which means true worship will come and thereby will people come to God (2nd Timothy 3:12)!
    The Castle- David was called to be King and he would worship God in his castle. God gives us big, beautiful, and full places to worship Him at times and we should take advantage of it. We should not expect castles because it is not necessary for worship, but we should be grateful when the castles of our lives are open to us. The comfort of a castle should make are worship sweet in thanksgiving to God.
    The Cave- When we arrive at this Psalm David is on the run huddled with a handful of men in a cave. He was a cave man that rested on the good grace of God. Your placement in life is to draw out your praise in life. David was not surround by the best of men or their design. He was not in a massive group that packed the streets. He was in a small cave with a group of despaired men and yet worship was real and worship was sweet. True heartfelt worship flows from a congregation that is living in obedience of God’s word and through that obedience has tasted the good grace of God. It is the expression of God’s grace that flows freely in worship that is attractive and empowering.
    Illustration:
    Billy Graham found himself a bit down and unsure of his direction in ministry in 1949. One night, while preparing for a retreat he was to preach at, he found a quiet spot in the woods and set his bible on a stump. It was there he told God that he didn’t have all the answers and wasn’t sure how to answer all the difficulties in the bible. He then went on to commit himself to preach it as God’s authoritative word. It was a turning point in his ministry and millions would be affected worldwide because of his personal cave like worship service. It was in Mr. Graham’s conflict received because of obedience to God’s word that made his personal worship attractive and empowering.
    Application:
    Will you worship God in your castle or in your cave?
     
     
    II. Heartfelt Worship Comes from Humility
    (Psalm 57:1-2)
    One of my favorite 80’s movie is back-to-the future. The main Marty Mcfly is a small man that does not like being called a chicken “nobody calls me chicken” is one of the lines he uses. There are not many of us that liked to be called a chicken, yet the anointed warrior, shepherd, bear slaughtering, lion chasing, giant killing king submitted himself to God as a chick that needed shelter. Attractive worship takes its shape in humility. A humble worship service says “Behold our God” not “behold our building, pastor, and core values”. Humble heartfelt worship becomes tangible when a you:
    Realize what you are- Its ok to be you. What I mean is it is ok not to have it altogether and be macho man or wonder woman. True worship says God as supreme and us as weak children that needs an amazing God to do an awesome work on our behalf.
    Sing of Who God is- This writing is a song. David did not quietly believe that God was God, but sung of God’s might and his own helplessness.
    Application:
    How do you humble yourself before God in worship?
     
     
    III. Heartfelt Worship comes from Hope in God
    (Psalm 57:3-6)
    Away from the castle, outnumbered in a cave, plotted against by the best minds in the kingdom, and David still had hope in God. David looked toward heaven and waited for his rescue. When we faithful gather together against all odds we show “our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.” I love to see Mrs. Linda Miller roll into church every service. She is one of the most faithful church members we have. She has more reason than any person here, and most people that stayed home today, not to come. Yet she comes! Against all odds she comes to worship God and that tells me that she prizes God. She tells me with her coming that God is bigger than my sickness, bigger than my weakness, bigger than my disabilities, she preaches to me every time I see her, without one word, that I CAN HOPE IN GOD!!!
    Illustration:
    “From Parade magazine comes the story of self-made millionaire Eugene Land, who greatly changed the lives of a sixth-grade class in East Harlem. Mr. Lang had been asked to speak to a class of 59 sixth-graders. What could he say to inspire these students, most of whom would drop out of school? He wondered how he could get these predominantly black and Puerto Rican children even to look at him. Scrapping his notes, he decided to speak to them from his heart. "Stay in school," he admonished, "and I'll help pay the college tuition for every one of you." At that moment the lives of these students changed. For the first time they had hope. Said one student, "I had something to look forward to, something waiting for me. It was a golden feeling." Nearly 90 percent of that class went on to graduate from high school.”
    This man gave the kids something they never had. True worship that rest on God in the most difficult times gives those around us something they never had as well: hope in God
    Application:
    Does your worship to God demonstrate hope in God?
     
     
    IV. Heartfelt worship seeks to honor God among all people
    (Psalm 57:8-9)
    What does all this have to do with “Shades of Glory”? The nations are scattered, different in cultural, language, and coloring. We are different people who favor different things, but all nations yearn for real worship to the real God of heaven. Real, intense, humble, and hopeful worship draws the world to Christ. When we invite someone to Bethany we are inviting them to experience a real worship experience. We want the name of Jesus to be seen as Supreme and Saving. We want people to see and experience God in our worship. If we are calling people out of the world to worship God it better be an experience and I am not talking a light show kind of an experience. I am talking a radically different experience where we hazard, humble, hope, and hail God as supreme in all that we do.
    Illustration:
    I remember going to church as a kid and seeing the attendance and offering boards that hung on the wall of the sanctuary. I was a pre-teen and teenager when I took noticed of them. They were depressing to me in many instances. I heard the preacher talk of sacrifice, faithfulness, charity, and all the Christian virtues and what he said and how the people attended, gave, and sing were not the same. The heartfelt worship of the church was missing. Then later in my teens I visited a church that was full of heartfelt worship. The pews were 80 plus percent full, the singing was vibrant, and the church offering bags, when they passed me were near full. I was baptized, became a member, trained and sent from that very church. You are here today because the members of that church worshipped God with intensity and purpose.
    Application:
    Will those that attend Bethany Baptist be changed by the worship we render to God?
     
  • Feb 11, 2018Shades of Glory: News for the Nations
    Feb 11, 2018
    Shades of Glory: News for the Nations
    Shades of Glory
    “News for the Nations”
    Revelation 5:9
    Revelation 7:9
    Revelation: 14:6-7
    Matthew 25:32-34 & 41

    The Big Idea
    When these scriptures are read I hope you hear two things: 1.) Because of sin every nation is under terrifying eternally damning supreme wrath of God. 2.) Because of Jesus an invitation to be forgiven and restored to God is being sent to all nations through the church (that’s you and me) and will be heard. You can have faith in mission work and evangelism because of what we see when we look in Revelation. All nations, kindred, and tongues are seen in the heavenly vison and there is only one way for them to get there. We will focus on the second point next Sunday, but for this week I want to point out the fact that every nation, and because of that every person, has a huge problem. This huge problem is sin and this sin keeps us from coming to God and worshipping Him for who He is. The punishment for this sin is death and eternal damnation from God. All nations and people, therefore, are in big trouble no matter the size, power, economy, governmental structure, education, or health care system of a nation. We cannot come together and fix the sin and punishment problem. It is impossible to think through or around the sin problem. Every Nation shares in the condemnation of sin.

    A call to the Altar of Worship
    Last week I mentioned that Noah built an altar after His ark experience. That is after He was saved from the flood waters by the ark He had a radical worship service. This worship service represented all the nations that were to come. Here, at Noah’s altar, all the nations gathered in one to worship God, but from Genesis 8:20- Jude collective worship with all nations is missing in history. History actually yields nations going in different directions worshiping different things. Revelation, however, takes us to a place of God honoring worship performed by all nations. I said last week we can not get back to Noah’s Altar, but we can all meet at the eternal altar of God through Jesus Christ! I pray that you are saved, and I pray the saved is spreading the good news of Jesus!
    What can encourage the Lost to be saved and fuel the saved to Evangelize?

    Every Christian can be fueled in evangelism and missions
    By considering the following truths we glean from these scriptures
     

    I. The Common Judgment to all Nations (Matthew 25:32-34 & 41)

    The Power to Judge is Christ’s -In Matthew 28:18 Jesus states, “All power {authority} is given unto me in heaven and earth”. The parables and teachings in Matthew 25 echo the same truth. There is One in charge who will come and demand an account be given according to His standard. How can He demand such and judge so strictly? Because He is in charge. In the day of judgement all religious ideas, governments, people, and powers will know that they were never in charge. Deuteronomy 32:39 will be known to all people “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.” Christ will judge and who will be accepted in His sight? All those who have passed under His blood by believing on His name.

