I. Revelations 12: 11
A. One of three weapons for us to overcome the enemy
1. Blood of the Lamb
2. Word of OUR TESTIMONY
3. Not loving OUR lives unto death
B. A testimony is the equivalent of evidence – to affirm, support, prove
1. a means for us to rise above influences of our past
2. also to rise above our fears
3. provide hope because of what we know God can do
4. remind us what God has done and is capable of doing
5. along with not loving our lives to the death, testimony put to death the past (2 Cor 5: 17)
6. remind us that we are coming out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9)
7. MOST IMPORTANT: to declare the Goodness of God
C. Testimony is not to promote us, what we did, who we are, our ministry.
D. Testimony need not be spectacular, need not be long, need not be historically detailed
E. 1 John 1: 1 in regards to our GOD – what we heard; what we saw; what we understood/comprehended; what we physically experienced
II. Testimony can be worship
A. Psalms 105
1. verse 1 …make known His deeds among the peoples
2. verse 2 …talk about His wondrous works
3. verse 5 …remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and judgement of His mouth
B. Psalms 66: 16
1. come hear (those who fear God) — this is to believers
2. I will declare what He as done for my soul
3. testimony to encourage fellow believers who fear our God
C. Psalms 40: 1-3, 5
1. verses 1-3 …is a testimony by David: David cried out to God, knowing God would hear, so David waited: God got David out of the pit and onto solid ground and ordered David’s steps; caused David to sing a new song, a declaration of what God has done lately, to praise God
2. verse 3 …David’s intent of giving this testimony is so many will see it and fear and trust in the Lord
3. verse 5 …God’s wonderful works and thoughst to us are too many to recount every one.
III.. Even Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon thought it would be good to declare the signs and wonders (including Nebuchadnezzar receiving much deserved chastening from God) the Most High God worked in Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 4: 2)
A. This entire chapter tells the prophetic dream of Nebuchadnezzar; its interpretation by Daniel of judgement on Nebuchadnezzar; and the fullfillment of this prophetic dream that resulted in Nebuchadnezzar recognizing the Most High God.
B. Nebuchadnezzar chose to give this testimony; one that did NOT promote him but humbled him to recognize and praise our God
IV. Woman at the well – John 4: 27 —
A. Woman’s encounter with Jesus moved her from religious and habitual behavior to realizing who Jesus is
B. She goes tell the men that Jesus knew what she was and did
C. She invites the men to come see this Jesus, could He be the Christ? (verse 29)
D. Many believed because of her testimony (verse 39)
V. Evidence for believers and unbelievers 1 John 1: 1-3
A. verse 1 …about the Word of Life (Jesus) what we heard, saw, comprehended/understood, and experienced in the flesh
B. verse 2 …declare the eternal life
C. verse 3 …we declare to you
1. to bring you in fellowship with us
2. our fellowship is with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ
3. in other words, the word of our testimony is to bring you into communion with our God with whom we are in communion
VI. Word of our testimony
A. for warfare to set us and others free
B. for warfare while weary
C. for warfare through worship
D. for warfare for evangelism
E. for warfare be in communion of our Father God
VII. Something Beautiful by Bill and Gloria Gaither
A.Something beautiful, something good…alll my confusion, He understood.
All I had to offer Him was brokeness and strife,
But He made something beautiful of my life.
B. If there ever were dreams
That were lofty and noble
They were my dreams at the start
And hope for life’s best were the hopes
That I harbor down deep in my heart
But my dreams turned to ashes
And my castles all crumbled, my fortune turned to loss
So I wrapped it all in the rags of life
And laid it at the cross.
