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Introduction To Sermon Page

TOPICAL SERMONS

FUNERAL SERMONS

WEDDING CEREMONY


Topical Sermons
  • The Priesthood of Aaron
  • Problems of the Home
  • Will We Know One Another In Heaven?
  • The Faith of Able
  • Things We Can Know
  • The God of the Sparrows
  • The Flame of Jehovah
  • The World's Most Popular Thief
  • Great Is His Forgiveness
  • Looking Forward to Heaven
  • The Christian Home
  • The "Eyes" Have It
  • Instrumental Music In Christian Worship
  • The Bible Heart
  • Marriage: An Ideal Whose Time is Past?

  • FUNERAL SERMONS

    WEDDING CEREMONY


    Introduction to Sermon Page

    In this section you will find sermons gleaned from many sources. We have tried to document where possible. We began taking notes on sermons at the age of 12 and often return to those notes taken through the years for sermon ideas. At the time we were not thinking of publishing sermons and, of course, had no thought of a webpage. Over the years we have discovered that preachers often "borrow" ideas, thoughts and even words from other preachers. We readily admit that in preparing sermons from week to week over some 40 years, we have not documented every point. We have tried to at least give credit to some of the sources. We hope that you will find these outlines useful in preaching and personal study. Please read our copyright policy before downloading.
    --Dan Flournoy


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    THE PRIESTHOOD OF AARON

     

    Dan Flournoy

     

    Introduction:

    A.     A study of the priesthood of Aaron is basic study in the types and shadows of the Old Testament

     

    1.      Heb 10:1 “For the law having a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of the things, can never with the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect them that draw nigh.” (ASV)

    2.      The word shadow indicates a symbolic and obscure expression of a thing.

    3.      A tree may cast a shadow in the morning sunlight.

    4.      One might be able to identify the shadow as a tree but not be able to identify its color or even the kind of tree.

    5.      A biblical type may be defined as “a figure or ensample of something future and more or less prophetic, called the ‘Antitype” (Bullinger, 768 – Jackson 125).

     

    B.     There are three offices in the Old Testament that are types whose antitype are found in the New Testament.  They are:

    1.      Prophets (1 Kgs. 19:16; cf. 1 Cor. 11:4-5),

    2.      Priests (Ex. 28:41; cf. 1 Pet. 2:9) and

    3.      Kings (1 Sam. 10:1; cf.Rev. 1:6).

     

    C.     The office of priest is of particular interest for this study.

     

    1.      What Is a Priest? -- A priest, in effect, is a mediator who stands between God and man.

    a.       He offers sacrifice to God on behalf of man and administers other worship obligations that people feel unworthy to offer personally.

    b.      The nearest thing to a definition found in the Scriptures is probably Hebrews 5:1.

    “For every high priest, being taken from among men, is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.”

    2.      The formal priesthood of the Mosaic dispensation was known as the Aaronic priesthood, because all the priests were required to be selected from Aaron’s (Moses’ brother) lineage.

    3.      The OT priest was a foreshadow of the Christian who is a priest:

    1 Peter 2:5 “Ye also, as living stones are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

     

    D.     The Biblical priesthood of Aaron consisted of the offices of priest and high priest.

    1.      These were set in place through Moses, along with the Law and the earthly tabernacle while the children of Israel lived at Mt. Sinai.

    2.      The Lord specified only Aaron, of the tribe of Levi, and his sons to be Israel’s priests (Ex. 28:1).

    3.      The other Levites were set apart as assistants to help in the work of the tabernacle and to care for its furnishings (Num. 3:5-10).

     

    I.       The priesthood in Israel is called the “Levitical priesthood” because the priests were from the tribe of Levi.

     

    A.     The priesthood was the ministry of worship as the tabernacle was the place of worship for the Israelites.

    B.     The priests had a very close connection with the tabernacle in its constitution and…

    C.      As a complement of it in that ancient religion of types and shadows.

    D.     The tabernacle would have been useless and meaningless without a priesthood.

    1. So close was this relation that the inspired writer stops his description of the furniture of the tabernacle at the end of the twenty-seventh chapter of Exodus, before giving the description of the golden altar found in Exodus thirty, to devote the twenty eighth and twenty ninth chapters to the calling and consecrating of Aaron and his sons.
    2. The command to Moses was. "Take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office." (Exod. 28:1).

     

    II.     Aaron was to be the high priest, and his son’s common priests.

    A.     Viewing the Israelite priesthood in its broadest phase, it contained three classes:

    B.     The whole tribe of Levi was a priestly tribe, and the Levites were divinely appointed helpers of the priests.

    1.       The tribe of Levi was chosen because of its fidelity when Israel worshipped the golden calf at the base of Sinai (Ex. 32:26-29).

    2.      They were to assist the priests in caring for and transporting the tabernacle from place to place,

    3.      And in teaching the law to the people.

    4.      Because of these important duties the Levites were given no regular inheritance in the land of Canaan, but were scattered among the other tribes and made dependent upon the tithes from the other twelve tribes for their living.

    C.      The common priests were of the sons of Aaron, who was of the priestly tribe of Levi.

    1.      These were consecrated with Aaron to the sacred service of Jehovah,

    2.      But it is worthy of notice that in the calling of them with Aaron it is said that "he" may minister in the priest's office.

    3.      Aaron, who was the High Priest.

     

    1. The high priest was the real mediator of the Mosaic religion.

     

      1. He stood between the sinful people and their holy God.

    1.      The HP entered once each year into the holy of holies to make atonement and to intercede before Jehovah for the people.

    2.      He bore their names ever upon his breast (Ex. 28:15-29; 39:8-21).

    3.      As far as that ancient service is concerned, there would have been no other priests if he could have performed this service alone.

    B.     The HP took the blood of an animal into the holy of holies and sprinkled it upon the Mercy Seat to atone for his own sins.

    C.     He entered a second time with blood to atone for the sins of the people.

     

    1. The Antitype of the Priesthood

     

      1. Jesus is the NT antitype of the OT high priest.

    1.       "Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus." (Heb. 3 :1 ).

    2.      "We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens." (Heb. 8 :1).

    3.      As Aaron entered into God's presence with the blood of vicarious atonement, so Jesus intercedes for us by his own atoning blood.

    4.      As Israel's high priest bore into God's presence the names of his people inscribed in the precious stones upon his breast and shoulders, so Jesus our "advocate with the Father" (1 John 2:1) represents us every one before God's throne in heaven now.

    5.      Aaron, the high priest, resembled Christ in several particulars and yet was much inferior to him.

    a.       Aaron was divinely appointed, and so was Jesus (Heb. 5:5).

    b.      Aaron was ceremonially pure in that he was consecrated;

    c.       He was not to defile himself by touching any dead thing; and must marry a wife in her virginity, not a divorced woman, a harlot, or a widow (Lev. 21:14):

    c.       So Christ was intrinsically holy (Heb. 7:26).

    “For such a high priest became us, holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens”

    d.      His bride, the church, is to be “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:26).

    e.       The ancient high priest was to be physically perfect (Lev. 21:16 24); but Christ is morally perfect.

    6.      Christians are represented as priests in the NT:

    a.       "Ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation" (1 Pet. 2:9).

    b.      "And hast made us unto our God kings and priests" (Rev.1:6; 5:10; 20:6).

    c.       Christians offer spiritual sacrifices (Rom. 12:1ff; Phil. 2:17; 4:18; Heb. 13:15-16; 1 Pet. 2:5).

    d.      We offer up service to God through our High Priest, Jesus Christ (Heb. 3:1; 4:14ff).

    e.       Christ, our HP mediates on our behalf (Heb. 2:17ff; 1 Tim. 2:5).

    8.      Also as those priests entered that ancient house of God, so Christians have been admitted into the "house of God which is the church."

    9.      Likewise, Christians are analogous to the Levitical priests in that as they offered the sweet incense in worship to God, so …

    10.  Christians "offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name." (Heb. 13:15).

    11.  These offerings to God are acceptable to him because we are chosen of God as priests; we do not become priests by means of such offerings.

    12.  As those Levitical priests had to wash at the laver before entering the sacred precincts of God's house, so we have become truly holy by obeying the truth:

    1 Peter 1:22 “Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth…”

    13.  Every Christian is a priest of God.

    a.       As such, the Christian serves under Jesus who is the Great High Priest (Heb. 3:1)

    b.      There is not “clergy/laity” system in NT Christianity.

    B.  Aaron, the High Priest – Like Christ, Our High Priest

    1.      The role of high priest was a life-long appointment, and was assumed by the oldest qualified descendant of Aaron.

    2.      All other male offspring of Aaron served as priests, except in the case of the physically impaired (Lev. 21:17-23), or unless he became temporarily “unclean” (Lev. 22:3).

    3.      Aaron – a type of Christ – Heb. 3:1

    Heb 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, even Jesus(ASV).

     

    There are some important points that stress great truths regarding the priesthood of the Mosaic dispensation.

     

    IV.  The Holiness of God

    A.     One of the prime features of the priestly system was to emphasize—and quite graphically—the absolutely holy nature of Almighty God.

    1.      This is a concept repeatedly affirmed in the Scriptures:

    ·        Isa. 6:3 “And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is Jehovah of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.” (ASV)

     

    ·        Rev. 4:8 “and the four living creatures, having each one of them six wings, are full of eyes round about and within: and they have no rest day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.” (ASV)

    2.      This fundamental truth must be grasped, as much as is humanly possible, if one is to be motivated to serve the Ruler of Heaven and Earth.

    3.      The priestly ministration of the law was characterized by numerous detailed regulations.

    4.      The high priest, along with the subordinate priests, were required to dress in a particular way so as to reflect the concept of holiness (Ex. 28:4).

    5.      Some scholars are persuaded that merging lines of evidence indicate that in their official functions priests were required to be barefoot as a token of the fact they were serving a holy God (cf. Ex. 3:5).

    6.      As noted above, even those men of the family of Aaron who had certain physical deformities were forbidden to serve as priests (Lev. 21:17-23).

    7.      Apparently the unblemished body of the priest was to be a visual expression of the perfection of the God whom he was serving.

    8.      Think also about the unblemished nature of the sacrifices (cf. 1 Pet. 1:19).

    1Pe 1:19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, even the blood of Christ: (ASV)

     

    B.     There were elaborate ceremonies for the “consecration” of priests as they embarked upon their sacred roles (see Ex. 29; Lev. 8-9).

    1.      The ceremonies lasted for seven days and involved washings with pure water,

    2.      The adorning of special garments,

    3.      Anointing with oil,

    4.      The sacrifice of bullocks and rams, etc.

    5.      All of this was designed to demonstrate that these men were entering the service of God Most Holy.

    6.      There is a vast chasm between the perfect purity of our Creator, and the filth of our own transgressions

    Prov. 30:12 – “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, And yet are not washed from their filthiness.” (ASV)).

    7.      In studying the priesthood of the Old Testament, we must constantly remind ourselves of this penetrating and humbling truth.

     

    V.     The Priesthood of Aaron was in Preparation for the Arrival of the Great High Priest

    1. There is a strong connection between the priestly castes of the Old Testament and the components of the New Testament regime.

    1.      For example, the arrangement that obtained in the case of Melchizedek, who was both king and priest simultaneously, prophetically foreshadowed the fact that Jesus would serve as king and priest at the same time (Gen. 14:18ff; Psa. 110; Zech. 6:12-13).

    2.      This circumstance clearly demonstrates that Christ’s reign is heavenly (not earthly) in scope, because Jesus was not genealogically qualified to function as an earthly priest

    ·        Heb. 8:4 “Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, seeing there are those who offer the gifts according to the law;” (ASV)

     

    ·        Heb.7:14 “For it is evident that our Lord hath sprung out of Judah; as to which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priests.” (ASV)

     

    1. One of the major emphases of the book of Hebrews is the fact that the priesthood of the Mosaic economy was typical (pictorial) and thus preparatory in nature.

    1.      As the inspired writer noted, those elements of the law were a “a shadow of the good things to come” (10:1; cf. 8:5).

    2.      Indeed, he says, “a figure for the time present” (9:9).

    1. The former system was “carnal,” while the latter is “heavenly” (Heb. 9:9; 8:5).
      1. Why is it that so many people clamor for the inferior, as evidenced by their inclination to gravitate back to Moses for the alleged authority for their self-willed practices?
      2. Why go back to the Mosaic system for instrumental music, burning incense, priestly robes and such things that were only symbolic and foreshadowed TRUE WORSHIP IN CHRIST.
    2. The Mosaic priesthood, in some ways, pictured the Christians of the new system (see below).

                                                                1.      The tabernacle/temple arrangements, in which the priests performed their duties, were typical of both the church (the holy place) and heaven (the most holy place).

                                                                2.      The blood offerings set forth certain truths concerning him who was offered for our sins (Jn. 1:29; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 9:28).

                                                                3.      How wonderfully the Old Testament served in preparing the way for the arrival of our High Priest (Gal. 3:24; Col. 2:14ff), who is

    a.       “great” (Heb. 4:14; 10:21),

    b.      “merciful and faithful” (Heb. 2:17),

    c.       “the apostle and high priest of our confession” (Heb. 3:1),

    d.      and who serves “after the order of Melchizedek” (Heb. 5:10).

     

    1. False Ideas Associated with Priesthood
      1. We cannot leave this study without calling attention to three false ideas that are associated with the concept of “priesthood” in the modern world of “Christendom.”

    1.      The Roman Catholic idea of a sacerdotal system of physical priests for today’s church has no support of the New Testament.

    a.       It is based upon the fallacious notion that the apostles “were clothed with the powers of Jesus Christ,” and that Catholic priests, as “successors” of the apostles, are similarly endowed with their power (James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers, Baltimore: John Murphy, 1917, p. 387ff).

    b.      The idea is closely associated with the delusion that in performing the “Mass,” the priests are sacrificing the body of Christ—a notion completely at variance with the Scriptures.

    c.       The New Testament teaches that Jesus was sacrificed once, and that was entirely sufficient (cf. Heb. 9:25-28).

    2.      The Mormon theory of priesthood is equally erroneous.

    a.       Mormonism promotes two priesthoods, without which, supposedly, there can be no salvation.

    b.      These are the Melchizedek and the Aaronic priesthoods (Doctrine & Covenants 107:1-3,5).

    c.       The Mormon priesthood dogma has no authority higher than that of Joseph Smith, Jr., who claims to have “restored” the ancient order of priests on May 15, 1829.

    d.      The error in this is all too obvious to anyone with a more-than-minimum acquaintance with the New Testament.

    e.       First of all, the Melchizedek priesthood was to belong to Christ, and to none other, until the end of time.

    i.          The writer of Hebrews says concerning Jesus that: ”. . . he, because he abides for ever, has his priesthood unchangeable” (7:24). The key word is “unchangeable” (aparabatos), which suggests that the Lord’s priesthood is imperishable.

    ii.       Some suggest that the meaning of the Greek term is simply “permanent, unchangeable” (F.W. Danker, et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Chicago: University of Chicago, 2000, p. 97), which, of itself, would eliminate the Mormon idea.

    iii.      But even more to the point is the proposed meaning “non-transferable” (C. Spiqu, Theological Lexicon of the New Testament, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994, 1.143-44). That would specifically deny that it could pass to other persons.

    f.        Second, the Aaronic priesthood cannot be operative today because it was an integral part of the law of Moses, which law was abolished by Christ (Eph. 2:15), being, in a manner of speaking, nailed to his cross (Col. 2:14).

    g.       Moreover, the verb rendered “hath taken away” in this latter passage is a perfect tense form, which argues for the permanent abolition of that law.

    h.       There is no biblical indication that the law was to be, or ever will be, restored. Too, one could not restore the Aaronic priesthood without “of necessity” resurrecting the entire Mosaic law (Heb. 7:12).

    3.      Finally, the premillennial speculation that the Aaronic priesthood is “to be resumed nationally, on behalf of Gentiles, in the Millennial Kingdom” is groundless.

    a.       And it is quite disappointing that this concept was argued so stringently by such a respectable student of New Testament Greek as W.E. Vine (Priest—Expository Dictionary).

    b.      The passages he cites as proof (Isa. 61:6; 66:21) refer to the Christian dispensation, not a supposed earthly, millennial kingdom.

    Conclusion

    A.     And so we conclude our brief study of the subject of “priests,” we remind ourselves of the numerous valuable lessons that come with this theme.

    B.     At the same time, as we have noted, this is a subject given to serious abuse.

    C.     May we keep in mind that Jesus is our High Priest today.

     

    1.      He has entered into the Most Holy Place (heaven itself) with his own blood to atone for our sins.

    2.      Will you accept his sacrifice through faith, repentance, confession and baptism?

     

    _______

    Sources:

    Wayne Jackson, Biblical Figures of Speech, Stockton, California: Courier Publications, 2005, p. 125.

    Wayne Jackson, http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/exploring_the_concept_of_priesthood.

    ©2007 Dan Flournoy, www.Christian-Family.net

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    Email: dan@christian-family.net

    ___________________________________________________________


    PROBLEMS OF THE HOME
    Dan Flournoy

     

    Introduction:     Who would deny that there are problems in the home?  “It is estimated that the average American home today is characterized as follows: one four ends in divorce (almost 1 out of 3); one is separated; one is held together because of shame of divorce and for children’s sake; and only one in four is a happy united home” (V.E. Howard, Broken Homes and Handicapped Children, p. 15).

     

    A.      The home is being attacked from without and within.

    a.       Marriage, as an institution is being attacked openly.  Some are advocating the idea of “open marriage” or “trial marriage.”  The so-called “Women’s Liberation Movement” belittles the role of wife and mother and generally undermines the structure of the home.

    b.      Problems arise from within the home which weaken and destroy.  Jealousy, envy, strife, financial problems, sexual problems, etc. work from within the home.  Divorce is looked upon by many as an easy way out.