    The Sentence is eternal (41)- The punishment for all nations is universal and eternal. People are dying and going to hell all over the world every day. Without the good news of salvation reaching the ears of unbelievers there is no chance of them being saved. This concrete truth should energize the church. Our prayer should be help me care. Now if we preached that there is another way of being saved apart from the gospel we make two great errors. 1.) We simply lie and do not represent the teaching of Jesus (John 14:6). 2.) We pass the buck on to other methods, or we simply become lazy believing that some other method, unknown to us, can intervene. This is the church burying the talent in the dirt.

    The scripture says the wicked are “cursed” and sent to “everlasting” punishment. Today if a person commits a truly horrible crime the death sentence can be measured out to them and that is it their crime is paid for with their life. The higher the offense the higher the punishment, and in the case of sin it offends the Eternal Heights of God. Therefore, the punishment is not mere annihilation, but everlasting torment, and even at that the debt is never paid.

    No Nation Left Out (32)- “All nations” including ours will be called up for judgement. America maybe a moral beacon of light, to some standard, in the world today, but in the day of Christ America will not be judge based on its war on terror or humanitarian aid given to the nations. It will be judged by its submission to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We, as a nation, have the same need of the gospel that all nations share.

    Question: Will you help reach your nation for Jesus by doing everything possible to help the gospel be preached in Barnwell?
     

    II. The Common need of Redemption of all nations (Revelation 5:9)
     
    God is merciful and just. He shows both these qualities with how He has chosen to deal with the sins of people.

    1.) He is merciful toward sinners by over looking sins for a season.

    2.) He is just in how He deals with sinners that refuse to repent.

    3.) He is merciful in sending Jesus Christ (His Eternal Son) to pay for the sins of the world.

    4.) He is merciful in establishing the church to proclaim the good news of the Son of God, that is sins can be forgiven in His name and eternal punishment overlooked while clothing and accepting sinners as His children through Jesus Christ.

    5.) He is just in condemning those who never are saved to eternal damnation and accepting those as children who repent.

    So, God is both merciful and just in that He is sovereign over all things. Justice and Mercy both play major rolls in converting the soul. It is the knowledge of God’s justice that causes me to yearn for His mercy. These two things together make God great and the gospel beautiful and necessary. It is God’s judgement upon all nations that makes the need for redemption necessary. It is God’s judgment upon the nations and mercy extended to them that makes the work of the church powerful and necessary.

    The How of Redemption- “thou wast slain” The Son of God was “slaughtered” that sinful men might be redeemed. This one clause shows the severity of God’s wrath toward sinners, and His depth of love for sinners. Jesus died for you carries an eternity load of implications. Redemption is, therefore, costly.

    The why of Redemption- A great price was paid in order that men could be brought to God. This implies that man, by sin, is separate from God. The great price paid in order that sinful man could be brought back to God implies that God Himself is the supreme prize of eternity because the extreme price of eternity was paid that man could inherit lost fellowship with God. When the Church preaches the gospel to people we are in fact inviting them to worship God through Jesus Christ. Missions and evangelism exist in order that man can be brought to worship God. Without redemption men are left to themselves and perish. The why of redemption is God. He created everything including His plan to reveal Himself to man in precious ways. God could have allowed man to perish and have been just and no less God, but He chose to redeem man to show His glory in salvation.
     
    Question: Are you rejoicing in your salvation that God has prepared and given you?
     

    III. The Common Call of all Nations (Revelation 14:6-7)
     
    The call to trust God by believing on the Lord Jesus is a common call for all people. It is the Gospel, the good news, of Jesus that must be presented. The gospel transcends time, culture, language, and borders. We can preach it in buildings, under bridges, or in the remote jungle and it is still the same. God is angry with sinners and will eternally damn them for their sinful ways. God in love decided He wanted to spare sinners. In order to satisfy His Justice and extend His love He offered up His Only Son in the stead of sinners that they may be saved. This is the blessed truth that is to be preached to all nations.
     
    This common call is a productive one. God has elected that His call for salvation be sounded through the church. He has also elected that the church will produce fruit of EVERY NATION. The call to every nation is to hear and be saved and take it to the bank that some from every place will!

    God’s Relentless Pursuit of Sinners Through the Church- In every generation since the cross God has not slacked in saving, calling, and sending men and women to preach His word to all the world. Here at Bethany we are located in Barnwell, S.C. our call is to preach the gospel to all the people in our town and county. We are to pray, give, serve, and worship right here in Barnwell, S.C. and while doing that support those who are willing to do the same elsewhere. What we do at Bethany is not first hospitality, or music, or children’s ministry. What we do first here is proclaim the gospel to all creatures. The other things we do are apart of the main thing we do and that is to proclaim the gospel of Christ to all people. God has been faithful to Barnwell by placing people like you in the midst of it. People who will at this time prepare to pray for the people within its area and beyond. People like you that will give to make the gospel message heard. People like you that will labor when you are tired in order to see some saved. People like you who believe the opening verses that your works will produce by God’s grace people to join us in the supreme prize of worshiping God in eternity!

    Question: Will join with me in praying that the nations represented in our community will be saved?
  • Feb 4, 2018Shades of Glory: Noah and His Family
    Feb 4, 2018
    Shades of Glory: Noah and His Family
    Shades of Glory
    The intention of this message is to help give the people of Bethany Baptist Church a clear vision of God’s great design for the nations. We will stand on the biblical principle that there is one race (the human race) and many groupings and nations of this race. We will find, from scripture, our common ancestry, sin, Redeemer, and eternal purpose. My hope is that we will not see “shades” of skin as divisive, but of glory that radiates from an eternally holy God. My hope is that we will come together and worship God in our shades of glory!

    Part I. Noah and the Nations:
    Scripture: Genesis 10:31-32
     
    The Same Tree:
    Family makes a difference. My nieces and nephews matter to me because they are my brothers and sister-in-law children. We come from the same “tree” and are cut from the same “cloth”. My brothers are different than me, but we share a lot of similarities. Our height, build, hair, and manner of life is someone what different, but beneath these differences is the same bloodline and upbringing. We experienced many of the same trials and temptations as young men. We are connected by blood and experience. We feel a deep connection to one another because of these things, and because of these things I care in a unique for my nieces and nephews. It is my belief that we can, from scripture and because of Jesus, feel these same family desires for people we have never met because we have all fallen from the same tree.

    Have you ever seen a tree go through its natural transitions as seasons change? Tara and I love to take the kids to the mountains every fall. Most of our time there is spent driving the parkway, hiking, and looking at the sights. I have discovered by the prices, packed trails, and overlooks that we are not the only ones that enjoy looking at the multicolored leaves. When you get on the parkway to ride the top of the mountains in the fall, traffic slows as people are in awe at every turn with the surrounding trees and their shades of colors. It is the glorious colors of the leaves that makes the mountains breath taking. It is the same with the human race. We come from the same ancestor and have filled the globe with different shades of glory. When I say “shades of glory” I am not simply referring to skin pigment, although that is part of the glory, but not all. There are people who have the same skin pigment, but different languages and cultures that make them glorious as well. When we talk about shades of glory we are talking about all the differences that the groupings and nations of this world have that reveal the glory of God.
     
    Nations for His Glory
    Isaiah 43:7; Revelation 4:11
    Every person, creature, and thing has been created to bring God glory. God’s creation reveals His glory (Psalm 19:1) and the nations are no different. God is so big, so powerful, so beautiful, and so deep one kind of person cannot declare clearly how wonderful He is and so we have the nations. Every nation no matter how poor, sick, or backwards has the creative purpose to bring glory to God. The Church is made up of all nationalities. In the church the full purpose of all nations will be recognize in eternity.
     
