Sunday Morning Sermon Notes

“The Great Compromise And The Falling Away” - “These Times They Are A-Changing!”

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09-01-2019 Part 1

Read St. John 8:                                                                                                               Vs. 31.  Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed in Him, if, you abide in My Word you are My disciples indeed.                                                                                                  Vs. 32.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.

This afternoon, lets come back to our ongoing series that we have called, “You Shall Know The Truth, And The Truth Shall Make You Free!”

Now remember, one of the objectives of this series is to help restore or develop our confidence, or dependency, and our trust and belief that the scriptures, the Bible is the final revelation of God which contains,

*Absolute truth.     *Moral and ethical guidelines for life.       *Practical wisdom.       *Helpful insight and understandings about being with God’s help an overcomer.        *And most of all, having an eternal perspective in everything that we say or do!         

Listen, the Bible, the Scriptures, must have the final say in our lives.

And not our family of origin.  Not our ethnicity.   Not our flesh.   Not our intellect.   Not our education.   Not our culture.   Not our society.   Not our politics.   Only the scriptures, the Bible should have the final authority in our lives when it comes to the essential issues of life that you and I may struggle with from time to time.      Or, those issues that we really are not sure about!                                                        Or, those issues that we really could use some help with in our lives right now.

So, today we want to begin our New Subject Within This Series.

And with God’s help we need to address an important issue that all of us as God’s people are facing at this time, and that is The Great Compromise, And The Falling Away, i.e. the rejecting of the faith.  But also, that would include one’s attendance, participation, involvement, and financial support, the falling away!

Quote I Timothy 4: 1.  Now the Spirit expressly says, that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.

First, this is what I mean by the “Great Compromise!”

If you think about it, in just a short period of time, and within our lifetime, in the body of Christ, and especially within local church ministry. There has been a paradigm shift from a corporate accountability and responsibility that we are to have for one another when it comes to personal holiness, Godliness, purity, integrity, and practical sanctification.

But now, if you have noticed everything has changed.                                                         It is all about self!  My needs, my rights, and my freedoms.

In fact, the prevailing attitude in most churches today among those who attend is, “ain’t nobody’s business if I do, or what I do!”

NOTE: This was a popular title song from the early 1920s.  In fact, this song was also performed by the late Billie Holiday, in the late 1940s.

So, in recent times, many churches, ministries, Christian schools and universities have decided that they have to compromise, in order to be relevant.

They must water down, dilute the truth, so it does not offend, and then people will attend and support that ministry.

They must not teach and explain the Bible, the scriptures, as being the final authority in a person’s life in which they are to submit too, and obey.

And next, this is what I mean by the “Falling Away”.

It is not only the rejecting of the faith, i.e. no longer accepting or believing that the Bible and Jesus Christ is the only way!

But it would also include someone who is disgruntled, or disappointed, or distracted, or deceived by the enemy Satan, to no longer want to attend, participate, to be involved, or to support prayerfully and financially like they once had!

NOTE:  Please know we must pray and reach out to individuals who are struggling about such things that were just mention.

Please know that this does not include individuals who are themselves shut in, or are rehabilitating, or recovering from surgery, or a sickness, or an illness.

Please know that this does not include individuals who are caregivers to a family member or friend.

Please know that this does not include individuals who work or go to school especially on the weekends.

Please know that this does not include individuals who have legitimate situations or circumstances, that for now, hinders or prevents them in certain ways.

So once again, the “Falling Away”” is referring to, the rejecting of the faith, i.e. no longer accepting or believing that the Bible and Jesus Christ is the only way!

The “Falling Away” can also refer to, individuals who are disgruntled, or disappointed, or distracted, or deceived by the enemy Satan, to no longer want to attend, participate, to be involved, or to support prayerfully and financially like they once had!

Now turn to Genesis 4.

Therefore, I would like to propose a challenging question for all us as committed followers of Jesus Christ in these last days.

Also, I would like to admonish our church family today on this our 31st anniversary, as a local church ministry!

Listen, am I, are you, are we, our brother’s keeper? 

Now, see Genesis 4:                                                                                                         Vs. 8.  Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and killed Abel.                            Vs. 9.  Then the Lord said to Cain, Where, is Abel your brother?  Cain said to the Lord, I do not know, (a lie).  But then, Cain said, Am I my brother's keeper, or protector, or Guardian - one who Is responsible for another?

Question, Am I, are you, are we, our brother’s keeper?                                                   But what do I mean by this?

Well, in other words, are you responsible to a certain extent for me, and am I responsible to a certain extent for you?

Think about it, are we not spiritually speaking, a part of the same spiritual family, the family of God, our Father in Heaven?

Listen, spiritually speaking, are we not brothers and sisters in Christ?                          And, as a local church community, are we not to look out for one another if one stray from the faith?

Or, if one is sinning and there is no Biblical repentance that is a change in their behavior?

Listen, does another fellow believer in my life, for example a spouse, a parent, a child, a sibling, a relative, a church member or a church leader where I attend.                     Question, does another fellow believer in my life, in certain situations have the responsibility to lovingly confront us when we have sinned.  Or, we are living in non-repented sin or, when we are affecting others by our sin or sinfulness?

Question, does another fellow believer in my life, in certain situations have the right to Biblically warn, or to question our decisions and choices.  Our beliefs and practices when they are contrary to the word of God?

Am I, are you, are we, our brother’s keeper?

But, on the other hand, as I had said before. Things have really changed within the church, and outside the church as well.

For many would say when it comes to my personal behavior, my conduct around others, or my lifestyle choices whether they are conservative, or liberal, or risqué, (having no boundaries).

Many would say, aren’t we free in Christ as God’s people, as individual believers to do, or to say whatever we want as long as we’re not hurting anyone else?

Is there really a need that you and I should be accountable to each other as long as we are not hurting anyone else?

And what about my liberties in Christ to do as I please or see fit?

Are we not free in Christ, free in the Spirit from rules, traditions, and moral boundaries?

Are we not spiritual libertarians?  Those who are all about personal freedom or liberty so that every man does what is right in his own eyes!

Quote Judges 17: 6.  In those days, there was no King in Israel; And everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

September 8, 2019   Part 2    

This afternoon we want to come back to a new subject that we are entitling, These Times They Are A-Changing!”

A similar title from a very popular song, by the singer & songwriter Bob Dylan from 1965, that he entitled, “The Times They Are A-Changing!”

Listen, these times, our times they are a-changing, especially within the body of Christ?  And outside the body of Christ.

Let me explain what I mean!

Many Christians would say when it comes to their personal behavior, their conduct around others. Or, their lifestyle choices whether they are conservative, or liberal, or risqué, having no boundaries.  Many would say, aren’t we free in Christ as God’s people, as individual Believers to do, or to say whatever we want as long as we’re not hurting anyone else?

Is there really a need that you and I should have to be accountable to each other, as long as we are not hurting anyone else?

Because what about my liberties in Christ to do as I please or see fit?

Are we not free in Christ?  And free in the Spirit from rules, traditions, and moral boundaries?

Are we not spiritual Libertarians?

Who are all about personal freedom or liberty, so that every man does what is right in his own eyes?

But are these views Biblical or scriptural?

Are these assumptions that we just mention, especially about our freedoms.  Are they theological, or are they worldly and from the evil one?

So then, Biblically, let’s challenge three common assumptions that we may have, or that we have been taught when it comes to some peoples’ views about Christian liberty or being free!

So then, the first common assumption that we may have, or that we have been taught, would be this term we called, “Christian Liberty!”

But what does it actually mean, Christian liberty?

See II Corinthians 3:                                                                                                        Vs. 15.  But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their hearts the descendants of Abraham Vs. 16.  Nevertheless, when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.                   Vs. 17.  Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Actually, true Christian liberty is a dominant theme throughout the New Testament.

But beware, there Is a false view in our times that is popular.  And I will speak about that in just a moment.

But, true Christian liberty states this, that you or I are not required to become Jews or Jewish. That is, keepers of the law and commandments in order to be saved, forgiven, and accepted by God.

But instead, being in Christ, or a Christian, a committed follower of Jesus Christ Who has been born again, by faith in Him, and in what He has done.

