Illustrations

Mistakes aren’t always mistakes. In 1886 a pharmacist by the name of John Pemberton was cooking medicinal syrup in a large brass kettle slung over a fire, stirring it with an oar. But his syrup didn’t catch on as a medicine, so he tried mixing it with water as a beverage. He spent $73.96 promoting his new drink the first year, but sold only $50 worth of the product. Today people drink one billion products a day from the Coca-Cola Company. In 1968, a 3-M researcher tried to improve adhesive tape, but made a glue which was only semi-sticky. Four years later one of his colleagues, a member of his church choir, was frustrated that bookmarks kept falling out of his hymnal and music in the choir loft. He used the semi-sticky glue his friend had created to invent the Post-It Notes. Mistakes sometimes aren’t. What do you do when they are? When temptation won’t leave you alone? When problems get worse rather than better? When you’re fighting sin and Satan, discouragement and frustration, with no victory in sight? When you can’t find a way to make syrup into Coke or failed glue into Post-It profits?

A mausoleum’s crystal casket in Red Square contains the body of Vladimir Lenin. The inscription reads: "he was the greatest leader of all people of all time. He was the lord of the new humanity; he was the savior of the world." Note the past tense.

By contrast, Alice Meynell once observed:

No planet knows that this Our wayward planet, carrying land and wave,

Love and life multiplied, and pain and bliss, Bears, as chief treasure, one forsaken grave.

Jesus’ cross is empty; his tomb is empty.

Without citing the New Testament, we know these facts:

In AD 52, Thallus the Samaritan described the darkness of Jesus’ crucifixion; so we know he died on the cross as the Scriptures say.

Tacitus (died AD 120), the greatest Roman historian, states that Jesus died at the hands of Pontius Pilate, as the New Testament says.

Suetonius (died AD 135) writes of the Christians’ faith in Jesus.

In AD 112 the Roman administrator Pliny the Younger described the fact that Christians "sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ as to a god."

We have letters, books, and fragments from Christian writers (Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Quadratus, Justin the Martyr) dating to the first century, unanimously teaching that Jesus Christ was and is the risen Lord, the Son of God.

The hypothesis that Jesus was a man deified by Constantine in AD 325 is historically preposterous. Every evidence and source is to the contrary. Everything we know from ancient records tells us that Jesus Christ was believed by Christians to be their risen and living Lord. As he is today.

When we believe that he is alive and real, that he is empowering and rewarding us, everything changes. Martin Rinkart buried 4,000 people in his city during the Thirty Years War, including several members of his family. That was the year he wrote the hymn, "Now Thank We All Our God."

Terry Anderson, the Christian journalist taken hostage in Lebanon for seven years, wrote of his experience: "We come closest to God at our lowest moments. It’s easiest to hear God when you are stripped of pride and arrogance, when you have nothing to rely on except God. It’s pretty painful to get to that point, but when you do, God’s there."

C. S. Lewis asserted, "The ancient man approached God (or even the gods) as the accused person approaches his judge. For the modern man the roles are reversed. He is the judge: God is in the dock. He is quite a kindly judge: if God should have a reasonable defense for being the god who permits war, poverty and disease, he is ready to listen to it. The trial may even end in God’s acquittal. But the important thing is that Man is on the Bench and God is in the Dock" (God in the Dock 244).

How long has it been since you submitted your plans and your future to God as your King? How long has it been since you have experienced true satisfaction and joy in your life and faith? It’s the same question. He is God and we are not. The holy Lord of the universe will not be our servant. He will not stand in our dock. But he will reward his servants with fulfillment and joy we can find nowhere else. The choice is ours. Monday night, if the weather is clear we’ll be able to see five planets in the evening sky at once: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. Lurking far beyond them is another astronomical body whose discovery was reported just this week, a mysterious object beyond Pluto now being called "Sedna." It sounds like a sugar substitute, but it’s actually a reddish chunk of rock almost the size of Pluto which circles the sun once every 10,500 years. It’s three times further from the sun than Pluto. But it’s still part of our solar system, which is itself admittedly tiny in comparison to our galaxy and infinitesimally tiny in comparison to universe. And all of that was created by God. The God some treat as their servant. The God others serve.

President Theodore Roosevelt and his good friend, the naturalist William Beebe, would on occasion stay at Roosevelt’s family home. They would go out on its lawn at night. They would search the skies until they found the faint spot of light behind the lower left-hand corner of the Great Square of Pegasus. Then they would remember together the words:

That is the Spiral Galaxy in Andromeda. It is as large as our Milky Way.

It is one of a hundred million galaxies. It consists of one hundred billion suns, Each larger than our sun. Then President Roosevelt would grin at Mr. Beebe and say, "Now I think we are small enough. Let’s go to bed." Are we small enough to serve God?

Do you remember a few weeks ago the Caves Beach young diver, Luke Tresoglavic? This man walked into a lifeguard post at Caves beach looking for help with the small shark attached to his leg. Mr. Tresoglavic was snorkeling on a reef when the shark attacked him. He swam 1,000 feet to shore, but the shark wouldn’t let go. Some people on the beach tried to help, but to no avail. So the man got into his car, drove to the clubhouse, and asked for help. The lifeguards flushed the shark’s gills with fresh water. It then loosened its grip, and blood oozed from 70 punctures in the man’s leg. Mr. Tresoglavic was treated at a hospital. The shark later died. Now it’s safe to go back into the water. What’s hanging onto your heart this morning, refusing to let go? What is the secret or shame which lives in your past, the guilt that haunts your thoughts, the skeletons in your soul? Where’s the lifeguard who can set you free?

As the first image of The Passion of the Christ quotes, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6).

Note his own answer to the question: "How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?" (Matthew 26:54). He repeated himself: "All this has taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled" (v. 56). "Scriptures," plural; "writings," plural.

What did he mean? Listen to the plan which he and his Father created.

How would he be betrayed? "Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me" (Psalm 41:9).

For how much? "They paid me thirty pieces of silver" (Zechariah 11:12).

How would his followers react? "Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered" (Zech 13:7).

Who would accuse him? "Ruthless witnesses come forward…They repay me evil for good and leave my soul forlorn" (Psalm 35:11-12).

How would he respond? "He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth" (Isa 53:7).

What would happen next?

How would he suffer? "I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard" (Isaiah 50:6a).

How would he die?" They will look on me, the one they have pierced" (Zechariah 12:10).

How would the crowd react? "I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting" (Isaiah 50:6b).

With whom would he die? "He poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12).

How would these criminals respond? "They hurl insults, shaking their heads; ‘He trusts in the Lord; let the Lord rescue him’" (Psalm 22:7-8).

At his death:

He would suffer thirst: "They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst" (Psalm 69:21).

His bones would not be broken: "I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me" Ps 22:17

They would gamble for his robe: "They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing" (Psalm 22:18).