    How the Nations began:
    Scripture: Genesis 10
    Genesis is the book of generations. God creates man in His own image. Man falls into sin with promise of a Redeemer to come. Man multiplies greatly and lives wickedly. God decides to flood the earth and wipe out sinful man, but spares Noah, his wife, their 3 kids, and their wives. It is from these 8 people that all the nations descended. Each one of us are connected to each other by Noah and his sons.
     
    The big Question:
    Today the big question is “what are the implications of us descending from Noah”? What does this mean to me as an individual and to us a church?

    We are Connected (Genesis 10:1)- Love it or hate it but you cannot choose who is in your family.

    Our Common Ancestor- If you were to get on a train and travel backwards on the track of time you would observe that the nations of people would contract until they came to Noah whom God showed grace and was found to be a righteous man walking faithfully with God (Genesis 6:8-9). This is our lineage as a worldwide people. If we were to stop on the track of time and make observations it would be noticed that we had some bad apples in the family tree, but that is not our common starting point. Our starting point is with a man God showed grace. A man who believed and obeyed God. A man who had a family, built an ark, and endured hardships to the saving of his house. Before our languages changed, before our skin took on varying shades, before we flew different flags under different governments, and before false religions emerged among us, this man was the representative of all nations to come. Our common ancestor was not a king, warrior, or statesmen, but he was a boat builder who followed God!

    The Sons of Noah (Genesis 9:18-19)- Our Common Ancestor Noah had three sons. Each Son represents people types that occupy the world today. Although nations and groups are fractured and multiplied many times over each group can find their identity in one of the three sons of Noah.

    Shem (Genesis 5:32)- Shem is the father of the Semitic people and those that have descended from them. To simplify this His people occupied the Mideastern area that joined, or separated the descendants of Japheth and Ham. The Messiah (Jesus) is a descendant of Shem.

    Ham (Genesis 5:32)- Warm, hot, and hence the south; also an Egyptian word meaning "black", the youngest son of Noah (Genesis 5:32; Comp. 9:22, 24). The curse pronounced by Noah against Ham, properly against Canaan his fourth son, was accomplished when the Jews subsequently exterminated the Canaanites.

    One of the most important facts recorded in Genesis 10 is the foundation of the earliest monarchy in Babylonia by Nimrod the grandson of Ham (6, 8, 10). The primitive Babylonian empire was thus Hamitic, and of a cognate race with the primitive inhabitants of Arabia and of Ethiopia. (see ACCAD.)
    The race of Ham were the most energetic of all the descendants of Noah in the early times of the post-diluvian world. (Easton’s Bible Dictionary).
    Ham’s descendants occupied what is the upper east region of Africa. Ham is a marvelous picture of grace. Though he was cursed, his descendants that follow Jesus still dwell in the church of the redeemed. He is a beautiful picture of the whole church, cursed but saved!

    Japheth (Genesis 5:32)- “Expansion” Japheth sons occupied what is now called Europe and some of Asia. His children are what we would call fair skinned or white. The Children of Japheth would become the Greeks and Romans. Their history is that of expansion ruling and influence.

    Knowing we are all connected should encourage us to pray for one another. Yes, the fallen tendency is to war, enslave, and murder one another, but let us put these so far to the side that we can pray for our enemies as Jesus has commanded.
    Question: Does your connection to others help fuel your care for them?
     
    We are Governor Ourselves (Genesis 9:1-7)-
    After the flood God made a covenant with Noah. This covenant is unconditional and to all people. Verse 6-7 is where God institutes human government. The right to governor human affairs was handed down to man in order to guard against abuse of life and property. Capital punishment is in the hands of human governments. Paul says that government leaders are for the good and are to punish the wicked (Romans 13:4). The sons of Noah would set up governments different in shapes, sizes, and operation. These governments would influence the operation of mankind’s relationships with one another. What can we as believers’ gleam from God’s institution of human government?

    There are different types- One size does not fit all, but each government type is supposed to uphold the same idea to protect life and property of its people.

    Voting and Becoming- If we vote or become leaders in government we are to build our decisions from the original principles of government laid forth in Genesis 9. That is, we are to protect human life and property.

    Human government will be eternal- The government of nations will perish, by Jesus, as glorified man, will rule and reign and the government will be on His shoulders. It is only in this sense the human government will be eternal.
    What does this have to do with shades of glory or the gospel?

    Governments represent its people and God in this sense it is to show the glory of God in various ways. Even evil governments show the power and sovereignty of God in some shape or form. In this sense it has to do with shades of glory.
    The church must believe we are to pray and work with the powers that be to reach people. We can not ditch governments and do our own thing. We are to work, to the farthest extent, through government to reach God’s people. The church is not here on earth to wage war, but through the gospel to live obediently and pursue peace with all men.
     
    Question: Do you pray for our governments locally and worldwide that we and our brothers and sisters around the world can live a peaceable life?
     
    We are Scattered (Genesis 10:5)-
    Noah’s sons, grandsons, great grandsons, and so on spread out in different locations. Genesis 8:20 records Noah worshipping God and we can assume it was a worship service with his family. They were there worshiping God together, but from there each went in different directions. It seems that man began to wander from God and each other from that moment. Not much later, in Genesis 11, man has come together to form a religious center worship, called the tower of Babel, that was completely opposite of the worship of the late verses of Genesis 8. The living God had already been closed out of human government and worship to the point God confounded them and various languages developed.

    We are far from Home- Now comes the sad news. Humanity is lost. We have left the altar of God and the beautiful nations are damned. Our family members are under the assumption that some religion is good enough. Around the world people have a faint knowledge of God but can not get back to the altar of Genesis 8. Humanity is far from Home. The church is to go forth and invite people back to the worship of the living God.

    Scattered with Hope- The nations are scattered and separated by many things. Languages, family, skin color, culture, religion, terrain, and seas separate the peoples of the earth; but there is HOPE! Jesus came to call all people to ONE BODY. He sent the church out to gather the nations into His Kingdom. This saving and sending of the church is so powerful and compelling it has kept me where I am! It has caused me to study, pray, preach, and stay faithful. I want to be the one to call the nations of Barnwell (The different languages, skin types, and cultures in this area) to worship God! People near us are far from God, but if you are near them then they are near God! Reach with all your heart the people that are nearest you and if called go to the nations far and wide and bring them back to the altar of forgiveness and worship through Jesus Christ!

    Question: Will you bring people that look like you and those that don’t look like you to worship God with you?
  • Jan 28, 2018A Time for War: A Battle for Your Mind
    Jan 28, 2018
    A Time for War: A Battle for Your Mind
    (Please refer to https://bebrainfit.com/human-brain-facts/ for brain facts)

    A Time for War Week 4
    The Battle for the Mind
    Scriptures:
    Romans 12:1-2

    Conformed: “Fashioned After” “Assume the form of”
    World: “The present age, state, and time of worldly operations”
    Transformed: “form a habit” (habits which are holy and healthy) “To set in motion habits that alter thinking and life style”
    Renewing: “To develop as new through the power of God”
    Mind: “The reasoning or intellect of a person”

    Summary:
    As followers of Jesus we are to be a living sacrifice to God. This is only possible if our minds are alienated from worldly ideologies and transformed by making your mind new through the power of God. The transformation of mind gives us the ability to discern the good will of God. The question we need to ask is “How does the mind be renewed and not conformed”?
     
    Ephesians 4:21-24
     
    Summary:
    What is bad about the mind that we have? Why must it be put off, captured, and renewed? The sin we are born with has wrecked our brains and the fallen “I” and Satan have or are ruling it. Our minds have built up fortresses that must be turn down. These fortresses hold every thought and imagination that is against God. In order to transform our minds and living a battle must rage. This means the transforming of the mind is not an easy task. Spiritual weapons must be employed to win the battle of the mind.

