Apr 29, 2018
Stewardship of the Good Things of God
 
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  • Apr 29, 2018Stewardship of the Good Things of God
    Apr 29, 2018
    Stewardship of the Good Things of God
     
  • Apr 22, 2018The Effects of the Resurrection: What Happens Before the King Returns
    Apr 22, 2018
    The Effects of the Resurrection: What Happens Before the King Returns
    The Effects of the Resurrection
    What Happens Before the King Returns
    2nd Thessalonians 2:1-17
     
    Jesus is alive today. He is living in a real way, not in an allegorical way. He is not in heavenly places with God as a mere spirit, but He literally appears in the heavens in a human body. He lives to make intercession to God for each believer. He is there as the hope of heaven to all the saints who have died. The saints look at the body of Jesus, alive from the dead, and know they will have resurrected bodies one day because Jesus has His!
     
    King and Judge of the entire World
    Jesus is King. He is King of all things and rules with supreme wisdom and patience. As we can see, His creation is under a curse, yet we that are redeemed look for the redemption of all things that are to come. We believe that Jesus will return to the earth and we will rule and reign with him. Jesus will return as King and as King He will exercise judgement (Acts 17:31). As it happens we are not the only ones who believe that Jesus will return. Jesus Himself believed that He would return (Matthew 16:27, Mark 13:26, and Luke 21:27). The apostles taught Jesus would return, and the early church taught that Jesus would return.
     
    Disagreements on Arrangements
    There have been some disagreements on the arrangements of events concerning the coming of Jesus, but the unifying stand of the church of God is Jesus will come to judge and reign on the earth. We believe He will come bodily in the air to receive the living saints with the dead saints. He will set up His Kingdom here on earth for a thousand years, before the age of eternity. The lingering question is will His return be before, during, or after the tribulation. You may have heard of terms pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, and post-tribulation rapture. These terms help define what a Christian believes about the return of Jesus. There is a question of the “when”, but not of the “if”. There should be no quarrels with people, who from scripture, seek to unravel the “when” of Christ return (in a theological sense for no man knows the day or hour Matthew 24:36), but for those who doubt Jesus’s physical return as King and judge I have concern.
     
    What to Know
    Jesus taught that there would be a great tribulation (Matthew 24:21-29). The great tribulation is like child birth for a woman. The pains become worse and worse until the joy of a child being born takes place. Therefore, the tribulation, when it is finished, brings about a very good thing which is the return of Jesus.
    What you believe concerning the tribulation and rapture does not determine if you are saved, if you are qualified to be a member of the church, or if you are a sanctified Christian. God did not make your understanding of His return a deal breaker in your salvation. However, the coming of Christ is a real event that brings real comfort in very real trials and heartache. Studying the return of Jesus should cause our hearts to rejoice and be determined not to quit!
     
    Paul and the Thessalonians
    This young church has heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, including the promise of His return, and has embraced it with their full heart. The return of Jesus has given them great hope in trials, but it has also given way for false teachers to come in and lead people astray (V:2). Paul decides, using his letter writing ability coupled with his theological mind, to give markers that truly indicate the return of Christ to this New Testament Church. If these indicators are yet to be seen, then Jesus has not returned.

    What are the markers, or road signs that point to the return of the King that Paul shared with this Church?
     
    First things First
    Paul is rehearsing what he already taught them (V:5). There is little doubt that Paul is taking his teachings from the very teachings of Jesus recorded in the gospel accounts. Jesus teaches that false teachers will claim He had already come (Matthew 24:26), and Paul is dealing with the very issue. Matthew 24:10-12 Jesus teaches about a falling away and in 2nd Thessalonians 2:7 Paul echoes the same thing. What we see then is Paul’s interpretation of Jesus’ teaches to a local New Testament Church. This is not just an interpretation, but an inspired interpretation from the mind of God penned through the hand of Paul, therefore we should pay close attention to it.
     
    What Paul Said must happen before Jesus Returns

    I. There Come a falling away (V:3b)
     
    The falling away is “apostasy”. Apostasy means a denial of something once believed. Christianity is not based on a once held belief, but a held belief. Truth faith that saves is active faith that works continuously. Apostasy is not mere doubt in a moment or moments of weakness. Apostasy is full out rejection of core doctrinal truth. Apostasy does not have to be a verbal decree, it can be an acted-out decree (V:12). An example looks like a person once lived as Jesus rose from the dead as Lord, and while they still make those statements they do not live as though those statements are real, these have apostatized from the faith of Jesus Christ. Apostasy is seen in word and deed. The first marker Paul tells the church to look for concerning the coming of Jesus; are those who claim Jesus yet speak against the truth of Jesus, live against the truth of Jesus, or both. Once this begins to happen the Lord is soon to come. Jesus foreseeing the falling away says, “When the Son of Man comes will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).

