Does Christ Know You?

Preached to the Saints at Riverview Baptist on February 19, 2017
at 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN 38401


Matthew 7:21-23 (KJV)   Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.   [22]   Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?   [23]   And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

nnyThere is a strange spirit in our world today. Perhaps this spirit has always been there. I see it in the riots following our 2016 election. It is odd, because those rioting and bashing store widows are doing what they are doing, they say, to combat hate.

But they are hating.

The Spirit I see manifested today is a spirit of confusion. We need, now more than ever, Jesus Christ. We need to learn of Him, and we need to focus on worshiping Him.

God calls His Church to come together in full and wholehearted worship of Christ!

God called out to His people in Amos saying …

Amos 3:3 (KJV)  Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

Jesus calls His people to walk in the Spirit which means to follow Him.

Salvation is to follow Jesus.
Salvation is to love Jesus above all else.
Salvation is to not just call Him Lord, but follow Him as Lord.

When you follow Jesus – to paraphrase Adrian Rogers – “you won’t be down a dark alley eating tin cans with the devil’s billy goats.” The only way to KNOW Jesus is to walk with Him, to follow Him. Jesus said:

Matthew 7:21 (KJV)   Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN;

SAYING To Jesus “Lord, Lord” Is A Good Thing But It Is NOT A SAVING Thing

Jesus is Lord. It is a good thing to recognize Him as Lord. Jesus was BORN TO BE LORD of all. The angel of God said:

Luke 2:11 (KJV)  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is CHRIST THE LORD.

Jesus is the OVERCOMING LORD. Revelation 17:14 (KJV)  These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

Jesus Christ is the ONLY LORD that the Father acknowledges, the Lord Who will be worshiped.

Philippians 2:6-11 (KJV){Jesus Christ}, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  [7]  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  [8]  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  [9]  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:  [10]  That AT THE NAME OF JESUS EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;  [11]  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus is Lord. 1 Corinthians 8:6 (KJV)  But to us there is BUT ONE GOD, THE FATHER, of whom are all things, and we in him; and ONE LORD JESUS CHRIST, by whom are all things, and we by him.

Jesus Christ is Lord. He is the Lord to Whom the blind cried out

(Matthew 20:30) “Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David!”

Jesus commanded they see, and they saw.

Jesus is the Lord Who stood with Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration, when Peter said “Let us build three altars, one for Moses, Elijah, and You”. He is the Lord of Whom God the Father said from Heaven …

(Matthew 17:5) “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”

Jesus is the Lord that the poor leper saw, who cast himself before Jesus saying …

Luke 5:12 “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”

He is Lord when the woman taken in the midst of adultery is cast before Him and her accusers depart, Jesus asks her “Who now accuses you?” She replies …

John 8:11 “No man, Lord”.

And Jesus said unto her, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more”.

Jesus is the Lord Who coming to Martha’s home following Lazarus’ death wept, then prayed …

John 11:43 “Lazarus come forth”!

… and death was conquered with His Word. Lazarus lived! Christ is Lord over death.

Jesus is the Lord Who hung on the Cross dying, to whom one of the thieves said …

Luke 23:42 “Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom.”

… and Jesus promised “today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

He is Lord. He IS Lord. Jesus Christ is the Lord of Lords Who cried out:

John 19:30“It is finished”

… and was buried in a borrowed tomb.

He is the Lord Who rose from the dead on the Third Day just as He said.

Luke 18:32-33 (KJV)   For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:   [33]   And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.

He is Lord. You are saved by your profession of Him as Lord. The Bible declares:

Romans 10:9-11 (ESV) …. if you confess with your mouth that JESUS IS LORD and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  [10]  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  [11]  For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

When these of whom Jesus spoke called Him “Lord, Lord” they were doing a good thing. They called on Him not once, but twice. They said

Lord …. Lord

But they were not saved. Why? Because the Holy Spirit had not come upon them. Their cry was disingenuous, fake. The lips did not match the heart.

With The Saved, The Lips And The Hands Are Synchronized

Matthew 7:21 (KJV)   Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; BUT he that DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven.

You can call Jesus “Lord” but if you are not doing the will of the Father then He is NOT Lord to you. What is the Will of the Father which is in Heaven? It is what the Disciples were told on the Mount of Transfiguration.

This Is My Beloved Son – Hear Him!
Don’t just HEAR then walk away, but DO what Jesus says do.
Too many HEAR, PROFESS, then WALK AWAY.
Jesus is fire insurance.
Jesus is a hobby.
Jesus is a Facebook Friend.
Jesus is a pet to occupy our spare time.
But in action JESUS IS NOT LORD.
Jesus spoke of GIVING and how we are to GIVE, to glorify God.
This is what we must do.
Jesus spoke of PRAYING and how we are to PRAY, to glorify God.
This is what we must do.

You cannot do YOUR will and ignore the WILL OF GOD and expect to be blessed. You must DO THE WILL OF OUR FATHER which is in Heaven. We are to HEAR and DO.

Matthew 7:12 (KJV)   Therefore ALL THINGS whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Jesus gave us the Golden Rule of Love. This is God’s Law in both Testaments. We are told in:

Leviticus 19:18 (NKJV) You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF: I am the Lord.

The Jews saw “loving your neighbor” in the framework of loving other JEWS. Jesus told us to “love our neighbor as ourselves”. A Jew asked Jesus one day,

Who is my neighbor?”

The Bible says that He did this “willing to justify himself”. So Jesus told a parable.

Luke 10:30-37 (KJV) …. A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.   [31]   And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.   [32]   And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.   [33]   But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,   [34]   And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.   [35]   And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.   [36]   Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?   [37]  And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

Your neighbor is not just other Jews, other Christians, but EVERYONE. God does good to EVERYONE, so we are to do good to EVERYONE. We are to follow Jesus. We are to do as Jesus did. We are to love as Jesus loved. We are to hate the things that Jesus hates. Jesus said:

Matthew 7:13-14 (KJV)   Enter ye in at the STRAIT gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:   [14]   Because STRAIT is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The word translated “Strait” is the Greek στενός stenos which means “narrow”. The world ands the worldling takes the WIDE way, but the follower of Christ takes the NARROW path, directly behind Jesus. We do not walk ahead of Jesus, we do not walk away from Jesus, but we walk WITH Jesus. He is Lord, and as Lord directs our steps.

These people who said “Lord, Lord” were not saved though outwardly they appeared to be so. Jesus said:

Matthew 7:15-20 (KJV)   BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.   [16]   Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?   [17]   Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.   [18]   A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.   [19]   Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.   [20]   Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

What is the fruit of their lives? Regardless as to what they say, what are they DOING? What is their PRODUCE? Are they bringing forth good fruit or evil fruit? A good tree brings forth good fruit, but an evil tree brings forth evil fruit. I cannot read your mind, nor see your heart, but I can see your hand.

The Produce Of The Christian Is CHRIST

If you belong to Jesus you love Jesus. You do not just SPEAK, but DO. There are many who “prophecy in His Name” but do not DO.

Are we doing love?
Are we bound to Christ as the branch is to the Vine?

If so, the Holy Spirit flows through the whole, and the Holy Spirit cannot produce evil fruit. If bound to Christ you will produce:

Galatians 5:22-26 (KJV)  … the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  [23]  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  [24]  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  [25]  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  [26]  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Oh God save us from preachers who are not saved! Oh God, save us from the spirit of Ecumenism, an evil spirit of our age. The evil tree produces from the flesh …. and

Galatians 5:19-21 (KJV)  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,  [20]  Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,  [21]  Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Those who live according to the flesh will not be saved on judgment day. Judgment Day is coming.

Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me IN THAT DAY, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

IN THAT DAY is a reference to Judgment Day. IN THAT DAY these poor lost souls will stand before a Great White Throne, not before the Judgment Seat of Christ. They will stand before The King of Kings and Lord of Lords and justify themselves:

Have we not prophesied in Thy Name?
We taught Sunday School.
We preached before hundreds, no, thousands.
We represented You Jesus!

And in Thy Name have cast out devils?
We went out and, using Your Name, saw possessed people relieved.
We did the Benny Hinn cure on them, and they are clean.

But Jesus told them when the Seventy returned:

Luke 10:20 (ESV) Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but REJOICE THAT YOUR NAMES ARE WRITTEN IN HEAVEN.

The greatest thing is not that the evil spirits are subject to the Name of Christ, for Jesus’ namer has power. But we should rejoice in knowing that our Names are written in Heaven’s Roll Book. We should rejoice in that Jesus knows our names, that we have surrendered our lives to Him, that He is not just Lord in our mouths but Lord of our hands as well.