I. Psalms 105: 1-5
A. These are imperative sentences
1. Commands, demands, directive
2. Unless identifed, the commands are directed at the reader/hearer – that be us
3. As we shall see, each of these are givings ways to worship and praise our GOD
B. Psalms = Praise
1. Lyrical and melodic
2. Expressions of emotions; actions of body
3. Hebrew ‘mizmor’ means with pluck of string is translated psalms
C. Beneficial commands
1. When you don’t feel like praising
2. When your environment is difficult
3. When alone and distracted
4. When emotioally or mentally distracted
5. When you want to focus on God and His presence
D. A way we can give our Father the glory for His wisdom, power, goodness, and faithfulness,
II. Dissecting the commands – since these are commands, perhaps we should look more closely at each with the intent to understand so that we can obey the command
A. OH – many ways to speak this word with feeling and emotion.
1. Speak it aloud as you would state it with the statement ‘Give thanks to the LORD’
2. Sometimes to worship, you merely need to remember how you stated the ‘Oh’
3 Give Him thanks for where you are at this moment
1. upon His Name
2. What Name for God comes to your mind at this moment.
3. Speak out that name, calling Him by that name, trying to understand what that name means to you right now
C. Make Known to others
1. Recall something God has done and tell someone.
2. What a neat way to praise someone when you tell others what that someone has done, especially for your benefit.
1. to Him….not for us…not the song we want to hear but one we want Him to hear
2. Sing psalms (praises)
1. to other, though this works well to talk to ourselves.
2. Implication here is that this is vocal, aloud, not merely think about it
3. Talk not about what you want or what is wrong, but talk about things He has done that makes you wonder…like how he turned back the shadow on sundial for Hezekiah or met a need you didn’t even realize you had.
F. Glory – exult, feel and show jubilation
1. Get your body involved with a leap, a skip, a whoop with arm raised
2. This is in response to you knowing His identity revealed in His name
3. Imagine the lame begger healed by Jesus as he leaped giving praise to God
G. Those of you who seek the LORD, Let your hearts rejoice
1. Often we don’t realize that we must let our hearts rejoice
2. Understand we don’t let our hearts rejoice because of fear, unforgiveness in our heart, jealousy, lust and many other wickedness of heart
3. If we are seekers of the LORD, we need to learn to Let our Hearts Rejoice
H. And speaking of seekers, we need to Seek
1. Picture a young child who suddenly desires a parent.
a. Child’s heart (emotion, desire) is for parent
b. Child’s mind is focused on single task, find parent
c. Child’s body is put into motion to move to find parent
d. Child uses eyes and hears to search for parent
e. Generally, Child will try to return to last place that the Child remembers being with parent
2. To seek, we need to
a. know whom it is we seek
b. desire and focus
c. put our flesh in motion
d. use our senses to aid us
e. recall last place we were aware of God (prayer, worship, Scripture, fellowship)
3. Seek the Lord and His strength (Eph 3: 16)
4. Seek His face
a. Here face represents both His presence and His attentiveness
b. Like a child that cups your face to be sure you are looking at her
c. Evermore, implies a continued action, rather than a one time event.
1. This is a deliberate choice – decide to remember and then do it
2. Three things to remember
a. His Marvelous Works which He has done – for you directly or indirectly; many things recorded in the bible are marvelous indeed. You can tie this back to making it know among people (verse 1)
b. His Wonders – try to remember the things about Him or His actions that make you wonder. Talk about them aloud (even if only to yourself) verse 2
c.Judgement of His mouth – while we often think of judgements as being against us, He has much more judgements in our favor. He counts our faith in Him unto righteousness; He gives rest to those who labor and come to Him; He gives peace and abundant life. Don’t you remember?
