The Requirements of the Christian Man

What God Requires Of His Men

Exodus 3:1-10

I. CHRISTIAN MEN ARE MEN OF OBSERVATION CONCERNING THINGS OF GOD (vv. 1-4).

A. God does things sometimes to get a man’s attention.

1. The fire of God is burning long before it is seen by man’s eyes.
2. It is God who opens our eyes that we might see His fire.

B. We should be drawen by the fire of God once it is observed.
C. When we get into the presence and fire of God we begin to reckon with our sin and our lives.

II. CHRISTIAN MEN ARE EXPECTED TO HUMBLE THEMSELVES IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD (vv. 5-6).

A. Humble before God we remove the manmade shoes of self-support.

1. Self reformation will not, nor cannot stand before the presence of holy God.
2. Taking off the shoes of “Self-Support” in God’s presence keeps us sensitive in our walk with God.

a. It also makes us cautous in our walk.
b. Being without shoes we watch where we step.

B. This is a form of removing the “Fig leaves” of self-righteousness.

III. CHRISTIAN MEN ENDEAVOR TO KNOW THE HEART OF GOD (vv. 7-8).

A. The heart of God is to deliver His people from their place of affliction.

1. It grieves the heart of God when His people are afflicted by the world.
2. It grieves His heart even more when we are afflicted spiritually, controlled by sin, and separated from fellowship with Him.

“Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear” Isaiah 59:1; “Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still” Isaiah 9:17, 21; 10:4 (KJV). “When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” Romans 5:6 (KJV).

B. Jesus came knowing the heart of God and His purpose for being.

1. ” The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18-19 (KJV).
2. God’s heart is for the delivering of enslaved people.

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” Romans 6:16-18; Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV).

C. God’s heart is set against sin, and so ought the heart of the Christian man reflect the heart of God.

IV. CHRISTIAN MEN ARE CALLED TO A PLACE OF LEADERSHIP (vv. 9-10).

A. Although God is All Powerful [Omnipotent] He uses men to lead people out of slavery and into His blessing.

1. He desires to use those who are willing and He will make us able.
2. He desires to use those who know His heart.

B. What is godly leadership?

1. One who knows God’s call and is committed to be faithful to that call.
2. One who by careful study of God’s Word and diligence knows God’s heart for souls and teaches God’s Word and His way.
3. One who prays and calls his family, and God’s people to repent, and who himself is repentant.
4. One whose heart is to let the Lord be Lord of his life and the church body.

a. If he is a pastor he is not a dictator with his own rules, but trust the Lord’s Word to correct and do its work in individual Christians and in the hearts of the lost.
b. He does not see his position as a place of power, but of servanthood.

5. One who is yielded to God’s tasks at the risk of family, friendships, being misunderstood, and/or life.

a. He is more concerned with God’s commands than with man’s demands.
b. He is obedient to God – repentant when not.

6. One who is burdened for the people.

C. God uses yielded/surrendered men to accomplish great tasks; “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” Philippians 2:5 (KJV).

1. “God is not looking for extraordinary men to do an ordinary task; He is looking for ordinary men to do an extraordinary task.” UNKNOWN
2. Christian men are sent by God to deliver the people of God who are in bondage and lead them out of Egypt [the world] and slavery to sin and the world.

APPLICATION –

I. GOD CALLS CHRISTIAN MEN TO BE OBSERVANT OF HIS FIERY PRESENCE.
II. GOD CALLS CHRISTIAN MEN TO HUMBLE THEMSELVES BEFORE HIS PRESENCE.
III. GOD CALLS CHRISTIAN MEN TO KNOW THE HEART OF GOD.
IV. GOD CALLS CHRISTIAN MEN TO THE PLACE OF LEADERSHIP.

-Tim A. Blankenship

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The Right Attitude

Being The Right Attitude

Matthew 5:1-12

We are looking at the beginning verses of what is called The Sermon On The Mount preached by Jesus to His disciples. It does not seem that there was a multitude at this message. It seems clear that it was only His disciples, “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them,” (vv. 1-2).

Each of the “Beatitudes” are a principle for living in the kingdom of our King. They represent an attitude of the heart and the mind. Within the kingdom of Christ our King there would be peace among us with no pride – lording it over another; there would be more sorrow over sin – our own first of all; there would be a greater hunger for God and His righteousness – less worry about gaining the things of earth; there would be more mercy – thus obtaining mercy; there would be more purity – more visions of God; there would be more opportunities for being peaceable – as the children of God; there would be more persecution – we would all be living faithfully as we are in the kingdom of heaven.

