Shalem India Pentecostal church, New Jersey.

Message 2012

December 31, 2011

 

Philippians 3:13-16

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…

 Introduction

·         As we know the background of this epistle, Paul was in Roman prison.

·         While being there he was writing to the Philippians.

·         The central theme of the epistle is to rejoice.

·         So he started this chapter by saying, “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord!” (3:1)

·          We know that it is impossible for us to rejoice in difficult circumstances.

·         It is because we are under our circumstances.

·         What Paul says here is that we can rejoice in the Lord, because He is above circumstances.

·         Only a person who can find joy in the Lord can forget what is behind and press toward what is ahead as we read in our text.

·         We have come to the end of a year and entering another year.

·         As God’s people we must do two things now: (1) Forget the past and (2) Look forward to what is ahead.

 1.      Forget the past

·         We should not allow ourselves to rest in our past works whether failure or success.

·         Many people are trying to live in the past experiences.

·         Paul had a celebrated past.

·         He was circumcised when he was eight days old.

·         He was a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one!

·         He was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law.

·         He was exceedingly zealous for his convictions.

·         As far as righteousness by the law, he was blameless.

·         He further said, “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.” (3:7)

·         A lot of people make the mistake of trying to live in the past.

·         There are a lot of bad experiences as well as good experiences in the past.

·         There are people who are constantly going back and going over those bad experiences.

·         And they are not really going ahead in life at all, because they are so involved in the past.

·         Such people can't go ahead because they are looking backward.

·         Living in the past, there is always that danger of discouragement, which shuts off initiative for the future.

·         They always go back to the past, and they pick up the failures of the past, and they are discouraged to try anything new in the future.

·         Looking back to the past, oftentimes, we look at our failures and we are discouraged from trying to go on.

·         "Hey, I tried it before. I tried it for so long. It just doesn't work. I just can't do it. If I could, I would have done it a long time ago," and looking back I am discouraged of trying to go ahead.

·         On the other hand, there are people who looks back and glories in their victories of the past.

·         Such people are always looking at their past and doing nothing now or they do not have any motivation to do anything now.

·         “You know what an experience I had when I met with the Lord. I was dancing all around when I received the Holy Spirit.”

·         You know how many thousands of gospel literature I distributed. All through the street I was testifying and preaching.

·         They are living in the past, the past glories.

·         Have ever watched in Television what these retired baseball and football players do.

·         They just hang around the bars drinking lite beer, talking about the past.

·         It is sad when a person is resting in the past, not pressing ahead.

·         Of course, there is a certain value in looking back.

·         If the past experiences have not been transformed into the present, they are not valid.

·         One is to see what God has done.

·         Knowing what God has done in the past through His mighty power, gives me confidence to know that He is the same, and He is able to deliver today.

·         The second value in looking back is to show me how far I have slipped away from Him.

·         To the church of Ephesus Jesus said, "I have this against you in that you have left your first love. Remember from whence you have fallen, and repent."

·         Many people had a past experience like Paul's where they met Christ and for the joy gave up the past life, to enter into the new life in Him.

·         In the meantime, trying to live on that past experience they have picked up some of the old ways and habits by which they were once bound.

·         We are not interested in what God did in their life twenty five years ago, but we are interested in what He is doing in their life today.

·         The past has been glorious, it has been exciting to see what God has done, but you know, I am more excited about what God is going to do.

·         That’s why Paul is exhorting us to push ourselves ahead.

 2.      Push ourselves ahead.

·         It simply means, we must look forward what God has in store for us in this New Year.

·         We haven't seen anything yet.

·         The best is yet to come.

·         What God has done in the past is very important, but let's look forward to what God wants to do.

·         We haven't yet scratched the surface of the work that needs to be done in the hearts and lives of the people in this Edison area, in New Jersey, across the United States, even in other parts of the world.

·         We have only begun to see the work of God; we have only begun to see the glory of God poured out.

·         Let's not just sit back and rest, let's press forward to what God has for us in the future.

·         As William Carey said, let’s “Expect Great Things from God, Attempt Great Things for God.” In this New Year.

·         What Paul says here is, “I press toward the goal.”

·         I press or pursue – the Greek word is agonizo.

·         It is agonizing when we run toward the goal - you have got to go till it hurts, and you have to work yourself through the pain.

·         You run until you ache and you think you can't go anymore, but you keep going.

·         What is the goal? To receive the prize of the high calling of God.

·         What is this prize that you and I are going to receive?

·         I want the prize.

·         The prize is the approval of Jesus, my Lord.

·         I long to hear the words, "Well done, My good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of Thy Lord."

·         We will share with Him the eternal glories of His Kingdom.

 Conclusion

·         Our God has a glorious plan and a purpose for your future.

·         He has a plan for your life now.

·         What God has done in the past is nothing compared with what He wants to do in our life today, and in the future.

·         He wants us to have the Excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

·         Our responsibility is to press on toward the goal of receiving the prize of the high calling of God.

·         Anything I do for myself is a waste of time and effort and thereby I am prevention the plan of God in my life.

·         So what do I do? I forget those things which are behind and pressing toward the goal.

·         Let this be the same rule for our life and let this be our thoughts!

·         Let’s run our race desiring more and more of Jesus in this New Year!

Mathewphilip©2012

 

January 01,2012

 

Scripture: Romans 15:13

Subject: God’s Great Promise for the New Year

Theme: What are God’s promises for us in this New Year?

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 Introduction

·         Mostly people make promises in the New Year.

·         It is our hope and desire that we keep those promises throughout the year.

·         We have at least the desire to keep our decisions and promises.

·         Often we hear people speak critically of making such New Year resolutions.

·         Such people think these promises are worthless.

·         They are afraid whether they will be able to fulfill those promises.

·         This sarcasm could indicate that they have no hope for the coming year being better than the last.

·         It is certainly easy to give way to hopelessness regarding oneself and others, the world and the church, the present and the future.

·         In fact, Satan would have us do so.

·         But the words of our text challenge us to maintain an attitude about ourselves and our environment that is the exact opposite of pessimism and cynicism.

·         How does it challenge us?

·         It portraits a picture of our God, who has high hopes for us and promises to fill us with hope and optimism as we face our present and our future.