    A Prized Possession
    Because our minds are prized possessions to us and God Satan wants to rule and ruin them.
    Jesus died and rose again to redeem and restore your full personal including your mind. Even before redemption your mind is/was a prized possession to God, hence the cross of Christ and His suffering to liberate your mind. The mind is the seat of reasoning, emotion, physical activity, dreaming, and imagination. If you capture the mind you capture the person. The mind exists to bring glory to God. The mind reasons what the body should do from the management of time, relationships, and habits of the body. The mind is so powerful, quick, useful, and magnificent that Satan wants to destroy it and God wants to free it. The body is the temple and the mind the seat of worship in the temple. It is a very prized possession!

    Over Spiritualizing
    My fear is when talking about the mind in church it is easy to over spiritualize the warfare. That is, we replace the reality of the warfare for the mind with an idea of warfare of the mind. Preaching on the mind me be heard like this, “prayer is the right thing for the mind, and not eating right” or “attend church, but sleep has little to do with it” or “serve others, but exercise and drinking water does not help with the battle of the mind” This is a half-truth. The whole truth is taking care of your body and doing that which is holy before God are both needed in the battle for the mind. Your physical body, the temple of God, has much to do with your mind, the seat of worship. What you eat and drink can effective your mental state greatly. This means it affects your state of worship to God. The body and spirit of a man walks hand in hand. The battle for our mind will be observed as a whole using the physical and spiritual elements. You pray with your lips, listen to God’s word with your ears, serve God’s and his people with your feet and hands, and it is all accomplished with your physical body. When we over spiritualize the battle of the mind we can stick the body unchanged in one corner and fight an imaginary battle that will never be one with the mind if we are not cautious.

    Weapons in the Warfare of the Mind:
    Now that we see that the battle for the mind is a physical and spiritual battle that is fought together as one and not simply a one-sided fight one way or the other, we must ask what is available to us to fight the battle of the mind with.
    We have two enemies. The fallen ego and Satan. These two desires to cripple the mind from bringing glory to God through personal and public worship. How many edifices, songs, cures, discoveries, and communities could be built for the glory of God and sake of man if the mind of man was left untouched by the enemy? Our minds are in a constant battle. Strongholds have been built and reinforced by the enemy to keep us from acknowledging who God is and patterning our lives in a healthy and holy way that reflects God’s image. What the church appears to be originates in what it thinks. What we think is influenced by sin. Sin must be dealt with if the appearance and influence of the church is to reach max potential. The weapons we need to fight a good fight for the mind is within our reach. God has equipped us with the weapons that can destroy the strongholds of the mind and bring unholy thoughts into submission to the will of God. Prayer, giving, fasting, service to God and others, right food, and hydration, the word of God to know what is holy for the body and mind, and the great gift that makes all these things powerful Jesus Christ and His cross.

    The Road Less Traveled:
    Did you know that you lay paths in the mind and then travel them often?
    In 1916 Robert Frost’s poem the Road Not Taken was published. He ends the poem like this
    “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.”
     
    What laid before the traveler was as path cleared by travelers who had come before. Travelers going from point a to b had all agreed upon a path, but the traveler in Frost’s poem chose one that had not a path, and that made all the difference. We, through choice, lay down paths in our brains. Our brain knows how to get from point a to b by the path most traveled. Addictions and habits travel these paths. The brain is not looking to take the road less traveled, it is looking to get from point a to b in a familiar way.
    Eating right, exercise is hard, staying commit to your spouse is hard, breaking addictions are hard, turning off the T.V. is hard because we have traveled the same paths for so long the brain does not want us going another way, or maybe it doesn’t know how to go another way. Young children and adolescents need to know you are laying the paths your brain will walk for many years to come. Your ideas of a “good time” become habits of force. When the road you have been traveling or the road you are laying in your mind is sinful its time to go to war against false paths of joy, spiritual awakening, relationships and physical health.
     
    Attack Angles
    The mind is being attacked from all angles. The spiritual is one. The mind is fallen and turns on itself in many ways. One angle of attack is within. It has been said on average 70% of our thought life is negative. Sin has distorted everything that enters the mind. The mind is turning the good gifts of God into negative ungodly things. Not only is sin polluting the mind, the consequences of sin, disease and death are working hard to cripple the mind. When the mind is crippled true worship in the mind and body is halted.
    Another angle of attack is what we put in our body or what we do not put in our body. Many people around the world do not have adequate food or water this is by satanic design. When missionaries go to poverty-stricken parts of the world food and water are on the list of top priorities to bring to the people the lack of food and water makes it hard, if not impossible, for the mind to properly function.
    American Christians have the resources to eat and drink plenty, but we eat and drink plenty of the wrong thing. Wrong foods cause the stomach to affect the brain. Moods, depression, and anxiety can increase with the wrong diet. When your body is 2% of more dehydrated your brain is affected negatively in the area of memory, mood, pain sensitivity, and motor skills. It is important to understand that exercise and sleep affects mental stability and quality of mental state.
    A third angle of attack is what your body is around. Your mental state is hindered or helped by the environment. Christians are told to encourage themselves and each other in spiritual songs and hymns. They are to add quality to their environment hence the analogy of being salt and light. When your mind is unhealthy spiritually or physically then worship can be hindered mentally.
     
    How to win the battle of the mind-
    Proposition: E/c can win the battle for their mind daily
    Transition: By utilizing the following weapons in their battle

    We will divide our weapons into sections much like the military has surface, water, and air strategies.
    The physical
    The Connector
    The Spiritual
     
    How can we be and do the things that Paul writes for us to be and do? First, understand that Paul is writing to blood washed, Spirit filled, Jesus followers. We are not hoping that we can erase our past desires, but we are aiming to bring them into captivity through Jesus. We want to put thoughts and actions against God into submission. The paths we have trodden mentally will not grow over. Once a path has been laid it tends to stay, but our desires, habits, addictions, and ways of life can be overpowered by that which is Greater and Jesus is greater. An example of this is someone who has an addiction to stealing. The thief heads out at night over joyed that he will be able to take what is not his. He has selected a house where a family is out of town. He picks the lock and enters the back door. As soon as he makes it to the living room he smells the scent of dog. Then in the moon light though a window he sees the image of a full-grown Rottweiler. It is at that very moment that his impulse and addiction to steal is taken captive and he flees! When we behold that which is greater than our sin and impulses the desire to sin flees. We do not overpower sin on our own, but by grace do we stand.

    I. The Physical

    Food- A happy stomach makes for a happy mind.
    Drink- A hydrated brain is a happy brain
    Sleep- A rested brain is a rejoicing brain
    Exercise- an exercised brain is an ecstatic brain
    Senses- A brain that hears, sees, smells, touches, and taste healthy and holy things is a satisfied brain.
    When all these things are set right the mood to learn about God, worship God, and energy to serve God are peaked in the mind. Thinking through problems in daily life and reasoning out decisions are affected if these physical things are not overseen correctly. Research shows that eating and drinking things with additives reduce our I.Q. by an average of 14 pts. Compound this with other effects of inadequate oversight of our bodies and we see the difficulties of growing in Christ mentally to be a big problem mentally

    Question: Are you giving your mind the best chance to succeed at worshiping God and living for Him?
     
    II. The Connector

    The first weapons we have are physically in front of us. There are physical things that we can do that will help us be renewed and bring strongholds of sin into captivity, but these things are not easy, and we need something to connect us to the Will to do them. We need God to avoid temptation and do right with our temple and mind. We need a power source bigger than ourselves. We are fragile and lazy creatures that are led by natural urges to easily. We need a good Shepherd to lead us from temptation and to still waters. And thank God, we have a way to reach Him and that way is through Prayer.

    What to pray about- Prayer is mighty weapon to pull down strong holds. When you pray, ask God to grant you wisdom and desire to get things right physically. Pray that your physical life will bring glory to God. Ask for help to watch, hear, and touch that which is holy. Ask for the will power to make your mind as strong as possible. Pray that you will be a living sacrifice.

    Question: Do you specifically pray to do right with your physical body?
     