Let’s first look at the definition of the word “attitude“. “The position of something in relation to something else” is one definition according to the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY. What is the position your mind, your heart, your life in relation to God? We will consider those things your attitude. If we line ourselves up with God, having the right attitude we are “Blessed”, and that means “Happy”. Christians should be the happiest people in the world. I am not talking about a happiness based on frivolous circumstances, and life situations, but more of a joy which cannot be taken away.

What is the basis for having the Right Attitude?

I. THE FIRST THING IS TO HAVE THE ATTITUDE OF BEING “Poor in spirit” (v. 3).

A. This possesses a disciple of Jesus Christ as King.

1. It is the opposite of being proud, haughty and arrogant; especially when considering the things of God.
2. There is absolutely no room in the kingdom for pride.
3. It is bad enough to be arrogant, prideful and haughty before our fellow man, but to do so before God has eternal consequences

B. To be poor in spirit is to have more concern for the things of God, and the lives of others than we have for our own lives

1. What is the position of our heart toward God and our fellow man?
2. Seeing ourselves as God sees us is the proper attitude, and we will be poor in spirit, and ours will be the ‘kingdom of heaven’.

II. SECONDLY, THERE WILL BE AN ATTITUDE OF “Mourning” – having grief because of sin (v. 4).

A. The attitude of mourning over some thing or things which are not morally or spiritually right.

1. First of all, seeing sin in ourselves should cause us to mourn grievously, and lead us to repentance.
2. Secondly, when we sin in a love one, and we know that it is dragging them further and further away for God; we should be mourning over sin, and for their repentance.
3. Thirdly, when we see what sin is doing to our church by those who are “talebearing”, gossiping, and “sowing seeds of discord”; all should be grieving, mourning the destruction it is doing to the lives of those participating in it and the harm it brings to us all.
4. Fourthly, when we see what sin does to our community, State, Nation and the world we should be mourning sorrowfully and be praying for repentance.

B. There is comfort for those who mourn now.

1. There are many in and of the world who can laugh when a commedian tells an indecent story or joke, but when the story time is over they are sad once again.
2. Those who mourn now will be rejoicing through out all eternity, and that does not mean we cannot be joyous and truly happy while we are here.
3. When we see a sinner repent that will by a happy occasion; those who mourn shall be comforted.

III. IN THE THIRD PLACE, THERE IS THE ATTITUDE OF “Meekness” (v.5).

A. Meekness has been defined as “Strength/Power under control”.

1. Jesus was a great example of this definition of meekness.
2. It is also said of Moses, “Now this man Moses was very meek, above all men which were upon the face of the earth.” Numbers 12:3 (KJV).
3. Gentleness is another term for meekness.

B. The meek are those who know and realize who they are in Christ, but do not seek to exploit their position, power or person above others.

1. The meek are quick to defend others, but often will not defend themselves, and all the time stand for what is righteous, holy and just before God.
2. Meekness is one sure sign of being secure with who you are.
3. The inheritance of the meek is the earth;

“For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” Psalm 37:9-11 (KJV).

C. Jesus tells us that the “meek shall inherit the earth, and the Psalmist says that of “Those who wait upon the LORD…” as well.

IV. FOURTHLY, WE NEED THE ATTITUDE OF “Hungering and thirsting for righteousness” (v. 6).

A. The kingdom child is hungry for God, His Word, His righteousness, His holiness, and His justice.

1. Righteousness is the way of God, and the child of God desires the way of God.
2. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; their desire is for Jesus Christ and nothing else, because He is the fulfillment of the righteousness of God.

B. Those “hungering and thirsting for righteousness has a very specific hunger and that is for those things which are honoring and pleasing to God and glorify Him

1. To devour the truth – getting it into the system in order to be strengthened, encouraged, and motivated to live right with God.
2. O, that we as the people of God grew in that hunger; never completely filled; but satisfied with Jesus, wanting more of Him, and His righteousness.
3. The thrist never completely quenched; with longing to drink from the well of the Water of Heaven.
4. Drink from the ‘river of water’ that flows from out of the throne of God Himself (Rev. 22:1).