 I.     The God of hope declares that we can abound in hope

·         The Bible speaks repeatedly of our God and his high hopes for us.

·         Our God is not in despair about our future.

·         He wants us to face the future with hope.

·         He always wants to do good to us.

·         Our God never withhold anything good from His people.

·         He makes His desires come to fruition by giving us all we need.

 

A.     Hope fills us with excitement and optimism.

·         As God’s people, we are able to rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Rom 5:2).

·         Paul asks us to rejoice in hope (Rom 12:12).

·         Hope is one of the great characteristics that endures, along with faith and love, to the very end (1Cor. 13:13).

B.     Hope produces patience and persistence

·         Without hope, there is little change of our developing patience and persistence needed for living the Christian life.

 C.     Hope helps us face our future.

Why should we have hope?

1.      Hope is a product of the promises of our Lord to us.

2.      Hope is a product of the presence of our Lord with us.

3.      Hope is a product of the power of our Lord, which works within us.

·         This year is going to be an year when you and I will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

 II.     The God hope desires to fill us with joy

 ·         Our text says that the God of hope will fill us with all joy.

·         Joy is an elusive and misunderstood concept.

·         First, it is mistaken for happiness.

·         Happiness is linked to what happens to you and to those you love.

·         Joy is something deeper.

·         Second, joy and pleasure are often confused.

·         Pleasure is the pause we experience between two pains.

·         Christian joy is not dependent on the circumstances of man.

·         Joy is thankfulness for who God is and for what he has given through his Son’s death.

1.      God of hope wants to fill us with the joy of forgiveness

2.      God of hope wants to fill us with the joy of eternal life.

3.      God of hope wants to fill us with the joy of belonging in his family.

4.      God of hope wants to fill us with the joy of knowing that we will go to heaven when this life is over.

5.      God of hope wants to full us with the joy that comes as the result of serving others and helping others enter the life of faith.

·         God’s promise is going to fulfill in our lives this year.

·         He is going to fill us with the joy that is flowing from His presence.

 III.     The God hope fills us with his everlasting peace

·          People have always sought a trouble-free life.

·         The heart longs for peacefulness.

·         Humans, as sinners, experience inner tension, making serenity impossible.

·         We are distracted by desires and ambitions that are contradictory.

·         We are pulled apart as if we are in a civil war.

·         The minds and hearts of people are battlegrounds on which they become split personalities.

 A.     God wants to bring order into the chaos of people’s lives.

·         God wants to bring tranquility where there is turmoil.

·         We live in a dangerous world.

·         We do not know what are the dangers ahead of us in this New Year.

·         We need to be comforted by knowing that God will help us and will seek to bring good out of everything that life brings (Rom 828).

 B.     God wants to give to us the gift of peace that comes through faith in Jesus Christ.

·         The Holy Spirit of God, who dwells within us from the moment of our conversion, seeks continually to bring us into harmony with the will of God, making inner peace possible.

·         Our text confirms that it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that the life of hope, joy, and peace is made possible.

·         The power of the Holy Spirit and these blessings from God come to us through believing in and trusting in the goodness and graciousness of our God.

 Conclusion

·         Let’s rejoice that God wants to give us hope and fill us with joy and peace.

·         Our God will do this – in us, to us, for us, and through us – by the power of the Holy Spirit.

·         What we must do is to respond to him with genuine faith.

·         In Romans Paul speaks of our God as the God of patience and encouragement; he is also the God of hope, joy and peace.

·         As we face the New Year, let us trust in and commit ourselves to Him who gives the gifts of hope and joy and peace.

·         May the hope and joy and peace of God that surpass all human understanding be with us throughout this year!

 Mathewphilip©2012

 

January 08,2012

 

Scripture: 2 Cor. 10:1-6

Subject: Defense of Christian Life and Service -1

Theme: Defense of His Preaching

 A.     Introduction

·         Paul faced opposition from false apostles in Corinth.

·         He had many enemies and they were the enemies of the gospel.

·         They tried to find false with Paul’s life and ministry.

·         Paul thought that it is not right to keep quiet.

·         So he defended his life and ministry against these false apostles.

·         As God’s people, we too face opposition not only from our enemies, but also from false brethren.

·         So Paul’s defense of his life and ministry is our defense too as we live and work for the Lord.

·         In our text, Paul, in a mild and humble manner, asserts the power of his preaching, and to punish offenders.

 B.     Charges against Paul

·         There were some people in Corinth   who thought that Paul and other apostles lived by the standards of this world.

·         There were other charges also against Paul:

·         "Hey, when he gets away he can write these terrifying letters, but when he's here, he's just so meek and you know, just so mild mannered and all.

·         But he gets away, and then he writes these terrifying letters to you.

·         But when he's around, he's an ugly little guy."

·         And they were making fun of his appearance.

·         One of the early books of the Apocrypha written about the year 200, called, the Acts of Paul, describes Paul.

·         It said he was a short little fellow with 3 ½ feet tall, heavy eyebrows that came together, a hooked nose and sort of bow-legged and sort of twisted little knee

·         And that's what they were saying in Corinth. "Hey, this guy's not much to look at but when he gets away, he becomes dynamic and powerful.

·         With us he's a ninety-seven pound little guy.

·         When he gets away and he's an atlas.

·         So they were making these kinds of accusations against Paul.

 C.     Paul beseeching them

·         So Paul says, "I beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence I am timid among you, but being absent I am bold toward you."

·          He addresses them in a very mild and humble manner.

·         With all the meekness and gentleness of Christ, he appeals to them.

·         Paul’s always did his ministry on the basis of love and appeal and not on the basis of demands and commands.

·         Then he says, “I beg you.”

·         See the quality of humility and gentleness on the part of the Apostle.

·         I wish if I had that quality!

·         When we find ourselves tempted or inclined to be rough and severe towards anybody, we should think of the meekness and gentleness of Christ, that appeared in him in the days of his flesh.

 D.     Paul’s Defense

·         They were accusing Paul of walking according to the flesh.

·         They were making all kinds of bitter accusations against him and he's warning that when he comes, he doesn't want to really come down heavy on them.