He would cry to the Lord, ""My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Psalm 22:1).

At the end he would pray, "Into your hands I commit my spirit" (Psalm 31:5).

Why did Jesus die? To fulfill the plan of his Father as "the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). Because this was their strategy before time began, before the first human was created, before the first sin was committed.

You may know that Mel Gibson, the director and producer of The Passion of The Christ, appears in the movie himself. When Jesus’ hand is stretched on the cross, a fist holds the spike which is driven into the Savior’s flesh. The hand which holds that spike, the hand which crucifies the Lord, is Mel Gibson’s. He was asked why he did it that way. His answer: because I killed him. We all did. I understand and appreciate what he means. But we can’t kill Christ. He chose to die, for you. Before he made you, he knew he would die for you. That’s how much he loves you. The passion of the Christ is you.

The following came from an anonymous mother in Austin, Texas. She titles the list, "Things I’ve learned from my children (honest and no kidding):"

· A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq. ft. house four inches deep.

· You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way. The glass in windows (even double-pane) does not stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.

· When you hear the toilet flush and the words "uh oh," it’s already too late.

· Super glue is forever.

· The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy. It will, however, make cats dizzy. Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.

· Always look in the oven before you turn it on. Plastic toys do not like ovens. The fire department in Austin, Texas has a five-minute response time.

Look at your existence. To spell "collagen," the name of a common type of protein, you need to arrange all eight letters in the right order. To make the protein itself, you need to arrange 1,055 amino acids in precisely the right sequence. This happens spontaneously in nature. Yet the odds are one in 10×260, a number larger than all the atoms in the universe (Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything, 288). And that’s just one protein in your genetic makeup.

A friend recently sent me some ads which needed proofreading:

Nice parachute. Never opened. Used once.

Nordic Track $300. Hardly used. Call Chubby.

Semi-Annual after-Christmas Sale.

Snowblower for sale. Only used on snowy days.

Stock up and save. Limit one.

Wanted: Man to take care of cow that does not smoke or drink.

Dog for sale: Eats anything and is fond of children.

For sale by owner: complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica 45 volumes. Excellent condition. $1,000 or best offer. No longer needed. Got married last month. Wife knows everything.

Does she really? Does she know the meaning of life? Does she know what really matters? Do any of us? "Affluenza" is the new term of the day—affluence which afflicts us with its demands, overwork and overstress.

I read this week that 80% of men and 62% of women put in more than 40 hours a week on the job. But all this work is not giving our lives meaning and fulfillment. 60% of Americans feel pressured to work too much; 80% wish for more time to be with their families and themselves.

We’re starting to realize that it’s just not worth it. We’ve climbed to the top of the ladder, only to discover that it’s leaning against the wrong wall. Then the hard times come. How do you go on in the face of chemotherapy, job loss, single parenting, the divorce of your parents, peer pressure at school, demands which are pulling you apart, the general weariness of life?

It all comes to purpose. You and I will choose to go on in the face of suffering and sacrifice if the goal is worth such cost. When we find the right purpose, a meaning to life which is worth our lives, we’ll pay any price to fulfill it. There, in that purpose, we’ll find the courage to go on.

A great violinist was due in a particular city. The newspaper reports written in advance of his concert, however, devoted most of their attention to the original Strativarius violin he would play. The morning of the concert, the local paper even carried a picture of the great instrument. That night the concert hall filled with people, and the musician played at his best. When he concluded, applause thundered. Then the violinist raised his instrument over his head, and smashed it across his chair. It splintered into a thousand pieces. The audience gasped in shock. The violinist explained: "I read in this morning’s paper how great my violin was. So I walked down the street and found a pawn shop. For ten dollars I bought this violin. I put some new strings on it, and used it this evening. I wanted to demonstrate to you that it’s not the violin that counts most. It’s the hands that hold the violin." No matter how smashed your violin may be, the hands that hold it count most. Hold onto those hands, for they are holding onto you.

A man who felt constantly dominated by his wife went to see a psychologist, who gave him a book on assertiveness. He read it and then drove home, pointed his finger at his wife, and said, "I want you to know that from now on, I’m in charge around here. First you’re going to cook me a delicious dinner. Then you’re going to make me a sumptuous dessert. Then you’ll draw my bath so I can relax. Then, guess who’s going to lay out my clothes and comb my hair?" She replied, "The mortician?"

Erich Fromm, the eminent counselor, once wrote: "The deepest need of man …is the need to overcome his separateness, to leave the prison of his aloneness…. Modern man is alienated from himself, from his fellow men, and from nature. He has been transformed into a commodity, experiences his life forces as an investment which must bring him the maximum profit obtainable under existing market conditions…. While everybody tries to be as close as possible to the rest, everybody remains utterly alone, pervaded by the deep sense of insecurity, anxiety and guilt which always results when human separateness cannot be overcome…. Man overcomes his conscious despair by the routine of amusement, the passive consumption of sounds and sights offered by the amusement industry; furthermore by the satisfaction of buying ever new things, and soon exchanging them for others." Fromm wrote those words in 1967, before the Vietnam War came to its bitter end; before Watergate; before September 11. Today sociologists describe our society as "cocooned," withdrawn into ourselves more than ever before in human history. Gone is the front porch—no one even builds them on houses anymore. Gone is the evening stroll with the neighbors. Gone are extended families—most are scattered across the country and beyond. In their place, 25% of the populace experiences acute loneliness at any given time, and nearly all of us face it with regularity.

A nurse writes: "It was a busy morning when an elderly gentleman arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He told me he was in a hurry, as he had an appointment at 9 a.m.. While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had a doctor’s appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. He told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife.

"I then asked about her health. He told me that she had been there for a while, and was an Alzheimer’s patient. As I finished dressing his wound, I asked if she would be worried if he was a bit late. He replied that she had not recognized him in five years. "I was surprised and said, ‘And you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are?’ He smiled, patted my hand, and said, ‘She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.’ I had to hold back tears as he left and I thought, ‘That is the kind of love I want in my life.’"

There are two ways to see life. Shakespeare’s Macbeth represents one:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day

To the last syllable of recorded time, And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing (Macbeth, Act 5, scene 5).

Many people in our culture agree: life is chaos, with no meaning beyond what you can make of it today. If that’s true, if the God who made us is such an "idiot," then we’d best not trust our lives to his plans. He may well ask what we cannot do or don’t want to do. Ask him to save your soul from hell, but don’t trust him to guide your life or year. Before you choose that view of life, remember that this God sent his Son to die in your place, on your cross. Remember: you are his child; he did not bring you this far to leave you; his gifts are all you need to fulfill his purpose; his Spirit will not let you fail; he has a plan to prosper you and not harm you, to give you hope and a future. Don’t be afraid to trust your plans and hopes, your family and future, your dreams and goals to this God. Be afraid not to.

