Preacher: Josh WhiteToday is my my final sermon of Man Month and we'll be finishing looking out what it means to be a real man so if any of you were here today and you miss either of the first two weeks of May and month you're out of luck you'll never know what it means to be a real man unless you listen to the sermons online but when I say that we want to be God wants us to be a real man real is an acronym are stands for Responsible a real man and ultimately a real child of God This is dealing for men and women but a real man is responsible in other words he knows the responsibilities that have been entrusted to him by God we look at the parable of the unfaithful steward and Luke Chapter sixteen and there's a few other parables about faithful stewards and that is something a responsible person does as they recognize God is in trust that certain things to us and we are responsible to God with those things last week we looked at a the letters in a and they stand for engaged in aware dealing specifically with the responsibilities of God is given to us if God has given you something God wants us to be aware of them and also engage in them and actually doing them and today the letter L stands for loyal a real man is loyal.What are you loyal to.If I give you enough time you should probably be able to come up with a few things on maybe some products and brand names that you're loyal to maybe some sports teams or whatever you know I was thinking to myself this week I had a lot of time to think about this and it made me ask the question what makes us loyal to certain things and to certain people and I think there's a few things.I think we become loyal to a lot of firsts in our life if you experience something for the first time it was a very positive experience you are usually look to that thing for the rest of your life and so first. It's become a thing that we're loyal to and then if we have like a very positive experience with something we become loyal to those things like I said sometimes for the rest of our lives let me give you a silly example the Seattle Seahawks I am loyal to the Seahawks That's right a man from a Christian No I'm saying that's out there he's a but I grew up in Spokane Washington and I remember they had Steve Largent indeed Craigan Kirwan and all these players and when they're doing well and they go into the playoffs as as a you know a young little boy I started to get excited first for N.F.L. watching the sea oxen and that those first exciting emotions they just they become part of your heart and so always be loyal to the Seahawks You can hate me for it that's OK God has forgiven me I'm a Seahawks fan I want to I want to share with you another example of loyalty to a friend of mine I have several friends like this you probably have some people in your life that you're loyal to no matter what's going to happen in your life you'll always be loyal to them and one I'm going to share with you on His name is Eric Postma. A couple of you might know Eric Postma I went to Grace Bible College and grown up in Michigan and he was the very first person I met and so my dad I still remember this you know my dad dropped me off in August of one nine hundred ninety three he dropped me off the same day that we arrive I'm in the dorm room and there's only one other kid in the entire dorm and I hear him outside and so I stick my head out and here is this six foot tall one hundred thirty pound skinny kid air post when I walk up to way I'm Josh White goes hi I'm your post my from Gaillard and he did this with his hand and I thought boy that something's wrong with this guy and and he's the one who taught me that this is a map of Michigan your right hand and he's from this part of Michigan the top part of your middle finger Gaillard Michigan and we ended up being just the best of friends all throughout college and we played soccer together for four years we both played on the. Fence I was the stopper he was the sweeper he was an all-American twice and because I made his job really easy I tease him about that people had to get through me to get to him and so he did really well he was in my wedding I officiated his wedding so we every time I go back to grown up it's He's one of the few guys that I always want to be and a couple things about Erik after I had gone to Greece probably college for two years I decided I was going to move back to Seattle become a firefighter because that's kind of popular in this church people become firefighters and and as I was driving away after my sophomore year I graduated my associate's degree and I'm driving away and there was only the very first person I met in Michigan was there postman the last person I saw as I was driving out of the parking lot he made sure he was there we gave each other a big hug and he said Josh it's great knowing you these two years if you ever need anything you give me a call and I remember I'll always remember this driving away and looking in the rearview mirror and there's my friend Postma wave again he was the only one there when I came back in our friendship renewed and I'm going to show you a couple things and this is just talking about Erica's almost reason enough to show you my Michigan hat sorry adam but Erica gave me this hat.As a wedding gift on his wedding from like October something two thousand and one and I have been wearing this house for a long time and I told him just this last summer when I saw him I said Eric remember that hatch you gave me I still wear it but there's a hole in the hat now it's my Michigan hat is falling apart so you know what a loyal good friend he is. Where is it there it is he adds and not only did he got me a new hat he bought himself a matching hat is not cute and so so he has a had just like this and our nickname to each other is friend so whenever I call him we're talking to a friend and he says hey friend and he wrote friend and oh isn't that nice. And so on Saturday mornings I'm sitting in my house with my hat on watching Michigan football he's in Jenison Michigan with his hat on washing machine football and we're texting each other the whole time I'm always going to be loyal therapist he's just one of those guys that will always be a loyal faithful friend to me I'm going to tell him he doesn't know yet I'm going to tell him that I was talking about him so maybe he'll listen to this so hey friend I do and thanks for thanks for checking in once you're say hi friend. There you go now now now he has to listen to this you know why you my loyal to him and other people there's other people in my life that I'm a loyal to him and you have that as well and I think there's a few reasons why I'm loyal to him. Because of shared experiences and things that I share specifically he has placed his faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior Yes What we're really friends forever we have other things that we share in common we played sports together we like the same teams we went to the same school. So all of those things is make me loyal to him and him to me Do you have people like that in your life I think you probably do I think most people do you just have a few friends that no matter how much time goes by you see them and there's always going to be that connection. Who are you loyal to that is an important question for every single human being to be able to answer and this morning as we talk about being a real man all of us should be able to say this that a real man is first loyal to Jesus Christ.And then after Jesus Christ all the other people and things that Jesus Christ has brought into your life and his and trusted to you as a faithful steward to be responsible to those things you know if you read the Bible and we look at the history of mankind we will notice that humans are free engine neared to be loyal. To something maybe the best way to describe that is God has made us created us to be worshippers we're going to worship something and so everyone is going to be loyal and we're going to worship something in this life and so this is this is something that's so important we can't get this wrong our loyalty must begin with Jesus Christ and then to the responsibilities that he's intrusted to us once you turn your Bibles to Luke Chapter sixteen we're going back to that first parable that we looked at. Luke Chapter sixteen as your turning I'm going to try to prevent that coughing attack that I had last week so I have water up here already have a couple.Cough drops in my pocket.Luke Chapter sixteen and we're going to be kind of the end of this unfaithful steward passage.Luke Chapter sixteen beginning in verse ten.This is kind of the summary.Of this parable and this is what Jesus teaching us Luke sixteen beginning verse ten.It says one who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much and one who is a dishonest in very little is also dishonest in much if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth who will and trust you the true riches is not true someone's faithful with a few things then they're probably going to be faithful in a lot of things and the idea of faithfulness I think you can also from a practical standpoint you could swap out the word loyalty he who is loyal in a few things will be loyal and responsible with many things verse twelve and if you have not been faithful in that which is another's who will give you that which is your own and then we get to the heart of the matter in verse thirteen why why is this so important why would someone be faithful and responsible and the answer is B.. I was they don't just consider their responsibilities and intellectual concern in an intellectual matter they have gone to the heart and those responsibilities have become very personal to us that's what loyalty means loyalty is not just something that's in your head it's also in your heart and look at verse thirteen this is kind of the most important part of this passage is that deals with today's point no servant can serve two masters for either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other you cannot serve God and money you know everyone lives with purpose in their life we are serving and worshipping something and we will be loyal to that thing in verse thirteen that word for devoted in the E.S.B. is the Greek word and Soko which means to hold on to something you will hold on to the thing that is important to you the thing that you serve that word is a very important word it's only use for the times in the New Testament Matthew chapter six exact same state in the Jesus made in first US alone eons of says that we are to hold on to the weak in the faith that we are to support them and then in Titus talks about qualifications for someone to be an elder or an overseer in the church it says that they must hold firmly to the trustworthy word is taught so they may be able to give instruction and sound doctrine and also rebuke those who contradict it so there are things in this life that we don't hold onto to be devoted to and to be loyal to and it starts with Jesus Christ you know as I was studying the sermon something dawned on me this week you know I came up with this acronym for a real being a real man a few months ago as I was deciding to do man month and I thought this would be really good and it dawned on me that basically being a real man is fulfilling the greatest commandment Well I'll show you I'll show you what I mean. On your server not a sermon else but on your bulletins you should have Matthew twenty two thirty seven that is the greatest commandment. The greatest commandment is hopefully all of you know this to love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your mind and with all your soul that is the greatest commandment and when you look at the greatest commandment Jesus teaching us that every part of us as a being should be loving the Lord our mind. Our soul our actions and our heart and if you look at this afternoon for real I didn't even plan on this it just kind of dawned on me this week as I was starting preparing being a real man incorporates all three of those things being responsible is in your mind being aware and engages with your hands and being loyal is right here with your heart and soul being a real man or a real child of God is basically someone who fulfills the greatest commandment want you to read verse thirteen again from Luke sixteen it says no servant can serve two masters for either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other you cannot serve God and money you know it do you believe that that's kind of a powerful statement do you believe that's true I think so can you see in your life the thing that you serve becomes your master it kind of dominates all aspects of your life and so because this is so important to get right to make sure that we're serving Jesus Christ first and foremost let me give you three ways in which being loyal to Jesus Christ will guide your entire life if you get this right it's going to guide your life in these three areas let me give you number one if you are loyal to Jesus Christ. It will make your decisions become more clear if you are loyal to Jesus Christ your decisions will become more clear they will not become easier. But they will become more clear once you turn over your Bible to Joshua chapter twenty four.And as you're turning to Joshua chapter twenty four I'm going to read for you what is a very well known song proverb I think is probably the most well known proverb Proverbs three five and six truss and Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding you know this one in all your ways this is important in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight it doesn't say he will make your has smooth but if you're acknowledging the Lord in all your ways in other words if you're being loyal to him he's going to make your decisions very clear not easy but He will make them very clear in Joshua chapter twenty four this is when the Israelites have essentially conquered the promised land and they're about to experience some some peace and some rest and Joshua kind of gives this ultimatum in this decision in this this kind of a line in the sand type situation basically he's telling them OK we're here God has delivered us into the Promised Land now you have some choices to me because now that we're not fighting you we're not going to war I'm going to battle all the time you're going to be tempted to turn your back on the one who brought you here and so you need to decide today who you're going to be loyal to so Joshua twenty four beginning in verse fourteen so this what Joshua said to them.Joshua twenty four fourteen says now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness be a faithful steward be loyal to him throw away the God Your ancestors were should be on the Euphrates river in Egypt and serve the Lord but if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve whether the gods your ancestors serve beyond the Euphrates or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living but as for me and my household we will serve the Lord Josh. Was saying I'm going to be loyal I'm going to be loyal in every aspect of my life to my God And this decision that Joshua made for himself and that generation they got it right their kids that's another issue and that's why we continue to read the Bible because they're their kids didn't make those same decisions but if we don't live this way having firmly devoted our loyalty to God we could very well make contradictory decisions our entire life so how do you make decisions if you're not devoted to the Lord in making decisions based on your world to Jesus Christ sometimes if a summit situation comes up we'll say OK well what am I supposed to do in the situation I'm talking about big things not you know where we're going to go for lunch it's a big things and you might say well the last time I had a decision like this. I made a decision based on what was in my best interest. And I didn't really go very well so I got to have another criteria to fall back on it and then another time a decision I guess I did I did it based on what other people wanted me to do you ever make a decision like that other people want to me to make this decision and and so if you're not deciding to be loyal to Jesus Christ every time you come across a big decision you're going to have to try to figure it out from scratch but if an every situation you say I will make a decision that represents my loyalty to Jesus Christ how can this decision show the world and Jesus Christ my savior that I'm loyal to him it makes your decisions much more clear again it does not necessarily make them easier but it makes them more clear and so how do you does make decisions today what criteria if you're here today in church well you made a good decision this morning at the very least right if you come to church but you probably make good decisions but is your criteria not just good is it is it the best. And that's what loyalty to Jesus Christ is it makes helps us make the best decisions. Well another way that loyalty to Christ guides our life not only will make our decisions become more clear but also our motives become more clear we know not only what to decide but we also know why we should make those decisions let's go over the cautions chapter three.Cautions chapter three.Verses twenty three and twenty four. Another very well known passage you probably have heard just before maybe it's even underline in your Bibles.You're that sound there's bible pages turning this morning in the second service of won't be as much.MORE ELECTRONIC Bible that's OK.Cautions three twenty three says. Whatever you do work hardly for who as for the Lord and not for men knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward your serving the Lord Christ and so in this passage there's a couple issues that we see here the first issue is in everything that you do who you want to have the honor for it a lot of you want the honor for ourselves that's our natural tendency that's just what it is to be a human being but our honor should go to the Lord that shouldn't be our desire in the second issue is we're living by faith you know you look at this and this idea of living so that when we stand before Christ the bema seat that we will receive rewards I know sometimes we think wait a second is that kind of a selfish reason should we really live our lives based on trying to get rewards for eternity and if that thought goes through your mind it's normal to think that and the answer to that is if this is true no it's not selfish it's faith.The only reason why someone would do this and delay in seeing gratification for rewards in the future is if you truly believe what Jesus sense and so that's the issue be. Loyal in the faith to what Christ is promising to us you know guess what happens if you spend your life being loyal to something other than Jesus Christ it ends in nothing. I like sports I like to talk about sports I'm going to also now show you how silly it is to like sports do we have any Chicago Cubs fans here maybe no one no Chicago Cubs fans here well who one anti Cubs fan the Cubs fans they won the worlds the Cubs won the World Series us last fall first time in was it one hundred eighty years I mean that's a long time and all those loyal Cubs fans those die hard Cubs fans for years have been rooting for the lovable losers they finally won the World Series and guess what they got.A couple happy emotions that's it that's all they got fans were not rewarded for the years of loyalty by their marriages becoming better well maybe for like a week some marriages got better for the gov fans anyone who had an incurable disease now because the Cubs won those fans they didn't magically get cured of the i didn't happen fans they didn't check their their online bank account the next day and all of a sudden there's a lot more money in there there are no rewards for being a Cub fan other than some really good emotions and there's nothing wrong with being a Cubs fan or being a sports fan but the thing is there's only one person that we can serve and be devoted to in this life where it will actually matter for eternity and that's Jesus Christ Oh I get what you me let me give you the third reason or third way that being loyal to Christ guides our lives and that is this it makes being dependent upon Christ essential.If you're going to be loyal to Christ that means that you need to be dependent upon him for his power to be at work in your life when you turn over your Bibles to one last passage and that's and John fifteen.John Chapter fifteen.Jesus. To His disciples and he's speaking a truth that applies to us as well and that is that Jesus Christ is the source of our power and our strength John fifteen verse one they will go down to four five and six are four and five so John fifteen verse one Jesus says I am the true vine and my father is the gardener so here is teaching us this illustration of everything in our life comes from the vine it was Jesus Christ for He says remain in me and I also remain in you know branch can bear fruit by itself it must remain in the vine neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me I am the vine you are the branches if you remain in me and I knew you will bear much fruit apart from me you can do nothing.Who here would like to see fruit in your life evidence of God I think all of us would and this is telling us that if we remain in Christ if we depend on him as a source of our power in our strength then it will result in fruit and whatever that fruit might be a might be healthier relationships not perfect relationships that's not going to exist but healthier relationships meaningful service how many of you want to do things in your life that you know really makes a difference in other people's lives if we remain in crisis that will take place will also give us a clear understanding of life's issues how many opinions are out there in the world to many right and she many people willing to share their opinions if you remain in crisis then all of those seem to kind of go away and life becomes a lot more clear if you remain loyal and faithful to Jesus Christ can you think of a time in your life when you truly gave control over situation over to Jesus Christ and you experience his power your life if you can think of a time like that you know what that does it takes our faith and it moves us from the head to the heart and. That's when we really start to become a lawyer to Jesus Christ not just because we know we're supposed to but because we've experienced something with him and that's what it means to be a real man or real child of God or someone who is fulfilling the greatest commandment. It's MORNING right now I want to stew participate in communion and so I have three gentlemen are going to help if you guys can join me down here.And. And as we do this what I want you to realize is being loyal to Jesus Christ is simply because Jesus Christ was first loyal to us. And so what we're about to do in taking the bread and the juice which represent the body in the blood of Jesus Christ is we are recognizing the Jesus Christ is not asking us to be loyal to him just because we should he went out of his way to show us just how loyal he was to us when we sinned he did not just let us go on our own. He sacrificed himself so that we could spend eternity with Him And so the smarting as we do this what I want you to do is just a couple things.I. Want you as we take the bread and we passed the bread around I want you to spend time thinking and praising God for the loyalty that he didn't just talk about but that he showed you through the death of his and self and as we pass out the juice in just a few minutes think about the loyalty that he says to you that he's going to come back and take us to be with Him forever and so his loyalty to us does not just end with his death it's just the beginning of a charity.So as we pass out the spread just take a few minutes to think about these things and as as you hold the bread in your hand I would like you to imagine that you are one of those original disciples when Jesus was celebrating the Passover meal and when he took the bread and he looked them in their eyes well. He is looking you in your eyes and he says this is my body.Which is broken for you.He's showing you just how loyal he spent time thanking him and praising him for that.The apostle Paul writes to us in Corinth he says for I received from the Lord but I also passed on to.The Lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed took bread and when he had given thanks he broke it and said This is my body which is for you do this remembrance.Dear Lord we thank you so much we can't thank you enough.For the loyalty that you've shown to us we were your idea you created us. And we fell into sin.And you redeemed us because of your commitment to each and every one of us and so Lord as we sit here this morning in this room.Thinking about your great love for us I pray that we will respond to your loyalty to us by being well to you thank you present Christ me in.The good news is loyalty didn't end just with his death and as we pass out the cup with the juice which represents the blood of Jesus Christ we are told that that is the cup that represents the new covenant the god has put his Holy Spirit in us. And that is a guarantee that he will come and take us to be with him forever so his loyalty doesn't end with his death it begins and so spend time as you take the juice and just spend a moment praying to God If you have not been as loyal to Jesus Christ and you need to make changes in your life maybe this is a great time to recommit yourself to being loyal not just thanking him for your solve ation but realizing that you need to put him first so take this opportunity to do just that.The passage of Scripture also says in the same way after supper he took the cup saying This cup is the new covenant in my blood do this whenever you drink it in remembrance of me for whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup you proclaim the Lord's death and tell he comes.This morning Lord be proclaiming. We proclaim that we are saved because of the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ and today we commit ourselves to being loyal. First and foremost you Lord I thank you that we have a church which we can come together and we can be an encouragement to each other and with this being man month old so really we're talking to everyone men and women about what it means to be responsible and aware of our responsibilities and engage but Lord today this is where you want it to reside in our hearts and that's what loyalty is about and so father as a realize that no one can serve two masters if there's someone here today who is has placed something on the throne of their heart. Help them to remove it into place you there because there is nothing in this life that will give us the joy in the pleasure for eternity other than serving you and so Lord I'm I'm thankful that we have a church that is going to teach and promote these trues not just myself but with everyone here all the teachers the men who are going to be preaching next week Lord we desire to see people become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ that is our goal and that is our desire so Lord strengthen us help us as we remain in you to be loyal to you we pray this in Christ almighty need any minute.Now May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ the love of God the Father in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all again.
