Sermon notes from 7/22/18 – “Waging War Against the Money Monster”

“WAGING WAR AGAINST THE MONEY MONSTER” – 1 Timothy 6:5b-12

CWBC – July 22, 2018

Jon Daniels

INTRO – Good morning, everyone! I’m so glad we are here to worship Jesus together today!

“Scooby Doo” – Great cartoon as a kid. Crazy “monsters” who scared Scooby & his friends.

“Monster movies” as a kid – Boris Karloff as “Frankenstein” – Bela Lugosi as “Dracula” – Lon Chaney, Jr. as “The Wolf Man.” These movies were actually released in the 1930’s & 40’s. But we watched them as kids. Not necessarily innocent movies that I’m recommending, but the monsters in them were not really realistic or believable.

 Horror movies have morphed into much darker, sinister movies w/ very disturbing themes & subjects, many of them w/ overtly spiritual overtones. Lots of evil, occultic, Satanic subjects & characters. The “monsters” in these movies are usually deviants, sexual perverts, & psychopathic killers, & the violence & gore in them is nauseating & extreme. This is not a sermon against these movies or against this movie genre, but I will say that allowing these types of images & subjects into your mind opens you up to all sorts of evil, demonic, Satanic forces that a Christ-follower shouldn’t pursue. There are some truly scary monsters out there that you & I don’t need in our lives.

There’s another monster that most of us have faced or are facing right now in our lives. It’s the monster of money. Money itself is not bad. But it can quickly morph into a big, ugly, scary monster that has the potential to attack us, hurt us, & even bring death into our lives in certain areas. When debts mount up; when spending gets out of control; when greed takes over; when tithing & giving to the Lord’s work slows down or stops – all signs that the monster of money is beginning to attack. As we continue our sermon series on “Fighting for Your Family,” we need to look at the importance of “Waging War Against the Money Monster.”

 So open your Bibles or your Bible app to 1 Timothy 6:5b-12 (page ____ in the pew Bible).

 

1 Timothy 6:5b-12 (ESV)

 

…imagining that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and[a] we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

Fight the Good Fight of Faith

11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

EXPLANATION – 

Paul wrote 3 letters that are known as his pastoral epistles – 1 & 2 Timothy & Titus. These are letters that Paul wrote to 2 men who would carry on his work after he was gone. Whereas his other letters were written to specific churches (to the church at Thessolonica, the church at Colossae, etc.), these 3 letters were written to individual men, pastors who were leading churches & dealing w/ the issues that faced them in these churches & communities.

When Paul wrote 1 Timothy in the mid-AD 60’s, he wrote it to give young Timothy advice & counsel on leading the church at Ephesus. They needed direction in leadership issues, worship issues, & doctrinal issues. Timothy also needed Paul’s counsel & experience in addressing some false teachers who were trying to sway the believers in the church at Ephesus. Right off the bat, Paul tells Timothy that the reason he was in Ephesus was to “charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine” (1:3b).

This “different doctrine” that Paul was referring to was the Gnostic heresy that the Church battled against for centuries. The Gnostics claimed to have a much deeper understanding of spiritual things than the average Christian. They separated God as spirit & man as matter, & claimed that they only want to bridge the gap between God & man was through a multitude of angels of different ranks, levels, & appearances, instead of through the one Mediator, Jesus Christ. According to the false doctrines of the Gnostics, salvation was achieved by finding favor w/ these angels, rather than through grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone.

One of the components of the heresies that Paul was writing about was that the false teachers viewed religion as a means to make a buck. Nothing wrong w/ preachers getting paid a decent salary. But there’s a whole lot wrong w/ false teachers who use religion as a way to get rich. Lots of ungodly, un-Christlike, unspiritual false teachers in our world today.

Paul’s instruction to Timothy to help him battle against the heresies is the same instruction for us to battle against false teachings of our day: 1 Timothy 4:11-16.

APPLICATION – 

 Erwin Lutzer, pastor of Moody Church in Chicago, preached a sermon entitled, “Till Debt Do Us Part.” Shared this letter:

“We’ve been married for 20 years. We have young children.” I’ll summarize here. “We fell into debt. I took a second job because I lost some of our money in what I thought was a solid investment. Even though we are making it financially she wants out of the marriage because she feels that I have neglected her emotionally, which I have because I took a second job trying to make up the extra money that I lost. She spends hours on the Internet and is corresponding with a man she dated before we were married. She’s helping him with his issues but I think I know how this is going to end. I feel helpless to stop it.”

After hearing this letter, do you see what I mean by the danger & destruction & death that the out-of-control monster of money can bring into our lives? According to a Gallup poll, about 50% of all divorces happen b/c of money issues – usually related to overwhelming debt & the burdens it brings. See how it’s a monster that will attack us?

So to protect our families & wage war against this monster, let’s learn or relearn 3 essentials when it comes to the financial area of our lives:

Learn the principles of contentment – v. 5b-8

Ben Franklin – “Contentment makes poor men rich. Discontentment makes rich men poor.”

This Greek word for “contentment” occurs in the NT in a few other places:

  • 2 Cor. 9:8 – “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
    • NLT: “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need & plenty left over to share w/ others.”
  • Hebrews 13:5 – “Keep your life free from the love of money, & be content w/ what you have, for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

The word for “content” or “contentment” means to be satisfied in one’s circumstance or position in life.

Paul certainly had learned to do that. Phil. 11b-13 – “…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. 12 I know both how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. 13 I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.” (CSB) So how can we learn to be content?

  • Be more concerned w/ spiritual profit than worldly profit – v. 6
  • Have an eternal perspective on life – v. 7
  • Realize how truly rich we already are – v. 8

 

Learn the possible dangers of wealth – v. 9-10 – We know that there is nothing inherently wrong or sinful about a person having wealth. But there are some dangers that come w/ the accumulation of wealth.

Tunnel vision – the tendency to focus exclusively on a single or limited goal or point of view.

That’s what happens to us when we become consumed w/ the desire to be rich. We develop monetary tunnel vision. That’s all we can see, all we can think about, all we are concerned about. Everything else fades out of focus in our lives. And it’s a DANGEROUS place to be! Look at the dangers the Paul lists here in v. 9-10. Let’s just do a little word study here in these 2 verses.