William Barclay once wrote, "A man will never become outstandingly good at anything unless that

thing is his ruling passion. There must be something of which he can say, ‘For me to live is this.’

Remember how powerfully Edgar Guest put it in his poem entitled Sermons We See…

“I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day;

I’d rather one should walk with me than merely show the way.

The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear;

Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear.

And the best of all the preachers Are those who live their creeds;

For to see the good in action Is what everybody needs.

I can soon learn how to do it if you’ll let me see it done;

I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run;

And the lectures you deliver may be very wise and true;

But I’d rather get my lesson by observing what you do.

For I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give;

But there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.”

In the famous St. Martins-of-the-Fields Church in London there is a wonderful description of Christian morality which reads like this: “A Christian is a mind through which Christ thinks; a heart through which Christ loves; a voice through which Christ speaks; a hand through which Christ helps.” Paul put it like this… “Not I but Christ lives in me…”

Winter Olympics of 2006. It was one of the most memorable moments in Olympic history,… but it was not the memory that Lindsey Jacobellis had dreamed of, hoped for and wanted. She was way ahead in the snow-board cross finals… so far ahead that some say she could have crawled across the finish line and won the Gold Medal. But, she got carried away… caught up in the excitement of winning the big event… and in her youthful enthusiasm decided to “hot dog” a bit on the next to last jump… to show off a bit… just a little to excite the fans… and her plan backfired! As she landed awkwardly, she lost her balance and fell down and skidded off the course. By the time she recovered and got back up, … the competitor way behind her, Tanja Friedman of Switzerland caught up, passed her by and won the Gold… the first Gold Medal in that event in Olympic history. In frustration and disbelief, Lindsey Jacobellis scrambled across the finish line, and finished second and won the Silver Medal. As I watched that, my heart went out to Lindsey. If I could talk to her today, I would say to her: “Lindsey, you made the Olympic Team. You competed

against the best in the world. You represented the USA very well. You won the Silver Medal… and I am so proud of you!” That’s what I would say to her,… but the hard reality is… that Lindsey Jacobellis will always be remembered, not as the one who won the Silver Medal but as the one who lost the Gold! She was so near the Gold Medal. She was so near becoming an Olympic Champion. She was so near, but yet so far.

Rudyard Kipling spoke of this once. He said: “The world will tell you to be greatly concerned about money, position, or glory, but then someday you will meet a person who cares for none of these things. Then you will know how poor you are.”

In the movie Field of Dreams, a touching parable is told about life and death and reconciliation and forgiveness. Kevin Costner, the main character is driven to find an old doctor played by Burt Lancaster. The doctor (many years before as a young man) had been a professional baseball player. He had made it to the major leagues,… but he had only gotten in the game for one play before his career ended. He didn’t even get a chance to bat. The rest of his life was spent as a small town doctor whose love and caring were legendary. In the movie, the old doctor is offered a chance to return, magically, to his youth and to re-enter the big leagues to become the major league baseball star his talent had promised. It was a chance at fame and power and wealth. But the old doctor smiled and declined. “But you only get to play 5 minutes in the big leagues,” he is told “that’s a tragedy!” “No,” he replies, “If I had only gotten to be a doctor for 5 minutes, that would have been a tragedy!” (Pulpit Digest, Sept., Oct.1991, p.38 quoting Clyde Fant)

Some years ago, Albert Schweitzer put it like this. Speaking to a graduating class in an English School he said: “I do not know what your destiny will be. Some of you will perhaps occupy remarkable positions… but I do know one thing: the only ones among you who will be really happy… are those who have sought and found how to serve Christ.”

Norman Vincent Peale said several years ago in a funeral sermon for a friend. He said: “Now, a baby not yet born, still tucked under his mother’s heart, might say to himself: ‘This is a wonderful place. It’s warm. I’m fed. I’m taken care of. I’m secure. This is a great world where I am now. I like it here.’ And then someone might say to him: ‘But you’re not going to stay here. You have to move on. You’re going to die out of this place. You’re going to another world.’ The baby would look upon the process of birth as if it were death, since it would be the end of the pleasant state he was in.

But look what happens to him! He is cradled in loving arms. Soft hands hold him gently. A kind face looks down at him, and he loves that face. Everybody that comes near loves him. He’s the king of the world he surveys and he comes to love that world, too. It’s even better than the one in which he had been before. Finally, he gets to be an old man and he is told: ‘You have to die to this world.’ He protests: ‘I don’t want to die. I love this world. I like the feel of the sun on my face and the cool rain. I love the faces of my wife and children. I’ve lived here a long time and I love this place. I don’t want to die.’ But he does die to this world and then he is born into the next. And look what happens! He awakens to find himself young again. And once again, there are loving faces to greet him and loving hands to touch him. And even more beautiful sunlight will be there to surround him and sweeter music than he’s ever heard in his life before will sound in his ears. And all tears will be wiped from his eyes and he will say: ‘Why was I so afraid of this thing called death, when (as I now know) it is really life instead?’”

At a Rodeo two rough, tough-looking cowboys sitting backstage waiting to ride angry bulls and bucking broncos as rodeo competitors. They were sitting together, sipping coffee and talking about life on the rodeo circuit. They were also telling each other about their rodeo-related injuries… a busted knee, a sprained ankle, a broken rib. Just then, a young man walked by sporting… • Brand new cowboy boots; • A new pair of Levis; • A wide belt with a huge belt buckle; • A freshly starched cowboy shirt; • … and a big white cowboy hat. He was all dressed up for a night at the Rodeo… but you could tell that he had probably never been on a horse in his life. He was all decked out in brand-new western garb and doing his best imitation of the John Wayne walk. As he strutted by, one of the rodeo cowboys smiled,.. nudged his buddy and said: “Big Hat, No Cattle.” What did he mean by that? He probably meant that some people like to dress the part, but not pay the price. We will dress up like a cowboy for a night or two, but we have no idea what is really involved or demanded… in the real “hard-knocks life” of a committed cowboy. “Big Hat, No Cattle!”

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John 6:41-69 Why I Believe in Jesus Christ

65 He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted to him by the Father.”
66 From that moment many of His disciples turned back and no longer accompanied Him.
67 Therefore Jesus said to the Twelve, “You don’t want to go away too, do you?”
68 Simon Peter answered, “Lord, who will we go to? You have the words of eternal life.
69 We have come to believe and know that You are the Holy One of God!”