Preacher: Josh WhiteWitness is almost like what teachers need in their classroom. They need to know what all the students are doing on on at all times it's the whole having eyes in the back your head that's what witnesses and my wife when we were dating I think we were dating at the time you told me what witnesses and men would you agree that women have better with it than men do yes they do men were kind of very simple creatures we can do one thing at a time we're usually not aware of our surroundings but that's a witness is being aware of your surroundings moms have witnessed in fact not only moms but parents have within this the first time in my life that I felt like I had with him this was when Caleb was born because all of a sudden I was aware of all the potential dangers that were in his environment right parents you know what that's like grandparent your kids around and you're worried not only about them but you know what's going on within twenty feet of them at any given time. Today as the men go out to the desert they better have with it miss out there with bullets flying everywhere right they need you know what's going on around them well today we're going to be talking a little bit about within this but specially from a biblical perspective and that is this idea that we know what is going on in the world around us and we're able to be actively engaged in that while this is Man Month and we are talking about what it means to be a real man and the word a real is an acronym and so last week we looked at what the letter R. stands for which is responsible a real man is responsible he will do the things that God has given him to do and we looked at the parable of the unfaithful steward in Luke Chapter sixteen and for those of you who were here last week and you remember that story the unfaithful steward he was employed by his master but he wasn't actually doing what his master wanted him to do and so his master came back and said you need to give an account of your dealings with all my possessions. Because basically you're getting fired Fortunately he became wise after that and he was able to do what he was supposed to do but what I wanted you guys to do last week and especially this week in this whole month man this is specifically for you but this is obviously for everyone but what are your responsibilities that God has given you and when we talked about that I listed three different areas or realms that we're supposed to be focusing on the responsibilities that God has given to us and those are our relationships our relationship with society and then also our role within the Body of Christ and so men and everyone here what are the relationships that you have in your life today that are the most important. That God wants you be putting extra effort into those and if you're married obviously it's your spouse it would obviously be maybe your parents or your children some of the family and friends that are closest to you so what are the responsibilities that you have in terms of the relationships the people that God is in trusted you to look after and to nurture and to build up and then also what is your role in society most everyone here I'm looking around most of you probably have a job and so when you go to your job what is your responsibility as a child of God with your boss and with your fellow employees or if you're a student what is your responsibility with your teacher and your classmates so all of us have a role in society and hopefully people will be able to look at us and how we're living our lives and say now that this person they are a believer in Jesus Christ and they live differently than me that is a responsibility that God has given to us and then also within the Body of Christ if you've placed your faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior he's gifted you to serve within the body of believers and that's a responsibility God has given to you and so throughout this month as we're talking about being a real may or woman. Being real means you are first and foremost you are responsible with what God has given to you Well today we're going to talk about the next two letters in our acronym the letters each day. And today we're going to look at another parable actually come in parables Well let me give you what the letter in a stands for and we're going to do both of those today because I'm only preaching for three weeks and so I need to do two and one and these are actually very very much they go hand in hand but the letter Estampes for in gauge and A stands for aware and by that what I mean is this a real man is responsible. Specifically it means that he is constantly aware. Of his responsibilities and using gaged in that he's actively doing what God has given him to do and so today as we're going through this sermon and this entire month guys I hope that you're really thinking about what is God intrusted to you into your life he's given you some kind of responsibility are you always aware of those things and are you actively engaged in them or have you sort of kind of checked off checked out and you're kind of doing your own thing looking for your own pleasure Well let's look at one of our first parables today and we're going to go back to the book of Luke but we're going to go to Luke Chapter twelve.So Luke Chapter twelve.Luke Chapter twelve and we'll begin verse thirty five. And we're going to look at several passages of scripture today and hopefully what you're going to do Assia a reoccurring pattern.Throughout the parables we're seeing something talked about time and time and time again so Luke Chapter twelve versus beginning in verse thirty five and see if you can notice this idea of being aware and actively engaged in your responsibilities being taught to us Luke twelve thirty five it says.Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning and be like men. Who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks less are those servants who the master finds awake when he comes Truly I say to you he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table and he will come and serve them if he comes in the second watch or in the third and finds them awake Blessed are those servants but know this that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming he would not have left his house to be broken into you also must be ready for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect so we go through this parable and we think OK this is talking about the Second Coming of Christ and we're not looking forward to that specifically there's something in front of that that's going to happen it's called the Rapture we're Christ will come back and everyone within the Body of Christ will be caught up and we will be with the Lord forever and so you think well maybe that's not applying to me well the application definitely applies to all of us because there is a time in which Jesus will come back and our opportunity to be faithful with the responsibilities that God has given to us will be done and we will be judged and so this applies directly to us as well the application does and it's interesting is Jesus talking about this Peter asked the question that everyone is probably thinking about how many of you I have we have three kids and one will like to ask this question if we're giving instruction they're saying my spouse me paying attention to this or not is this for me or is this for somebody else well Jesus speaking of Peter is I am I supposed to be paying attention this who are you talking to and so this is this is the question that Peter asked verse forty one. Peter said Lord are you telling this parable for us or for all I want to know him so as to be paying attention to this verse forty two in the Lord said Who then is the faithful and wise manager who his master will set over his household to give them their portion of food at the proper time lesson. Servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes Truly I say to you he will send him over all of us possessions but if that servant says to himself My master is delayed in coming and begins to beat the male and female servants and to eat and to drink and get drunk the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and in an hour he does not know and he will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful and that servant who knew his master's well but did not get ready or act according to His will will receive a severe beating but the one who did not know and did what was deserving a beating or receive a light beating everyone to whom much was given of him much will be required in from Him to whom they entrusted much they will demand the more you know that last phrase that last sentence is probably one of the most quoted Bible passages in the world and many people when they're quoting that they don't even know they are quoting the words of Christ to whom much is given much is expected and this is what Jesus teaching us this is a fact about our life now in these parables Hopefully you're seeing this pattern and in the couple passages we're going to read from Paul but there are three words or or concepts and phrases that we see happening over and over and over again let me give you those three words are these these three concepts The first is that you and I are stewards or managers and one God is given to us the Greek word in all of these passages is O'Connell minus our economy us now means that God doesn't trust to do us certain things and we're supposed to handle them and deal with them in the way that God wants us to the second is that there's going to be judgment Christ will come back and he will demand an accounting for our responsibility of the steward that the possessions that he's given to us and the third thing is what we're going to be based the judgment is going to based on our faith fullness in doing it. And so in this parable and the other parables we see over and over and over again there is a steward there's a judgment and the judgment is based on that person's faithfulness. The very first sermon ever preached in college when I was going through homiletics class was on first Corinthians four two it's on your sermon on the front cover of your bulletin and I'm very grateful that this this verse says what it does because it says moreover it is required of a steward that they be found faithful.I'm so very glad and you should be too that it doesn't say that is required of stewards which is all of us that we be found successful. How many of you are afraid of doing something because you figure that you can't be successful at it and most of us are right off I can't do a good job with this I'm not even going to try but that's not what God is going to judge and base his judgment on us for it's on our faithful list and so all God is wanting us to do is to be faithful with the responsibilities that he's given to us and it's interesting that in so many of Jesus' parables they deal with this master returning and finding either his servants being one of two things faithful and consistent in a responsible way God is given to them or they're not you know men for those of you who are going to go to work tomorrow morning looks like most of you probably well if your boss said to you in three months you're going to a performance evaluation and at the end of those three months you're either going to get a promotion and a big raise or I'm going to fire you. With the next three months of your employment look a little differently probably still right because you knew something was going to take place why how much different what our lives to be if we knew when Jesus was going to come back and we have the opportunity for rewards when we stand we meet him there's another. Airable I want you to look at our other passage notes and Matthew twenty four.Matthew twenty four beginning in verse thirty six.Matthew twenty four.Beginning in verse thirty six and as we read this first portion especially. Try to determine whether people were being aware and engaged in what God wanted them to do or not. Matthew twenty four beginning verse thirty six it says but concerning that day and hour no one knows not even the angels of heaven nor the Son but only the father this is this is dealing with Christ returning for sort of something for as were the days of Noah so will be the coming of the Son of man for as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking marrying and given in marriage until the day when Noah entered the ark and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away so will be the coming of the son of mayor.During that generation of men on earth were they aware and engaged or were they unaware only one person had with it Mr now was no one he was aware of what God was calling him to do what I want to do is I want us to look at a few different passages and I want us to look at the two main reasons why it is critical for us as guys to be aware and engage in our responsibilities and I'm going to relate this to you by using an illustration from softball OK so is man month thoughtful might not be the manliest of sports but you know that's something that we play and our Church in and I'm one of the pictures on our softball team and I enjoy pitching and for those of you who you know honestly I'll be completely honest if a lot more fun to play softball than it is to watch it because when you're watching action you know there's a lot of activity a lot of an activity and then maybe there is activity and then maybe the short activity so there's a lot of waiting in the certain amount of time where there's something that could happen now so I like to pitch because I'm I'm always involved now. As a pitcher I have one main responsibility right. Rick's laughing at me because he's a pitcher too and the main thing you're supposed to do as a pitcher is take the ball and just chuck it you know just just throw it and hopefully throw it somewhere it's going to be a strike it's going to land on the mat and whether the person hits it or not you know that's I guess up to them now would it be OK for me as a pitcher if I get out there on the mound and I'm doing my responsibility I take the ball and as soon as it leaves my fingers in my done. Could I you know the ball is my fingers can I grab my phone out of my pocket and check my email and check Twitter accounts or could I do that I mean technically I probably could but I would not be wise to do that you know why because the ball might come right back out me in a real hurry and that's happened from time to time I need to be aware and engage in what's going to take place because two things can possibly happen one is the ball might come right back at me and the older I get there's this disconnect between what I'm seeing and what my limbs are able to do. Because he knows that the ball starts coming actually and you're thinking oh here it comes here it comes with OK you arms move do something and so there's two things two reasons why I need to be paying attention to what's going on one is the obvious so I don't get hit it's not fun to be hit with a softball coming actually what a high so high rate of speed it's also not fun to get hit by your teammates either. That's another story but the second reason is because of the ball comes out me not only do I not want to get hurt but I might have an opportunity to make a play and so when I pitch the ball I'm supposed to be thinking OK is there a runner on first second third where are they if I get the ball where am I going to throw it and so that's why I'm supposed to be aware and engaged so using that kind of as an example why is it so important to God that you and. I stay aware and engaged in our responsibilities and I think one of the reasons is because guys in particular I think guys tend to do this. All of us can but guys in particular they can fall into this minimum requirement mentality where we ask ourselves what is the minimum thing that I can do to avoid getting in trouble. What is the least that I'm supposed to do what is the least expected of me so that my boss isn't fiery or what is the least that I can do so that my wife that isn't upset with me or what is the least that I can do so that I'm staying on God's good side we can really fall into that mindset were all we're trying to do is the bare minimum so we're like not in the doghouse with other people and with God you know the unfaithful servant in Luke sixteen he couldn't even do that he was unfaithful not just doing the minimum and this is a problem with many believers we view life this way what is the least that I can do so that I'm kind of on the bell curve I'm on the right side and I'm doing better than least half the people on earth why I want to look at a few passages where we are told to be aware and engaged and I want you to do a little audience participation OK I want you to look at these passages and I want you to tell me what reason is given for us to stay aware and engage is that more of an often savories and or a defense of reason and by that I mean are we told to be aware and engage because there is the potential for danger or the possibility of an opportunity for us to get involved OK so let's go through these four passages and I have them written in your sermon notes so you kind of anticipate those acts Chapter twenty is the first one first passage Acts twenty beginning in verse thirty.So as this is a an encouragement to us because there is the possibility of danger or an opportunity.Acts twenty beginning in verse thirty so verses thirty and thirty one. Paul is writing to the elders in the church of F.S.S. and he says to them.X. twenty thirty and from your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things to draw away the disciples after them therefore be alert remembering that for three years I did not see Snyder day to admonish everyone with tears because this more about often thirty Francis more about the dangers that are out there opportunities it's more about the dangers right we're supposed to be aware Now if someone were to come and tell me or the elders of our church in October of two thousand and seventeen someone is going to come into the church and they're going to spread a heresy that is going to divide the church cut it in half and leave a lot of people into deception do you think the elders of this church would be very aware and diligent and alert come October of two thousand and seventy and it's not going to happen you know like what's going to be what's going to take place we will be very aware of what's going on right but the truth is that any time a thought can come into our minds someone can make a comment and we can be carried away by some thought or deceptive thinking and that's where we're supposed to be aware and alert in what's going on around us right second second examples and first Peter five.So turn over to first Peter chapter five.First Peter chapter five says.Be sober minded Be watchful your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour Now this was pretty obvious is this more about opportunities or the potential of danger this is obviously about danger if you and I were told that in a specific time in the future a temptation is going to cross our paths and if we fall into that temptation it could really destroy our life would you be very aware of that temptation. Probably so. But the thing is we don't know when those things are going to happen and the one who is aware and engaged in what's going on in the world is our adversary of the devil and so if we are going to be prepared for whatever he presents to us is temptation we need to be aware and engage write another one first Peter let's stay in first Peter chapter one vs thirteen.Read a couple verses there first Peter chapter one beginning in verse thirteen. It says therefore preparing your minds for action and being sober minded set your hope fully on the grace that we brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ as a radiant children do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance but as he who called you is holy you also be holy in all your conduct since it is written you shall be holy for I am holy So which one you think it is this kind of a trick question I think maybe in some way it's kind of both if you look at the first portion of their IT SAYS therefore preparing your minds for action. This is telling us that there are things that are out there for us to getting gaijin that's what we're supposed to be aware and engage in last one is over anything chapter six.It's your turn over to chapter six.Beginning in verse seventeen. And this is the passage which is teaching us about the armor of God and the armor of God is something that we're supposed to put on for both often seven defensive purposes so that we can defend ourselves and defend our faith but then also make use of the opportunities God has given us if he's in chapter six beginning of or seventeen it says.And take the helmet of salvation in the sort of the Spirit which is the Word of God praying at all times in the spear. With all prayer and supplication to that and keep alert with all perseverance making supplication for all the saints and also for me that my that were the words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel I think in this passage Paul is warning them to stay alerting Gage because Paul has all these ministry opportunities and he's wanting them to be aware of them as well you know you've probably heard the saying you will find what you're looking for if that's very true isn't it you know anyone who is an entrepreneur that they can think they can make money in any given opportunity and look at you Mike if you had an.Entrepreneur is they can find some way to make money out of something they see what they're looking for and God is telling us if you are active aware and engage in your faith you will find opportunities. To put your faith into practice and so as we're looking at these passages you see these two reasons being presented to us these are the reasons why response to say aware and engaged because there's danger out there and because there's opportunities Well I want to look at one last passage and it's in first Chronicles chapter twelve.It's not very often that we go to Chronicles not Corinthians Chronicle solicitor the Old Testament first Chronicles chapter twelve.And I'm going to tell you why we're looking at this passage.This week as I was preparing for this message sometimes I'll do word searches in the Bible and sometimes a passage might stand out and I think while this really pertains to what I'm going to be preaching about and they came across this passage I had seen it before but this week for some reason it really sort out to me and what I want to do is I want to read this because this is one of those passages if we just kind of understand the significance of what is being said about these individuals this is this is one of those passages that should inspire us and say I want to live my life in such a way. That this could be said about me. Maybe some of you think those thoughts and you think you know what what I want people to say about me at my funeral and maybe live your life in that way will this is something that all of us should really long to have people say about us so here in first Chronicles Chapter twelve what is happening is this back in chapter ten King Saul had died he died in battle and so Chronicles its Chronicle ng the passing of the kingdom from solve to King David and so in chapter ten we learn King Saul died in Chapter eleven it's talking about the transition period but then we get into chapter twelve and it kind of goes back in time and it talks about some of the men of Israel who are seeing what's going on and they leave Saul and they join David because they had with fitness so they were aware and engage in what God was doing and so that's what Chapter twelve is about so we're going to read a couple of these verses so you kind of see what Chapter twelve is about they will get to the one I want you to look at. What verse one of chapter twelve so these are the men who came to David at Zouk leg while he was banished from the presence of Sol son of Kish they were among the warriors who had helped him battle and then it talks about all these people that left Saul and went over to David in the Go down to verse eight this is this is the one I want to look at but I like this one verse eight says some of Gad I defected to David had a stronghold in the wilderness they were brave warriors reading for battle unable to handle the shield and spear their faces were the faces of lions and they were a swift is because the elves in the mountains and then you go down to verse twenty three. And it talks about even more people who join David verse twenty three it says these are the number of the men armed for battle who came to David at Hebron to turn sols Kingdom over to him as the Lord said understand the Lord had said the kingdom is going to date. Even It's leaving solved and then in verse thirty two we read of this of skewer group of people only two hundred of them will listen to what it says about these men were thirty two. From Issachar men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do two hundred chiefs with all their relatives under their command.Is there anything better that could be said about a person there's a lot of good things that could be said about a person but look at this as men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do they were actively aware and engaged in what God was doing in the nation of Israel and they said we know what's going on here and because we know what God is doing we know what we're supposed to do and so they joined King David and I look at that I think what an amazing testimony this is for the men of Issachar this is how we should live so that people would say something about us like that the people in your life when they say that you have an awareness of what God is doing in the world or are you so wrapped up in your own interests and your own hobbies that you're kind of clueless to what's going on around you this is what it means to be a real man. That you know the responsibilities that God has given you and that you are actively aware and engaged in them.How many of you truly believe.That. God's word is accurate and true anyone here believe that you believe this I do too and if this is true.Jesus Christ is coming back.And he will judge us not our sins because he paid for those but he will judges have to be received in he will reward us for Arthur. A fullness. And a real man and a real true child of God they are actively aware and engage in those responsibilities that God has given to us and so are you doing that you know this month this is kind of your focusing on and what I'd like to encourage anyone here if you're here this morning you're thinking you know what I'm just not I'm just wrapped up in these things that probably don't matter if there's something in your life that is taking up time in precious resources and energy away from your true responsibilities what are you going to do about that.Maybe you need to stop doing certain things and I'm not even talking about things that are sinful things that are preventing you from paying attention to your responsibilities in Hebrews twelve one of my fair passages it says in verse one therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses let us lay aside every weight in the sin which clings so closely and let us run with endurance the race that is marked before us we're in a race or in a battle God is clearly told us what to do and so if there's something in your life that's weighing you down lay it aside. That it's what real men do. So let's turn to the Lord and ask that he give us the wisdom and the strength to do just that spring.Dear Lord we we see your wisdom in your word and we thank you so much Lord you have given us the test that's going to happen to the end of time we will stand before you and not only will are facing you be judged by that if we have placed our face in you it your death and resurrection we know that your sin our sins are forgiven and the death of Jesus the blood covers us and so we will be in your presence forever but there's more to the Christian life and more to our eternal existence than just that and over and over and over again Lord in your word you tell us this time and time again. That we have an opportunity in this life to be faithful to live out our faith and be responsible with things that you have given to us so Lord It's my prayer for all of us not just the men here but that all of us will spend some time seriously considering the responsibilities that you have been trusted to us as your stewards during this life. Some of those responsibilities that go with us from birth to the grave some of them come into our lives for just a short amount of time but Lord I pray that our minds will be focused intently on those responsibilities and that we will be aware of them and actively engaged in them so that we can take take advantage of these opportunities and avoid the dangers that come with them so Lord our desire a grace by which are to Phoenix's to develop committed followers of Jesus Christ and Lord that's why we're looking at these passages so Lord give us the wisdom in the strength and the courage to do whatever is necessary to get our attention to where it should be we previously in Christ name Amen.
Preacher: Josh WhiteI'm glad the breakfast burritos made their way up here or were made up here but you know Dan A real man could have made coffee without any power.Just getting I'm sure there's a way anyway.Yeah I mean either I learned many valuable lessons when I was in high school I'm sure you did as well but one very valuable lesson I learned was Be careful who you are for. I worked in a restaurant called zips and I was doing a good job and so my boss promoted me to supervisor which means I had a couple extra responsibilities and and I had this really good friend in high school as a name is Tony Dolly kind of a fun last name I was like saying by Dolly and Tony Baaja Dolly he was a snowboarder and we were good friends I mean I think he was complaining that he didn't have enough money to buy a snowboarding you Gary and equipment and so I said Hey why don't you come work at zips and so I talked to my manager I said hey I have a friend he's a great guy can can he start working exists as well and my manager says well if you think that he'll be a good employee go ahead and so we hired him on and guess what he was not a good employee he was so frustrated because whenever his shift started he thought that that was like a suggested time to arrive and so he would always come late in and some of it I think he pretty much showed up for every shift he may have missed one or two and he was it was a while ago I can't remember all the details but I also remember while we were working I think he felt like that was his time to go talk to all the girls you know it's like Tony you have a job to sit here and in do your job and it was getting very frustrating and he was not a good worker and so my boss said OK Josh you're the supervisor you're going to do one of two things your friend Tony you're either going to have to fire him or you're going to have to give him a warning and you've got to be kidding me he's my friend I'm going to fire my friend and so I thought you know I can't do that so I said Tony you know the boss gave me a choice I can either fire. Right now or if you're going to have a warning you have to you have to work at work and you have to show up on time and I was really nervous you know how's he going to respond to this and it will Fortunately after I talked to him he even admitted you know what I've been a slacker I haven't been doing my job and so for the next few months he didn't work there for a long time but for the next few months he was he months he really worked hard and I was really glad that it worked out that way but it made me think you have to really be careful if you're going to recommend someone for something right have you ever recommended someone for a job and it made you look bad because they were Tony budget dolling just leave that last name with me bhaji Daal you'll like it to bodge is kind of rolls off the tongue first service they didn't get that but you'll get that.I had something just like the exact opposite happened to me in college I worked at I hop Yes I served pancakes all through college and I got my roommate Corey her a job there and I got another guy John Lauder who's a pastor in Michigan he got a job and by the time we all graduated we graduated pretty much the same time and when we left I remember telling the owner I said you know thanks for giving us a job and he says oh no thank you if there's any students from Grace Bible college you need a job you just send them here and I will hire them on the spot and so just based on our example you know he gave him a really good impression of the work ethic hopefully that some of the students from Grace Bible College were how well why does an employer look for in an employee you know just right now for a minute I want you to imagine that you are either the owner of your own company and some of you are or you are a manager and you are you're supposed to hire different people what are some of the things are the qualities of the traits that you're looking for someone that you going to hire and obviously it depends on what you do right you might work for a company or have a company where someone needs a certain education or degree or certification but if all things were equal and you had five or ten people sitting in front of you and they all were qualified and certified to work for you. Would you pick a person who has proven themselves to be responsible or you pick someone who you're constantly going to have to babysit and manage and remind them how to do their job so it's kind of obvious right you would pick someone who is responsible because that is a great quality for someone to have in the workforce Well today is the first day of Man Month and this month we're going to talk about what it means to be a real man and a real man doesn't make coffee in the pot with power without power but we're going to talk about what a real man does and I want to give you kind of the history of man month the reason why we're doing Man Month is to really promote and encourage godly male leadership in the church in the home and really give some guys you know I guess maybe kind of a boost you know a while ago probably seven or eight years ago I read a book called Why Men hate going to church and remember seeing it on the shelf and boy that's a that's an interesting title I got me I bought the book so I read the book and it was really interesting it talked about it and this is not all men but some men have this perception of some churches again not all churches but some men will look at the church and think you know church is kind of it's boring everyone is so passive in church they're always talking about loving and sharing and all these things and and some men might even look at some churches again not all churches and think that church is too feminine because in the heart of a guy he wants a challenge she wants some kind of an adventure and so I read the book and I thought you know for one month let's let's do that let's really challenge men to engage in the battle that we have all around us and so this year we're going to have a theme or we have a theme every year and this theme is simply going to be this for men to live out our calling in life to be real men and ladies even though you're here today applies to you too but I'm going to emphasize this to the men and real is an acronym. OK And so today we're going to talk about the letter R. I'll tell you what that is in just a minute next week we'll look at what the letters stand for and then the third week we'll look at the letter L. and in the fourth week the last week in March guys are going to be preaching in the first Sunday in April the guys are going to switch services and then we'll have our our chili competition cook off and only the mailing list of men will enter that So if you're a manly man you can you can enter that but today we're going to begin with the letter R. in a real and that stands for responsible if you haven't picked up on that yet it's pretty obvious but our stands for responsible so I want you to turn your Bibles to Luke Chapter sixteen.We're going to take a look at a parable today and there's a couple more parables that we might be looking at over the course of Man Month. Luke Chapter sixteen but before we get into Luke Chapter Sixteen going to ask you a question and I asked a couple guys this question yesterday and they were unable to answer this but what is the difference between the Cleveland Browns and the New England Patriots.Fifteen wins that's right one she wins and one team constantly loses obviously the team from Ohio is constantly losing Adam Scully didn't like that in the first service but he's not here so I can really make fun of them now but the Cleveland Browns and the New England Patriots they draft the same people they have access to the same people but why is one franchise so successful and one is not because they.This this can go downhill really fast are.Well with the New England Patriots they have a motto their team is known for certain before I give you that one some of you might know the Raiders the Oakland Raiders they have a they have a motto their motto is just win baby you probably heard that before if you're a Raider you just want to win the New England Patriots Their motto is Do. Do your job if you hear any of the Patriots players interviewed they're always talking about how their coach Bill Belichick is saying do your job in other words the often from the defense has so many different players and he coaches them to know what their specific assignment is in any given play and don't worry about what the quarterback is doing and don't worry about what the running back is supposed to do know your job and do your job to the best of your ability because of you're doing your job to the best of your ability and your teammates are doing their job to the best of their ability guess we're going to happen we're going to win a lot of games and guess what they do unfortunately for us living in Arizona but you know that idea of doing your job I don't know if Bill Bell a check and Robert Kraft are Christians but they didn't come up with that idea it's right here this idea of us knowing and doing our job and being responsible is found in God's word and that's what we're going to be looking at during the month of March you know when we look and understand our relationship with God God has a calling on our life has called us to certain things and the two most important callings in our life first is that God has called us to be his child he has called us to be sons and daughters of God and we read about that call in First Corinthians Chapter one Verse two although I had read this for you but it says in First Corinthians one two to the Church of God that is in Corinth to those sanctified in Christ Jesus called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ both their Lord and ours so if you're here today and you place your lord your face in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you have been called to be God's son or his daughter that's the most important calling in your life and within that call There's also another call and that is a call to service you're not called to just enjoy being called a son or daughter of God But there's a role. All that God has given you and if he says to ten it says For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God has prepared before hand that we should walk in them and so when we say that we're supposed to be real men it means that you have a clear picture in your mind of your responsibilities now before we read in Luke Chapter sixteen what I want everyone here to do men and women because this applies to everyone as I want you to take just a moment especially for the rest of this month but I want you to think about what specific responsibilities God has given to you because everyone in this room has responsibilities what responsibilities as God given to you to manage so that you are held accountable to Him for those during your life and they kind of focus on three different areas of your life I'll give those to you right now what kind of responsibilities do you have in terms of the relationships that you have in terms with how you deal with and present yourself to society and then also within the Body of Christ so think just for a moment what responsibilities do you have in terms of your relationships. If you're married to guess what your spouse is a great responsibility that God has given you to manage using those biblical words but to really focus on that relationship if you have parents that are still living what is your responsibility to your parents it doesn't save for accident by accident on or your father and mother all right that's in there for a reason and if you have children what kind of responsibility do you have to your children or your siblings and so we have lots of relationships in our life and we are to know what God's word says about those relationships and be responsible to to act the way that God wants us to and what about your role in society everyone here probably at some point during your week gets out of the house and you go to the grocery store or you have a job and so what kind of a role do you have in society you know God calls us his ambassadors I mean. As we go out in our daily lives we're representing God to the world around us and that is that is a very serious responsibility we have so what kind of responsibility do you have to the world around you and then also what kind of responsibility do you have here to the Body of Christ because God has given you a gift or an ability to be used to build up Christ's body and so I want you to to seriously and specifically think about those responsibilities because sometimes those responsibilities changes we go through different seasons in our life and some responsibilities stay the same throughout our entire life but everyone in this room right now has a responsibility or responsibilities that God has given to you and so as we're looking at this and as we're trying to think about what it means to be a real man or real child of God I want you to think and apply these things to those relationships OK Alright let's begin reading Luke Chapter sixteen.Luke sixteen beginning in verse one. Says Jesus told His disciples There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions so he called them in and asked him what is this I hear about you give an account of your management because you cannot be a manager any longer.Now for those of you who have read other passages of Scripture especially the Gospels there's a lot of parables and a lot of them are very very similar and a lot of these parables go something like this there is someone who is a master or an owner and there is someone who is a manager to that master owner and there is this accounting that takes place between them and this is really talking about our relationship with God God owns everything and he at different times in our life gives us responsibilities and there will come a time especially at the end of our lives where we will be held accountable for what we did with God's possessions but then also in this life sometimes there is a judgment that takes place in either there is a reward or loss or something like that and so we see that many times and that is something that will take place in our in our our lifetime first. Three So the manager said to himself What shall I do now my master is taking away my job I'm not strong enough to dig and I'm ashamed to beg I know what I'll do so that when I lose my job here people will welcome me into their houses so we called each of his masters debtors and he asked the first how much you owe my master nine hundred gallons of all of oil he replied the manager told him Take your bill sit down quickly and make it four hundred fifty then he asked the second how much do you owe me a thousand bushels of wheat I replied You told him Take your bill and make it eight hundred. You know it's interesting you are reverse three and the only thought that went through this manager's mind was that he could either dig ditches or beg it must've been a really bad economy at that time also notice his response when the manager said you're about to lose your job what did he do he started working you know why didn't he do that before so something happened he got the pink slip and all of a sudden the light went off wait a second I need to get to work and that's exactly what he did and notice the master's response to the manager getting to work verses eight the master commended. The dishonest manager command means to praise him the master commended this honest manager because he had acted shrewdly some years translations of my read wives or wisely for the people of the world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light I tell you use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves so that when it is gone you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much so if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth who will trust you with true riches and if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property who will give you property of your own no one can serve two masters you. Do you will hate the one and love the other or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other you cannot serve both God and money. So this is a very interesting parable of very similar to many others that we find in the Gospels and there are many directions that we can go but what I want to do is I want to use this is an example to teach us the lesson of why it's important for us to be responsible in this life and so I'm going to give you three reasons why it's important to be responsible and the first reason is this because being responsible leads to wisdom when you are responsible when you do the things that God tells you to do it works wisdom is putting knowledge into practice word works look at verse eight says the master commended the dishonest manager because he acted shrewdly or wisely but the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of light you know when the manager was called in by the owner and he was given this this wake up call and he realized that he wasn't being responsible he became responsible and the master said that his actions were wise and so when we practice what God tells us to in this life we are wise now how many of you have made unwise choices and you learn from them when you became wise Consequently you know we made we made mistakes all the time.Some mistakes we don't want to make some mistakes are really small like I made a mistake just this last week yesterday we had the I want to Grand Prix you know some of you were here and we had a big race track right over here and there were kids and there were trophies and we had a great time and my daughter asked me to make her car for her where you say she was supposed to make it but you know that that's how it goes and so I and I may I cut it so it's almost like a big watermelon wedge and I get it already and she painted it looks all pretty and really nice and I put the wheels on it and in the past I'd put a little bit of glue so that the wheels don't fall off and I must have used a different glue. Before because I put some gorilla glue on the wheels and Gorilla Glue for those of you don't know a gorilla glue does their bones and so the foam found its way into the wheels.But we already journey very well on jaggies car and that old boy there is a great lesson to learn don't use Gorilla Glue on a pinewood derby car so that they had that experience cost me something it cost me five dollars and we had to buy another box or another car so that wasn't that big of a deal but there are some mistakes in this life that you don't want to learn the hard way you want to get them right the very first time because if you make a mistake it could potentially ruin your life and the lives of those around you want you to turn over your Bibles to Matthew seven.Matthew seven talks about being wise and putting God's word into practice.Because if we don't the consequences might be a lot more than we would like to admit Matthew chapter seven.If you've never read this before I'm sure you've at least heard the saying Matthew seven twenty four. It says Jesus speaking and he says everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock and the rain fell in the floods came on the winds blew and beat on that house but it did not fall because it had been founded on that rock and everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built a house on the same man and the rain fell in the floods came when the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell and great was the fall of it is the man who built his house on the saying in this parable lost everything and they don't then that homeowners insurance back there where they could just claim this they lost everything and if in this life we don't put God's words into practice we we can really do some serious damage. And so men where do you get your advice from you get it from your body used to get it from movies or do you go to God's word and are you wise enough to take God's word and put this in practice so that you build your life and your house on the solid rock of God's word so the first reason why it's important for us to be a real man a responsible is because it leads to wisdom another reason why it's important for us to be a real man is to be responsible for this reason because being responsible makes us useful. When we're responsible we are useful to the master now about fourteen years ago right when Caleb was being born I had kind of a dream job of mine when I was I think in ninety three there was career day in school and Danny Bushay she brought her dad who was a firefighter and he got there and I don't remember what he said but all I said was i work one day and then I get two days off and I thought I want to do that sounds really cool so I was thinking about becoming a firefighter and I felt like I was supposed to want to ministry so I followed that but when I was living in Granville Michigan I live really close to the fire department just a couple blocks away and they had a couple people that were full time and then everyone else was on call and so my next door neighbor said yeah you should look into that you know you live close and you're a young guy you could do this and so they hired me on they put me through training and I was thinking this is great I can be both I can be a firefighter and I can be a pastor of the world life is great but as I was going through the training they gave me a pager and every time that there was a call they would go off and I would say everyone get to the station they didn't say that they you know had some kind of a code and you get to the station and I remember the first time it went off it was a Wednesday like three four o'clock in the afternoon and that night I was going to go home have dinner and then come back because we had Coach Mike Rice which is kind of like a wanna And we had a men's Bible study that night and so I'm sitting there at church and all of a sudden goes off and like here we go I'm going to go on my first. Call and then I thought wait a second I can't go and I go then I probably won't be back in time for church so I didn't go and I went I ended up going on a couple of the calls but over and over and over again I get the call and I realized if I went I would not be able to go to my main responsibility which was was church business and so I got to the point where I realized for the Granville fire department they need people who are dependable and available and I said you know what I'm just not my life is not set up that way and so I'm not useful to you so I resigned so that they could find someone who was you know when it comes to us being men sometimes we feel our lives so full of things that take us away from our main responsibilities.And we're not available to the master to do whatever he's asking us to do there's a passage in second Timothy I'd like you to look at.Second term of the Chapter two talks about what we need to do to be useful to our Master. So that when called upon we are ready to go second term of the chapter two.Second to the chapter two verse twenty.Verses twenty twenty one it says this.Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay and some for honorable and some for dishonorable Therefore if anyone cleanses him self from what is dishonorable he will be a vessel for honorable use set apart as holy and useful to the master of the house ready for every good work so men are you ready if your master needs you for something are you ready and are you available and the two ways that we do that is we make sure that we're holy meaning that our life is free from all the sin in the corruption in the addictions that really prevent us from being used by him but more and more. So importantly is are you available or have you filled your life soul filled full of different activities that are only for your pleasure and so if someone says hey I need this I need help in my life so I just I can't I'm too busy living my life for myself so a person who is responsible make sure that they are available to God first hand look at verse ten again and Luke. In our parable Luke ten says Luke sixteen ten says whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much in a lover is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much in other words if we are ignoring the responsibilities that God has given to us you're not being the real man that God wants you to be and if you ever noticed in life usually as you get older you get more responsibility and sometimes that's good a lot of times young men and even women they want those promotions at work and that's that's good and that's that some something that's really wonderful and as you prove yourself usually more responsibilities are given but what the Bible is teaching us this is a truth that we need to really understand is God is watching how we handle his possessions in this life because there is something after this life where he is going to give us more responsibilities if we have proven ourselves faithful in this life and that leads us to our third reason why we're supposed to be responsible which is this being responsible prepares us for our next job.For our next job and I'm not talking about in this life I'm talking about in the life to come look at verse eleven look sixteen eleven it says so if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth who will trust you with true riches and if you have not been trustworthy was someone else's property who will give you property of your own or so guys I know most of us you want that. Emotion you want that big break in and if you're not being responsible you're probably not going to get it but here in this Bible passage it tells us that there is so much more for us in the next life and if we are living responsible in this life we stand before God at the Bema Seat we can be rewarded with that I want you to turn over to Second Corinthians five verse nine and ten. One of the passages that talk about the Judgment Seat of Christ. And if you're hearing you're a believer if you place your faith in Jesus Christ the good news is your sins will never be held against you Jesus paid for all of those but you will stand before the Bema Seat of Christ and that's where your responsibility in this life will either be rewarded or punished second Corinthians five verses nine and ten says.So whether we are at home or away we make it our aim to please Him for we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body whether good or bad so what we see here in this parable and a lot of the other parables is a description of the Judgment Seat of Christ during this lifetime God has given us all responsibilities and that is your relationships that is the gifts and abilities that God has given you to serve within the Body of Christ that saving your money in your finances all of those things and when you stand before the Lord if you've been responsible with the little He's intrusted to you in this life guess what you're going to have something more in the life to come and what that isn't and how that's going to work out we don't know because obviously we're not there yet but the Bible is clear if you're responsible with a little They got is given you in this life he will reward you with more and so that's why it's so important for us to be responsible because it's preparing us for the next life you know.We get so wrapped up in all these silly things I guess in this life and I want you all to realize that you will not be judged at the bema seat for how well or. Surely any president of the United States is done and so if you are obsessed with politics you know what ultimately you're not responsible for that and you will not be held responsible and judge for how well your favorite sports team did in this life and you will not be held responsible or judged for how many trophies that you receive from all your hobbies and God wants us to enjoy life and that's fine if we have these other interests but don't lose sight of the responsibilities that God has given to us and for which you can hear him say hopefully well done you have been faithful in a few things let me give you more things that you can handle so men what are you responsible for when you stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ how is he going to judge determine whether you are faithful I want you to seriously consider that one of those relationships that you have in your life right now that you have to invest in spouse parents siblings children friends and family members take those seriously because those do matter what about your relationship with the world around you. Do people know that you're a believer in Jesus Christ or have you transform and if you conform to the pattern of this world you think about that and take that seriously and then also here within the Body of Christ are you using the gifts that God has given you because you will be judged for those and and the nice thing is that should be something that we look forward to because if we are faithful with the things that God has given to us he will say well done in first Peter for all read this as one of the last passages that will read first Peter for beginning in verse ten it says as each of us received a gift use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's very Grace Whoever speaks as one who speaks oracles of God whoever serves as one who serves by the strength of God supplies in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ so this is kind of teaching us and I guess the question. And we all have to answer for ourselves is Whose team are you building up who are you working for who are you building up and promoting If you are building your own team and your own image in this life guess what you're building your house on sand and it's going to fall but if you're building up the body of Christ you're doing things in being responsible for his glory you're building on that solid rock and you will never be disappointed and so a real man knows his job he's committed to being faithful and trustworthy in a responsible to God and that's true of the women too so let's turn to the Lord in prayer and let's ask God to help all of us to be that kind of person let's pray.Dear lord you care about our entire life and not just the years that we spent on this earth right now but also our eternal future and because you care for us you sent your son to die on the cross for our sense that we can have the hope of eternal life but.If we lose sight of all the things that we will be doing for each earn it in your presence we will be serving you and glorifying you we're missing out on the bigger picture some day you will come back and hold us accountable and responsible for how we handled your possessions and that's our finances our relationships our giftedness all of those things and Lord you are asking us to be real to be to be responsible with those things and so Lord my prayers out throughout the month of this of March man month that if there's anyone here who is being irresponsible and they have misplaced their priorities and they're spending way too much time on things that ultimately don't matter that they will that they will reorganize those things that they will become the real men and women that you desire for us to be lord and most importantly we thank you for giving us the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ and we realize that he took his role as our Savior very responsibly he fulfilled his job and dying on the cross for our sins and so Lord it's our honor and it's our pro pleasure to live for Him and to build up your church we pray these things in Christ's name Amen.
Preacher: Josh WhiteThank you Brian Well today's sermon is about commitment and so for those of you who struggle with commitment.Now is a good time to leave no I'm just kidding you're committed to being here right now but as I've been studying the sermon on Daniel Chapter three and you can open there right now if you'd like and I've been looking at this in just being struck by the level of commitment that these three young men had it made me think to myself What is it that causes us to be tempted to break our commitments because all of us make commitments whether we we intentionally make a commitment or we're just loosely committed to something and we're always tempted throughout our entire lives to break our commitments and so I'm going to give you two main reasons why we break our commitments and I'm not a psychologist and a psychologist could probably come up here and explain in detail all the different nuances of why people break their commitments but I'm going to lump them into two main categories OK People will break their commitment because of the possibility of reward or the possibility of pain those are the two main reasons I think you can kind of classify everything in those two categories so if a person is going to compromise their beliefs or their commitments or whatever it is it's usually for one of those two reasons to avoid pain or to experience some temporary reward let me give you a couple examples I know it's not New Year's and we're already almost to the month of March and people probably given up on those but if there's one universal commitment that a lot of people make it is something like wanting to eat healthier exercise you know something like that ever has anyone here ever made a commitment to doing those things so you make that commitment and you say I'm going to do it right this year and I'm going to eat right I'm going to exercise. Then you go to the break room at work or to the Fellowship room on church on Sundays and and then there's those delicious little cookies sitting there. Do you have power to resist. Well it depends on how committed you are to your commitment somebody might say oh it's just one I'll just take a bite Oh I like this is my favorite dessert Another example might be let's say you're invited over to someone's house for dinner and similar situation you said all right no sugar for the month of of whatever it is and the person who invited you over they're going to scoop onto your plate the most delicious and decadent dessert of your entire life. Do you say no I'm committed to not eating sugar you know say no to the reward or do you break your commitment because you're afraid of the wrath that you will endure from your host. So you say yes grandma go ahead you put it on my plate I will eat that because you don't want to be in grandma's dog house or here is that here's another one I think that everyone is going to have to face they face usually every year. Taxes. Tax time I would hope that everyone here is committed to being honest right now going to raise your hands because all those we know we're supposed to be honest Jesus give to Caesar what is Caesar's and we know responsive to pay taxes but what if you come across a situation where in your mind you've kind of calculated hey this is how much I'm either going to get back as a refund or this is how much I'm supposed to spend and you realize you have a surplus this year and so in your heart in your mind you decide this is how I'm going to spend my refund or the money that I don't have to pay on taxes and then lo and behold you discover that you miscalculated. And the refund is going to be a lot less or you're going to pay a lot more in taxes unless you change a couple numbers over here.What do you do.In that situation there's kind of two reasons why you would break your commitment the possibility of reward you get the thing that you were wanting to buy your toy or vacation or to avoid the pain of riding that shack and so all throughout our lives we are faced with with numerous occasions numerous reasons where we are tempted to compromise on our commitments and so I think it's very rare to find a person who is uncompromising when it comes to their commitments that's very rare you know here in Phoenix we adopted a mission statement a couple years ago I think most churches should should exist for the exact same reason and just the way that they express their mission statement might be different from church to church but we chose to include one very specific word in our mission statement Our mission statement is developing committed followers of Jesus Christ of the teaching and encouragement of God's word there's a lot of people in the world who say I'm a follower of Christ I believe in his death and his resurrection I believe that will save me but they're not committed followers of Jesus Christ and so what I hope will happen today is that we read from Daniel chapter three that we will be encouraged by the commitment that we see in hand and I ask Michelle and Azariah so over your Bibles if you're not there already to Daniel Chapter three.And before you begin reading I just want to remind you of what we read in Daniel Chapter one chapter one he never could measure went to Israel and they took the noble use and they decided to make them part of Babylon culture and so we have Daniel hen and I am Michel and I was raw and they refused to eat the king's food and so this was a compromise that they had to decide if they were going to do or not and so the king said You are part of my country you're going to be part of my servants and I want you to eat my royal food and so Daniel and I Michel and I had to decide if they would be. Committed to God and the dietary laws that he gave to them or would they take the reward instead and the reward would be maybe the good food that they were going to receive and even the reward of being part of Babylonian culture and society and the possibility of of advancement in King Nebuchadnezzar years of rain and they stayed committed in the face of reward now here we come to Daniel Chapter three and we see them being committed an uncompromising in their commitment in the face of pain All right let's read Daniel Chapter Three beginning in verse one. It says King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold whose height was sixty cubits and its breath six Cuba it's and he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon Now for those of you were who were here last week when we looked at the dream that King Nebuchadnezzar had God had a dream a dream that there was a big statue of gold and Daniel was able to interpret that and so here we come to chapter three you think the King Nebuchadnezzar built a statue of gold in Chapter two he dreamt of a big statue of gold so where did he get this idea from from these now this kind of a stretch to understand what King never can as was doing but last week we realized that king the king had a dream and Daniel prayed in God revealed to him not only what the dream was but also the interpretation of that dream and the lesson that you and I can learn from Daniel Chapter two is ultimately the gods in charge of human history and we don't have to worry about if we're affecting it in a positive or negative way God is in control and ultimately we're including God's plan now the difference in time between Daniel Chapter two and Daniel Chapter three we have no idea so this could be one year later it could be ten years later it could be twenty years later but at some point in time King Nebuchadnezzar had the idea. Of building this giant statue and the cube it's just so you know this is ninety feet high and nine feet wide and it's very unlikely that it was solid gold was probably made from wood and then it was overlaid with gold that's probably more realistic of what happened and as we read this you have to ask the question why did King Nebuchadnezzar do this what was his rationale and what I'm going to do is I'm going to suggest to you maybe part of Connecticut has or is motivation for doing this all right and one of the one of the reasons why I think King Nebuchadnezzar may have done this is for some nationalistic perspective all right he never can answer is the ruler of the Babylonian Empire and the dream told him that his empire was going to be the most prominent and special on the statue we don't know what was happening in Babylon at this time. Maybe they were preparing for war maybe they were experiencing problems with surrounding nations but I suspect he never can has or had this idea and I could be wrong on this but you can kind of read this into the story he never can as Or was looking for a way to bring the nation together to get everybody loyal to the Empire to get them to to bow down in allegiance to him and to have loyalty among the subjects and so this is his idea verse two.Thinking never can as are sent sent together sent to gather the satraps the prefects in the governor's the councillors the treasures the justices the magistrates and all the officials of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar it set up. Then the satraps the prefects in the governors the councillors the Treasurer's the justices the magistrates and all the officials of the provinces gathered for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up and they stood before the image that never can as your head set up now one thing I want you to notice is. Who is exactly here who is here in this in this situation where they're about to bow down before the image it's the government employees.The leaders the governmental employees the the Empire employees are there and understand part of Babylon's I guess their theory of warfare was to go into other nations take the brightest in the best from those nations bring them back to Babylon and assimilate them into their culture and so you have all these people and some of them are from other nations and yet they have a position in the government of Babylon and so to have all of those people come together and say let's all be loyal and faithful to King Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon so that's what King Nebuchadnezzar is trying to do here verse four. And the Herald proclaimed aloud. You are commanded zero people Zz nations and languages that when you hear the sound of the horn the pipe liar try gone hard bagpipe in every kind of music you are to fall down and worship the golden image the King Nebuchadnezzar it set up and whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace therefore as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn the pipe liar trying on harp bagpipe and every kind of music and all the peoples nations and languages fell down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar headset mic.So what's with all this music. Why did he have all this music being played you look at all these instruments and you just try to imagine what that must have sounded like it wasn't just a bunch of noises I suspect not in fact I think King Nebuchadnezzar and those people know exactly the same thing that we know and that is this music in the right context for the right reasons can really inspire and motivate us and bring our emotions to the surface and so part of me wonders. Is the music that is being played is this some kind of an equivalent to some national anthem for Babylon is he trying to get people to say yes I am loyal to my king I am loyal to my country and they hear the music being played and they bow down because their face full to their king and their face full to their country you know is there anyone here in this room has ever heard a song and you were moved emotionally maybe even this morning right or how about if you've heard any kind of a nationalistic song and you were moved and you're love for your country kind of came to the surface you know the time in my life when I felt the most moved when I heard a song was right after nine eleven and I think most everyone in this room was alive you know in the second service we're going to a lot of the younger kids I probably don't remember this but I remember after September eleventh I have never seen our country so unified in my lifetime right now who is really divided and maybe not a statue that we're going to bow down to but maybe the having an event that will bring us closer together might be good for our country I don't know what I'm not hoping something will happen but I you know I look at can never get her in what is he doing and the most I have ever been emotionally moved by a song was right after September eleventh in fact I want to show you a video clip of that exact moment so bring it up don't play it yet but I'm going to give you the context of this video clip some of you here in Arizona might really remember this very well this was October thirtieth two thousand and one during the World Series the Yankees were playing the Arizona Diamondbacks and who won that World Series Oh that's right the game he's lost that's the most important thing the Yankees lost and this was the game three in New York forty nine days after the attack and this is I think is the name is Daniel Rodriguez he's a police officer and in the seventh inning stretch he stood up and. Tired and before the entire Yankee Stadium and the nation he saying.God Bless America I want you to listen to this and if you are not moved by this than you're asleep go ahead.Ladies and gentleman and.Will you please rise.And director attention to the microphone behind home plate.And welcome home who represent in all of New York City I'm agencies services New York City police officer John you know I want to get you.Caught bless. America.Was stuck on the sun.And the guy.Threw.Her.On the. Earth the. Earth.Her.Home us the.Door of oh I.Come out her was my goal so we. Don't Owe no.Us harm her was. No harm.Was.Does that move anyone here you know that was so many years ago I remember watching that live and just you know you get caught up and you get choked up and I even get a little goosebumps even today watching that you know you look what is King Nebuchadnezzar doing I suspect and I could be wrong but maybe he's trying to do something similar to that he's trying to get everybody to be loyal and faithful and as a country bring people together there's only one problem though he said bow down and worship the golden statue.Jacki Schechner Bendigo said. I can't do that.I can't do that maybe in this scene there were a lot of good things taking place for the nation about a lawn but they were asked to do something that God says do not worship any other god but me and so Daniel and his three friends. Said no they had made the commitment to be loyal to and serve only the One True God verse eight.It says Therefore at that time certain Cal DNS came forward and maliciously accused the Jews. These are called tattletales. And here's the irony of the cal DNS back in Dana Chapter two there were a group of people whom King Nebuchadnezzar was going to kill all of them the magicians and the astrologers.Because the ends were those people and so how ironic is it that the people that were saved by Daniel's interpretation of the dream are the ones that are tattle tailing on the other Jews what have you done for me lately here's there's a little irony in that verse nine they declared to Kingdom a can as Oking live forever you a king have made your decree that every man who hears the. Sound of the hornpipe liar tried on her big pipe in every kind of music shall fall down and worship the golden image and whoever does not fall down to worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace there are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon Shadrach Meshach and Abednego these men all King pay no attention to you they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up the Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach Meshach and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the King Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them is it true or Shadrach Meshach and Abednego that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the hornpipe tired liar trying on hard bagpipe in every kind of music to fall down and worship the image that I have made well and good but if you do not worship you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace and who is the God who will deliver you out of my hands.This is where a strength of a person's face and commitment is revealed. You know people break their commitments for much less.Of all the Israelites that were brought from Israel into Babylon it doesn't say any of them remain standing and I'm sure many of them probably in their own minds and we do this too we kind of trick ourselves with our own ideas or say well I'll go ahead know about down but God will know in my heart that I'm not really I'm not really worshipping or I'm just going to tie my sandal at that time because I don't want to be left standing and so we kind of come up with all these ideas Well I'm not really going to do a God really knows where my heart is but these three young men knew that their relationship with God and their testimony before all the people that was at stake and so they held firm to their commitment no matter what the. Consequences were for sixteen. So Shadrach Meshach and Abednego answered and said to the king. Own have a king as are we have no need to answer you in this matter if this be so our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace and he will deliver us out of your hand OK. But if not. Be unknown to you O'Kane that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up I think this is probably the most important part of this entire story they said we know God can save us. But even if he doesn't. We will remain committed to him.Then never again has or was filled with fury and the expression of his face was changing and shattered me second Bendigo and the order the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated and he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrack me shakin to Bendigo and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace and just you know this burning fiery furnace of probably a smelting furnace where they would boil down metals and make it into something that they could use and so this was not something probably built just for this purpose but if it was something that they would be using first twenty one then these men were bound in their cloaks their tunics their hats and their other garments and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace because the king's order was so urgent and the furnace overheated the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach Meshach and Abednego and these three men shattered me shut in a Bendigo fell down into the burning fiery furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and arose in a haste he declared to us counsellors did we not cast Sri men down into the fire they answered and said to the king true Oking and he answered and said But I see four men unbound. Walking in the midst of the fire and they are not hurt and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.This is the marital that we all know in love part of Daniel Chapter three this is most likely one of the handful of places in the Old Testament where we are witnessing a Chrystopher me and this is where Jesus Christ before he took on human flesh came and made an appearance in the Old Testament you know we look forward to the day when we will see Jesus Christ forever but these three brave young men were able to see Christ even before that and that is to their honor you know there's a passage in Isaiah all read this for you Isaiah forty three where Isaiah speaking to the nation of Israel especially those in exile and saying to them remember Israel God is your god and he has chosen you and he will be faithful to you even in your exile and Isaiah forty three it says but now says the Lord He who created us Jacob he who formed you Israel fear not for I have read you I have called you by name you are mine when you pass through the waters I will be with you and through the rivers they shall not overwhelm you and when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned and the flame shall not consume you for I am the LORD your God the Holy One of his REAL your savior so God is even saying to the Israelites in captivity Fear not I am committed to you you are protected in my hands verse twenty six the never can as you came near to the door of the burning fire furnace he declared shattering the second the Bendigo servants of the most high God come out and come here then shatter me shakin to Bendigo came out of the fire and the satraps the prefects the governors and the king's councillors gathered together and saw that the fire. Had not had any power over their bodies of those men they hair of their heads was not singed their cloaks were not harmed and no smell of fire had come upon them never can as are answered and said Blessed to be the God of Shadrach Meshach and Abednego who were sent his angel and delivered his servants who trusted in him and set aside the king's command and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God Therefore I make a decree any people nation or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrack me Shekhina Bendigo shall be torn limb from limb and their houses laid in ruins for there is no other God who is able to rescue in this way than the king promoted Shadrack me shakin the Bendigo in the province of Babylon you know this is one of those stories that we like to tell little kids and they get this image in their mind of a fiery furnace and and Jesus is in there and it's a it's exciting and in the past whenever I've read the chapter three I've always like that part the best but maybe as I go through life I realize the one part of this story that all of us should be able to relate to is not the potential of being cast into a fiery furnace it's all those moments all throughout our life where we are tempted to compromise our commitment and I'm really inspired and encouraged by the faith that these three men had to say we will not compromise. Even if it costs us our life well I have some good news for all of you you're probably never going to face a situation like this in your lifetime and I'm specifically meaning that you're going to be thrown into a fiery furnace However I think it's pretty clear that the world is changing around us in America is definitely changing and I think people's face will be tested like it's never been before in fact I would hate to even imagine that this would have been any of us but with these terrorist attacks these hate crimes there might come a day when you or someone you know. Will have a gun pointed towards their head and they'll be they'll be told if you deny Jesus Christ you will live if you claim as your Lord and Savior you will die that happened in one of the school shootings that these things happen all around the world but if that were to happen to you. What would you do in that moment I honestly hope this will never happen to anyone in this room but what would you do you know a person who can stand firm in the most crucial moments has been standing firm in the last crucial moments their entire life and I think that's what took place with Daniel and his three friends what I want to do is I want to give you two forms of encouragement this morning two things that we can take away from this passage of Scripture two reasons why we can look at this story and it can help us to be committed so why can we stay committed the first reason is because simply God is committed to us we can remain committed to God because God is committed to us they said to King Nebuchadnezzar they God could save them but even if he did not in this life they would not compromise and the reason is they knew because God some day would reward them for their face fullness and that God is committed to them you know for these three young men how many stories must have gone through their mind as they said they made their decision before King Nebuchadnezzar they probably thought of all the numerous times that God had delivered the nation of Israel and individuals maybe the thought of the Exodus how God had brought up the Israelites out of pharaohs hand and they probably thought about all the different times maybe even in their own life that they stayed committed to God and God delivered them you know this is Daniel Chapter two this is only the second time we know that they stayed committed but how many other times living in battle and you think they had to keep their commitments to God probably hundreds if not thousands of times up to this point in time they could stay committed to God because they had seen their. Their entire life the god was first committed to them. There's a passage in first US alone Ians I want to read you I want you to turn there we're done here and Daniel so turned over to first US alone means and this is a passage you should have underlined in your Bible if it's not already.First US alone aeons five.This is one of those passages that are that are wonderful to read when your life seems a little hectic.And the waves of uncertainty are coming in your life and things are rocky first US alone eons five.Verses twenty three and twenty four.It says.Now me the God of peace himself saying defy you completely and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ this is God's work in your life verse twenty four says he who calls you is faithful he will surely do it.The work in your life of God saving you and being able to present you before Jesus Christ that is coming sanctified and spotless this is something that you and I have to do on our own this is God's work and this tells us that God is faithful to us he's committed to us he is faithful in his faithfulness to you should inspire us to be faithful to him and another form of encouragement that we see in the story is only a two points I could probably get out of a lot more but another form of encouragement is this that there is a resurrection.Shadrack me second to Bendigo knew that if they died the best is yet to come you know this life can be so wonderful I hope everyone here really enjoys your life and there's things that you can look forward to but nothing in the slightest can call it compare to a goddess promise force I want to look at one last passage nuts and Hebrews eleven. So you go over to here a Chapter eleven I'm sure in Steve's Sunday school class eventually has a humorous Chapter eleven you might forget this passage by then. But in Hebrews Chapter eleven this is kind of known as you know we have a Hall of Fame but this is this is known as are called the Hall of face and in this passage we are reminded of many different people throughout the Bible who remained faithful and loyal to God and explains why they were faithful to God let's start reading Hebrews eleven thirteen.Talking about all these faithful people it says he was eleven thirteen. These all died in face not having received the things promised but having seen them in greeting they greeted them from afar and having acknowledged that they were strangers in exiles on the earth for people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland if they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out they would have an opportunity to return but as it is they desire a better country that is a heavenly one therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God for He has prepared for them a city now skip down to verse thirty two and here is where the author of Hebrews whoever it is starts talking about different people throughout their life the martyrs the people who have died for their faith and says this verse thirty two and what more shall I say for time would fail me to tell of Gideon Beric Samson Jeff than David and Samuel and the prophets no lesson in verse thirty three it says who through face conquered kingdoms in force and justice obtained promises stopped in the mouths of lions were going to read about that pretty soon in Daniel thirty four quenched the power of fire escape the edge of the sword or made strong out of weaknesses became mighty in war put foreign armies to flight women receive back their dead by resurrection some were tortured refusing to accept release Why is that so that they might really rise. Again to a better life others suffered mocking and flogging and even chains and imprisonment they were stoned they were sawn into they were killed with the sword they went about in skins of sheep and goats destitute afflicted mistreated of whom the world was not worthy wandering about in deserts and mountains and in dens and caves of the earth and all these though commended through their fates did not receive what was promised since God probably provided something better for us that apart from us they should not be made perfect and so these three said even if he doesn't save us in this life we will not bow down and the reason that they could see that is because they had faith that this life is not all there is that there is a resurrection and they will have life after death you know I love this story I love all the the great stories like this in the Old Testament and I hope that you're encouraged by this story because I am that you read a story like this in and you think yourself Boy I hope my my faith is tested this week so I can stand firm right we want something like this to happen to us but you know it's exciting but if that's what it took for us to experience God and to know him in a way that we otherwise never could would you embrace being in a situation like this that's kind of a scary question. Have you ever thought to yourself and I think a lot of people say this they think this to themselves a lot of Christians think this Have you ever thought to yourself you know why doesn't my faith seem real. You know we want to experience with God we want to know that God is near us and we say why doesn't my faith seem real well I'm going to make a statement and it's not a blanket statement for all people of all time but I believe one of the reasons why people who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ they don't sense that their faces real one of the reasons could be because they haven't committed themselves to anything. There is no commitment in their life.And if someone isn't committed to anything as soon as the wind starts to blow too strong they'll compromise.If someone were to follow you around for the next month and watch everything that you do would there be evidence that you are committed to following Jesus Christ if they watched all your conversations all the things that you did all the way that you handle your money in your finances would there be any evidence that you are committed to Jesus Christ.Hopefully this morning we see that commitment counts and it counts and it matters because God is first committed to us and because there is life after this one and so I hope all of us will be able to say that in the face of temporary gain temporary reward or even temporary pain that we can be like these three brave men who refused to compromise their commitment to God it's closing prayer.Dear Lord I thank you for this passage that we read today it's a story that is quite remarkable and I realize that most of us in our lifetime we will never be forced to compromise or commit chewing in quite a dramatic way but we face so many smaller things and maybe because they're smaller we think the reins inconsequential but Lord this morning as we're so we're sitting here before you and we're starting your wording we're being encouraged and inspired by and I just pray for anyone here who is facing a situation in their life whether it's big or small where they are are being tempted to compromise their commitment to you and I pray that they will be encouraged that all of us will be encouraging inspired by this this outstanding show of commitment by hand and I add Michelle and has arrived that they were able to and willing to give up their life rather than turn their back on you. Lord I know and I believe with all my heart that we experience our salvation. We experience our faith the most when we fulfill our commitments to you when we remain loyal and faithful and so Lord I pray that as we gather together as we read your word and we read stories like this that we will truly be inspired to be committed to you we pray that you will give us the strength to do just that we present Christ name Amen. And I mean the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all amen.