And in Thy Name have done many wonderful things?
The Mormon Tabernacle is one of the most magnificent structures on earth.
There are Cathedrals all over Europe that are tremendous works of art.
Michelangelo’s painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is unparalleled.
And Westminster Abbey has long been the place where royalty is ordained.

But Does Jesus Know ME?

Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Are there four sadder words in the English language? I never knew you. You had an opportunity to know Jesus, to lay your life down at His feet, to surrender to Him, but you would not. Rather than lower yourself and admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior you became religious.

You prophesied, but did not pray.
You did not seek Christ’s face.
You attended to marvels, but not to essentials.

And because of this, they found out their error in the worst way. I think on that Great Day, that Judgment Day, that Jesus will weep tears for those who never knew Him. They thought they knew Jesus but Jesus did not know them. They are like the man who had an autographed copy of Ronald Reagan hanging on his office wall. “Did you know Reagan?” one asked him. “Why yes, I knew him, but he never knew me”.

Knowing Jesus means to follow Him, to kneel at His feet,
to hear His Word then to GET UP AND DO what He said.

Knowing Jesus means to live a committed life to Him, even when bad times come. Jesus Christ should be the most important Person in your life if you are saved of Him. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 2:2 (KJV)  For I determined not to know any thing among you, SAVE JESUS CHRIST, AND HIM CRUCIFIED.

and

Philippians 3:7-11 (KJV)  But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  [8]  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,  [9]  And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:  [10]  That I MAY KNOW HIM, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;  [11]  If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

Jesus calls a people to Himself not just to SAY that He is Lord, but to DO what He says. Jesus said “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Jesus said “All who love Me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with them” (John 14:23).

Our PROFESSION must match our ACTIONS, otherwise we may not be saved.

I have had so many professing Christians come to me whose lives are falling apart. I end with these words of Christ:

Matthew 7:24-27 (KJV)   Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:   [25]   And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.   [26]   And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:   [27]   And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Storms will come to every life, righteous or unrighteous, saved or unsaved. But those focused on Christ will stand through the storms of life. If you know Jesus, and Jesus knows you, then no trial will defeat you. Your anchor will hold because it grips the Rock that is Christ.

May God touch your hearts with His Word!

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Threefold Cord of Prayer

Preached to the Saints at Riverview Baptist February 19 2017
At 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN

Matthew 7:6-11 (KJV) Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. 7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he githreefold-cordve him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? 

Last week we looked at the MODEL of Prayer. This week we are looking at the NECESSITY of Prayer. It is written in the Scripture that:

Ecclesiastes 4:12 (ESV) And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a THREEFOLD CORD IS NOT QUICKLY BROKEN.

Illustrate I can easily break a single thread, but when I bind three threads together – the threefold cord – it becomes much stronger. One man might prevail against another, but one man with his two friends more than likely will prevail. The threefold cord is not easily or quickly broken. In our text today we see the threefold cord of prayer. These cords are:

Ask
Seek
Knock

Prayer is NOT just asking God. Prayer is NOT just seeking an answer. Prayer is NOT just knocking on Heaven’s door. If prayer is to prevail and give you victory for God’s glory then all three cords must be present in prayer.

ASK Is The DIRECTION Of Prevailing Prayer

Matthew 7:7 ASK, and it shall be given you ….

To WHOM are you praying? Is your prayer to God or to god?

Many people around the world go to god and not to God. I’ll say that again. Many people go to a little g god and not to the Big G God of Scripture. The little “g” gods are false gods, idols created in man’s image. There are many names for these little g gods:

Moroni (of Mormonism)
Mammon (of Materialism)
Allah (of Mohammedanism)
Mankind (of Humanism and Hinduism)
Self Godhood (of Buddhism)

There is a difference between the man-made gods of the world religions and the God of Truth and Scripture. The Psalmist defined this difference when he wrote:

Psalm 115:3-8 (ESV) Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. 4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. 5 They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. 6 They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. 7 They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. 8 Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.

The idols – the little g gods – are figments of man’s creativity. Someone once said that “God created man in His image, then we turned around and created god in our image”. When Jesus says “Ask”

  • He is NOT saying to pray to some idol that you have invented.

  • He is NOT saying that we are to pray to some generic god.

  • He is telling us to pray to the God of Scripture,

  • To ASK OUR FATHER, the One Who loves us and gave Himself for us.

Before you can ASK God in prayer you must ASK to be part of His Family. The Model Prayer started with “Our Father which art in Heaven”. Is God your Father? Are you God’s Child? I am not saying that the unbeliever cannot pray. I have prayed for unbelievers and have seen unbelievers healed by the Lord. Jesus heals people who have no concern for Him. The Bible tells us that one day Jesus was entering a village …

Luke 17 (ESV) …. He was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.

Jesus healed ten, but only one came to faith. I have seen Jesus heal many an unbeliever, bringing them back from hospital beds. Yet it is a fact that only about one in ten return to Church to give glory to Christ. Very few thank God for their healing. They thank the doctors, they thank the hospitals, they may even give a nod of the head to the Preacher that prayed for them, but very few return to give glory to God.

Oh Beloved, if you would ASK God in prayer FIRST receive Him as Father. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. I understand that our Youth Department has started teaching the ABCs of Christ to the young people. That is so very good, very commendable. Maybe you need to hear this too.

ADMIT that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. The Lord says “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). All are sinners (Romans 3:10-18)”. You have no union with God unless you first admit that you are lost and a sinner.

BELIEVE that Jesus Christ came to save sinners, that He is YOUR Savior. Believe that He died on the Cross to save you from your sins. Believe that He rose again on the third day to be your Lord, Lord of your life.

John 3:16-18 (KJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

CONFESS – which is to say aloud – your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. The Bible says:

Romans 10:9-10 (ESV) … if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

No one is saved as a “Secret Agent for the Lord”. You must stand up for Him. When you take a stand with Jesus He promises to be with you forever. Furthermore the Scripture tells us:

John 1:12 (KJV) But as many as received {Christ}, to them gave he POWER TO BECOME THE SONS OF GOD, even to them that believe on his name:

When you are born into the Family of God by faith in Christ you have the right to ASK your Heavenly Father anything. What a blessing this is. ASK! What blessed words are these:

Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV) … do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

SEEK Is The DESIRE Of Prevailing Prayer

Matthew 7:7 … SEEK, and ye shall find;

When I SEEK something it is because I DESIRE it. When I seek something merely to please myself (as I often do) then what I find is just for me. But when I pray, the DESIRE of Prayer for the Christ Follower is not to please myself or to advance myself, but to advance the Will and Kingdom of God. This was what Jesus showed us in the Model Prayer.

Matthew 6:10 (KJV) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

The prayer that God loves to answer is the prayer that seeks to glorify Him, to magnify His Name, to build His Kingdom on the earth. The Apostle John speaking of prayer wrote:

1 John 5:11-15 (ESV) … God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that IF WE ASK ANYTHING ACCORDING TO HIS WILL HE HEARS US. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

When we pray we are to SEEK the Will of God in it. Jesus said:

Matthew 6:33 (ESV) SEEK FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

When you pray, will God be glorified in the answer to your prayer? Will God’s Kingdom benefit by it? Will souls be saved and lives changed because of an answer to your prayers? Jesus said:

John 15:7-8 (KJV) If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

God loves to answer prayers that are in accordance to His Will. When Jesus prayed in Gethsemane prior to going to the Cross three times Jesus prayed:

Matthew 26:39 (KJV) O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: NEVERTHELESS not as I will, but as thou wilt.

As you know, Jesus had to go to the Cross. It was not something He looked forward to. But it was something He did for the glory of God. God the Father could not answer His prayer, even as much as He loved His Son. Jesus had to die on Calvary. Yet Christ still prayed, Christ still sought, and Christ was willing that God be glorified and we be saved no matter what the cost. The Stepbrother of Christ, James addressed the Church:

James 4:1-3 (KJV) From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye HAVE NOT, because YE ASK NOT. 3 Ye ASK, AND RECEIVE NOT, BECAUSE YE ASK AMISS, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

Two of the greatest causes of unanswered prayer is:

  1. To ASK NOT, and
  2. To ASK AMISS

When you ASK NOT you try all other resources before you try God. God will not answer unspoken prayer. But God will not answer prayer that is ASKED AMISS “that you may consume it upon your lusts”. When we SEEK God in prayer we must ask according to His Will, according to His desires. The Psalmist put it this way:

Psalms 37:3-5 (KJV) Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and HE SHALL GIVE THEE THE DESIRES OF THINE HEART. 5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and HE SHALL BRING IT TO PASS.