Therefore, we are not under the Law to perform it, and to keep it in order to be saved, for we are set free in Christ, because we have believed, trusted, and received Him, and by Him only are we saved!

So then, this first common assumption that we may have, or that we were taught about Christian liberty, may be a false one!

In fact, the false kind of Christian liberty of our times, has two gross errors and practices, that We can be deceived by.

First, the false kind of Christian liberty of our times, supposes that being in Christ, we are not under the law, and therefore one’s personal freedom and liberty are more important than obedience to God, submission to God, waiting on God, and trusting in God, at least that is the way we can act sometimes when we want our way!

Now remember, the false kind of Christian liberty of our times, has two gross errors and practices, that we can be deceived by.

And the second kind of false Christian liberty of our times, assumes that in the Spirit that we are free from rules, traditions, and even moral boundaries of the Bible.  Why?

Because the Holy Spirit will automatically protect you, from sinning when faced with temptation.  And therefore, we are free in the Spirit to do whatever we want!

And then some will mention Galatians 5:16 to support this view.

See Galatians 5:                                                                                                            Vs. 16.  This I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

But Galatians 5: 16 is not talking about the Holy Spirit automatically protecting us from sinning when faced with temptation.

Actually, Galatians 5: 16 is a promise to give us hope, but a personal obligation that we must desire and commit to!

So, notice again Galatians 5:                                                                                          Vs. 16.  This I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Now turn to St. John 8.

Now, the next common assumption that we may have, or that we have been taught when it comes to freedom, or being free in Christ is that we are free to do as we please, or see fit!

But, notice carefully St. John 8: 34-36, because that can’t be right that we are free to do as me please, or see fit!  Because actually, there is a spiritual slavery that we are all subjected to since our physical birth!

Notice St. John 8:                                                                                                              Vs. 34.  Jesus answered them, most assuredly, I say to you, whoever habitually commits sin, is a slave of sin, *or they are enslaved and in bondage to sin.                             *Also enslaved and in bondage unto their own sinful nature.                                     *And also enslaved and in bondage unto their sinful culture and society where ever they may live.               Vs. 35.  Jesus Continues, and a slave does not abide in the house forever, because they are not free. But on the other hand, a son abides forever.  Why?  Because he is free!                                                 Vs. 36.  Therefore, if the Son or the Son of God, or God the Son, makes you free. You shall be free indeed, Why?

Because you have been made a son in Christ, and are no longer a slave.

Listen, through Jesus Christ we can be free from the penalty, the power, and one day from the very presence of sin.

Therefore, this common assumption that we may have, or that we have been taught when it comes to freedom, or being free In Christ, that we are just free to do as we please, or as we see fit, is totally false.  It too, is wrong.  And it is dangerous.

Now turn to Galatians 5.

And finally, another common assumption that we may have, or that we were taught is, when tempted just stand in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

But notice Galatians 5:                                                                                                           Vs. 1. Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.                                                                    But what is the Holy Spirit really talking about in vs.1.  Keep reading.                                   Vs. 2.  Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.                       Vs. 3.  And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that they are a debtor or obligated to keep the whole law.

Therefore, this common assumption that we may have, or that we have been taught, when it comes to being tempted all you have to do is, stand in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage is misleading.  It too is inaccurate and it is deceptive.  Because when dealing with temptation the Bible never tells you and me to just stand in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free!

But here are some examples of what the Bible says to do when dealing with temptations.

See I Corinthians 10: 13.                                                                                                   No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; But God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

See Psalms 119:                                                                                                                Vs. 9.  How can a young man cleanse his way?  By taking heed according to Your Word.                           Vs. 10.  With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!                Vs. 11.  Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You!

See James 4: 7. Therefore, submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

And here is a perfect example for us to follow when it comes to resisting the devil.

See Luke 4:                                                                                                                             Vs. 1.  Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,                                                                                   Vs. 2.  being tempted for forty days by the devil.  And in those days, He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.                                                          Vs. 3.  And the devil said to Him, if You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.              * Vs. 4.  But Jesus answered him, saying, it is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.                                                                                                    Vs. 5.  Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.                                                                                     Vs. 6.  And the devil said to Him, All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.                                    Vs. 7.  Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours."                               * Vs. 8.  And Jesus answered and said to him, Get behind Me, Satan!  For it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.                                       Vs. 9.  Then Satan brought Jesus to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, if You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here.                    Vs. 10.  For it is written: He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you,               Vs. 11.  And in their hands, they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.         * Vs. 12.  And Jesus answered and said to him, it has been said, you shall not tempt the Lord your God.       Vs. 13.  Now, when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.

And finally, here is what the Bible says when comes to dealing with temptations.

See Galatians 5:16.                                                                                                              I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

09-15-2019   Part 3   

This afternoon we want to come back to a new subject that we have entitled, “These Times They Are A-Changing!”

Truly, these times, our times are changing, especially within the body of Christ and outside the body of Christ as well.

Let me explain what it is that I am concerned about!

In the changing times many Christians believe and would say that when it comes to their personal behavior, their conduct around others.  Or, their lifestyle choices whether they are conservative, or liberal, or risqué, having no boundaries.  Many believe or, would say aren’t we free in Christ as God’s people, as individual Believers, to do or to say whatever we want, as long as we’re not hurting anyone else?

And what about my liberties in Christ to do as I please or see fit?

Again, are we not free in Christ?  And free in the Spirit from rules, and traditions, and moral boundaries or expectations?

Although these assumptions just mentioned, may be sincere when it comes to our freedoms in Christ!  But are these assumptions Biblical?  Are they theologically sound?  Or, are they worldly and from the evil one, himself?

Well, last Sunday with God’s help and the teachings of the New Testament, we challenged some if these assumptions that were mentioned.  These assumptions that we may have, or were taught when it came to Christian liberty, especially “the false kind!”

Note: Remember last Sunday, we acknowledged there is the true teaching from the New Testament concerning Christian liberty, that we are not under Law, but saved by Grace.

Because there is a false kind of Christian liberty that we had to address.               

See our Sermon Notes on our church website dated, 9-8-19.

Next, also with God’s help, we challenged another false assumption when it comes to being free in Christ, that says we can do whatever we want, because we are free in Christ, we are free in the Spirit from rules, and traditions, and moral boundaries or expectations!

And finally, last Sunday, we challenged one more false assumption when it comes to dealing with temptations in a matter that some believe and teach by misusing Galatians 5: 1. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”

And because I ran out of time last Sunday, there is still one more false assumption which is on the other side of the spectrum when it comes to Christian liberty, “the false kind!” or, when it comes to being free in Christ to do whatever you want!

For this next false assumption that is on the other side of the spectrum is better known as, 'legalism’.  Or, having a ‘legalistic’ approach with God in order to gain, or to earn, or to keep His salvation that was given to me?   Or, to gain or to earn His favor and blessings?  Or, gain or to earn an affirmative answer, to all of my prayers?  Or, to gain or to earn His love and approval of me?

Question, has this become true for you and me?

Have you or I become, or are we becoming legalistic in our relationship with God in order to gain, or to earn, or to keep His salvation that was given to you and me?  Or, to gain, or to earn His favor and blessings?  Or, to gain or to earn an affirmative answer to all of my prayers?  Or, to gain or to earn His love and approval of you and me?

Now, notice Luke 18:                                                                                                                        Vs. 11.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself unto God, I thank you that I am not like other men!     Extortioners.     Unjust.     Adulterers.                                                                  Or, even as this Tax Collector, (a Traitor).  See vs. 10&13.                                                       Vs. 12.  Now, (the Pharisee continues) I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.

Now, I want to suggest that this man’s relationship with God had become legalistic in order to gain, or to earn, or to keep His salvation!  In order to gain or to earn God’s favor and blessings!  In order to gain or to earn an affirmative answer to His prayers from God! and in order to gain or to earn God’s love and approval of Him!

Now, I have been using these words legalism or legalistic.  But what do they mean?

Interestingly, the English words legalism, legalistic, or even legalist, are not found in the Bible!

But that’s ok, neither are the words, ‘Trinity’, or ‘Rapture’, or ‘Monotheism’, are not found in the Bible either!