III. Doing these commands places our worship and praise on our Father, our LORD, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Healer, our Righteousness, our Peace, our Strength, our Hope and Comfort…
IV We do this because we are the offspring of Abraham, we are the manipulative sinner whose debts were paid by Jesus before we knew Him, we are the chosen (verse 5)
V. Having done all these steps, how now would you say OH?
I. Offense, in a biblical sense, is a stumbling block, an hinderance, interference, opposition, in the way.
A. Speaking in terms of believers getting in the way of God
B. Can be seen as an adversary or opposition to God’s will
C. Not talking about the heathen or unbeliever or enemy of God
II. Solomon became an offense
A. What do we think about when we think about King Solomon?
1. David’s son and choice for his throne;
2. God visited twice, and first time offered Solomon anything
3. Solomon asked and received wisdom from God
4. Author of a psalms; most of Proverbs; Ecclesiastes; Song of Solomon
5. Built first Temple
6. Blessed and anointed by God
B. In Deut 17, God instructs Israel on requirements for their kings
1. Not to multiply the number of horses nor go to Egypt for horses
2. Not to multiply number of wives
3. Keep and read daily the word of God
C. Solomon failed to keep all 3 (1 King 10: 28 – 11: 10)
D. 1 Kings 11: married foreign wives from people God told Israelites to avoid; loved those wives; they turned his heart from the Lord to foreign gods
E. Got in way of God keeping the nation Israel as a single country
F. Opposed God by building temples for foreign gods
G. Contributed to shortcomings of his son, Rehoboam as king.
III. Interesting that Solomon wrote several verses of wisdom that address the very problem of being an offense to God
A. God made man righteous (upright, virtuous) but man sought out schemes, devious paths (Eccl 7: 28)
B. There is a way that seems right to a man, but it leads to death (Prov 14: 12)
C. The way of a fool is right in the fool’s eyes (Prov 12: 15)
D. Out of the heart comes the issues of life (Prov 4: 23) and with diligence, keep your heart
IV. In Matt 16, we find Peter being an offense to God
A. We learn in verses 16-19, that Peter has a revelation from the Father, receives praise from Jesus, and is blessed by Jesus.
B. Yet, when Jesus reveals God’s plan for His suffering, death, and resurrection, Peter rebukes Jesus (verses 21-22)
C. Jesus ‘s response (verses 23-28)
1. Get behind me satan (one who opposes, obstructs, interferes)
2. Not mindful of God; mindful of the things of man
3. fail to deny self (verse 24)
4. desire is to save your life/lifestyle (verse 25)
V. Many times, the words ‘heart’ and ‘mind’ are used in scriptures to refer to the inner self, the emotions or the rationale of man, i.e. soul
A. Soul (or mind of carnal man) is emnity (hostile opposition) with God (Rom 8:6-7; James 4:4)
B. Cares of the world choke the Word of God in our hearts, preventing it from being fruitful (Matt 13: 22)
C. Out of heart comes what defiles us (Mark 7: 20-23)
D. Out of our hearts springs issues of life (Prov 4: 23)
E. Our soulish response to the blessings, anointings, revelations, intimacy of God often serves to oppose or be an offense to God.
VI. So we could be an offense to God, even when (or especially after) we have had a revelation or blessing or anointing from God, if we fail to be diligent keeping our heart/mind (soul)
A. Take heed to yourself, less your heart be weighed down …cares of this life (Luke 21: 34)
B. Prov 4: 23 keep your heart with all diligence
C. Renew your mind (Rom 12: 2)
D. Set your mind on things above (Col 3: 2)
1. Be anxious for nothing (Phil 4: 6)
2. through prayer, supplications, thanksgiving commune with God
3. focus on the true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, (Phil 4: 8)
4. meditate on that part that has virute, is praiseworthy
E. understand the will of God (Eph 5: 17)
I. Sometimes we have lost the awe and appreciation of Jesus’ sufferings because we have seen the movies; participated in the pageants and plays; heard the sermons; taught the lessons; and read the scriptures. Further, it is easy, after a long walk with God and involvement in ministry, to seek the new and ignore or forget the basics.