Pray asking, SEEKING to glorify God. That is the Golden Prayer, the Prayer that glorifies God.

KNOCK Is The DETERMINATION Of Prevailing Prayer

Matthew 7:7 … KNOCK, and it shall be opened unto you:

When we pray our Father can answer every prayer three ways:

Yes, I will answer
No, I will not answer
Wait a while and we’ll see

Not every prayer is answered immediately. KNOCK speaks of a closed door. Sometimes God presents to us a closed door. Why?

Because FAITH is PERSISTENT
Genuine FAITH KEEPS ON GOING
Saving FAITH OVERCOMES

A faith that will not stand through a trial is not a faith that can take us to Heaven!

It is the OVERCOMING FAITH that is promised blessing.

Revelation 2:7 To him that OVERCOMETH will I give to eat of the tree of life!

Revelation 2:11 He that OVERCOMETH shall not be hurt of the second death!

Revelation 2:17 To him that OVERCOMETH will I give to eat of the hidden manna!

Revelation 3:5 (KJV)5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Revelation 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

God hears every prayer that His Child utters, but often waits until He thinks the time is right. When I was a child I wanted to drive a car as soon as I was able to think. I told Daddy I wanted to drive. He told me “You’ll be able to drive, but you’ll have to wait till your 16th birthday. Until then work and get enough money to buy yourself a car”. So I did. I bought a car, and had a car before I could legally drive it. I tested out on my car. Got my license. Today I’d rather someone else drive! Oh for a chauffeur!

Persist in prayer. If the door seems closed, keep knocking. Jesus illustrated the Determination of Prayer when He said:

Luke 11:5-10 (NASB) … “Suppose one of you shall have a friend, and shall go to him at midnight, and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves {of bread}; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and from inside he shall answer and say, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. 9 “And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. 10 “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened.

Persist in prayer. If God does not answer do not stop praying until God changes your heart or God changes the situation.

A woman came to Jesus one day, a Canaanite Woman. She came to Jesus and cried out:

Matthew 15:22 (NASB) … “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.”

Jesus did something astonishing.
He ignored her.

In fact, Jesus told her “I was sent only to the lost Sheep of Israel”.
What did the woman do?
Did she go off in a huff?
Did she curse Christ?

What did she do? The Bible says “she came and bowed down before Him, saying ‘Lord, Help me’”. What did Jesus do? Again, this seems shocking.

Jesus calls her “a Dog”.

Do you remember the first verse we read today? We read the words of Christ:

Matthew 7:6 (KJV) Give not that which is holy unto the DOGS, neither cast ye your pearls before SWINE, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

What is a DOG in Scripture? It is an unbeliever, someone who has rejected Christ as Lord and Savior. The Bible tells us that …

Revelation 22:15 (NASB) Outside {of Heaven} are the DOGS and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

Dogs are unbelievers in Christ, people who practice habitual sinful activity. They follow self rather than what is right. I saw my dog eat something that he found dead in the yard the other day – I didn’t get close enough to him to see what it was! DOGS are UNBELIEVERS. SWINE are those who hear the Gospel then turn away from it anyway.

2 Peter 2:20-22 (NASB) For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,” and, “A SOW, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”

A DOG or PIG sits under the preaching of salvation by faith in Christ, then turns away without repenting and believing. Jesus calls this woman a DOG. He says to her:

Matthew 15:26 (NASB) … “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

You’re a DOG.
I’m not going to heal your daughter!
Did this woman walk away mad?
No, she KEPT ON KNOCKING.

Matthew 15:27-28 (NASB) But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish.” And HER DAUGHTER WAS HEALED AT ONCE.

Often prayer is not answered because we DO NOT KNOCK. Keep on knocking. Keep praying until God clearly answers the prayer, or until the Father says “No”.

Matthew 7:8-11 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

God your Father wants only the best for you. So Ask, Seek, and Knock. And remember, the promise of our text is reserved for God’s Children, those who have received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. If you do not know Him, call on Christ today, right now. Repent of your sins, and cast yourself on the Gospel, believing that Jesus Christ alone is your Savior and Lord. Ask Him to forgive you. Acknowledge Him as Lord of your life.

May God cause man to come to Christ through this His Word.

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Judge Not But Reflect

Preached To The Saints at Riverview Baptist Church on February 15, 2017
At 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN

One of the most abused Bible texts is from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Let’s read this verse responsively:

matthew_7_1t5_judge_notMatthew 7:1-5 (KJV)   Judge not, that ye be not judged.   [2]   For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.   [3]   And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?   [4]   Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?   [5]   Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

People quote this text to justify all types of sin. One of the most common sins that are justified by this text is sexual sin, either heterosexual or homosexual. When a person in sin is told they are in sin they retort:

Jesus said ‘Judge not that you be not judged’.
You aren’t qualified to be my judge. Only God shall judge”
.

I agree, only God is qualified to judge.
But most take this Scripture out of context.
The Bible must interpret the Bible.

When the Apostle Paul was being judged by the Corinthian Church he declared:

1 Corinthians 4:3-5 (KJV)  But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.  [4]  For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.  [5]  Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

In this case the Corinthians were comparing Paul to Apollos and to them, Paul’s ministry was much less than that of Apollos. The Apostle said in effect that:

No One Should Judge Another Person’s Ministry

Only God is the judge of His workers. Your work will stand or fall based on whether it glorified God. You will receive rewards of God at the Judgment Seat of Christ based on how you did what God called you to do. Therefore I am not to judge your ministry, your calling, for the Scripture says:

1 Corinthians 12:18 (KJV)  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

I am not an effective judge of your ministry, nor are you of mine. In time Apollos’ ministry did what God called it to do, just as did the Apostle Paul’s.

Furthermore, the Church is to judge when members argue over things pertaining to this life. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 6:1-6 (KJV)  Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?  [2]  Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?  [3]  Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?  [4]  If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.  [5]  I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?  [6]  But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.

No Church member is to ever sue another Church member, or put the petty things of this life above the glory of God and His Kingdom. Therefore the Apostle said that we are not to go to law against a brother or sister in Christ – that the Church should be called on to judge this in such matters.

So you can already see that Jesus is not telling us to judge at all. If Scripture is used to interprete Scripture, and we “rightly divide the Word of Truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) then we know that Jesus is NOT telling us not to call sin SIN.

If so, the Apostle Paul and Jesus are at odds, because Paul spoke against a brother who was in sexual sin. Paul also said:

1 Corinthians 5:9-11 (KJV)  I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:  [10]  Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.  [11]  But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

The Apostle is very clear that we are NOT to KEEP COMPANY with ANYONE who professes to be a brother in Christ who is in sexual sin, or is greedy, or who worships false gods, or who love to fight or drink or force others to do his bidding. To KEEP COMPANY or PAL AROUND with the sinner is to justify their sin. Those who belong to Jesus do not justify sin. We provoke one another to love and to good works (Hebrews 10:24). We do not justify sin.

So what did Jesus mean when He said “Judge not, that ye be not judged”?

Jesus Did Not Mean To DENY Scripture

The Scripture is the Word of God

Proverbs 30:5 (KJV) Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

Jesus prayed for His Church

John 17:17 (KJV)   Sanctify them through thy truth: thy Word is truth.

The Apostle Paul Told Us

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV)  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  [17]  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

The Scripture is the Word of God, and the Scripture is true. Jesus tells us not to use OUR OPINION as to what is right or wrong, for our opinions may be right or wrong. We are to view all things through the Scripture. The Scripture is the Mind of Christ. The Scripture is the Word of God.

What God has said is wrong in His Scripture is wrong as long as God says it is wrong.
What God has said is wrong in His Scripture is wrong as long as God says it is wrong.
What God has said is wrong in His Scripture is wrong as long as God says it is wrong.
What God has said is wrong in His Scripture is wrong as long as God says it is wrong.

God establishes the standards or right and wrong. God said “the day you eat of this specific Tree you will die”. Man looks at it. “Looks all right to me. I think it will be ok. After all, this talking snake told me it was ok.” He eats. He dies. He is cast from Eden. Why. Because you listened to a talking snake instead of God’s Word.

God’s Word is always true. When God said:

1 Corinthians 6:18 (KJV) Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

He meant that sexual sin is wrong. Period. Sin outside of one man one woman marriage is wrong. When God said:

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NKJV) Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

Do you think that God means that it is ok to engage in any of those mentioned sins? That it’s all right to be a …

fornicators
idolaters
adulterers
homosexuals
sodomites
thieves
covetous
drunkards
revilers
extortioners ?????

