Sunday Morning Sermon Notes

You Shall Know The Truth, And The Truth Shall Set You Free! - Depending On God To Change The Man In The Mirror.

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“Depending On God To Change The Man In The Mirror.”

06-09-2019    Part 1     Sunday

Now let me read some familiar words, from 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 make you free.

As most of you know we are involved in a biblical series that we have entitled, “You Shall Know The Truth And The Truth Shall Set You Free!” 

And it is my hope involved in a biblical series that we have entitled, “You Shall Know The Truth”, And that over time that this particular series that God will use to help us to better understand His will, plan, and purpose for our lives, for our families, for our culture, and for our society as a whole!

But also, that this particular series will help us to address Biblically, some important issues, concerns, and controversies that are a part of our world today that sometime we may be uncomfortable or unwilling to deal with!

For example, last year for most of 2018 we dealt with the subject of forgiveness and unforgiveness, or to forgive or not to forgive!

And in February of this year until June 2, 2019, we dealt with the subject of, “God’s Divine Design, Or Man’s Redesign Of Heterosexual Marriage, Heterosexual Orientation, And Heterosexual Identity.”

And therefore, I believe the LORD has been helping us as a church family, along with any guests or visitors. To address Biblically, some of the Issues, concerns, and controversies that are a part of our world today that at times we may be uncomfortable or unwilling to deal with!

And once again with God’s help, we want to begin another new topic within this series, that I believe for all of us we will find personally challenging, but spiritually beneficial if applied!

Now how many of you recall the Michael Jackson song called, “Man In The Mirror”?  It was released in January 1988, 31 years ago. With lyrics by Siedah Garrett and music by Glen Ballard, but produced by Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones.

Question, if you heard this song what do you think Michael Jackson was singing about?

In fact, there is a part in the song that has these words.                                               “I’m starting with the man in the mirror.                                                                         I'm asking him to change his ways, no message could have been any clearer.              If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and then make a change!”

Question, what do you think Michael Jackson was singing about?

In my humble opinion the major theme of this song is the need for self-realization along with self-determination. So that together, they will bring about personal change and societal change.

But is this kind of change really that easy for us to do?

Listen, apart from God and our willingness to cooperate with him in our Lives, *Can we really change ourselves for the long-term.  And can we really change ourselves from the inside, so that we are different on the outside?

But what if I told you there is away with God’s help, and our willingness to cooperate with Him in our lives.

There is a way that we can experience personal change, and thereby we can bring about societal changes for the Glory of God.

I mean, a real and lasting change that starts from within. And then it will affect you and I outwardly, so much so that our conduct, our choices, our actions, and even our behavior Is dramatically different than it was before!

Now notice the KJV James 1:                                                                                       Vs. 21.  Wherefore, lay apart, or setting aside all filthiness, or moral defilement, or anything that will defile you morally and ethically!                                                       •Wherefore lay apart, or setting aside all filthiness, and superfluity. Which means, something in great abundance, or of a large quantity or amount.                      •Wherefore, lay apart all filthiness, and superfluity of naughtiness.

Which, in this case means, moral badness, or unbridle depravity that wants to corrupt and influence another or others.                                                                                  Also, naughtiness in this case can mean, having evil Intentions or wickedness.            Or, having ill-will that desires to injure or hurt another.

•Wherefore lay apart all filthiness, and superfluity of naughtiness and receive with meekness the engrafted or implanted Word, which is able to save your souls.  Wow!

Did you notice how much the Word of God plays an important part in our lives in bringing about our salvation.

But now, notice how much the Word of God plays an important part in our lives in bringing about our sanctification as well.

Now see vs. 22.  But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Notice this very helpful example given in vs. 23&24.                                                     Vs. 23. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a glass or a mirror;                                                                                   Vs. 24. Because he observes himself, but goes away and immediately forgets what kind of man he was at that moment.                                                                                      Vs. 25. However, the one who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what they do.

So again, what if I told you there is a way with God’s help, and our willingness to cooperate with Him in our lives. There is a way that we can experience personal change, and thereby we can bring about societal changes for the Glory of God.

Not a superficial change, but a real and lasting change that starts from within. And then it will affect you and I outwardly, so much so that our conduct, our choices, our actions, and even our behavior is dramatically different than it was before!

Therefore, our new topic will be called, “Depending On God To Change The Man In The Mirror.”

Especially, in those times when you and I can be overly critical about certain matters.

Or, how we can be very judgmental about what a person said or did in a given situation, or circumstance that they found themselves In.

Or, how we can be intolerant, or prejudice, or a bigot, or even a racist when dealing with certain people!

Listen, even though as a child of God, a committed follower of Jesus Christ, we still need God’s help (DAILY), in dealing with and overcoming those times when we can be overly critical about certain matters.

Or, how we can be very judgmental about what a person said or did in a given situation, or circumstance that they found themselves In.

Or, how we can be intolerant, or prejudice, or a bigot, or even a racist when dealing with certain people!

May I give you a Bible reading and studying recommendation or a project that you might want to consider over the summer months?

Would you consider reading and studying the Epistle or the Book of James throughout this summer?

Because in each chapter one or more key things will stand out and will require God’s help for you and I to change.

For example, in chapter 1.  Subduing bad anger.  Notice vs. 19 & 20.                               In chapter 2.  Exposing how we can easily mistreat others.  Notice vs. 1-4.                  In chapter 3. Controlling the way we speak and what we say to others.  Notice vs 1-12.                             In chapter 4. Repenting from bad attitudes.  Notice vs. 1-17.                                          And in chapter 5. Committing to do what is right and to be helpful.  Notice vs. 1-20.

Now, remember the Apostle James’s example in James 1: 23 & 24.                            Vs. 23.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word, and not a doer, that person is like an individual, observing their natural face.

Note: This would be their morning face after waking up. This is the face before washing!  These are the teeth and breath before cleaning!

If they are an adult male, this would Include the face before combing or brushing facial hair, if they have such!

Now, if they are an adult female, this would Include the face before applying lotion or make-up!  Again, this is the natural face!

Next notice vs. 24 says, for they observe themselves in a mirror, yet goes away, or turn away from the mirror, and immediately forgets, what kind of person they were. The morning face after waking up!  This is the face before washing! these are the teeth and breath before cleaning!                                              And again vs. 24 says, for they observe themselves in a mirror, yet goes away, or turn away from the mirror, and immediately forgets, what kind of person they were.

But how is this possible?                                                                                                The answer is, they deceive their own selves.                                                               The answer is, they delude their own selves.

Listen, for them, the mirror is not a tool for correction, or for improvement, or for change.                Listen, the mirror has become merely an item to have and to own, but not to inform, or to bring about change for them.                                                                                            Listen, if a mirror is used correctly it can be a necessary tool, to bring correction and improvement to the one who is unable to see, what others see.

The playwright, William Shakespeare, from one of his famous plays, a play called "Hamlet."  One of the characters says to his son, "To thine own self be true."

What does this quote from Shakespeare mean to you?

06-16-2019   Part 4

On this very special day with God’s help, I would like us to return back to a topic that we shared back in 2018 on both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

And then again on Mother’s Day 2019, we return back to this topic that we called, “What Would God Have Every Mother And Father To Know And to Do For their Child Or Children, No Matter What their Ages Are?”

So, today on this last Father’s Day of this decade, we will continue with this topic, in fact this will be part 4, for this time we would like to encourage and challenge all the fathers, or anyone who is in a fathering role raising up the next generation.

Now, if you have with you a pen or a pencil, or if you can borrow one.

Also, if you noticed in your bulletin today, an insert page that says at the top of the page, ‘NOTES’!