  • Verse 9:
    • “desire” – intend, plan
    • “fall” – experience
    • “temptation” – trial, given for the purpose to make one stumble
    • “snare” – trap, danger
    • “senseless & harmful desires” – foolish, without understanding; spiritually & morally hurtful; lusts, craving, coveting
    • “plunge people” – to sink; drown
    • “ruin & destruction” – state of utter destruction & death; waste, loss
  • Verse 10:
    • “love of money” – one Greek word that means greed
    • “root” – basic cause, primary reason
    • “evils” – wicked, bad, immoral, wrong
    • “craving” – yearning, longing, striving to attain
    • “wandered” – strayed away
    • “pierced” – to be put on a spit
    • “pangs” – distress, grief, intense anxiety & anguish

“Money is not the only cause of misfortune and evil, but it is a powerful one. Love of money is the root, the life support for a variety of wrongs and destructive behaviors.[1]

 

Learn to pursue the things of God – v. 11-12 – The Christ-follower must do these 3 things if he/she is to successfully defeat the money monster:

  • Run –
    • Run away from some things (“flee”) – Lack of contentment; the Love of money
    • Run to some things (“pursue”) – righteousness, faith (TITHING & GIVING), love, steadfastness (perseverance & endurance), gentleness
  • Fight – agonizomai – struggle, contend, compete – Fight against some things & fight for some things
  • Live – “Take hold” – seize, experience beyond the “good confession” that you make. Don’t just SAY you’re a Christian – LIVE THE LIFE!

[1] Larson, K. (2000). I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon (Vol. 9, p. 245). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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Sermon notes from 7/8/18 – “Laying the Right Foundation”

“LAYING THE RIGHT FOUNDATION”

CWBC – 7/8/18

Jon Daniels

INTRO – Good morning, everyone! I’m so glad we are here today to worship Jesus Christ together!

Most of us in this part of Mississippi understand how important a foundation is in the building of a house or a building. Anybody here know what this is? (show slide w/ words “calcareous fossiliferous mudrock”) How about if I say this? (slide w/ “Yazoo clay”) All you have to do is say those words & people immediately cringe. It’s actually “calcareous fossiliferous mudrock” & people hate it!

The opening lines of an article in the MS Business Journal state this: “Oh, that devilish Yazoo clay. It continues to be the bane of builders in Central Mississippi, making shambles of the best-laid plans — not to mention foundations. The water-loving formation expands when moist and contracts when dry, making it a moving target and a disruptive force in the construction industry.” (http://msbusiness.com/2008/06/yazoo-clay-old-problem-getting-new-look-from-researchers/)

Southside Baptist Church – We had to keep cutting the bottom of the front doors of the church shorter & shorter b/c of the Yazoo clay beneath the church, causing the building to move.

House fire that is a total loss – “Well, we saved the slab!” Might be a joke w/ firefighters, but not a joke when it comes to families in our society. We need to save the slab, the foundation.

The family is under fire in our society today. It’s getting harder & harder to accurately define what a family is these days. Traditionally, it used to be a man & a woman who were married to each other. The man was the father, a woman who was the mother, & those 2 had kids, which produced a family. But nowadays, that traditional family is getting rarer & rarer. It still it exists, but it doesn’t seem to be the norm any more.

  • Psalm 102:25 – “Long ago you laid the foundations of the earth & made the heavens w/ your hands.”
  • And long ago, God laid the foundation for the family. We need to make sure we are laying the right foundation for OUR families & building on that foundation.

Open your Bible or your Bible app to Matthew 7:24-27 (page 812 in pew Bible). Beginning series for remainder of July – “Fight for Your Family.” Today: “Laying the Right Foundation”

Matthew 7:24-27 (ESV)

Build Your House on the Rock

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

 

EXPLANATION – The family is the foundation of our society. And a strong family must have a solid foundation. Jesus makes it clear in this parable that a strong foundation is important in every area of our lives. We MUST lay the right foundation for our families, & that foundation must be Jesus Christ & the Gospel.

This passage of the 2 house-building men comes at the end of Jesus’ foundational teachings of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7). This powerful sermon that Jesus’ gave covers several important subjects & issues that directly impact our families. One person said: “If we were to summarize the Sermon on the Mount in a single sentence, it would be something like this: How to live a life that is dedicated to and pleasing to God, free from hypocrisy, full of love and grace, full of wisdom and discernment.” (https://www.gotquestions.org/sermon-on-the-mount.html)

Let me give you a very quick overview of what Jesus teaches in the Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 5:3-12 – The Beatitudes
Matthew 5:13-16 – Salt and Light
Matthew 5:17-20 – Jesus fulfilled the Law
Matthew 5:21-26 – Anger and Murder
Matthew 5:27-30 – Lust and Adultery
Matthew 5:31-32 – Divorce and Remarriage
Matthew 5:33-37 – Oaths
Matthew 5:38-42 – Eye for an Eye
Matthew 5:43-48 – Love your enemies
Matthew 6:1-4 – Give to the Needy
Matthew 6:5-15 – How to Pray
Matthew 6:16-18 – How to Fast
Matthew 6:19-24 – Treasures in Heaven
Matthew 6:25-34 – Do not worry
Matthew 7:1-6 – Do not judge hypocritically
Matthew 7:7-12 – Ask, Seek, Knock
Matthew 7:13-14 – The Narrow Gate
Matthew 7:15-23 – False Prophets
Matthew 7:24-27 – The Wise Builder

In the passage we are looking at today, Jesus makes it clear that these principles & truths are foundational for our lives. He says “Everyone who HEARS these words & DOES them will be like the man who built his house on the rock” (v. 24). Luke wrote it this way in Luke 6:47-48 – “Everyone who comes to me & hears my words & does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep & laid the foundation on the rock.” When we build our lives & our families on the Rock of Christ Jesus & the Gospel, we show that we truly are His hearing, responding, obedient disciples, not deaf, superficial, disobedient disciples.

In contrast to the “wise” man, Jesus describes the “foolish” man. Greek word for “foolish” means, “dull, stupid, unwise.” This is the person who is not willing to dig down deep, to put in the work necessary to study the Bible, learn its truths, & apply them to their family’s life. This is the person who hears the sermon on Sunday morning but chooses not to put the sermon into practice. That person will sooner or later find out how foolish that choice really is when their lives crumble like a house of cards. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, the person who ignores Jesus’ teachings, or who just thoughtlessly goes through the motions of life will eventually experience a devastating crash in their lives. Jesus put it this way: “And GREAT was the fall of it.” The Greek literally means, “It was a MEGA fall!” Brenna Manning commented on this verse: “If we bypass these words of the Great Rabbi, the spiritual life will be nothing more than fantasy.”

APPLICATION – 

Every family will be built on some kind of foundation. The only RIGHT foundation is JESUS!

The Design – From the very beginning of time, God has made it clear that the design for the family is HIS design. Gen. 1-2 is the creation account. The crowning pinnacle of His creation was the creation of man. He created Adam & Eve & brought them together in the first marriage. Gen. 2:24 – “Therefore a man shall leave his father & mother & hold fast to his wife, & they shall become one flesh.” God blessed them, & instructed them to “Be fruitful & multiply…” (Gen. 1:28).