A. Jesus faced Travail in the spirit; Torment in the soul; and Trauma to the flesh
B. Less we let another holy week pass with indifference, I thought it would be good to spend a few moments revisiting Jesus Christ’s Suffering
1. To perhaps renew our appreciation
2. To perhaps cause us to delve into a passage
3. To refresh our memory of the scriptures apart from movies and plays.
II. Let us begin with Isaiah 52: 14; 53: 2-9
A. Visage & form marred more than any man
B. Despised and rejected by man and we did not esteem Him
C. We reckoned Him stricken and afflicted, as if He deserved it
D. Yet, HE has borne our griefs; carried our sorrows; was smitten by God; wounded for our transgressions; crushed for our iniquities; chastised for our peace; LORD laid our iniquity upon HIM; was imprisoned and judged to be cut off from the living.
E. These He did without opening His mouth; like a lamb led to slaughter
17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah,
for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth
will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
The Reason for Your Loss of Hope and Joy
Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy (first part of John 10:10). The result is a
loss of hope and doubt in God. This is especially prevalent in our present times.
Constant messages of doom and gloom in the context of world events beat on our
hearts and minds like heavy, unceasing rain. We’ve only human, and can’t take
the unending battering forever.
The only antidote or remedy is to turn our thoughts back to Jesus. He never left
or forsook us, but rather we let our focus drift away from Him. He is yearning for
us to come back to His arms, the Harbor of Peace. He gives us the peace that
passes all understanding. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer
and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God; and
the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and
minds through Jesus Christ (Phil. 4:-7). Also see John 14:27. “Peace I leave with
you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your
heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. We need not know how or why it
works, but just believe it works by faith.
Just as a tiny rudder turns a big ship, so a tiny amount of faith can move a
mountain. See Matthew 17:20. “So Jesus said to them, “Because of your
unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will
say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will
be impossible for you.” Also see John 14:1. “Let not your heart be troubled; you
believe in God believe also in me.” The last part of the answer is in the last part of
John 10:10. “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more
abundantly.” If you have life abundantly, there is no room in your mind to dwell
on loss of hope and joy.
So let these scriptures be the answer to your loss of hope and joy. In the name of
Jesus, there is power, more power than any weapon man or the Devil has, has
had, or ever will have. Call on that precious name, truly believe, and have faith
that Satan has to flee!
Revelation 2 (NKJV)
The Loveless Church
1 “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,
‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand,
who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:
2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience,
and that you cannot bear those who are evil.
And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not,
and have found them liars;
3 and you have persevered and have patience,
and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.
4 Nevertheless I have this against you,
that you have left your first love.
5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen;
repent and do the first works,
or else I will come to you quickly
and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.
6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life,
which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ’
The Persecuted Church
8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write,
‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life:
9 “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich);
and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not,
but are a synagogue of Satan.
10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer.
Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested,
and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death,
and I will give you the crown of life.
11 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” ’
The Compromising Church
12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write,
‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:
13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is.
And you hold fast to My name, and
did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr,
who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there
those who hold the doctrine of Balaam,
who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel,
to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.
15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.
17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat.
And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written
which no one knows except him who receives it.” ’
The Corrupt Church
18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write,
‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire,
and His feet like fine brass:
19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience;
and as for your works, the last are more than the first.
]20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you,
because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess,
to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality
and eat things sacrificed to idols.
21 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.
22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her
into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.
23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know
that I am He who searches the minds and hearts.
And I will give to each one of you according to your works.
25 But hold fast what you have till I come.
26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—
27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—
as I also have received from My Father;
28 and I will give him the morning star.
29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’
Revelation 3 (NJKV)
The Dead Church
1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write,
‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars:
“I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.
2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die,
for I have not found your works perfect before God.
3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent.
Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief,
and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.
4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments;
and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.
5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments,
and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life;
but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
6 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’
The Faithful Church
7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,
‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who
opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”:
8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it;
for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not,
but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet,
and to know that I have loved you.
10 Because you have kept My command to persevere,
I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world,
to test those who dwell on the earth.
11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.
12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God,
and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God
and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven
from My God. And I will write on him My new name.
13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’
The Lukewarm Church
14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness,
the Beginning of the creation of God:
15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.