Please have them ready because I will have for you three important words that I want you to be able to write down and remember.

Now with God’s help, I want to especially encourage and challenge each one of you who are fathers, or you would like to be some day.

Perhaps you are already in a fathering role raising up the next generation in some capacity.

Like a Grandfather or Great Grandfather. A Step-Dad, an Adopted Dad, a Foster Dad, a Guardian, a Play-Dad, or a Spiritual-Father.  Or, a Mentor. An Educator or a Sunday School/Youth Dept. Teacher, Worker, or Volunteer.

I want to encourage and challenge each one of you.                                                                            In fact, could you please write down and remember these three familiar words I want to share with you.

Because they will help you to know what God would have you to know and to do for the child or the children, no matter what their ages are. Whether from the childhood years, or all the way into their adult years, and everything in between!

Now when you write these three words, write each word on the left side of your paper, and stack them on top of each other.  

Now, please write down these three words,                                                                                             •Faith.                                                                                                                                                          •Hope.                                                                                                                                                     •And Love or Agape.

See I Corinthians 13: 13, and now abide Faith, Hope, Love, these three; But the greatest of these is Love.

May I give an important observation of God’s divine design for fathers and mothers.             Listen, generally speaking unfortunately there are exceptions.                                                        But generally speaking, God’s designed mothers to be nurturers of the next generation.          And generally speaking, and unfortunately there are exceptions.                                                But generally speaking, God’s designed fathers to lead the next generation.

At least three ways God designed fathers to lead the next generation.                                      First, fathers are to lead by example.                                                                                           Secondly, fathers are to lead by being that patient teacher or instructor concerning the spiritual things in life.  Or, concerning the moral and/or the ethical things in life.  Or, concerning the practical things in life.                                                                                                                                                                                  And Thirdly, fathers are to lead by being that rock, that strength-giver, that stabilizer within the home, and within a family.

But also, and just as important, God’s designed fathers to lead the next generation, in these three spiritual disciplines as well.                                                                                                   •Faith.                                 •Hope                                                                                                                                               •And Love or Agape.

Now, see II Timothy 3:                                                                                                                Vs. 10.  But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance,                                                                                                       Vs. 11.  persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra what persecutions I endured.  And, out of them all the Lord delivered me.

Now again, notice vs 10,                                                                                                                   But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance.

First, let’s understand God’s designed for fathers to lead the next generation, in this important spiritual discipline that is called “faith.”

And let’s consider three specific areas concerning faith.                                                           •Our faith in action.                                                                                                                          •Our faith in God.                                                                                                                             •Our faithfulness in relationships, i.e. with God, with family, and with friends.

Now our next spiritual discipline that God designed for fathers to lead the next generation is in the area of “Hope.”

See Lamentation 3:                                                                                                                      Vs. 21.  This I recall to my mind, therefore, I have hope.                                                               Vs. 22.  Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. Vs. 23.  For they are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.                                             Vs. 24.  The Lord is my portion says my soul, therefore, I hope in Him!

And now, the last spiritual discipline that God designed for fathers to lead the next generation is in the area of “Love,” or Agape.

And see again II Timothy 3:                                                                                                              Vs. 10.  But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance.                                                                                                        And let’s consider three specific area concerning love.                                                               •Our love in action.                                                                                                                           •Our love for God.                                                                                                                                •Our love for others, i.e. family, friends, people in general.

For example, see Romans 12:                                                                                                                Vs. 9.  Let love be without hypocrisy, How?  Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

Listen, God’s love is uncompromising when it comes to good and evil. When it comes to right and wrong. When it comes to sin or not to sin.

Again vs. 9 says. Let love be without hypocrisy, How?                                                                  Now, see vs. 10.  Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;                                                                                                              Vs. 11.  Not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;                                          Vs. 12.  Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;                           Vs. 13.  Distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.                                            Vs. 14.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.                                                          Vs. 15.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.                                         Vs. 16.  Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.                                               Vs. 17.  Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.          Vs. 18.  If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.                         Vs. 19.  Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.                                                                           Vs. 20. Therefore, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.                                                                                  Vs. 21.  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

The Swan and the Crane     Written by Joshua Becker·

There is an old fable involving a swan and a crane that reads like this:

A beautiful swan alighted by the banks of the water in which a crane was wading about seeking snails. For a few moments, the crane viewed the swan in stupid wonder and then inquired:

“Where do you come from?”

“I come from heaven!” replied the swan.

“And where is heaven?” asked the crane.

“Heaven!” said the swan, “Heaven! Have you never heard of heaven?”  And the beautiful bird went on to describe the grandeur of her home. She told of streets of gold, and the gates and walls made of precious stones, and of rivers, pure as crystal. In eloquent terms the swan sought to describe the hosts who live in the other world, but without arousing the slightest interest on the part of the crane.

Finally, the crane asked: “Are there any snails there?”

“Snails!” repeated the swan; “No! Of course, there are not.”

“Then,” said the crane, as it continued its search along the slimy banks of the pool, “you can have your heaven. I want snails!”

06-23-2019  Part 13

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

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

We are considering 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.

Now this afternoon, let’s continue to understand what the Bible teaches about the very nature of salvation that comes from God, by again focusing upon these eight essential elements from which God’s salvation from it’s very beginning, until it’s completion and fulfillment for that person who believes and receives it from God.

Now the eight essential elements are                                                                                        •Divine election.                                                                                                                       •Regeneration/a new birth.                        •Justification.                                                                                          •Sanctification.                                                                                                                            •Sonship or a personal relationship/friendship.                                                                     •Eternal security.                                                                                                                   •Non-conformity.                                                                                               •Glorification/resurrection.

Now last month we considered the second essential element from which God’s salvation from its very beginning, until it’s completion and fulfillment for the person who believes and receives it from God, and that was regeneration/a new birth!

Now this afternoon, let’s consider the next essential element from which God’s salvation from its very beginning, until it’s completion and fulfillment for the person who believes and receives it from God, and that would be Justification!

Now notice Romans 5:                                                                                                       Vs. 18. Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation.  Even so through one man’s righteous act, the free gift came to all men resulting in justification of life.                   Vs. 19.  For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners.  So, also by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

Now notice again Romans 5:                                                                                           Vs. 18.  Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation.  Even so through one man’s righteous act, the free gift came to all men resulting in justification of life.

So, what does the words justification or justify mean?

•The Standard English Definition. The action of showing something to be right or reasonable.  A reason why something is correct, morally rightness.                                  •The Theological Biblical Definition.  For example, The Theological Biblical Definition can be summarized like this!

Being justified by God, or justification by faith alone and not by works, links us unto Jesus Christ. Who He is, that is, He is the just one, and the Justifier.

Also, justification by faith alone and not by works, links us unto what Jesus Christ has done for sinners, being the atoning sacrifice for those who place their faith or trust in Him.

Next, a theological Biblical definition can be summarized like this!

Being justified by God, or justification by faith alone, links us unto God’s righteousness.

Finally, a theological Biblical definition can be summarized like this!

Being justified by God, or justification by faith alone, links us unto sanctification.

Now two pictures that may help us understand and appreciate divine justification, or being justified by God.

The first picture is, after the birth especially of a premature child who needs medical Intervention.             •This premature new born needs something to strengthen their immune system.            •This premature new born needs nutrients for their body, etc.

Listen, likewise, after our spiritual new birth we receive from God immediately, several essential things that needful for spiritual growth and development are given.  For example, divine acceptance, approval, protection, and security, just to name a few.

Now again, there are two pictures that may help us understand and appreciate divine justification, or being justified by God.