Jesus emphasized this same divine design in Matthew 19 when the Pharisees were challenging Him about the question of divorce. He said in v. 4-6 – …“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Then the Apostle Paul gave this instruction in Eph. 5:22-31 – 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a]28 In the same way husbands should love their 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 Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

So, you see that the perfect design for families was God’s design from the beginning. And it’s still the best design, despite all of the efforts by our society to redefine what families are supposed to be. You cannot improve on God’s design for the family! “Focus on the Family” writer, Glenn Stanton, wrote: “Sociologically and anthropologically, no society anywhere has found an alternative to the gold-standard of parentage—-a married mother and father—-for providing the health, safety, educational and life-opportunities that thriving children require.” (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/you-cannot-improve-on-gods-design-for-the-family/)

Our society is trying to redesign & redefine families, & unfortunately, some of those ideas are seeping into the minds of many people within the Church, especially in the younger generations. Our society’s support & celebration of gay marriage, gay couples adopting or having children, unmarried couples living together, & other unbiblical family practices is unleashing storms into the lives of families at unprecedented levels.

 

The Difficulties – The rain, floods, & wind that Jesus talked about in His parable came to both men. That’s true for all of us. The storms are going to come to all of us in some way or another. Can’t avoid them. They are going to come to all of us. We can’t avoid them, but we can prepare for them. And that’s the difference between the 2 men in Jesus’ parable.

The difference is in how each man had prepared for the imminent storms. The man who listened to Jesus’ teachings, learned from Him, & applies His teachings to His life stood strong when the storms crashed in on him & his family. The man who foolishly ignored Jesus’ teachings & went his own way, doing his own thing, thinking he could do life w/out heeding Jesus’ teachings experienced devastating destruction of his house. All of that could have been avoided if he had just listened to Jesus & heeded His instructions & commands. Dr. Tony Evans: “A house, in this biblical parable, can refer to many things. It can refer to a person’s life, church or even our society. But it can also, quite literally, refer to a family and their home. If and when we seek to build our families on anything other than the stable foundational principles of the Word of God, it will not last when life’s trials and challenges come upon us.” (http://tonyevans.org/the-foundation-of-family/)

How foolish we are to KNOW what Jesus’ commands are regarding our lives & choose to disregard them & disobey them! Why do we expect that there will not be adverse, negative consequences in our lives when we do that! But it happens all the time. And the damage that is done to our families as a result of our foolishness is horrific, painful, &, many times, irreparable.

Watching the show, “Deadliest Catch.” Episode talking about “mixed seas” & “rogue waves.” Mixed seas are when waves are coming from every direction instead of one direction. Unpredictable. Turbulent. Dangerous. Rogue waves are those massive waves that come out of nowhere & crash into the boats. Those waves weigh a hundred tons or more & are 60 feet high or more. Also known as freak waves, monster waves, or killer waves.

Sounds a lot like the turbulent waters that many families find themselves in these days.

 

The Do-Over – Mar. 3, 1966 – date that many of you older adults will remember well. Candlestick Park tornado. F5 tornado that touched down just south of Raymond. Continued right through south Jackson, destroyed Candlestick Park shopping center, throwing cars ½ mile into the air. Killed 19 people in Hinds County, & by the time it dissipated near Tuscaloosa, AL, the death toll had reached 58 people.

But you know what happened after that? People emerged from the rubble & destruction & began to rebuild. Many of you then grew up in south Jackson in one of the best places to live in in Mississippi.

Rev. 3:20 – I know this verse refers to Jesus knocking on the door of the Church. But I believe we can also make the application of Jesus knocking on the door of the houses of families that have been devastated & destroyed by the storms. After a tornado passes through a city or town, people go all over the rubble of the homes calling out for survivors. Jesus does the same thing in our lives as families. He comes to us after the storms, in the midst of our rubble, knocks on the door of our broken-down house, & offers us His grace & His power to put our families back together again. He offers us His grace-filled do-over so that we can rebuild our families HIS way & according to HIS plan.

 

CONCLUSION – Maybe you feel like you’ve been through a tornado in your family. Maybe you feel like you’re in one right now. Maybe you feel like there’s some Yazoo clay underneath the foundation of your family right now.

Today, Jesus offers you His do-over. Come to Him today. Let Him help you rebuild your family on HIS foundation. Remember:

 

Every family will be built on some kind of foundation. The only RIGHT foundation is JESUS!

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Sermon notes from 7/1/18 – “The State of the Church”

“THE STATE OF THE CHURCH”           Matthew 16:13-20

CWBC – 7/1/18

Jon Daniels

INTRO – There’s a lot of talk these days about the state of the church, & much of is not good. Many people are saying that the SBC is dying. We decreased in members for the last 11 years, & have decreased in baptisms in 8 out of the last 10 years. We’ve brought some of it on ourselves through our own sinful actions.

Some of the negative talk comes at us simply b/c of who we are & Who our Savior is. You can talk about God all day long & no one will get upset. But the moment you mention Jesus Christ, the ravenous wolves come out.

But you know what? Today, we are not going to worry about the naysayers & the negative critics. We are going to celebrate the Church today! And we are going to start by hearing about some of the cool things that happened to our youth last week at youth camp. Gunner is going to come share w/ us.

(GUNNER WILSON)

This passage in Matthew 16 is an important passage in our understanding of the place of the Church in God’s Kingdom work. One commentator said this: “This passage serves as a transitional section in Matthew’s Gospel. Peter’s confession summarized Jesus’ ministry up to this point. And Jesus’ announcement of the church began Jesus’ preparation of the disciples for their leadership roles in his absence. Jesus’ intention to build his church marks a major transition in God’s pursuit of his great plan of the ages. The old wineskin of Israel had been set on the shelf temporarily, while the new wineskin of the church was introduced.[1]

The Bible makes it clear that the Church is God’s plan for His work to continue in this world. It was His idea. It is endued His power. It bears His name. It is the Body of Christ.

The Bible also makes these 3 things clear about the Church. It makes it clear:

…what the message is – v. 16 – What are we supposed to be proclaiming to the world?

  • “Our church is better than all the other churches”?
  • “Just live a good life & do the best you can & in the end, everything will work out”?
  • “Jesus will make you wealthy, healthy, & influential”?
  • “We hate anyone who is different from us or disagrees with us”?
  • “Sinners are not welcome”?