I Peter chapter three and verse fifteen. It says this, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you. Be able to do it with meekness and fear.” If someone were to ask you why are you a Christian, could you give a good answer. Why are you excited about the Lord Jesus? or Why you believe you believe in Jesus? I want to talk to you tonight on this subject Why I believe in Jesus Christ. Why I am a Christian. Now are Christians fools for believing in Jesus? Are we mere sentimentalists or do we have reasonable reasons for believing in the Lord Jesus Christ? Now may I tell you that everybody is a believer. People just believe different things. Some for example believe in atheism. They are believers; they just believe there is no God. Now if you do not if you don’t believe in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, then you must believe in the beginning the heavens and the earth made themselves and then they created man. Now if you won’t to believe that as far as I’m concerned you’ve got rooms to rent upstairs unfurnished but you can believe that if you want. May I tell you this don’t get the idea that atheism is the sign of intelligence. It is not a sign of intelligence. Socrates believed in God. Lord Bacon believed in God. Galileo believed in God. Sir Isaac Newton believed in God. Pasteur believed in God. Albert Einstein believed in God. The space scientist Vernor Von Bron believed in God. I mean it’s not a sign of intelligence that you don’t believe in God. Well, you say I believe in God but I am more of a philosopher. I wouldn’t say that I’m a Christian. Well, dear friend, if your a philosopher and you don’t believe in the Lord Jesus do you think that philosophy has the answer to life? Scopenhour was a great philosopher and he said that life is a curse of endless cravings and endless unhappiness. I’m glad that’s not my philosophy. Huxley said as he looked around at human beings he was a great philosopher, but he said it seems that we talking of human beings, we are a cancer on the globe. That’s you, that’s me. Bertram Russell, oh they study him in college, but he said of philosophy, “Philosophy proved a wash out to me.” I like what Dr. Robert G. Lee said about philosophy. He said it was a chunk of cloud bank buttered with the night wind. Dear friend, is that what you’re going to turn to. Oh, well you say, I I’m not necessarily a philosopher or an atheist. I am ugh very religious.

Jesus had just fed the 5,000 with a few fishes and loaves. Many followed Jesus because of the miracles He performed.  But as Jesus preached to them a challenging message, the multitudes began to leave Him.

If you turn from Jesus, where will you go?

Will you turn to atheism?

The intelligentsia of the ages have believed in God.

Socrates Galileo Newton Pasteur Einstein Wernher von Braun

There are five reasons why I believe in Jesus Christ.

PHILOSOPHICAL REASONS

Christianity is Cohesive

Christianity is Cogent

Christianity is Comprehensive

Christianity is Corresponding to reality

Experiential reasons

Rational reasons

Phenomenological reasons

HISTORICAL REASONS

Jesus is a fact of history.

John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

HISTORICAL REASONS

Resurrection


Archeology


Miracles


Prophesy

SCRIPTURAL REASONS

John 6:44-45 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.
45 It is written in the Prophets: And they will all be taught by God.Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to Me—

The Bible is the Word of God.

How do we know the Bible is true?

Fulfilled prophecy

The unity of the Bible

The longevity of the Bible

The accuracy of the Bible

The power of the Bible  (John 6:63) The Spirit is the One who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

Jesus is the central theme of the Bible.

His miraculous birth and life

His sacrificial death Acts 10:43 All the prophets testify about Him that through His name everyone who believes in Him will receive forgiveness of sins.”

John 6:45 It is written in the Prophets: And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to Me—

SPIRITUAL REASONS

John 6:63 The Spirit is the One who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

If you sincerely seek the truth, God the Holy Spirit will speak to you and confirm that Jesus is the Christ.

He witnesses to you.

He witnesses in you.

1 John 5:6-10 Jesus Christ—He is the One who came by water and blood; not by water only, but by water and by blood. And the Spirit is the One who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.
7 For there are three that testify:
8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and these three are in agreement.
9 If we accept the testimony of men, God’s testimony is greater, because it is God’s testimony that He has given about His Son.
10 (The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. The one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given about His Son.)

PERSONAL REASONS

The Lord Jesus Christ is Cohesive

He is Cogent,

He is Comprehensive

He is Corresponds to reality

John 6:68-69 Simon Peter answered, “Lord, who will we go to? You have the words of eternal life.
69 We have come to believe and know that You are the Holy One of God!”

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But go, tell His disciples and Peter

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so they could go and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they went to the tomb at sunrise. 3 They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance to the tomb for us?” 4 Looking up, they observed that the stone—which was very large—had been rolled away. 5 When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; they were amazed and alarmed. 6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he told them. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has been resurrected! He is not here! See the place where they put Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples and Peter, 7 But go, tell His disciples and Peter, Did you ever consider why the angel, sent by the risen Lord Jesus, reminds the ladies at the empty tomb to “7.. tell His disciples and Peter” Mark 16

 Why Peter? Peter got into trouble with his words. We all do too. A little girl wanted to say grace at the meal table in front of a family invited to lunch. There was silence.. and then nothing… “Just say what mummy says honey” “Lord why did I ever invite these people here for lunch today?” Jesus and His disciples had just finished the Last Supper in the Upper Room. They sang a hymn and then went out to the Mount of Olives. There, Jesus told His disciples that they were fast approaching the “showdown” and in that crunch moment they would all fall away. They would all deny Him, they would all forsake Him. But boldly, Peter said to Jesus, “Not me Lord. All the rest of them may fall away but not me. You can count on me. I would never fail you. I would never deny you. I will go with You to prison and even to death. The others may become weak in the crisis, but not me. I will stand tall. That, You can count on.” And Jesus said, “Simon, Simon, I know you mean well, but the truth is that this very night before the cock crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And of course, Jesus was right. That is precisely what happened… and Peter was emotionally and spiritually devastated by his failure to live up to his bold words. How could he face Christ again after falling on his face so completely? How could Peter be redeemed from this tragic failure?

WHEN WE MOST FEEL DESPAIR THE RISEN CHRIST BRINGS HOPE

Peter… never forgotten by the Lord.. never left to His stupidity. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, He is Risen, the risen living Lord brings followership.

WHEN WE MOST NEED LOVE, THE RISEN CHRIST COMES TO LOVE US.

Peter… never forsaken by the Lord… loved when we need it most. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, He is Risen, the risen living Lord brings fellowship. 1John 1:1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have observed,and have touched with our hands, concerning the Word of life— 2 that life was revealed, and we have seen it and we testify and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us— 3 what we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may have fellowship along with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing these thingsso that our joy may be complete.

WHEN WE MOST NEED FORGIVENESS, THE RISEN CHRIST COME TO FORGIVE US

. Peter.. forgiven .. the Lord says.. “He’s with me!” But go, tell His disciples and Peter, He is Risen, the risen living Lord brings forgiveness. 1John 1:5 Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him. 6 If we say, “We have fellowship with Him,” and • walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. Why do you get a receipt from a shop? 2 reasons.. 1. so you can take the product back when it doesn’t work. 2. As a proof of purchase. The resurrection is the proof of purchase. The Son’s death at the cross has purchased your pardon. The resurrection is the Father’s receipt that the sacrifice is accepted. Do you want to feel the forgiveness of your sins afresh? confess them to the Lord. The risen Lord is ready to hear your prayers. and He applies your forgiveness that He purchased for you at the cross.