The second picture is, after a legal conviction, because you and I really did it. We have been found guilty, and now are awaiting sentencing.

First, the need we have for mercy from the judge.                                                            The need we have for a second chance, or special consideration or understanding.       The need we have for a court appointed counseling to help us to get to a better place.

Listen, likewise, after a legal conviction, because you and I really did It. We have been found guilty, and are now awaiting sentencing.

For example, we need divine forgiveness.  An acquittal.  A righteousness apart from ourselves.  Peace with God.  And a sanctification that brings about transformation.

In fact, sanctification and justification are not synonyms!

Divine justification and sanctification are actually and uniquely connected to each other like the two opposite sides of the same coin, heads and tails!

Yet, there is a big difference between sanctification and justification.

First, divine justification is, instant, immediate, permanent, can never be repeated or revoked.

On the other hand, divine sanctification is, progressive, continuous, ongoing, transforming, being perfected.

Divine sanctification is causing mature, change, development, and a teachableness.

Interestingly, both divine justification and sanctification begin at the time of our salvation.

Yet, only divine sanctification continues until our salvation is complete, and has fully ran its course concerning us.

Quote Romans 8:30. “Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called. And whom He called, them He also justified.  And whom He justified, them He also glorified.”

See Job 25:4.                                                                                                                            How then can man be justified with God?  Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?

Our problem.

See Romans 3:                                                                                                               Vs. 23.  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

 The only solution.

See I Corinthians 6:                                                                                                           Vs. 9.  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,           Vs. 10.  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.                                                                                               Vs. 11.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are Justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God, also known as God the Holy Spirit.

Our blessed Benefactor.

See Romans 3: 24.                                                                                                                Being justified freely by His Grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

See Romans 3:26.                                                                                                          To declare I say at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of them which believeth in Jesus.

See II Corinthians 5:21.                                                                                                   For He hath made Him, to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

Our need to humble ourselves and receive.

See Romans 3:20.                                                                                                             Therefore, by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the Law is the knowledge of sin.

See Romans 3:28.  Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law.

Here are a couple of benefits when we are justified by God.

See Romans 5:1.                                                                                                            Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

See Romans 5:9.                                                                                                                Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

07-07-2019    Part 2

I don’t know if you like to watch team sport competition like, American football, or basketball or hockey, or soccer.

But there is one thing they all have in common, their competition is divided into two halves, the first half and the second half.

Sometimes, that team can have a good first half, or a not so good first half.

But what really determines if a team will win or lose the game in my opinion, is how well they do in the second half of a game to adapt, adjust, and change!

Listen, a team and its players who will accept this strategy to adapt, adjust, and change, will often times be victorious in the second half, and in most cases, they are able to win the game!

Well, as you may know last Monday July 1, 2019, started the beginning of the second half of this year of 2019.

And as a committed follower of Jesus Christ, one who is in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit, and whose so purpose is to bring Glory to your Father in Heaven, then we must be willing adapt, adjust, and change things that we were doing, or not doing!

And I truly believe, twice a year January 1st, which begins the first half of the year.   And then July 1st, that begins the second half of the year, both of these times are an excellent time to Make some adjustments, to adapt to a new strategy, and to seek God earnestly for real change in our lives both inwardly and outwardly. Amen!

So, in order to help us with this goal in mind, lets return back to an important topic that we began last month, on the 2nd Sunday in June, that was called, “Being Depended on God To change The Man in The Mirror.”

And remember, we gave recognition to a very popular song by the late Michael Jackson that was called, “Man In The Mirror!”

Listen, this Michael Jackson song supposes that a serious-minded person can change their self, and therefore, change their world!

But, what if I told you that there is only one way with God’s help, and our willingness to cooperate with Him in our lives daily.  That you and I can experience personal change.  I mean a real and lasting change that starts from within.  And then, that inward transformation will affect you and I, outwardly.  So much, so that our conduct, our choices, our actions, and even our behavior is dramatically different than it was before. And there by we can bring about societal changes for the Glory of God by being both salt and light.  Amen!!

Show you what I mean!

Notice the KJV of James 1:                                                                                               Vs. 21.  Wherefore, lay apart or setting aside all filthiness, or moral defilement, or anything that will defile you morally and ethically!                                                             -  Wherefore, lay apart or setting aside all filthiness, and superfluity.  Which means, something in great abundance, or of a large quantity or amount.                                    -  Wherefore, lay apart all filthiness, and superfluity of naughtiness.

Which in this case means, moral badness, or unbridle depravity that wants to corrupt and influence another or others.                                                                                         Also, naughtiness, in this case can mean, having evil intentions or wickedness.         Or, having ill-will that desires to injure or hurt another.

Vs. 21.  Wherefore, lay apart all filthiness, and superfluity of naughtiness and receive with meekness the engrafted or implanted Word, which is able to save your souls. Wow!

Question, did you notice how much the Word of God plays an important part in our lives in bringing about our salvation?

But now notice vs. 22-25, and notice how much the Word of God plays a major part in our lives to bring about God’s sanctification!

See vs. 22.  “But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

Now, notice this very helpful example given in vs. 23&24.                                              Vs. 23.  “For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a glass or a mirror;                                                                    Vs. 24.  Because he observes himself, but goes away and immediately forgets what kind of man he was at that moment.                                                                                 Vs. 25.  However, the one who looks into the perfect law of liberty, i.e. the Bible, and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this one will be bless in what they do!”

Question, did you notice how much the Word of God plays a major part in our lives to bring about God’s sanctification?

Therefore, being depended on God to change the man in the mirror, and not ourselves should be one of our greatest desires!

Listen, even though as a child of God, a committed follower of Jesus Christ, we still need God’s help DAILY, in dealing with and overcoming those times when we can be overly critical about certain matters and about certain people.

Or, we can be very judgmental about what a person said or did in a given situation, or circumstance that they found themselves in.                                                                    Or, we can be intolerant, or prejudice, or a bigot, or even a racist when dealing with certain people!

And unless we are willing to biblically and spiritually deal with such things that were just mention, that comes from deep down inside our hearts and our flesh, our old sin nature, where all these negative things and much more come from, then there can be no real change!

For example:

See James 3:                                                                                                                     Vs. 2.  For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.                                                              Vs. 3.  Indeed, we put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.               Vs. 4.  Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.                                   Vs. 5.  Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest, a little fire kindles!                                                                                                       Vs. 6.  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.                                     Vs. 7.  For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind.                                                                                             Vs. 8. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.             Vs. 9.  With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.                                                                                        Vs. 10.  Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Vs. 11.  Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?                  Vs. 12.  Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs?  Thus, no spring yields both salt water and fresh.

See James 4:                                                                                                                          Vs. 11.  Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

Also, James 4:11.  The NIV says this way, brothers and sisters, do not Slander one another.  Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.

Vs. 12.  There is one Lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy. So, who are you to judge another?

See Matthew 12:                                                                                                                    Vs. 34.  Brood of vipers!  How can you, being evil, speak good things?  For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.                                                                           Vs. 35.  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.                                           Vs. 36.  But I say to you, that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.                                                                                                   Vs. 37.  For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

See Psalms 51:                                                                                                                      Vs. 10.  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

See Galatians 5:                                                                                                                    Vs. 16.  I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.          Vs. 18.  But if you are l by the Spirit, you are not under the law.                                   Vs. 19.  Because the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, Vs. 20.  idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,                                                                                          Vs. 21.  envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

So then, being depended on God to change the man in the mirror by His Word, and by the Holy Spirit Who indwells us, can bring about real and lasting change that starts from within.