Unfortunately, those are some of the messages that the world is getting from the church. One of the main reasons that so many young people are leaving the church today is b/c they don’t feel that the church is a safe place to come w/ their doubts about God & their questions about faith. They’re afraid that, if they voice a doubt or pose a question about why we believe the way we do & why we insist that everyone else believe this way, they’ll be judged & pushed aside, or that no one will care enough to listen & try to help them. The church has got to think hard about the messages that we are sending, & make sure that we are sending THE message that we need to send. And that message is what Peter said about Jesus:

“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

THAT is our message! Everything flows out of that foundational truth. B/c Jesus is the Son of God, He is our Savior that was sent to us to rescue us from our sin.

  • John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten SON…”
  • Romans 8:31-32 – “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not graciously give us all things?”
  • 1 John 4:9 – “To us, the greatest demonstration of God’s love for us has been his sending his only Son into the world to give us life through him.” (Phillips)

The message that we have that no one else has is that God has come to us to save us. We don’t strive to get to God. We don’t hope we’ve made it. We trust in the One who has come to us to show us the love of God & save us for eternity when we trust Him alone. What an awesome message! Everything we do is based on this message,

…who the members are – A person doesn’t join the church the same way they might join a club or a hunting camp or a civic group. There may be some similarities, but the church is so much more than any secular club or organization.

The Church is the living Body of Christ. Col. 1:18 tells us that He is the Head of the Body. Those who have trusted in Him alone for their salvation are the members of His Body, placed there in the Body by the Lord Himself. 1 Cor. 12:18, 27 – “But now God has placed each one of the parts in one body just as He wanted…Now you are the Body of Christ, & individual members of it.” (HCSB)

So you see, your church membership is not just here at CWBC, but it’s much, much bigger than that! You are a vital, necessary, critical, important, crucial member of the Body of Christ! We are connected to one another, & all of us are connected to the Head of the Body, Jesus Christ Himself. You don’t “un-join” the Church. You can’t disconnect yourself from the Church any more than my ear can decide on its own to disconnect itself from my physical body. You are in the Body forever & have a HUGE responsibility to honor the Body of Christ.

  • 1 Cor. 12:24b-26 – “…God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there my be NO DIVISION IN THE BODY, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”

Listen, we don’t get mad at another member of the Body other when they sin – or we try not to. We don’t get mad, but we do hurt b/c their sin hurts all of the Body. We don’t hate them, but we do grieve over another’s sin b/c it affects so many other people. We don’t judge them, but we do have a responsibility to call sin what it is & to help that person to repent & get back into fellowship w/ Jesus & w/ His Body.

– Galatians 6:1 – “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression [sin], you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness…”

…what the mission is – v. 18 – “…on this rock I will build my Church, & the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

 Caesarea Philippi – very pagan city. Very immoral city. Worship of the Greek god, Pan, happened here in a temple built for that purpose. Here’s a pic of that area I took when I was in the Holy Land (show pic).

“Interestingly, Jesus chose to deliver a sort of “graduation speech” to his disciples at Caesarea Philippi. In that pagan setting, he encouraged his disciples to build a church that would overcome the worst evils.

The Gates of Hell

To the pagan mind, the cave at Caesarea Philippi created a gate to the underworld, where fertility gods lived during the winter. They committed detestable acts to worship these false gods.

Caesarea Philippi’s location was especially unique because it stood at the base of a cliff where spring water flowed. At one time, the water ran directly from the mouth of a cave set in the bottom of the cliff.

The pagans of Jesus’ day commonly believed that their fertility gods lived in the underworld during the winter and returned to earth each spring. They saw water as a symbol of the underworld and thought that their gods traveled to and from that world through caves.

To the pagan mind, then, the cave and spring water at Caesarea Philippi created a gate to the underworld. They believed that their city was literally at the gates of the underworld – i.e., the gates of hell. In order to entice the return of their god, Pan, each year, the people of Caesarea Philippi engaged in horrible deeds, including prostitution and sexual interaction between humans and goats.

When Jesus brought his disciples to the area, they must have been shocked. Caesarea Philippi was like a red-light district in their world and devout Jews would have avoided any contact with the despicable acts committed there.

It was a city of people eagerly knocking on the doors of hell.”

(https://www.thattheworldmayknow.com/gates-of-hell-article)

Jesus stood just across the way from this immoral cesspool & gave His disciples these marching orders: Build my Church!

So what does this mean for our mission? It means that you & I are called & commissioned to take the message of Jesus to those who are banging on the gates of hell right now. Just as He told His disciples, He tells us: BUILD MY CHURCH! Don’t get sucked into the temptations of the enemy & this world. Keep your eyes on me, your mind on the Gospel, your heart on those who are lost, & BUILD MY CHURCH!

We can’t hide from evil; we need to storm the gates of hell w/ the overpowering truth of the Gospel! We are to take back the ground that Satan has claimed & build the Church on that very ground w/ Jesus Christ as the foundation!

  • What a task!
  • What a dangerous thing to do!
  • What an opportunity to see God do something that only HE can do!
  • What a privilege for us to be used by Him to build HIS Church!
  • What a mighty, mighty Savior we have!
  • What a mighty, mighty God we serve!

[1] Weber, S. K. (2000). Matthew (Vol. 1, p. 248). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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Sermon notes from 6/24/18 – “Let’s Talk to Isaiah”

“LET’S TALK TO ISAIAH” – Isaiah 6:1-8

CWBC – 6/24/18

Jon Daniels

 INTRO – (10 mins) – Good morning, everyone! I’m so glad we are here to worship the Lord Jesus together, aren’t you?

 

Does anybody here know what this is? (pics of Daddy’s can-crusher) Mama really didn’t know what Daddy did w/ the cans he crushed, but he sure liked to crush them.

Alan Redpath, British evangelist in mid-1900’s – “When God wants to do an impossible task, He takes an impossible man & He crushes him.”

 Has God ever crushed you?

 Open your Bibles or your Bible app to Isaiah 6:1-9a (page 571)

Isaiah 6 (ESV)

Isaiah’s Vision of the Lord

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And he said, “Go…”

 EXPLANATION – 

Isaiah – OT prophet who prophesied, or spoke for the Lord to the people, about 740-700 BC. He was the “prince of the prophets” – spokesman for God – spoke the finest Hebrew in the OT, using some 2,200 different Hebrew words in his writings. He wrote hymns, & wisdom poetry, & even poetry that resembles a love song in 5:1-7.

He ministered to the affluent people of the time. Stood before 4 different kings – Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, & Hezekiah. He stood strong as he proclaimed the words of God to the people who were “deaf & blind” (6:10), who turned a deaf ear to his warnings of God’s coming judgment on them, much like many people today, both inside & outside the Church. There was no equal to Isaiah among all the prophets.