Preacher: Josh WhiteSo the Book of Daniel today we're going to get into a new chapter in the Book of Daniel and this is this is quite a long story we are actually going to read through the entire story here but it's a good one I could I could tell it to you myself but it doesn't it's never better than actually reading it but before we really get into Daniel Chapter two let me ask you a question Are you a worrier. Anyone here worry about stuff a few people are raising their hands you're probably worried that I'm going to ask you to share with everyone what you're worried about right now I want I would do that public speaking is a big fear for a lot of people but you know generally speaking for some reason I don't know why this is true but I'm I'm not a big worrier myself but I do recognize that I think the world has more to worry about these days than it was than it did when I was a kid. I went on Google which is that wonderful source of information and I typed America's biggest worries rebellion biggest fears it and they came up with a list and that is an interesting right after a presidential election where a lot of turmoil was kind of brought up during the presidential election and so I think this is somewhat timely and just see if you can relate to some of these worries and fears these are America's biggest fears the first is and I think these are in order but it's income and wealth distribution basically money everyone in America and quite frankly the world is worried about money a second one is they're worried about the size and power of the federal government. I think that's probably something that most people think about some people think it's too big some people think it's too small there's people on both sides of that argument another fear is the Social Security system now if you're under twenty years old which there aren't too many people in the first service you don't care about the Social Security system but the closer you get to relying on it you worry about that and also another one on the possibility of terrorist attacks I think everyone in the world is worried about that. And the last one was the availability and affordability of health care so you look at the world and there are some there are some concerns and there are some things that we can be worried about however that's kind of as American Now if you look at individuals individuals have their own worries and their concerns and you can even say that people in certain age groups are worried about similar things as opposed to other age groups for seniors these are seniors biggest worries on a personal basis I won't read through all of them all read through a few of them but the first one was maintaining good health. You know people worry about their health you know it's some point everyone's health is going to fail we know that these bodies are not meant to live forever but we worry about OK when is that going to happen how long will I have my health Another one is the day that possibly having to give up driving financial security sudden unexpected bills that you're not able to pay mental health and social support those are things that those that are a little older are worried about youth use worry too the number one worry for youth is a power outage because they lose wife I connection.I'm kidding I actually made that up everyone worried that right really good we can't be without our our internet but i'm some of the things that used to worry about pleasing people the peer pressure and even your own parents the pressure the parents put on their kids getting good grades college job all those things in the future who they'll who they'll marry some day if that's what's in their life and maybe even the death of a loved one now that's kind of on both ends of the spectrum and if you think about life as an airplane trip there is taking off and then there's cruising altitude and there's landing I find myself comfortably at cruising altitude I'm kind of right in the middle and I find that my biggest worries are for my kids and my parents I don't have a lot. Things that I worry about however people I think in middle age they worry about those that are taking off and those who are coming in for their final approach you know we worry about those things for our loved ones I talked to Kristen and she said I'm maintaining balance in life that's always a worry in my spending too much time focused on this or that So how do you spend time with family and and up hold your responsibilities and in society other things that middle age people can middle age I guess I can't do anything about that retirement in your own health things like that you know it at every stage of life we have things to worry about and therefore God and His sovereignty says don't worry about it. Easier said than done right but in Matthew God knowing that we're going to worry about these things he simply says to us Matthew six already part of this for you Jesus says Therefore I tell you Do not be anxious about your life what you will eat or what you will drink nor about your body what you will put on is not life more than food and the body more than clothing and then in verse twenty seven one of the one of the most profound things that we can ever remember is this and which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to the span of his life is that true Worrying is a lot of wasted energy and effort and then Jesus and His wisdom says to us but seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow for tomorrow will be anxious for itself sufficient for the day is its own trouble. And you with everything that a person has to worry about because it can be debilitating if we just focus on these things who in their right mind would want to be the leader of an entire nation think about all the things that they have to worry about. Think about the presidents and the kings that are out there over a over every every governmental system in the world one of the things that they have to worry about. You have to worry about the health and the well being of everybody that they are in charge of they have to worry about the safety of their people is that usually what a leader or a king or a president is worried about sometimes I think the good ones definitely are sometimes kings and presidents they're worried about their own legacy and what people are going to say about them and their approval ratings well if you're not in Daniel yet turn over to Daniel Chapter two because we're going to read about a king who's worried. He's worried and he's at the fairly kind of the beginning of his his reign and he is worried and he's having dreams how many of you have bad dreams when you're worried about stuff reoccurring dreams that's very common and King Nebuchadnezzar has a recurring dream over and over and over again and so this story is about this dream the king of a cow that never has or has so let's go ahead let's read Daniel Chapter Two beginning in verse one. It says in the second year of his reign never can has or had dreams his mind was troubled and he could not sleep so he said so the king summoned the magicians and chanters sorcerers and astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed and when they came in and stood before the king he said to them I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means first thing I want you to notice as in verse one he says dreams and here in verse three he says DREAM I think it's important to know what king of a can has or a saying is he has the stream over and over and over again it is troubling to the point where he needs to figure out what's going on verse four.Then the astrologers answer the king may the King Live Forever tell your servants the dream. And we will interpret it and the King replied to the astrologers this is what I have firmly decided if you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it. I will have you cut into pieces and your House is trying to piles of rubble but if you tell me my dream and explain it you will receive from me gifts of rewards and great honor So tell me the dream and interpret it for me once more they replied Let the king tell us servants the dream and we will interpret it when the King answered I am certain that you are trying to gain time because you realize that this is what I have firmly decided if you do not tell me the dream there is only one pony for you you have conspired to tell me misleading in wicked things hoping the situation will change so then tell me the dream and I will know that you can interpret it for me now you look at this and you think he is he is out of his mind he's being completely irrational right you know.How many times have you. Noticed if something is wrong with a friend or a family member guys you know have your is your wife were girlfriend as we are ever been upset with you when you said what's wrong and she says you should know.What it is I get I care reminds imagine the astrologers in the magicians and the stress of their feelings wait a second we have no idea what you are dreaming why you see acting this way first ten the astrologers answer the king there is no one on earth who can do what the king asks no king however great and mighty has ever asked such a thing of any magician or a chanter astrologer what the king asked is too difficult no one can reveal to the king except the gods and they do not live among humans is made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men about one so that it was issued to put the wise men to death and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death you know just stop for just a minute you have to read kind of read between the lines why would King Nebuchadnezzar do this I think the fact that this is. Early on in his reign has something to do with this maybe he's dealing with trust issues who in his kingdom is able to trust maybe there are people who are more loyal to the previous king and now he's trying to figure out who is going to actually give me good advice Well ultimately God cause never can is or to have this dream and you and I are tremendous beneficiaries today when we learn what the stream was let's keep waiting for fourteen. When area aka the commander of the king's guard had gone out to put to death the wise men about one Daniel spoke to him with wisdom intact he asked the king's officer why did to King if you're such a harsh degree area then explain the matter to Daniel at this Daniel went into the King and asked for time so that he might enter for the dream then Daniel return to his house and explain the matter to his friend's hand and I am Michel and Azariah he urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men to Babylon during the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in the vision then Daniel praised the God of heaven and said Praise be to the name of God forever and ever wisdom and power are his he changes times and seasons he deposes kings and races of others he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning he reveals deep in hidden things he knows what lies in darkness and light dwells with him I think in praise you God of my ancestors you have given me wisdom and power you have made known to me what was asked of you you have made known to us the dream of the king then you want to area whom the king appointed to execute the wise men about blood and he said to him Do you not execute these wise men to Babylon take me to the King and I will interpret his dream for him and Harry octave Daniel to the king at once and said I found a man among the exiles of Judah who can tell the king what his dreams and what his dream means. The king asked Daniel also called Delta shells are are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it and Daniel replied No wise man in chance or magician or divine or can explain to the king the mystery he is asked about but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come your dream in the visions that pass through your mind as you were lying in your bed are these and just imagine King Nebuchadnezzar if you were in issues wouldn't you be filled with hope because he is wanting to know what these dreams meant and he is wanting to know if there's anyone in his kingdom that he can trust and so he never can answer I think is just filled with this hope and anticipation hoping that Daniel would know verse twenty nine as your Majesty was lying there your mind turned to things to come and the revealer of mystery showed you what is going to happen as for me this mystery has been revealed to me not because I am greater in wisdom than anyone else alive but so that your Majesty may show the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind I want you to to look up on the screen really quick We'll have the first slide will read through this but here is the image that Daniel is interpreting for King Nebuchadnezzar verse thirty one Your Majesty looked in there before you stood a large statue an enormous dazzling statue awesome in appearance the head of a statue was made of pure gold its chest and arms of silver its belly and thighs of bronze its legs a fire and its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay while you were watching Iraq was cut out but not by human hands and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them in the iron the clay the bronze and silver in the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on the threshing floor in the summer the wind swept them away without leaving a trace but the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth this was the dream and now. We will interpret it to the king Your Majesty you are the King of Kings the God of Heaven has given you dominion and power and might in glory in your hands he has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field in the birds of the sky wherever they live he has made you ruler over all of them you are that head of gold so I think right now he never can as are his liking this dream sounds good were thirty nine after you another kingdom will arise inferior to yours next a third kingdom one of bronze will rule over the whole earth and finally there will be a fourth kingdom strong as iron for iron breaks and smashes everything and his iron breaks things into pieces so it will crush and break all the others just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron so this will be a divided kingdom yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it even as you saw Iron mixed with clay as the toes are part of the iron and partly clay so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle and just as you saw the iron mix of baked clay so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united any more than iron mixes with clay in the time of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed nor will it be left to another people it will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end but it will itself endure forever this is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of the mountain but not by human hands Iraq that broke the iron the bronze the clay the silver and the gold pieces the great God is shown the king what will take place in the future the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy. And so these events that we look at the dream it's interesting this dream was given to King Nebuchadnezzar Daniel interpreter and guess what they all happened exactly as Daniel said it would you look at this and we can look through human his. Exactly what Daniel is was referring to the first is the head of gold and this is in Van in Kenya can as you're hearing on my laser pointer here this kingdom lasted for just less than one hundred years and it's interesting how each of these kingdoms they expanded in the amount of time that they were the Middle Persian Empire lasted about two hundred years roughly the Greek Empire lasted almost closer to three hundred years and finally the Roman Empire lasted for a little over five hundred years so all these things took place and if you're out wondering where are we on the statue we're down here where the toes are right and the last part of the vision has yet to take place and go ahead publish over the next next slide and so this is what happened in King Nebuchadnezzar dream this statue was destroyed by this rock and we know what that rock means it is Jesus Christ when He comes back and he sets up His kingdom forever you know this dream that King Nebuchadnezzar had it's more for our sake than his.I want to share with you many of the reasons why I'm a believer I'm a believer because I feel like God has revealed these things to me and I can trust the Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins and that God rose him from the grave but another reason why I'm a believer is because of prophecies like this these prophecies were made hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years before they were fulfilled and so if you ever are doubting your face which is somewhat normal I think that's a normal thing to have happen you thinking how in the world can we know that the Bible is actually true one of the firm foundations I think that all of us have and that I have for myself especially is the prophecies of the prophecies give us that firm foundation upon which we can build our faith and when we look at that second slide with the rock coming down. There will come a day just like it was written about when Jesus Christ will come back to earth and establish His kingdom and that it will endure forever I want to finish reading chapter two So let's pick up in verse forty six and then we'll look at some of the lessons that we can learn from this verse forty six says thinking never can as are fill prostrate before Daniel and pay them on or an order that an offering and incense be presented to him the king said to Daniel Surely your god is the God of gods and the lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries for you were able to reveal this mystery then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him he made him a ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of its of all of its wise men Moreover at Daniel's request the king appointed Shadrack me shakin to Bendigo administrators over the province of Babylon while Daniel himself remain at the Royal Court. You know this is another story in which a Jew was placed in the governmental system of Gentiles and rose to prominence remember a couple of years ago I think it was we were looking at the story of Joseph very similar things between Daniel and Joseph as we read this story and I know this is kind of a long story I want to read the entire chapter here this morning so we look at this and think wow great so there was this there was a dream given to a king hundreds and thousands of years ago well what does that have to do with me you know we're always wondering you know how does this deal with me what can I get out of this well I have three lessons I think that we can learn from this dream and let me give those to you right now the first lesson is number one this teaches us that God is in control of human history.God is in complete control of human history were done in Daniel I do want to look at a few New Testament passages so I want you to open your Bible Stigall ations chapter four.Galatians chapter for. For verse four verses four and five.This is one of my favorite Christmas verses.But this verse hearing Galatians chapter four is dealing directly with this vision that king of a can has or had in a dream so glacial is for for the Apostle Paul writes to us this he says. Glaciers for for but when the fullness of time had come. God sent forth His Son born of a woman born under the law to redeem those who were under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons you know that little phrase at the very beginning of verse four but when the fullness of time had come you know it's interesting that each of those kingdoms that were prophesied about in this vision given to King Nebuchadnezzar paved the way for Christ to come into the world.Two of those kingdoms in particular I want to address the Greeks and the Romans I don't know of for those of you who are very familiar with human history some of you might be aware of how the Greeks and the Romans influenced the world and if not all kind of share that with you right now but the Greek empire which was from three thirty one to sixty three B.C. they did two main things to civilized world around them they Hellenized the world Greeks called Helen ization and what they did is they set up our modern city structures cities today are based off the Greek way of life where they'll have the city people are kind of living in close quarters to each other they have the streams and usually in the center of a city you have a marketplace and you have the governmental systems the world around us the entire world is based off this Greek influence so we get cities from Helen ization or Greek culture the other thing that the Greeks did at that time is they had one common language for the entire modern world to. You use all right so that's what the Greeks did that's how the Greeks influenced the world after them the Romans came and the Romans did a couple things have you ever heard the phrase All roads lead to Rome Well there's a reason why they said that the Romans built roads they built them everywhere and they built them in between all of the cities that the Greeks had all the people build up and so during the time of Christ you had people living in cities you had no city structures you had one common language and you had a road leading from every city to another city and the Romans were very well known for being very forceful in keeping the peace maybe you've heard of the phrase the pox Romana the peace of Rome if you acted up and if you got out of line Rome would come and they would make you follow them they would really kind of squash any insubordination and so when Christ came into the world the entire world spoke one language the majority of the populations were in cities there were rows leading from cities to cities and there was peace it was the perfect conditions for the Gospel to be spread to the nations around them and so when you're reading the lation for for when the time it fully calm God had been setting up the conditions for the Gospel to be spread to the nations and this was given in a vision to King never can as are hundreds and hundreds of years before and so when you look at that you realize God is in complete control of human history we see the implications of everything that happened and the good news is that it's not done this vision is not done there are still one more parts to it you know when Jesus after He rose from the grave in his disciples were starting to realize exactly who Jesus was they asked him they said Are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel and Jesus replied to them it's not for you to know the Times or the seasons. That the father is set in fixed by his own authority so Jesus was saying that's going to happen but it's not for you to know exactly when I want you to go over to a feature ins or diffusion chapter one just a couple pages in your Bible.And inefficient Chapter One I think if we read these few verses in light of this vision that God gave to King Nebuchadnezzar I think it makes even a little bit more sense or it adds a little bit more structure bring color to it so this is going to happen the rock will come down smash all the kingdoms and one kingdom will be set up and Paul speaks about this time in the future and how the future plan of God has been revealed to us if he says one beginning in verse seven.Talking about Christ Paul says in him we have redemption through His blood the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of His grace which he has allowed us upon us in all wisdom and insight verse nine making known to us the mystery of His will according to His purpose which he set forth in Christ in verse tends them point one here as a plan for the fullness of time to unite all things in him things in heaven and things on earth you know like the feet of the statue the world right now is so divided. Is everything is divisive in the world today but when Christ returns everything is going to be united just like it says in verse ten as a plan for the fullness of time to unite all things in him things in heaven and things on earth and that's when that rock comes down and smashes the rest of that statue. The second lesson I think that we can learn from this vision is not only does God have a plan and using intro love all of human history but we're included in that plan this isn't just for people out there this is including us. You know these these seventy eighty ninety years that we live on on this earth however long we live this is not the point or the purpose for our existence the purpose for our existence will be understood when we are in the presence of Jesus Christ when you turn over to another verse in first term of the chapter six. So keep going to to your right in your Bible to first sim of the chapter six.And Paul wrote to Timothy one of the last things that he wrote to someone.And he reminded Timothy while he's living on Earth as the things that he's supposed to focus on and he says this in first some of the chapter six beginning in verse eleven Paul says to his son in the faith Timothy but as for you old man of God leave these things and these things are the worldly worries the concerns the just kind of consume us don't don't worry about the earthly passions he says to him pursue righteousness godliness faith love steadfastness and gentleness fight the good fight of the face take hold of the eternal life to which you were called in other words Timothy you were called to something bigger than you God has a plan for you take a hold of that life and about which you made your good confession the presence of many witnesses I charge you in the presence of God who gives life to all things and of Christ Jesus who in his testimony before ponchos pilot made the good confession Listen to this to keep the commandment unstained free from reproach and tell the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ which he will display at the proper time he who is the blessid and only solver in the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.This deals with our future as well God is in control of human history the next lesson is we're a part of that plan that God has for us and because number one is true. Because Number two is true there's one other lesson I think that we should learn and that is that our focus should be making the most of our time if our future is secure in Jesus Christ we should stop worrying about all the things that don't matter like Jesus told His disciples and we should worry about the things that God tells us to worry about efficiency five of verses fifteen and sixteen last verse it will read you can turn there all read that really quick though it says if five fifteen and sixteen it says look carefully how you will walk not as unwise but as wise making the best use of the time because the days are evil therefore do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is.We don't know how long we have doing it and I don't know if we'd want to know I don't know if I'd want to know but we know that our future is secure and that God has given us something worth living for you know usually when someone tells you has anyone ever come up to you and said hey let me tell you about a dream that I had and how do we usually respond. OK I guess you're going to hopefully this doesn't take too long right but if they say I had a while dream last night and and it was about you.You don't want to know about that dream right you're really going to be paying attention well he never can as your dream we look at this and we think Wow Interesting dream great but when we realize we're included in this dream I think our mind should open up to really understanding what it's talking about if God can not only predict but map out the course of human history and we can look back and see how it all came true we can definitely put our hope and faith regarding our future in the future of mankind in Jesus Christ and you're here today and if you're hoping your faith isn't anyone other than Jesus Christ or any other source of truth other than the Word of God.Then you're off point.These are the lessons that we can learn this is what gives us strength instability in such a day I think what we can learn from this is today we can make an exchange we can exchange all of our worries that we have in this life they're important to us I know that they're important but whatever you're worrying about today give it a few months in you're probably not going to be worried about it we can exchange those worries for living with purpose and God gives us that purpose and it begins with putting our faith in Jesus Christ.You know I don't know where everyone is out in this room I don't know what your future holds but I know that if you place your faith in Jesus Christ your eternal future is secure and you know that for sure for yourself if you're here today and you're not sure what would happen to you if you were to die and if you're going to be participating in any of the good things that God has planned for those who love him and if you would like to know for sure all you need to do is is ask Christ to come into your heart ask Him to forgive your sins and you will be adopted as a child forever and if you're uncertain about where you stand with God today you can make that certain And so I want to give you this offer right now to accept Christ and have your future eternally secure I want you all to close your eyes and about your head and right now as if you've never done this before and right now you would like to place your faith in Christ alone for your salvation you all you need to do is simply pray this prayer in your heart in your mind and God will hear you would simply pray to God I know I am a sinner in need of forgiveness.And I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins.And I believe that He rose back to life on the third day to give us all the hope of eternal life.And so right now I place my faith in Christ alone for myself ation.If you prayed that prayer for the first time today or the tenth time or one hundredth time if you ever prayed that prayer. Your future is secure no matter what happens in this life your eternal future is secure. And that should cause us to live with purpose Let's close in prayer Dear Lord I thank you for this this vision that you gave to King Nebuchadnezzar so many years ago and sometimes we look at these events and we think well how does it relate to us Well as you're explaining to the Knesset and ultimately through Daniel and the rest of us who have your word you are teaching us Lord that you are in control of human history and that the end of human history is the best possible existence for those who place their faith in Jesus Christ and so Lord thank you for giving us the reassurance that our face is trustworthy and it's true it's in a god that is truly softened and then it's in the Lord and Savior that loved us so much that he died on the cross to forgive us our sins and so Lord today we come before you with all of our worries as as big and as scary as they might be for each and every one of us and we simply exchange them for giving our lives over to a life with purpose and that sharing with the world around us that our hope can be secure as we place our faith in Jesus Christ alone the Lord help us as a church and as individuals to continue to remind the world around us and be that that light shining in the darkness and the salts and the city on the Hill all of those things Lord so that the world might see that your word is true or thank you for giving it to us and it just be with us now as we go out and we live our lives for your honor and glory we pray this in Christ name Amen and now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all day man.