And then the change will affect you and I outwardly, so much so that our conduct, our choices, our actions, and even our behavior is dramatically different than it was before.  And there by we can bring about societal changes for the Glory of God by being both salt and light, Amen!!

So then, with God’s help, let’s begin to address this first area, that you and I can often times find ourselves being overly critical about certain matters, and about certain people as well.

Now see Mark 7:                                                                                                                   Vs. 1.  Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together unto Jesus, having come from Jerusalem. Vs. 2.  Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with unclean hands, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault.  Why?                                                                   Vs. 3.  Because the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the Elders.  (For example!)                        Vs. 4. When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash.  And there are many other things which they have received and practice, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and tables, according to KJV.

The NKJV translate the word as couches, or a pallet to recline upon, or a small bed to carry the sick upon.

Vs. 5. So then, the Pharisees and scribes asked Jesus, Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the Elders, but they eat bread with unwashed hands?                                                        Vs. 6. And Jesus answered and said unto them, correctly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, for it is written: “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me,            Vs. 7. “And in vain they worship Me, why?  Because teaching as doctrines, the commandments of men!”

Note: Isaiah 29:13.                                                                                                           Vs. 13.  Making the Word of God of no effect, through or because of your tradition which you have handed down.

Have you ever heard of the term, ”pet-peeves?”                                                            Do you know what that means, “a pet-peeve?”

The word ‘pet’ can mean, ownership or responsible for a favorite type or kind, easily drawn unto or desirable!

The word ‘peeve’ can mean, something that annoys, that can easily bother you, that can make you overly critical about the minor, the trivial, the normal things that happens In life, or in society, or in the home, or in a marriage, or in the church, or within your own spiritual life as well.

Here is a short list of some pet-peeves most people would admit they have, or that really bothers them about others!                                                                                            •Bad drivers.                                                                                                                        •People who talk loudly on the phone.                                                                                      •People who talk while their mouth is full of food.                                                                    •Individuals who will not pick up after themselves.                                                                   •The use of profanity when a person talks, especially the f-bombs!                                    •Inconsiderate smokers.                                                                                                 •Unreliable people who don't follow through.                                                                       •People who cut in line.                                                                                                     •People who run into you, but they don’t say excuse me!  Or, I’m sorry!                             •Long prayers, long sermons, long church services!                                                                 •Being interrupted by the other person, while you are trying to get your point across.            •Messy or unflushed shared toilets at home, at work, at school, at church.                        •People that turn almost everything into an argument.                                                     •People who do not cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze.                                  •People who easily notices the speck in their brother’s eye, and not the plank in their own eye!

Now notice again Mark 7:                                                                                                     Vs. 1.  Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together unto Jesus, having come from Jerusalem. Vs. 2.  Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with unclean hands, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault.  Why?                                                                      Vs. 3.  Because the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of The Elders.  (For example!)                          Vs. 4.  When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and practice, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches. Vs. 5. So then, the Pharisees and scribes asked Jesus, Why, do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the Elders, but they eat bread with unwashed hands?

Listen, people who are overly critical, about certain matters, and about certain people, they think it is their responsibility to set everybody straight.

Because they really believe they are being truthful, helpful, insightful, and beneficial!

But notice something that Jesus said about that here in Mark 7:                                 Vs. 6.  And Jesus answered and said unto them, correctly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, for it is written: “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me,                                                Vs. 7.  “And in vain they worship Me, why?  Because teaching as doctrines, the commandments of men!”

Remember vs. 3 &4.  Because the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the Elders. (For example!)       Vs. 4.  When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash.  And there are many other things which they have received and practice, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches.

•Now, here is another question, have you ever had a person in your life who was overly critical about you? Someone who acted almost like a Drill Sergeant, or they had a Platoon Sergeant mentality?

For example, maybe they were, or maybe they are;                                                                  •A Driver Instructor.                                                                                                                      •A Coach.                                                                                                                                  •A Spouse.                                                                                                                                 •A Parent.                                                                                                                           •An Adult Child.                                                                                                                         •A Pastor or a Church Leader.                                                                                                •An Individual in the Congregation.                                                                                           •A Boss, Supervisor, Manager, or Director.                                                                          •A School or College Teacher or a Vocational Instructor.                                                                   •A Physician, a Physical Therapist.

Question, have you ever had a person in your life who was overly critical about you?             Question, and how did that make you feel?             •Inadequate.                                                                                                                •Worthless.                                                                                                                      •That you are stupid and dumb.                                                                                         •Or inferior.                                               

Question, and because of that person, or persons’ negative influence upon you. How does it still affect you to this day?                                                                                        •Low self-esteem.                                                                                                              •Self-doubt or a lack of confidence.                                                       •Perfectionism.                                                                                                                    •Extremely shy and bashfulness.                                                                                         •Antisocial.                                                                                                                              •A strong dislike for authority figures.                                                                                   

Listen, we can even be overly critical about our own selves at times, as well.                      •Feeling incompetent.                                                                                                           •Feeling ignorant or unintelligent.                                                                                        •Feeling unproductive, not contributing!

Listen, criticism and encouragement, are both needed at times, both can be effective, but only one should be used regularly and that is encouragement!

Notice Psalms 141: 3&4.                                                                                                           Vs. 3.  Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.                            Vs. 4.  Incline not my heart to any evil thing, or to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity. And don’t let me eat of their dainties or choice foods!

07-14-2019   Part 3

Notice James 1:                                                                                                                               Vs. 22.   “But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”                        Vs. 23.   “For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a glass or a mirror;                                                                                                Vs. 24.  Although he observes himself, but goes away and immediately forgets what kind of man he was at that moment.                                                                                                             Vs. 25.  However, the one who looks into the perfect law of liberty, i.e. the Bible, and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this one will be bless in what they do!”

So, let us return back to our brief mini-series we are calling, “Being Depended On God To Change The Man Or The Woman In The Mirror.” 

Listen, according to James 1: 22-25, one of the many purposes of the Bible, or the Word of God is to act like a mirror in our lives!

And along with the Holy Spirit this can be an important time for personal discovery, spiritual growth, and Biblical transformation or change.

In fact, we are considering three very serious matters, that if we are not careful can affect and diminish our witness, our testimony, and our ministry unto others, whom we wish to help, or to share the Gospel with, or to be that Godly example for them to follow, as you are following Christ!

The first serious matter, are those times when we can be overly critical about certain things and about certain people.

The second serious matter, are those times when we can be very judgmental or condemning because of the way a person looks, or how they talk, or what they have done, or what they are doing or not doing!

And the third serious matter, are those times that we can be intolerant, or prejudice, or a Bigot, or even a Racist when dealing with certain people!

Therefore, being depended on God to change the man in the mirror by His Word, and by the Holy Spirit Who indwells us, is the only way to bring about real and lasting change that starts from within.

And then over time, that inward change will affect you and I outwardly, so much so that our conduct, our choices, our actions, and even our behavior is dramatically different than it was before.

And thereby, we can bring about societal changes for the Glory of God by being both salt and light

So, then last Sunday, you might remember I ran out of time, but we were dealing with the first serious matter that often times we can find ourselves involved in, and that is being overly critical about certain matters, and about certain people.

And remember, as an example we looked at one of the many pet peeves of the Pharisees of Jesus’ day.

In fact, Mark 7: 3. Says, the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the Elders. Vs. 4.  When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash.  And there are many other things which they have received and practice, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches. Vs. 5.  So then, the Pharisees and scribes asked Jesus, why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the Elders, but they eat bread with unwashed hands?

And remember I ask the question, have you ever had a person in your life who was overly critical about you? •How did that make you feel?                                                                                                             •And because of that person, or person’s negative influence upon you, how does it still affect you to this day?