V. THE FIFTH BASIS FOR HAVING THE RIGHT ATTITUDE IS TO BE “Merciful” (v.7).

A. When you are in the right position with mercy it is most likely because you have obtained mercy (See Matthew 6:14-15 and Luke 7:41-42).
B. Living in a competitive world many feel and/or believe it is okay to exact revenge on one who has wronged you.
C. Get-Even-Ism is not the way of mercy.

“There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?” Luke 7:41-42

1. Mercy is what we all desire, especially when we are in trouble, in need, or just flat out busted.
2. We all need it, but when it comes to others, we are a little slow at granting it, if we do at all.
3. The question, “Who was forgiven the most?” is a pertinent question for us today – How much have you been forgiven? Much or little?

Mercy has been defined or illustrated in this manner – “It is not receiving what we justly deserve – that is JUDGMENT”. The next time you are about to release a verbiage of criticism on someone over something that has offended you; take a look at yourself. Someone has been merciful to you in the past, and probably over this same thing that has set you off. What is the position of your attitude in relation to mercy?

D. When we are merciful we shall obtain mercy.

VI. IN THE SIXTH PLACE IS THE NEED TO BE “Pure in heart” (v. 8).

A. Purity is such a sweet word. The definition of the word pure is:

“Unmixed with any other matter: free from taint’ also, ‘Free from moral fault: innocent”. From the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY.

1. Without a pure heart no one can see the Lord, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness [purity], without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14 KJV).
2. No one can appear before the presence of the Lord without pure heart – “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his sould unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully” Psalm 24:3-4 (KJV).

B. There is a pure heart only by looking to Jesus Christ, and looking to Jesus you will see God.

VII. SEVENTH, IS THE HEART OF “Peacemakers” (v. 9).

A. This does not have anything to do with “World peace” initiatives or movements.

THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY on Matthew, Vol. 1, p. 211 states,

“The essentil fact to comprehend is that the peace about which Jesus speaks is more than the absence of conflice and strife; it is the presence of righteousness”.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” Rom. 5:1 (KJV).

B. As long as men and women are at war with God, not believing Him or in Him; there will never be peace with God.

1. “Men can stop fighting without righteousness, but they cannot live peaceably without righteousness” IBID.
2. Having peace with God makes one righteous and just by decree from God.
3. There will be peace on earth when Jesus Christ sets up His kingdom on earth.

C. Those who have peace are the only ones who can offer peace to those who do not have it.

1. It is those who are peacemakers who have the peace with God, and the peace of God.
2. It is those who alone who can be called ‘the children of God’.

D. When your position with God is right; you will have peace with God, the peace of God, and you also will be a peacemaker.

VIII. THE EIGHTH AND FINAL BE-ATTITUDE IS THAT OF THE “Persecuted” (vv.10-12).

A. As a follower of Jesus Christ we must consider ourselves dead to the flesh any way.

1. It was Paul who wrote,

“I am crucified with Christ…” (Gal. 2:20). “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:4).

2. Paul also wrote to Timothy,

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” 2 Timothy 3:12.

B. These two “Blessed(s)” are for only those who are in Christ Jesus and walking in His righteousness.

1. These persecuted do not moan and groan their persecution, they rejoice that they are counted worthy to suffer for the cause of Jesus Christ.
2. This was the attitude of the early church; we see them rejoicing in this in Acts 5:41 –

“And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”

C. Do we go out seeking persecution? That is a definite NO!!!

1. When we live righteously in Christ it will come and then, we stand and we stand in His name.
2. Persecution is not for the believer to gain God’s grace, but because of grace.

D. Those who are persecuted will inherit the “kingdom of God”.

1. It too, will be a matter of rejoicing.
2. Great will be the reward in Heaven

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. James 1:12 (KJV).

IX. SUMMARY – WHAT IS THE POSITION OF YOUR ATTITUDE TOWARD GOD, HIS SON, AND HIS WORD, AND YOUR POSITION IN THE WORLD?

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Steward of God’s Stuff (3)

Stewardship Of Repentance

Malachi 3:1:18

OUTLINE –

I. LOOKING FOR HIS COMING WITH UNREPENTANT SIN (vv. 1-2).
II. THE COMING OF THE LORD IS LIKE A DEVOURING FIRE, PURGING THE DROSS OF SIN FROM THE HEARTS OF HIS PEOPLE (vv. 3-4).
III. A LETHARGIC PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW THEY HAVE DEPARTED FROM THE LIVING GOD (vv. 5-12).
IV. IN THE WRONG ATTITUDES OF THEIR HEARTS, THEY ARE ANGRY TOWARD GOD (vv. 13-15).
V. GOD WILL SANCTIFY HIS PEOPLE, AS PRECIOUS JEWELS (vv. 16-18).

