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There Is Season

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					There
  Is
  A
Season




Bob Harding
                  Table of Contents

Lesson                     LESSON TITLE                          Page

  1      A Time To Give Birth And A Time To Die…………………………….. 3

  2      A Time To Plant And A Time To Uproot What Is Planted…………… 12

  3      A Time To Kill And A Time To Heal………………………………… 17

  4      A Time To Tear Down And A Time To Build Up……………………. 22

  5      A Time To Weep And A Time To Laugh…………………………….. 29

  6      A Time To Mourn And A Time To Dance…………………………… 36

  7      A Time To Throw Stones And A Time To Gather Stones……………. 42
         A Time To Embrace And A Time To Shun Embracing

  8      A Time To Search And A Time To Give Up Searching……………… 47
         A Time To Gain And A Time To Lose

  9      A Time To Tear Apart And A Time To Sew Together……………….. 54

  10     A Time To Be Silent And A Time To Speak…………………………. 65

  11     A Time To Love………………………………………………………. 71

  12     A Bad Hatred………………………………………………………….. 77

  13     A Time To Hate (Good Hatred)………………………………………..84

  14     A Time For War………………………………………………………. 91

  15     A Time For Peace……………………………………………………... 99




                                  2
                    There Is A Season (1)
                         Ecclesiastes 3:1-14 – Introduction
                       ―A time to give birth and a time to die‖

                                 INTRODUCTION

A. The first eight verses of this chapter have often been quoted by poets and
   songwriters.
   1. On the surface this seems like a nice poem, but Solomon didn‘t consider this a
      comforting poem to the person insistent on living completely ―under the sun.‖
      1) Rather, here is another example of earthly vanity – life without God.

B.   Ch 1-2: First Discourse: The vanity of human wisdom, wealth and pleasure.
     Ch 3-5: Second Discourse: Coming to terms with the laws that govern life.
     1. Solomon continues his quest for meaning in life by looking at God providential
        government (control) of the world.
        1) He makes various observations from this which has practical application to
           life.

C. God is the absolute ruler over His creation.
   1. Man is to take his life day by day from the hand of God, realizing that God has a
      fitting time for each thing to be done.
      1) Solomon lists the various things which occur in life, noting that there is a
          place in God‘s providence for every one of these activities.
      2) 9-10: Therefore we must learn to accept them.
      3) 11: Man should recognize his inability to understand the depths of God‘s
              wisdom and His providential control of the world.
      4) 12-13: In life there is work to do – good to participate in – therefore enjoy
          life‘s good things.
      5) 14: Even those things which we dread have been used to God‘s glory and to
          accomplish His purposes – ―God has so worked that men should fear Him.‖
      6) God‘s purpose will stand and ―remain forever.‖
      7) ―There is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it.‖
      8) We must learn to accept God‘s purposes in life – Impossible to change them.

D. How should these observations affect the way we live?
   1. One disturbing conclusion is that things will happen not of our own making.
      1) Man is responsible to discern the right times for the right actions.
      2) When he does the right action according to God‘s time, the result is
         ―appropriate (beautiful)‖ (11).



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     2. Most people, whether they realize it or not, have made themselves prisoners of
        time.
        1) Their life is reduced to filling up time, marking time, living day-in, day-out,
           with no greater purpose in life than to get through the day.

     3. Another lesson that will help us with what our priorities should be is the fact
        that nothing we pursue in this life has any permanence.

1:   ―There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event
     under heaven.‖

     1. This verse is not intended to suggest that man has no choice in arranging certain
        times and events.
        1) It this were true, the distinction between the ―good man‖ and the ―sinner‖
           would be inappropriate.
        2) In addition, there would be little meaning given to admonition, rebuke and
           discipline.

     2. God has an interest in all of man‘s affairs.
        1) The God of eternity enters man‘s realm which is governed by time.
        2) Man has only so much time to accomplish his purpose on earth.
        3) God is there to influence and help man in every good work.

     3. An one ages, he becomes more and more conscience of time.
        1) Its not that we‘re unaware of time in our younger years – but our perspective
           and priorities change – or does it?
        2) As a child we are governed by time – by some power beyond our will.
           * ―The Force‖ says, ―It‘s time to get up.‖ ―It‘s time to eat.‖ ―Time to go to
               school…study…chores.‖

     4. When we grow up – many things take up our time and keeps us from doing
        what we WANT.
        1) Doing things that we don‘t want to do can be frustrating at times.

     5. The things in this chapter basically happen to every generation.
        1) These activities are great in number – from the cradle to the grave.
        2) They are manifold in variety.
        3) We are involved in constantly shifting experiences.
        4) We can‘t always know ahead of time what will happen.
        5) These human experiences are unavoidable and unalterable by man.
        6) There are many things in life that are beyond our own control.



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     6. People may try to laugh, when it‘s a time to mourn, but they will only
        experience frustration and failure.
        1) The sinner becomes frustrated at life, realizing that they are not marching to
           a tune of their own making.
        2) But the Christian seeks to accept the fact that many unexpected things will
           happen in life.
        3) Life isn‘t going to always follow our game plan.

2:   ―A time to give birth (be born) and a time to die‖

     1. The boundaries of life under the sun are mentioned first.
        1) Everything else happens between these two events.
        2) Life – includes all of its highs and lows, successes and failures, hopes and
              disappointments.

     2. Human life appears to be a mass of contradictions.
        1) Birth, even under the most ideal circumstances, sets a human being on an
           unavoidable march toward death.
        2) We couldn‘t choose the time of our own birth and we are not at liberty to
           choose the time of our own natural death.

     3. The Hebrew language uses the word ―children‖ (ben) to describe life before
        birth (in fetus-abortionists say no life until born).
        1) Gen 25:21-23: ―Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because
            she was barren; and the LORD answered him and Rebekah his wife
            conceived. But the children struggled together within her; and she said, ‗If it
            is so, why then am I this way?‘ So she went to inquire of the LORD. The
            LORD said to her, ‗Two nations are in your womb; and two peoples will be
            separated from your body; and one people shall be stronger than the other;
            and the older shall serve the younger.‘‖
            * At conception, the 23 chromosomes of the sperm unite with the 23
              chromosomes of the ovum, forming a new 46 chromosome cell.
            * This cell is now either male or female.
            * This cell is complete. Nothing will be added but nutrition and oxygen.
            * This is not merely ―potential life‖, it is life with vast potential!
            * 18 days after conception the heart begins to beat.
            * 8 weeks after conception all the baby‘s body systems are present.
            * 50% of all abortions are performed at 8 weeks.
            * 44% of all abortions are performed between 8-20 weeks.
            * 2% of all abortions are performed after 20 weeks.
        2) 2 Kings 19:3: ―They said to him, ‗Thus says Hezekiah,‘ ―This day is a day
            of distress, rebuke, and rejection; for children have come to birth and there
            is no strength to deliver.‖

                                            5
4. So precious was this life, even in the womb, that God protected it the same as he
   would protect any other human life (Ex 21:22-25).
   ―If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she
   gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the
   woman's husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide.
   But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life,
   eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound
   for wound, bruise for bruise.‖
   1) The recipient of an injury could be either the child or the mother.
   2) A blow to the mother‘s abdomen could cause premature birth of a live child.
   3) There certainly is no indication here that the fetus was born dead.
   4) As a matter of fact, there was no Hebrew word for fetus.
   5) Yeled is the Hebrew word for child, either born or unborn.
   6) The implication of this passage is that under the Law of Moses, the unborn
      child was considered a living being.

5. Ps 139:13-16: ―For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my
   mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully
   made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame
   was (Lit. ―bones were‖) not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and
   skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed
   substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for
   me, when as yet there was not one of them.‖
   1) Job 10:10-12: ―Did You not pour me out like milk and curdle me like
      cheese; clothe me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and
      sinews? You have granted me life and lovingkindness; and Your care has
      preserved my spirit.‖
   2) Jer 1:5: ―Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you
      were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the
      nations.‖
      * God has plans for us all even before we are born.

6. The Greek language in the NT uses the same word ―babe‖ (brephos) to
   describe life before birth and life after birth.
   1) Luke1:41: ―When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her
      womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.‖
   2) Luke 1:44: ―For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
      the baby leaped in my womb for joy.‖
      * Luke 1:36: ―And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived
         a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth
         month.‖
      * Movement indicates life.


                                         6
    3) Luke 2:12: ―This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in
       cloths and lying in a manger.‖
    4) Luke 18:15: ―And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He
       would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them.‖
    5) Acts 7:19: Luke, a physician (Col 4:14) used this same word to describe the
       infants put to death in ancient Egypt under the command of Pharaoh:
       ―It was he who took shrewd advantage of our race and mistreated our
       fathers so that they would expose their infants and they would not survive.‖
       * If Elizabeth had had an abortion, they would have been doing the same
          thing that was done by Pharaoh (Ex 1:15-22).

 7. The unborn child and the born child were considered the same in the NT, just as
    they were in the OT.
    1) What Bible passage suggests that the terms ―children‖ (ben) and ―babe‖
       (brephos) should be understood differently when used of the unborn fetus as
       opposed to the newborn infant?

 8. Where there is life there is a spirit.
    1) Jas 2:26: ―For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith
       without works is dead.‖
    2) Certainly a fetus may die at birth (or before), but as long as he is alive, the
       human spirit is within him, for without the spirit, his little body would be
       lifeless.

 9. Human life is made in the image of God.
    1) Gen 1:26-27: ―Then God said, ‗Let Us make man in Our image, according
       to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds
       of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping
       thing that creeps on the earth.‘ God created man in His own image, in the
       image of God He created him; male and female He created them.‖
    2) Jas 3:9: What was true of Adam and Eve in the very beginning is true of all
       men: ―With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who
       have been made in the likeness of God;‖

10. Today, we live in a country in which a million such lives are snuffed out every
    year and few even stop to take note.
    1) Abortion has been a legal practice, a matter of privacy according to the
       Supreme Court, since 1973 and over 50 million souls have skipped both their
       births and their lives because of it (and not by their own choosing).
    2) 1.6 million abortions are performed in the U.S. every year (55 mil in world).
    3) Almost every 3rd conception in America is ended by abortion.
    4) Three-fourths of women getting abortions are unmarried.
    5) 66% stated they could not afford a child–(convenience, social or economic).

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    6) 1% are victims of incest or rape.
    7) 1% for fetal abnormalities.

11. A poll was conducted in 1989 to determine the attitude of Americans toward
    abortion.
    1) 82% approved of abortion where there was a danger to the mother‘s health.
    2) 72% for rape and incest.
    3) 68% for serious birth defect.
    4) and only 30% for other reasons.

12. What these statistics tell us is that most people do not understand these issues
    and are very tenuous in their personal feelings about abortion.
    1) Why do we as a nation give majority consent and allow our courts to
       mandate pro-abortion decisions when only 30% approve of abortion on
       demand?
    2) How can we defend abortion on demand, knowing that only 2% of all
       abortions are performed for these ―special cases‖?
    3) Does that make sense to you?

13. The case of rape and incest is really a non-issue because of its rare occurrence.
    1) It is estimated that in 5,000 to 10,000 rapes, only one pregnancy will result.
    2) In a typical U.S. city with a population of 500,000, that would be one case
       every 10-20 years.
    3) Can we justify 1.5 million abortions per year based on one pregnancy in 20
       years or even one every year?
    4) A second act of violence (abortion) should not be used to correct the first
       (rape).
    5) Not only do two wrongs not make a right, but the narrowing of the legal
       cause for abortion to rape might well lead to the trivializing of a serious
       crime by those who simply wanted to be rid of an inconvenient pregnancy.
    6) It needs to be noted, too, that there is treatment available after rape in the
       first 36 hours that will prevent conception—not pregnancy!

14. What about the handicapped fetus?
    1) For the most part, fetal deformities are rarely discovered before birth.
    2) Nature usually deals with such deformity through miscarriage (natural
       abortion).
    3) Unless sophisticated testing is done on every fetus, the rate of discovery will
       remain very low at best.




                                           8
15. Society often feels burdened by the handicapped, but their right to life is the
    same in God‘s eyes as the most flawlessly normal human being.
    1) If we are to do away with the handicapped fetus, why not do away with the
       handicapped who are already born? (Doctors push the aged aside).
    2) The Nazi Holocaust began with the elimination of almost 300,000 German
       citizens who were considered ―defective.‖ Before Hitler was finished, his
       Nazi machine had murdered 6 million Jews, plus another 6 million Gypsies,
       Poles and prisoners of war.
    3) True story (David Padfield, preacher in IL): ―Our oldest son was born about
       three months premature and weighed a little over three pounds. He was born
       a ―blue baby‖ (i.e., not breathing). The doctor who delivered him decided
       not to resuscitate him, but to let him die. The anesthetist in the delivery
       room, one of the deacons from church, insisted that the doctor revive our
       son. For this we will be eternally grateful. Though my son is deaf and
       partially blind, he is a wonderful boy who enjoys life, and he made his
       parents very proud when he achieved the honor roll at school. Some parents
       have told me they wished their children would have never been born. I never
       heard this from the parent of a handicapped child, and I know a lot of them.
       In fact, these parents are the most militant anti-abortionists I have ever met.
       They believe life is worth living, even with physical impairments.‖

16. Though the Bible does not give an example of someone who aborted their child,
    it does tell us about an ―unwanted‖ pregnancy: the case of David and Bathsheba
    (1 Sam 11-12).
    1) David, the king of Israel, coveted his neighbor‘s wife, stole her from her
        husband and committed adultery with her.
    2) To avoid the embarrassment of an illegitimate child, David murdered Uriah
        the Hittite.
    3) David‘s solution to his problem was the same as many fornicators today:
        KILL THE INNOCENT TO PROTECT THE GUILTY!
    4) This means the 75% of all abortions performed on unmarried women the
        baby is murdered to hide the sin of its parents!

17. Abortion: WITHOUT NATURAL AFFECTION (Rom 1:31)
    1) Rom 1:26-32: ―For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions;
       for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is
       unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural
       function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men
       with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the
       due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge
       God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things
       which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness,
       greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,

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       slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil,
       disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving
       (without natural affection), unmerciful; and although they know the
       ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death,
       they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who
       practice them.‖
    2) Prov 13:15: ―Good understanding produces favor, but the way of the
       treacherous is hard.‖

18. The Bible says there is a time to be born, but sinful people have aborted His
    will and adopted their own, victimizing the most innocent of innocents in the
    process.
    1) Pharaoh, Herod or Hitler in all their bloodthirsty insanity never approached
       such a high death toll as this.
    2) Abortion is not practiced today because people enjoy the procedure, but
       mostly, because people failed to exercise self-control and in order to ease the
       consequences, they are eliminating the life they accidentally created.
    3) The time to be born should not be to two young people who are not married.

 ―and a time to die‖

 1. To the Christian death is not so scary after all – only dying is troublesome.
    1) But death itself is a welcomed release from pain and decay.
    2) Because the time to die holds such eternal stakes, we must always be
       prepared to face it (Heb 9:27-28).
    3) What we do with this vapor of time will determine where we spend all
       eternity.
    4) Death leads to paradise for the redeemed, but to torment for those who did
       not know god or did not obey the gospel.

 2. The time to die promises a future in those mansions that Jesus went to prepare
    for us.
    1) John 14:1-6: ―Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe
       also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not
       so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 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. And you know the way where I am
       going.‖ Thomas said to Him, ―Lord, we do not know where You are going,
       how do we know the way?‖ Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth,
       and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.‖




                                        10
   2) 2 Cor 5:1-11: ―For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is
      torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands,
      eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be
      clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on,
      will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan,
      being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed,
      so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared
      us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.
      Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at
      home in the body we are absent from the Lord--for we walk by faith, not by
      sight--we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the
      body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our
      ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all
      appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be
      recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done,
      whether good or bad. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade
      men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made
      manifest also in your consciences.‖

3. Because Jesus was raised from the dead all those who trust Him can have the
   confidence to ―walk through the valley of the shadow of death‖ (Ps 23:4)
   knowing that the real abundant living which was begun in this life will continue
   unto perfection into eternity.
   1) This certainly enables us to see ―Death‖ as our friend.
   2) Even though there will always be a natural desire to avoid pain and suffering
      it can be transcended by the view from the heights as we look back on our
      completed work, and our Father‘s continuing efforts to bring us to
      perfection.

4. For us ―Death‖ has become the last frontier that opens up a life for which we
   were made and to which we have journeyed all of our lives.
   1) To miss it is to miss life.
   2) To die is to begin to really live!




                                      11
                     There Is A Season (2)
                 ―A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted‖

                                   INTRODUCTION

A. God has set certain laws in order – we should learn to operate within those
   laws.

2:   ―A time to plant and a time to uproot (pluck) what is planted.‖

     1. The planting season and harvest season can not be exchanged for one another or
        experienced without the other.
        1) This tells us that not only a healthy harvest depends upon a zealous effort,
           but also that plucking is as productive and necessary as planting.

     2. Every spring, hope and life are renewed in a world that is often devastated by
        the cleansing force of winter.
        1) Death and decay are swept away, along with disappointment and even
           accomplishment, as everything done becomes necessary to do again.
        2) This is the time when seed is to be sown, when preparation is to be made for
           the future.

     3. We should recognize that God is trying to teach us things in nature.
        1) He reveals His divine fingerprint on creation and uses the natural world as a
           parable for the spiritual.
        2) Rom 1:26-27: ―women exchanged the natural function for that which is
           unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural
           function…‖
        3) 1 Cor 11:14: Paul asks, ―Does not even nature itself teach you…?‖

     4. If the farmer becomes lazy and does nothing, his future will become most bleak.
        1) Prov 24:30-34: I passed by the field of the sluggard and by the vineyard of
            the man lacking sense, and behold, it was completely overgrown with
            thistles; Its surface was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken
            down. When I saw, I reflected upon it; I looked, and received instruction. "A
            little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest," Then your
            poverty will come as a robber And your want like an armed man.
        2) If this is true physically, could it also apply spiritually?
        3) If we neglect to tend the garden of our souls, could it happen that we arrive
            at harvest time fruitless and unprepared?



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5. Gal 6:7-10: One important thing God tries to teach us in the natural world is the
   immutable law of sowing and reaping.
   Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will
   also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap
   corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal
   life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not
   grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people,
   and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
   1) No one sows tomatoes and gets peppers.
   2) No one sows nothing and gets something.
   3) No one sows something bad and gets something good.
   4) You can plant crops or tares as you prefer, but don‘t expect to reap anything
       other than what you have sown.

6. Luke 8:11: ―The seed is the word of God.‖
   1) Jesus compared the gospel message to a seed that is sown in very different
      types of soil – heart (Luke 8:12-15).
   2) 2 Cor 6:1-2: And working together with Him, we also urge you not to
      receive the grace of God in vain-- 2 for He says, "AT THE ACCEPTABLE
      TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION
      HELPED YOU." Behold, now is "THE ACCEPTABLE TIME," behold, now
      is "THE DAY OF SALVATION"—
   3) Now is the time to sow that gospel seed upon as many hearts as possible.
   4) We must also understand that the produce will have to fight for its very
      survival and that many will fall short of fruitfulness.
   5) That good seed can be swallowed up by the grackle of misunderstanding,
      wilted by the heat of tribulation and persecution, or choked out by the twin
      thorns of the deceitfulness of riches and cares of this world.
   6) The only hope of a healthy yield is to sow as much seed as possible (Eccl
      11:5-6).

7. Jas 1:21-25: James used the figure of the seed to describe the effect that God‘s
   word has upon the heart.
    Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in
   humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove
   yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
   For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks
   at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone
   away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who
   looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having
   become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what
   he does.


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   1) If we can overcome misunderstanding, tribulation and persecution and avoid
      being consumed with the cares of life or being deceived by materialism, we
      can know that the word has been implanted in our hearts and is bearing fruit.
   2) 1 John 1:8-10: If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving 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. If we say
      that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
      1 John 3:7-10: Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who
      practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; 8 the one who
      practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The
      Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No
      one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and
      he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
   3) John makes a distinction between those who occasionally fall into sin and
      those who regularly and willfully practice it.
   4) If God‘s seed remains alive within us, we will not continue to make sin our
      practice, and although we will occasionally err, we will penitently seek to be
      aerated anew by grace.