WHEN WE MOST NEED DIRECTION, THE RISEN CHRIST COMES TO DIRECT US.

Peter.. Jesus asks the question, “Are you with Me?” But go, tell His disciples and Peter, go to Galilee! He is Risen, the risen living Lord brings a new sense of call for your life. He wants you to follow Him again. Note this in the meeting with the resurrected Lord with Peter at the sea of Galilee. John 21:12 Jesus *said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples ventured to question Him, “Who are You?” knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus *came and *took the bread and *gave it to them, and the fish likewise. 14 This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead. The Love Motivation 15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He *said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16 He *said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He *said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He *said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus *said to him, “Tend My sheep. 18 “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.” 19 Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He *said to him, “Follow Me!” 20 Peter, turning around, *saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 So Peter seeing him *said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” 22 Jesus *said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” But go, tell His disciples and Peter, He is Risen, the risen living Lord brings followership.

WHEN WE MOST NEED ASSURANCE, THE RISEN CHRIST COMES TO ASSURE US.

A dear Lady was dieing. She had walked with the Lord for many many years.SHe asked me..”But Did He die for me?” I reminded her how the Lord had touched her heart many times in her life to remind her that her sins were pardoned at the cross when the Lord Jesus died. The Risen Lord comes to people personally. He speaks to your heart that your sins are forgiven. Even yours! Even Peters. Even ours. She said to me.. “Yes I see it now. He died for my sins and He is risen and thats all that counts.” Do you know He died and is risen.. Has He spoken peace to your heart? He can. Right now..Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved! Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Will you do that right now?

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John 3:16 The Love of God

 

Merv was a man who brought his Christian faith everywhere. It was real. It is real. He gently and graciously would commend God’s love to others who need comfort and encouragement and hope.

Merv trusted and in God’s love and this gave him Hope.

Hope is the ability to see something positive and good beyond the current crisis and the pain.

An airplane pilot made this announcement. “We have lost our compass, our radio and our GPS tracking system. Unfortunately we don’t know where we are, and we don’t know which way we are going. The good news is we have an excellent tail wind and we are making excellent time.”

Merv knew where he was going and who was going with him.

Hope strengthened Merv through trials and difficulties. This Hope is anchored in God’s love for him in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The most famous Bible verse of all is John 3:16.

16 “For God so loved the world,9 that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

God’s Love is Contrasted

-with a sinful world

-with a world of sinful men.

It isn’t so much a world in numbers that is being got at here when Jesus said that God so loved the world. He wasn’t thinking just in the terms of the old song, “he’s got the whole world in His hands.” He was expressing the contrast between what god looks like and what the world is like.

Its more like old spiritual song from the George Clooney film “O brother where art thou?”

I am a man of constant sorrow I’ve seen trouble all my days

For six long years I’ve been in trouble No pleasures here on earth I found

For in this world I’m bound to ramble I have no friends to help me now

As Job’s friend said; Man is born for trouble as the sparks fly upwards.

Trouble comes because of the sinfulness of humanity. We live in a fallen world, where sin runs amok, sometimes in the most devastating of ways.

Famous French author, Lavredan, who had long professed to be an atheist, when confronted by the horrors of World War I during which he witnessed the insane destruction in his own country, made this gripping confession:

“I laughed at faith and thought myself wise. Finally this laughter became hollow and vain for I saw France bleeding and mourning. What would become of France if her children did not believe, if her women did not pray? “Oh, a people whose fields are covered with the dead! How difficult it is to remain an atheist on this national cemetery! I cannot! I cannot! I have deceived myself and you who have read my book. It was a delusion, a giddiness, an evil dream. I see death and call for life. Hands equipped with weapons make death; folded hands bring life. France, turn back to faith! To forsake God means to be lost!”

God’s Love is Clear

God didn’t want us to be lost.

16 “For God so loved the world,9 that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

He sent His Son.

His Son Died for Us

Inscribed upon the cross we see In shining letters, God is love;

He bears our sins upon the tree; He brings us mercy from above.

The cross! it takes our guilt away; It holds the fainting spirit up;
It cheers with hope the gloomy day, And sweetens every bitter cup.

It makes the coward spirit brave, And nerves the feeble arm for fight;
It takes the terror from the grave, And gilds the bed of death with light.

The balm of life, the cure of woe, The measure and the pledge of love,
The sinner’s refuge here below, The angels’ theme in Heav’n above.

God’s Love is Caring

16 “For God so loved the world,9 that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

It is the individual that he loves. It isn’t much good if it doesn’t reach right down to you and me. But God’s love does. It reaches to you and I as individuals right where you are today.

God’s Love is Conquering

16 “For God so loved the world,9 that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

It conquered Merv’s Life

There came a day when Merv recognised what the Lord Jesus Christ had done for him. He decided to stop fighting against God and just accept the grace and mercy that God freely offered him in the Lord Jesus Christ.

And Merve believed in Him.

Merv trusted that what Jesus had done was good for Merv too.

There needs to come that day for each one of us. The day where we say as Merv said to me, “I believed in Him. I believed in Jesus dying for my sin on the cross and rising again for me.”

And this conquered Merv’s heart. You see, we love God because He first loved us. And God’s love softended and melted Merv’s heart, as it must melt your heart and my heart. Merv loved God, because God first loved Merv. You will love God when you see that God has first loved you.

It can conquer your life.

This was the source of Merv’s faith and his hope.

Not that Merv loved God, but that God loved Merv.

Do you know that love that God has for you? Have you received it yet?

Its good for eternity, but its only good if you receive it.

I want a religion that can comfort even in death, that can unite me with my loved ones.  Knowing and receiving God’s love in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ can do just that! Why don’t you receive Him today?

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“It’s amazing God is doing as well as He is with the crowd He has to work with.” James 4

1 What is the source of the wars and the fights among you? Don’t they come from the cravings that are at war within you?
2 You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. You do not have because you do not ask.
3 You ask and don’t receive because you ask wrongly, so that you may spend it on your desires for pleasure.
4 Adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world’s friend becomes God’s enemy.
5 Or do you think it’s without reason the Scripture says that the Spirit He has caused to live in us yearns jealously?
6 But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
7 Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.
8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people!
9 Be miserable and mourn and weep. Your laughter must change to mourning and your joy to sorrow.
10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.
11 Don’t criticize one another, brothers. He who criticizes a brother or judges his brother criticizes the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.
12 There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

Great Political fights… ahhh what a week in Canberra , aren’t you glad you don’t live there?