·         However, if the necessity is there, he will.

·         He asserts the power of his preaching and his power to punish offenders.

·         We are in a battlefield.

·         The work of the ministry is a warfare, not after the flesh indeed, for it is a spiritual warfare, with spiritual enemies and for spiritual purposes. 

·         We walk in the flesh; that is, we are in a body of flesh.

·         However, our real warfares are not fleshly warfares.

·         Though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage war against the flesh.

·         Paul, writing to the Ephesians, said, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph 6:12).

·         Our real battles, our real warfare are not physical battles.

·         They are spiritual battles with these spirit entities that surround us, and there is spiritual warfare constantly going on.

·         We do not and cannot imagine the extent to which this spiritual warfare is being waged in the universe around us.

·         You remember when Daniel set his heart to seek the Lord in fasting and in prayer.

·         And after twenty-one days, the angel came to Daniel and said, "From the day you first called unto God I was dispatched to bring you the answer; but look, the prince of Persia captured me and held me until finally Michael, that great prince, came and set me free and now I am come to reveal unto you those things that you desire to know of God."

·         We are not really cognizant of the spiritual warfare that does go on in the universe around us.

·         It would be well if we would be more sensitive to the fact that there is a spiritual warfare going on, and many times, we get the flack of that spiritual warfare.

·         The by-product of it oftentimes are feelings that we really don't understand and can't really define.

·          A feeling of heaviness, a feeling of depression, a feeling of discouragement or a feeling of despair, gloom.

·         A feeling of restlessness, just a feeling of agitation.

·         These feelings can often result from the by-product really of the spiritual warfare that is going on around us.

·         There is a tremendous battle over the souls of men being waged by the Spirit of God and by Satan.

·         That desire to control the mind and the soul of man.

·         Many a time a person is in the midst of that conflict as it is their soul that is in the balance.

·         God's Spirit pulling; Satan holding on.

·         Tremendous spiritual battle.

·         To be aware of them is vital for us as Christians if we're going to maintain a life of victory.

·         One of our problems is that we do not always recognize when Satan is attacking.

·         And quite often, we're prone to just pass it off on just, you know, our own nature or our own just feelings or, "I just woke up this morning feeling horrible, and I just get in these cranky moods sometimes. You're just going to have to forgive me and all."

·         And we're not aware of the fact that we are under a spiritual attack.

·         And because we're not aware of the fact that it is a spiritual attack against us, we just go on, rather than standing against it and resisting it.

·         For the Bible tells us if we resist the devil he'll flee from us.

·         But I've got to recognize that it is Satan's attack before I resist it.

·         So, there are really the three R's I call the spiritual victory.

·         One is to recognize the source of the attack.

·         This is the enemy at work.

·         He's attacking me.

·         Having recognized it, then I can deal with it by resisting it in the name of Jesus.

·         Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

·         And then the third key to victory is to rejoice in the victory of the Lord over the powers and the forces of darkness.

·         As you rejoice you find the depression goes; you find that the irritation leaves, and you begin to really feel victory in Christ.

·         And what a difference the day becomes because we have taken that victory that is ours through Christ over this attack of the enemy against us.

·         So, we walk in the flesh but we really don't war after the flesh.

·         The warfare is a spiritual warfare, and for this spiritual warfare it takes spiritual weapons.

·         So the weapons of our warfare are not carnal.

·         The weapons of the spiritual warfare are spiritual weapons, the word of God, faith, and prayer. 

·         Now, the area of the battlefield is in the imagination of man and in his thoughts.

·         Satan battles you in your mind.

·         The spiritual battles are waged in your mind.

·         The battle is for the mind and Satan is trying to captivate our mind.

·         That's where Satan challenges God. "Hath God said? Does God know? Is there knowledge in the most high? Does God see?"

·         And quite often we are deceived by Satan thinking that we are getting by. God doesn't see.

·         And look at the tools that he has today to captivate your mind and to plant things into your mind that would take you away from the Lord. 

·         That's where we need the spiritual weapons.

·         We must take and use everything God has made available for us if we're going to stand in these days.

 E.     The apostle’s power to punish offenders

 ·         Paul is again referring to those in Corinth in whom he plans to, if they do not change, bring revenge upon their disobedience.

·         His power to punish offenders is asserted in v. 6.

·         The apostle was a prime-minister in the kingdom of Christ, and chief officer in his army.

·         He had power and authority at hand to revenge all disobedience, or to punish offenders in a most exemplary and extraordinary manner.

·         The apostle speaks not of personal revenge, but of punishing disobedience to the gospel.

·         Though the apostle showed meekness and gentleness, yet he would not betray his authority.

·         God will definitely punish our accusers.

 F.      Conclusion

·         Though we live in the flesh, we do not live after the works of the flesh.

·         We must live according to God’s Word.

·         There will be people who oppose our standing for the Lord.

·         It is Satan who works through such people.

·         Our battle is not against them, but against the powers of this dark world.

·         We must know the devices of Satan and resist him by keeping our minds alert.

·         May the Lord help us continue our Christian life and service!

 Mathewphilip©2012

 

January 15,2012

 

Scripture: 2 Cor. 10:7-18

Subject: Defense of Christian Life and Service -2

Theme: Defense of His actions

 A.     Introduction

·         Paul faced opposition from false apostles in Corinth.

·         His enemies tried to find false with Paul’s life and ministry.

·         So he defended his life and ministry against these false apostles.

·         First of all he defended his preaching, even that is in a mild and humble manner

·         In our text today Paul is trying to defend his actions.

·         Paul says in v. 11: Those people should realize that our actions when we arrive in person will be as forceful as what we say in our letters from far away.

 B.     Paul defense his relationship with Christ and his authority as an apostle

·         These false apostles were making fun of Paul's outward appearance.

·         You know, "He's weak and contemptible in his presence.

·         His speech is contemptible."

·         Paul said, "Do you look on the outward appearance?"

·         In outward appearance, Paul was mean and contemptible with some.

·         He did not make a figure, as perhaps some of his competitors might do.

·         But this was a false rule to make a judgment by.

·         It seems that some boasted mighty things of themselves, and made a fair show.

·         But there are often false appearances.

