What Have You Purposed?

What Have You Purposed?

I. With your life?

    A. What is your priority? (Matthew 6:33; Joshua 24:14-18)
    B. How do you view the pleasures of the world? (Daniel 1:8; 1 John 2:15-17)
    C. What is your goal when this life ends? (Philippians 3:12-14)

II. With your words?

    A. Are you ready to stand up for God’s truth? (Jude 3; Philippians 1:17; 1 Peter 3:15)
    B. Do you know why you believe what you believe? (2 Timothy 2:15)

III. With your things?

    A. The love of this world’s material goods is detrimental to faith (Matthew 16:24-26; Mark 10:17-25)
    B. We must love people and use things, rather than use people and love things! (Acts 4:32-37; 1 Timothy 6:10; 1 Corinthians 16:2)
    C. You are only expected to do what God has enabled you to do – but He often enables us more than we think! (2 Corinthians 8:1-7; 9:6-8; Ephesians 3:20-21)

Choose Your Path Wisely (Matthew 7:13-27)

Choose Your Path Wisely (Matthew 7:13-27)

Matthew 7:13-27

I. The narrow gate vs. the wide gate (7:13-14)

    A. The wide gate leads to eternal separation from God (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30,46)
    B. The narrow gate leads to eternity with God in His kingdom (Matthew 19:29; 25:46; 2 Timothy 2:10)

II. Warning against false prophets (7:15-20)

    A. Lull disciples into spiritual apathy (2 Timothy 4:2-4)
    B. Their fruits must be inspected (2 John 9-11)

III. Sound doctrine leads to sound living (7:21-23)

    A. Avoid deception by studying and doing what God says
    B. The purpose of miracles (Mark 16:20; 1 Corinthians 13:8-10)
    C. Deception leads to destruction

IV. Rock-solid foundation vs. foundation of sand (7:24-27)

    A. We must dig deep and lay the foundation on His rock (Luke 6:48)
    B. It is not merely hearing the Word, but doing the Word (James 1:22-25)

Good Tidings We Bring (Isaiah 61:1-3, 10)

Good Tidings We Bring (Isaiah 61:1-3, 10)

Isaiah 61:1-3, 10

I. For the brokenhearted (Isaiah 61:1-3)

    A. Our condition without Jesus: poor, brokenhearted, mournful—no hope (Ephesians 2:12)
    B. Jesus’ promises and power (Matthew 5:3; John 8:11; Matt. 9:5-6)

II. For the captive (Isaiah 61:1b)

    A. Providing truth that leads to freedom (John 8:31-36)
    B. Providing freedom from the captivity of sin (Romans 6:17-18)

III. For the sinful (Isaiah 61:10)

    A. Darkness will be dispelled by the Light

      1. John the forerunner (Luke 1:76-79)
      2. Jesus the Light (John 1:4, 9, 14)

    B. But, a warning of vengeance to the impenitent (Isaiah 61:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)

You Are Responsible

You Are Responsible

I. You are responsible for your mind

    A. What you think (2 Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 4:8; Genesis 6:5)
    B. What you know (Proverbs 5:13; Acts 17:30)
    C. What you believe (Romans 10:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:12)

II. You are responsible for your actions

    A. What you say (Matthew 12:33-37; James 3:2-10)
    B. What you do (2 Corinthians 5:9-10; Luke 12:47: James 4:17)

III. You are responsible for your relationships

    A. Who/what you love (1 John 4:7-11; 3:10-12, 18; 2:15-17)
    B. Who/what you follow (Acts 17:11; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Hebrews 13:17)
    C. Who/what you teach (Matthew 28:18-20; Galatians 1:6-10; Acts 20:27)

The Old Gives Way to the New (Isaiah 66)

The Old Gives Way to the New (Isaiah 66)

Isaiah 66:1-24

I. Misplaced trust (66:1-6)

    A. The fallacy of trusting ancestry (Matt. 3:9) and location (1 Kings 8:27)
    B. Offering in the wrong spirit (Acts 5:1ff; 8:9-13; 1 Cor. 10:11; John 4:24)
    C. Righteousness vs. wickedness (John 3:18-21; 9:35-50; 15:18-27)