8. ―Are you sowing the seed of the kingdom, brother?‖
   1) When the gospel seed takes root within us, it begins to bear fruit and part of
      that fruit is sowing the same seed elsewhere.
   2) Matt 13:31-32: He presented another parable to them, saying, "The
      kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in
      his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it
      is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS
      OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES."
   3) Compared to the veneer of grandeur coating the philosophies of the great
      thinkers and mysticism of Eastern religions, the gospel of Jesus Christ may
      seem small and insignificant like the little ordinary ―mustard seed‖
   4) But while those doctrines create nothing more than deluded unsaved people,
      the gospel seed grows into something tremendous and reflective of divine
      glory (Eph 3:8-―the unfathomable riches of Christ‖).

―and a time to uproot what is planted‖

1. ―Uproot‖ might refer to harvesting (pluck), but probably more refers to cutting
   down trees, clearing land, ripping out the old landscaping, etc.
   1) Everything physical has a beginning and an end.
   2) Eventually even the physical universe will be uprooted (Heb 1:10-12; 2 Pet
      3:9-11).
   3) And if man doesn‘t uproot, the natural forces of this world will, - floods,
      fires, landslides, volcanoes, earthquakes, tornadoes.

                                        14
   4) And this pattern cannot be stopped.

2. There is a time to pluck the sons of the devil out of the world, but it is not yet
   and it is not ours to do.
   1) Matt 13:24-30: Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, "The
      kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his
      field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares
      among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore
      grain, then the tares became evident also. The slaves of the landowner came
      and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then
      does it have tares?' "And he said to them, 'An enemy has done this!' The
      slaves said to him, 'Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?' But he
      said, 'No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the
      wheat with them. 'Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the
      time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather up the tares and
      bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn."'"
   2) Matt 15:6-14: And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of
      your tradition. "You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: 'THIS
      PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR
      AWAY FROM ME. 'BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING
      AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.'" After Jesus called the crowd
      to Him, He said to them, "Hear and understand. "It is not what enters into
      the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this
      defiles the man." Then the disciples came and said to Him, "Do You know
      that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?" But He
      answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant
      shall be uprooted. "Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And
      if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit."

3. Self-examination sometimes reveals weeds in the gardens of our souls and then
   we must work hard to overcome them.
   1) Sometimes the fruits of the spirit are fighting with the works of the flesh for
      superiority and the Christian has to swallow hard and prune away that which
      is decay.

4. There are times when we must do the uprooting (plucking).
   1) Jer 1:9-10: Then the LORD stretched out His hand and touched my mouth,
      and the LORD said to me, "Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
      "See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms,
      to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to
      plant."
   2) Jeremiah‘s Israel was overrun by false prophets and heartless religion and it
      was his mission to uproot the error.

                                      15
        3) Our spiritual Israel today is harassed by false teachers and a religion
           evolving into a hybrid of scripture and sectarian tradition.
        4) Clearly, pruning is indicated when the bloom is off the rose due to
           complacency, compromise and ignorance.

     5. We are not only authorized to do the uprooting or plucking but we are
        required.
        1) We must mark the one who teaches false doctrines which will cause tender
           plants to perish (Rom 16:17-18).
        2) We must mark also those who introduce error into the church which causes
           division (Tit 3:9-11).
        3) We must even withdraw from an unruly brother who refuses to repent of his
           sin (2 Thes 3:6).
        4) We are not personally turning these ones over to the reaper for spiritual
           destruction, but are delivering their bodies to Satan that they might be
           shamed and their spirits saved (1 Cor 5:5).

     6. Everyone has seen the wind or a child blow the dried petals of a dandelion and
        seen the harmless looking wisps scatter across the field.
        1) Those harmless looking wisps will be dozens of weeds in a short time.
        2) When we pluck our error or faction or sin, we identify and prevent their
           spread and this is GOD‘S WISDOM!

                                  CONCLUSION

1.   This is a time for Christians to be planting seed in their own lives and in the
     hearts of others.
     1. There is a little uprooting for us to do from time to time.

2.   The harvest is coming on when we will all be subject to the reaper’s work.
     1. Will you be ready?




                                          16
                        There Is A Season (3)
                          ―A time to kill and a time to heal‖

                                  INTRODUCTION

A. 3:1-8: There is a proper time for each one of these activities.
   1. 3:3: God explains that there is a time for killing and a time for healing.
      1) He is the Great Physician and has within His power the ability to do both at
         will.
      2) Even among mankind, including His servants, there is a proper time to
         engage in each of these.
      3) Wisdom – practicing the right activity at the right time.

B.   Ex 20:13: The sixth commandment is ―You shall not murder (KJV, kill).‖
     1. The intent of the Hebrew word was more precise and was limited to murder.
        1) Later translations recognized the difference.

C. As a matter of fact, the OT is filled with killing, much of it demanded by God
   Himself and those killings were not sinful.
   1. The patriarchs and their families killed animals both to eat them and to sacrifice
      them and this was not sinful.
      1) There is a time to butcher livestock.

     2. Israel fought a major war in conquering Canaan and millions of pagans were
        killed off the land to make room (trying to thwart the will of God).

     3. The same law which contained the 6th commandment also legislated capital
        punishment for certain offenses against God‘s will, among them murder.
        1) So there is a distinction between killing done in the name of thievery,
           vengeance, pride or malice and killing done in the name of justice.
        2) This distinction will help us understand the propriety of capital punishment
           today.
        3) Ex 21:15-16: Difference between murder and accidentally killing someone.
        4) There is a time to execute criminals (Rom 13:4).

3:   ―A time to kill‖

     1. Some right times to kill.
        1) Achan was killed because he stole the riches of Jericho and hid them in his
           tent when God had said to leave them alone.
        2) When Jericho was conquered, only Rahab and her family were preserved
           from the Israelite army.
                                          17
   3) Sweet Samuel hacked King Agag to pieces when Saul refused, for it was
      God‘s will that the enemy be punished.

2. All this occurred under the OT code, which was both a religious and civil
   standard.
   1) One theocratic governance covered both social and spiritual matters.
   2) The OT was becoming obsolete when Christ was born, for the Law of Moses
      could only be heeded with the frame work of the Roman occupation of
      Israel.

3. The emperor and his deputies replaced the Davidic kings upon the throne of
   Jerusalem and limited what the elders could do in answer to the Law of Moses.
   1) This arrangement would evolve over time and around the world, but remain
      basically the same.
   2) The NT age (kingdom-spiritual Israel) would not be a civil government, but
      a spiritual one only.
   3) Laws of the states would exist separately from the unchangeable law of
      Christ.

4. Therefore, the members of the spiritual body of Christ were not authorized to
   execute wayward members or wage physical wars over land or principle.
   1) The inquisitions and Crusades of the last millennium were misguided
      attempts to maintain or transfer spiritual authority to a physical realm and
      they failed.

5. The right to kill humans was invested solely in the state.
   Rom 12:16-21: ―Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty
   in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
   Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all
   men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never
   take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is
   written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord. "BUT IF
   YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM
   A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS
   HEAD." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.‖
   13:1-7: ―Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For
   there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by
   God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God;
   and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For
   rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to
   have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the
   same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be
   afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an

                                       18
   avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is
   necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for
   conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants
   of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them:
   tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to
   whom honor.‖
   1) Sometimes Christians, by occupation, become agents of the state as police
      officers, correction officers, soldiers or special agents.
   2) There were some in the Bible as well, for soldiers came to John the baptizer
      asking what they needed to do to be right with God.
      Luke 3:3, 12-14: And he came into all the district around the Jordan,
      preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins;…And some
      tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, "Teacher, what
      shall we do?" And he said to them, "Collect no more than what you have
      been ordered to." Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, "And what
      about us, what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Do not take money from
      anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.‖
   3) Cornelius believed and was baptized for the remission of sins by Peter and
      company without a word being spoken about him giving up his soldiering for
      Rome.
   4) Acts 25:11: Paul said that if he had done anything worthy of death he was
      ready to die.
   5) If acting as an agent of a legal authority, the Christian has as much right as
      anyone else to execute the ultimate measure of justice as soldier, officer or
      agent.
      * If not – sinner can do one good thing that a Christian can‘t!

6. Figurative murder – Although there is a time to kill, it is not through hatred of a
   brother.
   1 John 3:13-18: ―Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you. We
   know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren.
   He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a
   murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. We
   know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down
   our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his
   brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God
   abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in
   deed and truth.‖
   1) Again the word hatred here is defined more broadly than we might assume.
   2) It includes not only outright malice but also indifference toward a brother in
      Christ.
   3) Hatred is shown to a brother by doing him harm or by refusing to do him
      good.

                                       19
      Matt 5:21-26: "You have heard that the ancients were told, 'YOU SHALL
      NOT COMMIT MURDER' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to
      the court.' "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother
      shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-
      for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says,
      'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. "Therefore if you
      are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your
      brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar
      and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your
      offering. "Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are
      with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the
      judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. "Truly I
      say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last
      cent.‖

―A time to heal‖

1. The difference between Rahab and her neighbor.
   1) We know that when the armies of Joshua approached Jericho to conquer it,
      they met a harlot named Rahab, whom they did not kill in the invasion even
      as they summarily sacked the rest of the city and all its people.
   2) Why preserve Rahab and not her neighbor?
   3) She unexpectedly assisted the Hebrew spies as an expression of her faith in
      Jehovah and submission to Him.
   4) Because of her faith she was saved while people like King Agag and even
      her own neighbors were not.

2. Even in old Judah, there was a time at which God had a prescription for healing
   His people, but it was bitter and strong medicine and the prophets and sinners
   preferred an excuse, or something to relieve the pain without treating the source
   of it.
   1) As the Babylonians approached to overthrow Judah, God said the defeat was
       inevitable and that the Jews should surrender.
   2) But that hurt their pride and so they hired prophets to tell them what they
       wanted to hear.
       Jer 8:7-13: "Even the stork in the heavens knows her appointed times; and
       the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow observe the time of their coming.
       But My people do not know the judgment of the LORD. "How can you say,
       'We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us'? Look, the false pen of the
       scribe certainly works falsehood. The wise men are ashamed, they are
       dismayed and taken. Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD; so
       what wisdom do they have? Therefore I will give their wives to others, and
       their fields to those who will inherit them; because from the least even to the

                                       20
           greatest everyone is given to covetousness from the prophet even to the
           priest everyone deals falsely. For they have healed the hurt of the daughter
           of My people slightly, saying ,'peace, peace!‘ When there is no peace. Were
           they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at
           all ashamed, nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall
           among those who fall in the time of their punishment they shall be cast
           down,‖ says the LORD. "I will surely consume them," says the LORD. "No
           grapes shall be on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade;
           and the things I have given them shall pass away from them."'"

     3. On the operating table today, a man can come into surgery with a broken leg
        and blood pouring from the wound.
        1) Through the power of suggestion, a doctor can give a terminal patient a pep
           talk to make his mind think the disease is improving when in fact it is not.
        2) HE FEELS BETTER BUT HE IS DOOMED!

     4. Christians have the same power to heal spiritually their hearers self-esteem
        without ever attacking the parasite, that germ that is the sin which afflicts them.
        1) Teaching that heals is teaching that identifies the problem and presents the
           cure.
        2) John told those drifting publicans and intimidating soldiers to repent and
           STOP NOW!
        3) Jesus told the woman at the well that her domestic relationship was a sin.
        4) Paul told Peter that his dining habits were hypocritical.

     5. To paraphrase Foy E. Wallace, Jr., when we develop better manners than the
        NT or become more dignified than the apostles, we are worth nothing to the
        defense of the truth or to the cause of Christ.

     6. Prior to Paul‘s rebuke, the church at Corinth was on its way to being every bit as
        tolerant and big-tent as the self-help social gospel churches of today.
        1) There is a time to comfort when one repents.
        2) There is a time to care for the wounded or nurse a sick animal back to health.
        3) There is a time to truly accept, repent and obey to heal the soul – NOW!

                                    CONCLUSION

1.   There is a time to kill and a time to heal among Christians.
     1. When it comes to that old man of sin, he should be burned once and left there.
        1) Perhaps, you are prepared to come to Jesus right now and leave the old man
           of sin behind to take on a new life in faith.
        2) He is buried in baptism and that act of faithful obedience separates you from
           newness of life. Be united with Christ–B-R-C-B-raised a new man in Christ.

                                            21
                    There Is A Season (4)
                     ―A time to tear down and a time to build up‖

                                 INTRODUCTION

A. This is often something that we dislike.
   1. When old familiar landmarks are torn down in the name of progress.
      1) But these are things which cannot be stopped.
      2) Eventually, even the most beautiful and meaningful structures will find
         themselves replaced.
      3) Buildings become damaged and dangerous and useless in its present form.
      4) In their current condition, they are beyond repair.
      5) Before the property can be used for anything productive again, it has to be
         torn down.

B.   Spiritually, we find likewise the rebellious, sinful and worldly souls are much
     like a building that must be torn down.
     1. Before anything spiritually productive can occur or exist there, an attitude of
        defiance has to be broken down by the gospel wrecking ball.
        1) The God‘s word can begin to edify, to build up a person fit for service.

     2. Many times there has to be a tearing down before there can be a construction of
        something good.
        1) This also applies to nations (Jer 1:9-10; 18).

3:   ―A time to tear down‖

     A. God has a long and exciting history of breaking down the constructions of
        men when they interfered with His will.

        1. Eccl 7:29: ―Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but
           they have sought out many devices (inventions).‖
           1) Devices to defy righteousness and serve self.

        2. The flood in Noah‘s day was nothing more than God‘s attempt at spoiling
           the corruption man had inflicted upon the earth.
           Gen 6:5: ―Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the
           earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil
           continually. The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and
           He was grieved in His heart.‖
           1) It was a time to break down and start over – Beyond repair.


                                          22
   3. No less notably, God broke down a later generation‘s attempt at self-
      deification (Humanism).
      Gen 11:1-9: ―Now the whole earth used the same language and the same
      words. It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the
      land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, ‗Come, let us
      make bricks and burn them thoroughly.‘ And they used brick for stone, and
      they used tar for mortar. They said, ‗Come, let us build for ourselves a city,
      and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves
      a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole
      earth.‘ The LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of
      men had built. The LORD said, ‗Behold, they are one people, and they all
      have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing
      which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down
      and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one
      another's speech.‘ So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the
      face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. Therefore its
      name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of
      the whole earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the
      face of the whole earth.‖
      1) These folks believed that they could mimic the pagans and approach God
         on THEIR WAVE LENGTH!
      2) God objected and sent them back down.

   4. Because of its widespread sin, God broke down Sodom and Gomorrah and
      replaced them with ashes.
      1) Useless in its current condition.

   5. During the conquest of Canaan, God directed Israel to break down one city
      after another, from Jericho to Ai and all the way to Jerusalem.
      1) Why? So He could build something productive in its place.

B. Fleshly Israel.

   1. When Israel‘s sins multiplied and could not be turned back, God broke down
      the temple and all of the city, to preserve only a faithful remnant who could
      return and rebuild.
      2 Chron 36:15-21: ―The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them
      again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His
      people and on His dwelling place; but they continually mocked the
      messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the
      wrath of the LORD arose against His people, until there was no remedy.
      Therefore He brought up against them the king of the Chaldeans who slew
      their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no

                                      23
     compassion on young man or virgin, old man or infirm; He gave them all
     into his hand. All the articles of the house of God, great and small, and the
     treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king and of his
     officers, he brought them all to Babylon. Then they burned the house of God
     and broke down the wall of Jerusalem, and burned all its fortified buildings
     with fire and destroyed all its valuable articles. Those who had escaped from
     the sword he carried away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and to
     his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the
     LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All
     the days of its desolation it kept sabbath until seventy years were complete.‖
     1) The last verse hints at the edification that would follow when God was
         ready.
         2 Chron 36:22-23: ―Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia--in
         order to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah—the
         LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a
         proclamation throughout his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying,
         ‗Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‗The LORD, the God of heaven, has
         given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build
         Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among
         you of all His people, may the LORD his God be with him, and let him go
         up!‘‖
     2) Yet this second temple and even a third were built and then torn down in
         due time.
     3) Finally, when Christianity had taken hold and it was time for Judaism to
         be abolished.

C. Application:

  1. The mission of Jesus when He came to earth was first predicted at the fall of
     Adam and Eve.
     Gen 3:14-15: ―The LORD God said to the serpent, ‗Because you have done
     this, cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the
     field; on your belly you will go, and dust you will eat all the days of your
     life; and I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your
     seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise
     Him on the heel.‘‖
     1) This cryptic language predicts that Eve‘s descendant would deal a fatal
         blow to the devil‘s authority, despite being slightly afflicted by the devil‘s
         wickedness.
     2) Gal 3:16: Paul identifies this Seed as Christ and the gospel revealed that
         the power of the devil was torn down – brought to ―0‖ (Heb 2:9).



                                       24
D. Some things that need to be torn down.

   1. So many people walk through life in tents of ease that prevent them from
      ever approaching God.
      1) Some have built scaffolds of pride, of material sufficiency, of atheism, of
         idolatry, of complacency, etc.
      2) Around them, they perceive a wall of protection, but it is truly no more
         infallible than the walls of Jericho that fell by the hand of God.
      3) The things that we think are providing security may in fact be keeping us
         from the sufficiency of God and hope.

   2. There is a man of sin (old man to a Christian) within us that rejects God and
      instead seeks contentment and purpose in things that all perish with the
      using.
      1) This is the inner part of man that needs to be torn down if anything
         productive is ever going to come from life.
      2) Eccl 12:13: The purpose of life is to ―fear God and keep His
         commandments.‖
      3) Whatever towers we build up that harms this objective is property that
         needs to be condemned, dynamited and laid desolate so that something
         good can be built in its place.
      4) 2 Tim 4:1-5: ―I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of
         Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His
         appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out
         of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.
         For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but
         wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves
         teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears
         from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all
         things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your
         ministry.‖
         * Suggestion Box – Topics,

―A time to build up‖

A. Examples

   1. Our God is known for His massive building projects.
      1) Not even the Titanic – rivals the ark of Noah.
      2) From the seed of Abraham and Sarah, God built a family as numerous as
         the stars in the sky.



                                      25
      3) And once God had conquered Canaan, he set about rebuilding the land in
         His glory; altars to idols were destroyed and a temple was constructed at
         great expense in Jerusalem.

B. Building saints where sinners had been.

   1. When sinful things are broken down, even in the hearts of people, it becomes
      fit property to rebuild something to bring glory to God‘s name.
      1) Imagine the change in the character of the land of Canaan after the
          Israelites took it over from the pagans – devoted to Divine law.
      2) The gospel has the same power to replace that crucified man of sin, that
          torn down person of pride, with something that can be pleasing to God
          and accepting of grace.

C. Edifying the saints.

   1. Like Noah‘s ark and the tower of Babel, but justified, the church and the
      Christian becomes a construction project separated from a life of sin and
      aimed at heaven, and ongoing until it arrives.
      1) We are to build upon the foundation rock of Christ and remain stabilized
         by constant increase.
      2) Jude 20-25: ―But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your mostfaith,
         praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting
         anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have
         mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the
         fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted
         by the flesh. Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to
         make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to
         the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory,
         majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever.
         Amen.‖
      3) 1 Thes 5:11: ―Therefore encourage one another and build up one
         another, just as you also are doing.‖

D. Encouraging words.

   1. The song ―Angry Words‖ warns us against the harm that discouraging words
      can do.
      1) Jas 3:9-12: We need to recognize the need to speak good of others, as we
         do of God.
         ―With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who
         have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both
         blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.