·         A person can pretend to be spiritual, but at the same time carnal in his heart.

·         People can appear righteous when they have not a principle of grace in their heart.

·         However, Paul asserts two things of himself:

 1.      His relation to Christ.

·         It seems that Paul’s adversaries boasted of their relation to Christ as his ministers and servants.

·         Now the apostle reasons thus with the Corinthians:

·         Paul says, "Wait a minute. I'm also of the Lord."

·         They said, "Oh, we have the mind of Christ."

·         Paul said, "We also have the mind of Christ."

·         They replied "We have received a revelation."

·         Paul said, "I also have received a revelation."

·         See, there are people who differ from us.

·         But we should never deny their relationship with Christ.

·         There is room in Christ for many; and those who differ much from one another may yet be one in him.

·         This will help us to value the differences and work together.

·         We must allow that those who differ from us may belong to Christ too, and therefore should be treated accordingly.

·         We must not think that we are the people, and that none belong to Christ but ourselves.

·         We profess the same faith, we walk by the same rule, we build upon the same foundation, and hope for the same inheritance.

 2.      His authority as an apostle

·         Now Paul's authority was given to him by the Lord.

·         Look at the nature of his authority: it was for edification, and not for destruction. 

·         This is the goal of every authority, civil and ecclesiastical.

·         Paul’s authority is given him to build up the body of Christ.

·         We have to be careful about it.

·         When a person is speaking authoritatively and he/she is using that to tear down the body of Christ, then that's a dangerous thing.

·         Paul said, "My gift wasn't given to me to destroy, but to build up.

·         If I have the anointing of God's Spirit and the word of the Lord in my heart, that word was given to me to build up the body of Christ.

·         What these false apostles did was that they are going around trying to destroy or to tear down the body of Christ.

C.     Paul is powerful and weighty both in words and deeds

·         Paul says, “Anyway you say that we are strong in our letters when we are away.

·         In v.11 he says, “We are equally powerful in our actions too.”

·         When Paul was in an island he was sharing the gospel with the governor, Sergius Paulus.

·         There came Elymas the sorcerer who was speaking against the things that Paul was saying.

·         And Paul turned to Elymas and said, "God smite you with blindness, brother."

·         And that guy went blind.

·         So that old Sergius and all of them were really amazed at the power demonstrated through this man Paul.

·         Paul says, "Hey, as I am in my letters: powerful, weighty; that's the way I'm going to be in my deeds when I deal with these guys when I get there."

 D.     Paul not comparing with others

·         Paul did not want to compare himself with others.

·         He said that is unwise.

·         Now this is often a mistake that people make.

·         You see, we look around and say, "Hey, I'm not too bad."

·         Because I'm comparing myself with you.

·         And as we use each other as our standard for comparison, we can sometimes feel very heady, very proud, you know, because I'm using another man as my standard for comparison.

·         It may be the other way too. I can also get discouraged when I compare my gifts and talents with others.

·         But Paul said that is not wise. Why?

·         Because no man is my standard.

·         Jesus Christ is my standard.

·         God doesn't call me to be like any man; He calls me to be like Jesus Christ.

·         When I look at Jesus Christ, I say, "Woe to me; I'm a sinful man. God help me."

·         We don't measure ourselves by others, but let's look at Christ as the standard.

·         He is the standard by which we must measure ourselves, not each other.

·         So Paul says, "I'm not going to, measure myself by other standards.

·         The work that I did, it's sufficient.

·         The labor that I had among you, that's the measure.

·         Your faith in Christ, your following after Him, that's the testimony.

·         That's the witness to the authenticity of my ministry.

·         You yourselves, the fruit of my ministry attest to the fact that my ministry is valid."

 E.     Paul boasts in Christ

·         Paul was not really interested in going around and building on another man's foundations.

·         He wasn't really interested in going where the gospel had already been declared.

·         He was interested in going to regions beyond.

·         You must know that the Corinthians never heard the gospel when Paul came to Corinth.

·         All of these guys moved in now.

·         They weren't going to unreached regions.

·         They were going in and trying to build on the foundation that he established.

·         His commission as an apostle was to preach the gospel everywhere, especially among the Gentiles, and he was not confined to one place.

·         But he doesn’t want to boast about his ministry.

·         It's not what I think about myself that counts; it's what God thinks about me.

·         It's not what I say about myself that really matters; it's what is God saying about me?

·         So with you. It's not what you have to say about yourself that is really important; it's what does God have to say about you?

·         It isn't he who commends himself.

·         But the commendation of God, that's the thing we need to see.

·         If we want to glory, let's not glory in our works or in our efforts, but let's glory in what the Lord has done.

 Conclusion

·         As God’s people, we must be true to our words and actions.

·         It is not how much we do; it is more how we related to God.

·         Our whole purpose is to build up the body of Christ.

·         We do not want to compare ourselves with others.

·         We want to boast in Christ.

·         What does God think of us and of our service?

·         Men might be speaking highly of us, saying how wonderful we are.

·         Hey, that doesn't matter. They could be wrong.

·         What is God saying about us?

·         That's what we are concerned with.

·         What's God's opinion about us?

·         That’s what we should be deeply concerned.

·         God help us. Amen!

 Mathewphilip©2012

 

January 22,2012

Scripture: 2 Cor. 11:1-4

Subject: Defense of Christian Life and Service -3

Theme: Defense of His Purpose

 Introduction

·         Paul faced opposition from false apostles in Corinth.

·         They tried to find false with Paul’s life and ministry.

·         So he defended his life and ministry against these false teachers.

·         First of all he defended his preaching.

·         He asserts the power of his preaching and his power to punish offenders

·         Then he defended his actions

·         He defended his relations to Christ and His authority as an apostle

·         In our text today Paul is trying to defend his motive.

·         Paul says in v. 2 says that he has a divine jealousy for them.

·         His purpose was to help them keep focused on Christ.

 Presenting Corinthians as a pure virgin to the Lord

·         Paul's authority as an apostle has been challenged in the Corinthian church by some Jewish teachers who came in after Paul.

·         Their purpose was to put the believers under the bondage of legalism.

·         Paul here emphasized the grace of God.

