Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Can We Heal Our World?

Can we Heal Our World?
Matthew 4:4 "It is written:

1. Jesus spoke those words.
(1) Do they impress you?
(2) They should because they were spoken by Jesus to the adversary, the devil, when the devil tempted Him to sin.
2. Let me read you a few verses from Leviticus 18: 24-28. "Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled, so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the aliens living among you must not do any of these detestable things, for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you."
3. Aren't these awesome words? God does not change. James 1:17,18 says, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created."
4. God does not change. His requirements for all of us, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Communists, Criminals, everyone, is the same now that it always has been!
(1) That means that He expects us to live morally clean lives. For us to think we are saved and now we can live like the devil is a terrible mistake! Romans 6:1,2 and verse 12 say, "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?...Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires."
(2) God expects us to be honest.
(3) God expects us to treat each other as creations of God!
(4) He expects us to worship Him alone!
(5) I can almost hear someone saying, "Isn't the preacher talking about keeping the ten commandments?" And, I say, yes, I am.
5. Almost any good Christian would answer immediately, "But we are not, and we never have been, and we never will be under the Law!"
6. And that is true, but that does not change the requirements that God placed on the entire human race!
7. If we human beings are rebellious, God told us He will curse the land, and it will vomit us out!
8. Look around you, people. Look right here in this town. Can't you see God's commandments, not just being broken, but being totally disregarded?
9. I believe this is as good a town as you will find in the USA! That means the situation of this nation is perhaps even worse than it was in Sodom and Gomorrah!
10. I think God has spared this nation because He does have more than ten righteous people here! But wars, the sounds of battle, floods, drought, hail and lightening storms are tools God has used in the past, and He may just be giving us some early warnings of what is in store for this nation if we do not change!
11. What's the cure? What will heal the land? Repentance! But how do we get a nation to repent when the leaders are stealing tax money from the people? When leaders are prostituting themselves with the vested interests of big business?
12. How can we get people to repent when common every day citizens commit every sort of lewd and indecent act!
13. I really know only what I read in the papers, see on TV, and hear in the coffee shop. Much of it is incorrect at best, so you know as much or more than I do.
14. I think I know the answer for the health of our nation. It is to obey God, and that starts with repentance.

I. How can you Obey God, Without Knowing What He Wants?

1. I remember the story about a young mother whose little girl got into everything. She was constantly saying, "No! No! Don't do that!" After a trip to the grocery where the girl was constantly into something, the young mother put down her bags of groceries in the kitchen, heaved a sigh of relief, and said to the little girl, "Do anything you want to! Now, let's see you disobey that!"
2. We have a puppy who knows his own mind. He will do anything you want him to...if it suits him!
3. So many of us are so disobedient to our wonderful heavenly Father because we don't know what He wants! And some don't want to know what He desires of us.
4. I think some of us have that childish idea that if we don't know what God wants, He can't hold us responsible.
5. If you have that idea, go out on the highway and drive at a breakneck speed, and when a patrolman pulls you over, tell him, "I didn't know what the speed limit was!"
6. Ignorance is no excuse before the law!
7. It is our responsibility to learn what God wants of us!

II. To Learn What God Says, We Must Read the Bible.

1. Wow! That's a new concept, isn't it???
2. Of course, it is not. We have been told that since we were children, right?
3. The problem is, most of us have never looked for a good reason to read the Bible.
4. Most Christians if asked will say, "Yes. I read the Bible, but I don't read it enough."
5. I wonder what they think is enough?
6. Some of us reading the Bible every day feel like we know too little of it, right?
7. I have always liked that little statement, "It is not how many times you have been through the Bible, but how many times the Bible has been through you that counts!"
8. Every Christian should, if he hasn't already done it, decide to read God's Word!

III. Reading a Small Portion of the Bible Is Not Enough!

1. Many of us, preachers included, tend to read favorite passages, or passages that we believe we understand.
2. There's nothing wrong with that except that it is too little.
3. In Paul's final address to the Ephesian elders in Acts. 20:25-27, he said, "Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God."
4. "All Scripture is God-breathed (God breathed life into Adam when He made him, and this means that God's Word is alive!) and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (II Timothy 3:16,17).
5. Paul was saying he had done all he could, but he was also marking out a route for people to follow!
6. We need to know all of God's Word!
7. I don't think any of us will ever know God's Word like Paul did, but we can expose ourselves to all of it!
8. Read the whole Bible, people!

IV. Reading the Whole Bible Can be Very Hard.

1. I struggled with the King James for years after I became a Christian.
2. If someone asked me if I had read the whole Bible, I would sort of hedge by saying something like, "Not yet. I'm working on it." It would have been true if I had said, "I've tried and tried, but I just have not been able to make myself do it!"
3. The Bible was written in the language of the people who lived at the time it was written.
4. Every new generation changes the language, and as a result, needs to have a new translation of the Bible. (I had trouble with the King James because I did not understand the English language of 1611. That's when it was translated.)
5. I can read a little Hebrew, a little Greek, a little Spanish, and a lot of modern English. If I am going to read the whole Word of God, I need to read it in the language I think and usually speak! So do you!
6. I need to read it from cover to cover.
(1) There are parts of the Bible I don't like, but I read them. It's God's Word!
(2) There are parts I just love, and I certainly read them.
(3) There are parts that are sort of ho-hum to me, but I read them!
7. We need to get "the whole will of God!"
8. When I know what God has said, then I am prepared to be obedient.

V, Through Trial and Error, I Worked Out a Number of Ways to Keep Track of My Reading.

1. I'm going to tell you about the latest and simplest one.
2. I listed every Book of the Bible with the number of chapters in each one.
3. Then I typed out a number (beginning at one) for each chapter of each Book.
4. When I read a chapter, if my list is on paper, I mark through it. If it is on computer, I erase it.
5. I set myself an average goal of 4 chapters a day. That will get me through the entire Bible in a little less than a year.
6. I know that because of work, illness, vacations, etc. I will fail to read the Bible at all some days, so I set myself a daily goal of six chapters. That way, when I miss, I will be ahead of my average.
7. If reading the Bible in one year is too much for you, you can cut the chapter reading in half, and you will accomplish it in two years. (Most people never read the whole Bible in their entire lives!)
8. When you do get through it, you will have been exposed to the whole will of God! That alone should change your life.
1. Our whole world is sick, sick, sick! It's sin-sick!
2. We can sit idly by and watch the land vomit us out, or we can start doing the will of God in everything!
3. God doesn't expect us to be flawless, but he does expect us to be obedient.
4. Set yourself a goal and stick to it. Read the Bible!
5. Perhaps the rest of the world will begin to see God blesses obedient people!
6. The first acceptable act of obedience to God is to receive His Son Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Have you done that?

Emmanuel Community Church 6/11/2006


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