The Bible says that those who engage in such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Heaven is God’s Kingdom. When the Bible says that:

1 Timothy 1:9-10 (NASB) … realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching,1

It is equating the lawless and rebellious to the ungodly and sinners, to the unholy and profane, to those who kill fathers and mothers, for murderers and immoral people, homosexuals, kidnappers, liars, perjurers. These are not good things. God is not commending them. If God says a thing is sin then I am not judging you if I say what God said.

I am not authorized to deny God’s Word, and neither are you!

When the Apostle said:

Romans 1:26-32 (KJV)  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:  [27]  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.  [28]  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  [29]  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  [30]  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  [31]  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  [32]  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

He was not justifying sin, but declaring what is sinful. We have no right to deny Scripture.

We Have No Right To Add To Scripture

Mark 7:1-9 (KJV)  Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.  [2]  And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.  [3]  For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.  [4]  And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.  [5]  Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?  [6]  He answered and said unto them, Well hath Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.   [7]   Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.   [8]   For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.   [9]  And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

The Pharisees, like many professing Christians in the Church today, hold to traditions teaching that these traditions are commandments of God. They are not. Unless it is clearly presented in God’s Word it is not God’s Word. We have no right to add to or take away from wat God has said. We are not God. In the name of God I have heard some of the worst things said, things like:

The Blacks Belong in Their Own Church
Women Shouldn’t Wear Britches Or Open Toed Shoes
The Only Holy Bible Is The Version I Like
Men Ought To Shave
Men Ought Not To Shave
God Ordained Where I’m Sitting, And I’m Not Moving
(Or “I Shall Not Be Moved”)
Unless You Meet My Expectations, You Aren’t Serving God
If You Eat With Unwashed Hands You Are Defiled
If You Pick Corn On Sunday And Eat It Raw You’re Harvesting
You Have To Wear A Suit To Church, etc, etc

What makes something right or wrong is whether God has said it is right or wrong. We should love one another and be patent with one another. We should lift one another up to God. But we should aways ask ourselves before declaring something wrong:

Where Is That Written In The Bible?”

What Is The Plain Sense Of What Jesus Was Saying?

Now that we’ve looked at what Jesus was NOT saying, let’s see what He WAS saying.

Matthew 7:1-5 (KJV)   Judge not, that ye be not judged.   [2]   For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.   [3]   And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?   [4]   Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?   [5]   Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

1 Be Light, Not Darkness. Before you judge someone a sinner make sure that that particular sin (or something worse) is not in your own life. Pull the beam out of your eye before you try to pull the sliver out of someone else’s eye. As Jay Adams wrote in Handbook on Church Discipline:

Taken out of context, {this} verse has been used to incorrectly justify never taking a stand on anything that would require a judgment to be made. Rather, the verse is referring to hypocritical, self-righteous, unfair kinds of judgment, especially where the confronter is guilty of the same sin as the one being confronted.“

The Bible teaches us that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). If we love someone we do not want them playing with poison snakes. If we love someone we do not want them drinking acid thinking it is water. If we love someone we will care enough to show them that the Scripture forbids their action – but we will make sure we are first not in that same sin. That is hypocrisy.

2 God Will Hold You To The Same Standard. Often we have a tendency to ignore our sin while finding fault in others. We are to look in the mirror first. We are to judge ourselves first. Don’t think because someone else is doing it it is right, and don’t think your wrong will be right if you point out another person’s wrong.

3 We Are To Read And Study The Word Of God, Then Reflect What We Have Learned. Never has this been so important. The Apostle tells us:

2 Timothy 3:1-5 (KJV)  This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  [2]  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  [3]  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  [4]  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  [5]  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

These are all states of sinfulness that we are to avoid. We are told to turn away from such people. After saying this, the Apostle tells us:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV)  All SCRIPTURE IS GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF GOD, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  [17]  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

We must continue to put a priority on studying God’s Word. We do not know right or wrong apart from His Word. He defines righteousness. Not us, but Him.

The word of God is the THERMOSTAT and we are the THERMOMETERS.
The Word of God is the SUN and we are the MOON.
We are BRIGHT and SHINING LIGHTS Because of His Word.
We reflect His truth!

May God touch your hearts with His Word!

1The King James reads “1 Timothy 1:9-10 (KJV)  Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,  [10]  For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;”. The NASB is used here for clarity.

 

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When “Yes, Lord” Means A Trial

great post!

Found Who I Am

*Today, we are pleased to publish a guest post by another one of our good friends!*

Natalie! Please! Make it stop, it hurts too much!” my phone read as the screen illuminated, thus throwing shadows against my wall and near my bed. Still awake, my eyes struggled to focus on the text notification in my blackened bedroom. After a few minutes of talking to my friend, I had given the best encouragement I could and was virtually holding her until my body crashed for the night and I had fallen asleep. Never before had I felt heart break over my friend…..“Why her? God, what is your plan with this pain she’s in?” As these questions repeated themselves in my mind, I was hit with one answer…..”Why not?”

After waking up a few hours later and rereading our conversation, I sat there. Pondering on that answer, I thought back…

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Self Denial Is Necessary

Preached to the Saints of Riverview Baptist on the evening of February 12, 2019
798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN

matthew_6_16t34Matthew 6:16-34   Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.   [17]   But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;   [18]   That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.   [19]   Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:   [20]   But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:   [21]   For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.   [22]   The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.   [23]   But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!   [24]   No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.   [25]   Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?   [26]   Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?   [27]   Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?   [28]   And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:   [29]   And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.   [30]   Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?   [31]   Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?   [32]   (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.   [33]   But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.   [34]   Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

If I were to summarize this portion of our Lord’s “Sermon On The Mount” then it would be by saying:

Faith Grows When We Practice Self Denial

In chapter Six Jesus speaks expecting that every believer in him will (1) Give To The Poor:

Matthew 6:2   Therefore WHEN thou doest thine alms ….

Jesus said “WHEN you give”. Not “IF” but “WHEN”. Giving is what Christ Followers do. We who are saved by the wonderful Gift of Grace do not only GIVE, but we (2) Pray For All.

Matthew 6:6   But thou, WHEN thou prayest …

Again Jesus does not say “If” but “WHEN”. When you pray. Christ Followers should pray daily, pray without ceasing, for we live in a dangerously fallen world. But we also (3) Practice Self Denial. Jesus said:

Matthew 6:16   Moreover WHEN ye fast …

A lot of people have no idea what a FAST is. In our day FAST is the name of a movie where they stole cars (FAST and Furious). In our day FAST is how we expect our burgers and “Happy Meals” to be delivered. In our day FAST is how we like to travel down the highway. But FAST used to not mean speedy, but it used to mean to STOP DOING SOMETHING SO YOU COULD FOCUS ON GOD. To FAST is to deprive yourself for a time so that you can focus on God’s Glory. The word:

BreakFAST

something we use for the first meal of the day means that we allow ourselves to eat after an involuntary 8 hours of NOT eating. You “Break the Fast”. Jesus tells His disciples:

WHEN you FAST
Not IF but WHEN

Which means He expected us to Fast. Jesus Fasted for 40 days in the wilderness before His ministry began. Does He expect us to fast 40 days? I don’t think so. But He does expect us to practice self denial, to deprive the flesh for short times while we focus on God.

WHEN We Fast Do Not Do It To Be Seen Of Men, But Of God

Matthew 6:16-18   Moreover WHEN ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.   [17]   But thou, WHEN thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;   [18]   That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

Jesus commanded that our Fast – whether it be one meal, one day, or one whatever (for a “Fast” can be a voluntary giving up of one thing while you focus on God.

Let me chase rabbits for a moment…

You can give up a meal while you focus on Scripture and prayer, looking Godward.
You can give up a day (or even a week) of TELEVISION while you read His Word.
You can break down and forsake Sunday and Wednesday night television
… and COME WORSHIP THE LORD.
You can give up a vacation trip home to go on mission oversea for Jesus.
You can give up your fancy Starbucks coffee and give that money to a worthy cause.
A FAST can be anything for any duration where you focus on GOD rather than YOU.

Fasting – a form of self denial – is necessary because the flesh is greedy. If you give yourself EVERYTHING and do nothing that is UNCOMFORTABLE then you eventually will not serve God at all. A Fast does not have to be a horrible or torturous thing, but it is done to draw you closer to God. While Fasting you focus on God, not on self.

The Pharisees and Sadducees made Fasting a show for all to see. They “disfigured their faces” so as to look pitiful. They were looking for the praise of men rather than closeness to God. Jesus said “when you Fast anoint your head and wash your face”. Groom yourselves just as if you were NOT Fasting. Don’t go around telling people “I’m Fasting this week”. Just do it, and do it in secret.