    III. The Spiritual
     
    Ephesians 6:12 and 2nd Corinthians 10:3- We battle the flesh, but not with the flesh. Over powering the pattern of thought in our heads are a must if we are to worship God in a deep and filling way. Conquering Satan and the flesh is not going to happen by merely eating, drinking, sleeping, and exercising right. The battle is going to be fought and won on a spiritual level, but remember the physical and spiritual walk hand and hand. We only can wrestle Satan and the flesh to the ground with spiritual weapons. Here is what God has equipped us with spiritually in Christ:

    Faith- Faith is the weapon that tells us to believe and obey God’s word over our own reason or standard. We must tell our minds to believe and obey God first. When this happens the fortress of the enemy is surrounded.

    Self-Control- This describes the fruit of the Spirit produced in believers. Employing self-control is like a cannon to the walls of the enemy. If we control our desires then the walls of the enemy begin to crack

    The Gospel- The mind needs a daily dose of the gospel in word and song. When we behold the beauty of God in the gospel our old ways are over powered for Jesus is the ONLY WAY!

    Fear-I have listed fear as a spiritual weapon because fearing God above all other fears puts the enemy in shackles. I have faith that God is real and just. He is a rewarder of them that seek Him. My faith in God helps me accomplish things in life that I could not by myself. Myself is controlled by the faith I have in God. All the while the Gospel of Jesus is powering me to live holy by example. I know through the Gospel who Jesus is and how He lives, therefore I know how I should live. And then finally I fear what I know. God is true and just and wicked deeds do not go unpunished. If I abuse my temple it will be destroyed. If I disobey God I will be disciplined. Holy fear is a great weapon. The fear of God is so great you can look at the enemy and have no fear to waste on them. I will fight my addiction daily because I both love and fear God. I will be faithful to my children and wife because I love and fear God. I will take care of my temple because I love and fear God. Satan is scary, but has he seen God? I cannot be bullied into sin because I fear God. I believe God and I fear God walk hand in hand. If I believe that God is as He says then I fear Him with holy fear. I like my addiction, I like my life style, I like my sin, I like the way I eat, and all these natural urges and desires I like, but nothing is more beautiful and fearful than God. I will let the grace of God cause me to fear that I may be saved from sin to the glory of God! Fear the Lord and reverence Him as Holy!!

    Question: What weapons are you employing in the war for your mind?
     
     
  • Jan 21, 2018A Time for War: A Battle for Your Relationships
    Jan 21, 2018
    A Time for War: A Battle for Your Relationships
    A Time for War:
    A Battle for Relationships
    Philippians 2: 1-11
     
    Over the past two weeks we as individuals and a church have declared war on our enemies, named the flesh (our fallen ego) and Satan. We have claimed war in order to rule at liberty the great gifts Jesus purchased for us and gave to us at salvation. For the sake of this message we have called these gifts “kingdoms” that we have rights to rule over with Jesus by the blood of His cross. We are not staking our rights to reign with Christ on anything less than His Bloody Cross and resurrection. Today we claim humbly with grace that we are more than conquers through Jesus who loves us. We are here to fight will all our strength that has come through Christ. This is a war zone, a place of Christian warfare, a place of Christian service, and instruction. Today we make war over our God ordained relationships. This day we begin to regain strong footing in our relationships for the glory of God and sake of man!

    Why Battle for relationships:
    I am asking you faithfully battle through scripture for your relationships here on earth. I am asking for you to use resources, energy, and time to create and maintain holy relationships. You may ask, “why do so much for relationships”? This is my answer to you.

    Relationships are Sacred to God- The Godhead is Three Persons in One. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. They have always been together in fellowship, love, and joy. Jesus prayed in John 17 that His disciples would be one as He and His Father. Relationships exist because God exist.

    Relationships are important to us- God infinity values relationship and that is enough, but God gives us more reason because He is the God of more. God has given us relationships for our own benefit. In Genesis, Adam looked about at all the animals and their mates and felt lonely, and it is worth pausing and pointing out feeling lonely or longing (for the right reason) is not a sin or Adam would not have felt it at this point it history. God knowing the longing of Adam and the important immeasurable role of women in God’s eternal plan made Adam a wife. The man and woman together would create children and become a family. The relationships within the family would blossom into friendships and the world would be interconnected through relationships.

    Relationships breaks barriers- The walls that separate us one from another tumble down when we get to know one another. The many difficulties we face in and out of church can be helped if we form relationships with others. When Jesus instituted the church, He did so with the intentions of making men and women from all nations part of His family. The church is to help break chains that hold people who look different come together as one family.
    Relationships are a great gift that are being attacked hard because they are precious and powerful when put together correctly. There is no wonder why Satan has put in place many traps to weaken and destroy human fellowship with God and each other.

    What to know about this Battle
    Relationships in the Christian community are very challenging because we are commanded to have vibrant, holy, heavenly relationships in a sin cursed selfish world. Remember our enemy the flesh? The fallen ego that lurks in our hearts awaiting its final defeat? That ego is absorbed with itself and all it wants is to make much of itself no matter the cost of others. This enemy makes it very hard to have heavenly relationships on this earth, but it is possible! This battle is challenging because the goal of it is to reproduce godly relationships that are seldom seen. There are not many, if any relationships, that we can look to for guidance. Our war is then two-fold. 1. We battle to be Christ-like to others and 2. We battle to set an example for our children and others to follow. If we win this battle we change the culture of our church, family, and community. We can beat the enemy back little by little in everyone’s life around us if we battle with wisdom for our relationships.

    E/C can gain the footing back in their relationships for the glory of God and sake of man
    By taking the following actions
     
    I. Study the truths of the Trinity (Philippians 2:1 & 6)-
    The Godhead is One God in Three Persons. God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Spirit have always existed in perfect harmony together in love, fellowship, joy, and perfection. The relationship of the Godhead is placed at the forefront of all examples of living. If we are going to have healthy and holy relationships here on earth we must look to heaven through the lens of scripture and study the perfect harmonious relationship between Father, Son, and Spirit. When we do this, we discover how to be the husband, wife, father, mother, friend, and child we are destined to be. Here is what Paul unpacks from the Trinity that the Christian church is to glean from.

    Fellowship of The Spirit (V:1)- “The word "fellowship - κοινωνία koinōnia - means that which is common to two or more; that of which they partake together;” (John Gill). This “fellowship” is the spark or atmosphere that is created between two or more people when they come together. An example would appear here in our life groups. If your attend the primetime life group it has a different “feel” or atmosphere than the other groups, because of the “fellowship” that happens between the people of that group. If you go to a comedy show the “fellowship” that is there is that of humor, humor flows and swirls through the crowd, that is the “spirit” of the place. The difference in Holy Spirit fellowship and human fellowship is The Hoy Spirit is the Person of fellowship between Father and Son. As the Father and Son experience joy, love, and fullness from each other the Person of that fellowship between the Father and Son proceeds forth. The Church from all times and places are influenced by the feeling, views, and joy of the Holy Spirit. This fellowship makes for good relationships. When our feelings, joy, and view of others are directly linked to the fellowship of the Father and Son we have peace one with another.

    Who Being in the form of God (V:6)- The writer of Hebrews says Jesus is “the express image of His (God’s) Person”. Paul says we are to have the same mind that His Express Image has. Jesus’s life expresses submission, services, sacrifice, forbearance, sound judgment, love, joy, kindness, and caring to God His Father and people. Knowing the truth of Jesus will help us do the truth of Jesus. Relationships can work against all odds if we study out the relationship Jesus has with His Father.

    Equal with God (V:6b)- God the Father has no issue with the Son being equal to Him and this being communicated through the Spirit. Human relationships work the best when equality is a priority. The Father, Son, and Spirit have different roles, but all equally God. Roles exist in relationships, but so can equality.
    There is much amazing truth to learn from about relationships when you study the Trinity. Did you know that you study the Trinity when you read the New Testament? Those of you who are reading the New Testament with your family will study the Trinity. You will see the relationship of the Godhead in action.
    Question: Is the fellowship at your house and in your relationships like that seen in the Godhead?