16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,
I will vomit you out of My mouth.
17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—
and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—
18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich;
and white garments, that you may be clothed,
that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed;
and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne,
as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’ ”
4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia:
Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come,
and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,
12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me.
And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands,
13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man,
clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.
16 He had in His right hand seven stars,
out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword,
and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.
Romans 12:3 (NKJV)
3 For I say, through the grace given to me,
to everyone who is among you,
not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think,
but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
Let us hold fast the confession
of our hope without wavering,
for He who promised is faithful.
Romans 4:17 (NKJV)
(as it is written, “I have made you a father
of many nations”)
in the presence of Him whom he believed—
God, who gives life to the dead
and calls those things which
do not exist as though they did;
Mark 11:22-24 (NKJV)
22 So Jesus answered and said to them,
“Have faith in God.
23 For assuredly, I say to you,
whoever says to this mountain,
‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’
and does not doubt in his heart,
but believes that those things he says will be done,
he will have whatever he says.
24 Therefore I say to you,
whatever things you ask when you pray,
believe that you receive them,
and you will have them.
Romans 4:20-21 (NKJV)
20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
James 2:14-26 (NKJV)
New King James Version
Faith Without Works Is Dead
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without [a]your works, and I will show you my faith by [b]my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is [c]dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made [d]perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was [e]accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Hebrews 10:19-33 (NKJV)
New King James Version
Hold Fast Your Confession
19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
The Just Live by Faith
26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” [b]says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 But recall the former days in which, after you were [c]illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: 33 partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated;
Hebrews 12: (NKJV)
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded
by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight,
and the sin which so easily ensnares us,
and let us run with endurance
the race that is set before us,
2 looking unto Jesus,
the author and finisher of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before Him
endured the cross, despising the shame,
and has sat down at the right hand
of the throne of God.
3 For consider Him who endured
such hostility from sinners against Himself,
lest you become weary
and discouraged in your souls.
1 Peter 2:9 (NKJV)
But you are a chosen generation,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
His own special people,
that you may proclaim the praises
of Him who called
you out of darkness
into His marvelous light;
11 For I know the thoughts
that I think toward you, says the Lord,
thoughts of peace and not of evil,
to give you a future and a hope.
12 Then you will call upon Me
and go and pray to Me,
and I will listen to you.
13 And you will
Hebrews 11:6 (PTP)
And without faith living within us
it would be impossible to please God.
For we come to God in faith
knowing that he is real
and that he rewards the faith
of those who give all
their passion and
strength into seeking him.
The Passion Translation
Moving On to Deeper Truth
6 Now is the time for us to progress beyond the basic message of Christ and advance into perfection. The foundation has already been laid for us to build upon: turning away from our dead works to embrace faith in God,
Luke 18:8 (NKJV)
I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.
Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes,
will He really find faith on the earth?”
Luke 17:20-37 (NKJV)
20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees
when the kingdom of God would come,
He answered them and said,
“The kingdom of God does not come with observation;
21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’
For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
22 Then He said to the disciples,
“The days will come when you will desire to see
one of the days of the Son of Man,
and you will not see it.
23 And they will say to you,
‘Look here!’ or ‘Look there!’
Do not go after them or follow them.
24 For as the lightning that flashes
out of one part under heaven
shines to the other part under heaven,
so also the Son of Man will be in His day.
25 But first He must suffer many things
and be rejected by this generation.
26 And as it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:
27 They ate, they drank, they married wives,
they were given in marriage,
until the day that Noah entered the ark,
and the flood came and destroyed them all.
28 Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot:
They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold,
they planted, they built;
29 but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom
it rained fire and brimstone from heaven
and destroyed them all.
30 Even so will it be in the day
when the Son of Man is revealed.
31 “In that day, he who is on the housetop,
and his goods are in the house,
let him not come down to take them away.