    B.       In this lesson we are concerned with “problems of the home” and the possible solutions to these problems.

     

    I.                 The Problem of a Bad Beginning

    A.                 Some homes are doomed from the beginning.

    1.                  Some rush into marriage without consideration of responsibilities.

    a.                Responsibilities of the husband/father

    b.                Responsibilities of the wife/mother

    c.                Responsibilities of the children

    2.                  Consideration should be given one’s mate in regard to:

    a.                Industry

    b.                Sobriety

    c.                Cleanliness

    d.                Honesty

    e.                Temperament

    f.                  Moodiness

    g.                Most important – marry a Christian

    B.                 Unscriptural marriages bring much heartache.

    1.                  According to the Bible (Matt. 5:32; 19:3-12) the only ones eligible to be married are:

    a.                Those who have never been married before.

    b.                Those whose companion is dead.

    c.                Those whose companion has committed fornication.

    2.                  To marry someone who does not fit into these categories is to become guilty of adultery (Matt. 19:3-12).

    C.                 The home must begin right.

    1.                  Based upon mutual love, trust and respect.

    2.                  Couples would do well to pray and study together before marriage.

    II.               The Problem of Absorption

    A.                 Many parents are absorbed in the lodge, club, recreation, business, etc.

    1.                  It is well to be busy, but there is such a thing as being too busy.

    2.                  One is too busy when there is no time for family.

    B.                 The working mother  - inherent dangers are:

    1.                  Tends to make money the determining factor in marriage

    2.                  Tends to make wife independent and have less interest in home

    3.                  Tends to make marriage a business agreement

    4.                  May injure attitude of husband toward wife

    5.                  Fatigue on part of both, and ensuing irritability.

    6.                  Destroys appreciation of the purpose of a home.

    7.                  May lead to break down of personality and initiative

    8.                  May place dependent feelings within the husband.

    9.                  If wife ever stops working, adjustment to lower standard of living is difficult.

    C.                 Many mothers who do not work become absorbed with other things.

    “On Monday she lunched with the Housing Committee,

    with statistics and stew she was filled;

    Then she dashed to a tea on ‘The Crime in Our City’

    And dined with the church Ladies’ Guild.

    On Tuesday she went to a Babies’ Week lunch

    And a tea on ‘Good Citizenship.’

    At dinner she spoke to the Trade Union bunch;

    There wasn’t a date she dared skip.

     

    On Wednesday she managed two annual dinners,

    One at noon and the other at night;

    On Thursday a luncheon on ‘Bootlegging Sinners,’

    And a dinner on ‘War, Is it Right?’

     

    ‘World Problems We Face’ was the Friday noon date

    And a luncheon address, as you guessed.

    Then she wielded a fork while a man from New York

    Spoke at dinner on ‘Social Unrest.’

     

    On Saturday noon she fell in a swoon,

    Missed a speech on ‘The Youth of Our Land.’

    Poor thing, she was through, for she never came to,

    But died with a spoon in her hand.”

    (Clovis G. Chappell, Sermons from the Parables, p. 32)

     

    III.            The Problem of Meddlers

    A.                 How many homes have been wrecked by someone outside sowing seeds of discord and mistrust?

    1.                  In-laws can be a problem.

    a.                In-laws usually mean well, but they usually are not objective.

    b.                Young married couples need to learn to stand, without running home with every problem.

    2.                  If advice and counsel are needed, go to someone who can be objective.   Paul Harvey:  “Fathers are what give daughters away to other men who aren’t nearly good enough, so they can have grandchildren that are smarter than anybody’s.”

    B.                 Marriage is for the emotionally mature.

    1.                  Cleaving and leaving are necessary (Matt. 19:4,5).

    2.                  This three-fold ordinance cannot be ignored (cf. 1 Cor. 6:16).

    IV.            The Problem of Wrong Association

    A.                 1 Corinthians 15:33 is not just for young people!

    1.                  Many homes have been wrecked because of evil associations.

    2.                  Easy for young couples to get started with the wrong crowd and get involved in dancing and drinking.

    B.                 Dancing injures the home.

    1.                  It destroys the foundation of mutual respect and love in the young.

    2.                  It arouses suspicion and jealousies.

    3.                  It dulls the appetite for simple family pastimes and pleasures.

    4.                  It causes a craving for the more excitable.

    5.                  It is condemned as a work of the flesh (Gal. 5:19).

    C.                 Alcohol destroys the home.

    1.                  Some officials state that as high as 78% of all divorces and broken homes are caused by drinking (V.E. Howard, p. 53).

    2.                  Murders, beatings, rapes and robberies in the home are associated with alcohol.

    3.                  Drunk drivers cause more than 25,000 deaths on the highways each year (Howard, p. 61).

    4.                  “In the Christian home, there will be no beer in the refrigerator and no cocktails at parties.  There will be active opposition to liquor everywhere” (Thomas L. Campbell, Making the Home Christian, p. 4).

    5.                  “Many people today will vigorously attempt to defend ‘social drinking,’ but may I remind you that so-called ‘social drinking’ may be one of the first steps in becoming an alcoholic” (Howard, p. 71).

    6.                  A young man in prison received a Bible from his mother by way of the chaplain’s office.  He said, “Take it back and tell her the first drink I took was from her hand and that I learned to gamble in her home …”

    D.                 What do your children learn in your home?  Do they learn to pray and how to study the Bible?  What kind of associations do you provide?

    V.              The Problem of Discipline

    A.                 Discipline means “to develop by instruction and exercise; to train in self-control or obedience to given standards.”  Also, “to chasten; punish” (Webster, cf. Eph. 6:4).

    B.                 Discipline is both negative and positive.

    1.                  Shows the ill that comes from wrong action.

    2.                  Shows good effects from good action and attitudes.

    C.                 Punishment should never be administered in anger or revenge (Eph. 6:4).

    1.                  Severe, harsh discipline is not intelligent or Christian treatment.

    2.                  Should be corrective, administered in love.

    3.                  The happiest child is one who is disciplined (Campbell, p. 25).

     

    Conclusion:  May we do all we can to make ours happy, Christian homes.

     

     

    A Christian Home

    Where the family gathers at close of day;

    Where children obey and parents pray.

    Where love is found within the walls.

    Where grace abounds and mercy calls.

    Where peace is had and prayers are said;

    Where Christ is first, the Scriptures read.

    Where songs ring out from sill to dome;

    Tis here you’ll find a Christian Home.

    Where fires burn bright with autumn glow;

    Where hearts are light and voices low.

    Where minds are closed against all wrong;

    Where hearts rejoice in praise and song.

    With Christ enthroned in every life;

    No anger, malice or bitter strife.

    Where souls rejoice and flowers bloom;

    This is indeed a Christian Home.


     

    ©2005 Dan Flournoy, www.Christian-Family.net

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    WILL WE KNOW ONE ANOTHER IN HEAVEN?

     

    Introduction:  The mystery of life and death have been the occasion of the deepest inquiry sense the morning of man’s existence.

     

         A.  Science cannot answer the mystery of the soul.

         B.  Philosophy only attempts a rational explanation of death.

         C.  History testifies to the universal experience of death

         D.  The Bible alone gives man the answers to the age old questions regarding life, death and heaven.

     

              1.  We are in possession of life and someday

              2.  We will experience death.

     

    I.  Preliminary Observations

     

         A.  There is an element of mankind that is created in the image of God.

     

    Gen 1:26  Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

     

         B.  Yet, God is not physical

     

    John 4:24  "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

     

    Luke 24:39  "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have."

     

    Mat 16:17  Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

     

         C.  Logic demands, therefore, that there is something within man that transcends the fleshly level.

     

         D.  Daniel once declared that his “spirit” was grieved in the midst of his body (Dan. 7:15).   Grief is an emotion of mind, not flesh.

     

         E.  Paul affirmed that the “spirit of man which in him is capable of possessing knowledge:  1 Cor 2:11  “For what man knows the things of a man except the               spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.”

     

         F.  Clearly there is a conscious entity within man, biblically known as the spirit.

     

    John 13:21  When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me."

     

    Mary said, Luke 1:47  And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.

     

    1 Cor 16:18  For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.

     

         G.  There is no evidence whatever that the spirit of a human being is affected by death.

     

    II.  What Is Death?

     

         A.  Death is not cessation of existence -- it is not extinction.

     

              1.  The materialists (JW, Adventist, Christadelphians) assert that the soul’s  destiny, in death, is the grave. 

     

              2.  The word soul is used in different senses:

     

                  a.  Used of the whole person --

     

    Acts 2:41  Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

     

    1 Pet 3:20  who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine long-suffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.

     

                  b.  Sometimes denotes the physical life which man possesses in common with God’s lower creation -

     

    Psa 78:50  He made a path for His anger; He did not spare their soul from death, But gave their life over to the plague,

     

                  c.  It is used on the spirit -- the immortal nature and used interchangeably with “the spirit” --

     

    Acts 2:27  For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

     

                  d. When used as a synonym for “spirit” - the word soul is an entity, a never- dying entity, a personality possessing the attributes and                                              characteristics of thought, intelligence, purpose and reason.

     

         B.  Consider these Pertinent Passages

     

              1. James 2:26  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

     

                  a.  Life is that state or condition which exists while the body and the spirit are united.

     

                  b.  Death is that state or condition resulting when the spirit is no longer in the body.

     

              2.  Gen. 25:8 “And Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years, and was gathered to his people.”

     

                  a.  This cannot refer to the interment of the patriarch’s body, for he was buried near Mamre in Palestine.  Yet his ancestors had been entombed hundreds                of miles away in distant lands.

     

                  b.  The expression “gathered to his people” denotes reunion with faithful loved ones in Sheol, the sphere of departed spirits.

     

              3.  When Jacob was deceived by his sons into believing that his beloved Joseph had been devoured by wild beasts, he lamented: “I will go down to Sheol             to my son mourning” (Gen. 37:35).

     

                  a.  He was not anticipating joining Joseph in some common grave--Joseph had no grave (from the grieving Jacob’s view point).

     

                  b.  He expected to be reunited with his son in Sheol.

     

              4.  Centuries later -- David lost his infant son in death -- 2 Sam 12:23 “Can I bring him back again?  I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”

     

              5.  When Rachel died --Gen. 35:18 “And it came to pass, as her soul was departing (for she died)...” -- death is a departure.

     

              6. Ps. 90:10  “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength                    labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”

     

                  The days of our years are terminated when that which is immortal fly away.

     

              7.  I Kings 17:22 “And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again and he revived.”

     

                  The child was dead and Elijah prayed that God would return his spirit.  The child revived only when the soul returned.

     

              8.  Acts 7:59 “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying Lord Jesus, received my spirit.”

     

                  Stephen expired when his soul left his bruised and broken body.

     

         C.  The conclusion of all these scriptures is irresistible -- death is when the spirit is no longer in the body.

     

    III.  Will We Recognize One Another in Heaven?

     

         A.   Important questions:

              1.  Does individual personality survive the death of the body?

              2.  Does recognition of friends and loved ones exist beyond this present life?

              3.  These questions are of more than passing emotional interest; they involve the very essence of the human spirit.

         B.  We believe that the biblical evidence is overwhelming which supports the concept of personal identity after death.

     

         C.  Consider these examples of those who have died, but maintained their ability to recognize one another:

     

              1.  The Rich Man and Lazarus --Luke 16:19-31

     

                  a.  The rich man saw and recognized Lazarus (Lk 16:33).

                  b.  He was challenged to remember his own past.

                  c.  He recalled his unprepared brothers back on earth -- thus he had memory.

     

    Remember indicates the survival of personality, for it requires the retention of memory.  If we could not remember or recognize ourselves, there would no longer be personality.  Heaven and hell would no longer have significance. [R.C. Foster, Studies in the Life of Christ, p. 959].

     

                  d.  Note also that the rich man couls see, hear, speak and feel.  He was aware of his brothers.

     

              2.  Moses and Elijah -- The Transfiguration -- Matt. 17:1-8

     

                  a.  Moses -- the great lawgiver died hundreds of years before and buried on Mt. Nebo.

                  b.  Elijah left earth with experiencing death...

                  c.  Even though they had been in the spirit world for centuries:

                       (1)  They were recognized by Peter, James and John.

                       (2)  They were still the same individuals.

                       (3)  They had, evidently, “bodily” shape.

                       (4)  They conversed with Jesus

                       (5)  The chief point is this:  If this context teaches that those who we have not personally known on earth can be recognized after death,                          then surely it must imply that those whom we have known in time will be familiar to us in that further state.[1]   

     

                  3.  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob  -- Matt 8:11

                       (1)  In prophesying the Gentile response to the gospel, Jesus declared: “...many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down                                  with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.”        

     

                       (2)  Will the recipients of this great promise realize its fulfillment? --That is, will they actually have association with those patriarchs in heaven?

     

                       (3)  Will they know those patriarchal worthies as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

     

                       (4)  For a promise that is incapable of being recognized as such is no promise at all!

     

                       (5)  If we will know Abraham, Isaac and Jacob...does it not follow that those men (grandfather, father and son) will know each other?

     

    Conclusion:

         A.  These are but a few of the passages which show that man is conscious after death and that WE WILL KNOW ONE ANOTHER IN HEAVEN.

     

         B.  While we may not fully comprehend how this is possible, or all that is involved, there is enough revealed in scripture for us believe.

     

         C.  We have every confidence that there will be many joyful reunions after we have passed through death’s dark vale.

     

         D.  May we thus press toward the goal in anticipation of the glories that shall ultimately be revealed.

             



    [1] Wayne Jackson, Does Personal Recognition Exist Beyond Death? The Restorer, July 1991, p. 11.

     

    ©2005www.Christian-Family.net

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    The Faith of Able

    (Heb. 11:4)

     

    INTRODUCTION:  “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had witness borne to him that he was righteous, God bearing witness in respect of his gifts: and through it he being dead yet speaketh.”

     

    A.     Hebrews chapter 11 is a roll-call of the heroes of the past.

     

    1.      “The elders” (presbuteroi) (vs. 2) no doubt refers to the Old Testament worthies of the past, the patriarchs of the Hebrew scriptures and the witness borne to them by the scriptural records that they were righteous.

     

    2.     Not a soul is mentioned in this chapter whose life was not verified by Holy Writ. 

     

    3.     It is what God writes of a man that matters...not what man thinks.

     

    B.     It would appear that the opening chapters of Genesis is before the author.

     

    1.     First, there is mention of creation, following that our text -- referring to Able.

     

    2.     “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain”

     

    3.     This takes us back to Genesis 4:3-8 -- Two brothers brought a sacrifice.  God accepted Abel’s and rejected Cain’s. 

     

    4.     Cain was angry --his countenance fell...

     

    5.     Jehovah’s reply to Cain: Gen 4:6-7 "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?  "If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it."

     

    6.     There is no explicit explanation as to why Abel’s sacrifice was more acceptable, beyond the suggestion that “Cain did not “do well.” 

     

    III.           POSSIBLE REASONS WHY ABLE’S OFFERING WAS MORE      ACCEPTABLE.

     

    1.  The answer is often given that Cain substituted a vegetable offering rather than bringing a blood sacrifice.

     

    1.     Nothing in the context shows this to be the case.

     

    2.     There were numerous bloodless sacrifices under the Law of Moses:

     

    Lev. 2: 1  gives instruction for an offering consisting of flour and oil, or flour prepares with frankincense.

     

    Num. 15:20  describes the heave offering as a bloodless offering of meal from the threshing floor.

     

    3.     Since there is no mention in Gen. 4 as to exactly what was commanded, we reject the idea that Cain substituted a vegetable offering in place of a blood sacrifice.

     

    4.     However, it should be pointed out that God does not accept substitute sacrifices as the case of Nadab and Abihu (Lev 10) so vividly demonstrates.

     

    4.  Another explanation is found in the words “more excellent.”

     

    “By faith Able offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain…”

     

    1.    “A more excellent” –Gk. PLEIROMA,  meaning much or full.

     

    2.    PLEROMA is used more than 50 times in the NT and is usually       translated, “greater” or “more.”  For example:

     

    Matt. 12:41  The men of Nineveh shall stand up in the judgment with this generation and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold a greater than Jonah is here.”

     

    Heb. 3:3 “For he hath been counted worthy of more glory than Moses…”

     

    3.    It would seem that Abel’s sacrifice was “more excellent” in the sense that it was fuller, more complete, having more than Cain’s.

     

    a.    Could it be that Able not only brought what God required, but offered it in a proper manner?

     

    b.   Remember the offering of the Macedonian Christians:

     

    2 Cor. 8:5  And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.

     

    5.   Another possible answer would indicate that Cain’s sacrifice was unacceptable from the standpoint of Cain’s attitude toward his brother.

     

    1. 1 John 3:11-12  For this is the message that you heard from the    beginning, that we should love one another,  not as Cain who    was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did         he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother's      righteous.

     

    2.     Jesus taught that acceptable worship is in spirit and truth

     (John 4:24).

     

    3.     It is not enough to go through the motions of worship, the heart must  be right with God.

     

    4.     The indication from 1 John 3:11, 12 is that Cain hated his brother.

     

    5.     God does not accept worship if the heart is not right.  Consider:

     

    Matt. 5:21-22 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.'   "But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire.

     

    6.     In the next verse Jesus makes it clear that a sacrifice is not accepted while one is at odds with his brother.

     

    Matt. 5: 23-24 "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, "leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

     

    7.     If you come to church and remember that you have sinned against another, it is best that you go and be reconciled before you offer a sacrifice of praise to God with hatred in your heart.

     

    III. THE UNDERLYING PRINCIPLE OF SACRIFICE

     

    A.     It is not enough to “just” worship, one must have the right attitude of heart as well as the scriptural manner in order to please God.

     

    B.     The value of the offering does not depend so much on the character of the sacrifice, as it does on the character of the one making it.