For example:                                                                                                                              •Low self-esteem.                                                                                                                         •Self-doubt or, a lack of confidence.                                                                      •Perfectionism.                                                                                                                                    •Extremely shy and bashful.                                                       •Antisocial.                                                                                                                                         •A strong dislike for authority figures.                                                                                            •Also, we can even be overly critical about our own selves at times as well.                                 •Feeling incompetent.                                                                                                                   •Feeling ignorant or, unintelligent.                                                                                               •Feeling non-productive, unable to contribute!

So then, why would you and I think by doing the same thing to others that was done unto us, is going to be helpful?

Listen, criticism and encouragement, are both needed at times, both can be effective, but only one should be used regularly and that is encouragement!

And therefore, depending upon God to change the man in the mirror from being overly critical, judgmental, being like a Pharisee can start today by requesting daily God’s help, His strength, His graciousness, and the understanding of how to control the impulse of being overly critical about certain matters!

Or, the impulse to be overly critical about certain people.                                                             As we know, most of the times these things are done verbally.

But they also can be done in a written format, as well.  By a letter, or a note, or a poster or Banner.  Or, by texting, or by an email, or by one’s own social media account, by blogging or posting.

Listen we must choose our words and the tone of our voice very carefully.                           •Don’t talk angrily, or mean, or roughly.                                                                                      •Don’t raise your voice by shouting or screaming!                                                                                   •Don’t use profanity to help make your point.                                                                                   •Don’t talk disrespectful.                                                                                                                    •Don’t slander.                                                                                                                                    •Don’t use sarcasm in order to put the person down.                                                                       •Don’t make fun of, or humiliate or emasculate the other person.                                      

Let’s stop under estimating the destructive power of our words, because they can be very dangerous!                                                                                                                      

Listen, along with a bad attitude towards that person or persons, the things we can say to them to me is like, someone handling a loaded firearm carelessly.

I mean statements like:                                                                                                                     •I hate you!                                                                                                                                   •You are fat, or you must be anorexic!                                                                                          •Why can’t you be like your _______,  (Fill in the blank)!                                                                            •I wish you were never born!                                                                                                          •I wish you would die or kill yourself!                                                                                                •Why are you so stupid and dumb!                                                                                                  •You are old and ugly!                                                                                                                          •I have never loved you!  Or I want a divorce.  Or, I’m breaking up with you!                               •I’m sorry you are not good enough, or you are not what we are looking for.

Listen, words like these and many others, they go right to the core of the individual, so that they can never be forgotten what was said by you, and they can never be taken back, even though you may apologize or say you are sorry!

Again, this is much like someone firing or shooting a gun, once you pull the trigger you can’t get the bullet to come back! Because it has been released with great speed.

And if it hits its target, it will cause damage, or injury, or possibly death!

Quote Proverbs 18:21 says,                                                                                                            Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Quote Matthew 12:                                                                                                                               Vs. 36.  But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.                                                                                                                           Vs. 37.  For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

Now turn to James 2. 

Now remember we said there are three very serious matters that I believe the LORD is leading us to focus upon, that if we are not careful can affect and diminish our witness, our testimony, and our ministry unto others, whom we wish to help, or to share the Gospel with, or to be that Godly example for them to follow, as we are following Christ!

So then, lets address this second serious matter that you and I can find ourselves doing at times, and that is being very judgmental or condemning because of the way a person looks, or how they talk, or what they have done, or what they are doing or not doing!

Now notice James 2:                                                                                                                      Vs. 1.  My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Lord of Glory with Partiality.  (An example, vs. 2&3).                                                                                             Vs. 2.  For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel. But there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes.                                                                  Vs. 3.  And you pay attention too or you cater to the man wearing the fine clothes and say to him, Sir, please sit here in a good place!  But you say to the poor man, you stand there, or, Sit here at my footstool.         Vs. 4.  Question, have you not shown partiality among yourselves, (and become judges) with evil thoughts?

And unfortunately, at times you and I can be very judgmental or, condemning because of the way a person looks, or how they talk, or what they have done, or what they are doing or not doing!

And if we are not careful, our witness, our testimony, even our ministry unto others whom we wish to help, or to share the gospel with, or to be that Godly example for them to follow, as we are following Christ will be greatly affected and diminished.

Now here in Luke 18: 9-12, our Lord Jesus gives us a profile of someone who was very judgmental and condemning.  Feeling superior.  Also, disparaging of others, which means, to insult someone in such a way, that you show that you have no respect or value for them.

Notice Luke 18:                                                                                                                           Vs. 9.  Also, Jesus spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others.                                                                                                       Vs. 10.  Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.     Vs. 11.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself.  God, I thank you that I am not like other men.  An extortioner, unjust, an adulterer, or even as this tax collector.                           Vs. 12.  I fast twice a week.  I give tithes of all that I possess.                                                        Vs. 13.  Then the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his chest, saying, God, be merciful to me a Sinner!

Now notice again vs. 9, Jesus spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others.  Feeling superior.                                                                 Vs. 10.  Jesus continues, two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.                                                                                                                                      Vs. 1.  Now the Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself.

God, I thank you that I am not like other men.  Again, feeling superior.

Now next He says, For I am not like other people. An extortioner.  Unjust.  An adulterer.  Or, even as this tax collector.

•Notice how he is judgmental and condemning.                                                                           •He has a very negative opinion about others.                                                                                   •He was disparaging, Insulting.

Finally, in vs. 12 he says, I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all that I possess.  Again, feeling superior.

•Question.  Have you ever had a person in your life who was very judgmental or condemning of you?     •How did that make you feel?                                                                                                        •Very insecure.                                                                                                                                 •An outcast.                                                                                                                                      •Defeated.

And because of that person, or persons negative influence upon you, how does it still affect you to this day?

For example:                                                                                                                                  •A people-pleaser.                                                                                                                                 •A pretender.                                                                                                                                      •Oppressed and rejected.                                                                                                                   

Also, we can even be judgmental or condemning of our own selves at times as well.             •Feeling shameful.                                                                                                                             •Dirty or unclean.                                                                                                                         •Unworthy or unfit.

Listen.  So why would you and I think by doing the same thing to another that was done unto us, is going to be helpful?

Therefore, let us seek God, to change the man in the mirror from being judgmental, for being like a Pharisee by requesting (daily) God’s help, His strength, His Graciousness, and the understanding of how to control the impulse of being very judgmental and condemning. feeling superior, being disparaging of others.

Now notice Matthew 7:                                                                                                                Vs. 3.   For why do you look at the speck or the sawdust in your brother’s eye. But do not consider the plank of wood that is in your own eye?                                                                   Vs. 4.  Tell me how can you say to your brother, let me remove the speck or the sawdust from your eye, and you have in your eye a plank of wood?                                                                   Vs. 5.  Hypocrite! First remove the plank of wood from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck or the sawdust from your brother’s eye.

So, what do you think Jesus point was?                                                                                                 Actually, our Lord's teaching was not just about sawdust and planks of wood in one's eyes.

In fact, the real issue that concern Jesus, and should concern you and me is revealed to us here in Matthew 7: 1&2.                                                                                                                       Vs. 1.  Judge not, that you be not judged.                                                                                      Vs. 2.  For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.

07-21-2019   Part 4  

Notice this paraphrase of James 1: 22-25.                                                                                     Vs. 22.  “But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”                      Vs. 23.  “Because if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, they are like a man observing his natural face in a glass or a mirror;                                                                         Vs. 24.  Although he observes himself, He still goes away and immediately forgets what kind of man he was at that moment.                                                                                                        Vs. 25.  However, the one who looks into the perfect law of liberty, i.e. the Bible, and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the Work, this one will be bless in what they do!”