But if you were to look up any of these words just mentioned, ‘Trinity’, or ‘Rapture’, or ‘Monotheism’, or ‘legalism’ if you were to look them up in a Bible dictionary, or in a Bible encyclopedia.  You would find a concept, or a perspective, or a general idea about the word, end how the word you are looking up, relates to something that was said in a verse that you were studying in the Bible.

For example, the word ‘Trinity’ is not used in I John 5: 7, “For there are three that bear witness in heaven: The Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are One.”

But again, if you were to look up the word ‘Trinity’ in a Bible dictionary, or in a Bible encyclopedia.  You would find a concept, or a perspective, or a general idea about the word ‘Trinity’, and how this word you have looked up, relates to something that was said in I John 5: 7, that you are studying in the Bible.

Now, back to our question.  So, what is legalism or a legalistic approach with God all about?

Legalism or a legalistic approach with God is when a person, or a group of people believe that by their faithful works, or their good deeds, or their sincere efforts especially keeping and practicing the Old Testament Laws and Commandments.  These individuals believe they can gain, or earn, or keep God’s salvation that was given to them.                                                                                                                                                   Or, they can gain or earn, God’s favor and blessings.                                                                    Or, they can gain or earn an affirmative answer to all of their prayers?                                        Or, they can gain or earn God’s love and approval of them.

May I ask you again an honest question, do you believe like this way also?

*Do you believe that you are saved, or that you are kept saved by your faithful works, your good deeds, or your sincere efforts especially when you are keeping and practicing the Old or New Testament Laws or Commandments of the Bible?

*Or, do you believe that you can gain or earn God’s favor and blessings by your faithful works, your good deeds, or your sincere efforts especially when you are keeping and practicing the Old or New Testament Laws or Commandments of the Bible?

*Or, do you believe that you deserve an affirmative answer each time you pray because of your faithful works, your good deeds, or your sincere efforts especially when you are keeping and practicing the Old or New Testament Laws or Commandments of the Bible?

*Or, do you believe that you can gain or earn God’s love and approval of you by your faithful works, your good deeds, or your sincere efforts especially when you are keeping and practicing the Old or New Testament Laws or Commandments of the Bible?

See Galatians 2:16,  Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Now let me give a few areas that can be within a Congregation, a Christian organization, or a Christian School, University, or Business, where legalism or a legalistic approach to certain matters maybe imposed and is expected!

For example, the. leadership of a Congregation, or a Christian organization, or a Christian School, University, or Business, may impose their official authorize list of do’s and don’ts that must be followed and obeyed.

Next, the leadership of a Congregation, or a Christian organization, or a Christian School, University, or Business, may impose their control and approval of your outward appearance!

Some examples: Clothing items and shoes.  Facial hair & hair styles.  Make-up or hair coloring. Tattoos. Body piercing. Jewelry-wearing.

Next, the leadership of a Congregation, or a Christian organization, or a Christian School, University, or Business, may monitor, or accept an informant’s tattling about your conduct and behavior in Public.

Next, the leadership of a Congregation, or a Christian organization, or a Christian School, University, or Business, may require the restraint or the suppression of your sensual desires or practices.

Lastly, the leadership of a Congregation, or a Christian organization, or a Christian School, University or Business, may demand your participation and involvement.  For example, in fundraising, volunteering, tithing, praying, or witnessing.  Also, obligatory attendance to meetings, Bible studies, rehearsals, congregational worship, etc.

But, notice Colossians 2:                                                                                                            Vs. 16.  So, let no one judge you *in food (clean or unclean things) (Note: Leviticus 11:1-47)                                *Or, in drink, non-alcoholic beverages.  Teas, coffees, sodas, juices or, alcoholic beverages.  Wines, Beers, Liquors or Cocktails.                                                                        *Or, regarding a Festival, or the Old Testament feasts.                                                             *Or, a new moon, the beginning of a monthly cycle.                                                                *Or, Sabbaths, the beginning of a weekly cycle.                                                                        Vs. 17. Which are only a shadow of things to come, external, and temporary. But the substance, the main factor is Christ Jesus.                                                                                      Vs. 18.  So, let no one cheat you deceive you of your reward, by taking delight in false humility, and in false worship of Angels.  Intruding into those things which they have not seen, but vainly puffed up by their fleshly minds.                                                                                Vs. 20.  Therefore, if you died with Christ. Stop there.

Quote Galatians 2: 20. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Back to Colossians 2: 20                                                                                                                  Vs. 20.  Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world.   

But what would that be?

Quote I Corinthians 15: 32B. "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!"

Now vs. 20 continues, therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world. *Why as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations.  That is the false kind, man-made legalistic regulations that demand such things like in vs. 21 says!                        Vs. 21.  Do not touch.     Do not taste.     Do not handle.                                                             Vs. 23.  These things indeed have *an appearance of wisdom, *a self-imposed religion or piety, *a false humility, *and a neglecting of the body, i.e. fasting, but they are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

So, the next time let's look at a few specific areas, when it comes to certain cultural and societal practices or vices, that are acceptable, and is expected.

For example:                                                                                                                              •Gambling/betting.                                                                                                                            •Gluttony, or overindulging, or the constant eating of junk food.                                     •Drinking alcoholic beverages and/or using prescription, or illegal drugs.  Whatever the street names, or the slang names for these drugs or alcoholic beverages.  Marijuana Opioids, Oxycodone Methamphetamines, Cocaine.                                                                          •Smoking, the inhaling of whatever kind of substance. Tobacco, Cannabis or Hemp-based plants. The use of certain smoking devices of all kinds.  Bongs, Electronic or, e-cigarettes, or Vaping.                                           •Hooking up, or friends with benefits.  Or, recreational sex or experimentation, pornography, prostitution, exhibitionism i.e. Strip club attendance.                                                                      •Cohabitating, living together short term or long term before marriage, or never marrying at all. •And involvement with certain types of dance!

Like on some of the music videos.  Or, like at some clubs, or events, or parties, where opposite sex partners, or same-sex partners, or multiple partners are twerking with each other.  Or, they are doing whatever the latest sexualize dance moves at the time.

Remember, many Christians believe and would say that when it comes to their personal behavior, their conduct around others.  Or, their lifestyle choices whether they are conservative, or liberal, or risqué, having no boundaries.  Many believe or would say aren’t we free in Christ as God’s people, as individual Believers, to do or to say whatever we want, as long as we’re not hurting anyone else?  And what about my liberties in Christ to do as I please or see fit, are we not free in Christ? And free in the Spirit from rules, and traditions, and moral boundaries or expectations?

Or, are we responsible and accountable when it comes to our personal Holiness, Godliness, purity, the practical side of our sanctification, that we are to live out on a daily basis, because we have been saved by God, and saved for God’s purposes and not our own?

09-22-2019      Part 4    

Read Isaiah                                                                                                                                    Vs. 20.  Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!                                                        Vs.  21.  Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

This afternoon we want to come back to our newest subject that we have entitled, “These Times They Are A-Changing!”

And truly, if we would be honest with ourselves, especially in the areas of morality and ethnical practices, beliefs, and expectations that were common place within the Body of Christ, within local church ministry, and within the lives of God’s people.

If we would be honest with ourselves, we know certain things have really change when it comes to certain cultural and societal practices or vices, that are acceptable and that are expected in most cases.

So then, over a period of time with God’s help, we want to be Biblical and scriptural about such matters, as well as, compassionate and caring for those who are struggling in such things.  And yet, we must be direct and uncompromising about these issues without being judgmental, or condemning, or legalistic.

So, over a period of time we will address only a few cultural and societal practices or vices that for some in the Body of Christ, find acceptable and expected in most cases.

By the way, the words, vice or vices, can actually mean, “instead of,” or “in the place of.”

Listen, a vice or vices in our lives at best, are only cheap substitutes that we are trying to use to fulfill an unmet need.  Or, a desire, or a longing for that which is missing in our lives.

And afterwards, we can be easily deceived by the lies of our culture and society to seek out, or to embrace certain kinds of pleasures or experiences.

