Delivered on July 30, 2017
1 Peter 4:12-19
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And
“If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
God knows when we face horrendous situations. He hears our cries. Even those who maintain the closest fellowship with Him are not immune to having feelings of hopelessness.
Many times, God allows us to face hopeless circumstances in order to test and try our faith.
It is the feeling of hopelessness that forces us to seek God, and it is there that we find strength, and relief.
Does God care that the trials we go through makes us weary? Of course He cares!
He knows every emotion, need, and desire we have. He knows exactly what it will take to bring you to a more intimate relationship with Him.
Church…are you willing to follow Christ when it is difficult? Will you follow Him when it is dangerous? Will you follow Him if it causes pain, suffering and even death? I belong to Christ, “Why Do I Have To Suffer?”
Many Christians get asked these questions: Why do bad things happen to good people? If there is a God, why does He allow sufferings, sickness, hunger, wars, and so on… I serve, I tithe, I’m faithful in my walk…so why is God allowing suffering in my life?
Hopefully through the Lords Message, we can get a clear understanding of, “Why Do I Have To Suffer?” In Peter's first Epistle, suffering is a constant theme. Now as he nears the end of the letter he provides some insight as to why God allows His children to suffer.
Though we cannot avoid suffering in this life, through the Word of God we can see how to endure it! Notice in verse 12…
1 Peter 4:12
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
No matter who you are there will come a time when you face pain, troubles and trials. Remember one of the verse that we read last Sunday, “so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt 5:45)
Consider if you will…Calvary for a moment. There were 3 crosses and 3 different people. There was a Saint, a Sinner and a Savior crucified that day. And all three of them suffered and died. None of them were exempt from suffering and death. Our minds have a hard time comprehending why bad things happen to "good" people. And we may also question why good things happen to evil people. Though we may not understand it, these things are all common.
Remember… one of the thief on the cross believed in who Jesus was and defended Him at one point. Here is a reminder of that day…
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this Man has done nothing wrong.”42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Two criminals, and One innocent Man. All three faced the same sentence. The thing is, Jesus faced the that sentence of death, for you and I. So the question remains, “Why Do I Have To Suffer?” Why did Jesus have to suffer? “But this Man has done nothing wrong”. (v41)
All over the world people are dying from starvation. Droughts leave people thirsty and cause crops to fail. Hurricanes, Tsunamis & earthquakes ravage the land. Many people live in the middle of war zones. Terrorism is on the rise. Millions of people suffer from different diseases. Unemployment, lack of healthcare and rising costs of utilities and food are a problem for many. This is common suffering that takes place all over the world. None of us are exempt.
Now….there is another type of suffering I would like to consider and that is, Carnal sufferings.
Carnal refers to that which is not spiritual. Notice what Peter says in verse 15…
1 Peter 4:15
15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.
Peter speaks of suffering for doing things that are wrong. Many people are suffering because of the choices they have made. If you fail to pay your taxes your assets may be seized and your wages may be garnished. If you drink and drive you will get a DUI and possibly lose your license. If you rob someone you will be arrested and spend time in jail. If you kill someone you will go to prison... possibly for the rest of your life. Bad choices and sinful actions bring severe consequences.
Many times when people face this type of suffering they blame God. When in fact they are suffering because of their own choices. They drink a half a case of beer a day and when they get some sickness of the liver it is God's fault. They consume drugs and blame God when they lose their job and all of their possessions in order to support their habit. Some abuse their spouse or commit adultery and then ask why God allowed their marriage to fail. Choices have consequences and the consequences may bring suffering.
There is another type of suffering that Peter mentions from our text. Christian suffering…
1 Peter 4:13-14, 16-17
13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
This is the suffering that is perhaps the hardest for us to understand. But I can testify that CHRISTIANS DO SUFFER!! We are not suddenly immune to pain and problems when we surrender to Christ. In fact, that may be the point in our life when troubles intensify. We have many examples of Christ followers in the Bible who suffered greatly AFTER their conversions.