     

    1.     In ancient & primitive cultures, men thought the efficacy of a sacrifice depended on its coastlines...this led to human sacrifice.

     

    2.     It took ages for Israel to learn that faith and obedience are qualities which make sacrifice acceptable to God.

     

    3.     Without moral and religious character even the costliest offerings are an abomination to Him.

     

    Micah 6:6-8  With what shall I come before the LORD, And bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, With calves a year old?  Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, Ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?  He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

     

    4.     Wickedness and worship do not mix.

     

    Isa 1:11 "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?" Says the LORD. "I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats.  "When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts?

     

    Isa 1:13  Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies; I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.  Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them.

     

    Isa 1:15  When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.  "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil,  Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.

     

    Isa 1:18  "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.

     

    5.  Acceptable sacrifices, therefore, depend upon submission to God’s will; and no one can know God’s will unless he will listen to it.

     

    1 Sam 15:22  Then Samuel said: "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.

     

    IV.            WHAT DOES THE BLOOD OF ABEL SAY?

     

    “...he being dead yet speaketh (Heb. 11:4).

     

    A.   The blood of Abel says that God will one day avenge the crimes perpetrated against the innocent:

     

    Rom 12:19  Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.

     

    B.    The blood of Abel says that the righteous are hated without cause:

     

    1 John 3:11-13 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,  not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother's righteous.  Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.

     

    C.   The blood of Abel says that it does make a difference how men worship Almighty God.

     

    “By Faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain...”

     

    Worship is not just a perfunctory observance of ritual, but an expression of love and devotion to God.

     

    D.   The blood of Abel says that faith is active... “By faith Abel offered unto God...” 

     

    E.    The blood of Abel says the only righteousness is in obeying the word of the Lord:

     

    Rom 6:17  But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.

     

    CONCLUSION:

     

    A.     Truly, Abel had a faith to die for.

     

    B.     Herein are some valuable lessons for us:

     

    1.     God does not accept wickedness and worship.

     

    2.     You cannot love God and hate your brother.

     

    3.     We sin when we set aside God’s commands, but

     

    4.     We also sin when we offer God less than our best.

     

    Luke 17:10  "So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.'"

     

    5.     The lesson of Abel should inspire us to do to the fullest what God requires.

    ~~Dan Flournoy

    ___________

    Sources: 

    Leslie G. Thomas,  Cain, The Father of Religious Rationalism” in Another Hundred Sermons, p. 53.

    James Burton Coffman, Commentary on Genesis, p. 81.

    Pulpit Commentary on Hebrews, p. 298.

    Pulpit Commentary on Genesis, p. 78.

     

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    THINGS WE CAN KNOW

     

    Introduction:

    A.     We live in a skeptical age, an age of questioning.  A post-modern age.

    B.     Is it possible for us to KNOW anything?  Can we be certain?

    C.     To affirm a proposition these days will surely bring a charge of dogmatism!

    a.      Some contend that nothing is certain … absolute.

    b.     That truth is relative.  What may be truth for one may not be truth for another.

    c.     Some are so certain that nothing is certain that it makes on wonder how they can be so certain!

    D.     In this lesson we would set forth, in a positive way, the fact that we can KNOW certain things …

    a.      We can know that God is.

    b.     We can know the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, authoritative word of God.

    c.     We can understand the Bible and know that we understand it.

    d.     We can know that we are saved.

     

    I.                 We can know that God is.

    A.                 For centuries philosophers and theologans have debated the existence of God.

    1.                  Various arguments have been advanced by both theists and atheists and probably no issue has occasioned more intricate intellectual discussion than this, the most important of all human intellectual discussions, THE EXISTENCE OF GOD.

    a.                The term THEIST is a broad term referring to those who believe in God.  (However, the fact that one believes in God is no guarantee that he believes in the God of the Bible.)

    b.                The term ATHEIST is also a broad term, which refers, generally, to those who deny the existence of God.

    c.                An AGNOSTIC is one who withholds belief because he does not know and is unwilling to accept as proof the evidence of God’s existence.

    2.                  The evidence is found both inside and outside the Bible.  However, we are not concerned in this lesson with examining the evidence, but with establishing the point that knowledge of God’s existence is possible.

    B.                 Romans 1:18-21, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness: because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them.  For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither give thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened.”

    1.                  Notice verse 19, “that which is known of God” – lit., that which is capable of being known

    2.                  It is obvious that for anything to be known about God it must first be known that God exists.

    C.                 How is God Known?

    1.                  Verse 20, “through the things that are made.”  Through the things that are made we may logically and truthfully reason to certain facts about God.  These facts are then a matter of knowledge.

    Ps. 19:1 -- “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork.  2Day unto day uttereth speech, And night unto night showeth knowledge.  3There is no speech nor language;  Their voice is not heard.  4Their line is gone out through all the earth,  And their words to the end of the world.

     

    2.                   There is sufficient evidence in the natural world for a valid deduction of the existence of God.

    D.                 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which do appear. (Heb. 11:3).

    1.                  Among other things this passage teaches us that God created the world out of nothing.  He spoke the world into existence.  He did not take existing matter and “make” something else with it.

    2.                  But especially we want to notice that the creation itself points to the creator.  If we have a watch we KNOW that there is a watch MAKER.

    3.                  Some would object by saying that “FAITH” eliminates the possibility of “knowledge.”  That we only “believe” that God is.  But faith and knowledge are not mutually exclusive.  The Bible teaches that we may both believe and know many things.  For example:

    a.                1 Tim. 4:1-5, Paul speaks of the errors that would come in the latter times,

    forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by them that BELIEVE AND KNOW the truth.”

    b.                Believe or faith is based upon EVIDENCE

    Heb. 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.” (KJV)

    c.                While we were not present in the beginning and did not SEE with the physical eye the creation of the world, the evidence in nature and the testimony of the scriptures give us the necessary information or knowledge upon which to base our faith.

    E.                  Thus, we UNDERSTAND  (i.e., “perceive with reflective intelligence” – MR Vincent, Word Studies, p. 1152) that the worlds were framed by the word of God.  This is a matter of KNOWLEDGE … not mere assumption.


    F.                  Thus, Paul teaches in Romans 1:18-21, that man may know the existence of god through the observation of and valid reasoning concerning the things in Nature.  Man is without excuse for rejecting the existence of God, for sufficient evidence is constantly before him. (Tom Eddins, Spiritual Sword, Vol. 4, Number 4, July 1973, p. 14).

    II.              We can know the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, authoritative word of God.

    A.                 First, to be the word of God, the Bible must be inspired, inerrant and authoritative.

    1.                  the Bible is the inspired word of God.  By this we mean that those who wrote, as human instruments, wrote as God “breathed” into them his message.

    a.                Thus, Paul affirms,

     “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness …” (2 Tim. 3:16).

    b.                The phrase, “inspiration of God,” is literally “breathed of God” or “God breathed.”

    2.                  To hold that the Bible is the word of God but that it contains errors is to accuse God of lying.  But God does not lie --- ever! (Tit. 1:2).

    3.                  Since the Bible is the inspired, inerrant word of God, it follows that it, and it alone, must be our authority for all that we practice in religion.  Thus Peter would charge every man –

     1 Pet. 4:11, “If any many speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.”

    B.                 The evidence is sufficient to bring one to the fact that the Bible is God’s word.

    1.                  The Bible is here.  No one doubts its existence.  But how can we account for it?

    2.                  The Bible is beyond the reach of human authorship.  He would not have written it if he could.  It condemns too many things which men by nature hold dear.

    3.                  The only conclusion that can be reasonably made is that it is indeed God’s inspired word.  Furthermore,

    III.           We can understand the Bible.

    A.                 If we could not understand the Bible, then it is not even a revelation to man.

    1.                  If no man can understand the Bible (and know that he understands it), it is of no value whatever.

    2.                  The agnostics claim that it is arrogant to claim to know truth.  In contrast, Jesus said,

     “If ye abide in my word, Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”  (John 8:32).

    3.                  In self-contradiction, the agnostics claim to know that no one knows that any propositions of religion are true. (May we ask, HOW DO THEY KNOW?)

    B.                 If God has given us a message that is unintelligible, wherein lies its value?

    1.                  God has spoken by men, to men, for men (Alex. Campbell)

    and the common people heard him gladly.” (Mark 12:37)

    2.                  God expects us to learn from what has been written,

     “For whatsoever things were written afore time were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (Rom. 15:4).

    3.                  Notice Rom. 10:17,

     “Now faith cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

    a.                Faith is based upon UNDERSTANDING the Bible!  There is no other way faith can come!

    b.                Paul plainly states,

    “Whereby when ye read, you can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ.” (Eph. 3:4).

    c.                That is exactly what a revelation is – the unveiling of a mystery … understanding what was not before known!


    d.                Listen again to Paul when he says,

     wherefore, be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17).

    e.                Those who do not UNDERSTAND are

     darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart” (Eph. 4:18).

    C.                 Furthermore, this understanding produces a common faith and a common obedience.

    1.                  Paul sent Timothy to teach the same things he taught:

    For this cause have I sent unto you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, who shall put you in remembrance of my ways which are in Christ, even as I teach everywhere in every church” (1 Cor. 4:17).

    Note that Paul taught the same thing in every church!

    2.                  Peter wrote,

     “To them that have obtained a like precious faith with us …” (2 Pet. 1:1).

     Unless common understanding is possible, how could men possess a “like precious faith”?

    3.                  Jude wrote,

     “Beloved, while I was giving all diligence to write unto you of our common salvation …” (Jude 3).

     If the Bible is not understandable to all alike how could it be a “common salvation?”

    4.                  Jesus clearly stated that our salvation is based upon UNDERSTANDING, (knowing, if you please) and obeying his words:

    “He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that judgeth him; the word that I spoke, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).

    D.                Let us recognize that we must understand alike and “hold the pattern of sound words.”  (2 Timothy 1:13).

    1.                  Let us say with Paul,

     “Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10).

    2.                  At the same time, may we admonish those who are otherwise minded;

    “let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he UNDERSTANDETH and KNOWETH me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord” (Jer. 9;23, 24).

    IV.           We can know that we are saved.

    A.                 There are those, even Christians, who say, “Well, who knows if we are saved or not?”  To declare that we know would seem arrogant and proud.

    B.                 But the apostle John said, “these things have I written unto you, that ye may know that ye have eternal life …” (1 John 5:13).

    1.                  Yes, we can know that we are saved.

    2.                  We will not be judged by men’s theories, feelings or ideas, but by the word of God.

    C.                 Rom. 6:17-18, “But thanks be to God, that, whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered; and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness.”

    1.                  These Christians could be sure that they were free from sin.  How?  What had they done?  What did God do?

    2.                  On the divine side, God gave His son – (Rom. 5:8-11).

    3.                  On the human side, man must:

    a.                Hear (Rom. 10:17)

    b.                Believe (Rom. 10:17, John 8:24)

    c.                Repent (Acts 17:30)

    d.                Confess (Rom. 10:10)

    e.                Be baptized (Acts 2:38)

    4.                  Yes, Paul declared that when we are baptized we obey that form of teaching.

     

    CONCLUSION:

    A.     Have you obeyed from your heart the teaching of these scriptures?

    B.     We can know that God is and that the Bible is His word.  Further, we can understand it. 

    C.     We can know what to do in order to be saved and, having obeyed His commands, have an assurance of salvation.

    D.     Can you truthfully sing:  “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine?”

    a.      If not, why not obey the gospel today?

    b.     Then you can say with the Apostle Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ …” (Gal. 2:20).

     

    ____________

    Sources:

    M.R. Vincent, Word Studies

    Tom Eddins (Spiritual Sword, Vol 4, No. 4, July 1973, p. 14.

    Monroe Hawley, Bible Foundations – Correspondence Course

    Andrew Connally, Spiritual Sword, Vol 1, No. 1, p. 31.

    Robert Camp, Spiritual Sword, Vol 3, No. 1, p. 29.

    V.E. Howard (Sermon-WRGH-DRDU 5/18/74

     

     

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    Email: dan@christian-family.net


    THE GOD OF THE SPARROWS

    Introduction: The Christian life is essentially one of faith.

    Heb 11:6 "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."

    A. Not only must we believe that God exists, but we must also have confidence in him.

    B. When Jesus gave the "limited commission" to the twelve, he warned them of the impending dangers:

    1. "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves" (Matt. 10:16).

    2. He warned them that they would be delivered up to councils, and would be persecuted and even killed!

    3. Along with the warning, he also gave them these words of encouragement:

    "And be not afraid of them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father: but the very hairs of your head are numbered. Fear not therefore; ye are of more value than many sparrows" (Matt. 10:28-31).

    4. Jesus' words dispel fear and anxiety and instill faith and confidence. Everyone who has any conception of what it means to live the Christian life knows that the Lord's people need encouragement.

    5. Dread and uneasiness constantly tug at the human heart, but the words of the Lord show us how to conquer these enemies.

    C. God intends for His children to live with calm assurance. He promises: "I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee" (Heb. 13:5).

    1. The words of the song describe the Christian life: "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine, oh what a foretaste of glory divine...Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of His Spirit, washed in His blood."

    2. Christians are to live life with a "blessed assurance" of God's love, mercy and grace.

    I. Our God is the God of the sparrows.

    A. The sparrows were small, insignificant birds, and when we consider their size and abundance, we are likely to wonder that they had any price at all.

    B. Matthew says that two sparrows were sold for a penny, while Luke has five for two pence --an extra one thrown in, when as many as four were purchased. That fact emphasized their insignificance and almost worthlessness.

    C. Yet, not one of these insignificant birds falls to the ground without the heavenly Father caring.

    1. If God knows every sparrow that falls, he surely knows of us and our difficulties.

    2. "Why should I feel discouraged, Why should the shadows come, Why should my heart be lonely, And long for heaven and home, When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He: His eye is on the sparrow, And I know He watches me.I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free...For His eye is on the sparrow, And I know He watches me."[Charles H. Gabriel, Heavenly Harmonies, Wesson, Mississippi: M. Lynwood Smith, publisher, 1963, No. 54]

    3. The promise of God is that he will provide for and protect his people. Consider these passages:

    "The angel of Jehovah encampeth round about them that fear him, And delivereth them. Oh taste and see that Jehovah is good: Blessed is the man that taketh refuge in him" (Ps. 34:7).

    "Every word of God is tried: He is a shield unto them that take refuge in him" (Prov. 30:5).

    "The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble" (Ps. 9:9).

    "The Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil." (2 Thess. 3:3).

    "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation." (2 Pet. 2:9).

    "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Cor. 10:13).

    4. As Jesus gave the "Great Commission", he promised "Lo, I am with you always..." (Mtt. 28:20).

    II. The God of the Sparrows Gives Assurance of Divine Guidance

    A. The absolute weakness of man is stated by Jeremiah when he cried out saying, "Oh Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jer. 10:23).

    1. Life is too big to handle alone.

    2. Proud egotists boast that they need neither God nor man, yet they are helpless in the face of death.

    B. Our greatest need is the ASSURANCE is that a Higher Power is leading us into a future we cannot see. This is a promise, NOT GIVEN TO EVERY PERSON. However, God's children are promised:

    1. "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord" (Ps. 37:23).

    2. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" ( Prov. 3:5,6).

    C. We do not know what the future holds, but we know WHO holds the future.

    1. Daniel, when taken captive to Babylon as a mere lad, could not have known what was ahead, but his trust was in the Lord.

    2. God overruled all his heart-aches and hardships and guided his steps. The key to his ability to overcome the trials and temptations of living as a captive in a foreign land are found in these word: "Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself..." (Dan. 1:8).

    3. Through God's guidance, he was led to a place of power, prominence and true success.

    4. The words of Edward Hopper give the point:

    Jesus, Savior, pilot me over life's tempestuous sea. Unknown waves before me roll, hiding rock and treach'rous shoal. Chart and compass came from thee; Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

    5. We may not always understand WHY we must walk some paths, but we must trust the promise of Romans 8:28: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God..."

    III. The God of the Sparrows Gives Assurance of Help in Bearing Our Burdens

    A. We have not been promised a life free of problems and difficulties, but we have been promised help with our burdens.

    1. "Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you" (1 Pet. 5:7).

    2. "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved" (Ps. 55:2).

    B. The Father who is conscious of every sparrow that falls is not away on vacation when we need him.

    "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea" (Ps. 46:1,2).

    IV. The God of the Sparrows Hears Our Prayers

    A. Understanding our Father's personal concern, his nearness and loving kindness,should prompt easy and frequent communication with Him.

    1. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort..." ( 2 Cor. 1:3).

    2. "The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil"(1 Pet. 3:12).

    3. "And this is the boldness which we have toward him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us..." (1 John 5:14).

    B. Remember, a sympathetic Saviour acts as our mediator and advocate:

    1. "For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus"(1 Tim. 2:5).

    2. "My little children, these things write I unto you..." ( 1 John 2:1).

    3. "We have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in time of need" ( Heb. 4:15).

    V. These Assurances Can Conquer Fear and Anxiety.

    A. From the cradle to the grave, we battle fear.

    1. We are born with two fears: the fear of falling and of loud noises.

    2. As we grow older we acquire other fears.

    a. Some fear is good, but

    b. Fear can be very destructive unless it is the right kind of fear.

    B. Jesus said, "And be not afraid of them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt. 10:28).

    1. Men tend to fear those who can harm them physically or in some way destroy their property or power.

    2. Satan has succeeded in getting people to have little fear of that which can destroy the soul, while being anxious over many things which will soon pass away with this world.

    C. The right kind of fear is expressed by Solomon: "Fear God, and keep his commandments" (Ecc. 12:13).

    1. He who does not fear God, regards not man (Lk. 18:4 -the unjust Judge).

    2. A reverential fear of God is evidence of strength, not weakness. 3. Christ teaches us to replace the wrong fear with the right kind of fear: "Fear not therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows" (Matt. 10:31).