Preacher: Josh WhiteWell this morning we have a special guest Matt AMISOM Come on up Matt Amerson is the interim director of the grace possible fellowship and we've been having some updates recently it's been nice because we live in Phoenix so most of our organizations that were affiliated with their in the Grand Rapids area and we'd like them to come here in July and August but for some reason they don't want to but we'll take them when we can get them so Matt just give us an update on what's going on in the greatest possible fellowship Thank you Thank you Pastor Josh I have a need to start off with a little bit of a confession. This is been weighing on my heart the moment I stepped into Arizona this really weighed heavily.I had to confess to you that I'm a die hard Seahawks fan.But I was expecting a few in there but there's.I don't want to go too far with that but I understand last night that you won over New Mexico state so that's a that's a big victory.Exactly so there's a lot of excitement in this area and I want to share some things with you last yesterday we were here to be a part of the celebration service for the life of Bruce camper and the tremendous impact that he's had on this community but also communities around the world.Impacted my life in a great way when it came to ministry when he was at Grace Bible College as president I was a student at G.C. and he always had an open door for me and for others that want to talk about life and about ministry he was instrumental in my development going to ministry and in the churches in Washington in Michigan and then now as the interim director of the Grace gospel fellowship.I want to talk about the Kemper family just really briefly and they have exemplify what the mission statement is and that is working together to advance the grace of God and impacting the world for Christ that emphasis on the world. Thinking about even the Kemper family the far reaches of Africa to right here in Phoenix and all points in between pastors Josh and Mike and their wives their families Stephen Marie McFadden just to name a few here at Grace Bible Church and the impact they have the desire that they have to reach this community pastor Josh and I go back a long ways I see Steve McDonald back there we go back a long ways as well and and G.C. is a little bit like Vegas and yet nothing like Vegas in that what happens it stays a G.C. So and he stories that we have to share about each other are off limits.Of a God chooses to use us regardless of our past decisions you're going to see a video coming up in a at the end of my time talks about the family Bible conference that is coming up this summer in Holland Michigan on the shores of Lake Michigan beautiful community beaches you wouldn't think of beautiful sand beaches like you'd find in Southern California but they are there in West Michigan so it's a great time of fellowship and encouraging it as you come together with fellow believers in Holland Michigan right now we're in the middle of the G G F forty days of prayer and that is for our twenty twenty vision and that's twenty twenty vision the first twenty is ten churches planted ten churches revitalized the second twenty is twenty new pastors and just to give you a brief update just to share some highlights as far as those ten churches plans we have three churches planted already in Minnesota Indiana and Illinois and then we're also talking about another church play in the Chicago area when it comes to chant ten churches revitalised we're looking at a couple churches Pinellas Park in Florida and some of the decisions they're making to be able to better reach their community and love their community in a in a new way in Grants Pass Oregon under the leadership of John Marshall you may be familiar with him with G.M. I in Puerto Rico but he is going in trying to change the environment. So that there's healing that goes on in the congregation and in the community and cultivating that love for community and then as far as our leaders we are about halfway towards reaching that twenty new pastors gentlemen that have come from the mission field into the pastorate lay leaders that are willing to take up the mantle and lead and so we're seeing a great excitement and yet we know there's going to be some challenges moving forward and that's where we need you you guys have been tremendous partners with a great gospel fellowship and we need to think about how you can get involved maybe think about as a church what it would be like to plant a church on the other side of Phoenix or in a different community in Arizona maybe there's that aspect of revitalization that interests you think about a sister church in your own region that you can come alongside and and cultivate to a point of healthiness Or maybe you yourself have decided you know I just feel like God's calling you to leadership whether that's here at Grace or that's somewhere around the world or in this country that you could serve as a pastor as a leader so we encourage you to think individually Yes but as a church how you can come alongside of us in the grace gospel fellowship.To reach our twenty twenty vision will you join us and I want you to check out this video this is a promo for the family Bible conference coming up this summer we encourage you to get involved I know that's a long ways away and who wants to go to Michigan but like you know that's July so you want to escape the the heat there's a little humidity I will admit but you're right along the shores of Lake Michigan a beautiful time that we have together as believers so thank you for this opportunity and if you get the video that degree.I want.July issue is actually quite nice. Some for the few mosquitoes and I get you but thank you Max for for being here and giving us an update on the G.G..Well yesterday I know how I look around and I know some of you were here yesterday for the memorial for Bruce camper and. Again I look around and know some of you knew him probably very well others of you maybe just knew him by name or reputation are you able to pick him out in a crowd but it was a special service and I have never been a part of the service or even better service like that where he could have all four of his children stand up there and talk about him and not only his children but his grandchildren and all of them did a fantastic job it was a very unique service. But Bruce is dame many of you might not know this but his name was Ernest Ernest Bruce camper and throughout his life he had many different titles president pastor husband father. Board member.But the most important part of his identity he never fully realized in this lifetime he was a passage and if Eason's in the first part of the fusions it says that God predestined us for adoption the son ship.And on Thursday February second Bruce passed away it was hard to comprehend but for the first time in his existence Bruce found out who he really was.He was a child of God.And he realized that he was home. And if you just stop and you think about that it gives you chills and it and it kind of makes you excited for that day that you're going to be home forever and that's that's what our true identity is and we can long for that but the fact is we're not there yet and so how do we live our lives in while we're still here while we're waiting for that our true identity is not in this world it's not found in this world and so what we're trying to fight is a world that is trying to confuse and change Archer identity last week I introduced a new sermon series where in the Book of Daniel so I invite you to open your Bible so the Book of Daniel right now.And last week we just read the first several verses sort of an introduction I just want to become familiar with the book that we're going to be spending a few weeks in not it's not going to be a really long series but the reason why I want to talk about Daniel and go look at some of these stories in the Book of Daniel is I'm hoping that we can use this book to sort of inspire our commitment to Jesus Christ this is why we exist as a church to develop committed followers of Jesus Christ of the teaching and encouraging of God's word so that is our true identity where followers of Jesus Christ and here in the Book of Daniel were introduced to Daniel and in Iowa Michele and Azariah and they were captured along with many other Jewish noble young men and they were transported from Jerusalem to Babylon and the king never can as or was trying to assimilate them into the Babylonian culture and what we see here in Chapter One is that these four young men remained committed to their true identity as God's. CHILDREN IN ISRAEL Well those who haven't let's let's read this first portion again so we can kind of just be familiar with what's going on so they know Chapter one beginning in verse one it says.In the third year of the reign of joy Kim king of Juda never commands or king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and the siege did. And the Lord gave joy came king of Juda into his hand were some of the vessels of the law of the house of the God and he brought them to the land of Shine are to the house of his god in place the vessels in the treasury of his God Then the king commanded Ashton as the chief unit to bring some of the people of Israel both of the royal family and of the nobility use without blemish of good appearance and skilful in all wisdom in doubt with knowledge understanding and learning and competent to stand in the king's palace and to teach them the literature in language of the county ans the king assigned them a daily portion of food that the king ate and of the wine that he drank and they were to be educated for three years.And at the end of that time they were to stand before the king and among those were DANIEL HANNAN Iowa Michele and Azariah of the tribe of Judah and the chief of the eunuchs gave them names Daniel he called Belshazzar head and I he called Shad rock Michel he called me shack and Azariah he called Abednego And so we read this and we realize that this assimilation process had just begun for these young men and you try to put yourself in their shoes and honestly if we're just being very honest I think these young men as they know that they are being captured in their being brought over to a new land this must have been somewhat of an honor for them they're thinking wait a second the King chose me you know he didn't destroy us but he chose me to be taught in the ways of the Caledonians and this is just it may have been for some of them sort of an ego boost. Yes You know the Babylonians were ultimately they were trying to change their identity I want to give you the meaning of the names of their Hebrew names and also their are their new Babylonian names I think it's really interesting Daniel the name Daniel means God is my judge and they gave him the name Delta Shaz R. which means Bel protect his life Bel being a Babylonian god had and I am meant the Lord shows grace and Shadrach meant the command of aku which was the moon god of the Babylonians missionary element who is like God you and me Shakra means who is as aku is and as Or I am meant the Lord is my help and the Bendigo ment servant of neighbor which is another Babylonian god and I don't I don't see many of you writing this down I wrote this down of course and if you compare the Hebrew name and the Babylonian name there very similar in what those names meant and what the Babylonians did is they basically replaced the God and kept the similar meaning and so what the Babylonians were trying to do with these young men is to change their identity to get them to think of themselves in a new way and so the king was trying to change them in every way they had a new land new customs new language new ideas new names new identity but what we see here in the next the next several verses that we read is that these four young men they stayed true to their identity as Israelites so let's read let's read eight through sixteen this is how they took a stand. In verse eight it says but Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food or with the wine that he drank therefore he asked the chief of the UNIX to allow him to not defile himself and God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the UNIX and the chief of the eunuch said to Daniel I fear my. I lord the king who assigned your food in your drink for why should he see that you are in worse condition than the use who are of your own age so you would endanger my head with the king then Daniel said to the servant to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel ten and I am a shy and Azariah test your servants for ten days let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink then let our appearance and the appearance of the use who eat at the king's food be observed by you and deal with your servants according to what you see so we listen to them in this matter and tested them for ten days and at the end of the ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the use who ate the king's food so the steward took away their food and the wine that they were to drink and gave them vegetables so here we have the beginning of Daniel and his three friends sort of taking their stand about their identity especially against the Babylonians the thing is Daniel and these three men they couldn't control the other factors in their life so I think that they could go back to Jerusalem they had no control over them actually being in Babylon but what they could do is they can remain committed to Jesus Christ or not Christ at that time but to God the Father and this is the way that they chose to do it you know it's interesting you read this and you try to picture what it was like for these young men not only Daniel and Shadrach Meshach and Abednego and and we don't know how many other young men were part of this but I think the food may have sort of been the icing on the cake for all of the noble young men to sort of adapt to the Babylonian culture you know are into college football I don't know if you all knew that I like keeping up with college football and I'm a really big fan of the the Michigan Wolverines and so they just had National Signing Day And so they're talking about all these recruits these college these high school recruits big. Recruited by all these big time schools and I read an article recently is really interesting they said that if a if a student athlete is looking at about three or four or five schools like really top in schools some time is the key to determining factor your laugh at this but the key determining factor in them choosing one school over the other is the all you can eat buffet that death school has and I'm serious they have no entire article on that and some schools are known for having better buffets then the other schools look like of a school is offering you all you can eat lobster and steak and shrimp a lot of these students will pick that school and it just goes to show your women you'll agree with this we men are very simple creatures. It's not it's not hard to influence us and what do they say the best way to a man's heart is what there is some I that's very that's very true you know Paul wrote something in the book of Philip by which you know we can look at we can laugh a little bit but it's so true in Philippians chapter three I'll go ahead read this for you he's warning the people in Philip about conforming to the ways of this world and he just simply says to them brothers join in imitating me and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us for many of whom I have often told you I now tell you even what years walk as enemies of the cross of Christ and he says this their end is destruction their god is their belly.And their glory is in their shame with minds set on earthly things and so Paul are saying there are people walking around in the world and all they want to do is have the next piece of instant gratification and then he says in verse twenty but our citizenship is in heaven and from it we await our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ and suppose telling the people in Philip I don't forget who you are don't wrap your identity. In the things of this world and the little instant gratification that we can have and so this is what Daniel had and I Michelle and.They were battling this and this is where Daniel drew the line in the sand they did it over food and why did he do this there's four options I was starting this and you know exactly what is going on why did Daniel say that he would defile himself with this food the king's food Well here's here's four options the first option was that the food that they were going to be served would be ceremonially unclean for those of you who are probably familiar with US and the Book of Leviticus that turn over there right now you're already in Daniel just turn over to Leviticus and you can read the majority of this on your own but Leviticus Chapter eleven God goes and tells the Israelites all the foods they can and cannot eat and so in Leviticus chapter. Eleven verse one talks about the things that they can eat and in the starts off by this I can read just the first couple verses in the last couple verses a Leviticus a lot.But in a little Leviticus eleven verse one it says and the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron saying to them speak to the people of Israel saying these are the living things that you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth whatever parts the herf in his cloven foot and choose the cut among the animals you may eat and then he goes through an entire list of animals that he could not eat and different things and while he says these are these are these will defile you and then skip down to verse forty four and this is why God wants the Israelites to have a diet that makes them distinct from the rest of the nation's first forty four it says for I am the LORD your God to consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy for I am holy You shall not defile yourself with any swarming thing they crawls on the ground for I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God you shall therefore be holy for I am holy and so God is trying the. Israelites he's tying their diet to God's identity and Daniel took that very seriously and Daniel did not forget who he was so this is one of the reasons why Daniel may have decided to draw that line in the sand there a second is they may have feared that some of the food that was given to them by the king's table was very likely offered to an idol and obviously that was for bid on the third option and I don't know how much weight is in this but maybe Daniel and his three friends they just knew that a vegetarian diet was healthier then the diet of the Babylonians and so he thought well I want to be a vegan You know I want I want to see vegetables the truth is the veggie the vegetable diet is going to be much healthier than whatever they ate I know when I was a kid the first time I read the story I had this image in my mind that everyone else is eating you know hamburgers and steak and some good food and and Daniel has just a big bowl of broccoli and cauliflower in front of him and I think why would he do that that's just disgusting you know vegetables if you cook them the right way they can be absolutely delicious but that's probably not the main reason why Daniel said he wanted to eat only vegetables because it was healthier it was but another reason is probably just simply a combination of the first in the second option here Daniel and his friends were avoiding the diet of the king of Babylon because they were protecting themselves from being completely in ten inch enticed and really tempted by the entire culture of the Babylonians they knew that if they gave in with this area of their life they will probably going to give in with all the other areas you give a little bit here and it's not going to be able you're not going to be able to say you're going to stop Well the problem the Daniel is facing is that this decision that Daniel had would put the chief of the Unix in jeopardy and so God caused the chief to have favor and Daniel and. Daniel proposed a very simple test All right this is what we want to do we want to honor God and so just test us for ten days and again you know the first time I read this story I thought you know what is going on why just ten days and I wonder did Daniel suggest this I think God was giving him the wisdom to do this was there really going to be that much difference in Daniel and the young men and the other Babylonian young men and the other Jews in just ten days usually if someone goes on a diet how long does it take to really see a difference probably more than ten days and remember we're talking about teenagers here.They're going to my so I'll talk about Caleb area because he's not in the service my son Caleb has the. The metabolism of a Ferrari he will eat more food than all of us and then an hour later he'll say they had I'm still hungry you know you want another pizza Kaleb you know he just even is just as thin as a rail and so these are teenagers and so how was it that only after ten days they looked better part of it obviously was the fact that they're eating healthier but I think we need to not discount the fact that there is a there's a miracle going on here that God is honoring their commitment they were eating healthier but God wanted to bless them they made this commitment and this is also for the sake I think of the chief of Unix to show him that these were special young men well this is what happened for seventeen. As for these four youths God gave them learning and skill in the literature and wisdom and Daniel had understanding all the genes and dreams and at the end of the time when the king in command of that they should be brought in the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before you have a king those are and the King spoke with them and among all of them numberless found like Daniel had and I am mistrial and Azariah therefore they served for the king and in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them he found them ten times better than all. All the magicians and the chanters that were in all his kingdom and Daniel was there until the first year of King Cyrus and survey in your head and I'm Michelle and I was right they made this commitment to God regarding their Sure identity and God On heard their commitment they were true to who they really were and God honored it and you know we read this story and we'll never be in an exactly similar situation hopefully Canada hopefully won't it won't invade us that we won't be living in Edmonton for the rest of our lives but you know things could be worse but we have small tests all throughout our lives where we are deciding are we going to stay committed to our true identity as a follower of Jesus Christ or am I going to give in on this little issue and so what I want to do is I want to give you three lessons that we can learn about the commitment that we see Daniel had and I as a rare and Michelle making and the first lesson that we can learn this kind of application for all of us is this that commitments it starts with small stuff when you make a commitment to the Lord. About your true identity in who Jesus Christ is start with the small things you know when we talk about being committed to Jesus Christ some people will think Wow I'm going to be committed you know what that means I need to sell my possessions and I need to move to a foreign land you know that's that's what a committed Christian is and and of course that is a great commitment but someone who sells all their possessions and they move to become a missionary to a foreign land their commitment didn't start there it started with the very small things in their life and so when we're talking about being committed to Christ it starts with the very small things you know Romans twelve tells us exactly where the commitments begin our commitment to Christ begins in our mind in the Romans Chapter twelve verse two it says Do not be conformed to this world. But be transformed by the renewal of your mind that by the testing you may discern what is the. Well of God what is good and acceptable and perfect and I grew up memorizing this in the end I like how the N.I.V. says Do not conform to the pattern of this world. How do you read it with that phrase and it's more of a dynamic translation of the Greek and it kind of gives us understanding this true understanding that the world has a pattern in it's trying to conform us to that pattern the Babylonians had a pattern a way of thinking and acting and they were trying to conform the Jewish young men to that pattern Satan is influencing the world around us he's trying to conform us to this pattern and it takes a determined mind to recognize that there's a pattern of the world and for us to not conform to it you know Daniel recognized that some people as something as simple and as innocent as even the king's food would just be one more step in the process of conforming to be like the Babylonians and so they chose this very small thing to take their stand you not a friend of mine tell me you know this phrase and it's a really good phrase a. I think it applies to many things in our life it goes like this it's always easier to not start then it is to stop.With so many things in life with a sweet little little commitment or a compromise it's so much easier to never start something it is a stop and using food as an example how many of you would testify it's easier to not take that first bite of chocolate cake than it is the tent right you take the first bite you I already had to buy I just I just need the whole thing well that's how compromises take place in our life you know as as a reading this and as you're looking at this I hope maybe God might be bringing something to your mind maybe a commitment that you need to take it may be a compromise that you're you're so easily giving up on well that's one of the first lessons that we learned about commitments the second lesson is this. A small stand makes a big statement. A small stand makes a big statement you know you just look at the difference that these four young men their commitment made it earn them the respect of the chief of the Unix I mean he had their eye his eye on them for the rest of their time in Babylon and for the rest of his life he knew there was something special about them and you know honestly if Daniel and Michelle and Hunter and I and I was right if they wouldn't have committed themselves to this you know we would not have we wouldn't have the Book of Daniel God would have accomplished what he was going to call this but he would have used someone else to do this you know this kind of reminds me of a test that I had years ago and this is probably tested many of you can relate to. I have a U.P.S. story for you I'll pull these out every now and then I know you really like you when I talk about U.P.S. but after I graduated from grace part of college with my bachelor in theology I was a licensed minister but I didn't have a church yet and so I got the world's greatest summer job I worked at U.P.S. and what they did is they trained us they conformed us to the pattern of the U.P.S. thinking for for two weeks I went through this training and and part of that it was they'd send us out on the trucks and we learned how to deliver the packages and they did this three different times and I remember all three of them they went very similar but I'm going to share one in particular I was I was riding around with a man named Roger Mayweather and this is in Grand Rapids some of you are thinking Mayweather Yes he was actually the cousin of Floyd Mayweather Jr The Boxer I mean he's I have no reason to doubt him the fact that he was Chinese is irrelevant no I'm just getting to know and he was so he was the cousin of Floyd Mayweather Jr and he like the other guys you know what he did I think he was trying to impress me and trying to you know at kind of tough and so guess what he did the whole day he swore I think he made a new swear words and he's he was looking for reasons to swear and to use crass humor and and the whole time I'm not joining in with him. And this is all three of these experiences when the same way and halfway through the afternoon he's you know why is this guy not swearing and why is he not joking around like me and so he goes won't tell me about yourself you know you you know how did you start working at U.P.S. Well it's actually just a summer job I just graduated from college and waiting for a real job and so I'm just doing this all we have word you graduate from college Grace Bible college what did you study there a grace problem theology or what do you do with a degree like that well I'm actually a pastor waiting for my first church is a great P.T. the bell horrible and it was so funny the other guys were like this but but he was more so immediately his entire demeanor changed and he started talking to me about the church that he and his wife were into. And the things that he you know I should start going more often and I you know this I know it's important and in that moment in that day he completely changed I didn't change at all I didn't I didn't do anything that was the point but it changed his perspective and a small stand that I talk I'm just not going to swear I'm not going to talk like that it made a big difference in his life at least at least for that day it made a difference I don't know what happened after that you know in Philippians to read this last week but it says do all things without grumbling or disputing that you may be blameless and innocent children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation among whom you shine as lights in the world the way that we do that the way that we make these small commitments is we commit to the small things it's not the big things that are going to make the biggest difference it's always making those small commitments first so a small stand will make a big statement and the last lesson that we learn is that our commit to Christ benefits more people if you make your commitment to Jesus Christ you will definitely benefit from a. But more people will benefit from it as well notice the concern that Daniel showed for the chief of the Unix I think this is really worth focusing on in mentioning he didn't force this because he knew that this would put the chief of the Unix in a really difficult situation and he also didn't protest he didn't say I am an Israelite I will not eat that food would the world right now is just obsessed with protesting aren't they right now they want to protest every day if I can't get my way I'm just going to I'm going to loot and I'm going to robbing in a burned down Starbucks and I don't I don't know what's going on with the world but usually when we protest what happens is any division that we have between two people it gets bigger it doesn't unify and so Daniel what he did is he really considered the chief of the UNIX he didn't protest he said I would like to put us both in a win win situation this is important to me and I'll let you be the one to decide and so Daniel was honored by God and God blessed him and he also blessed I think the chief of the Unix when you look at the story and we look at the Bible we have to understand that if the gospel is true it's good for everyone.And if you live according to the gospel and you put it into practice everyone benefits from it whether they believe it or not and so Daniel's humble commitment benefited not only Daniel and his three friends but also everyone around him in the coming chapters we're going to see how the Babylonians benefited from this as well well I hope everyone here can call yourself a child of God that this is your true identity and that you take your seriously and if you're a true right identity is found in Jesus Christ that you don't conform yourself to the pattern of this world and as you will find different areas of your life where you say you know what I. Need to take a stand right here so what I want to do is as we're closing I want you to to think about this. And maybe throughout this sermon you're thinking. OK My issue isn't food but it's among my coworkers or among my family members this is a commitment that I need to make and so I want to encourage you if God is bringing something to your mind where you're compromising maybe your true identity that you will either stop doing something that you are doing or start doing something that you might not be doing and really take hold of your choice and God will bless you you know Daniel and I am Michelle and Azariah they were committed to God and God used them in a powerful way and I believe that when we stay committed to Jesus Christ he will use us to was close in prayer dear that I thank you for the story.In for us as we are reading this it might seem like a trivial matter the Daniel and in the three young men decided to hit here to the Jewish dietary laws but Lord it was a small thing that they had control over and they went about it the right way and we see the wisdom in it and so Lord I pray that we will be able to apply this to our lives where we're applicable or our true identity is not found in this world and in this life it's found in us being a child of God and our citizenship is in heaven and so Father I pray for us that as we desire to be lights to the world around us in this wicked in cricket generation that we will make these small commitments in our life when we become aware of them so that we might be your servants like these four young men were thank you for their courage Lord and made inspire us to do likewise we presume pricing in. Now May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit to be with you all meant.