Show Pic: Apostles Death ( Power Point )
Paul was in and out of prison for preaching Jesus. The Bible does not mention of Paul’s death, but many historians claims that Paul was beheaded for his faith in Christ.
All over the world today men and women are being persecuted for their faith. They are being arrested, beaten and killed for their faith in Jesus Christ. We may not have experienced the physical persecution that some Christian martyrs have faced, but we do know about troubles, trials and tribulations.
Many of us have experienced first hand the reality of Christian Suffering. Christian people have to bury their babies. Christian marriages sometimes fail. Christian husbands have to stand by the bedside of their dying wives. Christian wives have to plan the funerals of their husbands. Christians lose their jobs. They have bills that they cannot pay. The repo man comes and takes the car. The bank forecloses on the house. Christians are diagnosed with terminal diseases. Some families have rebellious children who are involved in sin and living in wickedness. They have made choices that will bring serious consequences into their lives. You lay awake at night worrying and praying for them. And this has affected you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. You are hurting, you are suffering and you just want to know WHY??? And you have asked the Lord time and time again "WHY Do I Have To Suffer?”
1 Peter 4:13
13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
Do not think that your suffering is something that surprised God. What you are facing is no accident...IT HAS A PURPOSE! When you experience suffering it may seem that God is a million miles away. It is actually in these times that God is closest! He is working on you molding you and making you into what He would have you to be. Even in the midst of suffering, God is working out His purpose in your life.
The ultimate reason the Christian suffers is to form a Christ-like character. Suffering is a part of the sanctification process. This means that it will be a part of our lives until we go home to glory. We must endure the suffering in order for God to accomplish His purpose in our lives.
Suffering can prove who we belong to….
1 Peter 1:6-7
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Gold is proved to be Gold by being put to the fire. If the matter is put to the fire and it does not lose its nature, weight or color then it is the real deal. So, to the Christian who is put to the fire of suffering and trials. Genuine faith is proved by adversities. Suffering proves our character and integrity.
Going through some suffering also purifies us. In the refining process that gold goes through...Raw gold is placed in the fire. The intense heat melts the metal. When this happens the impurities comes to the top. Those impurities are skimmed off. This results in a gold that is more pure and valuable than it was before going into the furnace.
Those trials that you are facing and the suffering that you must endure... these things will purify you and make you stronger in the Lord. These "fiery trials" will remove the impurities from our lives. This will bring us into a closer… more-pure relationship with the Lord.
There are many different reactions to suffering. Some run away from the trouble. Some become angry, resentful and blame God for allowing this to happen to them. Some remain steady in the fire and are purified and proved. Peter says that the proper reaction to suffering is to rejoice! And that is exactly what some do when faced with great trouble. Notice….
1 Peter 4:14-16
14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
Peter says if you are persecuted for your faith rejoice! And when we face suffering in this life we too can and should REJOICE!!! Paul was honored to suffer for the cause of Christ…
2 Corinthians 12:9
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Peter and John rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for Jesus name.
So, they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.
When we suffer harm for doing what is right, we should rejoice. We can rejoice because God is with us. We can rejoice because God has a plan for us. We can rejoice because of the benefits that suffering brings in our lives.
Charles Spurgeon said: "They who dive in the sea of affliction bring up rare pearls."
When you persevere in the midst of suffering you will grow in your faith. You will come out of that experience with a stronger sense that your faith is real. And you will see that God was with you all the way through the fire!
Greg Laurie Pic: Power point.