    4. On another occasion he said: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you...let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (Jn 14:27).

    D. The true follower of Christ need not fear society or what other people think, which is a very common cause of frustration.

    1. The Christian can conquer this problem, for he understands that true greatness is not as man sees it but as God sees it: "For Jehovah seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but Jehovah looketh, on the heart" (1 Sam. 16:7).

    2. Let us therefore learn to fear God with a reverence and awe.

    VII. The God of the Sparrows Gives Assurance of Salvation in Christ.

    A. The child of God indeed has a "blessed assurance" in Christ.

    1. John wrote: "These things have I written unto you, that ye may know that ye have eternal life..." (1 Jn 5:13).

    2. The prayer of Epaphras of Colossae was "that ye may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God" (Col. 4:12).

    B. The Christian can be sure of his salvation "If we walk in the light..."(1 Jn 1:7).

    C. Christians at Rome had an assurance: "But thanks be to God, that, whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that for of teaching whereunto ye were delivered; and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness" (Rom. 6:17-18).

    D. These passages do not teach the doctrine of "once saved always saved" but are intended to give assurance to the Christian. We can KNOW that we are saved.

    Conclusion:

    A. God intends for his children to live with such assurance and spiritual poise so that, even in the midst of distrubing problems, an inner calm pervades the soul.

    B. Can you truthfully sing, "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine?"

    1. You can if you are a faithful child of God.

    2. If you do not have the assurance of the Christian, then make your life right by obeying the commands of the gospel (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Gal.3:27).

    ___________________

    Sources:

    Lottie Beth Hobbs: Out of this World, p. 49. Leslie G. Thomas: One Hundred Sermons, p.57.


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    Email: dan@christian-family.net

    THE FLAME OF JEHOVAH

    by Dan Flournoy
    Introduction:

    A. The Song of Solomon is perhaps the most neglected book in the Bible.

    1. It is also greatly misunderstood.

    2. The book is Oriental poetry and abounds in rich figures of speech.

    3. It is a love poem which may startle the Western reader, but it was quite acceptable to the Eastern mind.

    4. Several songs used in worship have come from the S of S:

    a. 2:1 " I am a rose of Sharon, A lily of the valleys." The Bride is simply saying..."I am a common country girl..."

    b. He responds by saying "As a lily among thorns, So is my love among the daughters" which is another way of saying "You are the prettiest girl around."

    c. From this verse we get "Jesus, Rose of Sharon" and "The Lily of the Valley."

    d. Both are beautiful songs, but slightly out of context.

    B. The title of this little book of 117 verses is "The Song of Songs" which is another way of saying, "the best of songs."

    C. There are several theories of interpretation. However, no matter how one views the book, it is clear that Solomon wrote this as a love song, in Hebrew poetry to demonstrate the kind of love that is approved of God.

    D. The Jews chose to publicly read or sing this book each year at the Passover Feast.

    E. The author of this song is Solomon.

    1. He was the second son born to David and Bath-Sheba.

    2. He became the third king over Israel following the death of his father.

    3. Because of his desire to lead his people wisely, God granted him not only wisdom, but riches and honor.

    "And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore. Thus Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. He spoke three thousand proverbs, and his songs were one thousand and five. Also he spoke of trees, from the cedar tree of Lebanon even to the hyssop that springs out of the wall; he spoke also of animals, of birds, of creeping things, and of fish. And men of all nations, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom, came to hear the wisdom of Solomon"(1 Ki 4:29-34).

    F. The key word in the book is LOVE --used 30 times in the book.

    G. The theme of the book is the beauty of sexual love in marriage.

    H. The Key Verse is: 8:6-7

    "Set me as seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death. Jealousy is cruel as Sheol. The flashes thereof are flashes of fire. A very flame of Jehovah. Many waters cannot quench love. Neither can floods drown it. If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, He would utterly be contemned."

    I. Now, let us consider:

    I. HOW TO VIEW THE SONG OF SOLOMON

    A. Some have seen this song or poem as a mere love poem to commemorate Solomon's own marriage to his Shulammite Bride.

    1. If that is true, it sets forth the love of a devoted couple. 2. One of the recurring phrases in the book is: "My beloved is mine, and I am his" (2:16; 6:3; 7:10).

    3. The kind of love described in the S of S is not the false Hollywood variety, superficial, sensual, frivolous, fanciful, lustful.

    4. Here is true human love in all its height and depth and beauty.

    5. Here is true human love in all its glory, not to be trifled with or trampled under foot.

    6. It is the most sacred thing next to human life.

    B. Another view some have held is that this poem is really allegorical --

    1. Depicting the love of God for His chosen people the Jews and therefore, prophetically,the love of Christ for His Church.

    2. This is the same type of allegory used in the book of Hosea to depict God's relationship to Israel.

    C. We believe the S of S to be an inspired poem designed to teach the dignity and purity of true love.

    "The book then was intended as a commentary on Genesis 2:24 and a manual on the blessing and reward of intimate married love once Yahweh had lit the flame and given the capability of enjoyment" (Walter C. Kaiser, Toward an Old Testament Theology, Zondervan, 1978, p. 180).

    II THE KEY TEXT: 8:6

    A. This is really the climax of this love story:

    B. "Set me as a seal upon thy heart..."

    1. The figure here is that of the ancient seal...or signet.

    2. Wax is poured on the envelope to seal it and the signet pressed into the wax identified the author.

    3. The Bride is saying "Set me as a seal upon thy heart because you are to forever be identified as mine!" In the words of the song by Robert Robinson: "Here's my heart oh take and seal it." ["O Thou Fount of Every Blessing, vs. 3].

    III. THREE VIVID PICTURES

    A. There are three vivid pictures in this verse, each one suggesting a distinctive characteristic or quality of divine love.

    1. The pictures are of death, the grave and fire.

    2. The attributes suggested by the pictures are strength, cruelty and intensity.

    B. "Love is as strong as death."

    1. Death is something no power on earth has ever been able to overcome.

    2. All of modern medicine and science put together cannot keep one from the appointment with death (Heb. 9:27).

    3. Death is an irresistible power.

    4. Only One has been able to overcome it, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

    5. So this bride speaks of love as that which has the attribute of strength.

    6. The strength of their love was as strong as death itself.

    7. While all of this is true regarding human love, how much more is it true regarding God's love.

    a. God's love is truly stronger than death itself.

    b. "God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" ( Rom 5:8).

    C. "Jealousy is cruel as Sheol; (grave)."

    1. Jealousy is a word that indicates strong feelings of possessiveness.

    2. Jehovah is said to be a jealous God:

    "You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you '(for the LORD your God is a jealous God among you), lest the anger of the LORD your God be aroused against you and destroy you from the face of the earth" (Deu. 6:14-15).

    3. The word "cruel" here means "hard" (margin ASV). The idea is that jealously is, like death, a hard thing.

    a. Death is looked upon as that which destroys.

    b. Likewise, jealousy can destroy a relationship.

    c. Even so, in a positive sense, true love jealously guards its beloved.

    d. Like death, true love holds fast those who are swallowed up by it.

    D. "The flashes thereof" i.e. jealousy is like "flashes of fire, a very flame of Jehovah."

    1. This speaks of the intensity of love.

    2. The right kind of love is a flame not kindled and inflamed by man but by God. (Keil & Delitzsch).

    3. It is "the very flame of Jehovah."

    4. This describes the true nature of Biblical marriage.

    5. Jesus said:

    "Have ye not read, that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh? So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder"(Matt. 19:4).

    6. Thus, there are three parties to Biblical marriage: man, woman & God. E. This is a fire,a flame, which mighty waters cannot extinguish, and streams cannot overflow or sweep away.

    1. This speaks of the adversities and assaults that come in marriage.

    2. True love is something that lasts even though life may present its quenching waters.

    3. When two people are committed to one another and to God, no earthly power can suppress their love.

    F. Nor can this love be bought:"If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, He would utterly be contemned."

    1. The word "contemned" means to despise.

    2. One who would exchange love for wealth or power has made a poor bargain.

    3. What this bride is saying is that nothing in all the world is able to separate her from her true love! (K & D).

    4. The poet Southey wrote:

    They sin who tell us love can die: With life all other passions fly, All others are but vanity. In heaven ambition cannot dwell: Nor arrive in the vaults of hell; Earthly these passions of the earth, They perish where thy have their birth; But love is indestructible. Its holy flame forever burneth, From heaven it came, to heaven returneth. (Hayden, p. 104).

    CONCLUSION:

    There is a parallel between this type of committed love and the love Christ has for the church.

    A. Love is the greatest factor in human relationships. Should it not be so in the spiritual realm

    ? 1. The recurring phrase in the S of S is "My beloved is mine and I am His."

    2. Surely this is true of Christ and the church.

    B. Paul said:

    "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it; that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Eph. 5:15-27).

    1. The intensity of Christ's love for the church is here expressed.

    2. What can separate from such love?

    "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?...I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord"(Rom. 8:35).

    3. Our love for the Lord must be as strong and intense as His is for us. Only as we live near the cross will it be so, enabling us to sing:

    My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou are mine, For Thee all the pleasures of sin I resign; My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou; If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.

    I will love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death, And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath; And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow, If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.

    _____________ Sources:

    Eric W. Hayden, Preaching Through the Bible, p. 101.

    John Waddy, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon, p. 125.

    Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on Song of Solomon., p. 1260.

    F.C. Cook, Commentary on Song of Solomon, p. 696.

    Adam Clarke, Commentary on Song of Solomon, Vol. III, p. 870.

    Pulpit Commentary, Song of Solomon, p. 182.

    Denny Petrillo, World Video Bible School Class Notes, Song of Solomon, p. 18.


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    THE WORLD'S MOST POPULAR THIEF

    THE WORLD'S MOST POPULAR THIEF

     

                  I.      Introduction: Do you know who is the most popular thief in world?

     

    A.       There are many kinds of thieves.

     

    1.      The jails and penitentiaries are full them.

    2.      But there is one thief who will never go to jail again.

    3.      As a matter of fact, this thief, the most popular thief in world, goes to church frequently.

     

    B.       We commonly refer to him as "The Thief on The Cross."

     

    1.      There has never been a thief as popular as this thief.

    2.      Many people honor the thief on the cross as their example of salvation.

    3.      So often, when talking with someone about salvation they will bring up the thief: "But, what about the thief on the cross?" they will say.

    4.      "The thief on the cross was not baptized; then why should I be baptized."

     

    C.       This thief, although not responsible himself, has robbed many souls of salvation.

     

    1.      Many honest and sincere people have been mislead by religious leaders who have pointed to the thief on the cross as an example of salvation rather then pointing to Christ and His gospel for hope of salvation.

     

    2.      During his lifetime Jesus forgave people of their sins in order to prove He was the Son of God.

     

    a.       Jesus forgave the sins of the man he healed of palsy (Mk. 2:5-12).

    b.      He forgave Zacchaeus (Lk. 19:9-10).

    c.       He forgave the penitent woman who bathed his feet with her tears (Lk. 7:48-50).

    d.      The woman caught in adultery was forgiven by Jesus (John 8:3-11).

    e.      Finally, the thief on the cross (Lk. 23:43) "Today thou shalt be with me in paradise."

     

    3.      Why do so many people inquire, "But what about the thief on the cross?" Why not one of the others whom Jesus forgave?

     

    D.       The commands of the Lord, relative to salvation are so plainly and positively given.

     

    1.      "He that beliveth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mk. 16:16).

     

    2.      Many people repudiate this command of Christ, declaring that baptism is not essential to salvation.

     

    3.      They conclude: "The thief was not baptized; therefore, I am not going to be baptized."

     

    4.      Furthermore somebody decided, "The thief on the cross was not baptized; therefore, no one today need be baptized to be saved."

     

              II.      WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THIS THIEF?

     

    1.      First, he displayed an amazing knowledge of Jesus.

     

    1.      Where did he learn "This man hath done nothing amiss"?

    2.      How did he know Jesus had power to do something for him after death as declared in the words "Remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom" (Lk. 23:42).

    3.      He also knew the Lord's Kingdom was yet in the future (something those who use him as an example have not learned to this day!).

     

    4.      There is every reason to believe that this thief had heard Jesus preach and was an erring disciple either of Jesus or of John the Baptizer.

    2.      There seems to be no question that the thief was saved.

    1.      However, no one can prove that the thief was saved without baptism,

    2.      The Bible says all of Judea went out to be baptized of John, and that Jesus through his disciples baptized more than John (Matt. 3:5-6; John 4:1-2).

    3.      Only God would have the knowledge to declare the thief was not baptized!

     

    3.      Another thing we know about the thief on the cross is that HE LIVED AND DIED UNDER THE LAW OF MOSES.

    1.      The thief died while the Law of Moses (the Old Testament) was still in force.

    2.      The New Testament law, the last will and testament of our Lord, was not effective until after the death of Him who made it.

     

    Heb 9:15-17 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives."

     

    3.      The terms and conditions of a will are effective AFTER the testator is dead.

    4.      A man may dispose of his estate in anyway he desires BEFORE he dies. After his death, if one has a will, the estate is taken care of through it.

    5.      Before the death of Jesus on the cross, He could say to the woman, "Thy sins be forgiven" (Lk. 6:48).

    6.      Or He could say to the thief on the cross, "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise."

    7.      This would in no way invalidate the terms of His will which would be effective after His death.

    8.      However, after His death and the execution of His will, salvation could not be offered or obtained except by terms of His last will and testament.

    9.      No man on earth has the right to offer salvation for less, or more, than the terms stipulated by the divine Testator in His last will and testament, the gospel of Christ, revealed in the New Testament.

    10.  This will did not become effective until after the death of him who made it.

     

    4.      The thief died before the church-kingdom had been established.

    1.      The church began on the first Pentecost following the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:11-15)

    2.      All spiritual blessings are in the church (Eph. 1:3; 5:26-27).

    Eph. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ…

     

    Eph. 5:26-27 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 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.

     

    3.      One gets into Christ through baptism:

     

    Gal 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

     

    Rom 6:3-4 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."

    4.      The thief could not be baptized into the death of Christ because Jesus had not yet died.

    5.      The thief could not know the gospel as we do. The gospel is defined by Paul:

     

    1 Cor 15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you; unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,

     

    Luke 24:46-47 Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, "and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

     

    6.      Before the church was established, remission of sins had not been preached in the name of Jesus.

     

    5.      Peter preached the first gospel sermon on the first Pentecost after the resurrection, recorded in Acts 2.

    1.      Had the thief been alive and present on the day of Pentecost he would have heard Peter preach the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.

    2.      He would have heard the crowd cry out "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"

    3.      He would have heard Peter state the terms of pardon under the New Testament of Jesus Christ: "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins" (Acts 2:38).

     

    6.      From that great day, in the city of Jerusalem, on the first Pentecost after the Lord's resurrection, until the end of time, all responsible men must meet the conditions and requirements of the gospel of Christ which includes "Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins..."

     

    1.      In giving the world-wide commission, Jesus commanded "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be condemned" (Mk. 16:15-16).

    2.      In Matthew's account of the Great Commission Jesus said: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19-20).

    3.      Jesus' followers are "to observe all things" he commanded.

    4.      Christians are taught through the apostles to:

    (1)       Attend worship service regularly (Heb. 10:24-25)

    (2)       To observe the Lord's Supper (1 Cor. 10-11).

    (3)       To contribute financially to the church (1 Cor. 16:1-2).

    (4)       To be students of the Word (2 Tim. 2:15).

    (5)       To pray in the name of Jesus (Eph. 5:20).

     

    5.      I find it strange that people do not use the poor thief to try to show that one need not do any of these things.

    6.      As far as the record shows, the thief did none of these things.

    7.      Does that excuse all from doing these things today?

    CONCLUSION:

     

    A.       Friends, the thief on the cross is not an example of how people are saved under the New Testament.

    1.      Why should anyone seek to evade the plain teaching of the Bible on salvation?

     

    2.      The thief could not be baptized for the remission of sins, but you can.

    3.      The thief could not be a member of the Lord's church, but you can.

    4.      The thief could not observe the Lord's Supper, but you can.

     

    B.       The only reason the thief on the cross is brought up today is to evade God's command to be baptized.

    1.      With the same logic one could argue against paying income taxes.

    2.      Suppose someone declares, "I have decided I am not going to pay my income tax to the federal government, because I have learned that George Washington did not pay an income tax.

    3.      If George Washington, the "father of our country," lived and died without paying an income tax, I am not going to pay an income tax!"

    4.      Of course, the federal income tax did not become a law until many years after the death of Washington.

    5.      He was not subject to the income tax law.

    6.      It is a serious mistake to conclude, "I am not going to be baptized because the thief on the cross was not baptized."

     

    C.       One thing we know: The thief did all the Lord asked him to do! Will you do as much?

    --Dan Flournoy

     

    ____________

    Sources: Mac Layton "The Thief on the Cross" - tract published by O'Neal Publishing co.

    V.E. Howard, "The Thief on the Cross" -- tract published by Central Printers & Publishers


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    GREAT IS HIS FORGIVENESS

     

    La Junta, Colorado

    50th Anniversary Homecoming

    October 18, 2003

    Dan Flournoy
    (Preacher,1983-1987)

     

    Introduction:

     

    A.   When Alexander Pope said, “To err is human, to forgive, divine” he was not engaged in the idle use of words.

     

                                                               1.      Forgiveness is an attribute of God.

                                                               2.      Only those who have been forgiven are in position to understand and appreciate its meaning.

     

    B.    Not only is the term “forgiveness” the tenderest and most beautiful word in our language; it is also very far reaching in its consequences.