    Growing up I heard about the return of Jesus. Every natural disaster was an indicator, every election, every military crisis, and so on. It seemed that everything pointed toward the end, yet the end cannot come unless there is a great falling away. The earth could shake all over, but until we see claimed saints living out apostatized lives in bulk Jesus cannot come. Therefore, my mind is made up to look at the church in order to get a better few of the coming of Jesus.

    Today my call to Bethany Baptist Church is to look about at the apostasy in the church world. Examine how many claim Jesus but have never really trusted Jesus and repent from such notions in your heart for the King is coming quickly.

    Will you take heart in the fact that Jesus is coming repent from your sins and stay steadfast in the faith?
     
    II. The Man of Sin Revealed (V:3c)
     
    This is the man of lawlessness and he has not yet come but is already here in some sense. The very demonic spirit that will occupy this man is felt today. The stage is being set, but the actor has not yet been cued. We see scattered bits of the demonic ideas that will empower this individual, but we do not see it fully possessed by one man. Paul told the church to be on the look out for the lawless one. This lawless one would make such an impact you could not miss him, even in the days of this letter (AD 51) if the lawless one had appeared the people of the church would know it.

    How would they know it?

    a. Opposing and Exalting (v:4)- The lawless one will oppose the truths delivered to the saints. He will be powerfully convincing to the point he exalts himself to a place of human worship. He desires the worship only due to God. Those who oppose God’s teachings and desire to be admired to the place of worship has the spirit of antichrist.

    b. Sitting and showing (V:4b)- The lawless one will sit in the place of power and honor showing through signs and wonders that he is God (v:9). The great deception that will be believed is that this man’s works are authentically God’s.

    c. It will be unmistakable- The lawless one first opposing God and secondly exalting himself as God makes Him undeniable to the faithful Christian eye.

    III. The Restrainer Removed (V:7)
     
    We do not for sure what or who the restrainer is. A logic conclusion would be the powers that be. Rulers are appointed by God to execute judgement (Romans 13:1). Others think the restrainer is the Holy Spirit. What we know is God has appointed an unidentified restrainer that will be removed before the coming of the Lord.

    a. After the Restrainer- Once the retainer is removed God allows those who wish for a lie to believe the lie. All those who have professed Jesus as Lord without genuine faith will believe a lie without intervening of God’s amazing grace. This is done that they all might be damned who “loved not the truth” and enjoyed a life of unrighteousness. Many will be damned after the restrainer is removed and the lawless one can do as he pleases. Many have professed Jesus, but do not love Jesus. He is not their prize. He is not treasured above all else in their lives, and it can be seen in professing Christians every day living. When what occupies the daily routine of a “Christian” is no different than an unbeliever there is a problem. When marriages of Christians look identical with unbelievers there is a problem. When fellowship with other believers in worship are frequently set aside that other matters maybe attended to there is a problem. When prayers are neglected, giving scoffed at as money hungry preacher gimmicks, when the faith of Jesus becomes something to do instead of a life style to live there is a problem!

    With the restrainer gone those that are part of the true church can recognize the lawless one, but those who have pretended will be fooled. Paul is telling the church to look for these marks because the church will be there to see and determine these marks.
     
    It does not end there

    After the lawless one rules and reigns as if he is God, and many are left to a delusion, Jesus will return and call His people away. He will consume the lawless one with spirit of His mouth and brightness of His coming. Jesus will then rule and reign with His people for 1,000 years. No matter how dark the tribulations of life can be the dawn will come and a better day will rise! Jesus is coming take heart a new day is dawning!
     
    What should we do?

    Jesus has not yet come; therefore, we are to be aware of what is taking place in our world from a biblical standpoint. We are to be sober minded, God worshiping, right living, prayer warriors that obey the teachings of Jesus. The fact that Jesus is coming should encourage us in every trial and cause us to stay the course.