Thus far we have saw the STEWARDSHIP which Malachi teaches in chapter 1 we saw THE STEWARDSHIP OF WORSHIP; in chapter 2 THE STEWARDSHIP OF RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP; and now in chapter 3 we will see THE STEWARDSHIP OF REPENTANCE.

Are these things really a matter of personal stewardship? This may be a whole new way of looking at the book of Malachi, and I do believe that God’s people are to be responsible stewards of what God has entrusted to our care. This message is as much, or more to me, as it is to others, and is much needed by all God’s people.

The stewardship of the people of Israel was not in good order. It is sad to say that the stewardship of the church today, is not in good order either. There are people who have their names on church rolls as members of that church, but rarely if ever attend services. If they do it might be on Easter Sunday, for a special program, or for the Christmas program. There are over 16,000,000 (sixteen million) names on the rolls of more than 40,000 Southern Baptist Convention churches, yet, we would be extremely blessed to have half of them in attendance on Sunday. There is certainly a need for repentance for the neglect of the worship of Jesus Christ. There is also a need for repentance for lacking in fellowship with fellow believers. How can you encourage your brother or sister in Christ when you are absent from worship? How can you be encouraged when you are absent?

I. ABIDING IN SIN AND LOOKING FOR THE COMING OF JESUS.

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.  But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:“ Malachi 3:1-2 (KJV).

A. God’s messenger has come to prepare the way for the coming of Christ.

1. That messenger was sent to every believer following the ascension of Christ to the Father.
2. That messenger is God’s Spirit who will convict of sin, righteousness and judgment.

B. There are many Christians who will say they long for the coming of the Lord, yet abide in sin.

1. The coming of Jesus would not be the longing of their hearts – it would be more like that of Lot’s wife whose heart was still in Sodom, and she turned into a pillar of salt, due to her lack of faith and obedience, “Remember Lot’s wife” JESUS (Luke 17:32).
2. The Lord will come to His temple – how will He find His vessel?

C. “He is like a refiners fire, and like fullers soap…” When you are in the faith of the Lord Jesus you will stand, endure, and be cleansed in His sight.

II. THE COMING OF THE LORD IS LIKE A DEVOURING FIRE, PURGING AWAY THE FILTH, AND WASTEFULNESS OF SIN FROM THE HEARTS OF GOD’S PEOPLE.

“And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.“ Malachi 3:3-4 (KJV)

A. There must be a cleansing of Christian leadership, then, it will pass to rest of God’s people.

1. When the leadership is living as the world, it is no wonder the Church is worship less, weak, and weary.
2. When the leadership is clean, then, there will be a worthy offering unto the LORD in righteousness.

B. There will be pleasant offering unto the LORD, just as it was in the beginning.

III. A LETHARGIC PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW THEY HAVE DEPARTED FROM THE LIVING GOD.

“And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.  For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.’

‘Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?  Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.  Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 3:5-12 (KJV).

A. It is almost as though these religious leaders copied their behavior from the church of Sardis in Revelation 3:1, Jesus said, “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” (NKJV).
B. The people had gone to trusting the word of sorcerers, adulterers, and had gone to oppressing the poor, the widow, the orphan, and turning strangers away.

1. This was all being done due to a lack of fear of the LORD.
2. They had changed, and forgotten that God is IMMUTABLE, ie., Unchanging.

C. God in His grace still calls for His wayward people to return to Him, and at His call to return, they wonder how, or why they need to return (v. 7).
D. His people have deserted the tithe, thus robbing God, and again wondering, “How have we robbed Thee?”

1. “In tithes and offerings” was God’s answer.

Now some are going to say, “That was law. The law has been done away. We are not under law any longer, but under grace”. My answer to that is this; The law has not been “done away”, rather it has been fulfilled in Christ. If Christ fulfilled the law, then, we are to let it shine forth from our lives. That means that the tithe is only the place that the Christian is to begin. If the ‘tithe’ is of the law, should the ones who are the fulfillment of the law in Jesus Christ give less than the requirement of that law. The Christian should begin with the tithe which is ten percent (10%) of one’s income.