  • Jeremiah wept
  • Jonah ran
  • Habakkuk stood confused
  • Elijah hid in a cave
  • But Isaiah stood alone & preached the truths of God.

Former OT seminary prof, Kyle Yates (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1922-1942) – “The last 40 years of the 8th century BC produced great men, but the greatest of these was Isaiah…As a spiritual giant, Isaiah stands as the loftiest peak among the mountains…From the day of his vision in the temple, he possessed a spiritual depth that set him apart from his contemporaries.”

APPLICATION – 

So, what made this temple experience so powerful, so significant & life-changing that it set him apart? It was there that God crushed him. Everything changed after this event!

APPLICATION POINT: GOD HAS TO CRUSH YOU TO USE YOU, BRO!

In our “Man Cave Conversations” this month, we’ve talked to:

  • Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego – “Don’t bow down, bro!”
  • Elijah – “Face your enemies, bro!”
  • Joseph – “You better run, bro!”

And now, Isaiah – “God has to crush you to use you, bro!” My daddy may not have had any significant reason to crush cans, but our Heavenly Father definitely has some significant reasons to crush us.

  • Alan Redpath – “When God wants to do an impossible task, he takes an impossible man & He crushes him.”
  • All through Scripture we see that God’s school is a school of brokenness. Think of all those who were broken by God, then used by Him in a powerful way:
    • David
    • Jonah
    • Moses
    • Peter
    • Paul
  • God’s School of Brokenness (Swindoll): We try to run from it. We try to avoid it. We try to resist it. But only as He crushes us & removes all the crutches that we’ve learned to lean on in our times of trouble will we learn to lean on Him alone. He has to teach us to quit relying on the flesh & start relying on the Spirit. THEN He can use us.

Look at Isaiah’s experience in ch. 6:

THE VISION – v. 1 – Awestruck when he saw this vision of the glory of God. Amazing sight to behold! He saw the perfect holiness of God! He saw the brilliant glory of God! He saw the powerful majesty of God! There’s no way that his life would ever be the same after this vision!

THE VOICES OF ANGELS – v. 2-4 – Accompanying this vision was a thundering sound which overwhelmed him. These seraphim were fiery angelic beings that spend their time in the presence of God worshiping Him. Their 6 wings suggest that they were powerful beings. And even though they were in God’s presence, even these superhuman creatures could not gaze directly at the holiness of God.

Seeing these fiery angels must have been amazing! But even more amazing was the sound that they made as they thundered out their praise of God in antiphonal fashion, echoing each other w/ those powerful words:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” Back & forth, rocking the foundations of the temple! Let’s do this right now! (divide down the middle & repeat it back & forth)

THE VERDICT – v. 5-7 – All of this led to Isaiah experiencing a crushing conviction of the sin in his life. “Woe is me!” – DEEP sorrow! Utter despair! Luther – “I am dissolved!” Hebrew literally means, “I cease to exist!”

What was it that crushed him? When he saw the glory of God in all of His infinite holiness & perfection, & when he heard the thunderous cry of the thrice-repeated “Holy, holy, holy,” he knew he was done. Seeing & hearing & knowing how holy God is brought his sins to the forefront of his mind in dreadful clarity. He know that he had nothing to stand on, no excuse to make, no way of overcoming his impurities & his unholiness. He was totally at the mercy of God, totally dependent on the grace of God, totally broken over his sins. He knew that there was NOTHING that HE could do. And THAT’S when God broke through.

  1. v. 6-7 – God dispatched one of the seraphim to take a burning coal from the altar & touch Isaiah’s mouth w/ it. Why his mouth? B/c that was the area of uncleanness, the place where Isaiah had admitted & confessed his sin. And what happened? INSTANTANEOUS FORGIVENESS & CLEANSING! No delay! No trying harder! No attempting to do better so God will be happier with him! None of that! “Your guilt is taken away & your sin is atoned for!” AFTER the brokenness. AFTER the crushing of his heart. AFTER the touching of the burning, cleansing coal to his sin. NOW, YOU ARE FORGIVEN! And THEN, he heard…

THE VOICE OF GOD – v. 8-9a – AFTER the crushing of the Lord, Isaiah heard God speak. And his response to God? “Here am I! Send me.” And God simply, but powerfully said, “Go!” This one word is the most wonderful evidence of God’s grace in this passage!

  • “Send me!” ——– “GO!”

 CONCLUSION – Application point again: “God has to crush you to use you, bro!” Do you want to be used by God? Are you willing to let Him crush you?

Spurgeon: “We are but men, frail, feeble, & apt to faint.”

Hudson Taylor: “All God’s giants have been weak men.”

  • Every pastor you know is a weak man.
  • Every church staff member you know is a weak man or woman.
  • Every deacon you know is a weak man.
  • Every Life Group leader you know is a weak man or woman.

And we must face up to those things in our lives which cause us to be weak. God will crush us to rid us of those things. It’s not an easy experience, but it’s a necessary experience in order for God to use us greatly in His work.

So what is it that you need to face today? What is it that is bringing the crushing conviction of God today? Whatever it is, you must face it today. If you don’t, you’ll never be the man or woman of God that you could be.

  • You’ll never have the prayer life that you could have.
  • You’ll never be the husband that you could be, or the wife that you could be.
  • You’ll never hear the voice of God like you could hear it.
  • You’ll never be the leader you could be.
  • You’ll never be the witness that you could be.
  • You’ll never be the servant that you could be.

What is it? What’s sitting there in your heart, needing to be purged, cleansed w/ the cleansing fire of God? What is it that causes you to say as Isaiah said, “Woe is me! I’m in trouble! I’m done! I’m unclean & unholy! Woe is me!”

God wants to use you, brother! God wants to use you, sister! And He must crush you to bring you to a place of brokenness to cleanse you so He can use you! And He WILL use you!

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Sermon notes – 6/17/18 – “Let’s Talk to Joseph”

“LET’S TALK TO JOSEPH” – Genesis 39

CWBC – 6/17/18

Jon Daniels

INTRO – Good morning, everyone! I’m so glad we are together today to worship the Lord Jesus!

How many of you guys own a truck? Most guys at some point in their life have a truck or want a truck. It’s just sort of in our blood. The 1st truck my family had was a 1972 GMC long wheelbase pickup truck. Looked sort of like this one.

gmc

Back then, it was the Cadillac of pickup trucks. It had automatic transmission, power steering, A/C, even had an AM AND FM radio (slide bar back & forth). Had a 400 4-barrel engine in it. Daddy put glass packs on it & my brother, Tim, put some custom rims on it. It was a fine truck!

 Back then, it was normal for kids to ride in the back of pickup truck. How many of you did that on a regular basis?