Self Denial Is The Very Heart Of Our Faith

When we Fast, when we Give, when we Pray and take time looking upward we are practicing self denial. Self denial is the very heart of the Christian faith. In America we don’t realize this because of the number of “Cultural Christians” in our country, but in Christ’s day and in many countries around the world it is dangerous to be a Christian. The Muslim who comes to Christ risks being shunned, disowned, or martyred for the faith. It is easy to be a Christian in America because Christians founded America. But Christians suffered to found America. Of the original group of 132 on the Mayflower, 49 died. Christians suffered in founding America, and Christians suffered in the Revolutionary War. The American Constitution was written in the blood of Christians and those who were friendly to the Christ.

Our country was founded by believers who sought to establish Christ’s Kingdom on the earth. That is what has given us so many freedoms, freedoms that will erode under the tide of sin if we do not stand up for Christ.

Today the Gospel is preached as Easy Believism, but it was not so from the beginning. Jesus did not promise sweet nothings to His followers in order to inflate the numbers at His Church. He told us:

Luke 14:26-33 (KJV) If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

Jesus calls His people to Him willing to forsake all. Nothing is to be held back from Christ. Nothing! Our Treasures are not to be the relationships and the things we have on this earth, but our treasures are to be what God has for us in Heaven. That’s what Jesus is preaching. Listen to Him. Listen to Him!

Matthew 6:19-21   Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:   [20]   But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:   [21]   For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

You can tell where a person’s “treasure” is by what they do. For some, the weather has got to be just right for them to come to Church. If it’s too sunny they stay home or go to the Park because, after all, God wants them to rest on Sunday. If it’s too rainy or cold they stay home or go out to eat because, after all, God wants them to take care of themselves.

Does a person treasure God or Heaven?
What they treasure is seen in their outward lives.

Many of those who were in the crowd at the Sermon on the Mount were there because Jesus healed them or someone they knew. Yet it was His disciples that came to Him, who knelt at His feet, who clung to His words, who loved Him more than all else. The crowds seeking blessing stayed in the valley, but the disciple – the truly saved – were willing to brave the mountain and sit uncomfortably in the dirt to hear Christ.

To trade their recliner for a rock.
To trade their bed for a slope.

When you seek Christ and suffer discomfort to get to Christ you are “laying up for yourselves treasures in Heaven”. There will be a Judgment Day for everyone, whether Christian or Unbeliever. The Unbeliever will stand before a Great Whote Throne (Revelation 20:11-15) and the Christian will stand before The Judgment Seat of Christ:

2 Corinthians 5:10  (KJV) For we MUST ALL APPEAR BEFORE THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Everything we do is laid up in Heaven’s vault. The unbeliever’s actions are stored up – there will be a Judgment Day. The believer’s actions are stored up – there will be a Judgment Day.

On Judgment Day the Child of God will give an account of the things done in his or her body.

On Judgment Day Christ will not ask which denomination you belonged to.

Christ will ask if you acted as if you belonged to Him, and honored Him in this life.

On Judgment Day I do not think Christ will judge how fine a suit you wore to Church.

Christ will ask if you “put off the old man and put on the new” (Ephesians 4:22ff)

On Judgment Day Christ will not ask if we loved others..

But He will ask “how did you SHOW you loved others?” Did people see Christ in you?

On Judgment Day we will not be examined to see how religious we were.

But God will look at our relationship to Him and to others.

Did we behave as Children of God?

On Judgment Day Jesus will ask not how sincere we were,

But we do the truth? Did we go against the crowd and DO what He said do?

On Judgment Day I will not be able to point to someone else to try and deflect my fault on another. On Judgment Day I and I alone will be judged, and each shall give an account to their Savior. Those who lived for Christ and loved for Christ shall have treasure in Heaven. Live for Judgment Day!

Choose Where You Will Focus. Choose Your Master.

Matthew 6:22-23   The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.   [23]   But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

The eyes are the windows of the soul. Yes, I know there are some born blind, but very few. Most people are born with eyes. Where you focus your eyes will effect what happens to your soul.

If your eye be single – ἁπλοῦς haplous – SOUND, WHOLE, or GOOD – focused on the Godly thing – then your whole body will be good. This is what television has done. Things could be insinuated on the radio, but are shown on television.

Adrian Rogers said years ago that it is the Television Sitcom that will destroy the morality of our nation. His words have proven to be prophetic. We have let our eyes linger on television sexuality so much so that adultery no longer offends us and homosexuality is just a lifestyle choice. God says such things are death, that the Wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), but in America today it is but another word for freedom. Where your eye is focused is what will effect your choices. Sin begins with the eye. In Eden what was that which led Adam and Eve to perdition? The eye!

Genesis 3:6  (KJV) And when the woman SAW that the tree was good for food, and that it WAS PLEASANT TO THE EYES, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

The Prophet Job gave some great advice on avoiding sin. He said:

Job 31:1 (KJV)  I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?

This is what Jesus is telling His disciples. Control where your eyes are looking. Look Godward. Look toward the Light of God, not toward sin. If you dwell on the wrong, it won’t be long before you are doing the wrong. When you focus on the evil, you flood your body with evil. No one starts out a murderer or an adulterer or a child molester or a kidnapper. It begins with a look. It begins by giving the devil a toe hold in your life, by focusing on the wrong thing. Then in time what happens?

The light that is in thee be darkness, and how great is that darkness!
Choose to follow Christ

When Moses came down off of Mount Sinai he saw all of Israel gathered around a Golden Calf to worship it. Moses cast down the Tablets of the Law and cried out:

Exodus 32:26 (KJV) …. Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.

God’s people came together and stood together with Moses, and so Satan and the Goden Calf was defeated. Joshua would later lead the Children of God into the Promised Land. Joshua told the people:

Joshua 24:14-15 (KJV)  Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.  [15]  And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Joshua told the people “Make a choice. Choose who you are going to serve. If you’re going to serve the devil, do so. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”.

I recently read of a man who died – Leslie Ray Charping– who when he went his family celebrated. Mr. Charping made a choice – he followed the devil wholeheartedly, so much so that in his obituary (according to the New York Post):

The family wrote that Charping “leaves behind two relieved children,” in addition to “countless other victims including an ex wife, relatives, friends, neighbors, doctors, nurses and random strangers.” …. “Leslie’s life served no other obvious purpose, he did not contribute to society or serve his community and he possessed no redeeming qualities besides quick [witted] sarcasm, which was amusing during his sober days,” the obituary read. No services will be held for him. They wrote “Leslie’s passing proves that evil does in fact die and hopefully marks a time of healing and safety for all”.

The man chose. We should choose who we will serve. Just as Moses and Joshua challenged the people, Jesus challenges those who will hear Him. Jesus said:

Matthew 6:24 (KJV)   No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Some translations change Jesus statement to “You cannot serve God and Money”, but that is not what Jesus said. The word translated “Mammon” is the Greek μαμωνᾶς mamōnas which is the Idol of Materialism. People who worship at the altar of Materialism store up for themselves treasures on the earth while ignoring Heaven’s vault. They are like the rich man of Luke 12 who had much, but wanted more. The man who worshiped Materialism said …

Luke 12:18-20 (KJV)   … This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.   [19]   And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.   [20]   But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

God’s Children are not to chase after and be focused on getting rich, but are to be rich in faith. Material possessions are wonderful, but we are to be careful not to be possessed of our possessions. The Apostle Paul said:

1 Timothy 6: 6–10 (ESV) … godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Be content with what God has given you. What has God given us?

His love.
His care.
His presence.

Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 5:10 (ESV) He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.

The God of Materialism never satisfies, but the God Who loves you does. This is why Jesus ends this section with …

Matthew 6:25-34 (KJV)   Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?   [26]   Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?   [27]   Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?   [28]   And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:   [29]   And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.   [30]   Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?   [31]   Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?   [32]   (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.   [33]   But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.   [34]   Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

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After This Manner Pray

Preached to the Saints at Riverview Baptist on the morning of February 12, 2017
At 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN

mpLast Wednesday we continued looking at Jesus’ Sermon On The Mount in Matthew chapter 6. Jesus addressed (1) Giving to the poor, and (2) Prayer. Both Giving as well as Prayer are to be God glorifying. We are neither to Give nor to Pray so as to be “seen of men”.

God Is To Be Glorified In All We Do

As Jesus prayed before He went to the Cross He felt the strain of what was coming. Jesus prayed:

John 12:27 (KJV) Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.

Jesus was coming to the hour of death. Calvary was in view. He knew the beating, He knew the humiliation that was coming – but Christ would not withdraw. He prayed:

John 12:28 … Father, glorify thy name.