II. Blessings in New Zion (66:7-14)

    A. The exaltation of the Son, the establishment of the new nation, the multiplication of children (Acts 2; 4:4)
    B. Joy and mourning (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Colossians 3:15)

III. Rejection of God’s plea (66:15-17)

    A. Fire as a symbol of divine punishment (Psalm 97:3; Jeremiah 4:4; Ezekiel 22:21; Nahum 1:6; Isaiah 29:5-6; 30:27-31; 42:25)
    B. Attempt to sanctify and purify themselves

IV. Worldwide spread of the gospel (66:18-21)

    A. The sign: Christ’s resurrection? Destruction of Jerusalem? Establishment of the church?
    B. Gentiles are brethren (Galatians 3:26-28) and priests (1 Peter 2:9)

V. The promise of perpetuity (66:22-24; cf. Daniel 2:44; Matthew 16:18)

    A. “New heavens and new earth” different than Peter and John’s (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 20:15; 21:4, 8, 27; 22:4, 15, 19)
    B. Mosher: “It is only in the church where one ceases to fall short of the glory of God (Eph. 3:10-21; Isa. 66:18)!”

The Importance of a Good Example

The Importance of a Good Example

I. Who set an example for you?

    A. Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:1; Romans 15:1-3; Ephesians 5:1-2; Philippians 2:5-8; 1 Peter 2:19-23)
    B. Paul (1 Corinthians 10:32-11:1; Philippians 4:9)
    C. Our brothers and sisters in the Lord (Philippians 3:17; Hebrews 6:11-12; 13:7)

II. For whom do you set an example?

    A. Other Christians (Romans 1:8; 16:19; 1 Thess. 1:6-10; 1 Tim. 4:12; Titus 2:7-8)
    B. Young children (2 Timothy 1:3-5; 3:14-15; Matthew 18:6)
    C. Those in the world (1 Peter 2:11-12)

III. What kind of example do you set?

    A. What kind of Christian does the world see? (Matthew 5:14-16)
    B. Does your example help or hinder the growth of the church? (Hebrews 10:24-25)
    C. If every member of the church lived the way you live, would the church be strong? Growing? Would it even exist in this community?

Should a Christian Give to the “Salvation Army”?

Each December, department stores are packed with holiday shoppers, bedecked with Christmas decorations, and at nearly every entrance will be a red kettle next to a person ringing a bell. The Salvation Army seems to be as much a part of the Christmas season as Santa Claus. This raises the question: “Should a Christian give to the Salvation Army?” This is a good question that should be carefully considered by every member of the Lord’s church as they decide how to use the money with which God has blessed them.

William Booth (1829-1912), a New Connection Methodist minister, organized the Salvation Army in the late nineteenth century. Brother Owen D. Olbricht, in his 1972 class booklet, Studies in Denominational Doctrine Book Two, says that one of the original purposes of the Salvation Army was to “help those in poverty”, and that they “provided boarding-houses, orphanages, maternity hospitals, and settlements in the poor quarters of the city” (p. 25). However, the Salvation Army is more than just a benevolent society. It is a religion with a well-defined body of doctrine, including much error.

While this denominational group holds to some of the more common errors, including total hereditary depravity and the direct operation of the Holy Spirit, there are some other religious errors that may come as a surprise to those who have never researched the group.

Not only does the Salvation Army believe baptism is unnecessary to salvation, they refuse to practice it. The same is true of the Lord’s Supper. “As it is the Salvation Army’s firm conviction that these ceremonies are not necessary to salvation nor essential to spiritual progress, we do not observe them” (The Salvation Army Handbook of Doctrine, p. 160). These words are a far cry from the teachings of the New Testament (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 20:7). They assert, “Water baptism was evidently not intended to be perpetually observed” (p. 163) and that the reference to the Lord’s Supper by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11 “should be interpreted spiritually” (p. 165).