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        Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter
        water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce
        figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.‖
     2) Eph 4:29: Each of us can do great good with the gift of speech.
        ―Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a
        word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so
        that it will give grace to those who hear.‖

E. What are some of the encouraging and edifying words we can speak?

  1. Words of gratitude.
     1) There is no better feeling than to know that others are thankful for us.
     2) We do our best when we know we are appreciated.
     3) Paul was genuinely grateful for his brethren (1 Thes 1:2-3; 2:19-20).
     4) Gratitude needs not only to be genuinely felt, it needs to be expressed.

  2. Words of trust/faith (1 Cor 13:7).
     1) We need to believe the best of one another and express that sentiment.
     2) Paul had great confidence in his brethren.
        Rom 15:14: ―And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am
        convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all
        knowledge and able also to admonish one another.‖
        Phile 21: ―Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, since I
        know that you will do even more than what I say.‖
        Heb 6:9-10: ―But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning
        you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this
        way.‖

  3. Words of hope (Eph 1:18; 1 Pet 1:3-4)
     1) Hope in Christ is one of our most precious possessions.
     2) We can do much good by building hope in others, rather than quenching
        it.

  4. Words of love
     1 John 4:20-21: ―If someone says, ‗I love God,‘ and hates his brother, he is
     a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot
     love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him,
     that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
     1) The need to be loved is deep and strong.
     2) We cannot love God without loving His children – our brothers and
         sisters in Christ.
     3) Words and actions that express our love can do good that is simply
         incalculable.

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                                   CONCLUSION

1.   God created you upright, but if you destabilized the structure through pride,
     sin and false security, it is time to tear down your effort and start over again in
     faith.
     1. Bring Christ your broken life, so marred by sin, and allow the gospel to create
         for you a new man.

2.   As a new man in Christ whatever other abilities we may or may not have, we
     all can do significant good by the sincere use of encouraging words.
     1. Prov 25:11: ―A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.‖
     2. Phile 7: ―For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because
         the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.‖
         1) May our goal be to have a refreshing effect on those we deal with.




                                           28
                     There Is A Season (5)
                          ―A time to weep and a time to laugh‖

                                   INTRODUCTION

A. All of us from time to time have either thought, said or heard others remark
   about this or that, “It’s not fair!” (restriction; evil harming good; tragedy).
   1. It is pure childishness to expect that everything should always go your way and
      that times of disappointment or melancholy can be completely eliminated.
      1) Hopefully, as adults, we learn to accept the fact that there are expected times
          for both weeping and laughing, and that both can be done in the best interest
          of the spirit.
      2) There is a time to weep and laugh and we must be ready to respond justly,
          whether it seems fair or not.

B.   The Scriptures teach the need for balance in one's life and attitudes.
     1. Being a Christian does not mean a life without sorrow or troubles.
        1) It does not mean that expression of sorrow is a sign of weakness.
        2) It does mean that we, with the help of God, maintain a balanced perspective
           in all of life's circumstances.

     2. Eccl 3:1-8: Is a good passage concerning proper balance.
        1) It tells us that there is a time for everything under heaven.

     3. The Scriptures talk of this balance in many places.
        1) The man or woman of strong faith experiences sorrow, but not so much that
           life is ruined.
        2) People of faith also experience joy at the proper times, but not to the extent,
           nor in the sense of frivolity so that the serious things in life are treated
           without reverence.

4:   ―a time to weep‖

     A. TEARS CAN BE CAUSED BY A VARIETY OF SITUATIONS:

        1. Tears can be deceptive.
           1) There are those who can cry on cue, they cry for effect.
           2) Actresses, preachers and religious personalities on TV, to make some
              impression.

        2. Tears can be genuine.
        3. Tears can be real or for show.
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  4. Tears can be restrained ("men don't cry") or unstrained ("she cries all the
     time").
  5. Tears can be appropriate or out of place.
  6. Tears can produce compassion and result in help or they can be tears in vain.
  7. Tears can be brought on by sorrow and pain, or by joy and happiness.
     1) Have there been tears when there should not have been?
     2) Have there been no tears when there should have been?

B. THERE ARE TIMES OF SORROW.

  1. There are three occasions in the N.T. where it is stated that Jesus shed tears.
     1) John 11:35: Jesus weeps at the grave of Lazarus – tears of sympathy.
     2) Luke 19:41-44: Jesus weeps over Jerusalem – tears of sorrow regarding
        others (Mark 9:48).
     3) Heb 5:7: Jesus weeps at the prospect of His own death – tears of anguish.

  2. All three occasions have their own deep significance.
     1) They prove that Jesus was a ―man of sorrows and acquainted with grief‖
        as was foretold by the prophets (Isa 53:3).
     2) They prove the humanity of Jesus.
        * As well as being God, He was a human being like you and I.
        * He shed tears, as all humans do from time to time.
        * Evidently, the Lord had the very human disposition of heartache, the
            ability to express deep feelings about life and its disappointments.
        * John – Deity of Christ – 1:1: ―Word was God‖ 14: ―Word became
            flesh‖
            4:6-7: ―wearied from His journey‖ – ―Give Me a drink.‖
            19:28: ―I am thirsty.‖
        * John shows that the divine and human nature of Christ became fully
            united (Col 2:9: ―For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in
            bodily form.‖).
        * The relation of the two natures to one another will forever remain a
            mystery, far above our comprehension.

  3. People who weep do not generally have much of a following.
     1) People are looking for laughter and lightheartedness instead.
     2) An old poem says, ―Laugh and the whole world laughs with you. Weep
        and you weep alone.‖




                                     30
     C. IN FOLLOWING THE FOOTSTEPS OF JESUS, WE’LL KNOW HOW
        TO LIVE.

        1. When Christ left us an example for us to follow, that example not only leads
           us to a time when He was a 12 year old boy, but it also leads us to His
           baptism, to His temptations on the Mount, to the temple-the place of
           worship, through the dusty roads of Palestine, along the Galilean Sea, to the
           Garden of Gethsemene-Garden of Prayer, and to His sayings and death on
           the cross.
           1) Though we may not know all that He did as the carpenter‘s son of
              Nazareth, but what is recorded for us of what He did do is an example for
              us.
        2. And I believe it‘s very easy to learn from the teachings of Jesus what a teen-
           ager ought to be and what an adult ought to be.
           1) Not only in a religious setting but in all situations and circumstances that
              we find ourselves in.
           2) And as Christians we must be persuaded to appreciate and understand the
              value of being able to follow Jesus.
           3) Jesus not only told us how to be saved but He also told us how to live our
              life on a daily basis.

I.   JESUS WEEPS AT THE GRAVE OF LAZARUS – TEARS OF SYMPATHY
     (John 11:1-15, 32-36)

     A. 11:3: ―The sisters therefore sent to Him, saying, ‗Lord, behold, He whom you
        love is sick.‘‖
        1. Jesus often stayed at Bethany in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus
           when He was in Judea.
           1) He and the family had become close.
           2) Loyal friendship was something important to Jesus.
           3) He often talked about it.
           4) In fact, Jesus later uses the term ―our friend‖ to describe Lazarus (11).

        2. Jesus' friend, Lazarus, had died.
           1) 15:13: Jesus taught that there is no greater love than this, ―that one lay
              down his life for his friends.‖
           2) This is what Jesus was (is) willing to do for us.
              Heb 4:15-16: ―For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize
              with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we
              are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the
              throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in
              time of need.‖


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  3. Matt 11:19: His enemies described Him as ―a friend of tax-gatherers
     (publicans) and sinners‖ and Jesus proved them correct when He gave His
     life for us.
     1) They meant it as an insult, but Jesus was willing to suffer insult and so
         much more for His friends.
     2) John 15:14: He also said that we are His friends if ―you do what I
         command you.‖
     3) Do you fit Jesus' definition of ―friend‖?
     4) Lazarus did; he was Jesus' good friend.

B. John 11:33-36: Jesus knew that He would soon raise Lazarus from the
   dead, so why was He so disturbed by the events of that day? Probably for
   several reasons.

  1. First, there was His great sense of compassion for His beloved friend.
  2. He hurt to see others hurt.
     1) His emotions were pushed to the limit by witnessing the sorrow of Mary.

  3. Also, there is the fact that death is the consequence of sin.
     1) Shortly, Jesus would be dying on the cross to release us from the sting of
        death, which is sin (1 Cor 15:55-57).
     2) But sin is ugly, and the suffering caused by sin is enormous.
     3) Sin is something to cry about.

C. I think that most boys, had a very definite opinion of themselves and
   manhood.

  1. One thing that a man isn‘t supposed to do is cry.
     1) Pain was something that men didn‘t cry about.
     2) Not to show emotions was a mark of a real man. (not smile).

  2. There was never a more manly man than Jesus Christ.
     1) Kids make a difference between getting something in the eye and cry and
        crying real tears.
     2) Jesus cried real tears.
     3) He was touched in His heart.
     4) He wept openly and unashamedly.
     5) He cried because it was the right thing to do – ―time to weep.‖

  3. Sometimes crying at funerals doesn‘t reflect the right attitude or it doesn‘t
     reflect the right relationship with that person.
     1) Some may cry out of shame – not a good relationship.


                                    32
      2) Jesus cried real tears because of the loss of a loved one – good
         relationship.

D. I am afraid that sometimes we are misled into believing that emotions of
   sorrow and disappointment are somehow not allowed in the Christian.

   1. Although we seek to be a joyful people and resign ourselves to the
      occasional hardship while anticipating the glory of heaven, we can become
      convinced that it is wrong to mourn and weep in difficult circumstances.
      1) ―Well, if you are a Christian, then you ought to always be counting your
         blessings. If a situation arises that troubles you, it must be because you
         are doubting or weak in faith. The Bible says, 'Rejoice in the Lord
         always!' You need to be more trusting in the promises of God and in His
         care; people of faith do not feel distress.‖
         * Such counsel may sound good, but it is wrong.

      2) One Christian actually heard another Christian even scold those who
         would mourn over the passing of a Christian, reasoning that such was
         pure selfishness and a lack of faith.
         * Yet here is Jesus weeping over the passing of a disciple, joining His
            tears to those of Mary and Martha.

   2. A hope for life after death does diminish the terror of death and sadness at
      the passing of a loved one, but it does not immediately relieve the sense of
      loss.
      1) Tears shed for the deceased do him honor and do not damage the faith of
         the living at all.
      2) Death is a time to weep.

―a time to laugh‖

A. John 11:15: ―I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may
   believe.‖

   1. John 11:40-44: Jesus experienced both weeping and laughing (joy) that day.
      1) The Scriptures not only speak of Jesus' sorrow, but also of His joy.
      2) He wanted us to share in His joy.
         John 15:11: ―These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in
         you, and that your joy may be made full.‖
      3) John 16:20-22: Following His death and resurrection, He spoke of the
         apostles' ―sorrow turned into joy‖ when they would learn that Jesus was
         alive again and said to them that ―no one takes away your joy from you.‖


                                     33
           4) We recall how that later, even when facing persecution, the apostles
              would still rejoice.
              Acts 5:41-42: ―So they went on their way from the presence of the
              Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame
              for His name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they
              kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.‖

     B. The Lord means for us to be glad about our lives.

        1. This does not mean that we are giddy or silly about it, or that we do not give
           sober consideration to serious things.
           1) It does mean that there is an ever present joy, even during difficult times,
              that comes from the realization of God's purpose and love at work within
              our lives as we dedicate ourselves to His calling.
           2) Again, like Jesus, who though sorrowful at Lazarus' death, there was also
              a gladness within Him that God's purpose would be fulfilled.

        2. John 11:23-25: Jesus wanted Martha to have the proper balance.
           1) In order to have a successful life, there must be the balance that comes
              through our confidence in Jesus and His power – that He is ―the
              resurrection and the life.‖

                                    CONCLUSION

1.   This faith gives us the ability to maintain our balance.
     1. The tragedies we face are not crushing; they cause us sorrow but they are unable
        to destroy us.
        1) 1 Thes 4:13: Paul said that the resurrection enables us to ―not grieve, as do
            the rest who have no hope.‖
        2) 2 Cor 4:8-9: He also spoke of being ―afflicted in every way, but not
            crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken;
            struck down, but not destroyed.‖

2.   Yes, the Lord brings balance to our lives, and this in turn gives us hope; which
     in turn gives us strength.
     1. There is a time for everything; good times and bad times.
         1) But there is never a time to give up.
         2) Rom 12:15: There is a time to ―weep with those that weep, and rejoice with
            those that rejoice‖ but there is never a time not to live by faith.
         3) To be touched by the despair of one‘s brethren is sure evidence that the body
            is knit together in love and mutual concern (1 Cor 12:20-27).



                                           34
        4) Gal 6:2: It is the law of Christ that we bear one another‘s burdens and this
           we cannot do unless we are in communication with one another and so
           mutually connected that one harms you cannot help but harm me

3.   In fact, please note that obedience of the gospel of Christ is necessary for this
     balance to be achieved and maintained.
     1. 1 John 5:2-3: ―For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments;
        and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God
        overcomes the world, and this is the victory that overcomes the world-our
        faith.‖ MAINTAIN YOUR BALANCE!




                                          35
                    There Is A Season (6)
                         ―A time to mourn and a time to dance‖

                                  INTRODUCTION

A. This couplet is strongly related to the previous one which considered a time to
   weep and laugh, but there are enough distinctions to draw a second lesson.
   1. In this lesson we want to focus our minds on the blessings inherent in
      participating in both joy and pain.

4:   ―a time to mourn‖

     A. Eccl 7:2-4: ―It is better to go to the house of mourning.‖

        1. This same book extols the good lessons that can be learned in the time to
           mourn.
           1) No doubt when we first saw the title of this lesson, we thought that the
              time of laughter would be the better, but perhaps the time of mourning
              holds more blessing within it.
           2) Too often we want to feel good all the time and avoid anything that might
              bring us sorrow.
           3) But whether we like it or not, tragedy, heartache and suffering will affect
              all of us.

        2. It is sad to say but man learns far fewer life lessons from blessing than he
           does from hardship and the death of a loved one is often the most stunning
           teacher of all.
           1) How many have reconsidered their complacency and rededicated
               themselves to Christ because a faithful loved one has passed on to
               Paradise or an unfaithful loved one has gone to torment?
           2) The sight of a spiritless body and a room full of mourners must always
               remind everyone of us that some day we shall trade our place for his and
               only our life‘s legacy and a date with the judgment seat on high will
               remain.

        3. The writer of wisdom argues that mourning heals the heart, that ignoring that
           ultimate fact of life only prolongs the injury.
           1) Great wisdom is granted in the house of mourning and so it is not to be
               avoided due to its discomfort (Acts 9:36-42).
           2) We often do something at funerals like those widows did for Peter
               showing forth the great things that exemplified the character of the
               departed one.
                                           36
      3) It is so wonderful when the life of a person can be eulogized and marked
         as a pattern of good works (Phil 3:17).

B. A time of mourning actually occasioned the first tiny possession of a part of
   the promised land by Abraham.

   1. In Genesis 12, God promised to give Abraham and his descendants a great
      land and this promise was fulfilled once Joshua‘s raiders invaded Canaan
      and expelled the heathen squatters.
      1) But it was Abraham‘s mourning over the death of his wife, Sarah, that led
         him to purchase the first plot of land in Canaan (Gen 23:1-20).
      2) Abraham thought he would only be able to purchase the cave which
         would have left the surrounding land in the hands of another, but Ephron
         offered the field also for free but valued at an apparently inflated rate.

   2. Abraham refused to take the land for free, perhaps because such charity
      would have dishonored the worth of his wife.
      1) His mourning caused him to deposit Sarah‘s remains in Canaan.

   3. We wish that the time of mourning could always be about depositing spirits
      in Paradise with the promise of heaven awaiting, but, despite the verbiage of
      so many funerals, we know it is not so.
      1) The time of mourning is eased when we have some degree of certainty
         about the deceased‘s eternal fate and we can hope for a blessed reunion
         over there.
      2) But still we know that as only a few of the original pilgrims from Egypt
         ever reached the promised land, so only a few who are born will actually
         arrive at heaven‘s pearly gates (2 Cor 5:1-10).

C. The lesson learned.

   1. Some who mourn at funerals rededicate themselves to righteousness and
      carry through with their resolution while others soon forget like any made on
      New Year‘s Eve.
      1) John 16:8-13: Working through the agency of His sword, the word of
         God, the Holy Spirit endeavors to convict the world of sin, righteousness
         and judgment.

   2. The beatitudes teach that ―Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be
      comforted‖ (Matt 5:4).
      1) Mourning does not ever seem to be pleasant when it occurs, but afterward
         it yields wisdom through advancing experience and applying knowledge.


                                     37
      2) It is the mourning over one‘s sin that leads to the blessing of the comfort
         of grace.
      3) Acts 8:18-24: Simon the sorcerer is told by Peter that he is in sin and at
         risk of damnation and he fearfully prays for mercy and grace and receives
         comfort and renewal.
      4) The church at Corinth is excoriated for tolerating sin and makes up its
         mind to withdraw from their unruly brother (2 Cor 7:6-16).

―a time to dance‖

A. An act of praise.

   1. Some words in the Bible have very broad definitions that can be
      misunderstood and misapplied without caution.
      1) The word ―wine‖ includes both fermented (intoxicating) and
         unfermented (non-intoxicating) juice from the grape and thus is used both
         ways, but never to uphold the validity of intoxication.

         Prov 23:29-35: ―Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions?
         Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness
         of eyes? Those who linger long over wine, those who go to taste mixed
         wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup,
         when it goes down smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent and stings
         like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things and your mind will utter
         perverse things. And you will be like one who lies down in the middle of
         the sea, or like one who lies down on the top of a mast. ‗They struck me,
         but I did not become ill; they beat me, but I did not know it.‘‖

         John 2:6-11: ―Now there were six stone water pots set there for the
         Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each.
         Jesus said to them, ‗Fill the water pots with water.‘ So they filled them up
         to the brim. And He said to them, ‗Draw some out now and take it to the
         headwaiter.‘ So they took it to him. When the headwaiter tasted the water
         which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the
         servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the
         bridegroom, and said to him, ‗Every man serves the good wine first, and
         when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but
         you have kept the good wine until now.‘ This beginning of His signs Jesus
         did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples
         believed in Him.‖
         * One passage condemns its use and another approves of it.
         * Would Jesus make a wine that would produce drunkenness?
         * Would one be able to drink freely without getting drunk?

                                      38
        * The only logical answer is that the alcoholic content were not the
          same.

     2) The words ―elder‖ and ―deacon‖ can mean any older person or servant
        or an overseer of the church and an appointed worker, as the context
        defines it.
     3) The word ―baptism‖ must be defined by the context.

  2. So the word ―dance‖ may describe only an innocent show of praise in Old
     Testament times or a lewd display of sinfulness now.
     1) Please understand that this passage is not advocating that there is a
        justifiable time to commit lewd movements.

B. Dancing that was justified in the Old Testament always involved the praise
   of God in an expression of extreme joy, but the risk of crossing over to
   lewdness was always near.

  1. Ex 15:20-21: Miriam led a dance of praise like the one that Ecclesiastes
     encouraged: ―Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took the timbrel in her
     hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dancing.
     Miriam answered them, ‗Sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; the
     horse and his rider He has hurled into the sea.‘‖
     1) ―Men and women never danced together, even on those occasions where
        both sexes participated in the sacred professional dances, they always
        danced separately. Dancing for sensual entertainment was unheard of
        among the Hebrews‖ (Nelson‘s Bible Dict., p. 276).

  2. Jud 11:34: Jephthah‘s daughter also danced in this way – not to be lewd or
      suggestive or in concert with men – to show her happiness at the return of
      her impetuous father: ―When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, behold,
      his daughter was coming out to meet him with tambourines and with
      dancing.‖
     1) ―Biblical dancing was the unrehearsed, spontaneous exuberance resulting
         from a great physical victory, or some festive occasion‖ (Kidwell, p. 75).
     2) The word ―dance‖ means to leap or skip about.