If we look into the lives of the patriarchs of the Old Testament, like Abraham, w see that he paid tithes unto Melchizedek, and Jacob vowed to give God a tithe of all his possessions. These were before the law.

2. God’s people have been cursed by over indebtedness, and that due, at least in part, to lack of faith in God, and putting trust in perishable, material goods, and gain.
3. God says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse…” and that for God’s people today, is His local church.

a. The tithe does not go for missions offering, building fund, a television ministry, or the Red Cross, or any other charitable organization – it belongs to God and goes into the local congregations general fund, and to be distributed as God directs that congregation.
b. When someone “Gives” with stipulations, [as long as you have it where you can control it] it has not been given to God.

4. God will bless those who give to God as He directs, and as He says, “…That there shall not be room enough to receive it”.

E. When God’s people begin recognizing God’s ownership of all things, then, God will bless us in the eyes of others (vv. 11-12).

IV. WITH THE WRONG ATTITUDES IN THEIR HEARTS, THEY ARE ANGRY TOWARD GOD.

“Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?  Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?  And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.“ Malachi 3:13-15 (KJV)

A. The people of God have the attitude that it does no good to serve the Lord – “What profit is it…” accusing God of being unjust.
B. By declaring God unjust, they have the wrong attitude about holiness, righteousness, justice, peace, joy, and God.

1. How can the people of God get to the place where they question His faithfulness, His sustenance, His providence, His power, His presence, or His knowledge?
2. We can get in that way by becoming bored in our “Worship”, faithless in our work of ministry – losing our love for Jesus – and lacking repentance for our sins.

V. GOD WILL SANCTIFY – SET APART – HIS PEOPLE AS PRECIOUS JEWELLS.

“Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.  And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.“ Malachi 3:16-18 (KJV).

A. A book of remembrance is written for those that feared the LORD, and thought on His name.
B. God says, “They shall be Mine”.
C. There is coming a day when God will make Israel His precious jewels; His people are a treasured possession, and He will have all those who are His as such.
D. There is coming a day when He will spare His people and give discernment of the righteous and the wicked, and of those who serve the LORD, and those who do not.
E. You are called to be separate, apart from the world of sin and wickedness; you have the power of the Spirit of Christ to discern good from evil, godliness from wickedness.
F. God has set you apart as a precious Jewel

SUMMARY –

I. THE STEWARDSHIP OF REPENTANCE IS TO AWAKE FROM SINS WHICH HAVE NOT BEEN REPENTED OF, AND REPENT.
II. THE STEWARDSHIP OF REPENTANCE IS TO BE PREPARED FOR THE COMING OF THE LORD, AND TO KNOW HE IS COMING LIKE A THEIF.
III. REMEMBER TO WORSHIP THE LORD IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH, AND TRUST THE LORD, LEAN ON HIM, AND LETHARGY WILL FLEE.
IV. TRUST YOUR FAITH; NOT YOUR FEELINGS, AND WRONG ATTITUDES, AND YOU WILL HAVE NO ANGER TOWARD GOD.
V. LET GOD SANCTIFY HIMSELF IN YOUR LIFE, AND BE HIS PRECIOUS JEWEL.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Examples of Christian Living (1)

EXAMPLES OF CHRISTIAN LIVING (Part 1)

Colossians 4:7-10

Proposed OUTLINE –

I. TYCHICUS WAS A MAN WITH THE HEART OF A SERVANT (vv. 7-8).

II. ONESIMUS, WAS A MAN WITH A PAST THAT WAS SINFUL (v. 9).

III. ARISTARCHUS, WAS MAN WITH A SYMPATHETIC HEART (v. 10a).

IV. MARK WAS A MAN WITH A SURPRISING FUTURE (v. 10b).

I borrowed the idea for the main points of this outline from  THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY, Colossians & Philemon, pp. 192-199.

Paul has given much instruction on the dangers, and destruction of those who are Gnostics, and their teachings. Remember, they deny, the deity of Jesus Christ; because to their way of thinking Deity, and flesh cannot reside in the same body; as a matter of fact Deity cannot have a body of flesh. They supposedly believed that Jesus existed, but only as a spirit being; His “death” was only faked; thus there was only a ‘spiritual resurrection’. Do you know how silly that sounds?

Paul has encouraged us to pray for one another, and the Church; and shared with us how he was praying for us. He has lifted up the name of Jesus showing that He is Preeminent in all things, that He was the Creator of the Universe, and not only Creator, but He sustained it all.