    Today, be reminded that Jesus is coming; therefore live hopeful, steadfast Christian lives.
  • Apr 15, 2018The Effects of the Resurrection: Part Two
    Apr 15, 2018
    The Effects of the Resurrection: Part Two
     
  • Apr 8, 2018The Effects of the Resurrection: Part One
    Apr 8, 2018
    The Effects of the Resurrection: Part One
    The Effects of the Resurrection
    Mark 16:1-8
     
    Last week we preached about “Glory in the Suffering of Christ”. All Christian suffering is for the glory of God and sake of man. Today we will set our sights on the “What the resurrection of Jesus Means to Us” or the effects of the resurrection. Suffering is part of the story. It is different color paints in the hand of a master artist. Years ago, I went and saw “art live” it was a Christian ministry where an artist told a story from the bible all the while drawing, and at the end it all came together and made a beautiful picture. I remember trying to guess what the seemingly aimless brush strokes would be, but only got the full picture when the artist had completed his work. Our suffering is a stroke-by-stroke work of art, and when it is finished we will see the beauty in it all, but for now we trust the Artist.
    When Jesus finished suffering for the sins of the world he was buried, the disciples scattered, and hope that He would be the deliver of His people vanished. But that is not all of the story. Jesus rose again and suffering became glory, death lost its sting, the disciples banded together, and the New Testament Church was born. The question we will answer today is what the resurrection of Jesus means for me today.
     
    Mark’s account
    The eight verses in Mark are full of shock and awe moments. The stone missing, the angel is in the tomb, the message that Jesus had risen, and the commission to tell the disciples about all about it. The resurrection is exciting, but it is so much more. Jesus coming forth from the grave sent a powerful God honoring shock wave through two thousand years and billions of people. Nations have been shaped by this one event. Minus the resurrection from the Christian faith the effect may not exist and if an effect did exist it would be a ripple in a pond and not a tsunami from the ocean. What effects does the resurrection have on us today? When we talk about the resurrection of Christ it means so much, here are a few things it means:
     
    I. It Means Christian Suffering is not a Punctuation (Matthew 28:5-6; Luke 24:39; Revelation 1:18)
    Take a moment and reflect on where you are. Tell yourself “this is not it for me”. This is because of Jesus’ resurrection. There are three points I want to make here that are real and encouraging;
    A. You will suffer (1 Peter 5:10; 2nd Timothy 3:12)
     
    This is just a reminder from last week of a reality that we must all face. Christians are not exempt from sufferings. Physical and emotional pain exist for every believer. Suffering is observed in the perfect sinless life of the Son of God and if the perfect Man experienced pain in this sin cursed world we can conclude that everyone of us will suffer as well. I say this for two reasons:
    1. I want you to understand that salvation is not for those looking for a smooth ride in life, but for those who want to follow Jesus in all seasons of life even the suffering ones.
    2. I want each person to understand that suffering comes to you when are doing everything right. Too many Christians get swallowed up in the “God is mad at me” attitude. I hope that each person here, when they suffer, trust God more and does not doubt God more.
    B. You will Die (Hebrews 9:27; Psalm 90:12)
     
    The life of Jesus teaches everyone that they will die. Moses prayed that God would teach him to value his days so he may live wise. Moses simply said, “teach me that I will die, that I may value every day”. When you ride past a grave yard, which there are many, it is a reminder that people die. I remind us of this for two reasons:
     
    1. To keep eternity in perspective. Remember that every word, every action, every thought, every dollar you earn, and every feeling you have may be the last before you die. Then everything will be called into account before God. Live with purpose is my plea today, and not for any purpose, but with the purpose of pleasing God.
    2. To keep you wise- Thinking we have all the time in the world is a foolish fantasy. I am saying this to burst your bubble that you may move to the fortress of truth and wisdom. Bubble’s are not safe places to live.
    C. They will not last (John 11:25)
     
    Lazarus suffered from sickness and died. His sisters were hurt deeply. All seemed lost, but then Jesus showed up and death lost its sting! You will suffer, you will die, and you will rise again because of the resurrection of Jesus! God’s love story toward His people is not you will die period, or you will suffer period, but it is you will suffer (COMMA), you will die (COMMA), and you will rise (EXCLAMATION)!
    The resurrection of Jesus teaches us that the suffering of Jesus was simply part of His eternal glory. His immense agony was a plus sign in the equation of God. (Revelation 1:18) Jesus has a title He shares with John, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen”! Because Jesus lives, suffering is only a temporary mode that has positive effects in eternity!
    The late Stephen Hawkins accredited his success with his suffering. He said he drank to much and worked too little before he found out he had ALS. Reflecting on his suffering and success he said "When one's expectations are reduced to zero," he said, "one really appreciates everything that one does have." (James Dobson, New Man October 1994 p. 36)
    Somerset Maugham, the English writer, once wrote a story about a janitor at St Peter's Church in London. One day a young vicar discovered that the janitor was illiterate and fired him. Jobless, the man invested his meager savings in a tiny tobacco shop, where he prospered, bought another, expanded, and ended up with a chain of tobacco stores worth several hundred thousand dollars. One day the man's banker said, "You've done well for an illiterate, but where would you be if you could read and write?" "Well," replied the man, "I'd be janitor of St. Peter's Church in Neville Square." (Bits and Pieces June 24 1993 p. 23).
    Will you view your suffering as a comma and your resurrection to come as an exclamation?
    II. It Means Joy and Revelation (Matthew 28:8; Luke 24:32)
    A. Joy in a Graveyard (Matthew 28:8)
     