Greg Laurie is the pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside California. July 24, 2008 was the most devastating day of his life. His son Christopher, 33, was killed in a tragic car accident on his way to work at the church. Greg states, “When I heard the news, it was like time stood still and the air was sucked out of the room. I couldn’t comprehend what I had just heard, and it really was, in many ways, incomprehensible. It was so hard.“I have to say that although it was devastating and crushing, and I fell to the ground weeping, the Lord was there with me. I sensed His presence and His peace and I have never, for a moment, doubted that Christopher’s in heaven.” Greg and his family began to pray, ‘Oh Lord, we look to you. We call on you.’” God was faithful to help them in the midst of this tragedy. Laurie says that some amazing things have came in the aftermath of this tragedy. There’s still a lot of pain and there’s a lot of heartache, but God promise is to work ‘all things together for good’ is true. He says that he has a newfound compassion for others who are facing similar troubles. And Through the testimony of Greg and his family countless lives have been reached for Christ.
In the midst of the greatest storm of his life he found a way to praise God. Through God's grace he was able to rejoice in suffering. We all hope that we would react to tragedy the same way. But we will never know until it happens.
Of course, there are some who would react in the opposite way. Some would rebel when sufferings come. Another article that I read, which was connected with Pastor Greg Laurie’s story was this…
I read a story of another man who tragically lost his young son whom he loved dearly. It was such a catastrophic experience for him, he never got over it. Ultimately, he laid the blame for his son’s death at God’s feet, thus severely affecting his relationship with God. “How could a God of love take my son from me?” was his ever-languishing cry. Unfortunately this man was never able to completely resolve his anger with God, or love and serve Him in the same way he did prior to his son’s death.
Many church members leave the church, because trouble came and they gave up on God. They blamed God...they are angry and they have rebelled against Him.
Because they are mad at God they put their Bibles down... they stop praying...they no longer go to church. Because of this they do not praise or worship the Lord. They are no longer under the preaching of the Word.
They do not hear sermons on topics like this to help them through their trouble. They can't lean on Christian brothers and sisters who may have been where they are now. They miss out on verses of scripture that would shed light on their current troubles.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
2 Corinthians 4:17
17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
Instead of turning to God they turn from Him. And this intensifies the suffering. It is a fact that suffering will come...how will you respond?? Will you rejoice or will you rebel? Church, when trouble comes our only hope is in Jesus.
As we come to the final verses of our text…
1 Peter 4:16-19
16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And
“If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
“entrust their souls to a faithful Creator”. Means to entrust our souls to Him. The idea here speaks of a banking term meaning “to deposit for safe keeping.” No matter what we may face in this life we must rely on our Father. Stop trying to fix your problems by yourself. Look to the One who is all powerful and trust Him. Even if He doesn't remove your suffering, He will see you through it!
Maybe you comprehend the truth that is revealed in our selected text. But you have another question... you may ask "how long will I have to remain in the fire"? The answer is ...as long as it takes.
The refiner sits before the furnace. He fixes his eye on the metal. He makes sure that the fire is not too hot but hot enough to accomplish it's purpose. He leaves the gold in the fire until the impurities is completely removed. How does he know the gold is ready to be removed from the fire? ...He sees his reflection on its surface, He sees the reflection of His Son! That is the case for Jesus, He never leaves us alone in the fire. He is right there with us through it all.
“Why Do I Have To Suffer?”
1 Peter 4:13
13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
When His reflection is seen in you!!!
Delivered on July 23, 2017
On Solid Ground
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
We are wise if we fill our minds with the many images of who our God is for us. He is our Rock, our Fortress…a place of rest and security. Our strength, in times of weakness, in times of need and comfort. Our Shield…as you all know a shield is part of an armor, which is used for protection from the enemy, from danger. Our salvation, Our stronghold. As we have read fron this short verse, there is no such thing as defeat, no source of weakness when it comes to our Lord!
Today, we will into a very popular Parable. I am sure that you are all familiar with this lesson from our Lord. There is a lot of truths in this lesson so please take it seriously. Anything that we learn from the Lord, will either make us wise…or sad to say fools.
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” 28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Short Story: Show Pic ( Tower Of Pisa )
In 1174 the Italian architect Bonnano Pisano began work on what would become his most famous project: A separately standing eight-story bell tower in the city of Pisa. There was just one “little” problem: builders quickly discovered that the soil was much softer than they had anticipated, and the foundation was far too shallow to adequately hold the structure! Before long it began to tilt...and it continued to tilt...until finally the architect and the builders realized that nothing could be done to make the Leaning Tower of Pisa straight again.