Jesus showed us that what matters most is that we glorify God our Father. Even with the Cross in view the “Beloved Son in Whom the Father is well pleased” does not pray for relief, but that God be glorified. Immediately after His prayer – a public prayer that all heard – The Father spoke from Heaven, saying:

I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”

God will answer any prayer that glorifies His Name. He is to be glorified, to be magnified, to be lifted up. In Matthew 6 Jesus gave His “Sermon on The Mount”. His disciples – those who have received Him as Master – are sitting at His feet. And as we saw last Wednesday Jesus scorches the “hypocrites” who do “religious” things to be seen of men.

We give to glorify God.
We pray to glorify God.

Prayer is communication between a loving Heavenly Father and His Child. Public prayer is not forbidden, for as we have seen, Jesus often prayed publicly. But prayer is never for show. If you NEVER pray publicly that is all right, but NEVER pray publicly to be seen of men. Let’s say the Lord’s Prayer together:

Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV)   After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.   [10]   Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.   [11]   Give us this day our daily bread.   [12]   And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.   [13]   And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

There Is No “I” Or “Me” In The Lord’s Prayer

When we make our first overview of the Lord’s Prayer we notice first of all that there is no “I” or “Me” in the entirety of this prayer. Every pronoun tied to man used is plural. Everything is:

Our
Us
We

There is a reason for that. The basis of the Lord’s Prayer is LOVE, and LOVE never stands alone. Love always involves at least two parties. In eternity past before mankind was ever created God loved. God is One, but three Persons, Father, Son, and Spirit. Each member of the Godhead loves the other. God has designed us with self love, but a person who loves self and never extends outward to love others is either a sociopath or a narcissist. Jesus was oner time asked …

Matthew 22:36-40 (NASB) … “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

The Entirety Of Scripture Is Hung On The Heavenly Nail Of Love.

It is no wonder the Lord’s Prayer would emphasize Love. Those sitting at Christ’s feet are those who have been saved by Love. They have heard that “God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Those kneeling at Jesus’ feet have believed that Christ gave Himself for them. They have “confessed with their mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believed in their hearts that God raised Him from the dead, and are saved” (Romans 10:9). They are now “Children of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26).

The Prayer that God expects from His Children is not to be “I” and “Me” but “Us”. We are His Family. I want you to notice also:

This Prayer Is A Pattern

Jesus says “After this manner you pray”. The three words translated “after this manner” is the Greek οὕτω(ς) houtō(s), which means “in this way” or “in this fashion”. What Jesus was teaching was a pattern of prayer. When I was little my daddy, an upholsterer, would take customer’s couches or chairs and put new material on them. Daddy was quite good. I found out that daddy would take the old material off of the furniture then flatten it out and trace around it, using the old as a pattern to cut out the new material. Jesus gives us a pattern of prayer. Jesus never wanted us chanting this Lord’s Prayer but following the outline He gave us.

Our Father

The first two words of proper prayer is to recognize our relationship to God. “Our Father”. Prayer is the privilege of the Child of God. God expects to hear from us if we are His. If you are saved by faith in Christ you are EXPECTED to pray. Jesus did not say …

IF you pray”, or
When circumstances make you pray”, but
After this manner YOU PRAY”

If you love God as your Father then you should want to pray. Prayer should not be an effort. When I was young my parents used to get mad at me and my wife because we couldn’t go home every Christmas. We had lives, and distance separated us. Though I tried to call momma on special days there were times when I missed calling her (and regretted doing so). But God is with you no matter where you are, dear Christian. Jesus has said “I will never leave you nor forsake you” but Scripture doesn’t stop there, but goes on to say:

Hebrews 13:6 (NASB) … so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”

The Bible tells us to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Prayer should not be occasional, for our Father is with us no matter where we go. We should pray conversationally with our Lord, trusting Him Who loves us so. When we pray “Our Father” we are reminded that

Father is our Provider
Father is our Sustainer
Father is our Heavenly Parent

The Jews were frightened of God, so much so that they would not say His Name out loud lest they offend Him. But Yahweh loves us, and Jehovah fights for us. We are His, and He is ours.

Which Art In Heaven

We have fathers and parents who we love and honor on this earth, but our Perfect Father is in Heaven. He is above us. He knows what is best for us. The Psalmist wrote:

Psalms 139:1-5   O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.   [2]  Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.  [3]  Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.  [4]  For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.  [5]  Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

God is pure, and holy, and just. He is infinite, both in knowledge and in power. He is “our Father in Heaven”, and watches over us. What a Great God He is!

Hallowed Be Thy Name

This doesn’t say that we are to “Hallow” God’s Name, but we recognize that God’s Name is Hallowed. The word “Hallowed” is the Greek ἁγιάζω hagiazō, which means “holy, pure, consecrated”. When we come to God in prayer we are to remember that God is Holy and Righteous.

He will not answer nor even hear a prayer that is unholy, loveless, or evil. The Bible says:

John 9:31  Now we know that GOD HEARETH NOT SINNERS: but if any man be a WORSHIPPER OF GOD, AND DOETH HIS WILL, him he heareth.

1 John 5:14  And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, HE HEARETH US:

God will not answer sinful prayer, nor does He answer prayers that are outside of His will. God is Holy. He will not bless unrighteousness, but He will hear and save the lost if they cry out to Him. When the Christian comes to God in prayer it should be with the understanding that God is Holy. If we are in sin then we “should confess our sin, for He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done, On Earth As It Is In Heaven

Any prayer that God blesses is directed first and foremost to building His Kingdom and accomplishing His Will. The Kingdom of God was central to Christ’s teaching and preaching ministry. Jesus said:

Matthew 6:33   But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Any prayer that does not “seek first the Kingdom of God” will not be blessed. We are to pray that God’s influence INCREASES on the earth. We are to pray that WHAT IS UP THERE COMES DOWN HERE. We are to pray that God’s Kingdom comes to this earth, and that people realizer that our Father is King of THIS earth. King David prayed …

Psalm 74:12 (ESV) Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.

And King David prayed in 1 Chronicles 29:11-12 (ESV) Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.

Where man reigns there is chaos, but where God reigns there is peace and blessing. This world will never get better on its own.

Nihilism has proved to be an empty void

Atheism has brought only godless behavior

Humanism has fed greed and selfishness

Feminism has given us ashes for beauty

Pro-Choice has murdered millions

This broken nation – nay, every nation, needs God. People need the Lord. People need THE LORD. Not a buddy, not a religion, but a pure and holy LORD GOD to serve and magnify.

Give US This Day Our Daily Bread

What does “Daily Bread” represent?

  • Bread Represents Work. Some people do nothing, expecting the world to take care of them. This is welfare gone mad. The Apostle said:

    2 Thessalonians 3:10-12  For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.  [11]  For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.  [12]  Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and EAT THEIR OWN BREAD.

    Bread is the fruit of a person’s WORK. God expects His Children to work. When Israel was given MANNA in the wilderness (see Exodus 16), that “bread from Heaven”, each person had to go out and gather what they were allowed to eat. The Bible says:

    Proverbs 14:23  (ESV) In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.

  • Bread Represents God’s Word. When tempted of the Devil to turn stones into bread Jesus told that old dog:

    Matthew 4:4 …. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

    Pastor Rick Warren said “Real life comes by feeding on every word of the Lord. You don’t just need physical nourishment; you also need spiritual nourishment.”

  • Bread Represents The Saved In Fellowship With God And With One Another. Jesus said we are to pray “Give US this day our daily bread”.

    1 Corinthians 10:16-17  The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?  [17]  For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

    If you are born again by the Grace of God you are brothers and sisters together. It is not the name on the membership roll that gets you into Heaven, but whether your name is on that “roll up yonder”, the Book of Life. Heaven is the place where God’s Children go. The Bible says:

    Revelation 21:27  And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

    If you have eaten of the Bread of Heaven, then you are the Bread of Heaven. You are part of a Family that will last forever, the Family of God.

And Forgive Us Our Debts As We Forgive Our Debtors

Forgiveness of sin is contingent on our forgiveness of others. Jesus continues this thought at the end of the Lord’s Prayer, just after the “Amen”. He said:

Matthew 6:14-15   For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:   [15]   But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

“If you forgive MEN”. Jesus doesn’t use Adelphos here (“Brothers”) but ἄνθρωπος Anthrōpos which means “Mankind”. We are not called to just forgive our brothers or sisters in Christ who offend us, but ANYONE regardless as to race, sex, or religion. Those who pray are not to carry grudges. This doesn’t mean we FORGET the offense, but we FORGIVE the offense, releasing the offending party unto God. The Bible says:

Romans 12:17-21  Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.  [18]  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.  [19]  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  [20]  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.  [21]  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

God will sort everything out. He is, after all, our Heavenly Father. I saw a movie one time where a married couple decided to take vengeance on the drunkard who ran their son over, killing him. They captured him, beat him, nearly killed him … then found out later they had the wrong man. They ended up in jail for no good reason. The Bible says to let God deal with the situation. Regardless of emotion, do good to those who have done bad to you. Release the grudge, and be Children of Light. Then you can pray “Forgive Us Our Debts, As We Forgive Our Debtors”. We have all failed God many times, and He has and will forgive us. Let it go. Let it go!