  • When our little league baseball teams would win a game, we would all jump in the back of the coach’s pickup truck & holler “We beat the Mets” all the way across town to the Quickie hamburger joint on Hwy 61. It was especially fun if you got behind the mosquito truck!
  • We would ride on the tailgate all over town all the time.
  • We even went all the way across Arkansas on a family vacation w/ my 2 brothers & me riding in the back of that 72 GMC, sitting in folding lawn chairs w/ our heads over the side of the truck like hound dogs.

I’ve been wanting a truck for a long time. The first week I got here as pastor, Jim got his new truck & rubbed it in!

I finally bought one about 6 weeks ago – a 2014 Toyota Tacoma. Love it. Lord willing, may be the last truck I will ever need.

When you get in it & start it up, a warning sound makes a dinging sound to remind you to buckle your seat belt. Dings 1 time – You’ve got a decision to make. Waits a minute to see if you’re going to buckle up. If you don’t, then it dings 8 times followed by 50 dings. Then it stops. That’s all the warning you get. You’re on your own after that. It’s up to you. You’ve got to make the decision. You’ve been warned. You know the potential consequences. It’s up to you. It’s your decision.

Open your Bibles or your Bible app to Gen. 39 (page 33 in pew Bible)

Genesis 39 (ESV)

Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife

39 Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field. So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate.

Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.

 

EXPLANATION – 

 The story of Joseph is an amazing story! Twists & turns – deception & lies – abuse – temptation – suffering – royalty – redemption & reconciliation – it’s got it all. It’s got everything that your favorite Netflix series has, except that series probably doesn’t end w/ God being glorified.

Back up & get a running start into our passage for today. Turn to Genesis 37.

  • HIS BROTHERS HATED HIM: 37:1-11 – Joseph, the 17 yr old son of Jacob. He was his father’s favorite son & Jacob made no secret of that. Gave Joseph the coat of many colors which set him apart from his other brothers. That didn’t set well w/ those brothers & Gen. 37:4 says, “But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him & could not speak to him peacefully.” The Hebrew word for “hated” means….THEY HATED HIM! Saw him as their enemy!
    • Then to make matters worse, Joseph had these vivid dreams & was able to interpret these dreams. Basically, what his dreams meant was that one day his brothers would be bowing down to him. What do you think that did to his relationship w/ his brothers? V. 8 – “So they hated him even more for his dreams & for his words.”
  • HIS BROTHERS ATTACKED HIM: Gen. 37:12-24
  • HIS BROTHERS SOLD HIM: Gen. 37:25-28
  • HIS BROTHERS LIED ABOUT HIM: Gen. 37:29-35
  • HE WAS SOLD TO POTIPHAR: Gen. 37:36

Talk about a dysfunctional family!

 But things began to turn around for Joseph when he got into Potiphar’s possession. Look at the verses we read from ch. 39.

R.C. Sproul: “Despite this favor, life must have been difficult for Joseph in Potiphar’s service. After all, he was a young single man far away from his home. His family had basically forsaken him, and he missed the company of at least his father, if not also his brothers, despite their malice (see 45:1–15). All this would make the best of us vulnerable and apt to compromise our integrity, and Joseph had a perfect opportunity to abandon the narrow path when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him.” (https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/seduction-resisted/)

Let’s look at this portion of the story. Almost has a Lifetime movie feel to it – “The Boss’ Wife.” Young, good-looking man who has been abandoned by his family. Lonely rich woman w/ power preying on his vulnerabilities.

SHE SAW HIM – v. 7a And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph…”

SHE SPOKE TO HIM – v. 7b – “…Lie w/ me.” Tempting, sensual. But more to it. She owned him & could flirt & tempt all she wanted. But she also could command him to do this. And he was supposed to obey.

SHE STAYED AFTER HIM – v. 10a“…she spoke to Joseph day after day…”

 SHE SLANDERED HIM – v. 11-18 – When he continually rebuffed her sexual advances b/c of this commitment to God & to Potiphar, she made up a story & lied about him trying to seduce her! Got him throw into prison.

APPLICATION – 

You better run, bro!

“FLEE” – v. 12b – “But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house.”

6 verses in ESV have the word “flee” in them. – 2 in OT, 4 in NT

  • Psalm 139:7
  • Proverbs 28:1
  • 1 Corinthians 6:18; 10:14
  • 2 Timothy 2:22
  • James 4:7

Whether in Hebrew in OT, or Greek in NT, all of them have same meaning & implications: “Run away, chase away, disappear, escape, put to flight, get safety, be gone, become invisible, avoid”

Joseph would tell us we need to RUN! 

Run b/c of the consequences

Run b/c of your commitments – to your family, but ultimately, to God

Run b/c of your calling – You are called to live a holy life – 1 Peter 1:16 – God says, “Be holy b/c I am holy.”  

Our calling is to glorify God in all that we do. 1 Corinthians 10:31 – “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

 CONCLUSION – Back to my pickup truck & the seatbelt warning system. God has given us His warning system, too:

  • His Word
  • The Holy Spirit
  • Our conscience
    • Charles Stanley: “The Holy Spirit, along w/ a divinely informed conscience, guides believers. In order to keep that internal guidance system healthy, we should continually meditate on Scripture.”
  • The Church
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Sermon notes from 6/10/18 – “Let’s Talk to Elijah”

“LET’S TALK TO ELIJAH” – 1 Kings 18:20-40

CWBC – 6/10/18

Jon Daniels

 INTRO – Good morning, everyone! I’m so glad that we are here to worship Jesus together today!

 

How many of you know what the Medal of Honor is? The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. Only 3,497 Recipients in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard have been awarded this acknowledgement of extraordinary achievement in military service.