And likewise the one who is in the field,
let him not turn back.
32 Remember Lot’s wife.
33 Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life will preserve it.
34 I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed:
the one will be taken and the other will be left.
35 Two women will be grinding together:
the one will be taken and the other left.
36 [Two men will be in the field:
the one will be taken and the other left.”
37 And they answered and said to Him,
So He said to them, “Wherever the body is,
there the eagles will be gathered together.”
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (PTP)
The Passion Translation
16 For the Lord himself will appear
with the declaration of victory,
the shout of an archangel,
and the trumpet blast of God.
He will descend from the heavenly realm
and command those who are
dead in Christ to rise first.
17 Then we who are alive will join them,
transported together in clouds
to have an encounter with the Lord in the air,
and we will be forever joined with the Lord.
18 So encourage one another with these truths.
In the Apostle Paul’s 1st letter to the Church at Corinth, he explains that comprehending God’s word is not a matter of human endeavor
but rather it is by the Illuminating ministry of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:12-13 says:
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world,
but the inn Spirit who is from God,
so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,
13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom,
but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
“And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit),
so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. When we tell you these things,
we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit,
using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.”
1 Corinthians 2:12-13 NLT
Our ability to understand, interpret and apply scripture is greatly dependent upon the Holy Spirit’s illuminating ministry.
In order for us to access the Holy Spirit’s illuminating ministry,
we must first understand the Filling Ministry of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)
When we trusted in Jesus Christ by believing the Gospel of our Salvation (1 Corinthians 15:1-4),
a number of things happened. We were baptized by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13), we were sealed by the Holy Spirit
(Ephesians 1:13-14) and we became new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
2 Corinthians 5:17 says:
Therefore if anyone is in Christ,
he is a new creature;
the old things passed away; behold,
new things have come.
We now have two natures living in us. We have our old sinful nature,
and our new spiritual nature which is part of our new creation.
God desires for us to be always living under our new creation.
HOW DO WE LIVE UNDER OUR NEW CREATION?
First you must confess any know daily sins that you have committed.
This has NOTHING to do with your salvation.
That was settled when you believed the gospel
(1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
We Confess our sins for the purpose of fellowship with God and with other believers.
1 John 1:5-9 says:
5 This then is the message which we have heard of him,
and declare unto you,
that God is light,
and in him is no darkness at all.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with him,
and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,
we have fellowship one with another,
and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins,
he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Verse 9 tells us that when we confess our sins to God (our daily sins),
He forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
Whenever we sin we break our fellowship with God,
and we need to confess them in order for our fellowship to be restored.
Once we are back in fellowship with God, then we need to apply Ephesians 5:18
which has to do with the filling ministry of the Holy Spirit,
who indwells every believer in Jesus Christ.
The filling of the Holy Spirit is to be continuous.
In other words, when we apply Ephesians 5:18,
the Holy Spirit will fill us and give us the ability to do the things which please God.
When we sin, we break our fellowship with God and the Holy Spirit
stops filling us until we confess our sins and apply Ephesians 5:18 again.
Ephesians 5:15-18 (NKJV)
15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,
16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil.
17 So then do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is.
18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.
Ephesians 5:15-18 (NLT)
“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.
Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.
Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.
Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead,
be filled with the Holy Spirit,”
Verse 15 tells us to be “careful how we walk”. The Greek word for walk is “περιπατέω” (peripatetic – Strongs# G4043),
and means to set one’s lifestyle by, and to live under its control.
Verse 16 says that we should make the most of the time that we have.
And verse 17 states that we are to understand what the will of God is.
It is God’s Will for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)
It is in the imperative mood (a command )
It is in the plural form (applies to all believers)
It is in the passive voice (filling comes from something other than ourselves )
It is in the present tense (a continual filling)!
Notice the contrast in verse 18 between being drunk and being filled. Which area of your body is being controlled if your intoxicated? It is your mind. So in contrast,
when your Spirit-Filled the area of your body being controlled by the Spirit is your mind also.