What is it about? Ambition? Selfish desires? Greed?  In other countries people are killing each other over ruling a country. The problem of the human heart is profound. 

When a group of thoroughbred horses face attack, they stand in a circle facing each other and, with their back legs, kick out at the enemy. Donkeys do just the opposite; they face the enemy and kick each other!

Aren’t you glad you would never see that in a church. Or would you?

How often the church does just that — ignoring the real enemy while we attack fellow believers.

Great church fights.  Wilberforce had two parts of one family who didn’t get on; they changed their name they so couldn’t get on; the  Deltons and the Doltons. In fact, at Parish council meetings they each brought guns in case they didn’t agree.

Could you imagine a church where they backbite and hurt each other? Where there is racial prejudice.. I remember speaking at a church camp where a treasurer of a church was upset about Koreans moving into the area, and she was upset that they might turn up at church!  James 2:1

Could you imagine a church where people stopped ministries because other church members criticised them?  Or stopped ministry because they were just plain negative?

Could you imagine a church where people used hurtful words to get their own way? Where they would manipulate and lie in order to have power? James 3

Could you imagine a church that deliberately and with malicious intent defaulted on the bills? James 5

What is the source of all this trouble in a church?

James is going to tell us that the bottom line to it is pride!

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.5 

What are the causes of Churches Feuding, Fighting and Fussing. The text list three such causes.

What are the causes of Churches Feuding, Fighting and Fussing?.

1. The First Cause Active Passions.

Epithumeo (ep-ee-thoo-meh’-o); to set the heart upon, i.e. long for (rightfully or otherwise): KJV– covet, desire, would fain, lust (after)

epi over, upon, etc.;

thumos (thoo-mos’); passion (as if breathing hard): fierceness, indignation, wrath.

2. The Second Cause Atrophied Prayer.

Dead prayers. Prayers that only hit the ceiling!

3. The Third Cause An Abominable Partnership, the world.

James will put a thermometer in your mouth to test the temperature of your Christianity. Someone once noted that prayer is a thermometer for any church’s life. Would your prayer life show our church to be dead or alive?

1. The Presumption of Unoffered Prayer

2. The Problem of Unaccepted Prayer

3.The Principles of Undeniable Prayer

Hegesippus, a second centaury historian, who described James He was in the habit of entering into the temple alone and was often found upon his bended knees asking for the forgiveness of the people so that his knees became hard like a camels knees as the consequence of his habitual supplication and kneeling before God. .James nickname was camel knees. He was a man who knew from experience what prayer is. His teaching on prayer is therefore very practical.

1.       The Presumption of Unoffered Prayer

1 What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don’t they come from the cravings that are at war within you?1  2 You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires.

Dad asked boy to move a rock.. It was too heavy to move.  He tried everything.   Dad came along a little later and asked “have you used everything you’ve got to move it?”  “yes dad and it still wont move.”  “no you haven’t!” “I’ve used a steal bar, I’ve used a shovel, I’ve used a rope..I still can’t move it.”  “You haven’t asked me!”

“Oh what peace we often forfeit oh what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”

You have not because you ask not.

I don’t know how many times I have had to learn and relearn this lesson.  My pride gets in the way. I try to do something. And in my frustration at not succeeding I cry out to God.. who says.. “should have asked me first!”

2. The Problem of Unaccepted Prayer

-A relationship not established.  John 1:12 2 Tim 3:1.. unsaved church goers? YES!

-A rebellion not ended  Psalm 66:18 “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord

-A reverence not essential  (James 4:4-6)

-A resistance not endured James 4:7

“I can resist everything but temptation!” –Movie star.

-A repentance not exhaustive James 4:8-10

Russian Church.. no tears no conversion.

-A restless evil not restrained  (James 3:8,  4:11,12)

Ripper tongues.

We pray with the wrong motives. James 4:3

C.S. Lewis wisely wrote: “Humans are very seldom either totally sincere or totally hypocritical. Their moods change, their motives are mixed, and they are often themselves quite mistaken as to what their motives are.”

“We have met the enemy and he is us.” Man is the problem. Paul says in II Timothy 3 that the last days will be dangerous, perilous times because men will be lovers of self rather than lovers of God.

“I cannot pray but I sin: I cannot hear or preach a sermon, but I sin: I cannot give an alms or receive the sacrament, but I sin: nay, I cannot so much as confess my sins, but my confessions are still aggravations of them. My repentance needs to be repented of, my tears want washing, and the very washing of my tears needs still to be washed over again in the blood of my Redeemer.”

William Beveridge

Are our motives, when we bow before God to beg a blessing from him, are our motives right and pure before the God who looks upon the heart? When we bow down and call out, “Holy Father,” do we love that holiness in our deepest hearts and therefore seek it for ourselves by might and main? When we pray for our daily bread, are we seeking only that provision of life that is necessary that we might worship and serve our God, or do we long to make our home in this world and to enjoy its pleasures even at the expense of the will of God? And, above all, when we confess our sins to him in prayer and seek his forgiveness, do we do so fully committed to never committing that sin again, or do we confess, if the truth be told, while laying plans for our next transgression?

Well, every Christian must admit that his motives are far too mixed. That much as he wants all and only that which God wants for him and in him, there is also in, under, around, and through those pure and holy motives those that are impure and unworthy, selfish and carnal.

BUT, HERE IS THE PARADOX. THE CHRISTIAN WHO SEES MOST CLEARLY THE NECESSITY OF RIGHT MOTIVES, WHO MOURNS MOST DEEPLY THE IMPURITY OF HIS OWN MOTIVES WHEN HE COMES TO PRAY, IS THE CHRISTIAN WHO WILL PRAY WITH RIGHT MOTIVES, OR WHAT THE BIBLE CALLS RIGHT MOTIVES, NOT PERFECT, NO DOUBT STILL SINFULLY MIXED, BUT RIGHT AND HOLY NONETHELESS. THAT CHRISTIAN WILL ALSO OFTEN BE FOUND IN HIS PRAYERS ASKING THAT HE MIGHT PRAY WITH PURER MOTIVES AND LIVE WITH PURER MOTIVES, BECAUSE HE KNOWS THAT GOD LOOKS UPON THE HEART, AND HE WANTS TO HONOR AND PLEASE HIS GOD, WHO HAS BEEN SO GRACIOUS AND SO FORGIVING TO AN ILL-MOTIVATED HYPOCRITE LIKE HIMSELF!

Nissan Station wagon… wearing out the tyres every three months. The tyres were scrubbing out omn the front, and the brake pads were wearing out every 6 months.