It took 176 years to build the Tower of Pisa and during that time many things were done to try and compensate for the “tilt.” The foundation was shored up; the upper levels were even built at an angle to try to make the top of the tower look straight. Nothing worked. The tower has stood for over 800 years, but it leans 18 feet away from where it should be. One day, experts say, it will fall…all because it wasn’t built on the right foundation.
The builders were in such a hurry to go up that they didn’t take the time to go down. The façade looked alright but because the foundation was not secure, the tower still totters today. I’ve been told that the depth of a foundation depends on the quality of the soil but most engineers will tell you that no matter how long it takes to get there, the best foundations go right down to the bedrock.
Jesus tells us that in order to have a life that lasts, our foundation must be anchored to the solid rock. We could say it like this, If you want your life to last, then listen to Jesus and live your life on what He says. It’s not enough to just hear what He says, we must obey what He says. We must move from preaching to practicing what has been preached.
Last Sunday, Pastor Morley delivered a very powerful message on parenting, and children towards their parents. After the message, my wife and I were talking…we both said, that if only every family would listen to what Jesus has to teach…not just listen, but to actually do what Jesus is teaching. You are either, wise…or you are a fool!
I guess the scariest part about the Pastors ministry, is when he can see certain members fall apart simply because they chose to ignore what God has to say. We come to church every Sunday, we hear God speak, and then what?
Scripture is right. God did say that, “Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” ( John 8:47 )
Anyway…Those listening to this sermon on the side of the mountain only had to look around to know that the land was filled with hills and valleys and was subject to sudden and violent rains. The dry streams would quickly overflow and everything in water’s way would be swept away. They also knew that the ground was a mixture of sandstone and limestone.
Listen to the story Jesus tells as He uses four very common images – two men, two houses, two foundations and one big storm.
Jesus uses a lot of contrasts and comparisons when He communicates. A few weeks ago we looked at two different gates, two different roads, and two different destinations. Jesus does this in order to show us that there are really only two options. We are either trusting Christ and have entered through the narrow gate or we’ve gone through the wide gate. We’re on the road to heaven or on the highway to hell. According to the Bible, there are only two ways…Christ and everything else. Notice the word “everyone” is used to indicate that there are no exceptions and no room for middle ground. One way leads to life, the other leads to death.
It does not matter what church you go to, what denomination you carry. You either belong to Christ or you belong to the enemy. You are either born again, or you’re still dead in your sins. You are either forgiven, or you’re still chained to satan. No middle ground!
Two builders were introduced in this story to two different men. By all appearances, they may have looked the same, used the same tools, and they both were committed to build a home for their families. They may have used identical materials and both persevered until their homes were finished. Notice that there are only two kinds of builders… once again Jesus divides people into just two groups. Our desires, thoughts, attitudes, actions and words are building blocks over time a structure arises. The question becomes… Are you building to last or to crash?
A new born baby Christian, does not remain a baby forever. If you are in Christ, you are in a foundation that will grow and last for all eternity. Simply because Jesus does not fail.
A wise man…The word “wise” means “to be thoughtful, understanding and prudent, exercising good judgement.
The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.
There is also a mention of a foolish man. This is the word moros, from which we get “moron.” The root meaning is deficiency and was used of one who is stupid and foolish. The foolish man took short cuts because he wanted quick results and instant gratification. The foolish live just for the moment and give no thought to the future.
A famous poet, lecturer has this to say…
“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
( Add To Powerpoint )
Wow!!! That’s true, right!
Now… Two houses are mentioned. From the outside, both homes appeared to be well-built and neither looked to be defective. One house may have gone up quicker than the other, but both looked quite secure and sturdy in good weather. The houses are finished and furnished but there’s a huge difference between them. Here’s the point. The difference between two lives is not always obvious, at first. On the surface the houses look about the same. When I look at you, I can say that you’re fine. But God knows the heart!