Therefore being filled by the Holy Spirit means that our mind is now under the control of God.
HOW TO APPLY EPHESIANS 5:18 (Filling of the Spirit)
1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ,
keep seeking the things above, where Christ is,
seated at the right hand of God.
2 Set your mind on the things above,
not on the things that are on earth.
For the mindset on the flesh is death,
but the mindset on the Spirit is life and peace.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true,
whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute,
if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise,
dwell on these things.
So in order for the Holy Spirit to illuminate us to scripture, we must be continuously filled by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18),
by setting our minds on things above, which are found in God’s word.
Being Thankful When Times are Difficult, Desperate, Dire, Disappointing
i.e. Being Thankful in 2020
I. 1 Thessalonians 5: 18 directs us to give thanks in everything, as this is the will of God for us
A. Focus on the 1st 4 words
1. The preposition ‘IN’ makes it clear that it means location or place
2. The noun ‘EVERYTHING’ means all, as all situations, environments, conditions
3. The verb ‘GIVE’ is to freely transfer from self to another; implicating a release
and causing another to take control and possession
4. The noun ‘THANKS’ is an expression of gratitude which is often, but not
restricted to words; actions and posture and emotions are such expressions
B. So what this command is telling us is to express gratitude in all situations, environments, or conditions that we find ourselves in
C. What it is NOT telling us is to give thanks for the situation, environment or condition that we find ourselves in
II. What about giving thanks when there is a year like 2020 with pandemic, politics, social unrest, economic woes, civil distress?
A. We are not likely thankful for these events
B. We are, however, need to give thanks
1. To whom?
2. For what?
III. To give thanks when the situation is dire
A. It helps to know to whom we are giving thanks
1. Psalms136: 1-3
2. God who is good
3. Lord of lords
4. God of gods
5. God whose mercy towards us endures forever
B. For what are we thankful?
1. His mercy endures forever
2. For all that HE has done
3. For all that He is doing
4. For all that He is going to do
C. How do we give thanks? With words, songs, actions, posture and without an agenda or expectation or strngs attached…see giving definition above.
IV. How do we give thanks when we can’t
A. It is a choice – choose to, despite circumstances; that is a sacrifice…therefore a sacrifice of thanksgiving
B. Colossians 3: 15-17
1. Let (allow, chose to surrender to) the Peace of God rule in our hearts
2. be thankful for this
3. Let (allow, choose to surrender to) the Word of Chris richly dwelling in us
4. Singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord
5. Whatever we do in word or in deed, let it be done in the name
(under the authority of , being a representative of, being responsible to, responding to) Christ
6. Giving thanks to God through Lord Jesus
V. Habakkuk 3: 17-18
A. Know that Habakkuk is looking at a nation oppressed by unrighteous evil leadership
1. he complains to God about the bad guys prospering
2. God tells him that they will not go unpunished
3. Habakkuk sees that things will get worse for the people as God addresses the wickedness through captivity to Babylon
B. Yet, Habakkuk lets the people know that though things get worse with loss of harvest and shortage of food and loss of income:
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
1. Hebrew word for rejoice is alaz (Strong’s Hebrew #5937) exuberant joy
jumping for joy, exulting triumphantly
2. Hebrew word for joy is giyl (Strong’s Hebrew #1523) to spin in overflowing
emotion expressing depth and strength of joy
C. Habakkuk has chosen to give, expressing, showing thanks to the God of his salvation in spite of the forecast of hardships and disruption of life. He will do this with physical action.
D. Perhaps when we don’t feel like giving thanks in a situation, we should get physical!
VI. I will remember it is God that I am giving thanks, regardless of my situation or the circumstance. Let the Peace of God rule in my heart; Let the Word of Christ richly dwell in me. I choose to give Him thanks with my word, my deed…with my song and with my body leaping for joy because HE is the GOD of my Salvation. Amen