For example, a vice or vices in our lives maybe a forbidden or taboo thing, or relationship. or, maybe it is a secret sin.  Or, maybe it is a habit, or an addiction that controls and dominates you, and it has a stronghold on you.  And now you are in bondage to it. *You have become a liar, secretive, and very defensive about the vice, or vices in your life. You are able to change the subject when things start hitting to close to home!  You have become Good at blaming others. You are full of self-pity, or anger about something or someone that you have not dealt with in your life. You are in denial and can’t see it!  But others who really care about you, can see that it really has a hold on you!

Again, a vice or vices in our lives, are only cheap substitutes that we try to use to fulfill an unmet need, or a desire, or a longing for that which is missing in our lives.

So then, this afternoon let’s begin to address one of the specific areas that are cultural and societal practices or tend to overlook.                                                                                               Or, tend to underestimate.                                                                                                                    Or, we are deceived by!

Because each one of these areas or a combination of, can be personally addictive and enslaving.               Or, they can be medically harmful, or health damaging for the long-term.                                 Or, they can be a negative witness for Christ, and a rejection of one’s personal holiness that we have been set apart unto.

And lastly, they can be a misuse of one’s Christian liberties and freedoms that Christ die for, and way for!

So, this afternoon let’s begin to address one of the specific areas that are cultural and societal practices or vices, that are acceptable and that are expected in most cases, and our first one will be gambling/betting!

Notice St. John 19:                                                                                                                             Vs. 23. Then the soldiers when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier took a part and also the tunic.  Now, the tunic was without seam and woven from the top in one piece.                                                                                                                      Vs.  24. They said therefore among themselves, let us not tear it (the seamless tunic), but cast lots for it whose it shall be.

Now the scriptures were being fulfilled which says: They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.  Therefore, the soldiers did these things.

Also, Luke 1:                                                                                                                                       Vs. 5.  There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.  Vs. 6.  And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.                  Vs. 7.  But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well-advanced in years.      Vs. 8.  So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division,   Vs. 9.  according to the custom of the priesthood, (his lot) fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.

Note: It should be clear that this was used by some even Godly people to make decisions, much like you may flip a coin for a simple decision of what you want for lunch today.

But again, this is different than going to a casino or waging huge bets.

Casting lots is primarily a method for decision making, whereas, gambling is an attempt to build rapid wealth at the expense of others.  So, there are clearly important distinctions to be made between gambling and casting lots.

Now, concerning the subject of gambling/betting interestingly from the Bible there are no verses that I’m aware if that states specifically that one should not, or cannot gamble or bet.

But, that doesn’t mean that there are not some serious problems that one should consider, when it comes to this particular matter.

Listen, just because the Bible does not always speak directly, or give a specific command or a prohibition about certain matters, or certain practices, or certain lifestyle choices.  Doesn’t mean that there is not some real concerns or serious issues that God would not be pleased with nor will it bring Him Glory!

Some other examples.                                                                                                                                                 •Birth control.     •Listening or watching certain kind, movies, television, YouTube content, or music for music videos    •Cloning.     •Domestic violence or abuse.

Now, here are a few important verses from the Bible, that will help us when it comes to making a wise and godly decision or choice, regarding those areas that the Bible says it is not a sin!

See Hebrews 12:                                                                                                                            Vs. 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.

I Corinthians 6: 12.                                                                                                                                            All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful.  All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power or authority, or mastery of anyone or anything but God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!

I Corinthians 10: 23 &31.                                                                                                             Vs. 23.  All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things (edify), or to build, or to build something correctly                                         Or, promote healthy spiritual growth and development.                                                                       Or, to influence correctly, bringing about Godly virtues and character.

Vs. 31.  Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the Glory of God.

Romans 12: 2.                                                                                                                                    And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

10-06-2019   Part 5    The Matter of Gambling

Now read a paraphrase of I Corinthians 6: 12.

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful.  All things are lawful for me, But I will not be brought under the power or authority, or mastery of anyone or anything but God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

And also read a paraphrase I Corinthians 10: 23 &31.                                                  Vs. 23.  All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.

*Remember edify can mean to build something correctly, a facility, a life, etc.                 *Edify can mean to promote healthy spiritual growth and development in someone.         *Edify can mean to influence so to bring about character and Godly virtues.                

And finally, I Corinthians 10: 31 says, Therefore, whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all unto the Glory of God!

So, this afternoon we want to return back to our newest subject that we have entitled, “These Times They Are A-Changing!”

And if we were to be honest with ourselves and with one another, especially in the areas of morality and ethnical practices or beliefs that use to be common place.  But now, things have really change when it comes to (certain) cultural and societal practices or vices, that are both desirable and acceptable in most cases.

So then, with Gods help, we are challenging ourselves to be different, so that we can make a difference among family, with our friends, or coworkers, or with anyone else who may know us.

Also, we are challenging ourselves to be different, so that we can make a difference within our culture, within society being both “salt and light, as Jesus said we are to do!” Note: Matthew 5:13-17.

Now this afternoon lets continue to address a specific area that we began two Sunday’s ago, that some would find both desirable and acceptable, and that would be The Matter of Gambling, in all its many forms!

 Whether it is,

  • Casino-style cards games, (Poker, Texas Hold’em, Blackjack/21, etc.)

  • Other card games (Gin Rummy, Spades, Hearts, etc.)

  • Dice games (Craps, etc.)

  • Electronic games (online poker, slot machines or keno).

  • Betting on sporting events (Football, Basketball, Boxing, Horse racing etc.)

  • Pitching quarters (or other coins)

  • Lottery tickets or “scratchers.”

  • Some forms of Raffling.

  • Some forms of Bingo.

  • Some forms of office pool Betting.

  • Games of personal skill (basketball, video games, billiards, bowling, skeet ball, etc.)

  • Mahjong, Native American stick games. And other cultural competitions like dog fighting, cock fighting etc.

Also, remember that gambling is whenever monies are wagered.                                 Or, the wagering of a material thing.                                                                                     Or, the wagering of an animal.                                                                                              Or, even the wagering of a human being!

Now as we said last time concerning the subject of gambling interestingly from the Bible there are no verses that I’m aware of that states specifically that one should not, or cannot gamble.

However, that doesn’t mean that there are not some serious problems that one should consider, when it comes to this particular matter of gambling.

Listen, just because the Bible does not always speak directly, or give a specific command, or imposes a prohibition about certain matters, or certain practices, or certain lifestyle choices that we have made.

Doesn’t mean that there is not some real concerns, or serious issues that God would not be pleased with nor does it bring glory unto His name!

Quote Proverbs 13:11, from the New Living Translation.                                                wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.

Quote Proverbs 28:22, from The New Living Translation.                                               Greedy people try to get rich quick, but do not realize they are headed for poverty.

Quote Proverbs 28:20 from The New Living Translation.                                                   The trustworthy person will get a rich reward, but a person who wants quick riches will get into trouble.

Therefore, let’s consider some Godly reasons why to avoid or discontinue gambling.                                                                     

1. Gambling is the unwise stewardship of God’s money that He has blessed us to have.                                  2. Gambling can be personally addictive and can quickly become an obsession in your life.                        3. Gambling may put you in a position of owning someone that you must pay back.      4. Gambling can put you in a position of misusing the financial resources that were intended for other important matters in your family, in your church, or within your community.                                              5. Gambling can be a sign that you may be struggling with the love of money, or the love of material things. By which you think you can have control over your financial future, or your personal needs, or wants, and desires!

Quote I Timothy 6: 9&10 from the New Living Translation.                                          Vs. 9. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.                          Vs. 10. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

Now here are some important things to ask yourself and to search your heart before you act, and make a decision, a choice, or a commitment.

1. Is whatever I am doing or considering, will it truly bring Glory, or Worship, or Praise, or Reverence unto our God?                                                                                            2.  Is whatever I am doing or considering, will it bring me closer to God?  Or, Will it improve my relationship with God?  Or, will it help me to be more committee unto God?                                                         3.  Is whatever I am doing or considering could it have a negative affect on my spiritual walk with the LORD, that it impedes, it frustrates, or it hinders me so much that I have stopped following the LORD?             4.  Is whatever I am doing or considering, will it have a negative influence upon those I’m trying to reach for Christ by my witness.  Because now I am perceived as a hypocrite, a phony, or a sell out?                      5.  Is whatever I am doing or considering, could it be displeasing, or dishonoring, or disobedient, or disrespectful unto my Lord and Savior, unto my Heavenly Father, or unto the Holy Spirit who indwells me, so that my God will not hear me when I pray?                                                                                                  6.  Is whatever I am doing or considering, could it be a stumbling block to another person, so that their sensitive conscience is offended and now they are distrusting of me?  Or, by my example, they are now tempted to do as I do.  But unfortunately, they are now enslaved, or weaken, or obsess with what I am doing?7.  Is whatever I am doing or considering, could it bring me under its control, and it becomes an addiction, an obsession, a way of coping, instead of trusting in the LORD.  Now, its become a lifelong habit, or a behavioral issue.