    II. Share with Others (V:3-4)-
    Relationships are created and strength when people go out of there way for each other. When you are around people you will know there needs. When you know there needs make it your business to help them with their need. Paul was writing in hopes that the relationships in the church would be strengthen. I would venture to say that each of us should be listening and learning what each other’s need is and then doing what we can to meet the need. This is to be done out of love and not obligation. “The same love” mentioned in verse two appears to be the love that is held among all believers through the Spirit of God. Sharing with others is a quality of the Godhead we are to mimic for His glory and our sake. Paul unpacks our sharing and caring for others like this:

    Share with a Pure Heart- Give to others because God loves you and you love them. Have a no strings attached policy.

    Share with honor- When having fellowship with others go out of your way to honor them because God has honored you. Think so highly of them that you take on a role of service on their behalf.

    Share with Consideration-Consider their life as yours. Look after the well fair like you look after your own.

    Living like this creates and strengthens every relationship that you have. Making war against the fallen ego every step of the way, it will be the thing standing in the way of holy relationships deny yourself and follow the example of Jesus.

    Question: What have you shared with others lately?
     
    III. Add to your Life what you are Not (V:7-9)-
    The Son of God was not man till He became man. He added to Himself Manhood, thus becoming “nothing or empty”. Verse 7 says “made Himself of no reputation”. The Greek Word means to make void, empty, or nothing. The Son of God added to Himself the lowly nature of fallen man. The addition to the Son of God’s life was suffering, shame, and death. Jesus came to do WAR against all forces that are ungodly. No matter if they are within or without of man. We to must add to our relationships willingness to suffer physically for our relationships. We must add something to our nature that has not been there. Namely the selfless life of Christ. Everyday, hear me, everyday we must add to our lives selflessness. The question must be asked at every turn “Why won’t I help that person?” “Why won’t I give that up for my so my wife can…(fill in the blank)” “why won’t I be charitable” we must add to yourself spiritual accountability where we ask the Holy Spirit to search us and add to us selflessness at every turn of the day.

    The Paradox- Once we add to selflessness to life, we are also subtracting selfishness. We are actually becoming more to be less, and by becoming less we make more out of our relationships.
    Question: Will you make war daily to add to your life selflessness?
     
  • Jan 14, 2018A Time for War: A Battle for Your Body
    Jan 14, 2018
    A Time for War: A Battle for Your Body
    A Time for War
    “The Battle for the Body”
     
    1st Corinthians 6:9-20
     
    A Word of Encouragement
    Good morning, it is my hope and my joy to know that the battle for our time has begun in Christ. Though you may have made little steps in the past week to win the battle it is still progress worth celebrating. Some of you began devotions with your family, started praying, listening to messages, reading scripture, cutting back of social media and T.V. time, and began to look for ways to better use your time for the glory of God and sake of man. Even if you have not taken a step physically, if the idea of how to rearrange your time to make the most of it, then a victory has been won on some level. I trust each of us has a way to go to fully reclaim our time, but the battle has begun and that is better than the alternative of being captive by the will of Satan. I pray that you continue in the battle for your God given time. It is valuable, and it is worth fighting for. I also want to give a reminder that you can win your battles with Christ as the High Captain of your life. You can do all things through Christ and you are more than a conquer through Him and also where sin abounds the grace to wage war with sin abounds much the more. Therefore, we are well equipped and without excuse. You can win, so please keep winning your time for the Lord’s glory and man’s sake.
     
    The Next Battle:
    As we move on to our next battle let us not forget our to enemies, the “flesh” (Our fallen Ego that seeks to gratify itself at all cost) and Satan (The leader of wickedness). There is something that each person in this room has in common. It is true we differ on about every level of our being. Height, weight, eye color, body shape, hair color and length, and skin tone. But the one thing we all have in common is we have a BODY. I would also speculate we like our bodies. Sure, there are aspects about your body you aren’t crazy about, but overall, we love our bodies, and rightfully so for they are a great gift of God. Here is what we know about our physical bodies from scripture.

    Your Body is in the image of God (Genesis 1:27)-
    Male or female are both in the image of God. This is why marriage between male and female is correct scripture. The two together proceeded forth from God and when united show a great image of God and the sacred relationship between Jesus and His Church.

    Your Body will be transformed or changed (Philippians 3:21, 1st Corinthians 15:51-52)-
    The bodies we now have are marred by sin, when we follow Jesus as Savior we are following Him with the promise that our bodies will be transformed to the likeness of His glorious body. Salvation from a sin curse body and a sin cursed world awaits all believers in Jesus.

    Your Body is to be sanctified and presented to God as a living sacrifice (1st Thessalonians 5:23 and Romans 12:1)-
    Our personal works do not save, but God who saves also works in us to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). This work He does is through His Spirit, which convicts of sin and righteousness (John 16:8). The Spirit of God works 24/7 to convict us of things, which do not glorify God, and encourages toward doing what pleases God. The goal of such work is to make us a living sacrifice, or the highest quality in the fold for the glory of God.

    Your Body is a temple (1st Corinthians 6:19)-
    Your Body is a temple in the image of God that is being sanctified and awaiting a full-scale transformation. Your body is a place of worship. The Temple that Solomon built in the Old Testament was beautiful on the outside, but all the true splendor was on the inside. This is how it is to be with us. Our bodies are to be attractive (not as the world envisions attraction) on the outside and filled with enhanced worship to God on the inside. The outside attraction of our bodies is to be a physical mirroring of what takes place on the inside. This is what Peter had in mind in 1st Peter 3:3-5. A Temple that is inviting and worship within that is filling.

    All these things about our body are amazing and beautiful. We were formed, imaged, redeemed, sanctified, and made a temple by God for a glorious purpose. Our bodies will be changed and we will live in a glorious physical body with Jesus throughout eternity. It is a gold mine of beauty and value to God and us, yet this great value makes it a great target to the enemy. Your body and the worship in it can give God glory and bring others to do so as well, Satan will not allow this without a full out war on your Image bearing self. If Satan lets you go about in the brightness of God’s glory, then many will come to know His enemy (God). Satan must fight within and without to keep your body in his clutches or he will suffer great lost. Satan will seek to kill you if you do not glorify God, and the more so if you do glorify God. Do not think you can sign a peace treaty with him and cut off the hook of his hatred against your body. You walk around as a billboard of his enemy no matter what you do. The air in your lungs means you are a testimony of God. Satan is waging war over your body as we speak. Fleshly desire is the greatest weapon in distracting men from salvation. Anything you do against to harm your body for lustful reasons pleases Satan. The church preaches being clean from addictions and vices because it is a weapon of the enemy. A holy life is preached because your Father is holy. It is time to battle addiction, lust, and the pride that fuels all sin in our body. Satan is not to win the war of your body. Your body is to be held forth as brightness for all to see and glorify God because of it.

    Every Christian Can reinforce the battle for their body by reacting to the following truths;
     
    Truth #1
    Actions with Your Body is Revealing (1st Corinthians 6:9-11)

    The Words- The words in the text describe the perpetual lifestyle that proves a person is not a follower of Jesus. We will take a quick glance and move on to better news for the believer.
    The Greek word in verse 8 “you do wrong” is the same word used to translated “unrighteousness” in verse 9. The force of the sentence is “you do wrong things and expect to inherit the kingdom of God, this will not happen”. Those doing wrong are not bearing fruit of repentance that comes from salvation.