  3. As much as the Psalms validate the use of instrumental music in worship
     under the law of Moses, they also validate dance:
     Ps 149:3: ―Let them praise His name with dancing; let them sing praises to
     Him with timbrel and lyre.‖
     Ps 150:4: ―Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; praise Him with stringed
     instruments and pipe.‖


                                     39
C. Dancing that would not fall under Ecclesiastes 3, however, is also indicated
   in the Bible.

   1. The Hebrews back at the camp while Moses and Joshua waited for the ten
      commandments used dance as a way of playing with idolatry and provoking
      God‘s wrath.
      1) It was an act lacking restraint.

   2. At Herod‘s birthday party, his stepdaughter danced, not to praise God, but to
      please the man.
      Matt 14:6-7: ―But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias
      danced before them and pleased Herod, 7 so much that he promised with an
      oath to give her whatever she asked.‖
      1) Unlike Queen Vashti in the book of Esther who refused to become a
         spectacle before a band of drunken men, this young woman whom
         Josephus identifies as Salome, happily agrees to perform for them.
      2) L.A. Stauffer comments that the ―rash vow made by Herod after the
         dance implies either a semi-drunken state, a fever‘s pitch of carnal lust, or
         a combination of the two. It is difficult to view this in any way other than
         a sensual dance and a carnival atmosphere.‖

   3. The kind of dancing that was employed to praise God and was justified in
      the Old Testament was not of a lewd nature, nor did it involve males and
      females coupling to dance socially. (International Standard Bible
      Encyclopedia, Vol. II, p. 1170)
      1) Such a dance is lewd and there is no time for lewdness.
      2) Gal 5:19: Listed among the evident (explicit) works of the flesh in is
         lewdness (from the Greek aselgeia, defined by Thayer as ―wanton acts or
         manners, as filthy words, indecent bodily movements, unchaste handling
         of males and females, etc.‖

   4. Dancing is not prescribed by the New Testament as an authorized act of
      worship any more than instrumental music and in its lewd forms are clearly
      forbidden.
      1) There is no time for lewd, lustful dancing.

D. The time to dance is a time to rejoice.

   1. Christians are sometimes accused of being a sour and morose people, often
      scowling and always pessimistic.
      1) I suppose that is just the prejudiced opinion of unbelievers, for the
         children of God should be the happiest people on earth.


                                       40
              Rom 14:16-18: ―Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be
              spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but
              righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this
              way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.‖

        2. As the Ethiopian eunuch went his way rejoicing after his conversion, we
           ought to treasure up such satisfaction and anticipation in our hearts that no
           sorrow can destroy our contentment and joy.
           1) It is a time to rejoice when our brethren are blessed, so that we might
              rejoice with them (Rom 12:15).
           2) It is a time to rejoice when angels rejoice over the reclamation of one lost
              soul (Luke 15:7).
           3) It is even a time to rejoice when death takes the aged saint, for after the
              mourning there is strengthened hope (1 Thes 4:13).

                                    CONCLUSION

1.   There are times to mourn and times to dance throughout life, but don’t be
     afraid of either one.
     1. Learn from sorrow and live in joy and you will be blessed in this life and the
        next.




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                    There Is A Season (7)
                 ―A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
                  a time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.‖

                                 INTRODUCTION

A. Eccl 3:1: ―There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for
   every event under heaven—

5:   ―A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones‖

     1. OT punishment of stoning was useful in executing justice in ancient Israel.
        1. If had 2 witnesses – ―throw stones‖
           1) If not have 2 witnesses – Don‘t ―gather stones.‖
           2) Sometimes stoning was done unlawfully as in the case of Stephen.

     2. Depending on what your mission is at the time.
        1. The presence of stones can be either valuable material for construction or
           annoying hindrance to planting.
           1) Therefore, there is a time to throw away stones when planting and a time
              to gather them up when building.

     3. Matt 13: Parable of the Sower.
        1. Jesus was preparing His disciples for the often frustrating results of
           spreading the gospel seed.
           1) Among the troubles presented to the sower was the fact that some seed
              would fall upon hearts likened to shallow soil concealing layers of rock
              beneath.
              13:3-6: ―Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds
              fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on
              the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately
              they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had
              risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered
              away.‖
              20-21: ―The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the
              man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has
              no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or
              persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.‖

        2. There was no room to establish deep roots.
           1) The seed could not descend far into the ground and so the plant sprang up
              immediately.
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   2) The initial eagerness showed what appeared to be great promise.
   3) But almost as quickly wilted away.

3. Some new converts appear to be joyous and zealous at first, but at the first
   hint that not everything about Christianity is positive and pleasant, they
   wither away.
   1) Some have hearts just soft enough to be touched by truth for a moment,
      but just hard enough also to maintain an unhealthy skepticism about faith
      and allegiance to the material.
   2) Shallow soil over rocky layers is the heart that is always only moments
      away from casting its lot back with the devil when the matter of the cost
      of true faith is about to be tested.
      * They are souls like Demas, who forsook Paul because he ―loved this
          present world‖ (2 Tim 4:10).

4. Rom 8:5-8: Harboring a carnal mind in a body supposedly committed to
   the spiritual is the shallow soil hiding in a rocky layer.
   ―For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of
   the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
   For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life
   and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it
   does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and
   those who are in the flesh cannot please God.‖
   1) Matt 6:24: You cannot go in opposite directions at the same time.
   2) You have only one mind–can‘t do both with the same mind at same time.

5. Some may be unwilling to consider some Bible passages because of years of
   being taught the same error.
   1) Others have been hardened by the presence of hypocrisy in the church
      around them – fled the church and sentenced themselves to eternity
      surrounded by even greater hypocrisy – BECAME THE ULTIMATE
      HYPOCRITE!
   2) Hard-heartedness is a condition that can develop in the Christian, if he
      indulges his carnal impulses just enough and becomes talented at
      excusing his failures and justifying his apostasy (Eph 4:17-21).

6. Every day brings opportunity for both throwing or gathering stones.
   1) It may be the time to throw some rocks out of our heart.
   2) Now is the time to gather the living stones to enlarge the church, the holy
      temple which is God‘s dwelling place (Eph 2:19-22).




                                    43
―A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing‖

A. Prov 1:7; 4:1-9: Embrace wisdom.

  ―Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father, and give attention that you may gain
  understanding, for I give you sound teaching; do not abandon my instruction.
  When I was a son to my father, tender and the only son in the sight of my
  mother, then he taught me and said to me, let your heart hold fast my words;
  keep my commandments and live; acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do
  not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and
  she will guard you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of
  wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring, get understanding.
  Prize her, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. She
  will place on your head a garland of grace; she will present you with a crown of
  beauty."
  1. The writer asserts that if we embrace divine wisdom, she will crown us with
     glory and grace.
     1) Wisdom is affordable to acquire – and priceless when embraced.

  2. Jas 3:13-18: The challenge (hard part) in acquiring wisdom and
     understanding is distinguishing it from earthly wisdom.
     ―Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good
     behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter
     jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie
     against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but
     is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist,
     there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first
     pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits,
     unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is
     sown in peace by those who make peace.‖
     1) The wisdom of this world is about looking out for number one.
     2) It exposes itself as being motivated by self-interest.
     3) Its origin is clearly seen – therefore we can recognize it.
         * Divorce rate – ―grew apart‖ – ―unfulfilled‖ – seek joy and youth.
         * Absentee parenting – catchy lies – ―quality time‖
         * Can live with one foot in the church and one foot in the world.

  3. The wisdom from above is more clear and focused.
     1) It makes no excuses for the narrowness of truth.
     2) Divine wisdom in the heart of man will keep God‘s commandments and
        will use the Bible as a manual for both life and worship.
     3) Embracing wisdom is about giving yourself over to its control and
        yielding your own opinions to its truths.

                                    44
     4) When we embrace wisdom, we crave her and exemplify her.

B. Embrace the brethren in Christ.

  1. The closeness that develops between brothers and sisters in Christ,
     sometimes for no other reason than the faith, is beautiful.
     1) 2 Pet 1:1: ―received a faith of the same kind as ours.‖

  2. We should not be afraid to risk getting into that kind of relationship.
     1) We must not be content to exist on the fringes of the church and remain a
        mystery to the others (Prov 28:1; Jn 3:19-21).
     2) If we refuse to embrace our brethren, we are forfeiting one of the
        blessings that Jesus emphasized as a reward for faith.
        Mark 10:28-31: ―Peter began to say to Him, ‗Behold, we have left
        everything and followed You.‘ Jesus said, ‗Truly I say to you, there is no
        one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or
        children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel's sake, but that he will
        receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and
        brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with
        persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first
        will be last, and the last, first.‘‖
     3) When you are separated from your family because of distance or your
        beliefs, you can always have fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters
        in God‘s house (1 Tim 3:15).
     4) Some Christians who do not have children or grandchildren of their own
        end up adopting some by faith because they embrace their brethren.

  3. The scriptures demand it (EX: father instructing children to embrace step-
     mom).
     1) Rom 12:10, 15-16: ―Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give
        preference (outdo) to one another in honor…Rejoice with those who
        rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one
        another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not
        be wise in your own estimation.‖
     2) 1 Cor 13:4-7; Jas 5:20: Love covers a multitude of sins.

―a time to shun embracing‖ (1 Cor 6:18).

A. Flee the embrace of immorality like Joseph fled the enticement of
   Potiphar’s wife (Gen 39:12).

  1. Embrace at weddings and funerals – refrain when alone.
     1) EX: Counseling – hug to give comfort led to adultery.

                                     45
           2) Uphold the sanctity of your marriage relationship.

     B. Don’t embrace ash heaps [the past] (Lam 1:1; 4:1-5).

        1. The Jews were embracing ash heaps because they had ignored God‘s
           warnings and pressed ahead with their idolatry and iniquity until He quit
           embracing them and allowed the Babylonians to destroy their nation.
           1) Their choice of rejecting God‘s warnings – consequences.
           2) Some have experienced the tragedy of watching their own homes be
              destroyed by fire – pictures, memories, clothing, pets, people.
           3) Jeremiah witnessed this on a national scale.

        2. A day is coming when those fires will seem like nothing and God will
           destroy the entire world (2 Pet 3:1-13).
           1) Even the ash heaps will be obliterated in that day and lost souls will be
              beyond embracing.
           2) As Jesus wanted to embrace Jerusalem the way a mother hen hides her
              chicks, so not He wants to embrace you.
           3) Jerusalem was not willing, are you?

                                    CONCLUSION

1.   Don’t embrace immorality or the past.
2.   Embrace wisdom and the brethren.
     1. Become a child of God – God‘s family.
     2. John 3:5: Must be born again = water and Spirit.
        1) Mark 16:16: Believe and be baptized.

3.   It may be a time to throw rocks out of heart.
     1. Or it may be a time to gather with the living stones.




                                            46
                     There Is A Season (8)
                    ―A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
                          (A time to gain and a time to lose)
                      a time to keep and a time to throw away.‖

                                   INTRODUCTION

A. We all wish that life that could be nothing but gain from beginning to end, but
   we all know that sometimes we are required to be the gracious loser.
   1. In life, there are seasons for gaining and there are seasons ruined by loss.
      1) While we can rejoice with gain, we can be educated by loss.
      2) The key to a successful life in God‘s service is learning to make the most out
          of the least.

6:   ―a time to search (gain)‖

     A. Eccl 12:1: ―Remember also the Creator in the days of your youth before the
        evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, ‗I have no delight
        in them.‘‖

        1. 2 Pet 3:18: ―But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior
           Jesus Christ.‖
           1) The bitter irony of youth is that you wish it away hoping to be older, only
              to get your wish in time and regret it terribly.
           2) Every single day of our lives should be considered a unique gift, one that
              will never be repeated exactly again.
           3) Time is not a replenishable resource and eventually, we will all run out of
              tomorrows.

        2. Eph 5:16: For this reason, we are taught to ―walk carefully (circumspectly),
           not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.‖
           1) How many have a purse or cupboard full of coupons, many expired
              because you did not redeem them in time?
           2) Like every day of our lives, once they pass, they can not be bought back.

        3. Eph 5:17: Because life is so short and opportunities to gain are so few, we
           must spend our days finding out the will of the Lord.
           1) No day should be counter to spiritual growth, but certainly no day should
              be stagnant either.
           2) A plant that does not grow will die and a fig tree that does not bear fruit is
              destined to wither.


                                            47
     3) Every day on earth should take eternity into account and do nothing to
        hinder that progress (2 Pet 1:5-12).

  4. 2 Pet 3:16-17: ―…some things hard to understand, which the untaught and
     unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own
     destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your
     guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and
     fall from your own steadfastness,‖
     1) If you do not progress in truth, you will digress into error, ignorance or
         complacency.
     2) Acts 17:11: We are reminded of the Bereans who were more noble-
         minded than the Thessalonians because they searched their scriptures
         daily to consider the doctrines that were brought to them.
     3) These are the words by which we shall be judged and they need not be a
         mystery to us.
     4) Prov 23:23: Truth is worth searching for and holding on to for dear life.

B. Harvest souls (John 4:34-38).

  1. 34: Jesus gives them perspective of what drives Him.
     1) Jesus takes His disciples to another level of spiritual development
        (Matt 4:4; 5:6).
     2) Involvement feeds the soul – nourishes when feeding others.
     3) Giving to others gives yourself purpose and drive to continue.

  2. 35-38: Jesus prepares His disciples for the job just at hand.
     1) He wants them to see things as He does.
     2) Be involved in the purpose of God.

  3. 35: Harvest time being a very important day, it was natural to measure time
     in relation to it. (―It is yet four days until payday.‖)
     1) Jesus is building them up for a shocking statement.
     2) He points out that men view the harvest as still being 4 months away.
     3) The disciples may look up and see green, but He sees white and ready for
         harvest right now, in the middle of December.
     4) What does He see that causes Him to say the fields are ―white for
         harvest‖? (30).
     5) By looking up, the disciples could see the towns-people coming in their
         white garments.

  4. This account certainly suggests a soul-searching question for modern
     disciples:
     1) What do you see when you look upon a great city?

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    2) What should you see? What does Jesus see?

 5. Jesus gave His disciples at least 3 distinct commands.
    1) ―Look‖ – Opportunities for soul-saving are always available if we will
       look around. Learn to recognize those that are without Christ and who
       need Him – There are masses of people that are lost.
    2) ―Pray‖ – (Mt.9:37-38) – Can never have too many laborers.
    3) ―Send out‖ – ―Go‖ – Put action into our belief – our world may be
       across the street, at the store, school – but we must try.

 6. In 1970 the corn belt was hit by the corn blight, and the crop was far below
    normal. Even worse was predicted for the following year.
    1) So, expecting a poor yield, what did the farmers do? They planted more!
    2) God‘s people should do as the farmers did – Plant more.
    3) Not say – ―There is no use. The people won‘t hear. So few are baptized.‖

 7. 36: Harvest was a time (season) of joy (Deut 16:13-15; Ps 126:6; Isa 9:3).
    1) In order to have a harvest there must first be a sower.
    2) The one that sows does so that fruit may be gathered, so does one who
       harvests.
    3) Both the sowers and the harvesters rejoice when the fruit is gathered.
    4) The work of soul-saving is done by many, some ―sowing‖ at the same
       time (or many years later) others are ―reaping‖ what was sown.
    5) Temporal rewards have a limited shelf life – Soul-saving is eternally
       rewarding.

 8. 37-38: The prophets had labored in this country as well as John the Baptist.
    1) Now Jesus and His disciples are harvesting the fruit of that labor.
    2) Jesus is the sender in all cases, and now He is explaining that the disciples
       are enjoying what others before them have worked so hard to produce.
    3) Only people who had been prepared could receive such great truths in so
       short a period of time.

 9. One day, our hands will be weakened with age and our minds won‘t compute
    the way they once did and then one day, we will be silenced forever by
    death.
    1) Or it may that the final trumpet will sound first and the day of judgment
       will descend upon man like a thief in the night.

10. However the end of our toil comes, it will come, and the opportunity to make
    converts for Christ will close forever.
    1) How many of us will want to race to loved ones with whom we had never
       shared the gospel when we hear that horn?

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      2) The time to work, though, is upon us and with all the urgency that the end
         will have (Matt 9:35-38).

 11. 1 Cor 9:19-23: Do all you can lawfully do to make the point and win souls.
     1) Are you sowing the seed of the kingdom, brother?

C. Invest talents (Matt 25:14-30).

   1. God has endowed us all with talents and abilities which relate to those in the
      parable, some which are public and others which are less obvious, but so
      many of which can be used in service to God and men.
      1) We invest our abilities and increase our prospects for gain whenever we
         use them to benefit the kingdom or bless our neighbor.
      2) God is not satisfied that we merely return to him what he gave to us.
      3) He did not give us our gifts to maintain the status quo, but to storm the
         devil‘s compound and drive the darkness away with the light of truth.
      4) We bury our talents in the ground when we refuse to use them and they
         deteriorate from lack of use.

   2. Sometimes the ability we have is to share (1 Tim 6:17-19).
      1) Other times, we can be exhorters (Heb 3:12-13).
      2) Some can serve publicly and others can serve privately, but all can serve,
         for all have talents.

   3. There are things worth searching (gaining) for.
      1) Lk 13:24: ―Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you,
         will seek to enter and will not be able.‖
      2) 2 Tim 2:15: ―Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a
         workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the
         word of truth.‖
      3) Eph 4:2-3: ―being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond
         of peace.‖

―a time to give up as lost (lose)‖

A. The cost we counted to be a disciple (Luke 14:25-33).
   ―Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to
   them, ‗If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and
   wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot
   be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me
   cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower,
   does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete
   it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who

                                      50
   observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ―This man began to build and was not
   able to finish.‖ Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle,
   will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten
   thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand?
   Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for
   terms of peace. So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up
   all his own possessions.‖
   1. The thing about counting the cost is that eventually, you may be required to
       pay it (Phil 3:8).
       1) Some will strain family relationships because the cross is controversial
          and religion is very personal.
       2) Others will find struggles in the work place, persecutions in school and
          discomfort on the playground because of the cross.

   2. When you prepare to obey the gospel, you must count the cost and make
      certain you are willing to pay it, so that you will not begin the project and
      end up abandoning it when the going gets tough.
      1) Sometimes the costs are intangible, but not less painful to pay.

      2) Being a Christian means entertaining guilt over sins that the world would
         just overlook.
      3) It means caring when no one else cares anymore.
      4) It means turning the other cheek when others would derive base
         satisfaction from pursuing their own revenge.
         * There is a time to win an argument and a time to lose one.

   3. The cost you counted implied you would pay even this and now it is required
      of you.
      1) Will you be true to your commitment or slink away under the devil‘s
         hand?

B. A lost harvest (Father of prodigal son had to let him go-Luke 15:11-13).

   1. While there are souls to be gained, the soul-winner quickly realizes that
      some he labored with and rejoiced over have withered on the vine and fallen
      away like a scorched rose (1 Cor 3:5-15).
      1) Truly it is God who gives the increase as it is God who prospers the vine
         and adds fruit to its branches.
      2) But God has made His increase dependent upon the toil of us His
         servants, for we must sow the gospel seed and water it through constant
         admonition.

   2. When we see fruit borne in conversions to Christ, we rejoice.

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      1) Sometimes, however, those same souls wander back into the world and
         we weep doubly, for one is lost and that one was our work.
      2) But that loss will not endanger our souls at all.
      3) Our work--those souls--may be burned up, and we will suffer their loss,
         but we will be saved on the basis of our relationship with Christ, not
         someone else‘s.

   3. Then there are times to give up, to cut your loses and admit failure.
      1) Eccl 2:11: Solomon had to admit failure.
      2) There will be wealth, things, friendships, loved ones, and opportunities
         which will never be seen again.
      3) Look for the good and lose the bad.
      4) If honest = gain - if not = lose.

C. Make the most of the least.

   1. Rev 2:8-11: The church at Smyrna made the most, although they had the
      least.
      ―And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who
      was dead, and has come to life, says this: 'I know your tribulation and your
      poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are
      Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are
      about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so
      that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful
      until death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him
      hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt
      by the second death.'‖
      1) While poor in things, they were rich in faith and works.
      2) The richest person here may have the least in his wallet, but the most in
         his heart.