Preacher: Josh WhiteDonna set up a table back there with some information so if any of you have any questions about any of the ministries or anything from G.M. I please let them know well today is is a big day for America isn't it it's the Super Bowl No what I want you to do on the count of three I want you to shut off the team that you're rooting for to win Ready one two three Care as.You know that Lance A in New England and who cares I'm looking forward to a good game and some good barbecue hamburgers that's what I'm really looking forward to but America is a great country unfortunately have two teams that are playing that I don't care about it's also a big country and I have had the privilege I don't know if most people have a privilege like this but I know the problems of living in three different parts of our wonderful country I grew up in Spokane Washington lived there for nineteen years and then I moved to Grand Rapids Michigan and I lived there for thirteen years and the last ten I have been here in in Phoenix Arizona and all three of these locations that I have lived in are there different there are some significant differences there's a significant difference with the weather of all three places and the terrain of all three places in fact you know growing up in Spokane it was surrounded by mountains but I didn't really realize that and so I went to Grace Bible College and when I came back for my first Christmas break I remember my mom driving us home and I'm like where do all these mountains come from I've seen in my whole life in Michigan you just see the tops of the trees you know and then moving down here to Phoenix which is which is very unique and very different compared to other parts of the country but you know as we look at our our United States it is a very you know somewhat unified country we have same traditions and cultures but there are some differences for those of you we live kind of on the West Coast and the people on the East Coast have kind of a different stereotype especially for those of you maybe grew up on the east. Because it's kind of represented by people who are are busy and bossy and loud in and rude some people say that I'm not just saying that and then you come out to the west coast and everyone is just laid back for the most part very very relaxed everyone sleeps in until noon out there on the West Coast but things are definitely different I came across a couple I love looking at these different lists I came across this one I'll read a few of these and it says you know you're from the Midwest I know I've done some of these before about already a few of those for you how many how many of you grew up with spent time in the Midwest or on the East Coast OK so most of you will probably understand this you know you're from the Midwest if casserole is a food group.You look people in the eye smile and say hello and walking down the street if you know what need higher by the Fourth of July means years and what that means corn that's right if you've ever vacationed in the Wisconsin Dells.Water parks in the Wisconsin Dells you're OK If you consider the Great Lakes me better than any ocean you might be from the Midwest medium potatoes are your diet if you're from the Midwest. If you or someone you know owns a lake house complete with pontoon boat if you crave blue moon ice cream make your tongue all blue is wonderful even if you don't call it a bubble or you know what it is you know what a bubble or is it's a drinking fountain that's right instead of going camping you always say that you're going up north that's true in Phoenix to say that you can in name at least three people have hit a deer while driving.You make a mean puppy chow that's what's really good you have no idea what a hill is you might be from the Midwest and the last one there is many more but if you've ever gone trick or treating with snow pants on you might be from Midwest. Well Phoenix we have our own things about Phoenix. There is a list of people from Phoenix would only understand that no Mexican food anywhere else in the US especially the East Coast is as authentic and as amazing as it is here in Phoenix I love Mexican food another one there are a few extreme pains that you experience as often as coming in contact with the seat belt buckle during the summer time.If you've ever left Chapstick in your car and it melted the room the upholstery you might be from Phoenix if you don't understand what daylight savings time is you might my kids have been here pretty much their whole life they probably have no idea what that is if you've ever been inside or within a few miles of those massive end of the world looking her boobs and we know I don't pronounce those things there isn't a great lack of earthquakes tornadoes hurricanes and other natural disasters or Grange but we have our own terrors in the various insects reptiles arachnids and plants the plants will hurt you here in the in the Southwest also if it's a dry heat is basically your unofficial slogan. And the last one if you've ever felt genuine happiness because today was going to be under one hundred degrees. Oh it's less than a hundred today it's wonderful but you know you talk about those differences from the Midwest and the East Coast in the West Coast but the bottom line is it's still America and we still have the same essential foundation we all celebrate the Fourth of July we celebrate it on the Fourth of July just like Christmas is on Christmas Fourth of Julys on Fourth of July we have thanksgiving same holidays the post office is closed everywhere in the United States so if you're in America things are very very similar and what I'm doing today is I'm going to be introducing a new sermon series and before I tell you a book it is what I want you to do is I want you to imagine something very terrifying is going to happen today OK So imagine you're watching the game and it's half time and you hear a knock on your door and you open it up and you see this terrifying sight.The Royal Canadian Canadian Mounted Police are at your door Canada is going to invade us today that's right they're going to invade and that the whole country because it's too much but they want Phoenix because of the nice weather so Canada invades Phoenix today they knock on your door and they say you're coming with US A and they're very polite very polite and they say you're coming with those who are going to relocate you although we have to Edmonton Alberta.How would your life be different. There's a couple benefits you have much more Canadian bacon and maple syrup is one of the benefits you know you think of Canada and it's probably not that much different of a let's say something like this were to happen and you had to move whether by choice or not your choice to a city where everything is going to be different maybe Iraq or Baghdad Iraq or Kabul Afghanistan.Or Timbuktu or some some other place Kathmandu Nepal or somewhere where the culture is very very different like Los Angeles California have to go someplace that is very different you know parts of your life would be different and you would adapt to those things but there are some things in your life that should not change in fact a person can live their entire life in the same location and everything around them will slowly hand slowly become different and we have this choice will we adapt to what is new or will we hold on to the things that we're supposed to hold onto. You know play a short video clip from Paul Harvey how many of you remember Paul Harvey good day you have to say that I've just say Paul Harvey and he did this back in nineteen sixty five some of you may have heard this before I think it just went around Facebook recently where Paul Harvey in one thousand nine hundred eighty five so we're talking about fifty two years ago said this commentary on if I was the devil if I was the devil how. I try to influence the world and so let's show this and this is already have been for years ago.If I were the Prince of Darkness I'd want to wind up the whole world in darkness and I'd have a third of its real estate and or bits of its population but I wouldn't be happy until my obscene the ripest apple on the tree.So I set about however necessary to take over the United States I'd support the churches first I began with a campaign of whispers with the wisdom of a serpent I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve it was me use. To the young I would whisper that the Bible is a myth I would convince them that man created god instead of the other way around I would get by did want to add is good and what's good is square and the old I would teach to pray after me Our Father which art in Washington.And then I get organized I dedicate authors in how to make a lot of literature exciting so that anything else that appeared on the not interesting I've written T.V. with dirtier movies and vice a versa I don't not comics to whom I could I'd sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction I tremble as the rest would build if I were the devil I'd soon have families at war with themselves churches at war with themselves and nations at war with themselves until each in its turn was consumed and with promises of higher ratings I'd have mesmerizing media fanning the flames if I were the devil I wouldn't go to schools during fine young intellect neglected discipline emotions just let that was run wild until before you knew it you'd have to have drug sniffing dogs and metal detectors and every schoolhouse door within a decade I'd have prisons overflowing I'd have judges from holding pornography so I could have picked not from the courthouse and from the school house and then from the houses of Congress and in his own churches I would substitute psychology for religion and began by science I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls and church money if I were the devil I'd make the symbol of Easter Egg and this. Christmas a bottle if I would the devil I know to have and to those who wanted until I had killed the incentive not the ambition What do you bet I couldn't get old state you promote gambling as the way to get bridge.I would caution against extreme. And hard word in patriotism and moral conduct. I would conventional young that marriage is old fashioned and swinging is more fun that what you see on T.V. is the way to be and I wish I could under as you in public.And I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure.In other words if I were the devil I just keep right on doing what he's doing.Blowhard a.Thousand nine hundred sixty five yeah good day that's also a good day one thousand nine hundred sixty five in Paul Harvey was saying this is kind of the direction America is going and yeah.And we see it today and yeah Satan is at work in this shouldn't surprise us because Satan has always been at work in every culture in every society and this is exactly what he always does well I'm getting in a short series a new series a new sermon series and it's on four young men who found themselves living in a nother city in another culture in another society and what we do is we see in these four young men what it means to stay strong in their face and these young men throughout their entire lives stay committed you know our mission here and Grace Bible Church of Phoenix is developing committed followers of Jesus Christ through the teaching encouragement of God's word we want to see people who don't just say I'm a follower of Jesus Christ but people who are there committed. If things change in your life it shouldn't change your commitment and so I want you to imagine we're probably not going to be invaded by Canada or. Some other place but if something in your life were to change would your commitment to Christ change like if you had if you won the lottery would your commitment to Christ change definitely tempted I'm sure if you lost your job. Would your commitment change if you lost a family member would your commitment change if you if you gained a family member if you if you became permanently disabled how would your commitment change if you were diagnosed with an incurable disease would you commit to Christ change well the truth is that our surroundings change all the time but our commitment to Christ should not and so the book that we're going to do a series on is Daniel so you probably figure that out by now you can open your Bibles are right now this kind of right in the middle of the Bible Daniel. And also we're going to be doing this Daniel's Chapter twelve chapters chapters one through six are narrative their stories and that's were mainly in be focusing on in the series that's going to be a short series and James was about four or five months in First Corinthians was an entire year we will be in Daniel for nearly that long but also next month just kind of a heads up next month as March and we have not done this in a while and so we're going to be looking at Daniel and then for March we're going to have man month again and some of you are like what in the world is man month you have no idea what it is well during the month of March we're going to do is a series directed specifically or primarily to the men it's time for us to be leaders and to step up and take responsibility that God has given to us and so we're going to do a variety of things in the month of March only men will be up on stage not that women shouldn't be on stage is just man let's stand up and let's take some leadership and some ownership and we're going to have a gun event on the second Saturn second Sunday so we're going to want to the desert and shoot things and blow things up and you know have fun with that we're going to have man meals in between the first in the second service guys make some really great meals and then also at the very end of the month we're. To do what I've done before we did man month twice a back in two thousand and eleven and two thousand and twelve and they are now four guys teaching to do kind of like a crash course on how to do a sermon and they're going to preach the last Sunday in March and then also the first Sunday in April they're going to switch the two in the first service to a second service and they're going to switch and I'll let you know who those guys are soon as I get those commitments but we're looking I'm looking forward to that and so that will kind of be right in the middle of our series on Daniel but if you're in the Book of Daniel what I want to do is we're just going to do a very brief introduction on Daniel before we really get into the first story by what I want to do is I want to read Chapter one The first seven verses so let's go ahead and read this and kind of get ourselves for MIL you're with The Book of Daniel. Daniel one verse seven new one one hundred seven it says. In the third year of the reign of joy king of Juda never can as your king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it and the Lord gave joy king of Juda in his hands in some of the vessels of the house of God and he brought them to the land of Shiner to the house of his God and placed the vessels in the treasury of his God Then the king commanded Ashton as the chief unic to bring some of the people of Israel both of the royal family and of the nobility use without blemish of good appearance and skilful and all wisdom endowed with knowledge and understanding learning and competent to stand in the king's palace and it teaches them the literature and the language of the hell DNS The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate and of the wine that a drink they were to be educated for three years and at the end of the time they were to stand before the king among those were Daniel and in Iowa Michele and Azariah of the tribe of Judah and the chief of the UNIX gave them the names Daniel he called as our he called Shadrach Michel he called me Shad. And as he called a Ben ago and so here's a little background on Daniel this happened according to the study notes that I have from the years six zero five B.C. to five hundred thirty six B.C. And so Daniel and his three friends were in captivity for roughly seventy years sixty nine or seventy years and one of the methods that we see the Babylonians did instead of going in and trying to conquer and destroy a nation what they did was ingenious they took the best and the brightest and they tried to make them like themselves tried to assimilate them try to force them to become Babylonians teach them how they think how they act and if you can get the best and the brightest in the future leaders to buy in whole heartedly to your way of life what are they going to do to the rest of the people and so this was their methodology and so this is what the Babylonians were doing a couple other things about this god of war in the nation of Israel that if they obeyed God they'd be blessed but if they disobeyed God something like this could happen I want to go and look at a couple warnings that God gave to the nation of Israel and here we see in Daniel those are still men of these warnings in these prophecies go over to Leviticus Chapter twenty six.Leviticus Chapter twenty six. And this is right as the Israelites were taking possession of the promised land.And God warned them Leviticus twenty six beginning in verse three.He said to them he said if you walk in my statutes and obey my commandments and do them in other words watch what you think what you believe in what you do first for he says then I will give you your reigns in their season and the land show yields its increase and the trees of the field shall you'll bear fruit your threshing shall last is the time of the great harvest and they repurpose last of the time of the sowing and you. Eat of your bread to the full and well in your land securely I will give peace in the land and you shall lie down and none shall make you afraid and I will remove harmful bees from the land of the sword shall not go through your land and so God is saying if you follow my commandments if you believe what I tell you and if you put that into practice you will be secure and then God gives Israel this warning look at verse fourteen.But if you will not listen to me and you will not do all these commandments if you spurn my statues and if your soul a boar's my rules so that you will not do any of my commandments but break my covenant then I will do this to you verse thirty three he says I was gather you among the nations and I will and she's the sword after you and your land shall be a desolation and your cities shall be a waste and jump down the verse thirty nine says and those of you who are left shall water away in your enemies lands because of their iniquity and also because of the iniquities of their fathers that they shall rot away like them and so unfortunately we get to the time of Daniel and his friends in the nation and turn their back on God And so this prophecy or this warning is being fulfilled there is another specific prophecy that took place against the nation of Israel because of one of their king this king has acquired and this is found in Second Kings Chapter twenty. So turn over the Second Kings Chapter twenty.KING As acquired did this and there was a prophecy against what was going to happen because of it and this is about one hundred years before Daniel takes place so Seven Kings Chapter twenty verse twelve it says at that time Murdock ballad on the Son of God and King of Babylon sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah for he heard that Hezekiah had been sick and Hezekiah welcomed him and he showed him all the treasures his house the silver the gold the spices the precious oil his armory and all that was found in his store houses there was nothing in his house or in all his. That Hezekiah did not show them the nose Isaiah the prophet came to King as a kite and said to him what did these men say and from where did they come to you and Hezekiah said well they have come from a far country from Babylon he said What have they seen in your house and Hezekiah answered Well they have seen all that is in my house there is nothing in my storehouse that I did not show them and so you have to think Hezekiah What were you thinking this is probably a mixture of arrogance and ignorance he is showing a foreign country everything and so what do you think that's going to do they're going to go back to Babylon and tell them this is a wealthy nation one hundred years later he had to pay for that but in verse sixteen Isaiah tells Hezekiah what's going to happen then Isaiah said he has a quiet hear the word of the Lord behold the days are coming when all that is in your house and that which your fathers have stored up till this day shall be carried to Babylon nothing shall be left as the Lord and some of your own sons whom you will will come from you whether you will father whom you will father shall be taken away and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. Then Hezekiah said Isaiah the word of the Lord you that you have spoken is good for he thought why not if there will be peace and security in my days.That's a good lesson to learn sometimes we say I don't care what happens in the future as long as my present situation is going to be taken care of but there are consequences for our actions and sometimes those consequences they might not happen immediately but they will and so that's the setting for the Book of Daniel and so we find ourselves kind of thrown into this this period of time in Israel's existence where Babylon came in and displaced the nobility of Israel and they brought them to Babylon Well there are four main themes in in.Daniel that I want to look at I'll just briefly give those to you right now won't say too much I think you're. Kind of see those as we go through just like James had it's main main theme or main focus of the book of James was maturity to be mature we see these course themes and there's more but these four main themes and that is this the first thing is that God's children can be faithful even living amidst a corrupt generation God's children can be faithful second second theme I have some passages that I was going to get into I won't right now I will get into those as we're going to go into the series the second one is the God will use his true children to influence the last and global and national leaders God uses his children to influence others in fact I do want to read this passage I want you to turn over the first Peter to. First Peter chapter two here Peter is really encouraging the readers of this book to live good lives among the pagans and so he says this first Peter chapter two we're encouraging says this beloved I urge us Sojourners and as exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh which wage war against your soul. Verse twelve keep your conduct among the Gentiles on arable so that when they speak against you is evil doers they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day a visitation and so if we as God's children watch our conduct it will be used by God as a testimony to the nations and to a corrupt generation. Another theme that we're going to see and this is something we see also Scripture and that is that God opposes the proud but exalts the humble we see that also Scripture says when pride comes then comes disgrace but was wisdom the hope but with the humble there is wisdom and the force a key theme that we're going to see and we see especially see that in the last. Six chapters of Daniel which we won't spend too much time in but that is that God is in control of human history God is in perfect control of human history in efficient chapter one Paul writes to those an emphasis and he writes to us and he says in him we have obtained an inheritance having been predestined No Listen to this according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will and other words God knows exactly what is supposed to happen what will happen in the future and there's nothing that mankind can do to subvert or stop God's plan from taking place and so we see that taking place in the Book of Daniel and we see that taking place in our lives today and so when we look at the world around us when we get scared and confused we can relax and know God's in control and God's timeline is exactly where it should be and all we need to do is humbly live our lives for him and be used by God for His glory.You know like Daniel and his friends I'm looking forward to the series for those of you who have never read or heard any of the stories in the Book of Daniel These are some of the really good ones Jim you're going to enjoy some of these stories are wonderful and what we'll do is we'll try to get some inspiration from Daniel and his friends and they were able to be aware of the cultural influences that were going on around them and they made a decision early on in their life they said you know what we might be living in a foreign land but we are Hebrews we are children of the One True God and my commitment to God is not going to change so we'll see these different events that come up in their life and how they're able to stay committed and so I hope that what we will do as we see the world around us always changing and maybe will be inspired by their fierce commitment and loyalty to God that we will continue to develop our commitment to Jesus Christ No Paul says in Philippians two to forty. In fifteen he says do all things without grumbling or disputing that you may be blameless and innocent children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation among whom you shine is lights in the world. That's what God wants from us to be lights in a crock generation N. and I think it's wonderful how it says in verse fourteen do all things without grumbling or disputing it's amazing how our piece in our patients will really be a shining testimony to the world around us well for the next couple months I hope the testimony of these four young men these four faithful servants of God will inspire us to be faithful as well as we live in this day and age Let's close in prayer. Dear Lord I thank you for giving us your entire word and we see men and women. Showing in developing their commitment and you from Genesis all the way through the Book of Revelation and lore we just take time these next two or three months as we look at Daniel Shadrach Meshach and Abednego and we look at these men and how they chose to be committed to you Lord I pray that that will increase our awareness of of of what are our enemy the devil our adversary is doing in the world around us he is he is roaring like a lion looking for someone to devour and so help us to be aware of these cultural influences and to develop that firm conviction and commitment the Lord the things that should not change won't and may we just be inspired by the testimony that you've given to us in the Book of Daniel so now Lord I pray that you'll keep us safe and especially as we come back next week to continue to worship you pray these things in Christ.And I mean the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all meant.
Preacher: Josh WhiteAnd I'm not going to do that today because we're done with James and just as you know as I've already made mention to next week we're now frosting Kathy Hanson here and they're going to share with us their ministry and then the following we're going to begin a new series would you like to know what the series is well I'm not going to tell you I'm going to give you in suspense but it's going to be from the Old Testament I like to try to have a little bit about Winston and the preaching and so we're going to look at a Bible from a book from the Old Testament but I'm really grateful I'm personally excited that the Hansens are going to be here next Sunday I've known them for many years in fact I first met frosting Kathy back in March or April of two thousand so that's that's actually quite a long time ago on my church back in Michigan we did a mission trip to Santa Cruz Bolivia and so we met them we spent a week with them and I've got to know them pretty well over the years and in about I think I don't know if I have these dates correct but around two thousand and five frosty and Kathy left of the mission field in Bolivia and they moved back to the United States where frosty accepted the position of the president of the greatest possible fellowship we as a church we're an independent Bible Church but we are part of a fellowship of churches and so we're part of the Grace gospel fellowship and Frosty was the president for a good old thirteen fourteen years I believe and now that he's he's resigned and retired from that position but he still feels like he has more work to do and so this is interesting I don't know how often things like this happen but frosting cats are going to go back to Bolivia where they spent all these years minister into and building up churches and training pastors and so I'm excited for them I bet they're just anxious to see after some thirteen fourteen fifteen years being away from these people see the progress in their lives it's sort of like. I think that they probably feel about the Bolivians as a parent does for his children and they are able to see the. Aggressive hopefully be able to really invest in a new generation. You know I think one of the biggest changes and one of the most positive changes that a person can go through and their life if the Lord allows them to experience this is for them to become a parent it's hard to tell a brand new mother that's a good thing because usually they're absolutely exhausted and this is really a good thing no actually it really is but soon as you become a parent your life is just it's just different before you're a parent life is all about you you're selfish and that's OK I don't mean that in a bad way you just how does the world affect me and then soon as you're a parent all of a sudden all wait a second now I need to concern myself with another life and up until you have children you're thinking Well these are all my hopes in my dreams and this is what I want to call Bush in life and and then you have a child and hopefully you don't take all of those and you're dump them on the child but but you you start to want and desire good positive things for your child and the saying is that as you're growing up and you're single and you don't have any kids you know you start thinking that some things are just they're just no big deal you kind of taken for granted like especially on issues of safety how many of you like to run around the house with scissors in your hand you know you know it doesn't matter and so it's OK Well you see a child with scissors in their hand you know the world coming to an end and you've got to grab it out of their hands and and soon as you're a parent you're more responsible you're more aware of what's going on around you you're definitely more protective and as a parent you realize that to some degree. We don't have complete control over a child's life but we have a burden of responsibility if you're the parent to put a child on the right path and if you take that child you put them on the right path hopefully they will become mature and effective and responsible in their life down the road and that's that's a big burden and that's should be a passion of every parent. Being a parent helps us to understand.How God feels about us is one of the best ways for us to understand how God feels about us God desires to help us and our set our lives on the right path because people can get on the wrong path and it will lead to a lot of frustration and heartache and destruction in their life and one of the ways that God helps to get us on the right track as we know he's given us His Word but he also asks us and calls us to come to Him in prayer because when we pray what happens is when we're spending time in prayer with God It helps us to sort of get inside the head in the heart of God so that we can understand the direction he desires for our life to go. Well we just finished up James and the last few verses we were talking about prayer and when I started looking at this last section and James I thought well I was going to do all four of those prayer requests and one Sunday and then I started studying I don't know I need to break this up I can do in two weeks and I looked a little more although I got to do it in three weeks and what I first thought is I'm going to look at this and I want to do is I want to compare these these four per request that we see in the end of James to maybe some other prayer requests that we see throughout Scripture and so I started started looking at that and I started seeing you know what exactly are we supposed to be praying for because James only last for things he talks about praying for the suffering praying for the sick praying for our nation and praying for the Wanderers those who are believers who are one are away from the Lord and so what I did I was I was took a look at all the different verses in the Bible to talk about prayer and I said well there's a lot here so I I limited them to Paul OK what does Paul say about prayer and I was hoping that a pattern would emerge that Paul repeatedly says pray about this pray about this and lo and behold he does and so what I'm going to do this morning on our last sermon on for. Prayer is just highlight to reoccurring prayers the Pauli there prays for her he asks us to pray for and as we look at these two I guess it helps us to to look at our life and in the life of others similar to that of a parent and a parent Their desire is that the child will grow up in their house and they will learn things important useful things and that eventually they will leave the house right and get out there and put those things in action sometimes the leaving is difficult maybe they don't want only but I know that's what I'm hoping for my kids Jackie can stay home forever I don't care about that but the boys you know get get them out of the house you know have them earn a living and but we want the kids to learn and then go and we see this prayer repeated over and over in Paul's Epistles he is praying for us to know certain things and then go and put it into practice and so we're going to look at those two today in fact if you look in your sermon notes you'll see that those are the two words for a main points to know and to go so now let's take a look at these prayer so that we can make these prayers our own prayers and for those that we love so the first prayer that we see repeated is prayer is that we will know that we will increase in knowledge and understanding of God's will and if you think about it from a practical standpoint we can't go out there and be effective for God in our relationship with God and tell we no knowledge should come before action right unless you live by the mantra ready shoe game you heard that before a lot of people live that way right there on T.V. all the time and so let's take a look at a few passages where Paul prays for our knowledge of God in our face to grow the first one is in a fish and Chapter three.So your bible sufficiency chapter three.And will begin in verse fourteen.Visions chapter three it's kind of hard to know exactly when to start Paul is a little long winded in the fusions.And so we just come in this has a couple run ons and one of this is this is one of the run on sufficient Chapter Three beginning in verse fourteen this is what Paul is praying for those in F. as. Paul says verse fourteen chapter three. For this reason I bow my knees before the father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named that according to the riches of His glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through face that you being rooted and grounded in love and this is our main verse or verse eighteen may have strength to comprehend with all the saints What is the breadth and length and height in depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled with all the fullness of God And so Paul prays that those an episode is that they will know the love of Christ and all just all be honest and maybe you can kind of relate to this for me that knowledge of God's love personally it's sort of it's like it comes in waves there are times when we talk about God's love and I realize OK God loves me and that's sort of kind of acknowledging that yeah I understand God loves me it's like when a parent tells their child I love you and they say yeah yeah yeah I know you love me and then there are some times when you read about God's love for us or for me and I go. Oh.I. Am so unworthy of his love and yet he loves me.In some. One day when we stand before God and His presence for eternity we will understand when it talks about the love that God has for us in fact the entire world will understand what God's love is for some people it's going to be too late but for those who've accepted that love we will fully understand and then Paul says something I think that is worth looking at look at verse seventeen he says this to them he says that you being rooted and grounded in love and then he says this in verse eighteen may have strength to comprehend with all the saints now that word for comprehend is the Greek word Catalan Bano which means to lay a hold of or to make something one's own when you comprehend something you have made something your own you have taken ownership of this and so Paul is praying that we won't just know about God's love but that we will own it and this will be our knowledge that this is his relationship with us this is the prayer of the Polish praying that these people will say when we talk about God's love We're not talking about how God feels about other people I mean that obviously applies we're talking about how God feels about you. And you will only listen saying this is what God is talking about with me you know how much more interested are we in things when it's all about us you know obviously we are you know like for instance a job description Have you ever have somebody what that what they do for a living and they'll start telling you and you're paying attention you're all that's really interesting and but your heart doesn't really ever get into it because it's not about you what if you were to walk into the office tomorrow of the supplies doing your in your boss as we are we are reassigning you were changing your job description as he's describing your new job how how much are you going to listen to that you're really going to listen to that because this is about you in your life I remember I. We talked about this with our kids Kyle and Kilgore pretty good at math better than I am and I remember I think I was like a junior senior in high school and because my last name is white you can figure out where I sat in the classroom those are the very far and on the right hand side towards the very back and it just so happened that there was this charge or this this poster on the wall and you know when you ever you always say in math class when are we going to ever need to use this stuff well there is this this this chart on the wall and said when we're going to use this stuff and I had these two things that had different professions different jobs and they had different math equations math problems and at that time I was thinking I'm probably going to go to Grace Bible College and I'm really thinking about becoming a pastor and guess what Pastor was in on there so I thought I would ever have to do you learn any of this stuff and so it was hard for me sometimes to really pay attention because you besides the test that we're going to take next Friday I might not ever use this well that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it you know parents aren't you just longing for the day when your child is going to make something their own or something is going to click and they're going to say this is this is for me this is this is mine and when that happens then you see you start to see a person really become mature God is wanting us to know about his love not just know he died on the cross in rose from the grave but to comprehend this that this is about you this is the prayer that Paul prays for those in FS this and how we should pray for ourselves God help me understand and comprehend you're talking about you and me this is about us not about other people that doesn't apply but about us you know when it comes to church when we come to church and when you read your bible how often do you sit there and you realize you know this is this is about me that's what God is. That's how we should pray that we will grow in this knowledge another verse in Philippians turn over in our Bibles to Philippians.Relations effusions Philippines just over a couple pages in the Bible. Philippians one.Beginning in verse nine.Libyan's one nine.And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more with knowledge and all discernment so that you may improve what is excellent and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ. We are first to pray that we will comprehend God's love for us then we are to pray that our love will be based on knowledge and discernment you know it's interesting thing about these two words you know sometimes we look at all the craziness in the world that's going on around us and and we see a lot of people who are passionate and is very zealous about whatever their opinions are on at that given moment but if that passion and love and if that zeal isn't based on truth this is important for us to realize then people are living in deception and so the word for knowledge usually when you see the word knowledge in the New Testament is just the word you know so which means to become aware of something to learn something to be to have an awareness of something this world is epic you know it's this which means to have the correct knowledge there is a difference between knowing about something and having the correct knowledge and so Paul is praying that your love will abound in the correct truth not just any truth but the correct truth and you will have just sermons the sermon is when we're able to perceive something not only by our senses but also with our intellect. Sermon is being able to take what we know is true and make observations so that we put into practice so love it's an emotion and it goes beyond just emotion it should be based on truth and facts and we will be wise enough to discern that and then he says that he hopes that their love will abound and that means to exceed to go beyond a certain measure Well what does that look like you think about what would it look like a person has true knowledge and discernment and they are abounding in love that's really hard to understand and hard to comprehend isn't it but if you have a person who is abounding in true knowledge and the sermon and love you have a really useful tool in the hand of God And so that's why God is praying for us to be just like that while there are more verses but I want to look at just one more about prayer about us growing in knowledge now it's kolache in this chapter for cautions chapter four.Verse twelve.Cautions chapter four just over your bible just a few more pages cautions for verse twelve Paul says this. Past first who is one of you a servant of Christ Jesus greets you always struggling on your behalf in his prayers that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in higher obligates.This word for fully assured you know it I think that's an important phrase when a person is fully assured of God's will then they're going to make the right decision I mean how many times do we we were tossed to and fro like the waves of the sea because we're not quite sure what we're supposed to do in any given situation what a person who is fully