Close with this observation concerning gambling.

Listen, mankind is a gambler at heart because of our sinful nature.  We are willing to take risk, or chances, or depend upon so called “luck,” “or fate,” or beating the odds!   Or, we think we can outsmart the system, or an opponent, or even God Himself!

So much so, that mankind is so self-deceived and is willing to take a chance and gamble his or her eternal soul.

Believing that there is no God to be concerned with.  Or, believing that there is no judgment, no Heaven, no Hell!  Or, some believe that they are good and are acceptable unto God just the way they are!

In fact, some believe that God will save them right up to that moment before they die.

Even though for years they continuously reject Him and sin against Him on a daily basis.  Saying unto themselves “Tomorrow, I will come to God and be saved” or, “Tomorrow, I will change my ways!

Now, here are some youTube ministries who gave some good insight about the subject of gambling that was helpful.

Please check it out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cN_jdKqoq-0&feature=share https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDbp3R0TwO4&feature=share https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrwwxVAFf-U&feature=share

10-13-2019   Part 6   The Matter of Glutony

Now this afternoon we want to return back to our newest subject that we have entitled, “These Times They Are A-Changing!”

And we know it’s true, if we were to be honest with ourselves and with one another, especially when it comes to the areas of morality and ethnical practices, or beliefs, that use to be common place among God’s people.

But now things have really change, especially when it comes to certain cultural and societal practices or vices, that are now desirable and acceptable in most cases.

So, the big question is for all of us who are committed followers of Jesus Christ is, do we change with the times, or do we stand for God within these times that we are a part of?

And there are some of us who are here who have chosen the latter.

Listen, instead of changing with the times, we will stand for God within these times that we are a part of!

Please know you can be a part, because this is for every child of God who loves the Lord, and is called according to His purpose.

So, with God’s help, we are challenging ourselves to be different, so that we can make a difference among family, with our friends, or coworkers, or with anyone else who may know us. Quote Isaiah 43:10A; You are my witnesses, says the LORD, and my servant, whom I have chosen.

But notice, we are not to be judges, or like the Pharisees who are intolerant, or to be critics of those who struggle or who have failed.

But instead, we are to be witnesses and servants of the Lord who has chosen us to reach out and help others when we can, and whenever we can.

 And also, we are challenging ourselves to be different, so that we can make a difference within our culture, within society being both “salt and light, as Jesus said we are to do!” Note: Matthew 5:13-17.

And by the way, although for many of us we may think that in order to help someone, or to reach that person where they are at. Then we must do what they are doing!  We must act like they act!  But listen, God has not called or commanded us to just blend in! or, just go along, to get along!

Nor, has the LORD called or commanded us to compromise our God-given values and standards in order to be accepted by, or to be listen too!

And neither are we to embrace the old cliché that says, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do!”

Quote I Peter 1:                                                                                                             Vs. 14.  As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former desires, as you did in your ignorance Vs. 15.  but as He who called you is Holy, you also be Holy in all your conduct,            Vs. 16.  Because it is written, be Holy, for I am Holy saith the Lord!

So, this afternoon lets address another specific area that some would find both desirable and acceptable, and that would be “The Matter of Gluttony”!

So, what do you know about this word called ‘Gluttony’?

Well, if you come from a Catholic background, you know that the Catholic Church considers ‘Gluttony’ as one of “The Seven Deadly Sins!”

According to Catholic Church tradition, and Not the teachings of the Bible.

But according to Catholic Church tradition, one of their Popes in 590 AD, Pope Gregory the First, is credited for revising a list of 7 or 8 vices that go back to the days of the Roman Empire.

And it was Pope Gregory the First, who formed a list of seven deadly sins that we know about even until this Day!

According to the Catholic Church, these particular sins or bad habits are called, the seven deadly sins because, “they are considered by the Catholic Church not the teachings of the Bible, but by the Catholic Church as mortal sins, “that can kill the life of sanctifying Grace.”

Now these are the seven deadly sins; Pride, Envy, Wrath, ‘Gluttony’, Lust, Greed, and Sloth, not the animal from South America.

But ‘sloth’ is the unwillingness to make an effort, or to move, or to be active.  Also, it is the reluctance to work for a living or to be self-sufficient or independent.  A good synonym would be laziness, idleness, indolence.

 In fact, speaking of animals, there is a famous illustration depicting the human heart when it is subject to one or more of these seven deadly sins by associating it with a particular animal.        1. The Toad=Avarice or Greed.                                                                                        2. The Snake=Envy.                                                                                                            3. The Lion=Wrath or Anger.                                                                                                  4. The Snail=Sloth.                                                                                                                   5. The Pig=Gluttony.                                                                                                                    6. The Goat=Lust.                                                                                                                       7. The Peacock=Pride.

Now, concerning the subject of Gluttony, a word that we seldom use in our culture today.

Allow me to use some other words, or synonyms that you may be more familiar with than the word Gluttony!

So, sometime I may use either the word overindulging.  Or, over consumption.

These are excellent words to describe gluttony as being the consumption of anything in which we go too far, or too much, or to long, or too often.

Actually, Gluttony is more about the wrong attitudes that we have developed over time, and not just the bad eating habits that we may have now!

For example, the rewarding of yourself with one of your favorite unhealthy snacks, or foods, or beverages on a frequent basis!

Or, having the wrong attitude that makes thinks that you are entitled too, or that you are deserving of whatever it is!

Quote Genesis 3:6.                                                                                                               So, when the woman saw that the tree was*good for food, *that it was pleasant to the eyes, *and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.  And she also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

Remember, Gluttony is more about the wrong attitudes that we have developed over time, and not just the bad eating habits that we may have now!

Next, the going back for second and third helpings of your unhealthy foods, or beverages. 

Next, having no self-impose limits, or portion control when it comes to dining in, or dining out.

Again, Gluttony is more about the wrong attitudes that we have developed over time, and not just the bad eating habits that we may have now!

For example, using certain foods and beverages as a way of coping with certain problems or situations, or circumstances in one’s life!

And finally, Gluttony is the wrong attitudes we may have towards certain unhealthy foods and beverages, that are seen by most as an acceptable addiction!

•For example, addicted to certain sugary foods or drinks.                                                     •Or addicted to certain salty foods.                                                                                        •Or addicted to certain processed foods.                                                                                  •Or addicted to certain fried foods.                                                                                        •Or addicted to certain high calorie foods or drinks.                                                           

Interestingly, the Bible has only a few things to say about Gluttony, or overindulging, or over consumption.

Notice Proverbs 23:                                                                                                           Vs. 1.  When you sit down to eat with a ruler, consider carefully what is before you;  Vs. 2.  And put a knife to your throat if you are a man given to appetite.                         Vs. 3.  Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food.                                 Vs. 9.  Hear, my son, and be wise; And guide your heart in the way.                               Vs. 20.  Do not mix or associate with winebibbers, or with gluttonous eaters of meat;    Vs. 21.  For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.

See Philippians 3:18-19                                                                                                            Vs. 18.  For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:                                          Vs. 2. Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose self-glory is in their shame, who set their mind on earthly things.

Listen, the Bible does speak directly and gives some helpful commands about this matter of Gluttony because there are some real concerns, and serious issues that will affect your health and your life!

Therefore, here is the major reasons why with God’s help to avoid or discontinue Gluttony, or the overindulging of unhealthy snacks, certain foods and drinks is because it is the unwise stewardship of God’s temple (the body) that the LORD has blessed us to uses.