Two foundations. The main difference between the two builders is that only one took the time and determination to dig down to the solid rock and anchor his home to that which would not move. And all this work was out of sight. The foundation of his house was fastened to the rock while the foundation of the other house settled on sand. The nature of sand is to be shifting, sliding and sinking while a rock is stationary, strong and secure.
The Rock is Christ and the sand is self. We see this in…
1 Corinthians 3:11
11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Many of us know the song that goes like this: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, (self) but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” Christ alone!!!
I read a devotion which goes with this story, about a ship that capsized at sea. Many drowned but one teenager was found clinging to a rock. After he was rescued someone asked him if he was terrified. He responded by saying, “Yes, I was shaking the whole time…but the rock wasn’t.
From our opening verse:
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Now…both builders, both houses faced the same storm. We know that storms are coming, we the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great and complete was the fall of it.” Notice that adversity comes from above (the rain fell) and from below (the floods came) and from all sides (the winds blew). At times problems drench us like driving in the rain. Stress surrounds us like rising flood waters and pressures of life pound on us like hurricane-force winds. What do we do? Like the teenager in our story, we hold on to the Rock…the Rock cannot be moved!
Observe also that the same storm hits both houses. No individual is immune from adversity. Jesus said it like this…
“that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust”.
Everyone will face the same storm. The only question is, are you on Solid Ground?
Spurgeon writes, “Whether your religion be true or not, it will be tried.” Foundations are usually hidden and are only proved by storms. Storms can serve as wake-up calls, can’t they? Some of you are in church today because some sort of stress, some storms has entered your life. Storms also test the faithful to see what we’re really made of.
If I asked you a question…why are here today? You already know the answer to that, only you. Your heart may be heavy right now, you’re in a storm, you’re stressed out. Hold on tight, it may get bumpy, but the Rock cannot be moved! Be the wise builder, and trust Jesus. Stand firm, you belong to the King! Storms on the outside will reveal what’s on the inside. (Jesus)
Now, let’s bring this all together to get at the main point of the parable. Both men had the privilege of hearing the words of Jesus. The only difference between the two men is that while both of the men listened to the words of Jesus, only one obeyed and lived them out. The wise man heard and heeded the Word of God. If you want your life to last, then listen to Jesus and live on what He says.
When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.
“stand firm forever”. Those who practice what Jesus preaches will weather the storms of life.
Church…stop excusing disobedience. One of the most frustrating things I hear goes something like this: “I know what the Bible says, but…” That’s what a fool would say. Let’s determine to be a wise man or woman and respond like this, “I know what the Bible says, therefore I will obey it.”
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
It says “everyone who hears…and puts them into practice.” This is in the present tense, meaning that we are to continually hear and continually obey. Here’s the literal translation: “and keeps doing them.” Listen to what Jesus said in…
17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Are you putting yourself in a position to continually hear God’s Word by reading your Bible daily? Are you committed to regular Sunday worship? It’s hard to hear and live what you haven’t learned. You have heard me say it before, you will not hear Gods voice audibly! If you do, then that means you have died, and I hope you are ready to face Him. Continue to read your Bible… Scripture, be faithful in your devotions… your time with the Lord, only then will you hear Him speak…only then will you grow in faith…in strength, to withstand any storms in life, because you are standing on Solid Ground!
As churchgoers we’re in danger of doing a lot of listening but not so much living out what we hear. Most of the people listening to Jesus that day would have considered themselves to be His followers. Could it be that some of us are not Christians, even though we think we are?
2 Corinthians 13:5
5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?
Are you on solid ground, or shifting sands?
Turn your house into a home. If you are a parent, I urge you to lay down a deep foundation for your family. Your kids are under construction and you are charged with giving them a good start. If you don’t have Christ as the Rock of your home, then you are in great danger of being swept away.