     

    C.   This it true because it involves the eternal destiny of the soul.

     

    D.   The forgiveness of sins is the very heart of the gospel.

                                                               1.      The good news is that God forgives sin.

                                                               2.      God’s forgiveness, is conditioned on man’s repentance.

     

    I.  Man’s greatest need is the forgiveness of sins...

     

    Rom. 3:23

    “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

     

    A.   Sin is defined in Scripture:

     

    Ø     1 John 3:4 – Breaking God’s laws

    Ø     1 John 5:17 – Unrighteousness

    Ø     James 4:17 – Not doing what we know to do

    Ø     Rom. 14:23 – Violating the conscience

     

    B.    The result of sin:

     

    Ø     Separates one from God – Isa. 59:1-2.

    Ø     Enslaves – Rom. 16:17 “His servant you are whom you obey…”

    Ø     Brings reproach – Prov. 14:34

    Ø     Brings spiritual death –

     

    Rom. 6:23

    “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

     

    Rom. 1:18

    “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness…”

     

    2 Thess. 1:7-10

    7And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,  8In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:  9Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

     

    C.   Truly, man’s greatest need is the forgiveness of sin.

     

    II.               What is Forgiveness?

     

    A.     The word forgiveness in the Greek NT is from a compound term meaning to send away from. 

     

    B.      The same word in the Greek NT translated forgiveness is also translated remission.

     

                                                   1.      The two English words, remission, and forgivness, are used interchangeably, and they mean the same thing. [J.W. McGarvey, Sermons, p. 57.] 

     

                                                   2.      Forgiveness is a divine response to human sin, issuing out of the loving and merciful disposition of God.

    John 3:16

    “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…”

     

    Eph. 2:4

    “But God, who is rich in mercy because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…”

     

    C.     Another expression used in the Scripture for forgiveness is found in Acts 3:19 --

     

    “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…”

     

    1.     Sins are figuratively written down in God’s book of remembrance.

    2.     God, in forgiving them is figuratively represented as blotting out that writing.

     

    D.     Another expression of forgiveness is found in the words of Heb. 8:12

    “For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And their sins will remember no more.”

     

                                                   1.      One of the blessings of the New Covenant is that God will remember our sins no more.

                                                   2.      This is an astonishing statement.

                                                   3.      How can God, who is all knowing, forget our sins.

                                                   4.      We certainly find it difficult to forget our sins.

                                                   5.      Evidently, God forgets our sins in the sense that they will never be brought up again – they are forgotten.

     

    E.      Yet another expression of forgiveness of sin is the idea of cleansing.

     

                                                   1.      Following David’s grievous sin with Bath-Sheba, he was confronted by the prophet Nathan.

                                                   2.      David acknowledged his sin and repented.

                                                   3.      He wrote two Psalms expressing his deep contrition – Psalm 32 & 51.

     

    Psa. 51:1-2

    “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to they lovingkindness: According to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.”

     

                                                   4.      In the NT, the conversion of Saul of Tarsus is recorded in Acts 9, 22, & 26.

     

    Acts 22:16

    “And now why tarriest thou, arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”

     

    1 John 1:7-9

    “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

     

    If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

     

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

     

    F.      To summarize, forgiveness means that God puts sin away from Him, they are removed, blotted out, remembered no more and cleansed.

     

    G.    The whole process of forgiveness takes place in the mind of God with reference to us.

     

    H.     A CHANGE WITHIN US must precede God’s forgiveness.

    I.         This change is what we call the process of CONVERSION.

     

    III.           Forgiveness is possible on the basis of Christ’s death.

     

    A.     God’s Justice demands a penalty for sin –

    B.      Jesus, God’s only Son satisfied the terms of justice.

    C.     An innocent victim satisfying the demands of divine justice.

     

    Rom 5:8

    “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

     

    Isa. 53:11

    “…by the knowledge of himself shall my righteous servant justify many; and he shall bear their iniquities.”

     

    1.     If I cut my finger off it does no good for my friend to say, “Oh, that’s too bad.”

     

    2.     It doesn’t put the finger back.

     

    3.     When sin occurs, something has been done.

     

    4.     It does no good to say, “Oh, I’m sorry.”

     

    5.     A debt has been made.

     

    6.     The NT reveals that God has paid the debt.

     

    “Jesus paid it all.  All to him I owe.  Sin had left a crimson stain.  He washed it white as snow.”

     

    D.     Salvation is the free gift of God – but a gift is not a gift until it is accepted.

    E.      God’s gift of salvation is accepted when one obeys the gospel.

     

    Rom. 6:17

    “But thanks be to God, that, wheras ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the hart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered.”

     

     

    Heb. 5:8-9

    “Though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became unto all them  that obey him the author of eternal salvation.”

     

    IV.  The conditions of Salvation are made known through thegospel.

     

    A.  The first gospel sermon is recorded in Acts chapter two.

     

                                                   1.      The apostle Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, arose.

                                                   2.      He has the keys to the kingdom of Heaven.

                                                   3.      He is now going to execute  his high commission to open the gates of the kingdom which Jesus established.

                                                   4.      He delivers a discourse in which he shows that the same Jesus whom they had crucified, God had raised from the dead.

                                                   5.      This was by God’s pre-determined will and foreknowledge.

                                                   6.      He quotes from the prophets to prove this.

                                                   7.      He brings forward the testimony of himself and his companions – They had seen Him with their eyes, and handled Him with their hands.

                                                   8.      He goes further, and shows that God had said to Him, “Sit thou on my right hand, until I make all Thy foes Thy foot stool”

                                                   9.      He winds up his argument with the thrilling announcement: “Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

                                               10.      Jesus is Lord of Heaven and earth, and the Christ who was predicted by the prophets.

                                               11.      This was Peter’s first sermon --

     

    a.      The first one delivered since the ascension of Jesus to heaven.

    b.     The first one delivered since the blood of the covenant was shed on Calvary.

    c.     The first discourse ever preached in the kingdom of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in which we live.

     

    B.      What was the effect of this sermon?

     

                                                   1.      A great number of that mighty multitude were pricked in their heart.

                                                   2.      There came a voice from the crowd:  “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

                                                   3.      Do for what?

     

    a.      Do to get rid of this pain in our hearts.

    b.     Doto get rid of our awfulcrime.

    c.     Do to get rid of our sins before God.

    d.     Do to escape the wrath of in judgment.

     

                                                   4.      What is the answer?

     

    Acts 2:38

    “Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, unto the remission of your sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

     

                                                   5.      Acts 2:41

    “They then that received his word were baptized: and there were added unto them in that day about three thousand souls.”

     

    CONCLUSION:

     

    A.     Are there any here who are yet unsaved?

    B.      God has provided a way for you to have your sins forgiven, blotted out, washed away and cleansed.

    C.     Believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God.

    D.     Repent of your sins…and

    E.      Be baptized for the remission of your sins.

    F.      Walk in newness of life.

     

     

     

    10/15/2003 11:40 AM

    Sources:  J.W. McGarvey, Sermons;  Thomas, Another Hundred Sermons, p. 7

     


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    Looking Forward To heaven

    By Dan Flournoy

     

     

    Introduction:  Heaven has been the hope of believers of all ages.

     

    A.     It is the hope of heaven that we must keep before us each day.

     

    1.     Abraham: “looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb 11:10).

     

    2.      Moses: “chose to suffer ill treatment with the people of God rather than  serve sin for a season, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches  than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward” (Heb 11:26).

     

    3.     Paul: 2 Cor 5:1  For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is  destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

     

    4.      OT Martyrs: -- suffered and died that they might obtain a better resurrection..” Heb. 11:35

     

    B.      What is there about heaven that generates such hope?  Why should I want to go there?

     

    I.  HEAVEN IS WHERE GOD IS

     

    A.   Moses prayed to God saying: “Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless thy people Israel...” (Deut. 26:15).

     

    B.   Exo 20:22  Then the LORD said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to  the children of Israel: 'You have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.

     

    C.   In Nehemiah’s Prayer, he said to God: Neh 9:13  "You came down also on Mount Sinai, And spoke with them from heaven, And gave them just ordinances and true laws, Good statutes and commandments.

    D.   At the Baptism of Jesus: Mat 3:17  And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

     

    A.   Jesus taught his disciples to pray: Mat 6:9  "In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.

             

    B.    Heaven is where God is.

     

    II.  HEAVEN IS WHERE CHRIST WAS AND IS:

     

    A.   Jesus prayed: John 17:5  "And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

     

    B.   John 6:38  "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

     

    C.   Jesus was in heaven before he came to this earth...after his death & resurrection he ascended again into heaven.

     

    John 13:3  Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God,...washed the disciples feet.

     

    Col 3:1  If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.

     

    D.   Jesus has gone to heaven to prepare a place for his disciples;

     

    John 14:1-3

    "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

     

    E.    When Christ comes again, it will be from heaven:

     

    1 Th 4:16 

    “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.”

     

    F.    Just to know that Jesus and our Heavenly Father are in haven should be enough to make anyone want to go there.

     

    III.  WHO ELSE WILL BE IN HEAVEN? 

     

    A.     Infants and all who are unaccountable will be in heaven.

     

    1.     Little children are pure, innocent...have no knowledge of sin...they are not accountable.

     

    Mat 19:14

    But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven."

     

    2 Sam 12:22-23

    “And he said, ‘While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, 'Who can tell whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?  But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."

     

    2.     David knew that the child would go to heaven.

     

    B.      The faithful of ages past will be in heaven.

     

    Mat 8:11

    "And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.”

     

    What a grand fellowship that will be.

     

    C.     The faithful of this present age...From Christ to the end of the world...

     

    Rev. 2:10

    “...Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

     

    D.     There are those who believe that everyone is going to heaven, but not so!

     

    Mat 7:21-23 

    "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'  And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'

     

    There is no such thing as “Universal Salvation.”

     

    "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:” (Mat 25:41).

     

    IV.  WHAT WILL HEAVEN BE LIKE?

     

    A.     In the OT, the nation of Israel inherited the land of Canaan as promised by Jehovah to Abraham (Cf. Deut 15:4;10:10; Josh. 11:23; 13:26).

     

    1.     The land of Palestine continues to be the object of Jewish pursuit.

    2.     Even today...advocates of premillennialism make physical Canaan the ultimate in reward for the Jews.

    3.     The apostle Peter makes it abundantly clear that nothing on this earth is the object of the Christian’s hope.

     

    B.      Writing to First Century Christians, Peter said:

     

    1 Pet 1:3-5

    “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

     

    1.     Because of their “new birth,” which was based upon the raised Christ, these Christians were looking forward to an inheritance, not physical, but one reserved in HEAVEN! 

     

    2.     It is INCORRUPTIBLE. 

                                                               a.      The Gk. word for “incorruptible” give a picture of that which is imperishable...cannot be destroyed by an invading army or any other force.

                                                               b.      The Christian is aware that the things of this earth are temporal.

     

    2 Cor 4:16-18-5:1

    “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

    For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

     

                                                               c.      Thus, Jesus said: Mat 6:19-20

    "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

     

    3.     Our inheritance is “undefiled”

                                                               a.      The same Gk word is used to describe our High Priest, Jesus Christ - (Heb. 7:26).

     

                                                               b.      It is undefiled because nothing unclean will ever enter in:

     

    Rev 21:27  But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.

     

                                                               c.      Sinners may defile this earth, but they will not be allowed to pollute the heavenly realm.

     

    4.     Our inheritance is one that “fades not away.”

     

                                                                     a.      The “Promised Land” flowed with “milk and honey,” and was adorned with great beauty.

     

                                                                     b.      However, even the most beautiful flowers fade, and the loveliest plants die.

     

                                                                     c.      Peter assures us of a place where “the flowers never fade.”--Where there is no change  or decay.

     

                                                                     d.      1 Pet 1:5-6  who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice,

     

                                                                      e.      We are kept by the power of God.  The word “kept” is a military term which stresses that we are “guarded” or protected by God.

     

    (1)  God exercises a special providence over His people:

     

    2 Pet 2:9

    then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,”

     

    (2)     “Through faith.”  This is man’s part in assuring divine protection.  If a person does not maintain his faith in God, he has no hope of protection.

     

    Heb 3:12  Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;

     

    Rev. 2:10 “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

     

    2 Cor 5:7  For we walk by faith, not by sight.

     

    Heb 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

     

    (3)     In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, (1 Pet 1:6).

     

    Because of the hope of heaven, Christians have something to be happy about.

     

    Although there are trials and hardships, these are only for “a little while” compared to the eternal inheritance reserved in heaven for the faithful.

     

    (4)     Therefore, there is a daily anticipation of heaven that helps the Christian to stay focused.

     

    CONCLUSION:  All should desire to go to heaven.

     

    A.     Someone has said, “Heaven is the most beautiful word in the human vocabulary.”

     

    “Sing to me of heaven, sing that son of peace, From the toils that bind me it will bring release;  Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so, Showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.”

     

    “To Canaan’s land I’m on my way, Where the soul (of man) never dies! My darkest night will turn to day, Where the soul (of man) never dies.  Dear friends, there’ll be no sad fare-wells, no tear-dimmed eyes, Where all is peace and joy and love, And the soul of man never dies.”

     

    B.      These words appropriated describe the Christian’s daily anticipation of heaven.

     

    C.     The Christian “has a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Phil. 1:23).

     

    D.     The hope of heaven is far better because of a number of reasons:

     

    1.     All of our trials and tribulations will be over.

    2.     We will have eternal fellowship with the Godhead.

    3.     We will be reunited with our loved ones and the saved of all ages.

    4.     We will have rest from our labors.

    5.     God shall wipe away all tears.

                      

    E.      Because of these and many other reasons, let us pledge ourselves to a daily anticipation of heaven.

     

    F.      Let us never grow weary in well doing, but ever press on toward the goal, toward the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

     

    G.     Dear Friend, if you are not a Christian...this hope can be yours only through obedience to Christ.

     

    1.     We urge you today to become a Christian.

    2.     Why not be baptized into Christ, now?

     

    H.     Some Christians, lose their faith.  They grow weary and allow the physical, worldly things to take them away from their heavenly goal.

     

    1.     We urge you to re-focus your life.

    2.     Re-capture that daily anticipation of heaven.

             

     

    Sources:

    [1] James Meadows, 30 Sermons from the book of 1 Peter, p.3.

      J.J. Turner, Life, Death and Beyond, Heaven: The Eternal Home, p. 79.

      Gus Nichols, Heaven and What It Will Be Like to Be There,  The Last Days, Ft.Worth Christian College

      Lectures, 1968, p. 164


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    THE CHRISTIAN HOME

     

    Introduction:

     

    A.     The tragedy sweeping our society is the breakdown of the home.

    B.      The symptoms of this breakdown are seen in…

     

    1.     Drug abuse

    2.     Teenage, out of wedlock pregnancy

    3.     School shootings,

    4.     Abortion

    5.     Abandoned children

    6.     Child abuse

    7.     and many other social ills plaguing our society.

     

    C.     Divorce is looked upon as an easy way out of an unhappy home.

    1.     Selfishness and self-centeredness are usually the root-cause of divorce.

    2.     Pride, lust and worldliness are Satan’s most effective weapons.

    3.     1 John 2:15-17 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the vainglory of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passeth away, and lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

    4.     In the Garden, Satan tempted Eve: Gen 3:6 “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and she gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.”

     

    a.      Good for food = lust of the flesh

    b.     Delight to the eyes = lust of the eyes.

    c.     Desired to make one wise = the pride of life.

     

    5.  Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-12).

    a.      Stones to bread = lust of the flesh

    b.     Kingdoms of the world = lust of the eyes

    c.     Pinnacle of the temple = pride of life

     

    D.  Satan still uses these avenues of temptation to destroy the home.

     

    1.  Many are taken captive by fleshy appetites

    2.  Others are enamored with the glitter of possessions

    3.  Pride and arrogance have corrupted many a home

     

    D.     Where can we go for answers to the problems we face in the home?

     

    1.     Is there no balm in Gilead?

    2.     Surely we can find help for the home in God’s Word.

    3.     The eternal word of God is “living and active…”(Heb. 4:12)

    4.     Jesus is “the wonderful counselor” (Is. 9:6).

    5.     May we learn to turn to God’s word for the solution to the problems of the home.

     

    E.      The Bible is the “owners manual” for the home and tells us how to have a Christian Home.

     

    I.      A Christian Home Begins with a Biblical Marriage.

     

    A.     Before we look at any other aspect of the family, we must consider Biblical Marriage.  Those eligible for marriage are:

     

    1.     Those who have never been married before,

    2.     Those whose mates have died (Rom. 7:1-4).

    3.     Those who have put away their mates because of fornication (Matt. 19:9).

    4.     Any other arrangement is sin.

     

    B.      Marriage is a gift from God (Gen. 2:18-24).

     

    1.     It was instituted by God in the beginning.

    2.     It is not a church institution.


    C.  Fidelity is the foundation of the Christian home.

    1.     “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:24).

     

    2.     “Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband” (1 Cor. 7:2).

     

    3.     Prov. 5:15-18 “Drink water from your own cistern, And running water from your own well.  Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets?  Let them be only your own, And not for strangers with you.  Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth.”

     

    4.     Solomon urges an impassioned FIDELITY in marriage.

     

    II.      A Christian Home Must Have a Godly Wife and Mother

     

    A.     Prov. 12:4 “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who causes shame is like a rottenness in his bones.

     

    1.     The word “excellent” includes such ideas as strength of character, ability, merit and reputation.

    2.     Such a wife is “wise.

    3.     Prov. 14:1 “The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.”

     

    B.      A godly wife is priceless. Prov. 31:10 “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.”

     

    C.     Such a wife is GOOD and brings favor from God. Prov. 18:22 “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Jehovah.”