See I Corinthians 6:                                                                                                        Vs. 19.  Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?                                              Vs. 20.  For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Now close with I Timothy 4:                                                                                                         Vs. 3.  Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.                  Vs. 4.  For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving;   Vs. 5.  for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

10-20-2019   Part 7    

Now this afternoon lets return back to our current subject that we have entitled, “These Times They Are A-Changing!

In which we must come to accept especially when it comes to the areas of morality and ethnical practices, or beliefs, that use to be common place among God’s people.

Unfortunately, at this time things have really change when it comes to (certain) cultural and societal practices or vices, that are now deemed acceptable and desirable in most cases both inside the body of Christ, or outside the body of Christ!

So then, the big question is for all of us who are committed followers of Jesus Christ is, *do we change with the times, *or do we stand for God within these times that are changing?

Listen, many at this time within the body of Christ think that in order to help someone, or, in order to reach that person where they are at.  We must do what they are doing! We must act the way they are acting!

But listen, God has not called or commanded us to just blend in to be acceptable! or, just go along, to get along!

Nor, has the LORD called or commanded us to compromise our God-given values and standards in order to be accepted by, or to be listen to!

And neither are we to embrace the old cliché that says, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do!”

Quote I Peter 1: 14-16                                                                                                       Vs. 14.  As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former desires, as you did in your ignorance Vs. 15.  but, as He who called you is Holy, you also be Holy in all your conduct,         Vs. 16.  Because it is written, be Holy, for I am Holy saith the Lord!

Now, do a brief review so that we don’t miss the obvious connection that each area has with another area that we have learned about, along with it’s inherent dangers and deceptions that we should know and that we should avoid as well.

And the first one that we have consider was the matter of gambling in all it’s many forms.        •Surprisingly there is no Biblical prohibition against it.

However, the Bible has many Godly principles that should be followed, and would help a person to make wiser decisions when it comes to using their time and their monies in ways that truly Glorify God, and in ways that they know they will be held accountable unto God as well.

Next, we learned that one of the major issues about gambling is, the taking of unnecessary risk regardless of the consequences, or the circumstances, or the concerns that you are being reckless, irresponsible, and self-deceived.

For example, the slot machine that you been playing putting money into it over a period of time, makes you think at any time now you’re going to win big!

Yet, more time and more money you continue to give, and still you have not won anything.

Now, you need to use the bathroom and you negotiate with a family member or friend next to you, that you would be willing to share the winnings from the jackpot when you come back from the bathroom, if they would keep anyone away from your slot machine while you are in the restroom.

Now, you return only to spend more time and more money and still you have not won anything!

Now, you are also completely out of money. But instead of walking away, accepting your losses.

You are so sure that you are about to win the jackpot, that you are willing to negotiate a loan with the family member or friend who is with you.

Or, you are willing to share the winnings from the jackpot with the family member or friend who is with you, as you leave your slot machine again in search of an ATM machine to withdraw any monies that you have in any account that was designated to pay your bills, your car payment, your mortgage or your rent etc.

Now, when you return you spend more time and more money that you don’t really have, and still you have not won anything!

Now, let us continue with this brief review so that we don’t miss the obvious connection that each area has with another area that we have learned about, along with it’s inherent dangers and deceptions that we should know and that we should avoid as well.

So, our next area that we began last Sunday, has we learned about it’s inherent dangers and deceptions that we should know about and that we should avoid as well, and that was the matter of overindulging ourselves which in the Bible is called, gluttony.

Now, remember, gluttony is really more about the wrong attitudes that we have developed over time when it comes to certain things that we put into our bodies.

Because gluttony is not so much about the bad eating habits that we may have, but gluttony is more about the wrong attitudes that we have towards certain things that we put into our bodies.  Like the sugary, or salty, or processed, or fried, or high calorie foods that we may constantly crave, that over a period of time will cause weight gain, and certain health problems!

But, remember I Corinthians 6:                                                                                          Vs. 19.  Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?                                                    Vs. 20.  For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Now, this afternoon let’s begin to address another specific area that some would find both desirable and acceptable, and that would be, the over-indulging of certain kinds of beverages, that we frequently crave.  Or, we have become addicted too. or we have become depended on.  Or, it is unhealthy for the body. or it effects one’s thinking, inhibitions, discernment, self-control, and one’s physical abilities, when we over-indulge!

Now, here are a few categories of beverages that I am referring to, that we frequently crave.  Or, we have become addicted too.  Or, we have become depended on.  Or, it is unhealthy for the body. Or, it effects one’s thinking, inhibitions, discernment, self-control, and one’s physical abilities, when we over-indulge!

•Any alcoholic beverages.   Wines, beers, liquors or spirits.                                           •Soft drinks.   Like, Hawaiian Punch, sodas, Icees, milkshakes, malts.                              •Sugary juices.   Any so-called fruit juices.                                                       •Unhealthy smoothies, Like at Jamba Juice.                                                            •Certain hot drinks.   Like coffees and teas and all the stuff you put in it.                    And other hot drinks.   Like Hot cider.   Hot chocolate.   Hot cocoa.

Remember I Corinthians 6:                                                                                                Vs. 19.  Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?                                                                                 Vs. 20.  For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Now, turn to I Timothy 5:

Now, let’s focus in on (one) specific category of beverages that the Bible has a few positive things to say, but mostly, the Bible has more negative things to say about this area!

So then, what positive things does the Bible have to say about the drinking of alcoholic beverages?

See I Timothy 5:23. No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.

See Luke 10:                                                                                                                     Vs. 33.  But, a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was.  And when he saw him, he had compassion.                                                                                           Vs. 34.  So, he went to him and bandaged his wounds pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

See Psalms 104:                                                                                                               Vs. 14.  He (the LORD) causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the service of man, that He may bring forth food from the earth,                                          Vs. 15.  And wine that makes glad the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread which strengthens man's heart.

See Proverbs 31:                                                                                                           Vs. 6.  Give strong drink to him who is perishing or drying, and wine to those who are bitter of heart.            Vs. 7.  Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.         

By the way, notice again Proverbs 31:                                                                          Vs. 4.  It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes intoxicating drink;         Vs. 5.  Lest they drink and forget the law, and pervert the justice of all the afflicted.

Now then, what negative things does the Bible have to say about the drinking of alcoholic beverages?

See Proverbs 20:                                                                                                                        Vs. 1.  Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

 Now, see Proverbs 23:                                                                                                         Vs. 29.  *Who has woe?  *Who has sorrow?  *Who has contentions?  *Who has complaints?  *Who has wounds without cause?  *Who has redness of eyes?                    Vs. 30.  Those who linger long at the wine, those who go in search of mixed wine.     Vs. 31. Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly;  Vs. 32.  At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper.                                       Vs. 33.  Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things.       Vs. 34.  Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying:                                                                                   Vs. 35.  They have struck me, but I was not hurt; They have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?

10-27-2019   Part 8 

And let us return back to our once a month topical series called, “What We Believe And Why?”

Question, when it comes to the faith, or the Bible, or the God that you serve, do you know what you believe and why?

Could you effectively share or explain to a non-Christian or a fellow Christian?  A friend or a family member?  A teacher or a professor? A coworker or a next-door neighbor, what you believe and why?

Do you really know what you believe and why when it comes to the faith, or the Bible, or the God that you serve?

Well, each month as the LORD leads, and usually on the 4th or if there is a 5th Sunday in a given month.

With God’s help, hopefully, we are equipping you, we are informing you, and we are helping you to consider what the Bible says and teaches us about the different beliefs and ideas of our day.

But most importantly, hopefully we are equipping you, we are informing you, and we are helping you to consider what the Bible says and teaches us about,  *The Fundamentals.  *The Basics.  *The Core Truths, for being a committed follower of Jesus Christ, or you would like to be one day.

So, this afternoon lets continue to understand What The Bible Teaches About The Very Nature Of Salvation That Comes From God.

Remember, there are at least these eight essential elements that make up our glorious Salvation.

And last month we began to consider the 6th essential element that comes from God for the person who believes and receives it from God through Jesus Christ, and it is called, *Sonship, or being a child of God. *having a friendship With God. *having a personal relationship that is forever.

So today, lets return back to this very important element of our Salvation that should help us to appreciate what God has established, and how he continues to maintain a relationship with each one of us who are truly saved because of Jesus Christ.