    Fornicators- Single persons who give themselves sexually to another or engage in unbiblical sexual gratification.
    Idolaters- Those who esteem anyone or thing higher than God.
    Adulterers- Those who break their marriage vows and have sexual relations with another besides the person they are committed.
    Effeminate-
    Abusers of themselves- same sex sexual activity.
    Thieves- Those who take things without proper permission or by violence.
    Covetous- Those who love money.
    Drunkards- Those who drink excessively.
    Revilers- Those who rant with their tongue.
    Extortioners- Those who take from another what is rightfully theirs.

    The scripture is plain. Living such a life style as Paul has mentioned in the body simply proves the individual is an outcast from the kingdom of God.

    Good News for the Follower of Jesus (V:11)- Paul plainly states people who use their bodies to commit wrong practices are not heaven bound, but doesn’t stop there. He goes on and reminds believers that they are not that! They are washed and redeemed. Their body, because of salvation and the work of the Holy Spirit, is against such behavior. When a follower of Jesus knows they are heading in a direction, or has committed any of the offences afore mention they repent passionately and move forward in the forgiveness and mercy of God. God has justified us (declared us innocent legally) and is sanctifying us (teaching us how to be innocent and holy lives). Society can build new houses for old men, but God can put new men in old houses! No one but Jesus can make a man new. Verse 11 declares that Jesus can take those who are not fir for the Kingdom of God save them and place a new man in a vile condemned body!
    When we react to the fact we are saved and sanctified by God then our bodies will not be given to vices of Satan. One of the great ways to react to salvation is to pray we enter not into temptation but are delivered from evil.

    Truth # 2
    Our Body is for the Lord and the Lord is for our Body (12-14)
    Because we are in Christ we are free to enjoy the good gifts of God. Paul mentions two natural desires (Sex and Eating) that can be fulfilled in Christ, yet these things can become bondage if we forget that the main purpose of these things are to glorify God.

    Lawful but not Profitable (12)- Sex and food was available to Paul because of his liberty in Christ. This sounds way to attractive and pleasurable to be consider Christian right? Actually, these are things Christians can enjoy and are, in my opinion, the foundations of physical pleasure. Paul talked about sex and food in another place in 1st Timothy 4:1-5 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”

    Paul knew that false teachers were going to arise and attack freedom to marry and freedom to eat. These false teachers were seeking to make Christianity a major drag and call it holy! These things are still heresies today. Sex is sold as a cheap thrill and food is unhealthy and unappreciated. Satan is hard at work to plant an ungrateful heart in the church toward the good things God gives to the body!

    It is established then that sex and food are good gifts given to people, but neither of these things come without warning. It is very possible to let these good things become a “law” that binds the followers of Jesus. Over eating or eating unhealthily can bind us. Thanksgiving can be affected even when we eat good. The gift becomes the prize and not a tool to glorify God. Feeling like marriage is a must can also be bondage, and sex in marriage can become a practice that loses Christ as its center. It becomes something to do and not a treasure to enjoy. Food and sex have a place, but that place is not the Master’s seat! Anything that keeps the body from being an instrument of glory to God is a thing that needs to be brought under control of the Spirit of God.

    Refusal of Bondage- On the one hand we see a life that is not Christian and the other we see the Christian liberty that can yield bondage. Satan is not a quitter. He does not see Christian liberty and think, “there is no way I can use that”. No, Satan sees every thing good as a weapon that can be turned on believers. Paul decides nothing will master him. Good gifts are to bring us closer to God and others. Good gifts are not for self-gratification alone. Paul refuses to be in bondage to anything but Christ! Have good gifts become bondage to your body? What has you enslaved at this moment? Is it food, exercise, sex, work, or some other good gift gone bad? Pray with me that the good gifts granted to us by God will give us enjoyment, growth in our relationship to God and others, and place thanksgiving in our hearts to God! We can take this reminder with us “there are many good gifts God has given us to enjoy, but remember our bodies are for the Lord and not a slave to good gifts”.
     
    Proof of God’s Love (14)- God loves us! We are weak, tempted, and tainted by sin at every turn, but God continually shows us love and favor through Jesus Christ. We are troubled on every side in our flesh, we seem to lose most battles, and beg for forgiveness for our short comings. There are habits and sins we want to kick and we try with all our might and then fall back, but we keep fighting because the Spirit of Christ is in us and we hope to push the enemy back until the day we are granted a new body. The new body will match the new man that has fought sin here on this earth. The resurrection of Jesus means total victory will soon be ours to enjoy without a fight! The Lord came to redeem and resurrect our bodies because He loves us!

    Application: Since the Lord’s body is for you, will you be for the Lord?
     
    Truth # 3
    Remember you are a sexual creature and your sexuality is for the Lord (15-18)
     
    “Sex” is taboo in church. If you talk about it too much you are sinful, and if you do not talk about it then you are out of touch with reality. But if we speak where scripture speaks then we are right about the matter and so we will speak where scripture speaks and say what scripture says. Paul leaves food behind and reminds the Corinthian believers that their bodies are one with Christ. Our bodies are to be married to the will of God. When we experience our sexuality in the context God has given us then will our sexuality be full and God glorified
    .
    Our body is meant for One (16-17)- Our lost nature (The fallen ego) yearns to give our body to whatever, whoever, and whenever it desires. The human sex drive is powerful, so it is married to the will of Christ so the great desire can be enjoyed completely in marriage. Since man transgressed against God our sexual desires are all over the place. Paul list the sexually immoral as unredeemed and not allowed into God’s Kingdom. Man cannot on his own will his way to a holy sex life, and so Jesus offers salvation which cleanses from sexual immorality and places in the believer the will to do right and wage war on that which is wrong. Remember your sexuality is reserved for what the Lord has commanded.

    A very strong desire- Today Grandparents, parents, and children struggle with sexuality. It has been deemed normal for sexuality to be explored and abused but not commit. There are very strong desires in each person in this room that need to be crucified and raised with Christ. What can be done with our strong sexual desire?

    Remember it is a gift from God
    Do not “kill” it but marry it to Christ
    Enjoy your sexuality in the bond of marriage
    Live committed and not loose (18)
    Application: Are you aware of your sexual desire? Has it over come you? Will you commit your sexuality to Christ?
     
    Truth # 4
    Your Body is Not Your Own (19-20)
     
    When Jesus suffered He did so to obtain rights to your body. His prize was the glory of God and YOU! It doesn’t even sound like the two things should be joined in the same sentenced, but they are because it is true. Jesus redeemed your body from the power of sin to destroy it. Left to ourselves we would ruin many times over the wonderful gift of our body which is God’s image. Jesus now owns me and for that I am happy. I was not a very good master, sin was a bad master, and Satan is a murderer! Jesus being owner of me is a JOY! When I invite you to be saved make no mistake I am inviting you to turn over the rights of your life to God. I am pleading with you to be saved from self, sin, and Satan and to the Savior Jesus Christ! Now when you buy something you buy it with a purpose. You buy it for joy or work and the same is true of God. He has purchased us to worship Him and for His pleasure.

    The Temple- We are God’s temple. A place of beauty and coordinated worship. The Holy Spirit shines in us and radiates into a dark world to make God known.

    The Task- Our task is to make God known. We use our influence to make God stand out as God. The god of this world is blinding people to the One true God and we are to make God stand out in a positive way. How do we glorify God with our bodies? Look no further than the gospel accounts of Jesus. What did He do? Pray, serve others, teach about God, sing, be obedient, and suffer on behalf of God, give, and much more. We sum this up at Bethany with “Love God, Love Others, and Serve Both”.