     

     

    D.     A godly wife is from God.  Prov. 19:14 “Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from Jehovah.”

     

    1.     The word “prudent” refers to the ability to make decisions.

    2.     She is wise in choosing options that will benefit the family.

     

    E.  If a man is the head, the godly wife is the crown…she is a crown to her husband and the family (Prov. 12:4).

     

    III.      A Christian Home Must Have a Godly Husband and Father

     

    2 Cor. 11:3 “But I want you to know that the head of every manis Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”

     

              A.  As head of the home, the man is to provide the material needs:

     

    1 Tim. 5:8 “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

     

    B.     The godly husband and father must also provide for the spiritual needs of his family.

     

    Eph. 6:4 “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”

     

    C.     A godly father speaks with affection

     

    Prov. 19:22 “What is desired in a man is kindness, And a poor man is better than a liar.”

     

    Prov. 17:14 “The beginning of strife is like releasing water; Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.”

     

    Prov. 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.”

    D.     Fathers must set the right example.

     

    Prov. 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

     

    1.  Fathers cannot train their children in the way they should go, unless they are going that way themselves.

     

    2.  Fathers cannot train their children in the way they should go, unless they are home! –Too many absentee fathers.

     

    3.  Children will imitate their parents:  “Like father, like son” is more than an idle phrase.

     

    CHILDREN LEARN WHAT THEY LIVE

     

    If a child lives with criticism

              He learns to condemn

    If a child lives with hostility,

              He learns to fight.

    If a child lives with ridicule,

              He learns to be shy.

    If a child lives with shame,

              He learns to feel guilty.

    If a child lives with tolerance,

              He learns to be patient.

    If a child lives with encouragement,

              He learns confidence.

    If a child lives with praise,

              He learns to appreciate.

    --Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

                       4.  Fathers, your children will mirror you behavior

     

    a.      If you smoke, your children will likely smoke.

    b.     If you drink, your children will likely drink.

    c.     If you curse and swear, your children will likely do the same.

    d.     If you lie, your children will learn to lie.

     

    5.     We cannot over emphasize the importance of a godly father in the home.

    6.     The example you set will likely determine the destiny of your children in eternity.

    7.     The best way to live in the world is to live above the world.

     

    Conclusion:

     

    A.     There are many things that go into making a Christian home.  These are a few of the basics.

    B.      First, the home must begin right --

     

    1.     A godly marriage.

    2.     A Christian home has a godly wife and mother

    3.     A Christian home has a godly husband and father

     

    C.     We live in a wicked world and the family is constantly under attack.

    D.     God has given us ample instruction in His word so that we might overcome the onslaught of Satan.

    E.      May we study HIS WORD diligently and follow it for the building up of the family.

    F.      The most important thing you can do as a parent to build a Christian home is to BE A CHRISTIAN yourself.

     

    G.    We close with a poem that was recited at our wedding in 1965.

     

    THE CHRISTIAN HOME

     

    Where family prayer is daily had,

    God’s word is regularly read, and

    Faith in Christ is never dead,

    This is a Christian home.

     

    Where father, mother, sister, brother,

    All have true love for one another,

    And none ever hates the other,

    This is a Christian home.

     

    Where family quarrels are pushed aside,

    To let the love of God abide,

    Ere darkness falls at even tide,

    This is a Christian home.

     

    Where Jesus Christ is host and guest,

    Through whom we have eternal rest

    And in Him are forever blest,

    This is a Christian Home

     

     

    ©2006 Dan Flournoy – Christian Family

     

     

    Email:dan@christian-family.net


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    THE “EYES” HAVE IT

    Or

    THE EYE – GOOD OR BAD

     

    Introduction

    A.      Jesus spoke in parables – 50 recorded in NT

    B.       Following the parable of the sower recorded in Matt. 13:1-9, disciples asked “Why speakest thou unto them in parables?” (vs. 10).

    C.      His strange answer reveals great truths (read vs. 10-17).

    D.      In this answer it is learned that man’s character is often revealed in his eyes.

     

    I.                 The Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven

    A.                 Mystery only a mystery as long as it is concealed.

    1.                  Notice – mystery now made known (Eph. 3:3-5; Matt. 13:11).

    2.                  The mystery of godliness is revealed in Christ (1 Tim. 3:16).

    3.                  We can know the mystery through the word.

    B.                 Some do not know because they refuse to see and hear (vs. 13-15).

    1.                  Quotation from Is. 6:9-10 shows condition of ancient Israel – they refused to hear the law … closed their eyes.

    2.                  This passage also describes the condition of our day … men close their eyes to the truth and refuse to hear the law of the Lord.

    C.                 In this lesson we consider the EYE, both good and bad.

    II.               Matt. 6:22, 23 – “The lamp of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is the darkness!

    A.                 Gk – haplous – single means free from defect or healthy.  The evil eye is unhealthy … it looks for evil because it is evil.  Because it is so intent on finding evil, it is blind to much that is good.

    B.                 Gk – haplotes – means free from duplicity: Eph. 6:5 – “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ …”

    C.                 Consider the evil eye:

    1.                  The adulterous eye – Peter spoke of those who had “eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin; enticing unsteadfast souls …”

    a.                Matt. 5:27-29 “Whosoever looketh upon a woman …”

    b.                2 Sam. 11:2 “from his roof he saw a woman bathing …”

    c.                Job 24:15 “The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, no eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face.”

    2.                  The envious eye

    a.                Saul envious of David – 1 Sam. 18:7-9 – “And Saul eyed David from that day forward.”

    b.                Jesus taught that the first shall be last and the last first and told a story about workers in the vineyard … Matt. 20.  The early workers were envious because the latecomers received the same wages.  The master said: “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?  Or is thine eye evil, because I am good?  So the first shall be last and the last first.”

    3.                  The Critical eye

    a.                Matt. 7:1-4 “Judge not …”

    b.                “I loathe the guys who criticize and minimize the other guys whose enteprise has made them rise above the guys who criticize and minimize the other guys.”

    c.                Criticism – read.

    d.                Remember – “There is no reward for finding fault.”

    e.                Article – “Before I criticize”

    4.                  The Haughty eye

    a.                Prov. 6:16 – “There are six things which Jehovah hateth; yea seven which are an abomination unto him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood; a heart that deviseth wicked purposes, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness that uttereth lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

    b.                Rom. 12:3 – “Not to think of self more highly than he ought to think.”

    c.                That old stone face … the look of pride!!

    d.                Jas. 4:6 – “God resisteth the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

    5.                  The Covetous eye

    a.                Prov. 28:22 – “He that hath an evil eye hasteth after riches, and knoweth not that want shall come upon him.”

    b.                Acts 8:18 – Simon saw that by the laying on of the apostles’ hands the H.S. was given … tried to buy this power.

    c.                Achan – Josh. 7:21 – “When I saw among the spoil a goodly Babylonish mantle, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.”

    6.                  The Closed eye (prejudiced eye)

    a.                People who already have their minds made up …

    b.                Matt. 13:15 – quote from Is. 6:9, 10 – “For the heart of this people has waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing and their eyes they have closed …”

    c.                The closed eye can be of little benefit …

    D.                 Consider the Good eye:

    1.                  Compassionate eye

    a.                The good Samaritan – Lk. 10:33 – “When he saw him he was moved with compassion.”

    b.                Jesus – Matt. 9:36 – “When he saw the multitudes he was moved with compassion …”

    c.                May our eyes always be open to the needs of others.

    2.                  Sympathetic eye

    a.                Jesus at the death of Lazarus – John 11:33 – “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping who came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, and said, “Where have ye laid him?  They say unto him, come and see.  Jesus wept.”

    b.                Rom. 12:15 – “Rejoice with them that rejoice and weep with them that weep.”

    c.                May our eyes always be ready to weep in sympathy.

    3.                  The faithful eye

    a.                Heb. 12:1-3 “Looking unto Jesus …”

    b.                2 Cor. 5:7 – “For we walk by faith and not by sight …”

    c.                The faithful eye is fixed on Christ!

    4.                  The open eye

    a.                Matt. 13:16 – “But blessed are your eyes, for they see …”

    b.                Acts 17:11 – “Now these were more noble than they of Thess.…

    c.                The eye must be open to the right things …

    Conclusion:

    A.      The eye has to do with one’s motives and character

    B.       An evil eye indicates dimness of soul.

    C.      The good eye is wholesome in every thing.

     

    _________

    Sources:  Norman Gipson, Bear Valley School of Preaching -- 1970

     


    Email:dan@christian-family.net


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                                   INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC IN CHRISTIAN WORSHIP

     

    By Dan Flournoy

     

     

    Introduction:  Worship is an expression of our love for God - homage paid to deity.

     

    A.     From the time Cain brought forth his sacrifice to this good day, Satan has attempted to get man to worship God in vain.

     

    B.     All worship is not acceptable worship.

     

    1.      Pagans worship in ignorance - Acts 17:23.

     

    2.      Ancient Israel mixed wickedness and worship –

     

     

    a.      Isaiah 1: 13 "Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me.  The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies- I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.

     

    b.      The answer to their problem is given in verse 16:   Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.  Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow."

     

                            3.  Those who worship according to man's teaching do so in vain.  Matthew 15:9 "For in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."

     

    C.     The only worship accepted by God is worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

                           

    D.     In this lesson we are concerned with a most important topic, INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC IN CHRISTIAN WORSHIP.

     

    I.                    A Brief History of Instrumental Music in Christian Worship

     

    A.     The first use of instrumental music - AD 660 - introduced by Pope Vitaline, but not widely accepted.    (McClintock and Strong, Vol. VI, p. 759; Rex Turner, Fundamentals of the Faith, p. 85).

     

    B.     In 1250 AD, Thomas Aquinas wrote: "Our Church does not use musical instruments, as harps and psalteries, to praise God withal, that she may not seem to Judaize."

     

    C.     Further, the instrument has never been used in the Greek Orthodox Church (Everett Ferguson, A Cappella Music in the Public Worship of the Church, p. iii; see also Turner, p. 85).

     

    D.     McClintock and Strong (1867-1887) "The first organ is believed to have been used in Church service in the 13th century.  Organs were, however, in use before this in the theatre.  They were never regarded with favor in the Eastern Church, and were vehemently opposed in some of the Western churches.  In Scotland no organ is allowed to this day, except in a few Episcopal churches."(M & S, Vol. VI, p. 760).

     

    E.       Instrumental music  was opposed by the early leaders of the Protestant Reformation.

     

    1.      Martin Luther: "The organ in the worship of God is an ensign of Baal." 

     

    2.      John Calvin, founder of the Presbyterian Church: "It is no more suitable than the burning of incense, the lighting up of tapers or revival of the other shadows of the law."

     

    3.      Adam Clarke, great Methodist Commentator (1814): "Music, as a science, I esteem and admire: but instruments of music in the house of God I abominate and abhor. This is the abuse of music; and here I register my protest against all such corruptions in the worship of the Author of Christianity."

     

    4.      Clark continues: The late venerable and most eminent divine, the Rev. John Wesley, who was a lover of music, and an elegant poet, when asked his opinion of instruments of music being introduced into the chapel of the Methodists said, in his terse and powerful manner, 'I have no objection to the instruments of music in our chapels, provided they are neither HEARD nor SEEN. I Say the same, though I think the expense of purchase had better be spared." (Clarke's Commentary, Vol. IV, p. 684)

     

    5.      Charles H. Spurgeon, recognized as the greatest Baptist preacher ever produced, preached for twenty years in the Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle of London, England to 10,000 people every Sunday.  When asked why he did not use the organ in worship, he gave 1 Corinthians 14:15 as his answer: "I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also," and remarked, "I would as soon pray with machinery as to sing to God with machinery." (Foy E. Wallace, Jr. "Instrumental Music in the Christian Worship, p. 4).

     

    E.      Among churches of Christ, Dr. L.L. Pinkerton, preacher at Midway, Kentucky, introduced the melodeon in the worship in 1860.  He wrote: "So far as known to me, or, I presume, to you, I am the only preacher in our brotherhood who has publicly advocated the propriety of employing instrumental music in some churches, and the  church of God in Midway is the only church that has yet made a decided effort to introduce it."

     

    F.      The instrument was justified at Midway on the grounds that the singing would scare even the rats from the worship. (Dabney Philips, Restoration Principles and Personalities, p. 164, 65).

     

               

    G.     The introduction instrumental music divided the church during the last four decades of the 19th century.  By 1906, in the first U.S. Census, there was a clear division between the Christian Church and the Churches of Christ.

     

    H.     These statements from history and from religious leaders are not offered to settle the question, but to demonstrate that instrumental music is not problem that has come up in the last few years.

     

    I.        People need to know that instrumental music has caused division every time it has been introduced.

     

    II.                 Biblical Worship Must Be Authorized

     

    A.     Authority from God comes through Christ & the apostles.  This is how we got the NT.

     

    1.      John 16:7-13 – The Holy Spirit guided the apostles into “all truth.”

     

    2.      John 17:8 "The words which thou gave me, I gave unto them."

     

    3.      John 12:48 – All will be judged by the words of Christ.

     

    4.      The apostles wrote the commandment of Christ, 1 Cor. 14:37.

     

    5.      They wrote the words of the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor. 2:12.

     

    B.     The Bible is God's inspired word and is therefore authoritative.

     

    C.     NT passages relating to music in Christian Worship.

     

    1.      Matthew 26:30 "And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives."

     

    2.      Acts 16:25 "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns unto God, and the prisoners were listening to them."

     

    3.      Romans 15:9 "As it is written, therefore will I give praise unto thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name."

     

    4.      1 Corinthians 14:15 "I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also."

     

    5.      Ephesians 5:19 "Speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord."

     

    6.      Colossians 3:16 "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts unto God."

     

    7.      James 5:13 "Is any among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise."

     

    8.      Hebrews 2:12 "I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the congregation will I sing thy praise."

     

    D.     Each of these passages specifies singing as the kind of music authorized for Christian worship.

     

    1.      The law of exclusion and inclusion must be understood.

     

    2.      A specific command excludes while a generic command includes.

     

                                                                 a.      There are two types of music, vocal & instrumental.

     

                                                                b.      The NT specifies vocal, therefore

     

                                                                 c.      Instrumental music is excluded.

     

    3.      An illustration from the OT (Gen. 6:14).

     

                                                                 a.      Noah was commanded to build an ark out of gopher wood.

     

                                                                b.      Gopher wood is specific, therefore,

     

                                                                 c.      Pine, oak, maple, etc. are excluded.

     

    4.      An illustration from OT worship (Lev. 10)

     

                                                                 a.      Nadab & Abihu

     

                                                                b.      Offered "strange fire" -

     

                                                                 c.      "So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.  Then Moses said to Aaron, "This is what the Lord spoke, saying: 'By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified."

     

    5.      A modern illustration:

     

    a.       You go to McDonalds and order a Big Mac, a large coke and a regular order of fries.

    b.      Your specific order is acknowledge by the clerk as what you have authorized.

    c.       It is not necessary for you to read the rest of the menu, saying, “I do not want a quarter-pounder with cheese, I do not want a milk shake, I do not want a salad, etc.”

    6.      To argue that “if singing was so important to God he would have made it clearer” is to totally misunderstand the Scripture.  When something is specified, God has made his intentions clear.

     

     

    III.   What Can be said of Instrumental Music in Christian Worship? 

     

    A.     Instrumental Music is not authorized by Christ.

     

    1.      Col. 3:17 "And what ever you do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the father through him."

     

    2.       Jesus did not teach or authorize instrumental Music.  Therefore,

     

    3.  Instrumental is not a part of the doctrine of Christ.

     

    2 John 9 "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God.  He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son."

     

    B.     Instrumental Music is not taught by the apostles.

     

    1.      Matthew 28:19-20 - The apostles were commanded to teach new converts "to observe all things that I have commanded you..."

     

    2.The apostles did not teach the use of instrumental music in worship.  Therefore,

     

    3.      Instrumental music is not part of the "apostle’s doctrine" (Acts 2:42).

     

    C.     Instrumental Music is not taught by the Holy Spirit.

     

    1.      The HS was to guide the apostles into "all truth" (John 16:13).

     

    2.The HS did not guide the apostles to use instrumental music.  Therefore,

     

    3.      Instrumental Music is not according to truth!

     

    Conclusion:  We believe that Bible is clear in its instruction regarding Christian worship.  We desire to be pleasing to the Lord and therefore, we worship as he directs us through his word.

     

    A.     The question of instrumental music in Christian worship involves a deeper principle...THE AUTHORITY OF THE SCRIPTURES.

     

    1.      What is your attitude toward the Bible?

     

    2.      Do you regard it as the word of God and therefore authoritative?

     

    3.      Shall we be governed by a "thus saith the Lord" or shall "every man do that which is right in his own eyes"?

     

    B.     Our plea is for a return to the NT for our worship and practice.

     

               

     

    __________

    Sources: 

     

    Rex Turner, The Fundamentals of the Faith

     

    Foy E. Wallace, Jr. Instrumental Music in the Christian Worship

     

    Dabney Phillips, Restoration Principles and personalities

     

    Roy H. Lanier, Sr. Class Notes, Bear Valley School of Preaching

     

    McClintock and Strong, Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature.

     

    Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Bible, Vol. IV.

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    Email: dan@christian-family.net


     


    The Bible Heart

     

    INTRODUCTION:

     

    A.  Man is of composite nature...

     

    1 Th 5:23  Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

     

    B.  The body is sometimes referred to as “the outward man.”

     

    2 Cor 4:16  Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.

     

    C.  The inner man is that part of man that is eternal...immortal and is of a spiritual nature.

     

    Eph 3:16  that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,

     

    D.  The inner man is often referred to as “the heart.”

     

    I.          What is the Bible heart?

    A.       Intellect

    1.         Thinks - Proverbs 23:7 “As he thinketh...”

    2.         Understands - Matthew 13:15 “For this people’s heart is waxed gross...”

    3.         Believes - Romans 10:10 “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness.”

    B.        Emotions

    1.         Desires - Romans 10:1 “Brethren my heart’s desire...”

    2.         Loves - Matthew 22:37 “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart, soul, mind.”

    3.         Trusts - Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

    C.       Will

    1.         Purposes - Daniel 1:8 “Daniel purposed in his heart...”

    2.         Intends - Hebrews 4:12 the word of God is able to discern “the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

    3.         Obeys - Romans 6:17 “Thanks be to God...”

    D.       Conscience

    1.       I John 3:20 “If our heart condemns us ...”

    2.      1 Cor 4:4-5  For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God.”


