Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Our hope is the Savior of ALL men.

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 4:9-10 It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. 10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. 

Application: Paul, having just pointed out that we should give ourselves to those things that matter eternally, re-clarifying the importance of this endeavor Paul states it more simply saying it is worthy to be trusted, and it is for this very reason that believers persist even when it is so difficult, because it is based on the hope You give Lord.

hope: - λπίζω  elpízō; To hope, expect with desire.[1] 
Wuest states: Literally, “we have set our hope upon with the present result that it is a settled hope.”

That  hope  is based on the reality that Christ came, paid the sacrifice and is coming back for those that have entered into His grace and become children of God. Then Paul goes on to make an interesting statement:

God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

What could this mean? Again Wuest helps us by bringing out the real issue:

Paul says that the Christian God is the Saviour of all men. This might appear to teach universalism, and hence needs careful exegesis. The word “Saviour” (sōtēr (σωτηρ)) means “saviour, deliverer, preserver.” The name was given by the ancients to deities, to princes, kings, and in general, to men who had conferred signal benefits upon their country, and in the more degenerate days, by way of flattery, to personages of influence (Thayer). In the Cult of the Caesar, the state religion of the Roman Empire, the reigning emperor was called “saviour of the world,” in the sense that he was the preserver of mankind by reason of his beneficent reign. One could find in this statement the idea that God is the Preserver of the entire human race in the sense of His providential care. But the context, which brings in the idea of faith, seems to indicate that the idea of salvation from sin and the impartation of eternal life is the function here of God as Saviour. He is Saviour of all men in the sense that our Lord is “the Saviour of the world” (John 4:42). He is the actual Saviour of those who believe, and the potential Saviour of the unbeliever in the sense that He has provided a salvation at the Cross for the sinner, and stands ready to save that sinner when the latter places his faith in the Lord Jesus.[2]

Either concept works and keeps the integrity of the Word. If we understand this to be that God is the preserver of all men and especially the believers, it is true. No one has life unless God sustains them. He controls that, and even if no one understands that, it does not make it less true. If on the other hand Paul means that God is the Eternal Savior of all men, that is also true. Jesus paid the debt of all sin, every persons sin has been paid for, but not every persons debt has been forgiven because each person must collect that forgiveness for themselves. Therefore, it is right that we see God as the Savior of all men, due to the fact that He has supplied the opportunity to be forgiven and saved to all mankind, whether they take advantage of that is another issue. How it must hurt You Lord when people who have had all their sin paid for refuse the gift offered only to have their eternities forever separated from their Creator.

Meditation Questions: Do you see that God grants life, and only He can do that? Do you believe Jesus paid for all sin? Why? Why not? Do you believe anyone can be forgiven? Why? Why not? If Jesus paid for all sin why does anyone go to hell? Do you believe in hell? Why? Why not? What does God owe us? Is God fair? Why do you feel that way? What is “fair”? Is it fair that Jesus paid for sin He did not commit? What is that called? Have you talked to God about your sin? Why? Why not?

[1] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
[2] Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader (1 Ti 4:9). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Controlling time and priorities so they do not control you

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 4:6-8 In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine, which you have been following. 7 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.  

Application: This section deals with issues of time and priorities. We need to stay focused and not allow ourselves to be sidetracked. In Pauls day there were many that loved to talk a lot about nothing, thinking that their many words made them sound brilliant. The word used for worldly communicates teachings that are beyond silly, but are more defaming of God:

Worldy - βέβηλος bébēlos; Unhallowed, the opposite of hierós, sacred (1 Tim. 4:7; 6:20; 2 Tim. 2:16) [1]the word refers to Gnostic teachings which are scornfully described as profane and unholy μῦθοι (1 Tm. 4:7) and κενοφωνίαι (1 Tm. 6:20; 2Tm. 2:16). In opposition to their claim to offer an inward truth of religion inaccessible to others, the Gnostic statements concerning God are actually seen to be outside the sphere of the holy God and His Gospel.[2]

Paul rightly exhorts Timothy to not waste his time with such debates, and even describing them as useful only for people who are busybodies, that waste time arguing over things that are untrue and unedifying. We all need to see the focus Paul is trying to encourage Timothy to have, he needs to use his time the best he can. All of us have a limited amount of time to live on this earth, we should spend it wisely, in a way that brings investment. Paul then moves to describe the focus needed. He wants us to prioritize our life, we need to discipline ourselves in matters that are most important.
Discipline - γυμνάζω gumnázō; Generally to exercise, train - 1 Tm. 4:7: γύμναζε σεαυτὸν πρὸς εὐσέβειαν, demands concentration on what is inward instead of external…The apostle says that the bodily discipline which took the form of physical exercise “profiteth little.” The literal Greek is, “is profitable for a little.” The meaning is that the use of physical exercise extends to only a few things.[3]

Two issues need consideration here. First, we need to make time, not try and find it, to spend with You Lord, AND keep it as a priority, by training ourselves as Paul said in godliness. This will separate us from the pack. Sanctify us from the world, so that we will be in the world but not of the world, thereby impacting the world and ourselves, both now and eternally. Like an athlete, we must develop within ourselves the discipline needed for God to produce in us His character. The Second issue is one of honesty. Paul does not say physical exercise is useless. As a man who has struggled with weight, I am sadden when other men I know with the same struggle use this verse to justify their lack of discipline. Physical exercise is important to the whole man, and I am better in spirit if I am honest about my struggle. Trying to bend a scripture to justify a weakness in my character hurts me more than anyone else. Physical exercise is important for the health of the body; still, Paul wants us to remain focused. Physically exercise, YES, but Paul says, realize it has only a little benefit in overall eternal issues. I think the key is balance. To forsake being physically fit is not wise, but to be physically perfect, yet ungodly is a tremendous miscalculation in whats really important in the realm of life. Father, help us to treat Your word with integrity. Lets accept what it states, as it states it, and let us be the ones to change, instead of trying to change it.