The Salvation Army has corrupted the worship revealed in the New Testament as well. Christians are commanded to sing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16), but the Salvation Army adds instrumental music to the worship service. Women preachers are accepted within the Salvation Army, dating back to the founder’s wife, Catherine Booth. The Scriptures clearly state that women are “not…to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man” (1 Timothy 2:12). Additionally, the Salvation Army finances its work in ways not authorized by the Scriptures, including those red kettles you find outside department stores during this time of year. In the New Testament, the church financed its work through the contributions of its members (1 Corinthians 16:2).

Returning to the question, “Should a Christian give to the Salvation Army?” I would counter with the question, “Should a Christian support an organization that teaches religious error?” What saith the Scriptures? Ephesians 5:11, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

A Christian has no more business giving to the “Salvation Army” than he does to any other humanly-originated false religion or denomination.

[Editor’s note: This article was originally written many years ago and has appeared in several church bulletins over the years. The topic was mentioned in our Wednesday night Bible study last night, so I thought it was a good time to bring it back to the forefront.]

Glory to God (Jude 24-25)

Glory to God (Jude 24-25)

Jude 24-25

I. God’s ability (Jude 24; cf. Ephesians 3:20-21)

    A. “To keep you from stumbling” – He does His part (v.1) as we do ours (v.21) (1 Peter 1:5; 2 Peter 1:5-11; Philippians 2:12-13)
    B. “To present you faultless” (Ephesians 1:4; 5:27)

      1. When? “Before the presence of His glory” (Matthew 25:31-46)
      2. How? “With exceeding joy” (Luke 15:7, 10, 11-24, 32)

II. God’s attributes (Jude 25)

    A. “Our Savior” (1 Timothy 1:1; 2:3; 4:10; Titus 1:3; 2:10; 3:4)
    B. “Who alone is wise” (James 1:5; Ephesians 3:10-11)
    C. “Glory” – dignity and honor – (Luke 2:13-14; Matthew 5:16; Acts 7:55)
    D. “Majesty” – greatness – (Deuteronomy 32:3-4; Job 37:22; Psalm 104:1; Hebrews 1:3; 8:1)
    E. “Dominion” – strength and power (Romans 6:9, 14; Luke 1:51; Ephesians 1:19-20)
    F. “Power” – authority (Matthew 7:29; 9:6; 28:18)
    G. “Before all time, and now, and for evermore” [ASV] (Romans 1:20; 1 Timothy 1:17)

Ask, Seek, Knock (Matthew 7:7-12)

Ask, Seek, Knock (Matthew 7:7-12)

Matthew 7:7-12

I. Prayer (7:7-8)

    A. Pure motivation (Matthew 6:5-7, 8-13)
    B. Without doubt (James 1:6-8)
    C. Selfless (James 4:3)
    D. In accordance with God’s will (1 John 5:14-15)

II. The goodness of God (7:9-11)

    A. “Evil” parents (Romans 3:10, 23) take care of their children
    B. Of course God, who is good, will take care of His (James 1:17)

III. The golden rule (7:12)

    A. Compare with Romans 13:8-10 – It is not a matter of just avoiding the bad, but initiating the good!
    B. Do not just wait to repay kindness; show kindness first! (Matthew 6:14-15; James 2:13; Romans 12:15)

Responsibility to Self and to Others (Jude 20-23)

Responsibility to Self and to Others (Jude 20-23)

Jude 20-23

I. The responsibility to self (20-21)

    A. Build upon the holy faith (2 Peter 1:5-11)
    B. Pray in the Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:15)
    C. Keep yourself in God’s love (1 John 4:9-10)
    D. Look for Jesus’ mercy (Matthew 5:7; James 2:13; Hebrews 4:16)
    E. Do all of this “unto eternal life” (Titus 2:11-14)

II. The responsibility to others: compassion (22)

    A. The last word in the Greek is difficult – some versions render it “to make difference/distinction” (KJV/NKJV); other versions speak to people “who are in doubt” (ASV)
    B. The soul winner’s attitude tender, gentle, compassionate (Galatians 6:1)

III. The responsibility to others: rescue (23)

    A. Pull them out of the fire (Zechariah 3:1-4)
    B. Love the sinner, hate the sin (James 5:19-20)

But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. (Acts 8:12)