   2. Acts 16:25: The apostles made the most of being imprisoned by singing
      hymns and praying and by sharing the gospel with anybody who would
      listen.
      1) Paul converted some in Caesar‘s household while a prisoner.

   3. There is a season for life to hand you a bag of lemons.
      1) What you make with them will determine what kind of person you
         become.
      2) Some make the best of a bad situation and learn from mistakes or
         hardships to appreciate the good times.
      3) Others make bad times worse, or become ungrateful complainers.


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     ―a time to keep and a time to throw away‖

     A. While things are useful and productive, they should be kept and
        maintained.
        1. When they become counterproductive, their time to be thrown away has
           arrived.
           1) Old watch that no longer keeps time.
           2) Spiritual gifts (1 Cor 13:8-13).

     B. The Bible gives good advice concerning what qualities and other things in
        life we need to hold on to and what to get rid of (Col 3:5-14).
        1. Throw away sinful relics and traditions.
        2. This principle also applies to various friendships (1 Cor 15:33).


                                  CONCLUSION

1.   There is a time for every purpose under heaven, ―a time to search (gain) and a
     time to give up as lost (lose); a time to keep and a time to throw away.‖
     1. Learn from these and you will be better prepared both for life and afterlife.




                                         53
                    There Is A Season (9)
                   ―A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;

                                  INTRODUCTION

A. Eccl 3 teaches the principle that we are to live and work within the laws of the
   universe.
   1. 1: ―There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every
         event under heaven—7: ―a time to tear apart and a time to sew together;‖

7:   ―a time to tear apart‖

     A. Frustration and problems – tearing up the wrong things.
        TEARING UP THE WORD OF GOD.

        1. We would expect atheists and various radical groups condoning tearing up
           the word of God, but in fact it happens every day.
           1) Individuals tear it up when they go their own way, churches tear it up
              when they leave its authority and denominations tear it up when they
              elevate their creeds over it.

        2. Jer 10:23: "O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man
           who walks to direct his own steps.‖
           1) It is easy to trace trouble with God throughout the Old Testament on both
              an individual and national level to a violation of this sacred precept.
           2) When men and women begin to think it is within them to direct their own
              steps they begin to experiment with error and suffer the inevitable
              explosions and poisonings.
           3) Eve ate the fruit, although God said it was poisonous, because the serpent
              convinced her that a better plan was to be found outside divine authority.
           4) King Saul pretended to be a priest when Samuel delayed his coming,
              although he knew it be unlawful, because situation ethics suddenly looked
              better than having to face fear (1 Sam 13:5-14).
              * Just having a king in the first place was a deviation from God's plan,
                  but the people demanded to be like the heathen nations instead of
                  being like God (1 Sam 8:1-22).




                                          54
3. Jer 36:20-25: One king (Jehoiakim the son of Josiah) in Jeremiah's day went
   so far as to tear the scripture and then burn it, but all he destroyed was
   himself, not the word.
   ―So they went to the king in the court, but they had deposited the scroll in the
   chamber of Elishama the scribe, and they reported all the words to the king.
   Then the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll, and he took it out of the chamber
   of Elishama the scribe. And Jehudi read it to the king as well as to all the
   officials who stood beside the king. Now the king was sitting in the winter
   house in the ninth month, with a fire burning in the brazier before him. When
   Jehudi had read three or four columns, the king cut it with a scribe's knife
   and threw it into the fire that was in the brazier, until all the scroll was
   consumed in the fire that was in the brazier. Yet the king and all his servants
   who heard all these words were not afraid, nor did they rend their garments.
   Even though Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah pleaded with the king not
   to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them.‖
   1) It is a shame that men of power are often corrupted by their positions,
       which leads them to reject the call of God to repentance.
   2) Enemies of truth have made concentrated efforts to keep all or part of
       God‘s word from the common people.
   3) ―Read three or four columns‖ – People say they gave the Bible a chance
       and decided that it was not for them.
   4) Many people will read a few verses and base their entire opinions of God,
       religion, Christianity, morals and faith on an incomplete understanding of
       the Word!
   5) The king‘s action was one of folly and rage – reveals our sins and
       requires repentance.
   6) The words of God are still torn today for the same reason, - people just
       don't like them.
   7) People hate the Bible because they know that it is speaking to them, and
       they don‘t want to change.
   8) Proud people cannot stand to be told they are wrong or have chosen a
       doomed path and so they attack the messenger or dispute the message.
   9) The Bible is effectively torn up and cast into the fire.
  10) Jeremiah rewrote his words of truth and God added to them and the king
       met his fate.
  11) Whether we attempt to destroy the entire Bible at one cutting and
       burning, or whether we do it piecemeal, the end result is still the same.
       Isa 28:9-13: ―To whom would He teach knowledge, and to whom would
       He interpret the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just taken
       from the breast? For He says, ‗Order on order, order on order, line on
       line, line on line, a little here, a little there.‘ Indeed, He will speak to this
       people through stammering lips and a foreign tongue, He who said to
       them, ‗Here is rest, give rest to the weary,‘ and, ‗Here is repose,‘ but they

                                      55
         would not listen. So the word of the LORD to them will be, ‗Order on
         order, order on order, line on line, line on line, a little here, a little
         there,‘ that they may go and stumble backward, be broken, snared and
         taken captive.‖
         * The Bible will survive, but the sinner will perish without it.

B. The right time to tear up the right things.

   TEARING SOILED ROBES (Ezra 9:1-6)
   ―Now when these things had been completed, the princes approached me,
   saying, ‗The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated
   themselves from the peoples of the lands, according to their abominations, those
   of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the
   Moabites, the Egyptians and the Amorites. For they have taken some of their
   daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race has
   intermingled with the peoples of the lands; indeed, the hands of the princes and
   the rulers have been foremost in this unfaithfulness.‘ When I heard about this
   matter, I tore my garment and my robe, and pulled some of the hair from my
   head and my beard, and sat down appalled. Then everyone who trembled at the
   words of the God of Israel on account of the unfaithfulness of the exiles
   gathered to me, and I sat appalled until the evening offering. But at the evening
   offering I arose from my humiliation, even with my garment and my robe torn,
   and I fell on my knees and stretched out my hands to the LORD my God; and I
   said, ‗O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my
   God, for our iniquities have risen above our heads and our guilt has grown even
   to the heavens.‘‖

   1. Ezra was himself innocent but he wept and tore both his garments and his
      own beard over the sin in the nation that he loved.
      1) Ezra discovered that day that his countrymen were stained by unlawful
         marriages.
      2) Those in Ezra's day were compelled by law and by penitence to put away
         the wives they had no right to – foreign nations.
      3) It is a combination of anguish, frustration and assumed guilt that lead a
         man to behave this way.
      4) He did not tear his robes symbolically or melodramatically, but sincerely
         in a state of sorrowed amazement.
      5) Sin should cause us to tear the robes of our hearts (old man of sin) and
         commit to doing whatever it takes to get washed.




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―a time to sew together‖

A. One of the most cherished metaphors for grace is the notion of washing
   one's garments in the blood of Jesus Christ.

   1. Rev 1:4-6: ―John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and
      peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the
      seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful
      witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To
      Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood--and He has
      made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the
      glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.‖
      7:9-17: ―After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no
      one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues,
      standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and
      palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice,
      saying, ‗Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.‘ And
      all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and
      the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and
      worshiped God, saying, ‗Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and
      thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and
      ever. Amen.‘ Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, ‗These who are
      clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?‘ I
      said to him, ‗My lord, you know.‘ And he said to me, ‗These are the ones
      who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and
      made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before
      the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He
      who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. They will
      hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them,
      nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd,
      and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every
      tear from their eyes.‘‖
      1) Gal 3:26-27: We put on white garments in baptism.
      2) Rev 19:7-8: ―‗Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for
          the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself
          ready.‘ It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and
          clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.‖




                                      57
―a time to tear apart‖

A. TEARING APART BAD INFLUENCES (1 Cor 15:33-34)
   ―Do not be deceived: ‗Bad company corrupts good morals.‘ Become sober-
   minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I
   speak this to your shame.‖

   1. On just a few occasions, Paul prefaces some statement by saying, ―Be not
      deceived.‖
      1) He does this to add emphasis to the utter truth of the statement and the
         fact that the majority of the people will ignore it anyway.
      2) In all of the texts where it is found, the admonition of God is to beware of
         the false sense of security given by the devil to trust:
         * In other gods (Deut 11:16).
         * Believe that sin will not be found out.
         * And that it matters little what we do in this life.
      3) When Jehovah gave law to the children of Israel, He warned them of
         having their hearts deceived to turn and serve any other god but Himself.
         * Deut 11:1: Exhorts the Jews to ―love the Lord thy God, and keep His
            charge and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments,
            always."

   2. 1 Cor 15:33 tells us that bad company corrupts good morals and that the
      light of your faithfulness can be extinguished if surrounded by people living
      blissfully in darkness.
      1) Their coarse language, low standards, weak rationalizations and
          rebellious attitude can gradually be transmitted into your heart if they
          become your major influence.
          Ps 1:1-3: ―How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of
          the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
          But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day
          and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which
          yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever
          he does, he prospers.‖

   3. There are people in the world who would lead you into and encourage you
      to:
      1) Lie to and about other people
      2) Cheat other people
      3) Dress immodestly, music, movies
      4) Use filthy language
      5) Use alcohol and drugs
      6) Throw sexual purity out the door.

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4. Sometimes those influences are not human, but are material.
   Phil 3:8-9: ―More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the
   surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered
   the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,
   and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived
   from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness
   which comes from God on the basis of faith,‖
   1) Wrong book, religion and traditions.
   2) Position, power and things.

5. Most people recognize that we can be subtly and slowly influenced by those
   around us, but most will also consent to flirt around the flame anyway.
   1) It is for some the hardest sacrifice to make, to realize that your faith is in
      jeopardy to your friends and one or the other will have to go.
   2) While we cannot go out of the world or cut ourselves off entirely from
      this corrupt civilization, it does become necessary that we protect our
      hearts on another plain.
   3) We remain available to teach and to shed influence, but we protect our
      hearts with the breastplate of righteousness, lest we be led away into sin.
      2 Cor 6:14-7:1: ―Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what
      partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has
      light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what
      has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has
      the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God;
      just as God said, ‗I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG
      THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY
      PEOPLE. Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE
      SEPARATE,‘ says the Lord. ‗AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS
      UNCLEAN; and I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, and
      you shall be sons and daughters to Me,‘ says the Lord Almighty.
      Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from
      all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of
      God.‖

6. If you sleep with dogs, you will get fleas.
   Prov 6:27: ―Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be
   burned?‖
   1) Our friends will determine the type of conduct we follow.
   2) Do not deceive yourself in believing that your friends do not influence
       you life!
   3) You are influenced as much by those who are your associations as any
       part of your life.


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   4) The attitude teenagers have toward their parents is often influenced by
      their friends.

7. Prov 1: The wise man warned against following after the wrong crowd.
   Prov 1:7-19: ―The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools
   despise wisdom and instruction. Hear, my son, your father's instruction and
   do not forsake your mother's teaching; indeed, they are a graceful wreath to
   your head and ornaments about your neck. My son, if sinners entice you, do
   not consent. If they say, ‗Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood, let us
   ambush the innocent without cause; let us swallow them alive like Sheol,
   even whole, as those who go down to the pit; we will find all kinds of
   precious wealth, we will fill our houses with spoil; throw in your lot with us,
   we shall all have one purse,‘ My son, do not walk in the way with them. Keep
   your feet from their path, for their feet run to evil and they hasten to shed
   blood. Indeed, it is useless to spread the baited net in the sight of any bird;
   but they lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush their own lives. So are
   the ways of everyone who gains by violence; it takes away the life of its
   possessors.‖
   1) The attitude teenagers have toward their parents is often influenced by
      their friends.

   2) Rom 13:12-14: ―The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore
      let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us
      behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in
      sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on
      the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its
      lusts.‖

   3) 2 Tim 2:22-24: ―Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness,
      faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
      But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce
      quarrels.
      * Pursue knowledge, develop abilities, teach others, peacemakers
          without compromise.

   4) Eph 4:14-16: ―As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here
      and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the
      trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the
      truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head,
      even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together
      by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each
      individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself
      in love.‖

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         * Who influences you the most – God or Satan?

      5) Eph 5:10-14: ―Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but
         instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the
         things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible
         when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is
         light.‖

      6) Prov 12:26: ―The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the
         way of the wicked leads them astray.‖
         * Friendships are so important—we must not let them develop ―by
           chance.‖

―a time to sew together‖

A. Sewn together in friendship.

   1. 1 Sam 18:1-4: ―Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul,
      that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved
      him as himself. Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his
      father's house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved
      him as himself. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and
      gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his
      belt.‖
      1) It is possible to be brethren in Christ without being friends, but there is so
         much more to be gained and shared by being both.
      2) The friendships we will treasure the most will be the ones that are built
         on a like, precious faith and maintained by heavenly wisdom.
      3) We cannot expect others to make all the effort and do all the giving.
      4) We must show ourselves friendly.

B. Sewn together in brotherhood.

   1. Col 2:1-3: ―For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your
      behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not
      personally seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged, having been
      knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full
      assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery,
      that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and
      knowledge.‖
      1) 1 Pet 2:17: ―Love the brotherhood.‖



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      2) The brotherhood is the fraternity of believers throughout the world and is
         not limited by any line other than primary fellowship with the Father in
         heaven.
      3) We are knit together with brethren throughout the world so that if travel
         far and wide, we are extended trust and love by otherwise perfect
         strangers.

   2. But brotherhood exists within the congregation's members as well, who must
      be knit together in love in order to depend upon one another from day to day
      1) This knitting is accomplished when we assemble and admonish one
         another in song and when we study together in Bible classes.
      2) But it also accomplished when we spend time together outside the
         meeting house and become intimately acquainted with each other so that
         we develop that trust and mutual concern.
      3) Sharing hard times and good times knits people together in a way that
         helps withstand attempts to sever them down the road.
         Col 2:18-19: ―Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting
         in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on
         visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not
         holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and
         held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is
         from God.‖

C. Sewn together for battle.

   1. Israel had a claim against Benjamin and was preparing to make war.
      Jud 20:8-11: ―Then all the people arose as one man, saying, ‗Not one of us
      will go to his tent, nor will any of us return to his house. But now this is the
      thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up against it by lot. And we will
      take 10 men out of 100 throughout the tribes of Israel, and 100 out of 1,000,
      and 1,000 out of 10,000 to supply food for the people, that when they come
      to Gibeah of Benjamin, they may punish them for all the disgraceful acts that
      they have committed in Israel.‘ Thus all the men of Israel were gathered
      against the city, united as one man.‖
      1) You might expect victory to come in the next verse, but instead defeat
          follows for united Israel.
      2) They lick their wounds and ask God if they should pitch another battle
          and He says yes and they lose again.

   2. Now you might expect them to come apart at the seams and surrender but
      instead they inquire of God and are sent back to battle.
      1) Jud 20:29-37: ―So Israel set men in ambush around Gibeah. The sons of
         Israel went up against the sons of Benjamin on the third day and arrayed

                                       62
      themselves against Gibeah as at other times. The sons of Benjamin went
      out against the people and were drawn away from the city, and they
      began to strike and kill some of the people as at other times, on the
      highways, one of which goes up to Bethel and the other to Gibeah, and in
      the field, about thirty men of Israel. The sons of Benjamin said, ‗They are
      struck down before us, as at the first.‘ But the sons of Israel said, ‗Let us
      flee that we may draw them away from the city to the highways.‘ Then all
      the men of Israel arose from their place and arrayed themselves at Baal-
      tamar; and the men of Israel in ambush broke out of their place, even out
      of Maareh-geba. When ten thousand choice men from all Israel came
      against Gibeah, the battle became fierce; but Benjamin did not know that
      disaster was close to them. And the LORD struck Benjamin before Israel,
      so that the sons of Israel destroyed 25,100 men of Benjamin that day, all
      who draw the sword. So the sons of Benjamin saw that they were
      defeated. When the men of Israel gave ground to Benjamin because they
      relied on the men in ambush whom they had set against Gibeah, the men
      in ambush hurried and rushed against Gibeah; the men in ambush also
      deployed and struck all the city with the edge of the sword.‖

3. When Christians are knit together for battle, they are better prepared for the
   occasional defeat, an embarrassment or failure.
   1) We are Christian soldiers marching as to war, not as a guerrilla force or a
      lone sniper, but a company of the redeemed.
      2 Cor 10:3-6: ―For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according
      to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but
      divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying
      speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of
      God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,
      and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is
      complete.‖
   2) Through Christ, we are more than conquerors.
      Rom 8:36-39: ―Just as it is written, ‗FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING
      PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS
      SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.‘ But in all these things we
      overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced
      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 created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God,
      which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.‖




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                                  CONCLUSION

1.   There is a time not to tear apart – Word of God.
     1. Never a right time to ignore what it says.

2.   There is a time to tear apart sinful things that are not working righteousness.
     1. Always the right time – old man, bad companions, other influences.

3. And a time to sew together relationships that will rebound to glory.
   1. Gal 3:27: Now is the time to put on Christ, love the brotherhood, united in
      battle – bride ready with white robes of righteous acts.




                                          64
                    There Is A Season (10)
                        ―A time to be silent and a time to speak‖

                                  INTRODUCTION

A. Wherever men and women have gone with the hope of restoring Christianity
   to its New Testament pattern, the plea has been to “speak where the Bible
   speaks and remain silent where the Bible is silent.”
   1. Truly we find that throughout life, there are times to keep silent and times to
      speak, but that we should always be quicker to hear than we are to speak.
      1) Silence may get you into trouble, but it takes longer than words spoken
          hastily.

7:   ―a time to be silent‖

     A. Where The Bible is Silent.
        1 Pet 4:11: ―Whoever speaks, is to do so         as one who is speaking the
        utterances of God;‖

        1. Until recent years, most every professing Christian recognized the Bible as a
           standard of authority to some degree.
           1) Differences existed as to whether or not the Bible was inerrant and
              especially as to how a reader should treat the silence of God on certain
              matters.

        2. Nowadays discussions of Bible authority are rare and many have placed
           doctrinal importance only upon matters that they consider important.
           1) Controversy is not limited to areas in which God has not spoken, but such
              areas should be easier to recognize.

        3. Martin Luther set the stage for most of today's Protestant denominations by
           arguing that ―whatever is not contrary to scripture is for scripture and
           scripture for it.‖
           1) In other words, as long as the Bible does not specifically say ―Thou shalt
              not,‖ you may engage in it.

        4. Luther was not ready for how far his ideas would eventually go, but it
           enabled him or those who followed to justify instrumental music in worship,
           denominationalism and sprinkling in place of immersion for baptism.
           1) We would happily confess that ―Thou shalt nots‖ do not exist for many of
              these and others including having milk and cookies on the Lord's Table
              and calling the church ―Lutheran.‖
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5. We would also recognize, however, that no ―Thou shalt not‖ prohibited a
   Jew from acting as an Old Testament priest, but that absence of
   condemnation did not condone it.
   Heb 7:12-14: ―For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes
   place a change of law also. For the one concerning whom these things are
   spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the
   altar. For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with
   reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests.‖
   1) Since Moses spoke nothing concerning a Jewish priest, there was no
      authority for it, despite the fact that there was no explicit condemnation.

6. Some today in denominations object to big orchestras in their worship,
   yearning instead for the old days of a simple organ, but the same authority
   that gets you your organ gets them their orchestra.
   1) The Bible is silent concerning infant baptism, sprinkling or pouring,
      Baptist churches, church gymnasiums and many other things, but that is
      not permission to go ahead with them.