·         These false teachers taught that one could not be a Christian unless he was circumcised and were obedient to the Law of Moses. 

·         They promoted righteousness through works whereas Paul preached righteousness through faith in Christ.

·         In order to boost their own position among the people, they would seek to tear down Paul. 

·         They were trying to destroy Paul's credibility.

·         Paul feels that it is necessary that he re-establishes his credibility.

·         He really did not want to boast and that is why he talks about this boasting as folly.

·         This boasting of the things that he endured for Christ. It was forced upon him.

  ·         Paul says, unlike these false apostles, my motive for you is different.

·         My purpose is to present you as a pure virgin to the Lord.

·         Now marriage in those days was by arrangement, and the parents would get together and say, "You know, you've got a pretty daughter; I've got a handsome son. Why don't we marry my son and your daughter?”

·         There were three aspects to marriage.

·         There was, first of all, the engagement. Now this could take place as early as three or four years old.

·         As they grew up and the time came for them to get married, a year before the marriage they would enter into an betrothal, which was a total commitment much as marriage.

·         It was necessary to get a divorce from a betrothal.

·         However, the marriage was not completed until the marriage ceremony.

·         It was during this year of betrothal that Mary conceived of the Holy Spirit the child Christ.

·         That's why it was such a problem with Joseph.

·         Now the betrothal lasted for one year and was more equivalent to our engagement period today.

·         The commitment has been made through engagement and then, of course, the seven-day wedding ceremony and the conclusion of the seven-day ceremony will complete the marriage.

·         So Paul is talking now as a father, "And I have promised you (betrothed). I'm your spiritual father. You came to know Jesus Christ through my ministry among you. I have a jealousy for you like a father has for his own child, for his own daughter. And I have promised you to Jesus Christ, and it is my desire to present you unto Him a pure virgin."

·         They had some interesting customs with their marriage.

·         When the marriage was consummated, then they would have to show what they call the tokens of virginity.

·         The father would keep this as proof in years to come that his daughter was a virgin.

·         It was an extremely important thing.

 ·         If a girl is not a virgin when she is married, then that comes back on the family, the honor of the family and the father, because it's the father's responsibility to make sure that she remains a virgin until the time of her marriage.

·         So Paul says, "Hey, I'm like a father. I'm jealous for you. My desire is that I present you unto Jesus, unto Christ as a pure virgin.

·         I don’t want you to be corrupted by these other teachings and by these other teachers. Being led away into another Jesus, another gospel.

·         I sought to keep it pure. I sought to keep you pure in the gospel of Jesus Christ."

·         It is so difficult to keep the gospel simple. There are always men who want to complicate it.

·         Some make it vomiting gospel, barking gospel, laughing gospel, slaying gospel and jumping gospel, etc.

·         Paul said, "Oh, I'm jealous for you.

·         I wanted to present you in just the purity.

·         I'm fearful lest someone has taken away from you the beautiful simplicity that is in Christ."

·         Wherever we start to create our religious systems, we begin to create our hierarchies.

·         I want to show man that I'm higher than you, so I wear a particular color robe.

·         And my robe shows that, hey, I've got one on you, you know, I'm one above you.

·         I want everybody to know how godly and important I am, you know.

·         And so we start making these degrees and these systems and we get so far removed from the simplicity that is in Christ.

·         Paul had a great fear that these people were coming in and imposing all kinds of regulations, all kinds of rules.

·         Look at the simple believers in Christ in Corinth.

·         They were trusting and believing in Jesus Christ, loving the Lord, having a glorious time.

·         And then these teachers come in and start laying all kinds of rules on them, all kinds of regulations, and taking them away from the simplicity that is in Christ.

 

·         They present a different Jesus; they talk about a different spirit and they proclaim a different gospel.

 Conclusion

·         Paul defended that what he preached was a simple gospel, an unadulterated gospel.

·         His whole purpose was to present them as a chaste virgin unto the Lord.

·         As God’s people we must continue in the simple gospel that we have accepted.

·         May the Lord help us to keep ourselves as pure virgins until we meet the Lord Jesus Christ!

 Mathewphilip©2012

February 05

 

Scripture: 2 Cor. 12:1-6

Subject: Defense of Christian Life and Service -5

Theme: Defense of His visions and Revelations  

 Introduction

·         Paul was opposed greatly by the false apostles in Corinth.

·         They tried to destroy Paul’s life and ministry.

·         So he defended his life and ministry against these false apostles.

·         First of all he defended his preaching.

·         What he preached was the very Word of God.

·         Secondly, he defended his actions

·         He defended his relationship to Christ and His authority derived from Christ.

·         Thirdly, he tried to defend his motive.

·         His purpose was to establish them in Christ.

·         Fourthly, Paul defended his apostleship.

·         He challenged the false apostles to follow his example.

In our text today Paul defends the visions and revelations he received from the Lord.

Paul's Experience

·         Paul began to talk about his visions and revelations from the Lord.

·         In our text, Paul describes one of his experience of being caught up to the third heaven.

·         He said, "I really don't know if I was in the body or out of the body."

·         It happened about fourteen years ago since the time he wrote this letter.

·         Now if we go back fourteen years, we come back to Paul's stoning at Lystra.

·         It is possibly this very experience that Paul is talking about.

·         You remember that they stoned Paul at Lystra, and they dragged him out of the city thinking that he was dead, and his friends stood around him weeping.

·         And suddenly Paul's eyes began to flap, and he gets up and he says, "Hey, let's go back and preach." Paul, you got to be crazy.

·         Now it is possible that Paul actually was dead and that his spirit was taken up into heaven at that point.

·         Before he had written this epistle that he says, "I knew this man in Christ just a little fourteen years ago, and whether he was in the body or out of the body, I don't know."

·         Whether or not I was actually dead or alive is what he is declaring.

·         "I may have been dead and actually had an out of body experience.

·         I don't know if I was really dead or alive. I don't know that. But I know that my spirit went into heaven."

·         Now brings up an interesting point: the fact that Paul didn't know if he were dead or alive, but he did know that his spirit was in heaven, consciously there, hearing things that were so glorious.

·         It shows that the spirit immediately is there in the conscious state in heaven when one is dead.