Paul has warned us about the “Philosophy of men… And going after the ways of the world, and not after Christ”. He shared with us the sufficiency of Jesus Christ, and warned us of the death knell of legalism, and angel worship.

The apostle also encouraged us, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above…” Putting off the things of the flesh. Setting our affections on things of God – things above. Putting to death all sexual sins, and covetousness. Learning to deal with anger, wrath, malice, etc… To “Put on bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness.. Meekness, longsuffering, and forbearing one another, forgiving one another. Putting on God-like love. Having godly family relationships, work relationships.

Last time we looked at having a Christian Walk with the Lord; OUR DEPORTMENT.

In these final two messages we will be looking at examples of Christian deportment. There are seven that are good, and one that does not turn out so well. These are what needs to be exhibited in our church, and in life. We are each gifted by the Holy Spirit differently, so let’s be careful about using our gift effectively, and efficiently.

THERE ARE PEOPLE IN OUR CHURCH WHO HAVE THE HEART OF A SERVANT (vv. 7-8).

“ For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.  For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;  Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;  Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.  Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another…” Romans 12:3-10 (KJV).

The word ministry in the above Scripture is speaking of “Serving”, being a servant to others. It is the type of work that is needed in the church, and everyone should be serving; first the Lord, of course, then others. There are some who are just clearly gifted with SERVING others. They are usually the first to see a need, and address it, by doing something themselves, or if it is too big a project they call on others to help out.

The one’s with the gift of ministry/serving are also the type of people who do not desire recognition. They will serve even when no one notices. They prefer anonymity in the matter of ministry, without a lot of hooplah. In the our text for the day we see Tychicus, and he was most likely this way, but Paul goes ahead and makes sure the church at Colossae knows who he is anyway.

The gift of service offered was 1) Letting the people know of Paul’s state; 2) To find out the state of the church of Colossae, and return to Paul with that info; and 3) To be an encouragement to them:

1.  A servant will be one who is concerned enough to let others know the needs of those who are preaching elsewhere;
2.  A servant will also be one who informs those who are preaching, of the needs and growth, or lack thereof, of the congregation they are serving;
3.  A servant will be an encouraging part of the congregation.

We all need to have the attitude of the Servant. Not serving to be noticed, but serving because of calling, and desire to glorify the Lord.

EVERYONE IN THE CONGREGATION NEEDS TO REALIZE THAT WE ARE ALL PEOPLE WITH A SINFUL PAST (v.9).

Onesimus was the run away slave of Philemon. It is quite possible that, not only had he ran away, but he had stolen from Philemon. Paul says to Philemon, “If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that to mine account” Philemon 1:18 (KJV). It is sure that he had a sinful past.

A lot of us might ask, “Well what is he doing going back?” He was delivering this letter with Tychicus, to Colossae. He was most likely taking another letter to his master Philemon, from the hand of Paul.

In Onesimus we see a great Christian principle. It was one which Paul taught and Onesimus was going to practice, as a matter of fact he was practicing. That that he was practicing was keeping the matter of the law of slavery. Deuteronomy says, “Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee” (23:15 KJV). The one to whom a slave had fled was to care for this bond-servant, shelter, food, etc., but for them to go back was entirely up to the slave. In the case of Onesimus it was the good and godly thing to do, especially since he had become a Christian, and Philemon was a brother in Christ.

Paul describes Onesimus as, ‘…a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you…’ The testimony of Onesimus was what every Christian testimony is. One of deliverance to new life. Change had taken place in him, and it does in all who come to Christ.

The ministry of service of both Tychicus and Onesimus was to inform the people at the Colossian church of the work, ministry and needs of Paul. Onesimus was almost undoubtedly carrying another letter addressed to Philemon, and to whom he would deliver this letter face to face with the man he had wronged. Philemon was a wealthy leader of the Colossian Church which met in his house.

I have no problem believing that Philemon completely forgave Onesimus and set him free. After reading Paul’s letter himself, and then, reading it to the congregation meeting ‘in his house’ how could he refuse.

THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH WHO HAVE A SYMPATHETIC HEART (v. 10a).

Aristarchus is mentioned in Acts 19:29; 20:4; 27:2. Aristarchus is a voluntary captive with Paul. He is most likely not an actual prisoner, but has chosen to stay with Paul and minister to him. Part of his ministry would have been as an encourager. There would have been days when Paul would have been about as low as a Christian man can get, and would need someone to lift him up. Aristarchus was that man.