    Christ’s resurrection shows us that joy can exist in the most depressing places of life. I have been in several grave yards, and none of them were places of joy. I recently saw a picture of a gentleman I went to church with years ago. His son died a few years back and he was at the graveyard thanking God that resurrection day was soon to come. It was a sad picture, mixed with some joy. Without the resurrection, this man would have zero joy at his son’s tombstone. The ladies that went to the graveyard on resurrection morning found hope where it had been completely absent. They came upon great joy in the most somber place on earth. Because of Jesus rising again we to find joy in our darkest hours!
     
    B.Revelation in our Sorrow (Luke 24:39)
     
    The disciples discovered, in their sorrow, revelation they had not seen. The scriptures they had been taught came to life, and questions were settled. What would the resurrection be (Mark 8:31-32) was a unsettled question among them, but with Jesus rising from the dead the curiosity is settled and hope sinks into the heart. Paul taught that if the Spirit that raised Jesus dwells in you then your mortal (physical) bodies will be raised from the dead. That is a great revelation that takes believers through the darkest hours of life. Christian pain and suffering brings us closer to God through revelation. As we are suffering with Jesus and being made comfortable to His death we are strengthen by His resurrection.
     
    The first two Scottish missionaries sent to the New Hebrides Islands were killed and eaten by cannibals on the day they arrived. After that it proved difficult to find missionary volunteers. Even when John G. Paton agreed to go, well-meaning people in the church tried to dissuade him. One elderly man warned that he would be eaten by cannibals. Paton replied, “I confess to you, that if I can but live and die serving and honoring the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I am eaten by cannibals or by worms; and in the Great Day my resurrection body will arise as fair as yours in the likeness of our risen Redeemer.” After fifteen years of fruitful ministry, almost everyone on the island of Aniwa where Paton ministered was converted.
     
    What powered this man to go to a dark place? The Joy and Revelation of a Resurrected Savior.
    What motivates you to worship God every Sunday? What powers you through life’s darkest hours?
     
    III. It Means an Impossible Mission is Possible (John 20:21)
     
    The task to go into all the world was not possible until the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus. If the Pharisees had it their way, it would be go spread all the law unto the world to create a legalized merit system to be accepted by God. They would have created a legal world, but not a saved world. The nations would have been schooled on right and wrong without ever being able to perform what they knew. Before Jesus the tools to go unto the world and preach the gospel were not at hand, but with resurrection of Jesus and the giving of the Spirit, the church has been equipped and motivated to spread the message that being right with God hinges on believing in Jesus His Son.
    The message is simple. Jesus traded places with you. He died instead of you, He suffered the wrath of God in the stead of you, He was forsaken in the stead of you, He was buried in the stead of you, and now has the power to raise you from the dead! It was His life given to me and mine given to Him. Guilty given to Him and guiltless given to me. Accepted given to me and forsaken given to Him. Cursed given to Him and Blessed given to me! Through Jesus, God has adopted all that believe as children. This is the great message we proclaim, yet it would carry no weight if Jesus has not suffered, died, and rose again.
     
    A. Empowered in Weakness
     
    The weakest point of Peter’s life is when he thought Jesus was gone, but the resurrection changed that and he stood tall 50 days later and preached to multitudes. Today we discover that the resurrection of Jesus still powers people today. It sends people places they never would have went, causes people to speak when they would have been silent, and causes people to keep going when it seems they should stop. 11 scared disciples changed the entire world because of a possible mission being made possible by Jesus’s resurrection.
    Today I believe that reaching all the nations of Barnwell is possible because of Jesus’s triumph over the grave. I believe your children will be saved, marriages strengthened, and those that you bury in Christ will rise again. The resurrection powers my hopes and prayers, and I hope that it does yours as well.
    A little boy and his father were driving down a country road on a beautiful spring afternoon. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a bumblebee flew in the car window. Since the little boy was deathly allergic to bee stings he became petrified. His father quickly reached out, grabbed the bee, squeezed it in his hand, and then released it. But as soon as he let it go, the young son became frantic once again as it buzzed by the little boy.
    The father sensed his son’s terror. Once again he reached out his hand, but this time he pointed to this hand. There, stuck in his skin was the stinger of the bee. “You see this?” he asked. “You don’t need to be afraid anymore. I’ve taken the sting for you.”
    The Christian does not need to be afraid of death because Christ has taken the sting out of death and sin.
    Do you believe Jesus took the sting out of death with me that we may share the gospel with all people?