 Now remember with the help of the Bible, there are at least the unique spiritual inheritances that we have in Christ.                                                                                 1st. We have a lasting personal ‘Position’.                                                                            2nd. We have a lasting personal ‘Friendship’.                                                                     3rdly. We have a lasting Personal ‘Relationship’.

And last month we consider this first unique spiritual inheritance that we have in Christ and that is, we have a lasting personal position with God, because of Jesus Christ!  We are the sons, or the children, or the off-spring of God.  For it is our lasting personal position, because of Jesus Christ!

However, this afternoon we want to continue with the next unique spiritual inheritance that we have in Christ and that would be, *we have a lasting personal friendship with God because of Jesus Christ!  Amen!

But this friendship that we have with God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is very different than the friendships that we have with people!

•For example, most human friendships unfortunately are based on ‘Commonality’, or the things we have in common, or that we like, or that we are interested in.

•Next, most human friendships are basically ‘Conditional’.  In other words, as long as you don’t hurt me, or disappoint me, or correct me, or deny me!

•Next, most human friendships are ‘Casual’.  In other words, a fair-weather relationship, with no commitment, with no loyalty.

•Unfortunately, most human friendships are based on ‘Critiquing’ one another. nitpicking, fault-finding, being very judgmental.

•Finally, most human friendships are based on ‘Cynicism’ that one, or both persons may have about their relationship with each other. That causes them to be non-trusting, skeptical, suspicious, aloof!

However, divine friendship is much different!

•Listen, divine friendship, or friendship with God is based on God’s ability to be extremely ‘Candid’.  That is straightforward, frank, very honest.

•Next, friendship with God is based on His ability to be, ‘Confrontational’. That is when we are wrong or sinful, God deals with us.  He corrects us. He will not allow us to get away with anything because He loves us!

•Next, friendship with God is based on His ability to be, ‘Compassionate’.  That is understanding, merciful, gracious, slow to wrath.

•Listen, divine friendship or friendship with God is based on God’s ability to be caring. willing and able to assist or help, or to listen well.

•Next, friendship with God is based on His ability to be, ‘Confidential’.  Committed to privacy.  Not gossiping, not slandering.

•Next, friendship with God is based on His ability to be ‘Courteous’. Not overbearing, or disrespectful, or rude!

•Next, friendship with God is based on His ability to ‘Cultivate’.  In other words, able to make things grow, or change, or improve.

And finally, friendship with God is based on His ability to be, ‘Consistent’.  Reliable, trustworthy, faithful, dependable.

Now notice Proverbs 18:24.                                                                                             A man who has friends must himself be friendly, *But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Now remember, this unique spiritual inheritance that we have in Christ is that, we have a lasting personal friendship with God because of Jesus Christ!

Now notice St. John 15:                                                                                                    Vs. 13.  Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.          Vs. 14.  You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.                                         Vs. 15.  No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; But I have called you ‘friends’, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known unto you.

Now turn to James 4.  For an important warning when it comes to friendship with God.

Now notice James 4:4. You adulterers and adulteresses!  Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?  Therefore, whoever wants to be a friend of the world, makes himself an enemy of God.

The way to understand the use of the word friend or friendship in vs. 4, is to know that the word, “friendship love,” from the Greek verb ‘Philos’, will give you a better understanding.

Because philos can mean, to like someone or something a lot!  Or, to have a relationship someone or something that you like a lot!

Note: St. John 21: 15b.  And Peter said unto Jesus, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love or Philo you!

So, notice again James 4:4, You adulterers and adulteresses!  Do you not know that friendship or a relationship with the world is enmity, or hostile, or against God? Therefore, whoever wants to be a friend of the world, or be in a committed relationship the world makes themselves an enemy of God.

And by the way, the word ‘world’, in vs. 4, from a Biblical point of view can refer to, any societal or cultural norms, practices, expectations, beliefs and ideas, that are self-centered, and not God-centered. That are morally and ethically in different or against God’s standards, His ways, and His laws.  An invisible system, or matrix that is controlled by Satan and His forces to deceive, manipulate and enslave any soul, causing them to perish by never receiving God‘s gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ!

Now turn to Romans 12 and let’s remind ourselves about the need for prevention when the world and the devil come knocking at our door.

See Romans 12:                                                                                                             Vs. 1.  I beseech you therefore, brethren by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service, or, this is truly the way to worship Him, says the New Living Translation.                          Vs. 2.  Therefore, do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed, HOW?  By the renewing of your mind.

Note: One of the important works of the Holy Spirit within us, is how he is able over time to transform our lives by the renewing of our minds.

Now, Romans 12:2 continues, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

And finally, let’s consider this third unique spiritual inheritance that we have in Christ, and that is we have a lasting personal relationship with God because of Jesus Christ!

Question, so what do we mean when we say we have a personal relationship with someone?                     1.  An exclusive, unique, one-of-a-kind, intimate connection with one another.                2.  A constant interaction and communication with one another.                                         3.  A knowing, or a familiarity, or a closeness with one another.                                         4.  A special fellowship or togetherness that is shared with each other.

However, all personal relationships have an inherent weakness, because personal relationship are highly susceptible to neglect, indifference, procrastination, preoccupation, unfaithfulness, disrespect, dishonor, disobedience.

Quote Isaiah 59:1  Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear.                                                                                 Vs. 2.  But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.

Now again, this third unique spiritual inheritance that we have in Christ, and that is we have a lasting personal relationship with God because if Jesus Christ!

Now see St. John 14:                                                                                                    Vs. 16.  Jesus is speaking, And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, or Comforter, that He may abide with you forever.  Who is this One?            Vs. 17.  The Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because the world neither sees Him nor knows Him.  But you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 

Now that’s very personal, and a unique personal relationship that God has with us spiritually speaking!

And finally, this 3rd unique spiritual inheritance that we have in Christ lets me know that you and I because of Jesus Christ, have a lasting personal relationship with God.

Now notice, Ephesians 3: 14-21 is a prayer that the Apostle Paul pray concerning the saints in Ephesus.       Vs. 14.  For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,         Vs. 15.  from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,                               Vs.16.   that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit, (the Holy Spirit) in the inner man,               Vs. 17.  that Christ may dwell in your hearts through or by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love Vs. 18.  And may be able to comprehend with all the saints, what is the width and length and depth and heights.                                                                                      Vs. 19.  to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God Vs. 20.  Now, to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,                                                          Vs. 21.  to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.

But notice again, Ephesians 3:17a, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through or by faith!”

Now that’s very personal, and a unique personal relationship that God has with us spiritually speaking!

November 3, 2019  

Question, If someone were to ask you who are you, how would you identify yourself and why?                   •By your first and last name.                                                                                                          •By your family of origin, “I am the son or the daughter of fill-in-the blank!”                            •By your race or ethnicity.                                                                                                              •By your gender, or by your age.                                                                                                    •By your country of origin.                                                                                                           •By your political or religious or denominational affiliations.

Question, If someone were to ask you who are you, how would you identify yourself and why?                                                                                                                                                                                             Remember, how you see yourself is usually how you tend to act!

Interestingly, for most of us as committed followers of Jesus Christ, we tend not to see ourselves, nor do we identify ourselves In the way that God Sees us and would have us to be!

Show you what I mean!

Now notice Matthew 5:                                                                                                                 Vs. 13.  You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?  It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.                         Vs. 14.  You are the light of the world.  Listen a city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.         VS. 15.  Nor do they light a lamp or candle and puts it under a basket, but upon a lampstand or candlestick holder, and that light will gives light to all who are in the house.                              VS. 16.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in Heaven.

Now review briefly during the times of Jesus, the significance of the two major metaphors and what do they mean!                                                                                                                           Salt.  Not only a seasoning, but a preservative.                                                                        Light.  Not only decorative, but functional lighting especially during times of darkness!

So, lets return back to our current subject that we have entitled, “These Times They Are A-Changing!”

Especially when it comes to the areas of morality and ethnical practices, or beliefs, that use to be common place among God’s people.

But unfortunately at this time, things have really change when it comes to certain cultural and societal practices or vices that many deem acceptable and desirable in most cases.