Meditation Questions: Do you keep a “to do list”? Do you keep a “stop do list”? What does that show? How much time do you give to debating issues that cannot be resolved? What does that show? When you give your time to something, have you weighed the eternal value? How consistent are you to connect with God daily? What does that look like? What do you want to change? What are you doing about it? Are you disciplined in all areas of your life? What does that say?

[1] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
[2] Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964- (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
[3] Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader (1 Ti 4:7). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Our walk needs to be hand in hand with Him.

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 4:6 In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine, which you have been following. 

Application: So much of our walk depends wholly on our partnership we have with You Lord. Sometimes we convince ourselves that growth, maturity, and even how we are used will all happen independent of You. Scripture states otherwise throughout, including here. Notice Timothy is actively following the Word of God and teaching it to others. The original expresses a planned and constant training taking place:

ἐντρέφω entréphō; from en, in or with, and tréphō, to nourish.
To nourish up in anything, to bring or train up in.[1]

 The words, “nourished up,” are a present participle in the Greek, indicating the means by which Timothy may become a good minister. The idea is, “constantly nourishing thyself.” This Timothy has been doing “in the words of faith and of good doctrine.” The article is used with the two nouns.

It is “the Faith and the good teachings,” namely, the body of Christian truth as it is found in the Word of God. The case is locative of sphere, indicating the sphere within which the nourishing is taking place, and instrumental of means, speaking of the means employed, namely, the Word of God.

The word “attained” is parakoloutheō (παρακολουθεω), “to follow beside, to attend closely.” The perfect tense is used, indicating that Timothy has done a finished piece of work in thus closely attending to his course of Christian instruction. One could translate, “which you have closely followed.” [2]

We cannot enter faith in Christ and then go to sleep! You, Lord are our strength, and You are the One that does battle for us, but You expect us to do our part. Remember, Scripture states many places that we should put on:

Rom 13:12, 14 The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. Eph 4:24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Eph 6:11 Col 3:10, 12, 14, 1 Thess 5:8

Some verbs in scripture, though there are many more than will be mentioned here, paint for us a word picture that instructs us direct to yield, follow, commit, abide, etc., each term tells us WE have a have a part to play. Timothy was committed to grow and did what he needed to do to see that happen. This is a call to all of us Lord, we need to constantly be in Your Word! Knowing You, walking in prayer with You through out the day. 

Meditation Questions: In a 24 hour period, how much time are you conscious of God in your life? Do you take time to think and contemplate your life with God? Do you take time to think and contemplate on God? Would you say you immerse yourself in the Word, or just visit it? How long can you go without consciously connecting with God? What does that say?

[1] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
[2] Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader (1 Ti 4:6). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Take this job and change my view of it!

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 4:6 In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine, which you have been following.  

Application: This is where we see the greatest difference between a job and a call. Often seen more acutely in churches wherein the government practices congregational rule, and the Pastor can be voted out of his role as shepherd. A pressure that has caused some good men to compromise and even lose their integtrity for fear of losing their job and not being able to supply for their families. That pressure, though understandable, stems from a shallow or low understanding of the Call of the shepherd or lay person who names themselves Christian, according to the Word of God.

Initially, we must know, it is not our jobs, that supply the money needed for our family, it is You Lord. Though, You may use our job, we must never become dependant on our job, that is an error, and a form of idolatry, exactly what the enemy wants. Regardless of the job, accounting, a lawyer, painter or the Pastorate, if we depend on that position to support our needs, we are denying Who You are Lord and we set ourselves up with the enemy to be pushed into some sort of compromise that will shame Your name Lord. I have witnessed this often enough, and have never seen the compromise worth it. I also am glad to say that many times I have witnessed the other side of this story, when children of God have refused to compromise their stand for You, just to keep a job. When they take a stand, see the power of God and then witness how You provide. Sometimes the heart of the individuals involved are changed by You and they remove their demand on the believer that refuses to compromise. Other times the believer loses their position only to see You supply in a miraculous way! Everyone without exception has ended up in a better position for his or her life style. Not always more money or greater title, but they enjoy the position more and see a new quality of life that was not there before. 

I am saddened that more children of God do not look at their positions as a call. That word seems to be reserved for vocational ministry only. Nothing is more untrue according to Scripture. What ever a child of God is created to be and do in this life is a part of Gods call on that individuals life. It is so easy to fall into the trap that our job is what supplies our food and shelter, yet if we could see that our job is where You called us to minister for You Lord, we would bring a much needed discernment to how strategic our job may be in Your plan to see us bring others the good news of Christ. In doing this, it is also very easy to make any vocational ministry some sort of mystical call, it is not. You have called some to be involved in ministry actively throughout the week, while You have called others to be involved in non church work, but they are actually ministering for You in the market place. All of us should remember that wherever we spend our days, it is You that has called us there, and we should never compromise Truth to keep that position. You will always protect those that stand for You! The Shepherd that stands for You and is voted out of that position, will not cease to be a shepherd and will experience You leading him to another position, while at the same time experience Your joy and approval for his convictions! No job can give that! 

Meditation Questions: Do you see your job as something God called you to? What does your answer show? If God showed you the job you have is part of His plan for your eternal investment how would that change how you approach your job? Have you ever compromised your standards to keep a job? What did it teach you? Have you ever lost a position or been denied one because you refused to compromise your standards? What did it teach you? WE say that God will supply our needs, how do we prove that?