Understanding the situation requires sympathy. What is sympathy? According to the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY sympathy is – “a relationship between persons or things wherein whatever affects one similarly affects the others”. Suffering with the one who is suffering. It would also involve being blessed with the one who is blessed. Paul has said, “Weep with those who weep…” Romans 12:15. In that same verse he said, “Rejoice with those who rejoice”. There are those who can and do weep with you when you hurt. They are there for you when you need an encouraging word.

A word of caution. Not everyone has this kind of sympathy that puts them right in the place of suffering or rejoicing. We should all have some elements of sympathy, but not all to the extent that Aristarchus had. It is always a good thing to weep with the weeping, and unless you are jealous of someone else’s success rejoice with them in their rejoicing.

THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH WHO HAVE A SURPRISING FUTURE (v. 10b).

Mark had been a failure on Paul’s first missionary journey. In Acts 13:5 we find “John” who is John Mark ministering with Paul and Barnabus. In the thirteenth verse we have John Mark departing and going back to Jerusalem. There is absolutely no explanation, but due to the conflict that arises between Paul and Barnabus over John Mark going with them on the second missionary journey, we assume that Mark could not take the heat, so he got out while he could.

Paul was probably furious about Mark’s departure, as well as feeling like Mark deserted him. Mark was still, most likely, an immature Christian, and was not use to see persecution because of the faith. Mark had seen a challenge from Satan himself through the sorcerer Elymas, and he had seen the persecution of Paul and Barnabus, and it was all he could take. There was much contention between the two; so much that they went separate ways, and that was something God used to further the kingdom (Acts 15:36-41). One thing we can learn from this is that at all times we must use discernment. That is what Paul was doing, and at this time did not see any fruit in the life of Mark as the defeated, discouraged young man he was when he ran back to Jerusalem. When Paul saw the growth in Mark that was needed he commends him to others.

Notice in this statement by Paul that he says of Mark, “Receive him”. He mentions Mark again in the letter to Philemon, verse 24, “Salute… Mark… my fellow laborers”. Mark had grown and had become a strong believer in the faith. He mentions Mark again in 2 Timothy 4:11, as being a “profitable [useful] to me for the ministry”.

Mark went on and wrote the second Gospel. That is right the Gospel according to Mark. According to some historians and theologians Mark is the oldest of the four Gospels.

One thing by looking at the man Mark is that just because you have failed does not mean that God is finished with you. When your faith is strengthened and renewed God will use you for His glory again. When you fear you have failed just look to the One who has saved you and He will pick you up.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Set Mind

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THE SET MIND

Colossians 3:1-4

OUTLINE –

I. RAISED TO LIFE IN JESUS CHRIST (v. 1a).

II. GIVE YOUR ALL TO SEEKING THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE ABOVE (v. 1b).

III. THE POSITION OF JESUS CHRIST (v. 1c).

IV. A SET AND REASONING MIND WILL BE ON WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO IT (v. 2).

V. BEING DEAD TO SELF, HIDDEN WITH JESUS CHRIST IN GOD (v. 3).

VI. THE APPEARING OF JESUS CHRIST AND BEING WITH HIM (v. 4).

We have looked at the first two chapters and the apostle Paul dealt with the problems of the Gnostics who were involved and committed to teaching error. Denying the Deity of Jesus Christ, and that Jesus Christ was/is God incarnate [in flesh]; teaching and believing that they were more knowledgeable than even the apostles who had spent time with Jesus, witnessed His resurrection, etc..

Paul has already instilled in the readers of this short and marvelous letter that Jesus is the supreme one; He is our sustenance; He is our sufficiency. There is no mystical message that we need to hear. The message of the Word spoken to us by the apostles and the prophets is the message for God’s people. There is no ritual or religious practice we need do to be right with God. It is solely by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, His burial and His resurrection.

I. RAISED TO LIFE IN/WITH JESUS CHRIST (v. 1a).

A. Since we have died with Him we have also been resurrected with Him, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection (Rom. 6:3-5).

1. We were dead in trespasses and sin, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins…” (Eph. 2:1).
2. Before Jesus came in there was no way for us to acknowledge God, nor to be near Him.

B. There is no question as to the salvation of those to whom Paul is writing; it is clearly addressed to believers.

II. GIVING OUR ALL TO SEEK THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE ABOVE (v. 1b).

A. Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33).