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
On the outside, some people look like they have it all together. They have a nice family and do a bunch of good things that are impressive and admirable. But eventually a storm comes and it all comes crashing down.
Let me personalize it. Every one of us is a builder and our life is like a house. Our lives are made from the same materials as other lives and they are pummeled by the same problems. There are storms of sickness, sin, sorrow, suffering, financial stress, relational conflicts and so on, you name, we all go through it. Some of you will weather these storms because you have wisely built your life on the Lord Jesus Christ. Others of you will compromise and capsize, and sadly fall.
2 Timothy 2:19
19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
If you’re ready to settle this once for all, then get off the shifting sand. It’s time to take His hand and get to know the Lord Jesus Christ. Confess His name, ask to be forgiven, and turn from wickedness. If you are not sure whether you are saved or not, then that is a good indication that you are not. Come to Jesus, when you do, the Lord says, “The Lord knows those who are His.” Don’t you want to belong to Him? Of course you do! Then and only then will you be cemented to God’s solid foundation that will always stand firm forever.
Delivered on July 9, 2017
14 When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand: 15 There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. 16 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!”17 When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. 18 So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?” 20 And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
Hopefully from the message today, we can get a better understanding of why we sin, where does it start, and how can we win this battle.
From our text, if you are familiar with the story, the Pharisees approached Jesus in regards to traditions, and eating with unclean hands. The Pharisees had elevated their oral traditions to a position of equal or greater authority than the Scriptures. The Pharisees had all kinds of ceremonial practices. If one did not observe them, then you were considered a sinner and not worthy to come into the presence of God.
For example, in the Old Testament, some foods were considered clean foods, they were alright to eat. But there were other foods which were considered unclean, those foods were not to be eaten. According to the Pharisees if one ate unclean foods they themselves became unclean, or sinners in the eyes of God. What Jesus wants them to see is that they misunderstood the nature of sin! In these verses we will consider today, we will discover what Jesus said was the true source of defilement. True source of sin.
At the beginning of chapter seven, the Disciples of Jesus ate some food without performing the ceremonial ritual cleaning that the Jews meticulously observed. The Jewish religious leaders were so obsessed with the outward acts of religion. Jesus criticized them because they substituted a bunch of rules for the simple commandments of God. In verse eight Jesus said…
6 He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.
7 And in vain they worship Me. Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”
Like a lot of religious people, even today, they thought faith was about what you did on the outside, but Jesus said it’s what’s inside that counts. Jesus told those religious leaders, it wasn’t their hands that needed cleaning, it was their hearts, because their hearts were dirty.
As Jesus often did He used the confrontation with the Pharisees as an opportunity to teach spiritual truth by a parable and then interpret that truth in private with His disciples. Note three things about sin with me from our text.
First, we need to confront the defective view of sin.
14 When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand: 15 There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. 16 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Jesus always told it like it was. The Pharisee wanted to talk about unclean hands, following traditions, but Jesus said the real problem was an unclean heart. The truth is that what a man is supersedes anything he does.
What Jesus is saying here is that people in our day still do not believe it. He is saying that our problem with sin is not caused by our environment but they are caused by what is already residing within each human heart.
Jesus said when you look deeply into the human heart what you find is not very pretty. In its natural state, it produces all kinds of wicked schemes. And every one of us is born sinners by nature, and by choice.
For example…if you are a parent, did you teach your children how to lie? Of course not! It came naturally for the child. Did you teach your children to talk back to you out of anger, or frustration? Of course not! It is in our DNA.
The worlds belief, is that people are naturally good at heart. But because of the environment, bad influences…media, the heart becomes corrupt. But Scriptures teaches the total opposite when it comes to the heart. Here is what Scripture tells us about our good hearts…
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?
Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)
The heart is deceitful above all things, and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV)
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
However you read it, it is not good, not even close! Translate it all you want…it means the same thing.
The wickedness of the flesh is often attributed to bad examples, bad company, temptations, or the snares of the devil. It seems forgotten that every man carries within him a heart of wickedness. We need no bad company to teach us, and no devil to tempt us, in order to sin. We have within us the beginning of every sin under heaven.