Medal of Honor Citation: Sergeant First Class Bennie G. Adkins distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Intelligence Sergeant with Detachment A-102, 5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces, during combat operations against an armed enemy at Camp A Shau, Republic of Vietnam from March 9 to 12, 1966. When the camp was attacked by a large North Vietnamese and Viet Cong force in the early morning hours, Sergeant First Class Adkins rushed through intense enemy fire and manned a mortar position continually adjusting fire for the camp, despite incurring wounds as the mortar pit received several direct hits from enemy mortars. Upon learning that several soldiers were wounded near the center of camp, he temporarily turned the mortar over to another soldier, ran through exploding mortar rounds and dragged several comrades to safety. As the hostile fire subsided, Sergeant First Class Adkins exposed himself to sporadic sniper fire while carrying his wounded comrades to the camp dispensary. When Sergeant First Class Adkins and his group of defenders came under heavy small arms fire from members of the Civilian Irregular Defense Group that had defected to fight with the North Vietnamese, he maneuvered outside the camp to evacuate a seriously wounded American and draw fire all the while successfully covering the rescue. When a resupply airdrop landed outside of the camp perimeter, Sergeant First Class Adkins, again, moved outside of the camp walls to retrieve the much-needed supplies. During the early morning hours of March 10, 1966 enemy forces launched their main attack and within two hours, Sergeant First Class Adkins was the only man firing a mortar weapon. When all mortar rounds were expended, Sergeant First Class Adkins began placing effective recoilless rifle fire upon enemy positions. Despite receiving additional wounds from enemy rounds exploding on his position, Sergeant First Class Adkins fought off intense waves of attacking Viet Cong. Sergeant First Class Adkins eliminated numerous insurgents with small arms fire after withdrawing to a communications bunker with several soldiers. Running extremely low on ammunition, he returned to the mortar pit, gathered vital ammunition and ran through intense fire back to the bunker. After being ordered to evacuate the camp, Sergeant First Class Adkins and a small group of soldiers destroyed all signal equipment and classified documents, dug their way out of the rear of the bunker and fought their way out of the camp. While carrying a wounded soldier to the extraction point he learned that the last helicopter had already departed. Sergeant First Class Adkins led the group while evading the enemy until they were rescued by helicopter on March 12, 1966. During the thirty eight hour battle and forty eight hours of escape and evasion, fighting with mortars, machine guns, recoilless rifles, small arms, and hand grenades, it was estimated that Sergeant First Class Adkins killed between one hundred thirty five and one hundred seventy five of the enemy while sustaining eighteen different wounds to his body. Sergeant First Class Adkins’ extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Detachment A-102, 5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces and the United States Army. (http://themedalofhonor.com/medal-of-honor-recipients/recipients/adkins-bennie-vietnam-war)

Ever faced a situation that like that? A situation that seemed completely overwhelming to you? Scared you to death? Odds completely against you?

Man Cave Conversations continue as we talk to Elijah today.

 Open your Bibles or your Bible app & turn to 1 Kings 18:20-40.

1 Kings 18:20-40 (ESV)

The Prophets of Baal Defeated

20 So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. 21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. 23 Let two bulls be given to us, and let them choose one bull for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. And I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood and put no fire to it. 24 And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.” 25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it.” 26 And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made. 27 And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 28 And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. 29 And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.

30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down.31 Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name,”32 and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two seahs[a] of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.”34 And he said, “Do it a second time.” And they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time.” And they did it a third time. 35 And the water ran around the altar and filled the trench also with water.

36 And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. 37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.” 40 And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there.

APPLICATION – 

Face your enemies, bro!

How do we do this?

If we were talking to Elijah, he may tell us these things we need to do to face our enemies like he did:

RECOGNIZE YOUR ENEMIES

Elijah may have faced 850 flesh & blood people on that mountain, but they were not his actual enemies. His enemy was the one who those 850 prophets of Baal & Asherah represented: They represented Satan & all that he throws at the people of God.

Same true for you & me. Our enemies are not the people we deal with every day. Our enemy is Satan himself & all the demons that are under his command. Our enemies are the schemes & plans & devices & traps he uses against us every day to trip us up, to distract us from the things of God, to get our focus off of God’s plan for our lives & tempt us w/ the temporary sinful pleasures of this world.

REALIZE HOW FOOLISH YOUR ENEMIES ARE

The antics of the false prophets was so foolish & fruitless. Didn’t matter what they did or how crazy they acted, their god was not going to answer b/c they HAD no god! Their false god had no power over them except what they allowed it to have. What an incredibly foolish thing to do & incredibly foolish way to live!

And yet, how many times do we do the same thing? Even though Satan & his demons are powerless against us b/c of Christ in us, we foolishly allow him to control us & direct us in directions that are completely opposite of how a Christ-follower should live.

REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST

The pagan prophets spent hours foolishly crying out to their gods. Hour on end. Crazy antics. Probably immoral, perverse activities. Blood everywhere. Exhausted.

Then Elijah spoke to God. Simply. Plainly. Profoundly. Trustingly.

3 simple requests:

  1. Let them know that YOU are God.
  2. Let them know that I am YOUR prophet.
  3. Turn their hearts back to YOU.

Elijah knew who his God was & he knew who he was as God’s man. You & I need to know those same things.

First & foremost, you are a child of God IF you’ve place your faith & trust in Christ alone for your salvation. B/c of that, you have the Holy Spirit dwelling within you to give you everything you need to face your enemies.

You are a worshiper of God.

You are a person of faith.

You are a person of prayer.

When the enemy of doubt shows up, remember who you are in Christ. Remember the promises of God’s Word.

When the enemy of lust shows up, remember that God has called us to a holy life & we must put sexual immorality & lust to death.

When the enemy of bitterness shows up, remember that God warns us to not allow bitterness to take hold & develop into a deep root in our lives.

When the enemy of grief shows up, remember that God says that weeping endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

When the enemy of confusion shows up, remember that God has a plan for your life, plans to prosper you & not to harm you, plans to give a future & give you hope.

When the enemy of fear shows up, remember God’s might.

When the enemy of worry & anxiety shows up, remember that God tells to not be anxious about anything, but to pray about everything.

REJOICE IN GOD’S VICTORY OVER YOUR ENEMIES 

God will come through for you. It will be in HIS time & in HIS way, but He will come through for you. When all the odds are stacked against you – when there seems to be no way out – when it seems that Satan & his forces have truly won – God will come through.

HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: “My Biggest Enemies” – sheet of paper – homework – Get alone w/ the Lord sometime today or this week. Don’t wait too long, or your enemy will come & steal this away from you. He will make sure you get really busy, or really distracted, or really upset & angry about something.

Pray & ask the Lord to reveal to you what your enemies are that your #1 enemy is using against you to draw you away from the Lord. Write them down. As the Lord keeps revealing, you keep writing. May have to get another sheet of paper. Keep going until you sense that you’ve written down everything that the Lord wants you to write down.

Then get down on your knees & give this list to the Lord. Claim the promise that these enemies do not have dominion over your life. Claim the promises of God from His Word of who you are in Christ – “More than a conqueror.” Claim the promise that greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Thank God for the victory is that is YOURS RIGHT NOW in Christ. Then go burn that list. No, it’s not going to be the fire that falls from heaven that burns up that list. But, just like that fire burned up the sacrifice on Mt. Carmel in a powerful demonstration of the power & victory of Almighty God, this fire that you set will be a demonstration to you of the power & victory of Almighty God in YOUR life. How many of you will commit to doing this? Raise your hands.

FACE YOUR FEARS, BRO!