7. You see how we can be united when we respect the silence of scripture and
   refrain from rushing in to fill some void that we imagine exists because God
   has not seen fit to speak on something we consider important, but he did not.
   Rev 22:18-19: ―I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of
   this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are
   written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book
   of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from
   the holy city, which are written in this book.‖
   1) Nadab and Abihu tried to speak where God had been silent.
       Lev 10:1-3: ―Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their
       respective fire pans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it
       and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded
       them. And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed
       them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said to Aaron, ‗It is
       what the LORD spoke, saying,‘ ―By those who come near Me I will be
       treated as holy, and before all the people I will be honored.‖ So Aaron,
       therefore, kept silent.‖
   2) Intruding into God's silence is like bursting into a king's court and
       demanding to be heard.
   3) Why should such disrespect be overlooked?




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B. Before God.
   Hab 2:18-20: "What profit is the idol when its maker has carved it, or an
   image, a teacher of falsehood? For its maker trusts in his own handiwork when
   he fashions speechless idols. Woe to him who says to a piece of wood, 'Awake!‘
   To a mute stone, 'Arise!‘ And that is your teacher? Behold, it is overlaid with
   gold and silver, and there is no breath at all inside it. But the LORD is in His
   holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him.‖

   1. The Israelites who were given over to idolatry would craft their gods and
      then pray to them and never get any response, because their masters were
      their own lifeless creations (Isa 44:6-20).
      1) You can see them there shouting at these things, begging like idiots for
         any response.

   2. On one occasion, Elijah challenged them to a contest on Mount Carmel to
      prove who was the true God (1 Ki 18:22-29).
      1) When it was Jehovah's turn, Elijah simply announced that fact and God
         proved his presence undeniably.
      2) One was better off learning when to keep silence before the true God than
         spending his days beating on his idol to get it to do something.

   3. We spend so much of our time trying to make a lot of noise to get God's
      attention that we often miss it when He answers our prayer.
      1) Sometimes we should even be thanking God for saying no when it turns
          out we were asking for the wrong thing and he did not comply just to
          make us temporarily happy.
      2) Sometimes He answers providentially and we do not realize it because we
          are only tuned in to the asking, not the receiving or thanking.

   4. If you are living a meek and humble lifestyle, the whole world may forget
      you are there, but God will know.
      1) Your prayers do not have to be on the street corner to get His attention
          and actually what you say to Him in private is as likely to bring a sweet
          aroma to his throne.
      2) Keep silence before him: give him a chance to respond and learn to
          identify His answer.

C. Turn The Other Cheek (Matt 5:39).

   1. Prov 15:1: says that ―a gentle (soft) answer turns away wrath.‖
      1) The meek and humble spirit we just mentioned is becoming so rare that
         many people would rather confront and enjoy wrath than turn it away.


                                      67
      2) Both men and women can be seen and heard involved in explosive
         arguments over issues minor and major.

      3) Some progress into violence and it gets to the point that nowhere is safe.
      4) Whatever happened to turning the other cheek?

   2. Prov 26:4: ―Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be
      like him.‖
      1) Realize that you will be thought wise until you open your mouth to return
          his insults and expose that you are no better than he.

C. Be Slow To Speak.

   Jas 1:19-21: ―This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick
   to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve
   the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that
   remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to
   save your souls.‖
   1. Jesus says that we shall be judged for every idle word that we speak and how
      many times do we put our feet in our mouths by speaking without thinking
      first?
      1) There is a time to keep silent and we must all acknowledge that before we
          start World War III in our homes and in the church.
          Prov 17:27-28: ―He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who
          has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool, when he keeps
          silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is considered
          prudent.‖

―a time to speak‖

A. Where The Bible Speaks (1 Pet 4:11).
   1. If any man decides to speak in the service of God, he should speak only as
      the oracles of God have revealed the divine will.
      1) No man should make up his mind to add to or subtract from God's word
          by means of human creeds.
      2) Speak what we read not what we feel.

   2. This obligates us to be true to all of God's counsel whether it happens to
      be in season or out.
      Acts 20:25-27: ―And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I
      went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. Therefore,
      I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did
      not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.‖

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     1) Paul was innocent concerning all men's souls because he had never
        shunned to tell them what they needed to hear, even when it was not what
        they wanted to hear.

     2) He told dying men they were dying when sin had overwhelmed them,
        regardless of their wealth or power or kinship.

  3. It is always easy to preach about love and salvation, but often is hard to
     preach about sin and condemnation.
     1) Preach it anyway (2 Tim 4:1-5).

B. The Good News.

  Acts 4:8-22: ―Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‗Rulers and
  elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as
  to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the
  people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you
  crucified, whom God raised from the dead-- by this name this man stands here
  before you in good health. ―He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you,
  THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone.‖ And
  there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that
  has been given among men by which we must be saved.‘ Now as they observed
  the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and
  untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been
  with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they
  had nothing to say in reply. But when they had ordered them to leave the
  Council, they began to confer with one another, saying, ―What shall we do with
  these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them
  is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it
  will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no
  longer to any man in this name.‖ And when they had summoned them, they
  commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter
  and John answered and said to them, ‗Whether it is right in the sight of God to
  give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop
  speaking about what we have seen and heard.‘ When they had threatened them
  further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) on account
  of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened; for
  the man was more than forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had
  been performed.‖
  1. Someone said, ―All evil needs to prevail is for good men to do nothing.‖
      1) Had the apostles and early disciples feared the Jewish stones or Roman
         nails greatly enough to shut their mouths, the gospel would have spread
         more slowly and the saved would have been fewer.

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   2) When it becomes apparent that men are willing to speak for and to die for
      such a cause, others are motivated to take that risk as well.
   3) Acts 5:29: All the apostles were arrested this time.

2. When you are willing to speak the good news of a risen Savior to any and all
   who will hear you, the gospel will see its chances of spreading improved day
   by day.
   1) If good men and women choose to keep their faith a secret, then cultism
      and denominationalism will fill the void and infect people who might
      have believed otherwise.
   2) Don't wait for preachers or elders to visit your workplace, schoolhouse or
      neighborhood; Or for false teachers.
   3) Take the name of Jesus with you wherever you go and resist the pressure
      to keep silent when the gospel should be spoken.
      Luke 19:37-40: ―As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the
      Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God
      joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen,
      shouting: ‗BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF
      THE LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!‘ Some of the
      Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, ‗Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.‘ But
      Jesus answered, "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry
      out!‖
   4) Be living stones that cannot help but cry out!




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                    There Is A Season (11)
                                     ―A time to love‖

                                   INTRODUCTION

A. What is Biblical love?
   1. Allow me to say at the very outset that biblical love is a terribly misunderstood
      and perverted subject.
      1) Love as taught in the Bible is not simply a sentiment, platitude, or
         indefinable emotion.
      2) Love is not a warm spot in one's chest to which one can point and identify
         ―salvation.‖
      3) In this study, we shall consider biblical love (mostly the noun agape and the
         verb agapao).

B.   Let us begin with a dictionary definition of love. W. E. Vine states the
     following lengthy but substantive comments regarding agapao and agape
     (love):
     “Verb, agapao and the corresponding noun agape (B, No. 1 below) present the
     characteristic word of Christianity, and since the Spirit of revelation has used it to
     express ideas previously unknown, inquiry into its use, whether in Greek
     literature or in the Septuagint, throws but little light upon its distinctive meaning in
     the NT. Cp., however, Lev. 19:18; Deut. 6:5. Agape and agapao are used in the NT
     (a) to describe the attitude of God toward His Son, John 17:26; the human race,
     generally, John 3:16; Rom 5:8; and to such as believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,
     particularly, John 14:21; (b) to convey His will to His children concerning their
     attitude one toward another, John 13:34, and toward all men, 1 Thess. 3:12; 1 Cor.
     16:14; 2 Pet. 1:7…. Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. God's
     love is seen in the gift of His Son, 1 John 4:9,10. But obviously this is not the
     love of complacency, or affection, that is, it was not drawn out by any
     excellency in its objects, Rom. 5:8. It was an exercise of the Divine will in
     deliberate choice, made without assignable cause save that which lies in the nature
     of God Himself, Cp. Deut. 7:7,8. Love had its perfect expression among men in the
     Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Cor. 5:14; Eph. 2:4; 3:19; 5:2; Christian love is the fruit of His
     Spirit in the Christian, Gal. 5:22…. In respect of agapao as used of God, it
     expresses the deep and constant "love" and interest of a perfect Being towards
     entirely unworthy objects, producing and fostering a reverential "love" in them
     towards the Giver, and a practical "love" towards those who are partakers of the
     same, and a desire to help others to seek the Giver. See BELOVED" (Expository
     Dictionary of New Testament Words).



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                           Greek Words for Love
             Greek Word            Category               Character

             Agape /              Christian           Will / Volition
             Agapao

             Philia / Phileo      Friendship          Affection / Emotion

             Storge / Stergo      Family              Natural / Unbidden


             Eros                 Sexual              Physical / Passion
                                                                        44




     1. Agape love is not simply an emotion that rises unbidden in our hearts.
        1) It is an expression of the will – a principle by which we live.
        2) It causes us to seek the highest good of another.

     2. The agape love of the NT is unparalleled.
        1) Man has no love on his own that even comes close to duplicating biblical
           love.
        2) Biblical love is so qualitative and quantitative that it produces many marvels.
        3) It is, for instance, a marvel that God loves man when man is a sinner
           (Rom 5:8).
        4) Biblical love elevates the husband‘s affections for his wife to the point of
           loving his wife ―as his own body.‖

I.   THE EXCELLENCE OF BIBLICAL LOVE

     A. Love is the greatest underlying principle of the universe.

        1. 1 John 4:8: God, the greatest being, is love.
           1) The laws of the universe are the manifestations and outgrowths of His
              love.
           2) The excelling nature of biblical love is repeatedly taught in the Scriptures.
           3) Love is the ―first and great commandment‖ upon which all other laws
              and requirements depend.
              Matt 22:34-40: 34 But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced
              the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. 35 One of them, a
              lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36 "Teacher, which is the
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         great commandment in the Law?" 37 And He said to him, " 'YOU SHALL
         LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH
         ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' 38 "This is the great
         and foremost commandment. 39 "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL
         LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' 40 " On these two
         commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."

      4) We are most like God, the greatest being, when we love.
         1 John 4:19: ―We love because He first loved us‖
      5) To love is to conform to the laws of God.
         John 14:15: ―If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.‖
         John 14:23:―Jesus answered and said to him, " If anyone loves Me, he
         will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to
         him and make Our abode with him.‖

B. Love is the greatest!

   1. In the controversy in the church at Corinth, over spiritual gifts, the apostle
      Paul injected teaching on love in order to show the proper reasons for
      desiring and using spiritual gifts.
      1) 1 Cor 12:31: Love is a ―more excellent way.‖
      2) 13:13: Of faith, hope and love, the greatest of these is love.‖

   2. Love will exist in heaven whereas faith and hope will cease to exist.
      1) Faith will end with sight.
         Heb 11:1: ―Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the
         conviction of things not seen.‖
      2) Hope will stop with realization.
         Rom 8:24-25: 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen
         is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope
         for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
      3) Love will only be perfected in the state of glory when we shall see Christ
         as He is and be like Him and it will be eternal.
         1 John 3:2: ―Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not
         appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will
         be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.‖

   3. Love is the one thing from which faith and hope spring.
      1 Cor 13:7: ―bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures
      all things.‖ (NASU)
      1) Paul begins the chapter by showing the utter futility of the absence of
          love.


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        13:1-3: If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have
        love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the
        gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have
        all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3
        And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my
        body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

     2) Regardless of the extent of the accomplishment or sacrifice, without love
        it is a wasted effort.
     3) 13:4-6: When love is present, the characteristics of patience, kindness, is
        not jealous, does not brag, not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly, does
        not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong
        suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.

C. Love motivates the required obedience.

  Heb 5:8-9: 8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things
  which He suffered. 9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who
  obey Him the source of eternal salvation,

  1. 1 Thes 1:3: ―constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love
     and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our
     God and Father,‖
     1) The expression ―labor of love‖ is simply labor that love produces.
     2) Gal 5:6-7: For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision
        means anything, but faith working through love. 7 You were running well;
        who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion did not come
        from Him who calls you

  2. Love that is strong enough moves us to actions that can‘t be stopped.
     Song of Sol 8:6: ―Put me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your
     arm. For love is as strong as death,‖
     Song of Sol 8:7: ―Many waters cannot quench love, nor will rivers overflow
     it; if a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, it would be
     utterly despised."
     1) True Biblical ―love never fails.‖
     2) John 15:13-14: Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his
         life for his friends. 14 "You are My friends if you do what I command
         you.
     3) When we love God and each other, we can fulfill every one of the Lord‘s
         commands.
         Rom 13:8-10: 8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for
         he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9 For this, "YOU SHALL

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              NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL
              NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET," and if there is any other
              commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "YOU SHALL LOVE
              YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." 10 Love does no wrong to a
              neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
           4) Both law and love are necessary because ―love is the fulfillment of the
              law.‖

     D. Love is the foundation.

        1. Show me a house worth keeping and I‘ll show you a houst that is built on a
           firm foundation.
           1) Eph 3:17-19: so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and
              that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to
              comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height
              and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge,
              that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

           2) Paul summed up the excellence of love when he wrote in Col 3:12-14:
              12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a
              heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13
              bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a
              complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should
              you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of
              unity.

                                   CONCLUSION

1.   1 Cor 14:1: ―Pursue (follow after) love.‖ To love is to live!
     1. You will obey whether it makes since or not.
     2. You will follow Jesus and cleave to Him in times of doubt and trial.
     3. You will do what the Lord wants you to do in spite of hindrances and obstacles
        which may seem insurmountable.
     4. You will make the Lord, His will and His body the most important things in
        your life.
     5. You will have the proper attitude toward God, Christ, their word, your brothers
        and sisters in Christ, your family, your neighbor, the lost, your enemy, etc.
     6. You will make being with the Lord your primary goal.
     7. You will realize what following Christ is all about.
        1) The more we love, the more we are like Christ, the more we will be pleasing
           to Him.
        2) Love‘s superiority is clearly seen. Therefore let us follow Paul‘s advice.


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2.   It is possible to lose the right kind of love.
     1. Matt 24:12: ―Because lawlessness is increased, the love of many will grow
         cold.‖
     2. Rev 2:4: To the church at Ephesus, ―But I have this against you, that you have
         left your first love.

3.   Could it be that Biblical love will prompt someone to serve God now?
     1. Rev 3:20: ―Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice
     and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.‖
        1) Open the door by being baptized and let Jesus be the Lord of your life.

     2. John 14:23: ―If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will
        love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.‖
        1) If your love for God, church, brethren, etc. has grown warm or cold…




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                   There Is A Season (12)
                                     A Bad Hatred

                                  INTRODUCTION

A. Does this verse surprise you?
   1. Is there really a time for Christians to hate?
      1) Most people have a pretty negative view of hate.

     2. We tend to think of it as a bad emotion.
        1) There are many today who shout that Christianity is a religion of hatred and
           that any moral judgment about the lifestyle or practice of another is evidence
           of that hatred.

B.   The conflict between love and hate arise on two different accounts.
     1. First, sometimes we love people so much that we learn to tolerate a little evil
        instead of hating it and that just perpetuates error.

     2. Second, sometimes we hate evil so much that we forget to love the person and
        treat him despicably and ruin our chances of reforming him and winning him to
        Christ.

C. The Bible says that ―God is love,‖ and his capability and yearning to love
   cannot be exaggerated.
   1. While God is love, God does not love everything.
      Prov 6:16-19: ―There are six things which the LORD hates, yes, seven which
      are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed
      innocent blood, heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a
      false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.‖
      1) There is a concept that the God of the OT is somehow different than the God
          of the NT.
      2) This is false for He is the same God with the same eternal qualities.
      3) God‘s wrath and hatred of sin is mentioned in both Old and New Testament.
          Hos 5:10: ―The princes of Judah have become like those who move a
          boundary; on them I will pour out My wrath like water.‖
          Rom 11:22: ―Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who
          fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness;
          otherwise you also will be cut off.
      4) God has a different people, law, law-giver, etc., but He is the same.
          Mal 3:6: ―For I am the LORD, I do not change;‖



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D. Hate itself, is not any better or worse than love.
   1. Both love and hate have proper objects.
      1) They are both appropriate feelings to have toward certain things at certain
         times.

     2. There is a time to love and a time to hate and no Christian is complete without
        observing both, but in their proper seasons and for the proper reasons.
        1) God hates evil and expects His children to hate it just as much.
        2) When is hate appropriate and when is it self-destructive?

I.   BAD HATRED

     A. In Galatians 5 Paul list hatred among the works of the flesh which prevents
        entrance into heaven.

        1. Gal 5:20: ―idolatry, sorcery, enmities (hatred-KJV; NKJV; NIV), strife,
           jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,‖
           1) This kind of hatred is bad!

     B. What is hate (hatred)? It almost defies definition because it is so abstract
        at its root and yet we all know what it involves.

        1. We often express ourselves with the characterization of this strong emotion
           toward things or activities we dislike.
           1) ―I hate broccoli.‖ ―I have school!‖ ―I hate driving in traffic.‖

        2. But if we voice this toward a person it stirs even stronger response.
           1) ―I hate you.‖ I hate Muslims.‖

        3. The New Testament uses the word, miseo, which means – ―A feeling of
           strong antagonism and dislike, generally malevolent (malicious, BH) and
           prompting to injury (the opposite of love); sometimes born of moral
           resentment‖ (International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia).
           1) Vines Expository Dictionary says it is ―malicious and unjustifiable
               feelings towards others, whether towards the innocent or by mutual
               animosity.‖

        4. Hatred is often borne out of prejudice or envy.
           1) We learn to hate people because they are different than us or because they
              are rich or poor.
           2) There is no place for racial or social prejudice in the life of the Christian.
           3) Jas 2:9: James says if we show partiality we commit sin and are
              convicted as transgressors of the law.

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C. Overcoming hatred begins by recognizing that we are as unlovable as the
   person we are tempted to hate and we have to learn to see the good in him
   and remember that he is God’s creation as much as we.

  1. Tit 3:1-3: Paul tells Titus to remind Christians – ―Remind them to be subject
     to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to
     malign no one (to speak evil of no one), to be peaceable, gentle, showing
     every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves,
     disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our
     life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.‖

  2. Can We Hate Those Who Hate Us?
     1) John 15:18-19: Jesus told his apostles that they would be hated by the
        world because they were not of the world and the world hated Him.
     2) We have heard the mantra long enough to know it by heart: ―Hate the sin,
        but love the sinner.‖
     3) It is so easy to do in principle, but often so difficult to do when the sinner
        is intent upon his sin and dissatisfied that you choose only to love him
        instead of or in addition to his sin.

  3. Matt 5:43-45: One of the unique and profound characteristics of Jesus‘
     teaching (as opposed to the moral teachings of other religions) is that Jesus
     demanded His disciples to go beyond what others considered right.
     1) Beyond justice to mercy – ―You have heard that it was said, ‗YOU
        SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.‘ But I say to
        you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that
        you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun
        to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the
        unrighteous.‖
     2) As victims of so much hatred, bigotry and persecution, we cannot be
        guilty of the same sin we expose in others.
     3) Hating those who hate us makes us of the world, not of our Father.
     4) Never hate people.

D. How Does Hatred Affect Us?

  1. Sometimes the damage of hate is easily seen.
     1) When terrorists bomb innocent people or when violence exposes the
        emotion of the mob against an innocent person we attribute the actions to
        hatred.
     2) We even designate certain crimes as ―hate crimes‖ and attempt to
        legislate against the emotion that preceded the actions.


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   3) The greatest ―hate crime‖ of all time was committed at Calvary by
      individuals who hated Jesus, and resorted to the violence that hate
      generates.