    Application: Are you making God known with your body? Is what you doing with your body influencing others to know God and love Him? People needed to be saved; does your body teach that?
  • Jan 7, 2018A Time for War: A Battle for Time
    Jan 7, 2018
    A Time for War: A Battle for Time

    A Time for War
    Ecclesiastes 3:8
    Romans 7:23
    2nd Corinthians 10:3-5
    Ephesians 6:13
    Galatians 5:1
    Galatians 5:17
    2nd Timothy 2:24-26

    It is for freedom that Christ has saved each of us. Freedom to rule and reign with Christ and where should the ruling and reigning with Christ begin? Within our own personal kingdoms that make up our whole empire of being. If we are to rule and reign with Christ in unseen heavenly places, then we are to begin our training in ruling over, with Christ, the things that pertain to this life. If Christians concede the liberty(freedom) that has been granted to them in any area of life the bright life we hold forth to the world becomes dim and our kingdom looks as theirs, full of gloom, dread, and headed to destruction. What are the “kingdoms” that constitute our own “empire” (full being)? The Sword (God’s Word mainly the gospel contained within) is the only weapon given to us in this war. Yes, we have armor that is very important, but the only weapon we wield is the bible you hold in your hand.

    The knowledge of what is contained within the blessed pages is of upmost importance. The art to communicated and desire to live it is equally important. Bethany Baptist Church is aware of how important the Word is as a weapon. This is why we are equipping families to know the word together through our “blueprint”. You need to know the word it needs to be read in our homes daily. Bethany Baptist will also launch its Bible institute in February because the Word is a necessity in this warfare. We will also apply the Word to our marriages at our Made marriage conference. There is no better way to defend and delight in marriage than through God’s Word. Bethany is aware of how important the Word is as a weapon and we intend to train each soldier how to use it properly. When the Word is put to good use we will discover how to win back and beat the enemy back from the following Kingdoms of our godly empire.
    When I think of our kingdoms that we are empowered to reign over here is what comes to mind.
    The Kingdom of time: Our time here on earth is most precious and at our redemption Christ purchased for us all the time we are to spend in this body. Our time was ruled and reigned over by our enemies prior to the Conquering of Christ. Now we stand in liberty (complete freedom) to do the will of God with our time.
    The Kingdom of Our Body: Our bodies were for sinful lust and pleasure only. We were told what to eat, drink, dress, and do to please the body. We were trapped by addictions and carnal desires, but in Christ freedom has come to do what is holy, right, and pleasing to God. The body is the place of worship and is to be holy and sacred place dedicated to God.
    The Kingdom of Our relationships: Our allegiances were dictated by our skin color, nationality, social statue, and whatever lifted up our fallen ego, but in Christ all men and women have our allegiance. We are free to love, without any measure of hate, all people.
    The Kingdom of our Spirit: The Spirit is our grand castle where the supplies for our warfare flows. When the spirit is captive the whole man is captured by the enemy. When worship flows from our Spirit in truth to God all other kingdoms are supplied for adequately.
     
    A Full Revolt
    It would be a bit ignorant of me if I did not acknowledge that many believers here today are fighting from a point of captivity. Your Time, Body, relationships, and Spirit are shackled by many satanic and fleshly chains. Your time is filled with things of no value. You have committed to things that matter none in eternity and your fallen ego tells says you cannot afford to change those things now. Your body is addicted to medication, alcohol, perversion, self-image, and social ideals. Once your time is chained your body soon falls. Relationships spin out of control.
    Today I call on a full revolt of every captured Christian. I call on you to take back each kingdom granted to you in Christ. I call on you to wage full out war on the enemy. Give your neighbors a glimpse of what a beautiful bright kingdom your life can be in Christ. Show them life and power in the Empire of your being. It is time to war for our faith with our faith. In this war you are either fighting or captured. You are beating back the enemy or being beat by the enemy.
    I call every warring Christian to take heart, reload, and guard the walls of your kingdoms. Pay the price protect the cities of your children and heritage to come. Are you tired? Then be renewed in the strength of the preaching of the gospel. STAND FAST IN THE FREEDOM CHRIST FREED US FOR. Plant your flag of freedom in the overrun kingdoms of your life put on the full armor of God and declare WAR!
    What You Need to Know About War
    War is a contention by FORCE
    War protects a way of life
    Our Enemy in this War is Our flesh and Satan
    I define the “flesh” not as the body, but the fallen ego (See Galatians 2:20)
    Paul states that one “I” was crucified and another “I” lives. There is the fallen ego that only looks after its own pleasure that needs to be crucified and the new “I” governed by the Spirit of Christ that needs to emerge. The “new man” needs to put the “old man” in submission.
    Satan is the leader of the dark forces we battle against
    There are two conditions of this war
    Warring
    Captured
    War is not pretty nor pleasant. In my office are replicas of newspaper articles from World War II. War became a way of life in order for America to be victorious. Sacrifices were made, ordinary items became useful items to build machines for war, and big and small decisions alike were made with winning the war in mind. War occupied the lives and minds of Americans to the point of obsession, but we won. As I flipped through articles there was zero evidence that the war was fought half way. You lose wars when the all-in mind set is dead. It is evident from the scriptures we read this morning that we live in an on-going war with an alliance between two major enemies “Satan” and “the flesh”. The enemy desires for the unsaved to remain captured and the saved to be unproductive and unholy; thus, rendering the mission of the Church, which is to glorify God by living holy and bring souls into Christ Kingdom, obsolete.
    During the month of January Bethany Baptist Church will be encourage and equipped to make radical changes that we reclaim the realms of life that have been captured by the enemy. The goal is to be warriors aimed at holiness and bringing souls to Jesus Christ through 2018.
    Battle for Your Time
    “You can not kill time without injuring eternity”
    Every person in here feels the stress of time. It is such a heavy wait that it gets ignored or squandered. Years of our lives are spent watching T.V., movies, and scrolling though social media. Hours a day are given to those things yet we find it near impossible to make simple things at home happen. Worship surely takes a hit. We wait till we have an idle moment then we attend church or worship God. I think most of us agree that our time is precious and that we are wasting precious time on things that are not so precious. So how do we reclaim the freedom of our time? We are not trying to create more free time, but more freedom with our time. How can we do this? We must make war with our daily schedule. Our calendar that is loaded with unhealthy, ungodly, unproductive, unsatisfying things must bleed.
    Every Believer can reclaim their time by:
    Requesting Hard Truth from God (Psalm 39:4-5)
    The Plea- Teach me that I will die. Remind me that I am very fragile and that the time I have here is precious. Put me in reality and move me from fantasy, is the plea of the song writer. Once the reality of our time running out takes hold on us in a godly way the desire of our heart leads us to war against things that would still our time. Prayer is the walkie talkie that gets us through to the Commander. Praying that our knowledge of limited time increases the quality of our lives is the first step to winning back our time from the enemy.
    Request To know the Power or Value of Your Time (Psalm 90:12)
    The Idea- The idea behind this verse is not counting, but valuing. It is very easy to fill as if your time will make no difference and will accomplish so little. We can think: The world is very large and the population very high. There are important people out there that the world needs, but is it me, of course not. Moses planned to finish his life out on the run on the backside of nowhere. God showed him the value of his days. Your days are valuable. They are very important to you, your family, friends, church, and community. Your days are powerful do not waste them. Beg God to teach you to value your days, though they be short they are powerful!
    Strip Your Calendar and Prioritize Your Time (Colossians 4:5)- Look at your daily schedule, right it down as it is, then war with the things that are not worth keeping. How do you know what is worth your time? Measure it in three dimensions to see if it has the height width and depth of value.
    The glory it brings to God- Does the thing in question bring glory to God? That is does it exercise your fatherhood, motherhood, childhood, position, or calling in such away that people are in awe of God? If you are a boss, student, employee, mom, dad, child is what you do for the benefit of gospel? Is an hour a day on social media glorifying God? If the answer is yes then keep it going and enhance it. If the answer is no remove it.
    The help it brings to man- Is what you doing with that thing at that time bringing help and hope to others? Are you spending valuable time with your wife and children? Are you working as a boss to make pay, working conditions, and training opportunities, to be the best they can be? Are you showing people through the use of your time the grace of God? Does your time help others in anyway?
    The quality of Life it gives to you- Is what you doing with your time adding value to your life. Does it give you joy and fulfillment? Are you walking carefully with your time by allowing it to add fulfillment to your life?