So, let’s finish up our brief mini-series which we have called, “Being Depended On God To Change The Man or the Woman In the Mirror.” 

Listen, according to James 1: 22-25, one of the many purposes of the Bible, or the Word of God is to act like a mirror in our lives!  And then, along with the help of the Holy Spirit this can be an important time for personal discovery, for spiritual growth.  And to experience biblical transformation or change when we do not allow ourselves to be self-deceived.

But instead, we are to be doers of the Word, a practitioner of the Bible in every situation or circumstance.  In every relationship.  Or, even when challenges, or personal or spiritual attacks come our way.

So then, we are considering three very serious matters, that if we are not careful can affect and diminish our witness, our testimony, and our ministry unto others, whom we wish to help, or to share the Gospel with, or to be that Godly example for them to follow, as we are following Christ!

The first serious matter, are those times when we can be overly critical about certain things and about certain people.

The second serious matter, are those times when we can be very judgmental or condemning because of the way a person looks, or how they talk, or that they have done, or what they are doing or not doing, especially when you and I think we are doing better than someone else!

And the third serious matter, are those times that we can be intolerant, or prejudice, or a Bigot, or even a Racist when dealing with certain people.  Or, when dealing with a certain age group. Or, when dealing with a certain gender.  Or, with a certain individual whose sexual orientation or identity is different than yours.  Or, with someone whose political or social views, ideology, or position, is different than yours.  Or, with someone whose denominational, or religious beliefs or practices is different than yours.

But remember, all three of these matters just mentioned are connected to one another to show us how easy it is for any of us to move from one to the other, or to be guilty of all three.

And all three of these matters just mentioned are possible when the heart and the flesh of a person is not daily, under the control of God.

Therefore, being depended on God to change the man in the mirror by His Word, and by the Holy Spirit who indwells us, is the only real way to bring about lasting change that starts from within.

And then, over time that inward change will affect you and I outwardly, so much, so that our conduct, our choices, our actions, and even our behavior is dramatically different than it Was before.

And thereby, we can bring about societal changes for the Glory of God by being both salt and light.

Now, last Sunday with God’s help, we address the second serious matter that unfortunately, at times you and I can be very judgmental or condemning because of the way a person looks, or how they talk, or what they have done, or what they are doing or not doing, especially when you and I think we are doing better than someone else!

For example, Luke 18.                                                                                                                   Vs. 9.  Also, Jesus spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others.                     Vs. 10.  Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other, a tax collector.  Vs. 11.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself.  God, I thank you that I am not like other men.  An extortioner, unjust, an adulterer, or even as this tax collector.                                 Vs. 12.  I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all that I possess.

Listen, if we are acting like the individuals mention in vs. 9, or like the Pharisee that was mention in vs. 11&12, then our witness, our testimony, even our ministry unto others whom we wish to help, or to share the gospel with, or to be that Godly example for them to follow, as we are following Christ, will be greatly affected and diminished in those times when you and I can be very judgmental or condemning because of the way a person looks, or how they talk, or what they have done, or what they are doing or not doing, especially when you and I think we are doing better than someone else!

Now let’s consider our third and final matter that is serious, and we need to address are those times when we are being intolerant, or prejudice, or a bigot, or even a racist when dealing with certain people. Or, when dealing with a certain age group.  Or, when dealing with a certain gender.  Or, with a certain individual whose sexual orientation or identity is different than yours. Or, with someone whose political or social views, ideology, or position, is different than yours. Or, with someone whose denominational or religious beliefs or practices is different than yours.

Notice St. John 1:                                                                                                                         Vs. 45.  Philip found Nathanael and said to Nathanael, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets wrote, and His Name is Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.  Vs. 46.  But Nathanael said to Philip, can any good thing come out of Nazareth? And Philip said to Nathanael, Come and see!

See St. John 8: 48.                                                                                                                             Then, the Jews answered and said to Jesus, do we not say correctly that you are a Samaritan, and you have a demon?

Now see St. John 4:                                                                                                                          Vs. 6.  Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.                                                                                                Vs. 7.  A woman of Samaria came to draw water.  And Jesus said to her, give Me a drink.             Vs. 8.  For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.                                                  * Vs. 9.  Then the woman of Samaria said to Jesus, How is it that you, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?  Because the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.

See Galatians 2:                                                                                                                                Vs. 11.  Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed;    Vs. 12.  before certain men came from James, Peter would eat with the Gentiles. But when these men from James came around, Peter withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision, or who were Jewish!                                                                                   Vs. 13.  And the rest of the Jewish Christians also played the hypocrite along with Peter, so much so, even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy too.

See Numbers 12: 1&2.                                                                                                                     Vs. 1.  Then Moses’ sister Miriam, and his brother Aaron, spoke against Moses because of the Cushite or Ethiopian woman whom Moses had married; for Moses had married a Cushite or Ethiopian woman.      Vs. 2.  So, Miriam and Aaron said, Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses?  Has the LORD not spoken through us also? And the LORD heard it.

Note:  In Exodus 2: 16-22, Moses, after fleeing Egypt for his life, he finds refuge within a family, a priest of the land of Midian who had seven daughters.  As a fugitive Moses started a new life, and eventually Moses was given one of the Priest of Midian’s daughters to marry, and her name was Zipporah, who boar Moses a son named, Gershom.  Apparently, Moses had two wives over his lifetime very similar to Abraham.  His first wife Zipporah, whom he married when he was younger according to Exodus 2: 16-22.  But his first wife Zipporah we assume passed away, although nothing is said about it in the Bible. Then years later, Moses desires to remarry, this would be his second wife who is unnamed mention in Numbers 12: 1.

 An Important Statement.

Listen, at the very heart of all intolerants, prejudice, bigotry, and racism, is not hatred, but it is pride!

In fact, it is the same sin of pride that was found in the devil himself!

Quote Isaiah 14:                                                                                                                                   Vs. 12.  How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!  How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!                                                                     Vs. 13.  For you have said in your heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the North;             Vs. 14.  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.'

Quote Ezekiel 28:                                                                                                                                    Vs. 14.  You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.                                  Vs. 15.  You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, until iniquity was found in you.         Vs. 17.  Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty. You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.

And Then God also said, I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you.

Listen, at the very heart of all intolerants, prejudice, bigotry, and racism, is not hatred, but it is pride!                   It is the same sin of pride that was found in the devil himself!

Remember the song, “Say It Loud, I’m Black And I’m Proud”  by the late James Brown and his co-writer and bandleader at that time, saxophonist, Alfred Pee-Wee Ellis, that was recorded and released in 1968.  YouTube  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkjaXyuDKYs&feature=share

Supposedly, an anthem for black people to embrace a positive racial self-image, pride, and self-awareness of one’s cultural and history.

But spiritually and biblically-speaking, the title of that song, may have revealed something more than having a racially positive self-image!

Because depending on the individual or a group of people who liked the song, it is easy to give your own meaning or interpretation of the song, which a lot of times is different from what the composer or songwriter may had in mind!

For example, remember, “I’m Coming Out" by Diana Ross released in August, 1980.   “The lyrics held a special meaning to Ms. Ross, as she was leaving Motown Records and "coming out," from under Berry Gordy’s thumb!”     YouTube   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-mjl63e0ms&feature=share

But later that year, this song became the anthem for the LGBTQ Community, to express pride and self-awareness, and never being ashamed of who you are!

And again, depending on the individual or a group of people who liked a song, it is easy to give your own meaning or interpretation of the song, which a lot of times is different from what the composer or songwriter may had in mind!