2. Hatred is a problem of the heart.
   1) As such it does its damage within, sometimes imperceptibly.
   2) Have you ever had to fight against the emotion of hatred?
   3) Sometimes in dealing with that certain intolerable person you really have
      to discipline your mind against that one, first, small sensation of hatred.
   4) If allowed to germinate the seed of hatred will grow.
   5) You will find more and more reasons to justify your feelings of
      animosity.
      <> ―You just don‘t know what he did to me.‖
      <> If it is Ok for you to hate one person for one moment, you can hate
          him forever.

3. Is it OK to hate someone if I never let them know my feelings?
   Prov 10:12: ―Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions
   (sins).‖
   Prov 26:24-26: ―He who hates disguises it with his lips, but he lays up
   deceit in his heart. When he speaks graciously, do not believe him, for there
   are seven abominations in his heart. Though his hatred covers itself with
   guile, his wickedness will be revealed before the assembly.‖
   1) John said that the person who was angry with his brother without cause
       was a murderer (1 John 3:15).
   2) How can that be true?
   3) We will only understand that statement as we understand the true
       battleground of right and wrong.
   4) Mark 7:18-23: It is the heart – ―And He said to them, ‗Are you so
       lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes
       into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into
       his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?‘ (Thus He declared all
       foods clean.) And He was saying, ‗That which proceeds out of the man,
       that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men,
       proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22
       deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy,
       slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within
       and defile the man.‘‖
   5) The sin already exists within – Eventually it will show itself.

4. Eph 4:26-27: I am always challenged by Paul‘s admonition here –
   ―BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your
   anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.

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     1) I cannot give place to the devil.
     2) This is the confrontation that takes place in my thoughts (heart).
     3) Prov 29:11: ―A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it
        back.‖ – Didn‘t say to hold it in!

  5. Gen 4:6-8: God warned Cain against the anger and hatred that was left
     unconfronted in his thoughts.
     ―Then the LORD said to Cain, ‗Why are you angry? And why has your
     countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up?
     And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for
     you, but you must master it.‘ Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about
     when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and
     killed him.‖
     1) Hatred is well connected with other sins of the heart.
     2) Carnal considerations are often at the root of hatred.
     3) Sometimes hatred is caused by envy or covetousness.
     4) This brand of hatred is cured only by learning contentment, and giving
         what we have to others.

E. Hatred is Darkness.

  1. Certain things are absolutely opposed to each others – They are mutually
     exclusive.
     1) John concentrates our attention on these opposites often in his writings.
     2) Life vs. Death; Light vs. Darkness; Love vs. Hate.
        1 John 2:9-11: ―The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his
        brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides
        in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who
        hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does
        not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.‖
     3) You cannot be in the light and hate your brother.
     4) Hatred is evidence of darkness and blindness.

  2. Luke 9:51-56: Compare Luke‘s statements with John‘s.
     ―When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to
     go to Jerusalem; and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went
     and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him. But
     they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem. When
     His disciples James and John saw this, they said, ‗Lord, do You want us to
     command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?‘ But He
     turned and rebuked them, and said, ‗You do not know what kind of spirit
     you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to
     save them.‘] And they went on to another village.‖

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     1) The Jews hated the Samaritans.
     2) It was easy for John to envision violence against those who had rejected
        Jesus.
     3) What Jesus tell the disciples? ―You do not know what manner of spirit
        you are of.‖
     4) They were blind of the spirit of being Jesus‘ disciple.
     5) They did not know the Son of Man or His purpose as they should.
     6) It doesn‘t matter how much we know the Bible – if we do not love each
        other we are as blind as the world around us.

F. The eternal consequence of hating my brother.

  1 John 4:20-21: ―If someone says, ‗I love God,‘ and hates his brother, he is a
  liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love
  God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the
  one who loves God should love his brother also.‖

  1. Do you love God?
     1) Hatred is a journey into spiritual darkness that destroys the Christian's
        relationship with the God of love.
     2) Hatred of God‘s wayward creation is a work of the flesh which ensures
        that we will spend all eternity with the one whom we could not stand to
        spend a single moment with on earth.
     3) Hatred tortures the soul of the hater more than the hated.
     4) We must exercise physical and mental self-control to go on hating the sin,
        but wishing repentance for the sinner.

G. Never hate God – Why would anyone hate God?

  1. Because they misunderstand the origin of sin and misery and blame God
     for the whole devilish package.
     1) Have you not seen people in times of great tragedy blame God for not
        averting the disaster or come right out and accuse him of causing it?
     2) Sin was not God's creation; it came from the devil and was given legs by
        man (Jas 1:12-17).

  2. There is a time to hate, but God should never be its object, for God does
     nothing worthy of disdain, but offers hope and life to all who want it while
     punishing those who choose evil over good.
     1) God did not cause your problems, but He is the answer to overcoming or
        dealing with them.



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           2) He is a benevolent Father who would work no evil upon his children, but
              sometimes suffers them to face the consequences of their actions or the
              natural and unnatural effects of nature and wicked men.
           3) Times of tragedy call for the patience of Job, who likewise was afflicted
              by the devil and protected by God (Jas 5:10-11).

                                   CONCLUSION

1.   This is a love & hate, life & death struggle.
     1. We must strive to be like Christ because God is love.
        1) But God also hates evil.

     2. Next week we will look at what the Bible says about ―Good Hate‖.
        1) Hating the things that God hates.




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                    There Is A Season (13)
                            ―A time to hate‖ (Good Hatred)

                                  INTRODUCTION

A. Last week we talked about hatred as it appears from the context of Gal 5,
   where the apostle Paul listed it among the works of the flesh.
   1. We saw it from the dark side, in fact we concluded by noticing that hating our
      brother was synonymous with walking in darkness, rather than light.
      1) Hatred is of the world.
      2) God is love and God does not hate people, He loves them.
      3) He calls us to follow Him in loving our enemies, and disciplining our hearts
         against hatred. (not give place to the devil).

B.   So, God children are never to hate anything, right? Is that what the Bible
     teaches?
     Eccl 3:8: ―A time to love, and a time to hate‖.

     1. Does this verse surprise you? Is there really a time for Christians to hate?
        1) There are many today who shout that Christianity is a religion of hatred and
           that any moral judgment about the lifestyle or practice of another is evidence
           of that hatred.

C. This lesson is about hatred, when it is appropriate and when it is self-
   destructive.
   1. This verse indicates that there is a proper time to hate.
      1) How can we determine the application of this passage?
      2) What should I hate and when?
      3) The simple answer may be, I must hate what God hates.

I.   GOOD HATRED

     A. Does God hate anything?

        1. Deut 12:29-32: When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations
           which you are going in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in
           their land, 30 beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they
           are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods,
           saying, 'How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?'
           31 You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God, for every
           abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for
           they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.
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      32 Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add
      to nor take away from it.
      1) Moses warns the Israelites against adopting the idolatrous practices of
         their enemies, saying that He hates the ways that they worship.

   2. Prov 6:16-19: Here are six things which the LORD hates, yes, seven which
      are an abomination to Him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that
      shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run
      rapidly to evil, 19 a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife
      among brothers.
      1) These things are very destructive and damaging to God‘s will, others and
         self.

   3. Isa 1:14: ―I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, they
      have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them.‖
      1) God tells Israel that He hates their new moons and feasts (even though
         He had instituted them) because they observed them hypocritically and
         ritualistically.

B. God’s people are called to hate evil.

   1. Ps 97:10: ―Hate evil, you who love the LORD, Who preserves the souls
      of His godly ones; He delivers them from the hand of the wicked.‖
      1) Sometimes love and hate are two sides of the same coin.
      2) Love for one thing might require hate for something else.
         Matt 6:24: ―No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the
         one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the
         other. You cannot serve God and wealth.‖
      3) What good does it do to claim love for anything if you hate nothing?
      4) If we love God, we must hate sin.

   2. Prov 8:13: ―The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and
      the evil way and the perverted mouth, I hate.‖
      1) We show reverence for God when we hate sin and refuse the counsel of
         sinners.
      2) Three times God describes Job as a man that was ―blameless, upright,
         fearing God and turning away from evil‖ (Job 1:1, 8; 2:3).

   3. Ps 119:104: ―From Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate
      every false way.‖
      1) We must hate sin in ourselves and in others, and hate it with an intensity
         of passion that is equaled only by the intensity of our love for God.


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        2) Heb 5:14: ―But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice
           have their senses trained to discern good and evil.‖

II. PRACTICING THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN SINNERS AND THEIR SIN

   A. Heb 1:8-9 explains how this hating by God should be understood.

     But of the Son He says, "YOUR THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER,
     AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM. 9
     YOU HAVE LOVED RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HATED LAWLESSNESS;
     THEREFORE GOD, YOUR GOD, HAS ANOINTED YOU WITH THE OIL OF
     GLADNESS ABOVE YOUR COMPANIONS."

     1. Jesus was approved by God for His love of righteousness and hatred of evil.
        1) God doesn‘t hate the individual.
        2) It is the hatred of the sin the individual is involved in.
        3) Rom 5:8: ―But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while
           we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.‖
        4) 10: Christians were ―His enemies.‖
        5) God loves the sinner but hates his sin.

     2. What does this distinction mean practically?
        1) It does not mean that sinners are not responsible for their sins.
        2) God does not excuse the sinner as though he couldn‘t help it.
        3) God‘s love is not an excuse for sin.

     3. It does not mean that God does not fight against the sinner in the practice of
        sin.
        1) Ps 5:4-6: ―For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; no
            evil dwells with You. 5 The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes;
            You hate all who do iniquity. 6 You destroy those who speak falsehood;
            the LORD abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit.‖
        2) God does not hate the sinner in the sense of seeking his destruction or
            doing what is evil towards him.
        3) God is merciful and gives every person the opportunity to do good.

     4. This same concept when practiced by Christians is often misunderstood by
        others. (We hate drunkenness, not the drunkard, etc.).
        1) People can understand this principle when their children are involved.
        2) They love their children, but are severely displeased with their activities.




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B. It is sometimes stated that God’s people must hate sin, but love the sinner.

   1. I believe this properly expresses God‘s reaction to sin and sinners.
      1) In fact it may be one of the most difficult aspects of God‘s nature for us
         to duplicate consistently.

   2. We must love the evildoer even when his evil is against us.
      Matt 5:44-45: ―But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who
      persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven;
      for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the
      righteous and the unrighteous.‖
      1) Our generation increasingly accepts hateful treatment of others as a right
         way to react toward those who wrong them
         Matt 7:12: ―In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you
         want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.‖

   3. God has not given us the right to take vengeance upon evil.
      Rom 12:17-21: ―Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is
      right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at
      peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave
      room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‗VENGEANCE IS MINE, I
      WILL REPAY,‘ says the Lord. 20 ‗BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY,
      FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO
      DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.‘ 21 Do not
      be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.‖
      1) Look to your enemies good – may cause shame and remorse.
      2) Overcome evil with good – Otherwise we will be ―overcome by evil.‖
      3) We must seek to overcome evil with good, and not be consumed with
         hatred when evil is committed against us!

   4. Those who love, and do not hate, the sinner seek his good, even when it
      means judgment and rebuke.
      Gal 4:16: Paul asked the Galatians, ―So have I become your enemy by
      telling you the truth?‖
      Prov 3:12: ―For whom the LORD loves He reproves, even as a father
      corrects the son in whom he delights.‖
      1) If I really love the sinner I will point him to the word of God and call him
          to repentance.
      2) The true hope of the homosexual or adulterer is not to accept his lifestyle
          but to rebuke his choices and show him the way out of his sin.




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III. HATRED OF SIN DEMANDS A TOTAL COMMITMENT

   A. Why does God hate sin so much?

      1. Because God is absolutely holy.
         1) Hatred of evil is as much an element of holiness as the promotion of
            good.
         2) But we must understand that God is fully committed in His hatred of sin –
            We are sometimes not.

      2. Our excuses betray our lack of hatred for evil.
         1) Some sins are detestable and intolerable.
         2) But OUR sins are simply weaknesses that others must put up with.
         3) Do you hate every evil way?
         4) Even our self-righteous excuses are sins we easily overlook.

      3. Do you really hate sin – every false and evil way?
         1) Do you really hate pride, arrogance and a perverse mouth?
            <>Common sins in our society – politicians, sports figures and sometimes
              in ourselves.
         2) Do you really hate lying?
         3) Do you really hate hearing God‘s name being taken in vain?
         4) Do you really hate covetousness? It‘s a virtue in our society.
         5) Do you really hate violence?
            <>Do you enjoy movies and songs that build these evil ways up?

   B. Our attitudes in regard to sinful things will either help or hurt us.

      1. If we hate every false way, we will not see how many steps down its path we
         can take before committing ourselves to it, but will avoid the disastrous route
         altogether.
         1 Pet 3:10-12: For, "THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND
         SEE GOOD DAYS, MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS
         LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT. 11 HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL
         AND DO GOOD; HE MUST SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT. 12 "FOR
         THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS
         EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER, BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS
         AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL."
         1) Avoiding evil will keep us from sin.
         2) We tend to avoid the things we dislike – crowds, traffic,
         3) Not tempted to do what we hate to do.
         4) We need that attitude towards sin – if we hate sin – stay away from it.


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     5) We are flirting with disaster when see how close we get to actually
        committing sin before we discipline our lives.

  2. You cannot be good and love evil (Matt 6:24).
     Rom 12:9-10: ―Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to
     what is good.‖
     1) Pure un-hypocritical love is a state of mind in which evil is abhorred.

C. A total commitment against evil demands that we not place a stumbling
   block in the path of others.

  1. The worst thing that I could do would be to lead someone else to evil,
     instead of good.
     1) Would you expect the president of the local AA chapter to drink socially
        or allow his children to drink socially? He would lose his credibility.
     2) What about the Christian? How much does he have to lose? How much
        does he need his credibility?
        Eph 4:1-3: ―Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in
        a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with
        all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one
        another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the
        bond of peace.‖
     3) Paul said that others have a right to expect that of a Christian.

  2. Mark 9:42: ―Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble,
     it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he
     had been cast into the sea.‖
     1) But how can I keep this from happening?
     2) How can I be blameless here?
     3) Read on and see how Jesus answers that question:
         Mark 9:43-48: ―If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better
         for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell,
         into the unquenchable fire, 44[ where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE,
         AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.] 45 "If your foot causes you to
         stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your
         two feet, to be cast into hell, 46[ where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE,
         AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.] 47 " If your eye causes you to
         stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with
         one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell, 48 where THEIR
         WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.‖
     4) Now that is a total commitment to the hatred of evil!
         <>Internet, friends, job, etc.


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                                     CONCLUSION

1.   The most obvious conclusion is simply this – we need to avoid those things that
     we know God hates.
     1. We also ought to do the things we know God loves.
        1) These are ways that are right and cannot be wrong.

2.   There is a time to hate and it is whenever evil appears.
     1. We need to pray that God will help us see sin as He sees it.
        1) Our age is defined by its ability to call evil good, and good evil (Isa 5:20).

     2. We will be hated when we express our hatred for sin.
        1) But we are called to be holy as God is holy.
        2) Begin with the sin in your own life.

3.   Do you hate sin enough to repent? Confess Jesus as Lord? Be baptized?
     1. If not, another thing is also true – Don‘t love God enough.
        1) The more we love God – the more we will hate sin, including our own.
        2) Loving God and hating sin enough will move us to action – OBEDIENCE!




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                   There Is A Season (14)
                                   ―A time for war‖
                       (Includes Section on Capital Punishment)

                                  INTRODUCTION

A. Just like love and hate, war and peace seem to at times join in the same type of
   actions.
   1. You love freedom, hate oppression, and therefore fight for freedom.
   2. You love God, truth and the church, thus you ―fight the good fight of faith‖
      (1 Tim 6:12).
      1) The principle of war and peace also applies in the spiritual realm.
      2) Through the victories over evil and error there can be peace in a local
          church.

B.   This principle also reminds us that while we might be peace-loving
     individuals, situations may force us to defend ourselves.
     1. We might be drawn into conflict, when we really want peace.
        1) It should also remind us that we can‘t remain passive or neutral in all
           circumstances.
        2) There is a time when peace isn‘t possible.

C. Our own nation is at war with an almost anonymous enemy.
   1. In fact, though, Christians have always been at war with an invisible enemy, the
      devil, and peace from that struggle exists only on the other side of life.
      1) The time for spiritual war is always now.
          Eph 6:10-17: ―Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His
          might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm
          against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and
          blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of
          this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly
          places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able
          to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand
          firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and
          HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15 and
          having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL
          OF PEACE; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which
          you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And
          take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is
          the word of God.‖



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―a time for war‖

A. As we contemplate fighting a war for the world against terrorism wherever
   it is found, we understand how difficult and costly the battle is going to be.

   1. Peace often comes with the price of war – Not die for nothing.
      1) Luke 14:31-33: ―Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in
         battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough
         with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with
         twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a
         delegation and asks for terms of peace.‖

   2. But we also wonder about the justification for going to war in light of the
      New Testament scriptures.
      1) This war was spurred by a grave injustice committed on American soil.
      2) A crime was committed and this war is an attempt to bring to justice all
         those who were involved and the government was given this duty by God
         Himself:
         Rom 13:1-4: ―Every person is to be in subjection to the governing
         authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which
         exist are established by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority has
         opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive
         condemnation upon themselves. 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for
         good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do
         what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister
         of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does
         not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger
         who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.‖
      3) Although it may be hard to imagine, the United States would be shirking
         its responsibility if it did not wage this war to bring criminals to justice.

B. Rom 12:17-21: ―Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in
   the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with
   all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath
   of God, for it is written, ‗VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,‘ says the
   Lord. 20 ‗BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS
   THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP
   BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.‘ 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but
   overcome evil with good.‖

   1. Vengeance belongs to God and He has shared none of that right with the
      individual.


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     1) But has enlisted the agency of government authorities to protect and
        prosecute when wickedness occurs.

C. Religion and civil government under the Law of Moses.

  1. The matter of religion and civil government has been an often-dividing issue
     for many.
     1) Some believe that if the Bible is mentioned or found in a government
        building, there is a violation of the separation of "church and State."
     2) Others believe "church and State" should be practically combined (the
        church over the State).

  2. God created civil government.
     1) The Law of Moses was a theocratic system in nature.
     2) The Ten Commandment Code was to be implemented civilly and
        spiritually (Ex 20 ff.).
     3) Hence, instructions were given for the carrying out of capital punishment.
        Ex 21: 12-17: ―He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put
        to death. 13 But if he did not lie in wait for him, but God let him fall into
        his hand, then I will appoint you a place to which he may flee. 14 If,
        however, a man acts presumptuously toward his neighbor, so as to kill
        him craftily, you are to take him even from My altar, that he may die. 15
        He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. 16 He
        who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession,
        shall surely be put to death. 17 He who curses his father or his mother
        shall surely be put to death.‖

  3. Under the Law of Moses
     1) Religious Law (sacrifices, etc.).
     2) Moral Law (ruling the individual).
     3) Civil Law (ruling the nation).
        <> Personal vengeance is banned – state applied justice (Num 35:9-35).

D. The New Testament church was not designed to be a theocracy.

  1. Rom 13:1: We read of the ―governing authorities (higher powers)‖ as being
     separate.
     ―For there is no authority (power) except from God, and those which exist
     are established by God.‖
     1) John 18:36: Jesus answered, ―My kingdom is not of this world. If My
        kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that
        I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of
        this realm.‖

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     2) The church has no business in politics and the government has no
        business telling the church what to believe and practice.

  2. America was founded for religious purposes and is based on religious
     principles, laws, and codes.
     1) However, the church is spiritual in nature and work and must be
        distinguished from civil government (I Tim 3:15).

  3. The NT teaches submission to civil government.
     1) 1 Pet 2:13-14: ―Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human
        institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors
        as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who
        do right.‖ (Different levels of civil government-federal, state, local).
     2) Acts 5:29: The exception would be when government and God's word
        conflict.

  4. Not only is obedience to government taught, but also honor is due.
     1) 1 Pet 2:17: ―Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the
        king.‖
     2) Reverence for God should be found everywhere, including government.
     3) Keep in mind, the contemporary government was Rome and the king was
        the infamous Nero.