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Sermon notes from 6/3/18 – “Let’s Talk to Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego”

“LET’S TALK TO SHADRACH, MESHACH, & ABEDNEGO” – Daniel 3

CWBC – 6/3/17

Jon Daniels

 

INTRO – (10 mins) – Good morning, everyone! I’m so glad we are together to worship the Lord Jesus today!

We are starting a new series today entitled, “Man Cave Conversations.” Most of us know what a man-cave is. It’s a room or a place that dedicated to all things masculine. It could be at your home, or it may be your deer camp. It is usually outfitted with the finest recliner money can buy & the finest TV money can buy. The sound system is usually ready to play some 70’s rock & roll, or some Willie Nelson & Hank Williams, Jr., depending on your taste in music. The walls are normally adorned w/ deer heads, large-mouth bass, & maybe a mallard duck. There will usually also be décor in the room that will let a visitor know which sports team is regularly watched on the big screen TV. There may also be pictures of classic sports cars – depending on whether you are a Mopar man, or a Chevy man, or a Ford man, you may have a pic of a 69 Dodge Charger on the wall, or a 68 Corvette, or the 68 Mustang that Steve McQueen drove in Bullitt. There may be some military memorabilia in the man-cave. There may be a pool table in there, along w/ a refrigerator to keep the drinks cold, & its own AC system so you can keep it as cold as you want to without having to hear someone complain about it.

And inside the man-cave, the conversations that happen are directed toward subjects & issues that directly affect a man’s life, ranging from sports teams to hunting to work to hobbies to kids to wives, & maybe even the Lord. So today, we start our “Man Cave Conversations” for the next 4 weeks.

 

When was the last time you took a stand on something that you felt strongly about? Here’s a video of someone who did just that – Kelvin Cochran, fire chief of Atlanta FD, who was fired for publishing a Christian Bible study book that gave support to the biblical definition of marriage (between a man & a woman).

Cochran’s termination went to a US District Court where it was upheld as the Judge ruled that b/c of Cochran’s position as fire chief, his views might cause “public erosion of trust in the fire department.”

Sometimes, our taking a stand will cause us to suffer, or cause others to suffer. We have to decide if it’s worth it. Are we willing to bear the pain of our decision to take a stand for what we believe?

Right now, there’s another case that the US Supreme Court will rule on that involves a bakery owner in Colorado who refused to design a wedding cake for a gay couple’s wedding. Jack Phillips, the owner of the bakery, is a devout Christian & took a stand on his faith & on biblical principles. And that stand has gone all the way to the US Supreme Court now. That upcoming decision will have ripple effects throughout all of our society.

 

The Bible is full of men & women who took a stand for the Lord when it was necessary. 3 young men in the Old Testament did just that – Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego.

In 1973, kids’ musical came out – “It’s Cool In the Furnace.” We sang it when I was in children’s choir at IBC. Still remember some of the words to the songs.

“Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, lived in Judah a long time ago. They had funny names & the lived far away, but they set an example we can follow today.”

Even though this story has been portrayed in a children’s musical, we must not see in a childish way. One commentator said this about this biblical story: “…many of us have heard this story so often in Sunday School that we may have lumped Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego with Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

My goal is to challenge your childhood perception of this favorite and familiar story. We must see this event as history, not fairy tale. We must feel the heat of that fire and smell the smoke of that ancient furnace.” (Bob Deffinbaugh, https://bible.org/seriespage/4-faith-and-furnace-daniel-31-30)

Open your Bibles or your Bible app to Daniel 3.

Daniel 3 (ESV)

Nebuchadnezzar’s Golden Image

King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits[a]and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent to gather the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And the herald proclaimed aloud, “You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.” Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

The Fiery Furnace

Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews. They declared[b] to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! 10 You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image. 11 And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king.

 

EXPLANATION – Not unusual for ancient kings to set up statues as Nebuchadnezzar did here. This one was massive – 90 feet tall (9-story building). We don’t really know whether it was a statue or “image” of himself, or of a pagan deity, or something else. All we know is that it was a massive statue, overlaid w/ gold, set up by Nebuchadnezzar. The king’s edict commanded that this statue was to be worshiped by all the people at a prescribed time when the music began to play. The edict also prescribed the awful punishment to be carried out against anyone who did not bow down & worship this statue: they were to be thrown into a fiery furnace & burned alive. Some commentators say that this furnace, a smelting furnace used for the gold for the statue, would have had a temperature of approx. 1800 degrees. It probably would have been right there close to the statue so all the people could see its blazing flames & smell the smoke billowing from it as a stark reminder of what would happen to them if they did not obey the king’s orders.

But there were 3 men, Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego, who did not obey the king, did not bow down to the statue, & did not participate in the idolatrous time of worship. And true to his word, Nebuchadnezzar brought them in, confirmed that the charges were true, &, in an out-of-control fit of rage, threw these guys into the furnace (which had been heated 7 times as hot as normal – so hot, that it killed the soldiers who escorted S, M, & A to the furnace).

There’s one simple application point I want to make based on this story:

 

APPLICATION – 

Don’t bow down, bro!

Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego show us that, if you are going to be a real man of God, you can’t bow down when it comes to your faith & the things of God.

Idol worship was not an option for them, & it’s not an option for you.

We don’t bow down to statues overlaid w/ gold, but so many of us bow down to other idols in our lives – our possessions, our pleasures, our work, our wealth, our hidden sins, our health & fitness.

We worship whatever we give our mind’s attention & heart’s affection. Only Jesus can occupy the throne of our heart!

There was a high price for them to pay, & there’s going to be a price for you to pay.

v.15 – Nebuchadnezzar told them bluntly & plainly that they would pay with their lives if they did not bow down.

  • Kelvin Cochran lost his job as Atlanta fire chief.
  • Jack Phillips lost most of his business & revenue at his bakery.

Are you & I willing to pay the price for not bowing down. Jesus said in Luke 14:28, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” 

Their God came through for them, & your God will come through for you! Why? BECAUSE HE’S THE SAME GOD!

v. 24-25 – Nebuchadnezzar saw 4 men walking around in the fire, & the 4th one looked like “a son of the gods.” KJV says the 4th man looked like “the Son of God.” Why did the man look like the Son of God? BECAUSE IT WAS THE SON OF GOD! Jesus came to them in the fire.

Isaiah 43:2 – “…when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned…for I am the Lord , your God, the Holy One of Israel, your SAVIOR.” JESUS comes to us in the fires of adversity in our lives & walks with us!

The greatest man who has ever lived, paid the highest price that has ever been paid, when He took the strongest stand that’s ever been taken, to show the greatest love that has ever been shown – JESUS!

 

So….DON’T BOW DOWN, BRO!

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