     

    II.       The heart is not always as it should be.

    A.       It may become corrupted.

    1.         The ancients of the anti-deluvian world filled their lives with violence and “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

    2.         Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

    3.         Therefore, the wise man warns: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23)

    4.         Matthew 15:19 “For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, railings: these are the things which defile a man...”

    B.        There are, on the other hand, those exceptional people whose hearts are right with God.

    1.         Of king Josiah it was said: “And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him” (II Kings 24:25).

    2.         David was a man after God’s own heart, Acts 13:22.  It is obvious of what we know of David’s life that repentance and conversion were still necessary.

     

    III.    The heart as it should be.

    A.       The right attitude of heart begins with its being broken or crushed.

    1.         Psalms 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”

    2.         The broken heart is symbolic of humility and penitence and synonymous with “a broken spirit.”  Thus Jesus said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).  This is another way of saying, “Blessed are the humble.”

    B.        It is necessary for the heart to be broken because it is the hard and stony heart which does not submit to the will of God.

    C.       Pharaoh is a good example of a hardened heart.

    1.         Ten times the Bible says that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.  Five times Pharaoh hardened his heart and five times it is said that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.

    2.         God made a demand on Pharaoh which was against his political and financial interest, and against his pride as king of the country.

    a.         Moses spoke the word of Jehovah and Pharaoh, in his stubborn rebellion, hardened his heart against the word.

    b.         Thus, it can be said that God, through His word, hardened Pharaoh’s heart - it was Pharaoh’s own decision which brought his doom.

    c.         Had Pharaoh allowed God’s word to change his heart, no doubt the results would have been the exact opposite.

    d.         Robert Milligan, in his book Scheme of Redemption, makes this observation:  “The thing that melts wax will harden clay.”  God knew what Pharaoh’s heart was made of and that His word would harden it.

    D.       On the other hand, Lydia, whom we read about in the 16th chapter of Acts, is an example of one whose heart was opened by the word.

    1.         Acts 16:14 “And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, one that worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened to give heed unto the things which were spoken by Paul.”

    2.         Notice:  the Lord opened Lydia’s heart because she gave heed to the things which were spoken by Paul.

    a.         God does not operate directly upon the human heart, but through the word.

    b.         The gospel is God’s power unto salvation to every one who believes (Romans 1:16).

    3.         Jesus gave the parable of the sower - Luke 8

    a.         “Wayside” represents those who heard, but the devil took it away “from their heart,” that they may not believe and be saved.

    b.         “The rock” represents those who receive the word with joy; who for a while believe, and in time of temptation, fall away.

    c.         “The thorns” represent those who believe but are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.

    d.         “Good ground” represents an honest and good heart. Brings forth fruit...

     

    IV.    Man’s greatest need is for a change of heart.

    A.       The heart of unbelief must be changed to a heart of faith.

    1.         The facts of the gospel can change the sinner’s intellect (John 20:30, 31).

    2.         The love of God changes the emotions (John 3:16).  I John 4:19 “We love, because He first loved us.”

    3.         The motives of the gospel change the sinners will.  Romans 2:4 “Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”

    B.        The heart of rebellion must be changed to a heart of obedience.

    1.         The conscience can be changed only by doing right.  When one understands and believes what Jesus said, he can never have a clear conscience until he obeys.  Mark 16:16; I Peter 3:21 “Which after a true likeness doth now save you, even baptism, not    the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation (answer) of a good     conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

    2.         When one obeys from the heart that form of doctrine ... DBR = his conscience answers with a good report.

     

    Conclusion:  “The gospel as God gave it is adapted to the heart as He made it.”

    A.  Only the gospel of Christ has the power to transform or change the Bible heart.

    B.  Will you allow God’s word to change your heart and life?

    _________________________

    Acknowledgments and disclaimer:  This sermon is a composite of numerous points gleaned from various sources including class notes from J.P. Lewis at ACC, Norman Gipson at BVSOP.  Otherwise, this material is original (originality being defined as the ability to forget where you got it). --©Dan Flournoy, www.Christian-Family.net

    ______________________________


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    Email: dan@christian-family.net


    Marriage: An Ideal Whose Time is Past?

     

    Dan Flournoy

     

    Introduction:

     

    A.       Marriage is God’s arrangement, not man’s.

    B.       Therefore, it is His ideal arrangement for all time

    C.       Those who accept the Bible as God’s divine word, accept these truths as being self-evident.

    D.       However, we must recognize that we are in a cultural war wherein these basic truths are being attacked and undermined.

    E.        Jesus said: “If you abide in my word, then are you truly my disciples; and you shall know the truth, and the trust shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).

     

    While this is true, the converse is also true:  “Falsehoods enslave and myths destroy.”

    Now before you smile and say those comments are just too simplistic and too obvious to have any great consequence, let's look at some historical facts:

    • The people that Hitler enticed with his myths of Aryan supremacy were not ignorant people –– but they bought into myths that ultimately plunged all of Europe into war and that war nearly annihilated European Jewry.
    • Lenin and Stalin promoted the Marxist fallacy of a good and benign Communist state. This led to the slaughter of the Kulaks and the starvation of an estimated 7 million Ukrainians.
    • Add to this list of horrors the murderous purges of Mao in China and the genocide of Pol Pot in Cambodia –– Mao's man-made famine in China killed more millions than died in the USSR and Pol Pot was responsible for the deaths of 25 percent of Cambodia's population.

    [Janis Shaw Crouse, Ph.D. in  Remarks at the World Congress of Families III  Mexico City, Mexico -- March 29, 2004 ]

    I.  Enemies of the Home

     

    A.       Feminism

     

    1.      Feminist myths have permeated our society for the past forty years.

    a.       In 1963 Betty Friedan published THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE in which she set forth the platform for the modern feminist movement.

    b.      Traditional marriage, in feminist thinking, is the ultimate oppressor of women.

    c.       Religion, principally Christianity, is that which gives the greatest support for marriage.

    d.      Therefore, it should no come as a surprise that feminists attacked not only masculinity, but the Bible, the church and the home.

    2.      Feminists picture marriage and the home as a patriarchal scheme to keep women in servitude to men.

    3.      The role of wife and mother is to be looked upon with disgust – as a dead – end job that keeps women from reaching their full potential and equality with men.

     

    a.      A whole generation of young women has grown up being told that they don't need a man and many are actively hostile toward all men.

    b.      Women have been told that they don't need to "bend the knee" to anyone – including God; that they are sufficient unto themselves and independent of everyone else.

    c.      And, feminists have tried to instill the idea that gender is a social construct and that all of us need to get in touch with both our masculine and feminine sides.

     

    B.  Communism

     

    1.      The Communist Manifesto attacked the home speaking of “The bourgeois claptrap about the family and education, about the hallowed co-relation of parent and child.”

    2.      “The bourgeois family,” says the Manifesto,  “will vanish as a matter of course when its complement (prostitution) vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital.”

    3.      The main teaching of Marxist doctrine was that children belong primarily to the state and not primarily to the home.

    4.      Beware when politicians declare that “children are our greatest national resource.”

    5.      Marxism has embraced the militant feminist movement.

    6.      Both Feminism and Marxism agree that men and women must be treated in identical ways except for some special provision for pregnancy and nursing. 

     

    Time would fail us to speak of Humanism, Atheism and Evolution and their attack upon marriage and the family.

     

    II.  The Bible teaches clearly that Marriage is God’s ideal for all time.

     

    A.       Lifelong marriage is the foundation for a stable society as well as a healthy church.

    B.       God’s plan for marriage is introduced in Genesis 2:18-24, repeated by Jesus in Matthew 19:5-9 and emphasized by the apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Ephesus (Eph. 5:31). 

    C.       Thus, God ordained marriage in the beginning to be his plan for every age and culture. 

    1.      Marriage was perfect in its establishment: one man and one woman in a lifetime commitment. 

    2.    Genesis 2:18-24 is a description of the first marriage and demonstrates clearly that marriage is God’s plan for all time.

    “And Jehovah God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.  And out of the ground Jehovah God formed every beast of the field, and every bird of the heavens; and brought them unto the man to see what he would call them: and whatsoever the man called every living creature, that was the name thereof.  And the man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the heavens, and to every beast of the field; but for man there was not found a help meet for him.  And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof: and the rib, which Jehovah God had taken from the man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.  And the man said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:18-24 ASV).

     

    3.  From this text we derive these basic truths:

    a.        It is not good for man to be alone.

    b.      Woman is a suitable companion.

    c.       It is God’s will that this joining together of a husband and wife be a lifelong commitment.

    III.  It is Not Good for Man to be Alone.

    A.       God never intended for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18).  He created the man and the woman in His image (Gen. 1:26) with physical and emotional needs that only another human being could meet.

    B.       While there were no parents in Eden, yet God’s plan clearly provided for the future of the race and gave instructions for the man to leave father and mother in order to cleave unto his wife that the two might become one. 

    1.                               The man and his wife are to be “joined” to one another. 

    2.                               This “joining” refers to a strong, enduring bond – making one unit, literally, “glued” together by unconditional commitment, love, and acceptance (Cf. Eccl. 4:9-12).

    C.       No other human relationship is to take precedence over the bond between husband and wife, not even the parent-child relationship. 

    1.      Marriage is a sacred commitment. 

    2.      The word marriage itself derives from the Hebrew word kiddushin which literally means “sanctification.” 

    3.      Therefore, the marriage relationship is to be a holy union (Cf. Heb. 13:4).  Marriage is a commitment, a vow made to God and the marriage partner, not only to love but also to be faithful and to endure in this lifelong exclusive relationship. 

    4.      Jesus added such an emphasis when he said, “what therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder (separate, Matt. 19:6 NKJV).

    D.       God ordained the home from the very beginning. 

    1.        Men need women and women need men. 

    2.        God designed the home to be the ideal place to nurture children and prepare them to live in the world and deal with the problems of life.

    3.        In the beginning, God created man to be a social creature. 

    4.        Man was alone and God said “that is not good.” 

    5.        While Adam was surrounded by the animal world, he was none-the-less “alone.” 

    6.        One of the most intriguing sections of Genesis has to do with Adam naming the animals:

    “And out of the ground Jehovah God formed every beast of the field, and every bird of the heavens; and brought them unto the man to see what he would call them: and whatsoever the man called every living creature, that was the name thereof.  And the man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the heavens, and to every beast of the field; but for man there was not found a help meet for him” (Gen. 2:19-20).

     

    E.   What was God doing in parading the animals before Adam to be named? 

    1.        Was this not a vivid demonstration that no animal is capable of a meaningful relationship with man? 

    2.        What the man needed was someone who could feel as he felt, to share the joys and challenges of life. 

    3.        Someone who could create with him, offspring to follow in their steps (cf. 1 Peter 3:7).

    F.   There was no one like that in the garden. 

    1.        No animal could meet the human need to have a relationship. 

    2.        Even in the midst of a world full of animals, Adam was decidedly alone. 

    3.        Man was created to work best with a companion. 

    4.        Man alone is to be pitied. 

    5.        Certainly one can live a single, or celibate life and still find fulfillment as in the case of the apostle Paul. 

    6.        Yet, it is forever true, forever the norm, that “it is not good for the man to be alone.” 


    7.        Consider these indisputable facts offered by George Gilder in his book Men and Marriage:

    Single men commit ninety percent of all crimes of violence, earn less than their married peers, are five times more likely to be hospitalized for emotional distress, have the highest suicide rate, are four times more likely to be killed in a car crash and generally – from all causes – die younger, and are six times more likely than married men to die of accidental falls.[i]

     

    8.      Gilder concludes that a man who remains single is “courting disaster, for a man with no roots, no one to worry about him, to look after him, is lost.” 

    9.      Further, Gilder gives women credit for making both their children and husbands creative and emotionally stable. 

    10.  In the beginning, God simply put it this way, “it is not good for the man to be alone.”

    IV.  Woman, A Suitable Companion

    A.  While the Bible, more than any other book, has elevated the role of women in society, many women believe that God and the Bible view women in a derogatory way. 

    For example, a Roman Catholic nun, who taught at a local college, began a meeting to promote feminism by saying, “I’m going to give you an idea of how God views women.”  Then she proceeded to read quotations from the apocryphal books about how women are devils and the world of all evils who always cause the downfall of innocent men, etc.  Sadly, no one in her audience seemed aware of the fact that the apocryphal books contradict much of the accepted Bible or that scholars generally recognize them as uninspired.  Thus, her quotations showed only what uninspired men thought—not how God views women.  But the women at the meeting left thinking that God held a low view of femininity![ii]

     

    B.       Protestants, likewise, often promote their own brand of misinformation about the role of women. 

    C.       Some have characterized the apostle Paul as a “women hating bachelor.”

    1.      They circulate the idea that he was jilted in love and that’s why “he wrote all those horrible things about women and subjection.” 

    2.      Many therefore do not consider Paul’s teaching on women binding today.

    D.       The radical feminist movement has certainly had an affect on the Lord’s church. 

    1.      As a result of such misinformation and propaganda, many women are left wondering as to what their rightful place is in the over-all scheme of things. 

     

    2.      Even a casual search of the Brotherhood periodicals reveals numerous articles over the past thirty years that explore the role of women in the church. 

    3.      Entire lectureships have been given over to the study of the women’s role in marriage, the church and society.

    4.      Is the woman an intelligent creation or just a biological accident? 

    5.      Is the woman a toy for her husband to use at his pleasure? 

    6.      Is a women to function as her husband’s personal slave, ready at his beck and call to say, ‘Yes, sir’ and jump right to it?  Is the woman socially a second-rate citizen without rights and privileges? 

    7.      Do any differences really exist between male and female?[iii]

     

    E.        What has happened in our society is that many women have replaced one set of misconceptions with another equally wrong set of misconceptions. 

    A.       What is needed is a Biblical perspective of marriage and the role of women.

    B. God says that the woman is a suitable companion for man. 

    C. She is His special creation designed to fill a vital role in the family. 

    D.   She completes and compliments man and helps him to fulfill his role as head of the home (1 Cor. 11:3). 

    E.      A common misconception of the woman’s role in the home is caused by a misunderstanding of the phrase “a help meet for him” (Gen. 2:18). 

    1.        The words help and meet are two separate words.  God did not say helpmate! 

    2.        The phrase “meet for him” modifies “help” and tells what kind of helper man needed to solve his problem. 

    3.        The New American Standard says, “A helper suitable for him.” 

    F.        Man alone is incomplete.  Adam had an enormous task ahead of him. 

    1.      He needed specialized help to accomplish God’s purpose in the world. 

    2.      Not just any kind of help, but a specialized help that could only be supplied by one who was in harmony with his spirit and who could supply his needs. 

    3.      God selected a helper who was suitable, a highly talented helper. 

    4.      He created this helper to meet exacting specifications. 

    5.      This was no substandard assistant God brought to Adam. 

    6.      She was indeed the crown of His creation and exactly what man needed to make him complete. 

    7.      Solomon observed

    “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, And obtaineth favor of Jehovah” (Prov. 18:22 ).  He also said, “House and riches are an inheritance from fathers; But a prudent wife is from Jehovah” (Prov. 19:14).

     

    G.       The First and Eternal Father gave the first bride away and ordained the institution of marriage. 

    1.      It is the Heavenly Father who listens to the pledges of love and devotion of modern husbands and wives just as He heard the wedding vows of Adam and Eve.[iv] 

    2.      To the ancient Israelites, Malachi said,

    “The Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant”(Mal. 2:14).

     

    3.        Since God participates in the joining together of every husband and wife, couples must not take their vows lightly.

    4.        No woman should wander aimlessly through life trying to figure out her purpose. 

    5.        From the very beginning God has made her role clear by presenting Eve to Adam in the first marriage ceremony. 

    6.        Notice what Adam said:

    “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

     

    7.        Evidently, Adam was aware of the material that God used to make the woman and its significance. 

    8.        He logically named her “woman” or “womb-man.” 

    9.        The woman’s name is derived from the man’s name and reflects her function – that God took her out of the man to be his companion and helper.

    H.       God is described as a “helper” (Heb. ‘ezer) to Israel (Ex. 18:4). 

    1.      This does not imply inferiority. 

    2.      The word describes function rather than worth.  No one looses value in humbly assuming the role of a helper. 

    3.      Jesus said that he came not to be served, but to serve (Matt. 20:28). 

    4.      A person’s worth is not determined by how many servants he has, but by how many he serves. 

    5.      Therefore, the woman’s role as man’s helper does not mean that she is a second-class citizen. 

    I.          Just as Adam named the animals, so he also named the woman. 

    1.      He called her woman (Heb. Ishsha). 

    2.      Thus, the woman’s name gives another insight into her role in God’s scheme for the family. 

    3.      She is “womb-man” which shows the essential difference between man and woman – her womb. 

    4.      The unique function of the woman revolves around her ability to bear and nurture children. 

    5.      This man cannot do alone.  He needs a helper suitable to perform this function. 

    6.      Peter reminds men that they must honor the woman as being “joint heirs of the grace of life”(1 Pet. 3:7). 

    J.         From very early in Bible history, the inability to bear children was regarded as a disgraceful thing (Cf. Sari and Hagar; Gen. 16:4; Rachel Gen. 30:1). 

    1.      Interestingly, today, the feminists denounce the role of women in child bearing and child rearing. 

    2.      They lobby vigorously in favor of abortion and demand day care centers in order to rid themselves of the unseemly chore of bearing and rearing children. 