Matthew 6:13   And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

As the prayer is closed we pray that God will deliver us from Evil. We pray that God will draw us away from anything that will not glorify Him. Then we close the prayer as we began the prayer, giving glory to God.

Thine Is The KINGDOM

The POWER

And The GLORY
Forever!

We live for God’s Kingdom. We live for God’s glory. We live in His power, magnifying Him. This is what the Christ Follower does.

We glorify God.
We magnify our Father.

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Watch Your Motivation

Preached To The Saints Of Riverview Baptist on Wednesday, February 8 2017
At 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN

fcMatthew 6:1-8 (KJV) Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. 5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. 7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Two of the most “religious” things that religious people do is give to the poor and pray. And it is good to give to the poor. The Bible says:

Proverbs 19:17 (KJV) He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

Luke 6:38 (KJV) Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

God has given us much, so we give much in return. But a group of religious people in Jesus’ day made a show of giving. They were not giving to honor God, but were giving to honor themselves. Jesus didn’t name the religious group in our text today but they heard what He said – and were not pleased with it. Nonetheless, what Jesus said was true.

We Are To Give To Glorify God, Not Ourselves

Many people give. If you go into the Maury Regional Hospital you will see a wall with pictures of people who have given to the hospital. There’s nothing criminal in that. But when you give to God you should do so to glorify God. Jesus said:

Matthew 6:1 (KJV) Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, TO BE SEEN OF THEM: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

Now Jesus didn’t say you couldn’t give publicly. Jesus gave publicly. He healed people in public, and was known for healing. But Jesus didn’t do what He did to be seen of men. That is key to what Jesus said. The religious crowd – the Scribes and Pharisees – made a show of giving. Jesus said:

Matthew 6:2 (KJV) Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not SOUND A TRUMPET BEFORE THEE, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

The religious crowd wanted you to know they were religious. They “sounded a trumpet” when they gave both in the Synagogues and in the streets. They drew attention to their giving. They wanted to be known as generous people, as good people, as people who cared for others. But Jesus called them:

“Hypocrites” is the Greek ὑποκριτής hypokritēs which means “to have two faces”. In the Greek Theater actors were often called Hypocrites for they had one face when they acted and another in real life. The Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes all made a show of giving so that others would say how “godly” they were. But in reality they were motivated to give not to honor God but to honor THEMSELVES.

The motivation condemns or blesses the act. God sees our hearts when we do things. People see the exterior, but God sees our hearts.

Jesus was watching the giving at the Temple one day. We read:

Mark 12:41 (KJV) And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.

People were giving. In Jesus’ day when you gave you walked into the Temple and put money in a slot called the treasury. Money collected in the treasury was later gathered by the priests. As people cast money in Jesus noticed that the rich gave much. There’s nothing wrong with that. “To those whom much is given, much is expected” we are told in Luke 12:48. Those with much should give much. But then we read:

Mark 12:42 (KJV) And there came a certain poor WIDOW, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.

The “farthing” or the Roman quadrans was worth about a half a penny. I don’ty know how much that is in modern money, but it was the least amount thatr could be given in Jesus’ day, perhaps as little as a penny to us Americans. Jesus watched this woman publicly put this tiny amount in. Then the Bible tells us that Jesus …

Mark 12:43-44 (KJV) …. called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: 44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

Jesus did not criticize the widow for giving in public, but commended her for giving “even all her living”. This woman gave till it hurt. The rich who cast in gave from their excess, but she “did cast in all that she had”. Her motivation was to glorify God. This is what the Bible tells us that we MUST do. Jesus was asked one day “What is the Great Commandment in the Law?”.

Matthew 22:37 (KJV) Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

The widow was worshiping God with all she had. And she was doing this publicly.

Do Not Show Off To Be Seen Of Man

Matthew 6:3-4 (KJV) But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

Jesus said “don’t let your rightr hand know what your left hand is doing”. Keep your giving to yourself. Don’t show it off to others. Don’t toot your own horn. Give, but give to glorify God and not yourself, and God will reward you for it.

Do not pray to be seen of men. Jesus said:

Matthew 6:5 (KJV) And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they LOVE TO PRAY STANDING in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, THAT THEY MAY BE SEEN OF MEN. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

The religious hypocrites prayed not to God, but “to be seen of men”. This was their motivation. They wanted to be seen of man, not of God. This is not good. Again, there is nothing wrong with praying publicly. Jesus prayed publicly for His Church:

John 17:1ff (ESV) …When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. …

When you look through the Bible you will find mighty people of faith praying in public.

  • When Peter and John were beaten and released, told not to speak of Jesus, they gathered with the Church and prayed together in Acts 4:24-30.
  • When God released Peter from prison he came to the house of Mary the mother of John where many were gathered together praying (Acts 12:12).
  • We are told that King Solomon prayed at the dedication of the Temple (1 Kings 8:22-23).
  • The Prophet Elijah prayed on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 17:36-37).
  • The Priest Ezra prayed before a great congregation of people” (Ezra 10:1), and as he prayed “a very large gathering of men, women and children” gathered with him and wept bitterly.
  • King David not only prayed publicly, but wrote his prayers down to be read (see Psalm 51)
  • Hannah the mother of the Prophet Samuel regularly went to the Temple to pray that God give her a child (1 Samuel 1:1-6).
  • The Prophet Daniel made a point of praying openly, even when warned that doing so would lead to his being cast in a lion’s den (Daniel 6:1-3)

Public prayer is not condemned, but praying “to be seen of men” is. Prayer is conversation between a person and the Infinite God Who is our Father. When we pray it should not be show, but to touch the heart of God. Public prayer should be:

God honoring
Selfless
Based on a desire to communicate to God

If you cannot pray publicly without being puffed up by it, DO NOT PRAY PUBLICLY. The hypocrites “love to pray standing in the Synagogue (the Church) and in the streets TO BE SEEN OF MEN”. They are not talking to God – they are putting on a show for others to see. Jesus says “Don’t do it”.

When I or my wife are in a restaurant we pray over our meal. But I do not stand up and shout “look at me”. Pray, but let your focus be God not yourself. There are some people who do not pray publicly. There is nothing wrong with this. If you pray publicly for the public but not for God Jesus said:

Matthew 6:6 (KJV) But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

The focus of prayer is to communicate with God, not to make a show of what you’re doing. Talk to God. Focus on God. Love God. He is, after all, your Heavenly Father.

Do Not Use Vain Repetitions

When I was a child I was taught to pray by my mother and grandmother. They taught me to pray:

Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake.
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

This was a little rhyme I was taught. Momma taught me to add on “And God bless …

Momma and Daddy
Grandma and Grandpa
Aunt Dot
My brother and sister
My dog Lightening
Santa Claus
and the Easter Bunny

then I whispered …

and make me a good little boy!

This was what I prayed while I was a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things. When I came to know Christ as Savior and Lord my prayers began to be more one on one to God my Father. And this is what prayer is to be. Jesus said:

Matthew 6:7 (KJV) But when ye pray, USE NOT VAIN REPETITIONS, AS THE HEATHEN DO: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

The “Heathen” or as we call them “The Unsaved or Lost” believe that by repetition they will be heard of God. Jesus said:

Matthew 6:8 (KJV) Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Prayer is to God. Prayer is to honor God. God our Father will meet our needs. As His Children He cares for us. But we pray to honor Him. We pray to commune with Him. We don’t have to chant the same thing at God over and over again to be heard in prayer. We don’t even have to use our lips. All we need to do is pray, and God will care for us.

Sunday morning we will look at Christ’s pattern of prayer.

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

A Final Word

I want to say how much I appreciate our Church. It was a cold, windy, rainy night, and I expected few. 30 people showed up, worshiped, and God was in the house. Praise Him for the faithful!

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Blaming God

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I’m recovering from a bad fall.

This past Sunday our Church (Riverview Baptist) and St Luke’s Methodist came together to collect soup for the hungry. Together we raised over 7000 cans of soup to distribute through the local non-profit Harvest Share. I think Christ followers ought to do good. Jesus tells us to do good. He said:

Galatians 6:9-10 (KJV) And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. 