Listen, for any people to say, say it loud, I’m (Fill in the blank) and I’m proud” could be a problem, the problem of sinful pride!

But please don’t misunderstand what I’m trying to say!  Personally, I have no problem with a healthy appreciation, awareness, and gratitude unto God for one’s ancestry, for one’s ethnic or racial identity, for one’s cultural uniqueness and distinctives, is a result of our Creator’s plan, will, and purpose for every people, and for every generation, which is only for this life and it is temporary!

But on the other hand, feelings of racial superiority.  Or, racial separatist ideology.  Or, Racism. Bigotry. Prejudice.  Or, intolerants by any people or individual, against another people or individual. To intimidate, or to dominate. To suppress, or to oppress. To control, or to enslave.  Or, to eradicate, or to bring about their Genocide, is Satanic, demonic, sadistic, evil, sinful and wrong.

For example, in the small African country of Rwanda, in 1994, the Hutu’s Against the Tutsi.

The Holocaust by the Nazi Germans, against the European Jews, from 1941 unto 1945.

Note:  My unfortunate journey in becoming a Racist.                                                                  •In Jr. High School, the next day after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, as I encouraged the physical assault upon non-black students because it was said “they” killed Dr. Martin Luther King.              •Later in High School I was a member of the BSU, the Black Student Union, and was heavily influenced by an adult teacher who was a militant racist himself.                                                •In High School I took a Black History course, that only focused on the positive things and not the negative things in Black history.                                                                                               •Exposure to the early 70s to the nation of Islam and the teachings of Malcolm X.                          •Jr. College - more Black History courses, a militant racist.                                                                       •Exposure to the early 70s Black Panther party.                                                                                  •A minor incident with a local Los Angeles Sheriff Department Deputy.

Listen, if we are not careful and wise, our witness, our testimony, even our ministry unto others whom we wish to help, or to share the Gospel with, or to be that Godly example for them to follow, as we are following Christ will be greatly affected and diminished in those times that we are being intolerant, or prejudice, or a Bigot, or even a Racist when dealing a certain age group. Or, when dealing with a certain gender. Or, with a certain individual whose sexual orientation or identity is different than yours. Or, with someone chose political or with certain people.  Or, when dealing with social views, ideology, or position, is different than yours. Or, with someone whose denominational or religious beliefs or practices is different than yours.

Question, have you ever had a person or persons in your life who was intolerant, or prejudice, or a Bigot, or even a Racist when they were dealing with you?

And how did that make you feel?  Extremely angry, or defensive, or hostile, or wanted to act out in a violent way.

Or, maybe you were deeply hurt, or insulted, feeling unaccepted, or feeling not good enough, or inferior.

And because of that person, or persons negative influence upon you, *how does it still affect you to this day?

For example: Internal animosity, hatred, and unforgiveness towards certain people, or a group, or individuals and what they stand for, or believe, or practice!

Never feeling accepted when around certain people, or a certain group, or individuals, because of what they stand for, or believe, or practice!

An inferiority complex when dealing with certain people, or a certain group, or individuals because of what they stand for, or believe, or practice!

Wanting to avoid being around certain people, or a certain group, or individuals because of what they stand for, or believe, or practice!

A strong distain, or a distrust, or a suspicion when it comes to certain people, or a certain group, or individuals because of what they stand for, or believe, or practice!

Question.  So, why would you and I think by doing such things to another person that was done unto us, is going to be helpful, or useful, or effective as a representative of Christ?

Therefore, let us seek God, to change the man in the mirror by requesting (daily) God’s help, His strength, His Graciousness, and the understanding of how to control the impulse of intolerant, or prejudice, or a Bigot, or even a Racist when dealing with certain people. Or when dealing with a certain age group. Or, when dealing with a certain gender. Or, with a certain individual whose sexual orientation or identity is different than yours. Or, with someone whose political or social views, ideology, or position, is different than yours. Or, with someone whose denominational or religious beliefs or practices is different than yours.

See Acts 17:                                                                                                                                  Vs. 24.  God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in Temples made with hands.                                                                                   Vs. 25.  Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.                                                                                                       Vs. 26.  And God has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings.

See Acts 1: 8.                                                                                                                                     But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

See Revelation 5:                                                                                                                               Vs. 8.  Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints Vs. 9.  And they sang a new song, saying: You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

See Galatians 3:                                                                                                                                       Vs. 26.  For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.                                                      Vs. 27.  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.                                 Vs. 28.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.                                                                                       Vs. 29.  And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

A YouTube video on the topic of race and racism from a biblical point of view.                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWW7-JirDe0&feature=share

 07-28-2019     

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

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

We are considering what the Bible gays 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).

Now this afternoon, let’s continue to understand what the Bible teaches about the very nature of Salvation that comes from God by again focusing upon these eight Essential Elements of which God’s Salvation from it’s very beginning, until it’s completion and fulfillment for that person who believes and receives it from God.

Now the eight Essential Elements are,                                                                                                        •Divine Election/or Divinely Chosen.                                                                                                    •Regeneration/A New Birth.                                                                                                                    •Justification/Imputed Righteousness.                                                                                             •Sanctification.                                                                                                                                         •Non-Conformity.                                                                                                                                     •Sonship, or a Personal Relationship/Friendship with God Forever.                                                 •Eternal Security.                                                                                                                               •Glorification/A Bodily Resurrection.

And last month we considered the third essential element of which God’s salvation from its very beginning, until it’s completion and fulfillment, for the person who believes and receives it from God, and that was (justification/declared righteousness).

So, this afternoon let’s consider the next essential element of which God’s Salvation from its very beginning until it’s completion and fulfillment, for the person who believes and receives it from God, and that would be sanctification and non-conformity. 

In fact, next Sunday August 4th. We will continue with this subject of sanctification and non-conformity wherever we leave off today.

Now this particular subject concerning sanctification and non-conformity may appear to be boring at first, or even unattainable.

But actually, this subject has the potential to clarify, and to legitimize, and to Glorify God’s plan, and purpose, and will for us, once we have been saved and forgiven by Him.

Question.  Do you sometimes wonder what God is up to in your life?

Maybe, like so many of God’s people, you are either going through or, perhaps you already have been through.  Or, maybe you are about to go through a certain challenge, or a situation, or a circumstance, or a trial, or a test, or a temptation that God is allowing to happen unto you, even though you have been trusting in Him.  Even though you have been faithful, obedient, sacrificial, and committed unto God!

So, you and I may wonder at sometimes, what God is up to in our lives?

Well, I believe God wants to help us and to give to us some insight or prospective about certain things that He is allowing for right now.

But most of all, why the LORD is allowing these things to happen and to occur at this time in our lives, and at this stage of our spiritual development!

Now notice Romans 8: 28&29.  However, for study purposes, please allow me to reverse the order of these two verses to make an important point.

Now notice first Romans 8:                                                                                                         Vs. 29.  For whom He (God) foreknew, *He also predestined to be conformed to the image or, likeness of His Son, or God the Son, Jesus Christ, *that Christ might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Notice where it says in vs. 29, “For whom He (God) foreknew, “He also predestined to be conformed to the image or likeness of His Son, or God the Son, Jesus Christ,

By the way, “the whom” in vs. 29, is r to a very special group of individuals from the time of the fall of Adam and Eve in Genesis Chapter 3.

Until the completion of the Millennium, or 1000-year reign of Christ on the Earth, that is revealed in Revelation chapter 20.

Listen, every single person, every individual God already knows who they are, and those that will be truly saved during this special time in history, because of their personal faith in Jesus Christ!