    3.      A survey taken a number of years ago showed that over half of the women in France wished they were men.[v] 

    4.      The feminists have gone to extreme lengths to reject themselves as women.

    K.      Women who serve God gladly accept the name “woman” and cherish their vital role in God’s plan for the home. 

    1.      They view womanhood with dignity and respect without attaching any inferiority to the role of wife and mother. 

    2.      As Adam named her “woman,” so God gave her a name to wear – the man’s: “He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man [Adam – KJV and NAS footnote] in the day when they were created” (Gen. 5:2).

    V.       Marriage is a Lifelong Commitment

                A.  It is the Lord’s will that marriage be a lifelong commitment. 

    1.        Jesus said, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man separate” (Matt. 19:6 NKJV). 

    2.        The apostle Paul, while teaching on the fact that Christians are under the Law of Christ and not under the Law of Moses, also taught the truth about the marriage relationship. 

    3.        He said,

    “Or are ye ignorant, brethren (for I speak to men who know the law), that the law hath dominion over a man for so long time as he liveth?  For the woman that hath a husband is bound by law to the husband while he liveth; but if the husband die, she is discharged from the law of the husband.  So then if, while the husband liveth, she be joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if the husband die, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she be joined to another man” (Rom. 7:1-3).

     

    4.        Thus, marriage is intended to be a lifelong relationship to last until death. 

    5.        Jesus gave one exception to the rule – the unfaithfulness of one of the marriage partners.  He said,

    “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her when she is put away committeth adultery” (Matt. 19:9).

     

    6.        While there have always been those who disregard scriptural teaching on the sanctity and permanence of marriage, the majority in our culture have looked on divorce with disdain. 

    7.        Over the past half century, the winds of change have been blowing over America and have brought about a decided shift in the way most people view marriage and divorce.

    B.  Glenn T. Stanton in his book Why Marriage Matters, points to 1974 as a watershed year. 

    1.  He cites statistics which show that “for the first time in our nation’s history, more marriages were ended by divorce than by the death of a spouse.”[vi] 

    2.  A recent “Barry’s Word” cartoon pictures a couple standing before the preacher in the wedding chapel as he says, “…

    3.  To have and to hold until the going gets tough.…” A “Bizarro” cartoon has a couple standing before the preacher as he asks, “Do you promise to love and cherish each other until it’s inconvenient, or you’re tired of it, or somebody more exciting comes along, or it’s just not fun anymore?” 

    4.  These comics are but a reflection of the prevailing attitudes toward marriage in our postmodern culture.

    4.        Christians today find themselves in, what some have called “a culture of divorce.” 

    5.        Barbara Defoe Whitehead, in her recent book entitled The Divorce Culture discusses the pervasive ideology which values choice and its accompanying options as the highest good and relegates self-denying commitment to those who are either suckers or unrealistic dreamers.[vii] 

    6.        Norval Glenn, a sociologist at the University of Texas, explains

    Although many contemporary marriage ceremonies include traditional marriage vows, such as “till death do us part” and “as long as we both shall live,” it is doubtful that most brides and grooms mean what they say.  More honest vows would often be “as long as we both shall love” or “as long as no one better comes along.”[viii]

     

    7.        While we may blame the loss of reverence for the permanence of marriage on the culture, it really boils down to a loss of reverence for the Word of God! 

    8.        The Bible clearly teaches that God ordained marriage in the beginning and regulates it throughout the Bible. 

    9.        God’s ideal plan is for a couple united in marriage to remain so for life (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:5-6; Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:39). 

    10.    Divorce is a consequence or a result of sin (Deut. 24:1; Matt. 19:8). 

    11.    It is forever true that God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16). 

     

    CONCLUSION:

     

    A.       There are still millions of happy marriages in America where the bonds of affection are kept strong.

     

    B.       God ordained marriage for the good of all mankind. 

    C.       It is His plan that men and women marry, bear children and rear them to live Godly lives. 

    D.       When  Christian husbands and wives treat each other with love and respect, marriage will be rich and rewarding.

    E.        There is no question that Christians must be pro-family and do everything possible to prepare young people for marriage and help couples maintain their marriages.

    F.        Let me challenge elders, preachers and youth leaders to develop a curriculum for the home.

    G.       Let me challenge parents to provide a Christian home for your children and help them to have Christian homes.

    H.       May God help us to work together to build the kind of marriages and homes that God desires.

    ©2004 Dan Flournoy, www.Christian-Family.net

    END NOTES


    [i] Quoted by Patsy Rae Dawson, Marriage: A Taste of Heaven (Puyallup, Washington, Gospel Themes Press, 1995, p. 132.

    [ii] Ibid., p. 124.

    [iii] Ibid.

    [iv] Ibid., p. 137.

    [v] Ibid., p. 138

    [vi] Glenn T. Stanton, Why Marriage Matters, (Colorado Springs, Colorado: Pinon Press, 1997), p. 123.

    [vii] Barbara Defoe Whitehead, The Divorce Culture  (New York: Knopf, 1997), p. 143.

    [viii] Norval D. Glenn, “The Recent Trend in Marital Success in the United States,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 53 (1991), pp. 261-270.


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    FUNERAL SERMONS

    The God of All Comfort
    Our Heavenly Home
    No More Tears



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    THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT

     

    INTRODUCTION:

     

    A  The death of a loved one brings great sorrow.

     

    1.     Especially is this true when death is un-expected.

     

    2.     These circumstances seem to leave us stunned and overwhelmed.

     

    3.     Job must have had overwhelming grief when he lost all of his children in one day!

     

    4.     Like Job, we want to ask why? ---No answer given accept child-like faith in God.

     

    5.     It is at a time such as this that we need the comfort that only God can give.

     

    2 Cor 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

    2 Cor 1:4  who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

    2 Cor 1:5  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.

     

    B.  Today, we have come to honor the memory of ___________________

    and to offer words of comfort to his/her dear family.

     

    I.  GOD IS ABLE TO COMFORT.

     

    A.  God is the God of all comfort!

     

              1.  He understands our deepest sorrow.


     

              2.  As our Creator, he is able to give us comfort.

     

    Psa 103:13  As a father pities his children, So the LORD pities those who fear Him.

    Psa 103:14  For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.

    Psa 103:15  As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.

    Psa 103:16  For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more.

    Psa 103:17  But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children's children,

    Psa 103:18  To such as keep His covenant, And to those who remember His commandments to do them.

     

    B.  He sent his own son to live in this world of sorrow and death.  Jesus is described as one who is acquainted with sorrow and grief.

     

     

    Isa 53:1  Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

    Isa 53:2  For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.

    Isa 53:3  He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

    Isa 53:4  Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.

     

    C.  Not only did Jesus endure the agony of the CROSS, but our Heavenly Father endured the agony of the death of His only begotten son.

     

    1.  Truly, He is able to comfort us in our time of sorrow.

     

    2.  But not only is He ABLE to comfort us----

     

    II.  HE IS WILLING TO COMFORT.

     

    A.  Following His temptation in the wilderness, Jesus went to the Synagogue in Nazareth was asked to read Scripture.  The passage he read tells us WHY God sent His Son into the world ---

     

     

    Isa 61:1  "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

    Isa 61:2  To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,

    Isa 61:3  To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."

     

    B.  Through Christ, we have comfort and consolation

     

    C.  Jesus said:

     

    John 14:1  "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

    John 14:2  "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

    John 14:3  "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

     

    C.  Oh, that we could understand the compassion of our blessed Lord!

     

    D.  We need to place our trust and hope in Him!  He is ABLE  and WILLING to comfort our hearts.


     

    III.  HE IS PRESENT TO COMFORT

     

    A.  We often think of God as being too far removed to care for His creation.

     

    B.  But God is very near.

     

    Acts 17:26  "And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,

    Acts 17:27  "so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

    Acts 17:28 "for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.'

     

    To his followers Jesus promised:

     

    Mat 28:20  "... lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

     

    CONCLUSION:

     

    A.  God is the God of all comfort, because:

     

    1.     He is able to comfort.

    2.     He is willing to comfort.

    3.     He is present to comfort.

     

    B.  To the family and friends of _____________________, remember the words of Peter---

     

    1 Pet 5:6  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,

    1 Pet 5:7  casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

    ______________________

    by Dan Flournoy -12/15/03

     


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    Our Heavenly Home

     

    INTRODUCTION:  Our beloved _______________will be greatly missed.

     

    A.   You are here today because of your love for her and this good family.

     

    B.   The Bible teaches us:  Rom 12:15  Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

     

    C.   A funeral service affords an opportunity to reflect on her/his life and to encourage one another.

     

    D.   As we express our sympathy may we also be “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation” (Rom. 12:12)

     

    E.    The Christian hope is in HEAVEN.

     

    1 Pet 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

    1 Pet 1:4  to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

     

    I.  WHAT IS HEAVEN LIKE?

     

    1.      We talk about heaven and sing of heaven

     

    2.     We can never fully know until we reach that home beyond the skies. 

     

    C.  However, Heaven is described for us in Scripture:

     

    I.  IT IS INCORRUPTIBLE

     

    A.  This means that it is immortal, imperishable, undying, enduring.

     

    1 Pet 1:18  knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,

    1 Pet 1:19  but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

    1 Pet 1:20  He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you

     

    B.  It cannot be corrupted:

     

    Mat 6:19  "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;

     

    C.  It is an imperishable crown:

     

    1 Cor 9:25  And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

     

    II.  IT IS UNDEFILED:  Unstained, un-soiled, without spot, pure, chaste.

     

    A.  The same word is used to describe Jesus, our High Priest:

     

    Heb 7:26  For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens;

     

    B.  Nothing will be allowed into heaven to spoil it.

     

    Rev 21:27  But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.

     

    III.  THAT FADES NOT AWAY: 

     

    A.  This is translated from amarantos, that which does not fade, or wither.

     

    1.  The Amaranth was a fabled flower whose blood was perpetual and              whose loveliness never faded.

     

    2.  The “fountain of the water of life” will be just as desirable and                            refreshing after a billion years

     

    Rev 21:6  And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.

     

    3.  The fruit from the tree of life will be just as desirable and satisfying:

     

    Rev 22:1  And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

    Rev 22:2  In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

    Rev 22:3  And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.

    Rev 22:4  They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.

    Rev 22:5  There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.

     

    B.  All of this is reserved in heaven for the faithful Christian.

     

    1.  Jesus has gone to prepare it for us: John 14:1-3.

    2. 1 John 2:25  And this is the promise that He has promised us; eternal life.

     

    “I’ve got a mansion, just over the hilltop, in that bright land where we’ll never grow old.”

     

    “There’s a beautiful place called heaven,  It is hidden above the bright blue, Where the good, who from earth-ties are riven, Live and love an eternity through.  Above the bright blue, the beautiful blue, Jesus is waiting for me and for you:  Heaven is there, not far from our sight, Beautiful city of light.”


    PARTING WORDS TO THE FAMILY

     

    Your father/mother would want me to remind you of these things.

     

    ·        All of you children need to stick together and work together – especially for the days ahead.

     

    ·        Raise your children in the church.  Encourage them to be baptized and life the Christian life.

     

    ·        Make sure you continue to live as Christians and that your souls are right with God.

     

    Remember:  Prov. 3:5  Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy path.”

     

    2 Corinthians 5:1-5

    For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be un-clothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

     

     


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    NO MORE TEARS

     

    INTRODUCTION:

     

    Rev 7:13  Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?"

    Rev 7:14  And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

    Rev 7:15  "Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them.

    Rev 7:16  "They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat;

    Rev 7:17  for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them andlead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes from their eyes."

     

    A.  This marvelous word-picture from the pen of the apostle John closes with a beautiful expression: "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

     

    B.  These are not the tears of all men, but the tears of God’s children.

     

    C.  With their tears the pages of history are stained.

     

    I.  THERE ARE TEARS OF PITY

     

    A.  Compassionate people weeping the fearful doom of hardened sinners.

     

    Luke 19:41  Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it,

    Luke 19:42  saying, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.

    Luke 19:43  "For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side,

    Luke 19:44  "and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation."

     

     

    II.  THERE ARE TEARS OF SYMPATHY

     

    There are tears of sympathy -- tenderhearted friends who share sorrow,   who weep with those who weep.

     

    John 11:35  Jesus wept.

     

    III.  THERE ARE TEARS OF BEREAVEMENT

     

    A.  David weeping for his son Absalom

     

    2 Sam 18:33  Then the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said thus: "O my son Absalom; my son, my son Absalom; if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!"

     

    B.  Jesus speaks of Rachel weeping for her children because they are no                more:

     

    Mat 2:18  "A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more."

     

     

    IV.  THERE ARE TEARS OF PENITENT SOULS, WHO WEEP                                              OVER THE MEMORY OF SAD MISTAKES.

     

    Luke 7:37  And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil,

    Luke 7:38  and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.

     

    Peter, after denying Jesus:

    Luke 22:62  So Peter went out and wept bitterly.

     

    V.  THERE ARE TEARS OF ANXIETY

     

    A.  Earnest Christian workers who are deeply concerned with the moral                          and spiritual well-being of the people with whom they live and labor.

     

    Acts 20:31  "Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.

     

    2 Cor 11:28  besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

     

     

    VI.  THERE ARE TEARS OF SACRIFICE

     

    A.  These are the tears of God’s children who suffer personal loss to the                         end that the church may go forward, that the gospel may be preached             in those regions where it has never been heard.

     

    Acts 20:18  And when they had come to him, he said to them: "You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you,

    Acts 20:19  "serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews;

     

    Psa 126:5  Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy.

     

    VII.  SOME THINGS WE NEED TO REMEMBER ABOUT TEARS

     

    A.  God knows and cares when we shed a tear...

     

    Psa 56:8  You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?

    Psa 56:9  When I cry out to You, Then my enemies will turn back; This I know, because God is for me.

     

     

    B.  Remember that our sorrow is but temporary:

     

    Psa 30:5  Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.

     

    C.  Finally, the Heavenly Father, with a tender hand, “shall wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

     

    CONCLUSION: 

     

    A.  There are many tears in this life:

     

    1.  Tears of Pity

    2.  Tears of sympathy

    3.  Tears of bereavement

    4.  Tears of the penitent

    5.  Tears of anxiety

    6.  Tears of sacrifice

     

    B.  Our beloved______________ is forever beyond the reach of harm...all sadness is taken away...no tears in that heavenly realm.

     

    ________________

    Dan Flournoy and Harold Taylor


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    WEDDING CEREMONY


     

    Who gives this bride in marriage?

     

    The occasion that brings us together is one of beauty and solemnity.  We have come in the presence of God and of these witnesses and friends to join these two young people in the bonds of matrimony.

     

    Marriage is the oldest institution in the world, celebrated since the beginning of the human race.  It was begun by God in the Garden and is provided for the good of all mankind.

     

    I.          Biblical  marriage is based upon mutual love and respect.

    A.       I Cor. 13:4-7 capsules what love is:

    Love is patient, kind, not jealous, not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly, is not selfish, is not easily provoked, does not keep account of wrongs, does not rejoice in other’s mistakes, but rejoices in truth . . . Love covers all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails.

    B.        Love is the greatest force in the world and must be the reigning force in the home.

    1.         Eph. 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it.”

    2.         Col. 3:19, “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.”

    3.         Titus 2:4, “That they may train the young women to love their husbands, love their children...”

    II.        Marriage is a LIFETIME COMMITMENT.

    A.       When God joins a man and a woman, they become one flesh.

    Matt. 19:4-6, “Have you not read, that he which made them in the beginning, made them male and female, and said, ‘For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they two shall be one flesh?’ Wherefore, they are no more two, but one flesh.  What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.”

    B.        This means a lifetime commitment.

    Vs. 9, “Whoever puts away his wife, except for fornication, and marries another, commits adultery: and he that marries her when she is put away commits adultery.”

    III.     Make Christ the center of your home.

    A.       Col. 3:16, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly. . .”  Spend time in Bible study and prayer.

    B.        Phil. 4:6, “In nothing be anxious, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. . .”

    C.       Raise your children in the Lord . . .

    Eph. 6:4, “Fathers, provoke not your children . . .”

    Titus 2:4, “That they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children. . .”

    Thus, marriage will be to you rewarding if you have it in your hearts to beautify and enrich it by your love for one another and for the Lord.

     

    You are now to confirm your fidelity to one another by making these marriage vows.  PLEASE JOIN RIGHT HANDS.

     

    To man:  Do you, _______________, take ______________ to be your lawfully wedded wife, to live together in the holy estate of matrimony?  Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, in prosperity and in adversity; and forsaking all others keep only unto her so long as you both shall live?

     

    To woman:  Do you, ______________, take _____________ to be your lawfully wedded husband, to live together in the holy estate of matrimony?  Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, in prosperity and in adversity; and forsaking all others keep only unto him so long as you both shall live?

     

    Do you have a ring?

     

    These rings are of precious metal - so let your love be most precious toward one another.  Each is a circle, unbroken - so let your love for one another be unbroken through all your earthly days.

     

    Ring to man - place on her finger:

    To the woman:  ______________, as a token and a pledge that you will faithfully perform your wedding vows, will you so receive and wear this ring?

     

    Ring to woman - place on his finger:

    To the man: _______________, as a token and pledge that you will faithfully perform your wedding vows, will you receive and wear this ring?

     

    To both:  You are both to wear your ring as a token of reverence and trust and as a symbol of your love.

     

    Song: __________________________________

     

    PRONOUNCEMENT:  Having heard your solemn promise that you will each be true to the other until death shall dissolve this union . . . by the authority vested in me by the State of Texas, I pronounce you HUSBAND and WIFE.  Shall we pray:

     

    PRAYER:

     

    YOU MAY KISS THE BRIDE!

     

    I am happy to present to you Mr. & Mrs. _________________________________. 

     

     

     

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