assured in the will of God their life they're going to be able to enjoy a harvest of righteousness they should. Expect hardship and suffering if you're fully assured of the will of God It doesn't mean that you got everything figured out you will experience hardships and sufferings but you will know that you can get through those things because you know what God's will is because your mind is going to be clear and stable Well when you pray for things you look at just this first word to know we pray that we know do you pray this for yourself how often do you pray that you will grow in your knowledge of God and not just your familiarity but in your comprehension of his love for you well that's what we should be praying for and we should be praying this for others as well and hopefully all of us will grow up in the face and we will know God more and be able to discern God's way from the world's way and that's the foundation upon which we become a chore However having a whole bunch of knowledge without action leads to immaturity and so that's why we also see Paul's praying many times now we will take that knowledge and we will go and we will do something with it so now let's look at the prayers that tell us to go you know James said someone will say to me you have faith and I have work so show me your face apart from your works and I will show you my face by my works Paul says something very similar in Romans one he says through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of face for the sake of his name among the nations so Paul and James are saying the same thing you have to face great put it into practice put it into action and there are many places where we see this encourage men to put our face into practice but the first one I want to look at this morning is in filing and so turning your Bibles to file a month.And having you turn to the right all morning long have you turned back here in just a minute but finally meant if you never read the book of filing when you should it's a book that I actually find it humorous.There's lots of different genre of Scripture you we have apocalyptic literature that's worth. God is describing to us future events we have narrative we have. Been here finally human is sarcastic. Paul I think is a very sarcastic in the way that he's talking if I leave it maybe using a little reverse psychology but Paul wrote to find the man who was a very wealthy man and he had a slave named Onassis and so Paul centeredness of us back to fire Lehman and he sort of we're not going to read this but he sort of telling him If you're going to if you're truly mature in your face you're going to release Onassis and so you can redesign your own but here in the first few verses Paul says this to finally men are laymen verse five. Only one chapter here funnymen verse five Paul writes to him it says. Because I hear of your love and of the face that you have towards the Lord Jesus and for all the saints and I pray that the sharing of your face may become affective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. And so Paul's concern for Filey men was that he might potentially not put his faith into practice so he prays that he does practice or share his face and that when he does that it will work it will become affective and local universe five. Again he says because I think I hear of your love and of the faith that you have towards the Lord Jesus and for all the saints you know for him and whether this is true or not and I think for all of us this love that he has just like the love that we have for the family believers might just be limited to just the signal of humans I know that I'm family members with these people for eternity and I'm supposed to love them and we just kind of let it just sit right there the trouble is if that love doesn't make its way into action then that now that knowledge. We'll never mature you know we all might tend to do this just going to be satisfied with having the right opinion in the right position on some different subject how many of us when we study the Bible were really concerned about having the right doctrinal position about whatever topic it is and we're just fine with just sitting there having the right opinion God doesn't give us this information just so that we can know certain things he wants us to actually put them into practice and so far Lehman has a specific opportunity here well Paul is writing to file Lehman and that is to free own essence and the thing is that all of us have opportunities we have opportunities all around us some opportunities last for just a moment it's like one opportunity to serve it's maybe sharing your faith with another person and some of our opportunities last literally they can last a lifetime like being a parent is an opportunity marriage is even one of these opportunities and so we should pray for ourselves and each other that we will put our face into practice in every opportunity that we face and that will that will have the wisdom really to recognize those opportunities when they come another one our last verse for this morning's in Colossians four. So turn back in your Bible to collage in chapter four.And this prayer is not just to take advantage of the opportunities that are right in front of you but to pray for opportunities to be opened up to you cautions for verse two it says.Continue steadfastly in prayer being watchful and it with Thanksgiving at the same time for a Also for us that God may open to us a door for the word to declare the mystery of Christ on account of which I am in prison you know one Paul wrote this he was in prison and you know your repose of puzzles and I think we know a little bit enough about Paul I get this image of Paul being I've used this. Example before I picture him kind of being like a D.N.A. divied Oh well you know a little shorter in stature and and but just really feisty and having so much energy that he probably annoys the people that he's around because he has too much energy you know anyone like god like they never stop they never and so here poles in prison and he has all this knowledge Well what do you what does a person like that do they pray for opportunities to share that and so that's what he's asking people pray for me that I will I have opportunities to share this knowledge and if you're here and you're responded the right way to every opportunity that God has ever given to you go ahead and pray that God will give you more opportunities usually we don't have to pray that we have to say will help me do that opportunities are in front of us but I see this prayer. Specifically for someone like Paul and it fits perfectly with people that are like missionaries or even organizations or churches this is the kind of her that we should pray for them people who have or organizations who have devoted full time energy and effort to sharing the message of Christ that we pray that opportunities will be open to them I'm really glad that we're having our missions conference next Sunday and that we that frosty and Kathy will be able to share with us their ministry their ministry is difficult they are out there trying to get into a new culture and share the love of Jesus Christ and so what we should be doing is praying that God will open up doors and opportunities for them Nathan and Jessica Killian have not been here for a couple of years but I remember when he was talking about how they're going to go to a country that is predominantly Hindu and they're trying to explain that there is one God and that God sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins that country has no foundation upon which they can comprehend the love of Christ and so we need to pray that God will open up doors for people like them that people will understand the God will open up. For them they need our prayers and so do we need our prayers for ourselves especially that they won't get discouraged Well one last time I want to do this one last time and I want to just spend a few moments praying these prayers pray that we will know and pray that we will go and so I invite you just right now it's about your heading to close your eyes and just spend a few moments and all lead us and just a couple minute time of prayer and that we will pray these things and so first I encourage you first and foremost to pray for yourself pray that you will understand God's truth that you can that you can comprehend it and make it your own Spend just a few moments just praying for yourself right nowand also pray that as you learn more about God that He will help you clearly be able to discern his will and every situation pray that God will give you wisdom to accompany your knowledgeand now pray that you will go. Pray that you will respond to the opportunities around you that God will make clear how you can serve him and that he will give you the strength and the desire to do it as welland finally pray for our missionaries who have dedicated their time to spreading the gospel of Christ ask that God will open doors for effective ministry open to them and for us as well as the church.I meant to do this before the sermon I realized halfway through the sermon that we have a video from the cool arts and maybe this is very appropriate so we are we just prayed for them hopefully prayed for them and now we're going to have an update from Delta and Alex Goulart So let's go ahead to the right now.And.So now we have a little bit more of a space Hello Bible and church.Eleven thirty five life sadly to be late I know that you would not believe that but the kids we have. Now.But it's not normal this is not every night that we came from an activity but we want to say hi yes special church that we remember you but we remember the people that are out of time there and how you much and how much you bless I tell you that it's late here so.Now we want to share with you that.Yes I have though we have a little notes because we don't want to forget what we want to say to you.Last year was wonderful we had a fan feel to God he's grazing his mercy in our life it's amazing we don't deserve to be part of what he's doing here but we are part and. You are part of so well and so we say things to the lower.Today we have to Bible studies.Here in faraway you know House one on one is days and one on Sundays and Sundays like a Sunday school stories Sunday service. Yeah.Like a Bible study for months and we have a lot of people that came through the air not everybody that came to be with us but this is normal but we have a lot of people tell that came through and.Yeah and that and excited by trying to listen. That's yeah that's the most important thing and.Giving me this year was really. I had. To spend she listens to different day.Was English lesson the lyrics you know.I tell you that is the grace of.God so this year we're speaking to you to many new people because I think the man's are coming to Spanish lessons and this is the first time that I'm teaching men so.Mad and you go from leave and then she asked me to help him spend.So respect.With the Syrians two girls from Syria. And this year will be busy again and listen. I'm really excited because you know people come into my house you know for sure to share with them their friendship with. And it's not easy because we don't the speak really good to spend.Like the. Possibility to share with them about the Gospel or to talk to my relief.We start with this with the friendship and this is the beginning and yeah it's a very important yeah and for these C.R. that is just started we have the boomers with us another family that came to help us and this is a blessing.Sure we do that we have what we are brain and we going to start searching for a place for a probe or two for a church we don't have even one dollar to buy a piece of land now we don't know if we how long it's going to take to raise the money off we're going to Iran's But we're going to start searching for places and brain because we understand that is time that this is a year to maybe to just set up the church besides the bible studies in our house then next week the team. From.The German community here in Paraguay.They will have I like a mission experience and then we can come to help us for one week but the out of twenty two people and the boomers and we're going to host them so you can pray for us and pray for all the T.V.'s We have a contact from at D.C.M. church in the breasts even inside and there is no church in I don't know ten hours you have to drive ten hours to get up church invested so she said good contact that we can maybe start something in her house by the study or something and she would start a meeting with us to morrow so you can pray for her and pray for these new contact that maybe we can start something in Brazil.And then some prayer request please pray for wisdom that we can have.You know we're going to take good decisions especially how we ministry our time because we have a lot of activities you know Bible studies and I'm teaching in a school that it's a great opportunity to meet people and she's.Yeah yeah.Yeah and all the people that come to B.C. that some people that we're going to be there then all the food that we. Yeah we're going to go and eat. And last but not least. Break for our I became language course bus is really difficult and we really want to learn the language to communicate the gospel to them and when I was in the future maybe we can translate you know race materials seem to be.So much faith Yeah but yeah this is why we ask you to pray because if you don't and we have one more year to go and we hope that we can get a good level. So we can come together yeah.Yeah so Grace what Church thank you so much for all your support and your love we always feel love. Loved by you so thank you so much we hope to see you very soon so you're welcome to come and when we go to the States again for so we're going to beseech you WE LOVE YOU THANK YOU SO MUCH THANK YOU.Thank you I want to I want to great couple hopefully they'll come back here soon and we can see them again in person but I let's just pause in prayer and let's pray for the Who are they have a lot of opportunities so let's pray Dear Lord thank you for today and just as we look at the different passages talking about prayer we are talking we are told to pray for what we know and also to go Sure so Lord even in this moment we pray for our signal to grew our with so many opportunities open before them Lord we believe that you will continue to open those doors for effective ministry for them and also we pray that for our self that we will be aware of the opportunities around us each and every day and for us as a church here in Phoenix so Lord we come to you in prayer we ask that you help us. Become better with prayer now the way that we pray that it will be powerful and effective the Lord thank you for being a God listens to each and every request we love you Lord and we pray this in Christ's name you men and I mean the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the law of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit with you all meant.
Preacher: Josh WhiteThe book of James we do have a video update from talo and we've been doing Skype in the past and we thought lower to services how we're going to do this and so we decided we'd ask them if they could send us like a three or four minute video clip and so here is an update from talo and enjoy.Hey you my dear brothers and sisters. This was in high school you we're in the night before the summer starts seem a starting makes it even and this is so all the preparation as you can see in the back of the steeple working really hard putting everything together there's been many days that we were going for this I'm putting a lot of our effort people from all over Central America many people in song America are coming. And I just want you to pray for this the stars to morrow it goes until the fifteenth a lot of training for these people is going to be able to six hundred kids and I just want you to really one of the main things that we need to pray for is for all the people coming from all these other places please come there's a lot of rain in this area it's very tropical there's a lot of rain so please pray for the weather friends I've got the amazing things in the life of.A little leaguers coming from different Pluto were writing their lives we're putting together an evangelist to go reach We're going to be child to these places what we missed so blissfully region we're going to be nursing homes we're going to be up places for children come home and we're going to be thinking all the places to live to see the we're working with the government we call these there's going to be an amazing. They.All they've been going to be really constantly in the funds going to moving and the like maybe if you look in America really for the practices that are going to have enough to kill you when you knew you were going to Brazil you want a little more reason for steel.People going to be going to be gone and all over soon for America the drug business a little bit of sleep just pray for you to know there's been a few more things but I want to give our.Thanks for being always there to be with Brazil for you all these years I'm thirty and I want to sleep at night all of you I just want to meet you so we're going to show you what's behind the camera.There if you beloved beautiful but it was good but.You know as we had to realize everything that he just mentioned just happened.It's awfully It was a great conference and for those of you who know talo tell has been in our church before he just got married it's all people for years and years and years of the same way going to get married and so now he just shows off as as new bride so we're very happy for him and I don't know the next time he'll be in the United States but hopefully if he's able to come we can out here at our church all right I'd like you open your Bible so the Book of James because today is our final sermon in James.And as I've been thinking about that I have really enjoyed it personally preaching through James and studying James I hope you have to and if anyone were to ask you what the book of James is about I hope now that we've spent the last about five months doing this that you would be able to answer someone and that your answer would speak something like this that James wrote to the true children of God to encourage them. To actually put their faith into practice and ultimately become mature That's why James wrote his book that's why he wrote his letter because he wanted people to become mature and as he finishes his letter he finishes with some prairie question so that's what we've been doing for these last Force three Sundays now and the first Sunday of the new year we looked at first the first two items that James asked us to pray for he asked us to pray for those who are suffering and specifically people who are suffering because of the testimony for Jesus Christ he asks us to pray for people who are sick last week we talked about how he's asking us to pray for our nation and he uses a great example from Alija how allied to his passion for his nation to turn their hearts back to God and now we're going to kind of finish up with verses one thousand and twenty and he doesn't tell us to pray but of course I think that might be implied and we're supposed to do this anyway but this this last per request is a little difficult because it's hard to see this happen to another person and sometimes when we see this events or this situation happening to another person we feel helpless and we're not quite sure what to do before we read the passage I want to put on the screen a hymn and we say a couple him say that was great and this is Come thou fount of every blessing and this is one of the verses or stanza whatever you want to call it a verse or a stanza but as we read this I want you to see if you can relate to this it says oh to Grace how great a debtor daily I am constrained to be led by goodness like a fetter bind my wandering heart to be prone to wander Lord I feel it prone to leave the god i love.You ever sung that song before and we sing this song quite often I guess and here in our church you sing those words prone to wanders anyone. Here Can anyone here relate to that.You know sometimes in our faith personally I can share with myself and I'm sure everyone here would be able to say I feel that way too sometimes I feel like my face is as strong as it can be it is unshakable and I know the right way to think about a situation I know the right way to act in a situation and it's like my faith is is all encompassing every part of my life and then there are other times in my life and I'm sure you can relate to this where you're just tired in discouraged and frustrated when you're around all these you know hypocrites you know people and you think you know maybe maybe there's something else out there that it's better than this and so we start to wonder we start to look for different things out there that that might be able to make us happier and ultimately we end up wondering or going after something that is a lie and so our last couple verses in James is a warning about this type of situation and the message that James is giving to us is for those who are at the present time strong in their faith their stable their mature he's telling them to be on the lookout for those who are wondering but it's also a warning for all of us that if we don't put our faith into practice every single one of us at any given moment can be wandering away from the Lord ourselves so let's read our our passage for today just the last two verses in James verses one thousand and twenty and this is what James says something we should be praying for and also looking out for one thousand says my brothers. If anyone among you wonders from the truth and someone brings him back let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. For this morning we're definitely going to emphasize the first part of that verse nineteen and then as we read this I hope you realize what this is. Not saying what this is not saying is that you or I can save someone if we see someone wandering from the truth whether they're saved or unsaved we can't go after them and save them only God can save a person only the truth or their response to the truth can save someone and so as we read this question the last couple verses we have to ask the question Will who are these wanderers the James is referring to are is James referring to people who are saved people who have have claimed their face in Jesus Christ his death in his resurrection is he talking about people who are true believers or is James talking about the unsaved people who might be aware of the truth before they place their faith in Christ they sort of drift off well I think there is an answer to this question of who is intended audiences but from a practical standpoint it doesn't matter does it our heart should say it doesn't matter if they're saved or unsaved if they're moving away from the Lord our heart's desire should be to go after them however I do believe that the primary intention of what James is talking about is he's dealing with primarily people who are saved I think obviously the application applies to everyone but James main concern here is is for those who have a relationship with God and instead of them working on their maturity they wander away and become friends with the world so this morning let's consider what James is asking us to do and that is to be able to identify when wandering it's taking place and also being willing to engage it when we see it happening you know and I was thinking as we're going through this we're going to pray at the end of the sermon like we have for the last two and I suspect as we're going through this.Most of you here maybe everyone here a name of a family or a friend might come to mind you might be thinking you know this is describing so and so and I hope at the end of this sermon this morning maybe you'll be praying for them and God will really give you the wisdom and courage meant to do something about it but here we have. Two things that we're going to look at this morning we're looking at the danger that James is talking about and then also the goal and so the danger that we see in these two verses is that someone will wander specifically wander away from the truth when James is saying that they're going to wander he's talking about they will wander away from the truth the Greek word for wonder is the Greek word play not O. which means to be led away into error or sin some of your translations might say something different than wonder some of yours might say do error but what this is talking about is someone is being led away into sin and error and remember how earlier when James was talking about people who are suffering there's only four places in the New Testament where this word for suffer is used in three of them were in in TIMOTHY Well Timothy Paul writes to Tim of the about people who wander and so I want to look at a couple examples of wanderers that Paul is addressing to Timothy So turning your Bibles over to First Timothy Chapter one.And hopefully this will give us a greater understanding of what this wandering looks like and what is it what it means so first some of the chapter one. Here Paul is warning Timothy to look out for the Wanderers.For some of the Chapter one beginning in verse five it says this.Is the aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith what is a sincere faith a sincere faith is someone who truly understands the truth and they put it into practice verse six Paul warns me says certain persons by swerving from these have wandered into vain discussion desiring to be teachers of the law without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions there's a lot of people. In the world who have no idea what they're talking about right but they'll tell you everything that they know and in this verse it says that they have wondered they have wondered away from the truth and so some people through the temptation of pride they just want to spotlight and so they'll just wander way from the truth and anyone that will listen to them they'll talk to them they'll tell them or anything they want to know another warning which is one I think all of us can relate to and this is in chapter six of First Timothy. For some of the chapter six.Beginning in verse nine.Says but those who desire to be rich fall into temptation into a snare into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil and here we see the same word it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains and so this is this is pretty easy to understand because money is a temptation that all of us could easily fallen into we get to this idea that you know I know I should serve the Lord and or should make different priorities in my life but if I were just a little bit harder I can have that whatever it is I can have that Corvet I can have that bigger house I can have these things if I just put more time and energy into to getting more money and Satan has been hard at work trying to convince the whole world that money will get you happiness and so one of the ways that Satan deceives believers and nonbelievers into wondering from the truth is with this temptation of money they've wandered away from the face thinking that there is something else out there that can bring them happiness and as we continue to study this before we kind of wander off into what people wonder off into it's important for us to realize something about the word wonder if this Greek word for Wonder is translated into some other. English words and one of the main words it's translated into is the word deceived.This word for Wander is many times translated into the word deceived and the reason for that is because wandering is not so much a physical activity as it is a mental one this wandering begins in the mind and as our minds begin to wonder after things that we think are better than God and His truth then eventually physically we start wandering as well let me give you a couple examples of where this word wander is used in translated into the seed I think I used this verse last week first Corinthians fifteen thirty three I'll read this for you it's as Do not be deceived bad company ruins good morals the word for deceived is wander do not wonder away from the truth and think that you can be yoked with people with bad character so do not be deceived you do not wonder from this truth another one is in second Timothy. Second term of the three verses twelve says indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted while evil people in impostors go on from bad to worse deceiving and being deceived but as for you continuing what you have learned and have firmly believed knowing from whom you have learned it and so this wandering is mental people who wander or are deceived they potentially lead other people away and wandering deceive them and so this is why this this warning is so important here in James and there are consequences when a believer wanders away from the truth when they wander away from the truth mentally they also start sinning and so there's consequences we're not going to look at all these in greater detail I guess as you go through the Bible you see all these warnings eventually but some of the consequences from God towards a child that wanders away. From the truth in Hebrews Chapter twelve talks about how God will discipline us parents what happens when your child physically wanders away from you and they're heading towards danger while sometimes if the danger they are getting into is going to be really minor maybe a let them make a mistake so they learn what the consequences of of wandering away but if it's going to be very severe consequences you're run after them and you discipline them because you don't want them to get hurt and so God will discipline us if we start to wander away because he wants what is best for us another consequences judgement at the Bema Seat of Christ if we wander away from the truth that we might lose years of possible ministry that we will be rewarded for at the Bema Seat of Christ and so if someone wanders away there might be a loss of potential rewards when we face a crisis the Bema Seat who are our sins won't be held against us but the possibility of reward will be lost another consequence from wandering away from the Lord you lose fellowship with other believers you don't have that support system of having other believers to walk alongside of and another last one I'll give you last possible consequence of wandering from God is a person's wandering can lead others astray as well.Have you ever had a friend or a family member sort of wander away from the Lord and convince you to join them or at least tried to convince you to join them or have you ever or hundred away from the Lord and try to make yourself feel better by having people join you in whatever it is whether it's it's things of the mind like gossip and anger and you know things like that or actual sinful activity there are so many warnings all throughout the Bible about this happening and ultimately this wandering is spiritual warfare you know in the fusions Chapter six where Paul is talking about spiritual warfare he says this a fusion Sixten finally be strong in the Lord in the strength of his my. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil and one of the schemes of the devil is to get us to wander and it begins in the mind believing something other than the truth and then eventually leads to action well as we talk about this wandering Can you relate to this I think everyone here should be able to relate to this on some level and have you seen this taking place in the life of another person it's hard to see that take place isn't it sometimes they deceive us into thinking that everything is right so James tells us to watch out and so when we find someone who is wandering away from the truth then what are we supposed to do well that brings us to the second point or the goal if we see someone who is wandering the goal is that we will turn them back to bring them back the Greek word here in James to bring back or to turn back is the Greek word at distressful which simply means to turn oneself around so read our passage again for today versus one thousand and twenty in James says My brothers if anyone among you wonders from the truth and someone turns him around or brings him back let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save a soul from decimal cover over a multitude of sins and so the goal is to bring someone back as their wandering away bring them back you know there's only one of the verse an entire Bible were both of these words for wander and bring back are used in the same sentence it's found in first Peter two twenty five you can turn there were really you're really close to it you can turn there if you like but I'll read this verse for you first Peter two twenty five it says For you were straying like sheep but have now returned to the shepherd and overseer of your souls so Peter is saying you at one time wondered. Now you have turned back to the Lord and so as we're reading this you're thinking wait is this really for save people do save people really need this yeah absolutely Unfortunately yes this is very true and some of you here might be able to share with others a story about your life how for months or maybe even years of your life you have you wandered away from the Lord but somehow maybe through the testimony of another person or or God just you know really his hand was upon you and or maybe reading God's word you you came to realize the truth and you turned back and you came back to him and sometimes to get a believer to turn back and to come back to the Lord God will use one of us he will use one of us to do that this is what Paul talks about Ingle ations Chapter six turn over to collations chapter six.Glaciers Chapter six verse one. It says brothers if anyone is caught in any transgression you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness keep watch on yourself less you to be tempted bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the Law of Christ if anyone is caught in a transgression they are kind of on the outer end of the wandering they've been wandering for a while and they've pierced themselves now they're finally caught up in some sinful activity Well what I want to do is I want to look at there's three examples you might have to go through these rather fast three examples of what happens when someone wandered in how they got brought back three Biblical examples of this and the first one is a really short one but it's dealing with Peter so look over in Luke Chapter twenty two. Luke Chapter twenty two so we have a couple different examples of people wandering and sometimes when a person wanders away from the Lord. It's just for a moment it doesn't go on for a long period of time and others if they wander there and they wander for years and years and years but here's an example of someone who wandered and turned back to the Lord and we see the same Greek word for turn back in this passage Luke twenty two beginning in verse thirty one and this is when Jesus told Peter that he would deny Christ. And Peter said of course not I never do that but here Luke twenty two beginning in verse thirty one it says.Simon sign Jesus talking to Peter here behold Satan demanded to have you that he might sift you like wheat or cause you to wander but I have prayed for you that your face may not fail and when you have turned again when you have turned back when you have been converted so many translations might say that when you have turned again strengthen your brothers Peter said to him Lord I'm ready to go with you both to prison and to death Jesus said I tell you Peter the rooster will not crow this day until you have denied three times that you know me so Peter even think he can be led astray Peter thought I'm not going to wander and yet he did but in a moment he realized what he had done and he turned back to the truth and so that's that's an example of a momentary wandering Now how many of you can relate to this where you did something maybe it was a sinful activity you thought oh boy I'm not going down this path this is going to take me to a place I don't want to go and you turn back that's a great example of what that looks like another example of were already in Luke's or go over to Luke Chapter fifteen. This is the story of the prodigal son.And in this passage this is probably a wandering that went on for years and years and years.Luke fifteen verse eleven.Here we can see this process taking place Luke fifteen eleven says and he said there was a man. Two sons and the younger one of them said to his father Father give me my share of the property that is coming to me and invited his property between them now many days later the younger son gathered all he had chucked a journey into a far country in other words he wandered away he believed a lie that money and fast living was going to bring him happiness and says and there he squandered his property in a reckless living and when he had spent everything a severe famine arose in that country he began to be in need so he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country who sent him into the fields to feed pigs and he was longing to be fed with the pods of the pigs and no one gave him anything in verse seventeen I love this this verse the N.I.V. says when he came to his senses but the S.P. says but when he came to him self he said how many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread but I perish here with hunger I will arise and go to my father and I will say to him Father I have sinned against heaven and before you and so the prodigal son he wondered and then he turned back he wandered away because he believed a lie and that lie ultimately made him realize the truth and he was humble enough to. Turn back you know I wonder about the Prodigal Son it's a parable so it's not an actual event that took place and so it's very vague in its details but I wonder if anyone from his family came and sought him out and said Why are you here. Why don't you come back. Sometimes that's what God is asking us to do to our brothers and sisters who have wandered away well what does it look like when a person turns back when we say that someone should turn back to the Lord what does it look like what I think it starts first and foremost with the truth for someone to come back or turn back to the Lord they recognize that they have been. It into some kind of a lie and they only look to the Bible as their source of truth they don't look to a politician what they have to say or talk show host or or any author secular authors they look to the Word of God as their source of truth another thing the way it looks like is letting truth determine our actions to say this is what I believe is true and so my actions are going to be in alignment with my beliefs another thing and because we're in church we're going to talk about how church plays into this another way it looks when a person turns back is they might become an active part of a local body of believers church has been designed by God for many reasons but one of the reasons one of the benefits of a local congregation is this is a place where we are on the look out for each other when we see somebody wandering away that we might have the graciousness to go after them and say Where you going that's a lie don't do that and church is a place for those who are wandering that they can come back and they can be fed the truth you know the author of Hebrews talks about the importance of us coming together so that we can be a support system for each other the last passage I want you to look at today's and humorous Chapter ten so turn there with me if you will Hebrews Chapter ten.And as we read this last passage I want you to know how many notice how many plurals there are in this this portion of Scripture Heber's Chapter ten beginning in verse twenty three. This talks about the importance of the family of God The family of believers.He was ten verse twenty three it says Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering for he who promised his face full. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. Not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the day drawing near so God's intention is for a body of believers to catch those who are starting to wander and also to be a place not the place but a place that we can bring Wanderers back to.You know as we've been going through this and as we wrap up the book of James.This is real this is hard to see in the life of another person as as we're going to spend just a moment praying for ourselves and for other people I hope to God maybe has brought someone to mind as I was studying this there is someone that the God has brought to my mind and now I need to figure out a way to go to them and figure out what I'm going to say in the hope hopefully I can be an incursion into them to see them come back but what I want to do is give everyone opportunity to do to pray for for two things first for anyone that God has laid on your heart this morning that if there is someone in your life that you notice that they are wandering away that somehow they might come to their senses and turn back and the god will give you the wisdom and courage to reach out to them so let's take just a moment let's have you pray will pray for something else and just another minute but silence your words prepare your minds now your heads and spent just a moment praying for anyone in your life that you know has started to wander away pray for them were.Way.Way.Way.Way.And as you continue to pray now pray for yourself. That if you are in a place right now where you know you're starting to wander the god will help you fight off the enemy in the battle for your heart in your mind and that you might respond to anyone that God might send to you to help you turn around and if if you're in a good place right now pray that God will continue to strengthen you so that you will not wonder.Your father we thank you so much for this warning and for this encourage me here and in the book of James it's such a blessing to know the truth that in this life you desire for us to put the truth into practice. And when we fail to pay attention to that sometimes we can wander and so help us Lord as as your children to go after those who are wandering let us be a tool in your hands to help bring them back and give us the right words to say and help us speak truth to them in love and also Lord help us to heed these warnings for ourselves that if we are not careful we might be deceived and wander off help us as a church to do our best to support each other and to stay focused on the truth. And Lord as we are including the Book of James or I thank you so much for inspiring James to write this Bible the Book of the Bible and Lord so it's filled with such practical I'm commands that all of us should be putting into our life on a daily basis and so Lord thank you for giving us the freedom and the ability to study your Holy Word and Lord and I pray that as we put these things to practice that we don't just study the Book of James it will. Well do what it says as James is encouraging us to do then we in turn will become mature as your desire for us is to be mature so Lord again thank you for this morning thank you there were able to be here and worship you and study you and I pray that you bring us back safely next week in Christ and we pray you men. And I mean the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all and that.