And now, read Romans 8:                                                                                                               Vs. 28.  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good, to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Now notice II Thessalonians 2:

Vs. 13. The Apostle Paul is speaking, but we are bound to give thanks to God always for you brethren, beloved by the LORD, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation, through sanctification by the Spirit, and belief in the truth.

So, what is sanctification all about?

The words sanctification, sanctify, or sanctified are highly significant, and are very relevant for the times we are living in!

Now here are some important Biblical definitions for the words sanctification, sanctify, or sanctified that we should know more about.                                                                              •Holiness, or to be made Holy, or to Hallow.                                                                               •To set apart, or to separate.  Or, a belonging unto!  (Quote Ex. 13:2), God is speaking, “Sanctify unto me saith the LORD, all the first-born.... for they are Mine!"                                •To consecrate, or to be a Saint or saintly.                                                                                        •Or to be Godly, and to demonstrate Godliness.                                                                           •To be pure, and to demonstrate purity.

Listen, the divine goal of sanctification is God’s refining of us, so to bring about His transformation so that we are increasing in the likeness of Christ.

And we are decreasing in our conformity to this world, i.e. the cultural, or societal norms, expectations, believes and practices.

God’s refining and perfecting of us through sanctification, starts within our souls, our hearts, our minds, our spirit so that each day our flesh, our character, our conduct, and our behavior is being changed and is under divine control, so much so that our spiritual growth and Biblical maturity is evident unto all!

Now may I say something about the refining process, especially when it’s effect upon precious metals or precious gems, a diamond in the rough!

And by the way, refining means, to bring to a fine, or a purest state, that is free from impurities.

Refining means, to bring to a state of purify.

See Psalms 66: 10.                                                                                                                                   For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined.

Listen, so the goal of sanctification could b summarized by this verse.

In Galatians 4: 19. “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again, until Christ is formed in you. Christ-likeness!”

08-04-2019  Part 4   

Again, this afternoon, let’s continue to understand what the Bible teaches about “The Very Nature Of Salvation That Comes From God”.

And we have come to learn and understand that there are these at least eight essential elements of which God’s salvation from its very beginning, until it’s completion and fulfillment, these eight essential elements are for all who believe and receive it from God.

And last Sunday we considered the fourth essential element, and that was sanctification and because we ran out of time, we need to come back to this essential element about sanctification that plays such an important part in our salvation experience.

Now notice II Thessalonians 2:                                                                                                        Vs. 13.  The Apostle Paul is speaking, but we are bound to give thanks to God always for you brethren, beloved by the LORD, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation, through sanctification by the Spirit, and belief in the truth.

So, what is sanctification all about?

Simply put, sanctification, is a divine process in which we submit and cooperate with God for the rest of our days, as the LORD through various ways, refines and perfects you and I into the image of Christ, or into Christ-likeness.

Therefore, for the true child of God, sanctification means that our God is truly up to something special, as He brings about these important spiritual virtues into our lives.

For example:                                                                                                                                  •Holiness, or being made Holy.                                                                                                         •Next, our acceptance that we are to be set a part, or that we are separated from in order to be separated unto!

Listen, daily as far as God is concern, we are being separated from the control of the world, the flesh, and even the devil’s once control over us.

Now remember, our God is truly up to something special, as He brings about these important spiritual virtues into our lives.                                                                                                        •And the next one would be, our acceptance that we are being consecrated unto the LORD, and therefore we are to be Saints, or saintly.                                                                                          •We are to be Godly, in other words with God’s help, we demonstrate Godliness.

And finally, we are to be pure, in other words with God’s help, we demonstrate purity.

Listen, the divine goal of sanctification is God’s refining of us, so to bring about His transformation so that we are increasing in the likeness of Christ.  And we are decreasing in our conformity to this world, i.e. the cultural, or societal norms, expectations, believes and practices.

God’s refining and perfecting of us through sanctification, starts within our souls, our hearts, our minds, our spirit so that each day our flesh, our character, our conduct, and our behavior is being changed and is under divine control, so much so that our spiritual growth and biblical maturity is evident unto all!

And therefore, may I show you from the Bible two perspectives, or viewpoints or outlooks about God’s refining and perfecting of us through sanctification!

And the first perspective will be from God’s point of view, as He refines and perfects us through sanctification!

Let me show you what I’m learning.

Now notice Hebrews 10:                                                                                                             Vs. 10.  By that Will of God, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

See Jude 1:                                                                                                                                         Vs. 1.  Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are called, and sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ.

See again II Thessalonians 2:                                                                                                        Vs. 13.  The Apostle Paul is speaking, but we are bound to give thanks to God always for you brethren, beloved by the LORD, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation, through sanctification by the Spirit, and belief in the truth.

See I Thessalonians 5:                                                                                                                 Vs. 23.  Now may the God of Peace Himself, sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

See I Peter 3:15, and I’ll be reading from this paraphrase.

“But sanctify, or set a part, the Lord God in your hearts, as the One in whom there is reality, relationship, and a reason for living and not just existing, and how should I do this?  By always being ready to give a defense or an answer, unto everyone who asks you the reason for the hope that is in you.  As you witness unto them with meekness, i.e. the lack of pride or boasting.  And as you do it with fear, or as you do it respectfully unto them!”

And see St. John 17:                                                                                                                         Vs. 15.  Jesus is speaking, I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.

Vs. 16.  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the World.                                               Vs. 17.  Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth!

Now remember, God’s refining and perfecting of us through sanctification, starts within our souls, our hearts, our minds, our spirit so that each day our flesh, our character, our conduct, and our behavior is being changed and is under divine control, so much so that our spiritual growth and biblical maturity is evident unto all!

And remember, there are these two perspectives, or viewpoints or outlooks about God’s refining and perfecting of us through sanctification we are considering.

And the second perspective will be from a more personal and practical perspective, as our God refines and perfects us through sanctification!

Let me show you what I’m learning.

Now notice I Thessalonians 4:                                                                                                     Vs. 3.  For this is the Will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;            Vs. 4.  That each of you should know how to possess or control his or her own vessel or bodies in sanctification and honor,                                                                                                             Vs. 5.  Not in passions of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God;                                        Vs. 6.  And that no one being a child of God, should take advantage of or defraud his brother or sister in this matter of sexual immorality in vs. 3&4.  Because the LORD is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.                                                                            Vs. 7.  For God did not call to uncleanness, but in Holiness.                                                     Vs. 8.  Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.

Listen, for the true child of God sanctification (in vs. 3) means that our God is truly up to something special, as He wants to bring about some important spiritual virtues into our lives.

For example:                                                                                                                                  •Holiness, or being made Holy, (mentioned in vs. 7).                                                                    •Next, our acceptance that we are set apart, or that we are separated from in order to be separated unto!        In other words, with God’s help, daily we are being separated from the control of the world, the flesh, and even the devil’s once control over us.

•Next, based upon our acceptance and cooperation with God we are being consecrated unto the LORD, and therefore, we are to be Saints, or saintly.                                                                        •Also, we are to be Godly, and therefore we are to demonstrate Godliness.                                     •And finally, we are to be pure, and therefore we are to demonstrate purity.

Now see I Peter 1:                                                                                                                             Vs. 14.  As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as 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.

See I Corinthians 6:                                                                                                                     Vs. 9.  Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,  Vs. 10.  nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. Vs. 11.  And such were some of you.  But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

See. II Corinthians 6:                                                                                                                       Vs. 17. Therefore, come out from among them and be separate says the Lord.  Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.                                                                                       Vs. 18. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.

And See II Corinthians 7: 1.                                                                                                         Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.