So…this is the first part. Confronting the defective view of sin.
The second part is this: Clearing the nature of sin.
17 When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. 18 So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?” 20 And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
Jesus felt that it was important to correct the misconception about the nature of sin, because they felt that sin was largely an outward thing. Jesus wanted them to understand that sin was a deeper problem than just doing the right things outwardly. In fact, man’s idea of sin, and God’s idea of sin are totally different.
Man says that sin is an accident; God says it is a choice.
Man says that sin is a weakness; God says that it is wickedness.
Man says that sin is not big deal; God says that it is heartbreak.
Sin is Primarily a Spiritual Matter Rather Than A Physical One. “whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him”,( V18 )
The religious leaders were saying that eating with hands which had not been ceremonially cleaned would defile a person, in other words, defiled hands defile the food, and defiled food defiles the body, but Jesus declares that a man is not morally defiled by what he eats. As far as physical food is concerned whether it is dirty or clean, it simply goes into the stomach, digested and then is discarded.
Fair warning…we must really be careful on how we interpret these verses. At first glance, it may appear that nothing from without can defile a man, that man is there-fore free to get drunk or take drugs or do anything he wants to with his body. (You don’t own yourselves anymore Christians).
1 Corinthians 6:19
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
Ok…here, one more, in regards to our actions in eating and drinking…
21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.
The saddest part about this verse is when you have become a stumbling block in your own household. When your spouse or children, no longer sees Jesus in you.
Keep in mind that Jesus is NOT talking about being healthy but being holy. Of course, it is obvious that you can put certain things into your body that are unhealthy. You can eat certain things that can make you sick. But the issue that Jesus is dealing with is greater than fats, proteins, carbohydrates or even calories. The point Jesus makes is that, it is not what you take into your body that makes you a sinner.
What makes a man a sinner is not the food he puts into his stomach, but rather the sin that originates in his heart. Obviously what Jesus is referring to when he speaks of the “heart” is not the physical heart but rather the center of one’s personality, the spiritual heart, the real you, the core of your existence.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
So…the point that Jesus wants to make is that, “Sin originates on the inside!” If one is to deal with sin, one must deal with the source of sin, which lies within our hearts.
You have heard my testimony, I was a drunk, and took drugs. Those were what was in my heart. My heart wanted to do those things. And so, what the heart wants, the heart gets! I could have said no to those things, but I was weak. No Jesus in my life to take over.
Here’s an illustration of mop and water. Suppose when you get home from church today you find your kitchen filled with water. (It is not a very pleasant thought I know!) But suppose when you find yourself in this situation that you get a bucket and a mop and you start mopping and squeezing and hauling the water out, mopping and squeezing and hauling the water out, over and over, but the kitchen just keeps filling up with water. How much better you would be to go to the source of the water and cut off the flow. You can mop and you can carry out water all day long, but you aren’t going to solve the problem until you go to the source of the problem. The matters of the Heart.
Again…Sin is an internal matter as well as an external matter and Sin is entertained as a possibility before it ever becomes a reality. It always starts in the heart…in a thought, and becomes an outward sin.
Jesus…now gives us a list of sins, and it is ugly…
21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
Now the evil deeds come! Unfortunately, these are all things that have been done everywhere. Adulteries, - violations of the marriage relationship. We’re living in an age where the marriage covenant is easily cast aside. Every day, we see it adultery portrayed, on television, and in the movies, as being quite normal. Marriage no longer matters…on how God intended marriage to be! “I don’t get along with my spouse…get a new one. It’s my third marriage, and it’s not working out. That’s because, you’re the problem. The issue is within!
Fornications, - (porneia) the word used is the general term for all kinds of sexual immorality.
Murder- This is happening around the world.
Theft- this takes into account all kinds of stealing, shop-lifting, cheating at school, cheating on our income tax, even stealing from God.