When the tires on your car are out of alignment, they wear out a lot faster than they should. When they are out of alignment you will feel your car pull to the left or right. Changing the tire does not fix the problem. Many think that changing the tire will solve the problem, but it doesn’t. It just cost you more money. The wear and tear and the pulling to the left or right is just an indicator that you have problems somewhere else. If you want save the wear and tear on your tires and stop the pulling you have to get the front end aligned. Many people spend their lives jumping from one church to another thinking that the church is the problem. When in reality the problem is not in the church but in them. Changing churches want fix the problem. Getting your life aligned with God will fix the problem.

A young man applied for a job with the RTA. His application was accepted and he was given the job of painting the white lines on a nearby roadway by hand because all the machines were temporarily out of order. The first day he painted eight miles. The second day he painted four miles. The third day he painted two miles. The fourth day he only painted one mile. In the beginning, his supervisor was very pleased with his performance. As the production level began to slide, he got curious. The young man replied, “I am getting slower and slower because the paint can is getting further and further away.”

Get close to God and you’ll solve the problem.

3.       The Principles of undeniable Prayer

Sensitivity to the Spirit (James 4:5)

Submission to the Father  (James 4:6)

Standing against the devil (James 4:7)

Separation  from the world  (James 4:8)

Seriousness and Sobriety of purpose  (James 4:9,10)

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James 3:13-18 Wise or Otherwise?

In 1845 Royal Navy Rear Admiral Sir John Franklin and 138 specially chosen officers and men left England to find the Northwest Passage around Canada.They sailed in two three-masted ships with the daunting names the “Erebus” (the dark place, according to Greek mythology, through which souls pass on their way to Hades) and the “Terror.”

Each ship was equipped with an auxiliary steam engine and a twelve-day supply of coal, should steam power be needed sometime during the anticipated two- to three-year voyage.

But instead of loading additional coal, each ship made room for a 1,200-volume library, an organ, and full, elegant place settings for all – china, cut-glass goblets, and sterling silver flatware.

The officers’ sterling was of especially grand Victorian design, with the individual officer’s family crests and initials engraved on the heavy handles. The only clothing which these proud Englishmen took on the expedition were the uniforms of Her Majesty’s Navy. The ships sailed off amidst imperial pomp and glory. Two months later a British whaler met the two ships and reports were carried back to England of the expedition’s high spirits. He was the last European to see them alive.

After months of waiting, Lady Jane Franklin sent search parties to get information from the Eskimos.

Some had seen men pushing a wooden boat across the ice. The organ was inside it.

The remains of thirty-five men were found at a place now named Starvation Cove.

Another thirty bodies were found in a tent at Terror Bay. Only the three masts of their ship protruded from the ice.

For the next twenty years search parties recovered skeletons from the frozen waste. Twelve years later it was learned that Admiral Franklin had died aboard ship.The remaining officers and crew had decided to walk for help. Largely due to lead poisoning from their canned food, they walked in the wrong direction. Accompanying one clump of bodies were place settings of sterling silver flatware bearing the officers’ initials and family crests. The officers’ remains were still dressed in their fine, buttoned blue uniforms, some with silk scarfs in place.

The Franklin Expedition was a monumental failure. It was foolishly conceived, planned, equipped, and carried out.

The expedition itself accomplished absolutely nothing. Yet it is universally agreed that it was the turning point in Arctic exploration. The mystery of the expedition’s disappearance and its fate attracted so much attention in Europe and the U.S. that no less than 30 ships made extended journeys in search of the answer.

In doing so, they mapped the Arctic for the first time, discovered the Northwest Passage, and developed a technology suitable to Arctic conditions.

It was upon the shipwreck of Rear Admiral Franklin’s “wisdom” that Amundsen would one day stand victorious at the South Pole, and Perry and Henson at the North.

Similarly, the shipwreck of worldly wisdom ought to motivate us to seek wisdom from above, so we can wisely navigate through life.

1. The Value Of Wisdom

2. The Virtues of Wisdom

Good

Gentle

We remember our Prime Minister stating that his first priority was education, and his second priority was education, and his third priority was education. Christianity’s priorities are different. John Calvin wrote quoting Augustine, ‘When a certain rhetorician was asked what was the chief rule in eloquence, he replied, ‘Delivery’; what was the second rule, ‘Delivery’; what was the third rule, ‘Delivery’; so if you ask me concerning the precepts of the Christian religion, first, second, third, and always I would answer, ‘Humility'” (Institutes 2.2.11).

3. The Vices of Worldly Wisdom

Has Self at the Centre of it

Resents successes of others king Saul had great graces in his youth, but bitter envy for David destroyed him. Think of King Saul hearing the crowd’s cries of delight in David, “Saul has slain his thousands, but David his tens of thousands”

Strife and selfish ambition at the heart of it. Power! Knowledge is power is the current worldly paradigm. It is “be more successful than the other bloke. It is the competitive spirit. It is the opposite of a loving attitude that wants the success of the other person to be paramount.

Has Satan as the Source of it

None of god in it,

Earthly, worldly, sensual, devilish devilish… word is slanderous.

4. The Victory of Wisdom 17

Overcomes Sin

Overcomes Strife

Overcomes Stubbornness

Overcomes Snobbishness

Overcomes Sham

Henry Van Dyke,

With eager heart and will on fire,

I strove to win my great desire.

‘Peace shall be mine,’ I said; but life

Grew bitter in the barren strife.

My soul was weary, and my pride

Was wounded deep; to Heaven I cried,

‘God grant me peace or I must die;’

The dumb stars glittered no reply.

Broken at last, I bowed my head,

Forgetting all myself, and said,

‘Whatever comes, His will be done;’

And in that moment peace was won.

We maintain our own peace with God by submission to his will, and then in our own congregations we “endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephs. 4:3)

Producing Peace.

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Cultivate Who are you and where are you going?

130 years ago people in the Riverstone Community were asking this question of our church.

A philosopher wandered out of his office and stood in the middle of a garden. a gendarme walked over to him. “Who are you and what are you doing here?”  Thank you sir, that is the very question I have been asking myself.  there is no more important question than that.  Who are you and what are you doing here? Where are you going? 

Last week our Senior pastor Geoff Bates gave us an overview of who we are and what we are doing here.  He introduced us to our Vision statement.   Who are we and what are we doing here?

We are Connecting people to Jesus.

We are Cultivating faith and relationship to Jesus.

We are Celebrating Life With Jesus.

VISION Sharing the new life of Jesus with the world  “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” John 10:10b

Our MISSION

CONNECTING PEOPLE TO JESUS

We see a church full of hearts so desperately broken for the lost, so completely confident in the power of the gospel, and so thoroughly eager to build up his church that the good news of Jesus is always on our lips and the love of God is clearly seen in our actions.

CULTIVATING FAITH IN JESUS

We see a church so humbled by the power of our creator God, so in awe of the person of Jesus, and so consumed by the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, that we are forever submitting ourselves to His Word and turning to Him in prayer.