We do good by reaching out to those in need in the name of Jesus. So as community Churches we are trying to feed our community in Christ’s name and for His glory. We met together at the local Community Center following our respective Church services, fellowshipped together, and worshiped our Lord. At the end of the meeting we had to put up the tables and chairs, cleaning the center before we left.

That’s when I fell.

The tables and chairs had to be returned to a store room, and on the floor of the room someone had placed strips of wood to keep items from sliding on the floor. That’s what took me down, gravity and a wood slat. My right heel caught on a slat and I went down face first onto the hardwood floor. Both my arms were under my body when I hit, and I sprained myman-falling left elbow and my right wrist. Sunday night I could not go to bed, but had to sleep in a recliner, pillows tucked about me to keep me from rolling over on my hurt arms. Two days later my right hand is puffed up like a balloon, my left arm cannot be bent. OUCH!

And God is not to blame.

We all like to blame God when something bad happens, but God is not to blame. Just before I fell another person tripped over one of these slats. I saw her trip. I warned her, “Be careful, don’t fall”. Then two minutes later I ignored the warning. I did the same thing, only worse. I tripped but did not catch myself. God showed me what could happen, but I didn’t pay attention.

God is not to blame.

God is not to blame for HIV or AIDS. He tells us to be sexually chaste, but as foolish people we don’t listen. We make excuses. We shake our fist at Heaven. We ignore His warnings, and do the wrong thing. We play with matches, and set our homes on fire.

God is not to blame.

God is not to blame because we have no cure for cancer or Alzheimer’s or any number of horrible diseases. God tells us that life is precious and comes with great potential. So we abort babies. We as a nation have killed over 50,000 lives, many of which could have grown up to be a Pasteur or a Schweitzer or a Curare, a person who could have cured our diseases. We ignored the Sovereign wisdom of God in His Word and are paying for it.

God is not to blame.

God is not to blame when have an accident because we drove our cars impaired by alcohol, drugs, or by texting on our cell phones. He is not to blame when someone is killed because we operate a vehicle impaired by age long past the time we should be driving and run a child over. This happened to an older lady I knew years ago, a lady now with Jesus. She ran an eight year old child over with her car while the child was checking the mailbox for his mother. She didn’t even know she had run him over until the Sheriff came to the door of her home. She didn’t see the child, and shouldn’t have ben driving. Think about this if you are in your 80s and arguing with your children that you must keep driving at night though you can barely see in the daylight.

God is not to blame.

911God is not to blame for terrorists, or for  9-11. We let people come into our country without vetting them because of some strange sense of “we’re all refugees and immigrants and want to let EVERYONE into the country because WE JUST LOVE THEM”.  I suspect there isn’t a day that goes by that a Native American doesn’t wish his or her ancestors hadn’t have better vetted the Europeans that came to these North American shores. When people come in they make changes, and those who hate American freedoms will try and destroy that freedom. Terrorists learn to fly in our schools then, hijacking aircraft, kill nearly 4000 of our people. We cry out “God, where were You? How dare You allow this to happen?” and yet riot and hinder when the President wants to control and vet the unknown. We have lost our American minds.

God is not to blame.

We are to blame. I am to blame for my fall. I saw the slats and ignored the warnings. Now I thank God that He didn’t allow me to break my fool neck, or my arms and legs. I thank God that there was nothing sharp in the way when I fell. I thank God that I can still type and feed myself with this ballooned up hand. Thank You, Lord, that I didn’t have to take a $1000 ride to the hospital on a screaming ambulance. And God …

Give us all as Americans the sense to stop blaming You and start being accountable for our own lives. Give these people rioting the “sense God gave a billy goat” as my momma used to say. It’s time we wake up, look up, and heed Your good Grace. Thank You, Lord, for loving us all and for this great Country we live in. Thank You for today. And Lord, make me cautious, make us ALL cautious of the slats and the cracks in the floor of life.

In Jesus’ Name. Amen!

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Leave me in the mess – please!

Love this. Great post!

Wrestling with Faith - Dancing with Jesus

Because only in the mess, will I be able to truly see the Lord’s hand at work.

Actually, please don’t leave me in the mess, because it’s the last place I want to be in!

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I don’t know about you, but I often find myself in circumstances and messes where this dilemma exists.
I love seeing how God works in my life. I really really really love it.
At the same time, I thoroughly dislike being in those situations.

Then, of course, an average person, preacher, pastor, sermon etc proclaims that if I didn’t sin, I wouldn’t be stuck in bad situations. While this may be true… I’m pretty sure Jesus found Himself in a few “bad situations” during His 3 years of ministry and He for sure did not sin!
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So… May I just conclude, that even if I were entirely sinless (yeah, that’s not gonna happen!), the devil…

View original post 152 more words

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What In The World Are You Doing?

I’ve thought about this for many years, and I can see no biblical basis for it.
Pastors, why are we doing silly things? What is our justification for it?

fcA pastor I know told his congregation if they invited their friends to Sunday School and reached 150 in attendance that he would “paint my toenails John Deere green and preach in sandals”.

Another pastor told his Church that if they brought in a certain number on a Fall Festival that he would “dress up like Donald Duck and preach in costume the next Sunday”.

Another pastor said if his Church brought in over 175 for Sunday services they could “hit him in the face with pies”, while another allowed himself to be “slimed” and “doused with Gatorade”.

Again I ask, why are we doing these things?
How is Christ glorified by it?
Who is the center of attention when you do these things?
Did God call you to be a circus clown, or a pastor?

Let’s step away from opinion now, and go to that the Scripture says. The Bible tells us:

Colossians 3:17 (ESV)  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 

WHATEVER we do, we are to do it IN THE NAME of Jesus Christ. Did Christ authorize the foolishness? No. What Jesus authorized was what He said in Matthew 28:18-20. He said

(NASB) “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

C.H. Spurgeon, that Prince of Preachers, wrote many years ago:

chs“An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted can hardly fail to notice it during the past few years. It has developed at an abnormal rate, even for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them.

From speaking out as the Puritans did, the church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses.

My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the church. If it is a Christian work, why did not Christ speak of it? “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). That is clear enough. So it would have been if He had added, “and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel.” No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to him.

Then again, “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers .., for the work of the ministry” (Eph. 4:11-12). Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people or because they refused? The concert has no martyr roll.

Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all his apostles. What was the attitude of the church to the world? Ye are the salt” (Matt. 5:13), not the sugar candy—something the world will spit out not swallow. Short and sharp was the utterance, “Let the dead bury their dead” (Matt. 8:22) He was in awful earnestness.

Had Christ introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into his mission, he would have been more popular when they went back, because of the searching nature of His teaching. I do not hear him say, “Run after these people Peter and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow, something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it. Be quick Peter, we must get the people somehow.” Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them.

In vain will the Epistles be searched to find any trace of this gospel of amusement! Their message is, “Come out, keep out, keep clean out!” Anything approaching fooling is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.

After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the church had a prayer meeting but they did not pray, “Lord grant unto thy servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are.” If they ceased not from preaching Christ, they had not time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution, they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6). That is the only difference! Lord, clear the church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her, and bring us back to apostolic methods.

Lastly, the mission of amusement fails to effect the end desired. It works havoc among young converts. Let the careless and scoffers, who thank God because the church met them halfway, speak and testify. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment has been God’s link in the chain of the conversion, stand up! There are none to answer. The mission of amusement produces no converts. The need of the hour for today’s ministry is believing scholarship joined with earnest spirituality, the one springing from the other as fruit from the root. The need is biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.”

Jesus did not tell us to entertain goats, but to feed the sheep. We are to “Make disciples”, to “teach them to observe all that Jesus commanded us”, to “baptize”. When was Jesus pied in the face? When did Jesus get slimed? Jesus came preaching the Gospel, telling people to repent, tell us that we are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our souls, all our being, and to love our neighbor as ourself. The Bible tells us to:

1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV) So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Do ALL to the glory of God. We who minister, like the Apostles, are “like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men” (1 Corinthians 4:9). Pastors around the world are being imprisoned, martyred, their families murdered for preaching the Cross. We dishonor our calling when we put on the circus makeup. Glorify God. Make God in Christ the reason that we ask our people to do.

Not slime.
Not pies.
Not bright green toenails.
Not Donald Duck.

But for the glory of Christ. And lest you say “Well, the Apostle Paul said that he became all things to all men so that he might win more to Christ”. Here is what Paul did:

2 Corinthians 11:25-27 (NASB) Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.

That s God glorifying. Let us live for Him. Time is short. Live for Him.

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