  5. Rom 13:2: Those who resist and disobey civil government are resisting
     God.
     ―Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God;
     and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.‖
     Rom 13:5: ―Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because
     of wrath, but also for conscience' sake.‖
     1) Sin to break the law of government – break God‘s law of authority.
     2) Punished if caught.

E. God rules in dictorial governments.

  1. Dan 2:20-21: ―Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom
     and power belong to Him. 21 It is He who changes the times and the epochs;
     He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and
     knowledge to men of understanding.‖
     Dan 4:17: ―His sentence is by the decree of the angelic watchers and the
     decision is a command of the holy ones, in order that the living may know
     that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on
     whom He wishes and sets over it the lowliest of men.‖
     1) King Nebuchadnezzar – God doesn‘t condone every action.

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      2)   Elders are ordained by the Holy Spirit – can they go corrupt?
      3)   God has ordained governments just as He does marriage.
      4)   However He doesn‘t approve of everything done in the name of marriage.
      5)   If a Christian can‘t obey the government because some things are wrong
           (not to obey), then we can‘t marry because some marriages and elders do
           wrong.

   2. Governments do not belong to Satan (God does allow Satan to corrupt them.
      1) God would not tell us to obey Satan.
      2) If government belonged to Satan – he would be fighting himself (Mark
         3:23-26).
      3) Acts 26:32: When Paul appealed to Caesar – was he asking for Satan to
         protect him?
      4) Rom 13:2: ―Whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of
         God;‖ – Resists God‘s authority and power – not Satan‘s.

F. It is not as clear as to how involved in government the individual Christian
   may become.

   1. Luke 3:14: ―Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, ‗And what about
      us, what shall we do?‘ And he said to them, ‗Do not take money from anyone
      by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.‘‖
      1) Hard and fast rules will not cover the infinite particulars of human life.
      2) Whether we will act or be passive, whether we will speak or be silent,
          what will be our demeanor, and what tone we will take – MUST
          DEPEND UPON THE PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES AND A
          NUMBER OF NEW COMBINATIONS.
      3) Every man must judge for himself, and must remember that there is great
          virtue in opportunities=WISDOM!

   2. The question then often arises: does the Christian, as an individual, have
      the right or duty to participate in these approved acts of the state?
      1) This is sometimes called the war question, but also encompasses the
          duties of a policeman and others who may be asked to kill for their
          governments.
      2) Conscientious brethren have differed through the years in their
          application of these principles, but I believe the silence of the scriptures
          needs to be respected here.
   3. Rom 13:3-4: ―For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for
      evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will
      have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But
      if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing;


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   for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who
   practices evil.‖
   1) The mission of government is good.
   2) Government is to be at peace with good and at war with evil.
   3) It does two things – Protects and punishes (justice; vengeance for God).

4. Society is at war against crime – at the root is sin.
   1) City – Police.
   2) Nation – Soldier.
   3) If a criminal takes over your house – Who will you call? Arrested?
   4) If 20 criminals take over your house – Need more police.
   5) If 1000 (army) – takes over city – need the National Guard – Army.
   6) Correctional officers are needed to keep criminals from the good of
      society.
   7) Eccl 8:11-13: ―Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed
      quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given
      fully to do evil. 12 Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and may
      lengthen his life, still I know that it will be well for those who fear God,
      who fear Him openly. 13 But it will not be well for the evil man and he
      will not lengthen his days like a shadow, because he does not fear God.‖

5. Note the following observations:
   1) First, if it is right for the government to pursue and punish criminals and
      to wage wars of justice, then it cannot be wrong for Christians to
      participate, unless we have decided that we shall not convert so many
      people that the armed forces would be dangerously diminished in number.
   2) Secondly, would we not be better off with Christians in command of
      these efforts since we could trust them more implicitly than worldly
      people?
   3) Nicodemus or Cornelius was never told to get out of the Roman army.

6. Rom 13:4: ―not bear the sword for nothing (in vain).‖
   1) Acts 25:11-12: ― ‗If, then, I am a wrongdoer and have committed
      anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those
      things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to
      them. I appeal to Caesar. 12 Then when Festus had conferred with his
      council, he answered, ‗You have appealed to Caesar, to Caesar you shall
      go.‘ ‖
   2) Paul, as a Roman citizen asked the government for protection.




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G. The origin of capital punishment.
   Gen 9:6: ―Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in
   the image of God He made man.‖

  1. Capital punishment viewed under the three dispensations generally
     recognized in the Bible:
     1) Patriarchal (Gen 3 - Ex 20).
     2) Mosaic (Ex 20 - Acts 2).
     3) The gospel (Acts 2 - judgment).
        <>We have already seen that God instituted the death penalty under or
           during the Patriarchal Age (Gen 9:6).
        <>Notice why the murderer's life is to be taken: ―for in the image of God
           He made man.‖
        <>Hence, the reason for the introduction of the death penalty was not
          dispensational.

  2. The subject of capital punishment or the death penalty is often an
     emotionally charged subject.
     1) Much of the religious opposition to the death penalty is based on the
        argument that capital punishment is not pleasing to God and is itself
        murder.

H. The nature of God.

  1. It is contended by the opposition of the right of civil government to take the
     life of one convicted of capital offense on the basis that God is love.
     1) God does love man, all men (John 3:16).
     2) However, does love preclude God from being strict and just?

  2. Man seems to forget or deny the harmonious duality of the nature of God:
     Rom 11:22: ―Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God…‖
     1) The writer of Hebrews is motivating those to whom he wrote (by
        implication, Christians today) to not forsake the assembling of themselves
        together (Heb 10:25).
     2) Heb 10:27: ―but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY
        OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.‖
     3) Heb 10:28: He then cites those who despised Moses' Law, ―Anyone who
        has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of
        two or three witnesses.‖
     4) Heb 10:29: Arguing from the lesser to the greater, he then shows how
        those who disobey Christ shall have ―severer (sorer) punishment.‖
     5) Heb 10:31: He concludes by enunciating, ―It is a terrifying (fearful)
        thing to fall into the hands of the living God.‖

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           6) The God of the New Testament is the same God of the Hebrew Scriptures
              who Himself on many occasions exercised capital punishment.
              Num 25:1-9: ―While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play
              the harlot with the daughters of Moab. 2 For they invited the people to
              the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their
              gods. 3 So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the LORD was
              angry against Israel. 4 The LORD said to Moses, ‗Take all the leaders of
              the people and execute them in broad daylight before the LORD, so that
              the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel.‘ 5 So Moses
              said to the judges of Israel, ‗Each of you slay his men who have joined
              themselves to Baal of Peor.‘ 6 Then behold, one of the sons of Israel
              came and brought to his relatives a Midianite woman, in the sight of
              Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, while
              they were weeping at the doorway of the tent of meeting. 7 When
              Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he arose
              from the midst of the congregation and took a spear in his hand, 8 and he
              went after the man of Israel into the tent and pierced both of them
              through, the man of Israel and the woman, through the body. So the
              plague on the sons of Israel was checked. 9 Those who died by the plague
              were 24,000.‖
              I Cor 10: 8: ―Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-
              three thousand fell in one day.‖

                                   CONCLUSION

1.   One person in his time plays many different parts – day by day, hour by hour.
     1. There is a time for all of these events.
        1) We are not masters of every event in our lives.

     2. Therefore we will experience disappointments and frustrations.
        1) But these disappointments and frustrations will be manageable when we
           understand that we can‘t do something about everything that happens.

     3. But let us not remain with a one-sided or loped-sided view of life.
        1) But we can involve ourselves in the will of God and participate and respond
           accordingly.
        2) Let us live balanced Christian lives so we work with God and be a positive
           influence with those around us.




                                           98
                    There Is A Season (15)
                                   ―A time for peace‖

                                   INTRODUCTION

A. ―There is a time for war and a time for peace.‖
   1. One of the challenges we face is determining just what the times and
      circumstances require.

     2. Jer 6:13-15: ―For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone
        is greedy for gain, and from the prophet even to the priest everyone deals
        falsely. 14 They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, saying,
        'Peace, peace,' but there is no peace. 15 Were they ashamed because of the
        abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; they did not
        even know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the
        time that I punish them, they shall be cast down, says the LORD.‖
        1) Because of Judah‘s sins they were not at peace with God.
        2) Therefore, they did not have genuine peace at all!
        3) Peace is often misunderstood, which can cause a false sense of security.
            1 Thes 5:1-4: ―Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no
            need of anything to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know full well
            that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3 While they
            are saying, ‗Peace and safety!‘ then destruction will come upon them
            suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not
            escape.‖

B.   Peace with God must exist first before peace among God’s people can flourish.
     1. When one is not at peace with God, peace with God‘s people is adversely
        affected.
        1) If we misunderstand peace we are more likely to mistake a counterfeit peace
           for the real thing!

I.   DEFINING PEACE (about 150 times in OT and over 80 times in NT – found
                     in every NT book except 1 John)

     A. DUAL NATURE OF PEACE (difference between “cease fire” and peace).

        1. Absence of conflict.
           1) OT – Hebrew ―Shalom‖
           2) Completeness, soundness and well-being of the total person.
           3) Everything that makes for a man‘s highest good.
           4) Sometimes had a physical meaning:
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        <> Security – Ps 4:8: ―In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You
           alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.‖
        <> Contentment – Isa 26:3: ―The steadfast of mind You will keep in
           perfect peace, because he trusts in You.‖
        <> Prosperity – Ps 122:6-7: ―Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they
           prosper who love you. 7 May peace be within your walls, and
           prosperity within your palaces."
        <> Absence of war – 1 Sam 7:14: ―The cities which the Philistines had
           taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even to Gath;
           and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. So
           there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.‖

     5) NT – Greeks ―eirene‖
        1 Cor 14:33: ―or God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all
        the churches of the saints.‖

  2. Inner state of the mind, tranquility, serenity, contentment.
     Isa 32:15-19: ―Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high, and the
     wilderness becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field is considered as a
     forest. 16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness and righteousness will
     abide in the fertile field. 17 And the work of righteousness will be peace,
     and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever. 18 Then
     my people will live in a peaceful habitation, and in secure dwellings and in
     undisturbed resting places; 19 and it will hail when the forest comes down,
     and the city will be utterly laid low.‖
     1) Product of righteousness: Quietness, confidence and safety.
     2) God‘s people are securely at peace in the midst of conflict.
     3) This is a prophecy about us – Righteous reign of Messiah.

B. THE GOSPEL’S RELATIONSHIP TO PEACE.

  1. Jesus came to bring this inner peace of mind.
     Isa 9:6-7: ―For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the
     government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called
     Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 7
     There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the
     throne of David and over His kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with
     justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the
     LORD of hosts will accomplish this.‖

     Luke 2:14: When the angels announced the birth of Jesus they sang, ―Glory
     to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is
     pleased.‖

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   John 14:27: ―When Jesus was speaking to the apostles on the night of His
   betrayal, He said, ―Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as
   the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it
   be fearful.‖
   1) Jesus is seen as the author of this peace in this final age.

   John 16:33: ―These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may
   have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have
   overcome the world.‖
   1) Because of what Jesus did, they could have peace in the midst of
      tribulation, and so can we today have peace in Jesus.

2. Jesus is our peace.
   Eph 2:14-17: ―For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into
   one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His
   flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in
   ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man,
   thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to
   God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17 AND HE
   CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY,
   AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR;‖
   1) The gospel is the message of peace.
       Acts 10:36: ―The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching
       peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)—‖

3. Yet, Christ and His gospel often bring conflict!
   Matt 10:34-37: ―Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did
   not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to ‗SET A MAN
   AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER,
   AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; 36 and A
   MAN'S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.‘ 37
   He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he
   who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.‖
   1) This peace that Jesus offers must be maintained even at the cost of peace
      with family or any other relationship.
   2) Those unprepared for the conflict the gospel brings are likely to
      misinterpret that conflict and accuse Christians of not being ―peace-
      lovers‖ because they ―contend earnestly for the faith‖ (Jude 3).
   3) Today we face the question: Will we surrender our lives to the Prince of
      Peace or will we close our eyes to the things that make for peace?




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     4. Those who reject truth are rejecting peace.
        Ps 119:165: ―Those who love Your law have great peace, and nothing
        causes them to stumble.‖
        1) Great peace is revealed in God‘s word and comes not by man‘s own
           wisdom and ingenuity.
        2) We need to note that this peace cannot be separated from loving God‘s
           law.
        3) We are not going to find the great peace spoken of here in human
           wisdom, philosophy, psychology, sociology, drugs, self-deception, false
           religion, etc.
        4) People desperately need and seek peace, but often in the wrong sources.

     5. God‘s word is the last place some people even begin to think of looking
        for it.
        1) The God who made us knows what great peace is and how it can be
           attained and maintained.
        2) What kind of peace is this? – Is it world peace?
        3) How do we get this peace?

II. PEACE WITH GOD

    Peace with God is the most important peace of all.
    Those who find peace with God will have peace with themselves and peace as
     much as possible with all men.

   A. To enjoy true peace, man must not only be at peace with his fellow man but
      also with his God.

     1. In fact, because of his very nature, man will not be at peace with his fellow
        man until he is first at peace with God and then himself.
        1) Notice the order of events in the beginning.
        2) As long as Adam and Eve were obedient and at peace with God, they
           were at peace with one another.
        3) But once sin entered their lives, they knew little peace.
        4) Their arrogance, presumption and disobedience separated them from God
           and immediately they began to fuss and the family relationship was never
           the same again.

     2. From that time forward man was destined to live by the sweat of his brow
        and the woman was to be subject to her husband.
        1) In due time the feelings between Cain and Abel became so strained that
           Cain killed his brother.


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     2) From that day till this, self-righteousness, hate, envy, jealousy and all the
        other emotions that destroy peace have been all to evident in the history
        and affairs of man.

  3. What is behind all of this?
     1) The answer is evident!
     2) The nation is turning away from God.
        <> Our courts have outlawed God.
        <> Our grade schools teach evolution, homosexuality.
        <> Our universities have become lewd love nests.
        <> Anyone who speaks against immorality is all but a criminal.
     3) From the least to the greatest, the cry is ―Peace, peace‖ but there is no
        peace.

B. Jud 6:23: ―The LORD said to him, ‗Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not
   die.‘‖

  1. Gideon was oppressed by the Midianites, etc.
     1) How did he get from not understanding peace to having complete peace?
     2) Jud 6:10: ―and I said to you, "I am the LORD your God; you shall not
        fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live. But you have not
        obeyed Me.‖
     3) Too many wrong beliefs – idols.
     4) Must put trust in God before you can have peace – all or nothing.
     5) Isa 26:3:―The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because
        he trusts in You.‖

C. Isa 119:165: What connection does ―nothing causes them to stumble
   (nothing shall offend them)‖ have to do with ―great peace‖?

  1. The word ―offend‖ here means to ―stumble‖ or to fall away from the faith.
     1) The thought is: those who posses this great peace of God will not allow
        anything to cause them to fall away from the faith.
     2) These properly evaluate the ―great peace‖ of God and refuse to
        relinquish it for any reason.
     3) When we fully appreciate the value of God‘s ―great peace‖ we will be
        faithful unto death (Rev 2:10).




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     2. Satan will attempt to persuade us that God‘s ―great peace‖ is not so
        valuable.
        1) Luke 8:12: In the parable of the sower, Jesus proclaims that those who
           are “wayside soil” never come to understand the value of the great peace
           of God in the first place. They dismiss it and devil catches away the word
           immediately.
        2) The “rocky soil” (8:13) see the value of the great peace and embraces it,
           but ―in time of temptation fall away.‖
        3) The “thorny soil” (8:14) are they who allow themselves to be ―choked
           with worries and riches and pleasures of this life.‖
        4) They decided it was not worth it to be a faithful Christian and fell away.
        5) The ―good heart‖ (8:15) represents the faithful Christian who understood
           the value of God‘s ―great peace‖ – holds the word fast, ―and bear fruit
           with perseverance.‖

III. PEACE WITHIN

   A. The highest peace is made possible by the gospel – peace with God – makes
      all other peace possible (within and with others).

     Rom 5:1-5: ―Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God
     through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our
     introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of
     the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations,
     knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance,
     proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint,
     because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy
     Spirit who was given to us.‖

     Rom 8:6-8: ―For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the
     Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward
     God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do
     so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.‖

     Col 3:15: ―Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you
     were called in one body; and be thankful.‖

     Phil 4:6-7: ―Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and
     supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And
     the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts
     and your minds in Christ Jesus.‖



                                         104
      1. This ―inner peace‖ ―surpasses all comprehension‖ because it can flourish
         even when all around is chaotic.
         1) The idea of contentment is related to inner peace.
            Phil 4:11: ―Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content
            in whatever circumstances I am.‖
         2) Here is an inner peace that is not dependent upon outward circumstances.
         3) Paul lived in a dangerous world – and so do we!
         4) It takes a dedicated mind set that is committed to God.
         5) God guarantees it! – TRUST HIM!

      2. A person can find inner contentment with the knowledge that he has a pure
         conscience.
         1 Tim 1:5: ―But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a
         good conscience and a sincere faith.‖

      3. Much inner peace is lost because people have such high, unreasonable goals
         that they can never accomplish the goals they set before themselves.
         1) Interruptions interfere with their attaining their goals and create turmoil in
            their life.
            Luke 3:14: ―…be content with your wages.‖
            Heb 13:5: ―Make sure that your character is free from the love of
            money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‗I
            WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,‘‖
         2) The greedy will never find that inner contentment associated with peace.
         3) One throws away his inner peace to sacrifice himself on the altar of his
            own ambitions.

IV. PEACE WITH OTHERS

   A. The instructions to Christians are clear.

      Rom 12:18: ―If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.‖
      Heb 12:14: ―Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which
      no one will see the Lord.
      1. A person cannot always control the circumstances about him.
         1) But he can find more peace by focusing on his OWN ATTITUDES
            TOWARD THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES.

   B. Here are some things you can do.

      1. Develop a sense of self-esteem that enables one to look at himself and know
         that he has done all that he can to promote and keep the peace.


                                          105
      1) You must not allow your own inner peace to await the approval of
         everyone around you – It will never come.


   2. Be considerate of others.
      Phil 2:3-4: ―Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility
      of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not
      merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of
      others.‖
      1) Selfishness destroys peace.

   3. Be forebearing – show tolerance – forgive those who sin against you.
      Eph 4:2-3: ―with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing
      tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of
      the Spirit in the bond of peace.‖
      Col 3:13: ―bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever
      has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also
      should you.‖
      1) Pass over an infraction (Prov 19:11).

   4. Go the second mile (Matt 5:41).

C. Peter: An example of a peaceful life.

   1. The gospels first introduce us to him as a most un-peaceful man.
      1) He lacked peace with himself – While the great storm tosses Galilee‘s
         waves, fearful Peter joins the other disciples in criticizing the Lord for
         sleeping while they face imminent drowning (Mark 4:38).
      2) Peter was also violent and un-peaceful toward others – The night of
         Jesus‘ arrest when he lashed out with a sword and cut off the ear of a
         servant of the high priest named Malchus (John 18:10).
      3) Jesus‘ prophecy of Peter denying Him 3 times came true.

   2. When Peter repented, he was a changed man–a source of strength for others.
      1) Finding peace with God brought peace to himself – Sleeping peacefully
         the night before Herod had purposed his execution.
         <> An angel had to strike him in the side to awaken him (Acts 12:6-7).
      2) He also found peace with others – When Paul publicly rebuked him, he
         didn‘t lash back with violence (Gal 2:12-14).
         <> Later he wrote of Paul as his ―beloved brother‖ (2 Pet 3:15).




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        3. Peter‘s life testifies that those who will submit to the Prince of Peace truly
           find―peace on earth‖ (Luke 2:14) and the ―peace that surpasses all
           comprehension‖ (Phil 4:7).

                                   CONCLUSION

1.   How is it in your life?
     1. Nothing in this world can compare to the peace Jesus offers.
        1) Having this ―great peace‖ – will help keep you from stumbling (falling).




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