CELEBRATING LIFE WITH JESUS

We see a church so overcome by the grace and compassion of God, that we cannot help but rejoice, sing and live out our thankfulness in never-ending praise, as we regularly gather and joyfully serve him all of our days.

Cultivation Eph 4:11-16 [HCSB]

And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ,

until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit.

But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head — Christ. From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.

Today I want to focus on cultivating faith in Jesus.

Where are we going in our relationship with God? Some people think that once you make a decision, that’s the end of the story. All is settled and the pastor can go about his business, and our business is just to turn up Sundays to make the pastor happy, and that’s it.

That is not how the bible puts it. It says to us all that we build up the body of Christ “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.”

But what does it mean for the Body to be built up ? How do you know when you have done that? Again, the centrality of this passage is made clear.” .. we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:13) The word attain καταντήσωμεν means “to reach, to arrive at, to come down to the goal. It indicates purpose. So Christians are pictured as travellers whose purpose is to reach a destination that is described in a three-fold way- with three phrases ,each introduced by the preposition’ eis’,each phrase closely related to the other two.

Into unity εἰς τὴν ἑνότητα τῆς πίστεως καὶ τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ,

εἰς ἄνδρα τέλειον,

εἰς μέτρον ἡλικίας τοῦ πληρώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ,

1. It’s a Progressive Goal

It’s a Process

Maturity explains how unity is attained, and Christ-likeness describes what true maturity entails. The three together, culminating in Christ-likeness, define God’s goal for the individual believer and the corporate Body Taking each of these three separately, our goal individually, the Church’s goal corporately and locally, and the Lord Jesus Christ’s goal universally for each believer and each church, becomes apparent.

2. It’s a Passionate Goal.

They seem to build in intensity. Unity. Knowing God. Maturity. The Stature of Christ!!

Are you passionate about growing as a Christian?

Phil. 3:10  My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead. 12 Not that I have already reached [the goal]or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, 14 I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.

Hosea 6:3  Let us strive to know the Lord. Let us press on to know the Lord.

3. It’s a Participative Goal

All.. individually and corporately are progressing towards this goal.

Since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.Romans 12:5 (NLT)

1. I NEED OTHERS TO WALK WITH ME

And the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” Genesis 2:18 (NLT)

Trusting oneself is foolish, but those who walk in wisdom are safe. Proverbs 28:26 (NLT)

In the multitude of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14, 15:22, 24:6 (NKJV)

Let us not give up the habit of meeting together … Instead, let us encourage one

another… Hebrews 10:25 (GN)

As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the

whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. Ephesians 4:16 (NLT)

Open your homes to each other, without complaining. 1 Peter 4:9 (NCV)

2. I NEED OTHERS TO WORK WITH ME

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together. Ecclesiastes 4:9 (NCV)

Every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith. Galatians 6:10 (MSG)

3. I NEED OTHERS TO WIN WITH ME

Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others. Philippians 2:4 (NCV)

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand backto-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT)

If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble. Ecclesiastes 4:10 (NLT)

4. I NEED OTHERS TO CRY WITH ME

You should be like one big happy family, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds. 1 Peter 3:8 (TLB)

If one member suffers, all suffer together. 1 Corinthians 12:26 (ESV) Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15 (ESV)

5. I NEED OTHERS TO PARTNER WITH ME

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”John 13:34-35 (NLT)

Above all else, you must live in a way that brings honor to the good news about Christ … then I will know that you are working together and that you are struggling side by side to get others to believe the good news. Philippians 1:27 (CEV)

The goal toward which the individual Christian and the Body are to head is defined as firstly, that “we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God.” Paul affirmed that there is but “one faith” (Ephesians 4:5) .Faith can mean either a body of truth, or an attitude of trust. “Faith as “hope” (vs. 4) it is here used as a noun. Barth makes the point that in this confessional material (vss.4-6)baptism is mentioned here because it is a comprehensive, “practical, public, binding, joyful confession of that “one faith”,,!6 The unity of the faith which is the goal of believers, is thus a unity of belief in an orthodox, confessional manner. Although each member of the Body has confessed that one faith in the one Lord that inaugurates membership in the body of Christ ,unity in the faith is to be maintained(vs.3) and is yet a goal to be attained. “The goal of true believers is always unity of the faith. A growing ability to agree will be one indication that spiritual progress is being made.”

Unity of the faith is coupled with unity of the knowledge of the Son of God. There is to be not only unity of orthodox belief, of but also personal relationship with the Son of God. It is “appropriating all that is involved in the salvation which centres in Christ’ Again, unity increases as relationship deepens with the Son of God. The unity of the faith is not the unity among believers created or inspired by faith, but rather a unity which consists in the same mature understanding of the Son of God as the object of the Church’s faith and worship, the Head which fills the Body with its own life and power.

4. It’s a Purposeful Goal

.. Maturity

The second facet of the believer’s destination is maturity. When contrasted with the “little children” of verse 14, the word (telion) has the nuance of ‘mature ‘rather than ‘perfect’ .

1. Maturity means Stability as opposed to instability.  Robust. Strength.  (not like children)

2. Maturity means unity in community as opposed to individualism and selfishness.  Not like childishness.

5. It’s a Praise-worthy Goal

To the goal of maturity is added the third goal for which the Body is heading, “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13) The fullness of Christ means the fullness that belongs to Christ, all He is in His humanity, with all the graces and qualities He possesses. He in His fullness is the essence of perfect manhood. The stature He attained in His incarnation, the spiritual maturity He possessed, is the measure towards which every believer and the whole Body should be progressing. Becoming perfectly like Him is the believer’s ultimate destiny, (Romans 8:29) and it is the Church’s destiny as it becomes more and more in the life of its members what it already is in Christ(Ephesians 4:10). Paul has prayed in a similar manner already for his fellow believers:

16 I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. [I pray that]you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, 19 and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (HCSB)

“Filled to all the fullness of God!” “The measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

How does your life look right now? Who are you and where are you going? And how far are you form getting there?

Filled to all the fullness of God. What spills over when you are shaken or stirred? The fullness of God? Or a bit of anger, pride or self preservation? Who do you look like?

The worshipper of “Great Stone Face” became recognised because he looked like him. Who do you look like?

2 Cor 3:18 We all, with unveiled faces, are reflecting the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Several practical conclusions can then be drawn. Unity in the faith, growth in knowledge of and relationship to Christ, and Christ-likeness of character are far more important to Christ than the implementation of individual charismata. Implementation of the individual charismata within the Body needs to be directed and empowered by the equipping of the special ministers Christ has appointed to His Church. The relationships between fellow members of the body needs to provide opportunity for mutual ministry one to another by speaking of the truth in love.

There is a goal.

It’s a Progressive Goal.

It’s a Passionate Goal

It’s a Participative Goal

It’s a Purposeful Goal

It’s a Praiseworthy Goal

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