Covetousness, - is an overriding desire for self-gratification - describes the unchecked materialism of our age.
Wickedness- this describes the person who is not content in his sin, but who wants others to sin as well.
Deceit, - trickery or misrepresentation in order to gain an advantage.
Lewdness, - This word refers to open and unashamed sin. It is an attitude that says, “I will do as I please and I do not care what anyone thinks about it!”
Evil eye, - This is a Hebrew expression that speaks of envy and jealousy. It looks at the blessings of another and desires them for itself. It is envious when others prosper.
Blasphemy, - slanderous or injurious speech directed at either God or man. Gossip and cursing fall into this category.
Pride- The boastful lifting up of oneself, usually also involves the putting down of others. It’s the attitude that says, “Look at me, see what I have done. No one is a good or as great as I am.” This overbearing attitude is the opposite of biblical humility.
Foolishness: This word refers to those who are morally and spiritually desensitized. They cannot see their sins, neither can they sense the Lord working in and around them. With this kind of person, there is no spiritual illumination. There is no spiritual discernment. They do not know God and there is no desire to know Him.
Then in verse twenty-three Jesus say, “All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”
Man… do we need Jesus!!!
Jesus tells us that everyone has the capability of committing any of these sins. (We don’t like to admit that.) The root of them is lurking in the heart of each of us. But for the grace of God, the potential for all of these things (and more) is in every human heart. Given the right circumstances, you could steal today. Given the right circumstances, you could murder today. If you believe anything else, then you are deceiving your-selves!
Third: Changing the Outcome of Sin ( Through Jesus )
First; the need to confront the defectiveness of sin.
Second: being clear in the nature of sin.
Third: Changing the Outcome of Sin
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This tells us that the outcome or consequences of sin is death. How then is man to avoid the consequence of this life of sin? We have been told that the problem is our hearts, so how does one go about changing the human heart.
We have been told that the change that God desires in our lives does not come about by outward adherence to a list of rules and regulations. Rules are obviously necessary in life, yet rules do not produce a change in the heart. Especially, since the heart likes to break each and every command. So what is the solution, what do we do about our hearts?
A radical change in the human heart is what is needed. Education and culture will not achieve it. Social reform will not bring it into being. There is only one answer, regeneration. It was Jesus himself who in His conversation with Nicodemus said in John 3:3, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” And this is affected by placing our faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
This was written for the children of Israel. And is also true and valid…according to Scriptures to you and I. You and I, must die…and be made new. We need a new heart, and Jesus promises it to all those who turn to Him in faith.
So…what do we need to recognize, about changing one’s heart?
First, we must recognize that the change has to come from the inside out. If we thoroughly change the inside the outside will take care of itself. But without the change on the inside, all the external changes in the world will merely be superficial.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Anything other than true change is just one who is merely putting on an act. But the fact that there are pretenders only proves that there is a reality to be attained.
Secondly, we need to realize that this change is a process. This renewing of our minds is an ongoing process of taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Look at the last part of the verse. “that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” .This is not a magical procedure, it requires that we are careful what we take in, replacing those things that are not of God with those things which are.
2 Corinthians 10:5-7
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. 7 You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do.
Is Jesus Christ living in you? Then it should show!!!
Change is from within. “The Heart Matters”. Who’s Heart is in you?
Delivered today 7/2/17
Verses For Sunday July 2 2017
Title: The Road Less Traveled
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV)
13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
1 Peter 3:20
20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water.
2 Timothy 3:12
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
“Wide is the doorway and very pleasant is the path that leads to destruction.” This road is popular and accommodating, attractive and indulgent, but it is also deceptive and ultimately destructive.
Tears, pain, or death: (Revelation 21:4)
No more sin: (Revelation 21:8)
No Curse: (Revelation 22:3)
1 Corinthians 2:9
However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” the things God has prepared for those who love Him.
This is what the Lord says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
Hebrews 2:1-4 Warning to Pay Attention
2 We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
Pastor Richard Santos
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