Jul 13, 2020
Good News and Bad News -Start with bad news, if our heart isn't totally committed to Jesus Christ in a relationship vs. a religious spirit, we're a not a true follower of Jesus, anything less than total surrender to Jesus doesn't cut it, we understand this type of commitent is a necesary part of a marriage, God shows us how He wants our relationship to have that same, even higher commitmment, In Eph 5:25-33 he compares those 2 relationships, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband" -Eph 5:25-33, "For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God" Exodus 20:5, In Revelation Jesus talks to John about 7 churches. All of these churches did good things, but Jesus rebuked or corrected all of them, except 2, Smyrna called the Persecuted Church and Philadelphia called the Spiritual alive church, The Laodicean church called the Luke Warm church Jesus said he would spit them out of His mouth, in Matthew 5:28 Jesus says "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." in this and other passages he shows that it's not enough to keep the Laws or commandments in terms of your actions you have to guard your heart and take captive all your thoughts to the obedience of Christ, the Psalmist understood this in Ps 139:22-24 "Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties;24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting." 1 Samuel 16:7 says "For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." Jesus blasted the Pharisees for having good outward appearance while neglecting matters of the heart, Matthew 23:27 Jesus said "“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness", Rom 8:6 "For to be carnally minded is death" vs 7 says "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God", notice Paul talks about our mind not what we do with our hands and mouth, my Pastor says a good way to think about our sin is 3 words: doing, thinking, saying, my pastor also spoke recently about racism that we've made great strides as a country at politically correct, i.e. we've gotten good at not doing and saying certain things when it comes to race, but being PC doesn't change the heart, I'll personally testify that doing the "right" things in marriage but having an angry, judgmental, non-loving and non-compassionate heart will lead to strife, bitterness, and pain, when it comes to our work if we do a "good job" at work but our heart is filled with discontent, envy, judgment and we're not in relationship with God while we're at work, we will be miserable in our job and will not prosper, here's another piece of bad news: good intentions are worthless, saying "I'm trying" or "I'll try to do better" if worth than doing nothing at all, let me be transparent with an example of this: I recently started carrying a small NT/Psalms Bible from the Gideons with me to work, I just realized and am ashamed to admit that I've been doing this for weeks and not once have I looked at it, are you now ready for some good news? Let me start with the First Light Devotion from Pastor Brian Biggers sent on July 9 - "I have always loved the twenty first chapter of John. It is the great story of Simon's restoration. It is also God speaking to you and me revealing what He is really like at heart. Perhaps no one in history has blown it with God like Simon. He was Jesus' dearest friend; the one Jesus took with Him everywhere. He was the one that Jesus confided in and looked to most often. As a side note, the fact that God chose a redneck, ignorant, uneducated fisherman to be His best friend brings me great hope! When told of Christ' impending arrest and murder Simon vowed that even if all abandoned Him, he would stick with Him. You know the story. In His greatest hour of need at a mockery of a trial, Simon told all present that He had never met the Man. When pressed about the issue he cursed and swore that he had no idea who Jesus was. Some friend! Far be it from me to look down my nose at the famous fisherman. My loyalty could be questioned at no few times. As often happens when a follower of Christ messes up very badly, Simon went back to his old life at sea assuming that his days in God's inner circle were over after His public failure. What a shock to look up from his nets early one morning and see Jesus standing on the shore! First time he had seen Jesus since he had cursed Him and watched as Jesus turned to gaze at him without speaking. What would He do? What does God do to people that betray Him and abandon Him? When Simon arrived at the shore Jesus invited him to eat breakfast that was prepared on a coal fire. As they sat around the fire not a word was spoken about the downfall. It was never mentioned again. Finally, after eating, Jesus looked at Simon and asked him, "do you love me"? He replied, no doubt with deep humility, "yes Lord, you know I love you". After his response Jesus simply said, "tend my sheep". This is God. This is how He treats people that mess up. Big time. No revenge. He didn't even ask him if he thought he could do better from now on. With Him the question is never "can you behave". It’s always "do you love me"? He is immediately restored in his relationship with Christ and repositioned as the chief preacher in God's great movement. Who cannot love a God that forgives that freely and never gives up on His plans for you? How about you? Have you missed it with Him? Blown it big time? Here's the message of the Bible. If you're not dead, God's not done!
Father, I would have given up on me a long time ago. Your mercy makes no sense. Thank God!
Now I want to borrow from the message I heard from Pastor Adam Cook this morning about freedom, Adam and Eve were naked, content and connected, this was God's will all of use, by comparison now all who sin are marked by shame, striving and separation. Think about that for a moment, how those 3 things describe aspects of your life, I don't have to think hard to think about how they apply to mine, think specifically about your work, shame shows up in awareness of the mistakes we make at work, not measuring up to our co-workers or to standards set by ourselves or our boss or both,, striving shows upo in feeling like we're working hard, seeing our work as boring or drudgery, being a perfectionist being prideful of of our work which only brings us misery as we judge others we see as not measuring up to our standards, separation shows up at work when when we feel lonely at work, disconnected from others and from God, waiting for church on Sunday to feel spiritual but otherwise feeling like we're just blending with the world while we're at work, working for the dollar or working for the weekend,, buy heart of Jesus in John 8:34-36 Jesus says "34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.", 1 Corinthians 32:17 NIV says "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom", Galatians 5:1 NIV says "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." We just celebrated Independence Day in the U.S., in America value highly our freedom, you could say we worship it, when it comes to politics both sides have their own version of what freedom means, I'm realizing more and more that freedom by worldly standards is not true freedom, I like the definition of spiritual freedom that my Pastor Adam gave "the unhindered experience of the presence of God". The curse that came from sin giving us shame, striving, and separation is reversed by Jesus if we walk in it. We can walk in the cool of the day with Jesus, as my Pastort said, it's like God is saying to us you can swing and miss but you can’t fail because you’re free in me, that is the abundant life that only comes from surrendering our lives to Jesus not just when we're born again but in our daily walk at work and everywhere else
Grant Smith update
1 Thess 4:11-12 NIV "11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."
9) Pray (before, during and after meeting)