1. Why is it that some sports fans do not mind paying out a couple of hundred dollars for a three hour football game, but will complain when it comes time to give a little to support the cause of Christ?
2. Why is it that vacationers will spend a few hundred dollars, even thousands of dollars, to go away for fun and relaxation, but will not spend a little to take a trip and spend time and money for the cause of Jesus Christ?

B. The answer to these questions is, “Their heart is in the sports, the vacations, etc.”, and not in the things which are above. “Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34).
C. Think of the time spent in the ball games, the vacations; the dollars spent.

1. In 1991 there was 2 billion dollars spent on golf, and that same amount was spent on missions within all denominations.
2. Golf has increased in popularity since then I would guess that that dollar amount has quadrupled for golf; but has either decreased or increased very little for missions since that time.

III. NOTICE THE POSITION OF JESUS CHRIST (v. 1c).

A. He has been exalted to the right hand of the Father.

1. Where does Paul say that the believer is in relation to Christ?

a. With Christ.
b. Seated with Christ, “…And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus…” (Eph. 2:6).

2. Stephen the deacon/evangelist saw Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:55ff).

B. He has been given all things of the Father.

1. All power.
2. All glory.
3. All things.
4. Rule with a rod of iron.

C. Jesus Christ our sufficiency for all things; why should we be seeking anywhere else than those things which are above?

IV. THE SET AND REASONING MIND WILL BE SET ON WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO IT (v. 2).

A. We are commanded in verse 1 to ‘seek those things which are above’, and then, told here to “Set your affection on things above…”.

1. This answers the Gnostics approach to the physical, antinomian practice of loose living.
2. When the heart and mind are set on the eternal things, then the earthly things for living and life will be right as well.

B. Paul is not commanding something that is not possible.

1. It is possible by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit within all who are born again.
2. Any one who does not have the Holy Spirit does not belong to God – that is; is not born again – “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any one have not the Spirit of Christ, they are none of His” (Rom 8:9).

C. The things of earth are only temporary; the things above are eternal – So which is most valuable?

V. BEING DEAD TO SELF, HIDDEN WITH JESUS CHRIST IN GOD (v.3).

A. Some people have or get the mistaken idea that this life, salvation, eternity, glory, met needs, problems, sorrows, sickness, disease, and such is all about us.

1. It is not: it is about God, His power, His glory, His grace, His will.
2. Originally made to glorify God Adam fell short of God’s glory – He failed to glorify God, and passed that on to us.

B. Jesus died to restore that glory that was taken away because of disobedience and sin.
C. When we die to self we are “Hid with Christ in God”.

1. Since all sin has been judged by Jesus’s death on the cross, there is no sin that will condemn us.
2. Since Jesus died for our sins, we die with Him.
3. Since Jesus rose from the dead, we rise with Him.
4. Since we are hid with Him we are one with Him (1 Cor. 6:17), we are partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), we have understanding (1 Cor. 2:14-16), and we are secure (1 Peter 1:4).

D. The greatest thing about what Jesus did is that we now walk in the glory of the Lord God who created us all.
E. There is certainly no need for the mystic teachings, the denials of the truths of Jesus and His identity as God in flesh for the true believer.

VI. THE APPEARING OF JESUS CHRIST AND WE ARE WITH HIM (v. 4).

A. He is our life.

1. Jesus gives all life
2. Jesus gives eternal life.

B. Who or what is the center of your universe – your life? What does your world revolve around?

1. If it is not Jesus, and those things which are above, then you are lost, and headed the wrong direction.

C. Jesus is coming again; will you be with Him at His appearing, or will you be against Him?

SUMMARY –

I. RISEN WITH CHRIST GLORIFY HIM.

II. GLORIFY HIM BY CLINGING TO THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE ABOVE.

III. REMEMBER YOUR POSITION IN RELATION TO CHRIST – WITH HIM.

IV. WHO, WHAT AND WHERE IS YOUR AFFECTIONS – YOUR HEART – IN RELATION TO JESUS CHRIST?

V. LIVING FOR SELF EQUALS DEATH – LIVING FOR CHRIST YOU ARE HIDDEN WITH HIM IN GOD.

VI. JESUS IS COMING AGAIN; WILL YOU BE WITH HIM, OR WILL YOU BE AGAINST HIM?

-Tim A. Blankenship