·         He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.

·         More literally, "a crime to try to describe."

·         There is no language; there are no words that can describe the experiences that he had.

Example:

·         I heard the story of a little girl who was blind.

·         A well-known physician performed a series of operations on her eyes.

·         And they were taking the bandages off slowly, a few at a time, to allow more light to penetrate to the optic nerves, until finally they took off the last bandages.

·         The little girl, sitting there on her mother's lap as the bandages were removed, looked around.

·         For the first time she could see her mother's face, the doctor's face, the room.

·         She got off of her mother's lap, walked over to the window, looked outside.

·         She saw the blue sky, the green grass, the flowers, the trees, the children playing.

·         She burst into tears, came running back to her mother and fell under her arms sobbing.

·         Her mother said, "What happened? What's wrong with you?"

·         She said, "Oh, mommy, why didn't you tell me it was this beautiful?"

·         Mom said, "Well, sweetheart, I tried but it's just hard to describe in words the colors, the clouds, the sky. I did my best, but you did not understand." Now you understand because you see it.

Heavenly Experience

·         When we get to heaven we'll go up to Paul and say, "Paul, you were here. Why didn't you tell us it was this beautiful?"

·         Do you know what Paul would say?

·         "I told you, man. It is a crime to try and describe it."

·         See, there are no words that can describe the glory, the beauty of heaven.

·         You know, it's because of our misconception of heaven or a lack of faith that we grieve over the Christians who died.

·         We usually comment over the dead ones, "Oh, what a shame. He had his whole life in front of him. He was so young. What a shame."

·         But actually it is a blessing. He doesn't have to go through this filthy world.

·         You know, if we really understood heaven, the glories, and its beauty, we will not grieve over our dead ones.

·         I will say we must weep for ourselves because we are still around.

·         But you know something, I begin to understand more about death as I see it almost everyday spending time with those who die.

·         By seeing how people actually die and hearing a few testimonies of people who had a similar kind of experience like death, I have come to a presupposition that death is the most peaceful thing that can happen in the life of a person.

·         People usually give a very bad picture of death. They talk about the pain and agony.

·         Who talk about it? The one who is alive and not the one who died.

·         It is actually not the pain, but the fear of death.

·         As I hear more of the testimonies of people who have gone through the experience of death, I am convinced that death is a peaceful experience.

·         The departing of soul from the body may be a smooth departure.

·         Accident is painful, suicide is painful, killing is painful, being wounded is painful but when it comes the point of death, it is a peaceful experience.

·         Departure from this world to the other world is a peaceful experience.

·         So we don’t need to be afraid to die.

·         As God’s people we are more hopeful because we are sure to see Jesus.

·         Well, that is not our subject. I started my research only. We will talk about it more as more light is shed on this subject.

Paul glories in such an experience

·         What Paul says here is that he heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.

·         What a nonsense it is when people who claim to go to heaven and come back, publishes what they have seen in heaven!

·         Paul would have been the first one to publish to the world what he had heard there in the paradise.

·         Don’t believe such people. It is impossible to understand heavenly language and describe heavenly experience as long as we are in human state.

·         If it all he boast about something, he will boast about such an experience, or boast about a man who had gone through such an experience.

·         He will not boast in himself, rather he will boast in his infirmities.

·         What Paul is trying to say is this: "I don't want you to think that I'm somebody special because God has done all of this for me.

·         Paul was not trying to elevate himself in their eyes.

·         He was forced to just defend his place because the truth that he proclaimed was being challenged by the false apostles.

·         And that's the only reason why he was declaring these things to them, because the truth was at stake.

·         But he said, "I'll tell you what I really glory in. I glory in my weaknesses."

·         We will talk about it next week.

Conclusion

·         Let us conclude here today.

·         I thank God for the visions and revelations the Lord has given to us through the Holy Scripture.

·         We should not doubt about what God has revealed to us.

·         Let’s continue to trust in His promises and live victoriously!

 Mathewphilip©2012

 

February 05, 2012

 

Scripture: 2 Cor. 12:1-6

Subject: Defense of Christian Life and Service -5

Theme: Defense of His visions and Revelations  

 

Introduction

·         Paul was opposed greatly by the false apostles in Corinth.

·         They tried to destroy Paul’s life and ministry.

·         So he defended his life and ministry against these false apostles.

·         First of all he defended his preaching.

·         What he preached was the very Word of God.

·         Secondly, he defended his actions

·         He defended his relationship to Christ and His authority derived from Christ.

·         Thirdly, he tried to defend his motive.

·         His purpose was to establish them in Christ.

·         Fourthly, Paul defended his apostleship.

·         He challenged the false apostles to follow his example.

In our text today Paul defends the visions and revelations he received from the Lord.

Paul's Experience

·         Paul began to talk about his visions and revelations from the Lord.

·         In our text, Paul describes one of his experiences of being caught up to the third heaven.

·         He said, "I really don't know if I was in the body or out of the body."

·         It happened about fourteen years ago since the time he wrote this letter.

·         Now if we go back fourteen years, we come back to Paul's stoning at Lystra.

·         It is possibly this very experience that Paul is talking about.

·         You remember that they stoned Paul at Lystra, and they dragged him out of the city thinking that he was dead, and his friends stood around him weeping.

·         And suddenly Paul's eyes began to flap, and he gets up and he says, "Hey, let's go back and preach." Paul, you got to be crazy.

·         Now it is possible that Paul actually was dead and that his spirit was taken up into heaven at that point.

·         Before he had written this epistle that he says, "I knew this man in Christ just a little fourteen years ago, and whether he was in the body or out of the body, I don't know."

·         Whether or not I was actually dead or alive is what he is declaring.

·         "I may have been dead and actually had an out of body experience.

·         I don't know if I was really dead or alive. I don't know that. But I know that my spirit went into heaven."

·         Now brings up an interesting point: the fact that Paul didn't know if he were dead or alive, but he did know that his spirit was in heaven, consciously there, hearing things that were so glorious.

·         It shows that the spirit immediately is there in the conscious state in heaven when one is dead.

·         He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.

·         More literally, "a crime to try to describe."

·         There is no language; there are no words that can describe the experiences that he had.