And two Sundays ago you may recall, we were addressing one of the cultural or societal practices or vices that many deem tcceptable and desirable, and that was the positive things if any, that the Bible had to say about the srinking of some, not all, but of some alcoholic beverages.

Remember, I Timothy 5:23,                                                                                                         “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.”

However, We also Saw the Many Negative things the Bible Has to Say about the Drinking Of Most Alcoholic Beverages.

For example, notice Proverbs 20:                                                                                                  Vs. 1.  Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by either is not wise.

Also, see Proverbs 23:                                                                                                                       Vs. 31.  Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly;   Vs. 32.  At the last, It bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper.   (In other words, very negative affects will occur as these toxins effect certain parts of your body).                                                                          Vs. 33.  Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things.

But are there any other negative things that the Bible has to say about the drinking of most alcoholic beverages? Yes!

Now see Ephesians 5: 18. “And do not be drunk with wine, where in is excess or which is dissipation; But be filled with the Spirit, i.e. the Holy Spirit.”

Now, lets go back to the beginning of vs. 18, “And do not be drunk.”  Stop there!

The first negative things that the Bible has to say about the brinking of most alcoholic beverages is, the likelihood, the strong possibility and probability for anyone to become, drunk,  intoxicated, inebriated.  Or, to be under the influence.

Next, Ephesians 5: 18 continues, and do not be drunk with or by wine specifically!

We can assume although not mention, here in verse 18, any other alcoholic beverages.  Or, drugs or narcotics.  Or, any type of substance that can alter your mind or that alters your mood. Or, that takes away your inhibitions.  Or, that enslaves you and leads you to addiction and dependency upon the item or items just mention.

Next, Ephesians 5: 18 continues, And do not be drunk with or by wine, or anything else, where in is excess; or which is dissipation.  Stop there!

The meaning of the words, “excess,”or “dissipation,” from a biblical and moral perspective would be, debauchery, lasciviousness, lewdness. 

May I show you disturbing and disgusting example of excess or dissipation that came about after someone became drunk, intoxicated, inebriated, or was under the influence.

Turn to Genesis 19.                                                                                                                        A brief backstory about this section of Genesis 19: 30-38.                                                            •This is the aftermath of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities of plains.    •Most of Lot’s family has been wiped out, because of their disobedience, they would not evacuate when commanded to do so!                                                                                               •Lot and his two unmarried daughters are the only survivors Of God‘s judgment in this part of the world.  Note: This was a local judgment, not a global judgment.                                          •After this Apocalyptic like disaster, Lot and his two unmarried daughters thought it was the end of the world!  Having only the clothes on their backs, and some meager food and drink, they sought shelter in a cave.

Now, notice Genesis 19:                                                                                                                Vs. 31.  Now the firstborn said to the younger, our father is old, and there is no man on the earth to come in to us as is the custom of all the earth.                                                                          Vs. 32.  Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father.                                                                                                    Vs. 33.  So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.                                           Vs. 34.  It happened on the next day that the firstborn said to the younger, Indeed I lay with my father last night; let us make him drink wine tonight also, and you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father.                                                                                       Vs. 35.  Then they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.

Can I show you another disturbing and disgusting example of excess or dissipation that came about after someone became drunk, intoxicated, inebriated, or was under the influence?

Now, notice Genesis 9:                                                                                                                         Vs. 20.  And Noah began to be a farmer, and Noah planted a vineyard.                                                Vs. 21.  Then Noah drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered or nude, and was passed out in his tent.                                                                                                                    Vs. 22.  And Ham, the Second Born son of Noah, Ham who is also the father of “Canaan, who was one of many of Noah’s Grandsons!  So, Ham saw the nakedness of his father Noah, and Ham told his two brothers outside the tent of their father.                                                            Vs. 23.  But Shem, the youngest son, and Japheth the eldest son, took a garment, laid it on both of their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their Father.  For their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father's nakedness.                                         Vs. 24.  So, Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son or grandson, had done unto him.   Vs. 25.  Then Noah said: Cursed be “Canaan,” one of many of Noah’s Grandsons! and Noah said concerning his grandson “Canaan,” and not about his second born son “Ham!” “a servant of servants he shall be to his brethren.”

Note: A careful reading of these verses in Genesis 9: 20-25, will debunk the races theory that some believe and teach from the Bible, that the entire black race, the descendants or ancestors of Ham, are under a curse from God to be slaves or subservient to the descendants or ancestors of Shem or Japheth.  Note: Read all of Genesis chapter 10.

Now, Notice Again Genesis 9:                                                                                                          Vs. 22.  And Ham, the second born son of Noah, Ham who is also the father of “Canaan, who was one of many of Noah’s grandsons!  So, Ham saw the nakedness of his father Noah, and Ham told his two brothers outside the tent of their father.                                                             Vs. 23.  But Shem the youngest son, and Japheth the eldest son, took a garment, laid it on both of their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father.  For their faces were turned away, and they didnot see their father's nakedness.                                                    Vs. 24.  So, Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son or grandson, had done unto him.

So then, what is actually going on here, is this a matter of unbridled nudity, or the lack of modesty by and concerning their father Noah?                                                                            Or, is there something more going on that is sinful and depraved?

Now, notice carefully Genesis 9:                                                                                                   Vs. 22.  And Ham, saw the nakedness of his father Noah, and Ham told his two brothers outside the tent of their father.                                                                                                                  Vs. 23.  But Shem and took a garment, laid it on both of their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father.  For their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father's nakedness.

Turn to Leviticus 18.                                                                                                                        Actually, beginning at Leviticus 18: 6-20, we have a very detail use of the words, “the nakedness of” to help us better understand the real meaning behind this phrase.

Now notice from The New King James Version Leviticus 18:6, says, “None of you shall approach anyone who is near of kin unto you, to uncover their nakedness:  I am the Lord.”

Now if you were to use another English translations of the Bible for Leviticus 18:6, it will give you some helpful insight.                                                                                                                For example, concerning Leviticus 18: 6,                                                                                     •In The New International Version says, ”No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations.  I am the LORD.”                                                                                               •In The New Living Translation says,“You must never have sexual relations with a close relative, for I am the LORD”.                                                                                                         •In The Berean Study Bible says, ”None of you are to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the LORD.”                                                                                                •In The Christian Standard Bible "You are not to come near any close relative for sexual intercourse; I am the LORD”.                                                                                                        •In The Contemporary English Version says, “Don't have sex with any of your close relatives, I am the LORD •In The Good News Translation says, ”The LORD gave the following regulations. Do not have sexual intercourse with any of your relatives. I am the LORD.”                                                 •In The Holman Christian Standard Bible says,You are not to come near any close relative for sexual intercourse; I am Yahweh.

So, once again from The New King James Version of Leviticus 18:6, Says, “None of you shall approach anyone who is near of kin unto you, to uncover their nakedness: I am the Lord.

Listen, the words, “the nakedness of,” is a Hebrew euphemism, for any illicit sexual relationships.

Question, are there any other negative things that the Bible has to say about the drinking of most alcoholic beverages?

Now, see again Proverbs 23:                                                                                                        Vs. 29.  *Who has woe? *Who has sorrow? *Who has contentions.*Who has complaints? *Who has wounds without cause *Who has redness of eyes?                                                     Vs. 30.  Those who linger long at the wine, Those who go in search of mixed wine.                     Vs. 34.  Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying:                                                                                                          Vs. 35.  They have struck me, but I was not hurt; They have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?

The Bible‘s graphic warning about the drinking of (most) alcoholic beverages is the likelihood, the strong possibility and probability for anyone to become addicted, and very dependent on alcohol, which leads them into the bondage of  alcoholism!

Now show a 12 minute video, on the signs of someone who may be a high functioning alcoholic.     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HoslLqqsps&feature=share

Now after the video, I shared my Personal testimony of how I struggle for a while in my late teens and early 20s, wanting to fit in with my peer group at that time. By drinking certain alcoholic beverages that I felt, made me feel more confident and assertive.

But by the Grace of God this need that I had then, has now been fulfilled and satisfied by God Himself.

If you feel lead, I would love to hear your story or perhaps you still are struggling in this area, please no you can email me or call me, for what you share is confidential.

And if you’re ready, together we can seek he