Preacher: Josh WhiteTruly know God Well as we go through life hopefully we get to know God better and we do that a number of ways one way is by spending time with them in His Word but another is by spending time with them in prayer and that's what our sermon is about this morning for those of you were here last week you know that we're finishing up the book of James we're almost done and you can open up your Bibles there right now to James Chapter five and last week we spent a little bit of time talking about prayer but I wanted to start off the sermon hopefully on a light note and so I came across a couple funny stories trying to share the those with you right now there's a couple of funny stories or jokes that I found about prayer so this joke is Johnny was a very bright five year old and he told his daddy that he'd like to have a baby brother and along with this request he offered to do whatever he could to help and his dad being a very bright thirty five year old pause for a moment then replied I tell you what Johnny if you pray every day for two months for a baby brother I guarantee he they God will give you one so Johnny responded eagerly to his dad's challenge and went to his bedroom early that night to start praying for a baby brother and he prayed every night for a whole month but after that time he began to get skeptical he checked around the neighborhood and found out that what he thought was going to happen had never happened in the history of the neighborhood you just don't pray for two months and then whammo a new baby brother so Johnny could train after another month Johnny's mom which the hospital where she came back home and Johnny's parents called him into the bedroom and he cautiously walked into the room not expecting to find anything and there was a little bundle lying right next to his mother and his dad pulled back the blanket and there was not one baby brother but to his mother had twins and Johnny's dad looked down at him and said Now aren't you glad you prayed and Johnny hesitated a little and he looked up as dad said yeah. But aren't you glad that I quit when I did.That going to happen at this church you never know I you know and with how many babies were having so today is another sermon on prayer and you know when you look at prayer just simply from the standpoint of us turning to God and asking him to do things for us that's how some people look at prayer and we can get very discouraged how many of you have ever prayed and you never had any answer it can be very discouraging and so when we start to understand what prayer is it's not so much about us having died do the things that we want him to do for us but it's more about us spending time with God so that he puts within our hearts the desire for His will to be done not only in our life but in others other people's lives and even with that being said God still tells us to turn to Him and pray for anything in for every reason well last week as we're finishing up in jeans this last section we looked at two things the James tells us to pray for their sins for final things that he really mentions in this passage last week we looked at two of them and it was that we're supposed to pray for those who are in trouble and the word for trouble I think we can pray for anyone who's in any kind of trouble but the specific trouble that he was mentioning here there's four uses in the entire New Testament the other three are in first Timothy and it's for people who are in trouble or in distress because of the their testimony for God And so because they're living in obedience to God they find themselves in trouble in the world so we're supposed to pray for people in trouble the other thing we prayed for last week were those who are sick and also we realize that ultimately God is going to heal and restore every true believer ultimately with the resurrected body but during this life time sometimes God will heal a person if we pray and so we prayed for that and then also talked about when someone is caught up in the sin on that can affect them physically and so a person who turns back. To the Lord and prays and they repent God can also bring healing to them well for today what I was planning on doing is looking at the last two things that James talks about and as I started studying I realized there's there's just no way we're going to be able to get through both of those so we're going to talk today about the command to pray for our nation and at the end of the sermon today just like we did last week we're going to spend just a couple minutes all of us in silent prayer praying for our nation and how many of you would agree that our nation needs prayer so we're going to do that we're going to look at what James says and a couple other passages and the next week we're going to look at how James tells us to pray for true brothers and sisters in Christ who are wandering from the truth so we'll look at that next week well it's reader our section for today James Chapter five we already read for last week verses thirteen you're sixteen so we'll pick up on where we're going to look at today actually it's the last half of verse sixteen and so picking up in halfway through verse sixteen it says. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working and then he gives us this great example. Alijah was a man with a nature like ours and he prayed fervently that it might not rain and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth then he prayed again and Heaven gave rain and the earth Bortz fruit my brothers if any of you men any one among you wander from the truth and someone brings him back let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins Well next week we'll look at verses one thousand and twenty but today we're going to use the example of Alija as our inspiration to be praying for our nation so turn over in your Bible study First Kings Chapter sixteen and as you're turning their this is one of those Old Testament stories it is really great and it made me think I sometimes I take for granted that not everyone in a church service might lead. Very familiar with all of these really great Old Testament passages and it kind of reminds me when I was in high school you know I grew up in the same church my whole life and so as I'm going through all my early years of development into grade school and Sunday school you kind of eventually hear all the good old testament stories and there were a couple girls these twins who on their they had a friend in our church a gram in Spokane and their friend invited them to church and they were saved and so their junior and senior year they really started getting involved in church and our high school group we would go up to a small rural community church up in Priest Lake Idaho the northern section of Idaho and we put on a vacation bible school for some of the neighborhood kids and I remember we're sitting there we're going over the lessons that we're going to talk about and so I was I think a Bible speaker and I said well we're going to talk about the story of Jonah the whale and one of the twins kind of had this blank look on her face and you heard that story right you know I mean to her that story what you've heard about David and Goliath right now I've never heard that story and so I was thinking wow they get to hear all these things for the very first time and so some of you here have probably heard about a lie John Mount Carmel this is a great story but there might be some of you here who have never heard this story and this is a really good one and so I'm excited for you today so here we're going to read the first kings and we're going to pick up in verse nineteen and this is talking about the spiritual condition of the nation because it was under the influence of the worst keening in the history of Israel and his name was a habit first King sixteen verse twenty nine.Says in the thirty eight the year of ACE a king of Juda a habit the son of Omri began to reign over Israel and they had the son of Omri reign over Israel in some area twenty two years and look at verse thirty and Ahab the son of the armory did evil in the sight of the Lord more than all. All who were before him. And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of the bat he took for his wife Jess about well the daughter of King of the Cydonia ends and went in search of bail and worshipped him you know I joke around from time to time when we have a lady who's expecting a child that they should pick out a biblical name for their kids don't pick just well all right ladies don't if you have a daughter don't pick the name of all that would not be good verse thirty two time my dad he reckoned an altar for bail in the House of Bale which he built in some area and they have dated Ashura and then listen to what it says about a on a how did more or to provoke the Lord the God of Israel to anger then all the kings of Israel who were before him. In his days Hello all of Bethel built Jericho he laid its foundation of the cost of Abraham his firstborn and set up its gates the cost of this youngest son so ago of according to the word of the Lord which he had spoken by Joshua the son of Nun and so here we have in Israel a bad ruler and you know what usually happens in a nation when you have a bad ruler you have a bad nation because they usually tend to follow after the leaders and so this evil wicked king not only followed after false gods but the entire nation with some exceptions followed his leadership and so that's why it's so important for us to be very cautious who we choose as role models and leaders in our life and that's true when it comes to politics it's true when it comes to maybe someone that you're going to work for you might be certified in a certain industry but if you're working for a man or a woman that is ungodly that can affect you in fact remember what it says in First Corinthians fifteen thirty three Do not be deceived bad company ruins good morals and so we see this pattern over and over in the Bible a person who is. Evil and immoral they start to bring other people on with them and also we usually see in the Bible a pattern that when that's happening then God will raise up a godly righteous person and they will bring them back through their influence and that's the case in this story and the man that God used is a lie just. So first Kings Chapter seventeen this is when we are introduced to this prophet named Alija he sort of just kind of just jumps onto the scene out in the work first King seventeen says now allied to the Tishbite have to be in Gilliard said to Ahab. As the Lord the God of Israel lives before whom I stand there shall be neither do nor reign these years except by my word. And the word of the Lord came to him depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook of charity which is east of the Jordan we shall drink from the brook and I have commanded the Ravens to feed you there that's pretty cool the livery service from the birds that's kind of nice so a lie just sort of he just kind of comes out of nowhere he walks up to the king and he tells the king what God is going to do to punish the nation of Israel and to get their attention and then he vanishes and so you just kind of wonder how did they have responded in the least initially to to Alija you probably thought you get out of here you know who are you who are you to say that this is going to happen then maybe after a few months when there's no rain means you get a little nervous or maybe you know maybe the prophet was true maybe he's actually telling the truth and then and then after a year you know what he would like to do to Alija you know torture him and force him to to pray that there is rain and after three years. Of famine because that's it went on for over three years he's desperate and his hatred for Alija is at its peak so let's skip all the way ahead to verse one of chapter eighteen so this is where we get this confrontation first kings eight hundred one. After many days the word of the Lord came to Alijah in the third year saying Go show yourself they have and I will send rain on the earth so. Alija went to show himself they have now the famine was severe in some area and so risky to head to verse seven and here is were Alija basically tells Obadiah who is a had servant over die is a righteous man there is going to be a confrontation between the gods that A had is serving which are not real and the one true God of Israel so eighteen verse seven.And as Obadiah was on his way behold Alija met him and Obadiah recognized him and fell on his face and said is that you my lord Alija and he answered him It is I go tell your Lord behold Alija is here and he said how if I sin that you would give your servant into the hand of a how to kill me as a lord your God lives there is no nation or kingdom where my Lord is not sent to seek you and when they would say he is not here he would take an oath of the kingdom or a nation that they have not found you and now you say Go tell your Lord behold a lie just here and as soon as I have gone from you the spirit of the Lord will carry you I know not where and so when I come and tell a how these not cannot find you he will kill me although I your servant have feared the Lord for my youth has a not been told my lord what I did when just a bill killed the prophets of the Lord how I had one hundred men of the Lord's prophets by fifties in a cave and fed them with bread and water and now you say Go tell your Lord behold alleges here and he will kill me and a lie just said as a Lord of Hosts lives before whom I stand I will surely show myself to him today so over die went to meeting out and told them and they have went to meet Alijah So just imagine how eager Ahab was to meet Alija and what he wanted to do to Alija and so here we are beginning in this confrontation verse seventeen when I have Sawyer I am said to him is it you you trouble or of Israel is probably the nicest possible way you can put what he said probably keep in the different and in. And real life and verse eighteen this is a lie do responding and he answered I. Have not troubled Israel but you have it and your father's house because you have abandoned the commandments of the Lord and followed the bails Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel and the four hundred fifty prophets of bail the four hundred prophets of Asherah who eat it just the bells table so what he did is he issued a challenge we're going to skip ahead that you can read this on your own if you've never read the story but there was a battle and Alijah challenge they have in the province of Bale in Nashua we're going to see which God is real and so they had to altars and he took two bulls cut them in half put him on the altar and they were going to have the one true God was going to set fire to consume the sacrifice and whatever God set fire to the altar that was the one true God And so first Alija being the gentleman that he is he led a having all of his prophets go first and said for morning tell afternoon they were his scrying out to bail and they were cutting themselves as it was their their habit and guess what happened to that altar nothing absolutely nothing happened because Bale is not real and then Alija prayed and so this is what happened to the altar the lie just set up he had twelve stones one for each of the tribes of Israel and not only did he set up the altar he poured water during the middle of an intense drought which is a very ironic he poured water three times on the bull that was on his altar so that no one could possibly say that Alija was up to no good verse thirty six and as we look at the section this kind of gets back to what James is saying notice alleges heart for the nation of Israel not only does he want God to be honored but Alijah was a man who wanted the nation of Israel to turn their hearts back to the Lord verse thirty six. Said. And at the time of the offering of ablation Alija probably came there and said. Oh Lord God of Abraham Isaac in Israel let it be known this day that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and that I have done all these things that your word answer me oh Lord Answer me that this people may know that you old Lord our God and that you have turned their hearts back. So notices prayer His desire was for the nation to live in obedience to the One True God and this is what happened when Alija this righteous man prayed verse thirty eight then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the Stones and the dust and looked up the water that was in the trench and when all the people saw it they fell in their face and said the Lord He is God the Lord He is God and a lie just said to them seize the prophets of Bale let none of them escape and they seize them and Alijah brought them down to the brook Kish on and slaughtered them there and here we get the reference in James when Alija prays for rain and at this point in time Israel basically needed two things they had spiritual needs they've been following after bale they've been following the leadership of they had and they had been riding through.And so their spiritual need to get right with the Lord but they also had a physical need it was during a famine and so Sometimes God allows us to go through intense physical need because our spiritual need is greater and so at this time Alija prays that God would beat both the physical and spiritual needs first forty one. And a lie just said they have to go up eat and drink for there is the sound of rushing rain so I went up to eat and drink and Alijah went up to Mount Carmel and he bowed himself to the earth and he put his face between his knees and here we know he's praying and he said to a servant. Go up now look towards the sea and he went up and he looked and said There is nothing and he said Go again seven different times and at the seventh time he said Behold a little cloud like a man's hand is rising from the sea and he said Go up and say they have prepare your chariot go down less the rains stop you and in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind and there was a great rain and they have rowed and went to just reel and at the hand of the Lord was on Alijah and he gathered up his garments and ran before a habit to the entrance of just real. You know James uses Alija as an example of how prayer works and I think it's important to notice that Alija prayed for he prayed for the spiritual condition of his nation you know God is concerned for people on many levels he's concerned for each and every individual and that's how someone is saved when a person there themselves were lies that they are a sinner and need a forgiveness when they prayed accept Christ his death and resurrection God saves that person God is also concerned with groups of people very concerned with small groups of people like marriages and families and and even churches but God is also very concerned with large groups of people like Nations we read about that with Jonah and the city of Nineveh but God cares about everyone he cares about every single person in this room today he cares not only about the individuals in this room today but the marriages in this room today and the families in this room today and he also cares about the United States of America he does not care more for the United States than any of the other nations in the world I know sometimes we get a little caught up in being Americans because you know we're Americans but what I want to do today is I want to spend just a few moments praying and we're going to pray for the United States of America because that's where we live and I think it's very timely that we do this you know I. I don't remember another time in my my forty two years of living I know it's not very long when our nation has been as divided as it is right now and thankfully the election is over because boy that was very divisive and hopefully it will get better you know the most united I've ever seen our nation was on September eleventh two thousand and one there really was very united but right now we are preparing to see a major change in our country are we we will have a new president on Friday January twentieth I think it's the forty fifth president in our country's history and his name is Donald Trump and ten fifteen years ago if you said Donald Trump would be president you'd probably laugh just like people would laugh that Ronald Reagan was going to be president really he's a slob ready and whether whether you're excited about the new president or whether you're upset at the new president it doesn't change the fact that God calls his children to pray for the leaders of the nation that they live in and there are couple saying is that the Bible tells us that we need to pray for about our nation and for our leaders and I want to look at these verses today you'll notice that there in your Bolton or in the sermon notes but the first thing that we are told to pray for is to pray specifically for our leaders that God will give them the wisdom that they need to govern and we read about this and first into the Chapter two so I might open up to these passages these three passages I think these are very important first of the chapter to be getting universe one it says. Paul writes to us and says First of all then I urge that supplications prayers intercessions and thanksgiving be made for all people for kings and all who are in high positions that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life godly and dignified in every way this is good and it is pleasing in the sight of our God of God our Savior who desires all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. God desires for all of us to live peaceful quiet lives and the leaders that are over us have a huge. Influence on whether that comes to be or not just like Ahab did with the nation of Israel and so we must pray for our leaders that they will make wise decisions that will allow us as the people to prosper as we are able to live in a way that will glorify God The second thing that we need to pray for regarding our nation will see and first Peter and Romans thirteen were both are saying essentially the same thing but in first Peter chapter two. Just a few verses your first Peter chapter two verse thirteen we are told that we are to live in obedience to those over us so that our testimony will be a great example for Christ for the world around us first Peter two thirteen.And some of you don't like this verse but it's in the Bible it says be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution whether it be to the Emperor or a supreme or to the governor's assent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good for this is the will of God that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people it's interesting that no matter who is in a position of power over us we are to live in obedience to them unless they ask us to do something that contradicts one of God's commands that's the only time when God gives us permission to defy those in leadership over us and the reason we are why we are to live in obedience in verse fifteen it says to silence the ignorance of foolish people as you look at our nation is there a lot of foolishness going on Ron is there a lot of ignorance going on here one of the things that just gets me going I'm not going to get on a soapbox just for like ten seconds I have never seen in my entire life and I know you have not either people. Absolutely unwilling to obey those in authority over them especially with all these things with the police it is just absolutely incredible that they are not willing to just obey the police when the police are there and not going to get into that but still we are supposed to live in obedience to people who are in a position of authority over us and when we do that it's God's will and it silences the foolish talk of ignorant people another passage in Romans thirteen Paul says essentially the same thing that Peter does all read this for you and Romans thirteen it says Let every person be subject to the governing authorities for there is no authority except from God and those that exist have been instituted by God Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists where God is appointed and those who resist will encourage judgement for rulers are not a terror to good conduct but some bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority then do what is good and you will receive his approval now I want to use the end of the sermon the swearing like we did last week it's one thing for us to talk about praying and putting these things into practice but I think it's important for us to just spend some time right now to really ingrain this into our heart and mind that this is this is what we're called to do is God's people to pray for our nation and pray for these specific things so I want to give us just a few minutes right now as we wrap up the sermon looking at the inspiration of Alija a man who prayed for his nation that God would bring the nation back to him and that's something that God implores us to do as well and so I'm going to ask you to pray for a couple things but first as you go to the Lord in prayer right now you can buy your heads you can close your eyes I'll give you a couple minutes to do this pray for our nation and first and foremost specifically pray for our leaders pray for our next president pray for the governors. The people that are in charge of the city pray for all of them that God will truly give them the wisdom that they need to be good leaders on. On our behalf so let's spend just a moment praying for our leaders right now.And as you continue to pray.Pray also that we might shore a nation and specifically the people in our city that the Gospel is powerful and it changes lives and so pray that your obedience will be used by God as a testimony for others spend time praying with.Your father Today we pray for the United States of America and we just happen to live in this day during the season of human history and and you ask us to respect and submit and pray for those who are in charge and so this morning Father we pray for those that are in charge we pray for our next president pray for the governors the senators we pray that you will truly give them wisdom wisdom to enact laws and to act on those laws in a way that will truly be beneficial to us as the people and also Lord sometimes as. Hard as it is to pray and into respond but we pray that we will live lives that will be such a positive testimony that it will attract the unsaved in our world to want to know more about you and so Father we pray for our nation and we pray for are our biblical mandate and response to those in positions of authority over us that our actions will truly bring glory to you and father we continue to pray for those who are suffering as we prayed for last week Lorida take away their suffering if it is your will or allow them to understand your grace in a new and special way and we also pray Lord for those who are sick that if it is your will that you will heal them and bring them back to full health and if not Lord we know that you have something so much better planned for them and store for them in the future of the Lord we do come before you and we make that request and I pray for us as a church that our hearts desire is going to be always to know you more and to put our faith into action so Father I pray now that you'll bring us back safely nest next week so that we can learn more about you so we can support each other and experience your grace and mercy in our lives we pray this in Christ most holy name Amen.And I mean the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit to be with you all again.