Example:

·         I heard the story of a little girl who was blind.

·         A well-known physician performed a series of operations on her eyes.

·         And they were taking the bandages off slowly, a few at a time, to allow more light to penetrate to the optic nerves, until finally they took off the last bandages.

·         The little girl, sitting there on her mother's lap as the bandages were removed, looked around.

·         For the first time she could see her mother's face, the doctor's face, the room.

·         She got off of her mother's lap, walked over to the window, looked outside.

·         She saw the blue sky, the green grass, the flowers, the trees, the children playing.

·         She burst into tears, came running back to her mother and fell under her arms sobbing.

·         Her mother said, "What happened? What's wrong with you?"

·         She said, "Oh, mommy, why didn't you tell me it was this beautiful?"

·         Mom said, "Well, sweetheart, I tried but it's just hard to describe in words the colors, the clouds, the sky. I did my best, but you did not understand." Now you understand because you see it.

Heavenly Experience

·         When we get to heaven we'll go up to Paul and say, "Paul, you were here. Why didn't you tell us it was this beautiful?"

·         Do you know what Paul would say?

·         "I told you, man. It is a crime to try and describe it."

·         See, there are no words that can describe the glory, the beauty of heaven.

·         You know, it's because of our misconception of heaven or a lack of faith that we grieve over the Christians who died.

·         We usually comment over the dead ones, "Oh, what a shame. He had his whole life in front of him. He was so young. What a shame."

·         But actually it is a blessing. He doesn't have to go through this filthy world.

·         You know, if we really understood heaven, the glories, and its beauty, we will not grieve over our dead ones.

·         I will say we must weep for ourselves because we are still around.

·         But you know something, I begin to understand more about death as I see it almost everyday spending time with those who die.

·         By seeing how people actually die and hearing a few testimonies of people who had a similar kind of experience like death, I have come to a presupposition that death is the most peaceful thing that can happen in the life of a person.

·         People usually give a very bad picture of death. They talk about the pain and agony.

·         Who talk about it? The one who is alive and not the one who died.

·         It is actually not the pain, but the fear of death.

·         As I hear more of the testimonies of people who have gone through the experience of death, I am convinced that death is a peaceful experience.

·         The departing of soul from the body may be a smooth departure.

·         Accident is painful, suicide is painful, killing is painful, being wounded is painful but when it comes the point of death, it is a peaceful experience.

·         Departure from this world to the other world is a peaceful experience.

·         So we don’t need to be afraid to die.

·         As God’s people we are more hopeful because we are sure to see Jesus.

·         Well, that is not our subject. I started my research only. We will talk about it more as more light is shed on this subject.

Paul glories in such an experience

·         What Paul says here is that he heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.

·         What a nonsense it is when people who claim to go to heaven and come back, publishes what they have seen in heaven!

·         Paul would have been the first one to publish to the world what he had heard there in the paradise.

·         Don’t believe such people. It is impossible to understand heavenly language and describe heavenly experience as long as we are in human state.

·         If it all he boast about something, he will boast about such an experience, or boast about a man who had gone through such an experience.

·         He will not boast in himself, rather he will boast in his infirmities.

·         What Paul is trying to say is this: "I don't want you to think that I'm somebody special because God has done all of this for me.

·         Paul was not trying to elevate himself in their eyes.

·         He was forced to just defend his place because the truth that he proclaimed was being challenged by the false apostles.

·         And that's the only reason why he was declaring these things to them, because the truth was at stake.

·         But he said, "I'll tell you what I really glory in. I glory in my weaknesses."

·         We will talk about it next week.

Conclusion

·         Let us conclude here today.

·         I thank God for the visions and revelations the Lord has given to us through the Holy Scripture.

·         We should not doubt about what God has revealed to us.

·         Let’s continue to trust in His promises and live victoriously!

 

January 29, 2012

 

Scripture: 2 Cor. 11:4-33

Subject: Defense of Christian Life and Service -4

Theme: Defense of His Apostleship

 Introduction

·         Paul had great opposition from false apostles in Corinth.

·         They were trying to destroy Paul’s life and ministry.

·         So he defended his life and ministry against these false teachers.

·         First of all he defended his preaching.

·         He asserts the power of his preaching and his power to punish offenders

·         Secondly, he defended his actions

·         He defended his relations to Christ and His authority as an apostle

·         Thirdly, tried to defend his motive.

·         His purpose was to help them keep focused on Christ.

·         In our text today, Paul defends his apostleship.

·         Paul's authority as an apostle has been challenged by certain Jewish teachers.

·         As they were trying to destroy Paul's credibility, Paul feels that it is necessary that he re-establishes his credibility, though it shouldn't be necessary.

·         He thought he should answer some of the charges that these persons had made against him and against his own character.

 Charges against Paul

·         They made all kinds of charges against Paul.

·         They had accused Paul of being rude in his speech.

·         "His speech," they said, "is contemptible.

·         He writes powerful letters, but in his speech he's contemptible.

·         He is not a trained speaker.

·         He is a poor fellow and making his livelihood by preaching among you.

·         He is robbing you people.

·         He is a fool.

·         He is taking advantage of you.

·         He is a weak fellow.

·         They would say, "We are real Jews.

·         Paul isn't a real Jew.

·         We're the real Hebrews.

·         We're the real Israelites."

·         You know the rabbis in those days would often yell at their students, and if they thought they weren't getting a point, they would start slapping him in the face.

·         And evidently some of these fellows were following some of the typical rabbi customs.

 Paul’s defense

·         So Paul tries to correct these fellows and defend his own position a true apostle of Christ.

·         He shows the difference between his ministry and those who came in after him.

·         Paul said, “I don't consider myself inferior in any way to these "super apostles" who teach such things.”

·         “I may be unskilled as a speaker, but I'm not lacking in knowledge.

·         He was sure that the Corinthians knows about it.

·         “I have not been clever and tried to hide things and live a double standard.”

·         "I didn't come in as some big shot.

·         I didn't come in, you know, with apostolic authority and ordering people around and all.

·         I came in as a servant.

·         I came in just, you know, in simplicity of speech and manner, though I'm not in knowledge.

·         I didn't exalt myself.

·         Have I committed an offense when I humbled myself and honored you by preaching God's Good News to you without expecting anything in return?”

·         Now the thing was, while Paul was in Corinth he refused to take an offering.

·         He did not allow them to support him.

·         His support came, some of it, from the church in Philippi, who sent offerings down to him.

·         When there was a need, he went out and worked as a tentmaker to supply the needs.

·         You see, these guys that were coming in, they were robbing the people off financially.

·         They had all kinds of give-me gimmicks and just deceiving the flock of God. And yet, putting Paul down. Paul said,

·         "You can't say that I came down there and laid a heavy I-need-help trip on you.

·         You cannot say that I came down there to take advantage of you.

 Paul’s challenge

·         Paul is challenging these false apostles in the following verses.

·         Paul says that he would like to see them do the same thing he does.

·         You know, if they're really super apostles like they say they are, let them do like I did.

·         Let them not take anything from you.

·         See how long they'll stick around if you don't support them anymore.

·         “Cut off their support. Then you will know where the real love is.”

·         Look at vv. 13-15: 

·         These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ.

·         But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

·         So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.

·         But these guys have taken you in. You're so wise, you know, and you've allowed these fools.

·         Pal says that they are the ones who are really robbing and devouring Corinthians.

·         They have come to you as the angels of light.

Paul’s boasting

·         Though Paul does not want to boast, he was forced to boast about himself because of these false super apostles.

·         Look at vv. 22-23:

·         Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I.

·         Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again.

·         Paul was writing this epistle to the Corinthians from Ephesus at the time in the book of Acts of the nineteenth chapter.

·         And by the time we get to Ch. 19, only about three of these things that Paul has listed are mentioned.

·         But all of these things happened before the nineteenth chapter of Acts.

·         Paul is giving you a little more the things that he went through.

·         What Paul went through to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with people who have never heard is unimaginable!

·         But he says in v.30: If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am.

 

Conclusion

·         Let’s stop here.

·         Do we think that we have really done something for the Lord?

·         We have really sacrificed for God?

·         We have really made a commitment?

·         This is nothing When we look at Paul and compare with what he had done for the Lord.

·         I love Paul. In fact, he's one of the first guys I'm going to look up when I get there. 

·         I'm anxious to meet him. He's been sort of a role model for me.

·         May the Lord help us to learn from this great apostle and do something for the Lord!

 Mathewphilip©2012

 

February 12, 2012

 

Scripture: 2 Cor. 12:7-10

Subject: Defense of Christian Life and Service -6

Theme: Defense of His own weakness

 Introduction

·         False apostles in Corinth opposed Paul and his ministry.

·         So Paul defended his life and ministry against these false apostles.

·         First of all he defended his preaching -What he preached was the very Word of God.

·         Secondly, he defended his actions - His relationship to Christ is genuine and His authority is derived from Christ.

·         Thirdly, he tried to defend his motive - His purpose was to establish them in Christ.

·         Fourthly, Paul defended his apostleship - He challenged the false apostles to follow his example.

·         Fifthly, he defended his visions and revelations he received from the Lord.

·         In our text today, Paul boasts of his weaknesses and defends the power of God that manifests in his weaknesses.

 A.    Paul’s Weakness

·         Paul talked about his glorious experience of revelation in the previous section.

·         He really didn’t want to talk about it.

·         He was forced to do defend his place because he was challenged by false apostles.

·         He does not want to boast about this experience.

·         But he said, "I'll tell you what I really glory in. I glory in my weaknesses."

·         When God’s people communicate their experiences, they should always remember to take notice of what God has done to keep them humble and also what he has done in favor to them and for their advancement.

 B.     Thorn in the Flesh

·         Paul here makes a reference to the thorn in the flesh.

·         He says that this was God’s method to keep him humble.

·         This helps to prevent him being lifted up above measure because of his surpassingly great revelations.

·         Paul said, “there was given me a thorn in my flesh.”

·         This was not a little irritant, but was really major.

·         As Paul was praying that it be removed, he didn't know that it was given to him.

·         That's something he discovered in prayer.

·         He doesn’t tell us what it is.

·         And God doesn't tell us what it is.

·         I think it wasn't told us purposely what the thorn in the flesh was.

·         There are hints; there are those that have made their guesses.

·         Some believe it was an oriental eye disease that Paul had.

·         Some think that it was the poor eye sight he carried due to the crisis experience he had at Damascus where he was blind due to the brilliance of the light.

·         Some believe that it was malaria fever that was around Asia there that left him with constant migraine headaches.

·         There have been all kinds of guesses, but we don't know.

·         The scripture is silent and so it's better that we remain silent about it.

·         I believe that God deliberately didn't let us know what his thorn in the flesh was because any of us who have any thorn in the flesh can relate to Paul and relate to his experience.

·         You see, if we knew exactly what it was, we'll say, "Oh well, that's Paul, mine's different.

·         God could do it for Paul, but you know, mine is so different than Paul."

·         The fact that we don't know, we can all relate to it.

·         Because it was a bothersome thing; it was a painful thing. It was a weakness.

·         He calls it an infirmity, and we have the word infirmary, infirmity, they are both the same root.

·         An infirmary is a hospital (or even to the extent, a hospice), a place where the sick people are taken. And so Paul talks about this infirmity, a weakness, an ailment.

 

C.    God’s Great Purpose

·         There was this messenger of Satan beating him, but Paul discovered that "there was given to me."

·         In other words, he discovered that there was a divine purpose for it.

·         It was something that God had allowed in his life.

·         Three times he pleaded with the Lord to take it away from him.

·         The Lord said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness."

·         So Paul came by the spirit to a totally new attitude towards this thorn in his flesh.

·         At one time he was praying to be delivered, but now he is no longer praying to be delivered.

·         He now speaks, “Most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities so that the power of Christ can work through me.”

·         “That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

·         Why?

·         It is because I am now experiencing God's strength.

·         See the way how Paul dealt with the thorn in his flesh.

·         You see, God didn't answer his prayer as he prayed it, because God is sovereign.

·         God doesn't have to answer my prayers as I pray them.

·         He isn't there to fulfill all my wishes.

·         He isn't there to bow to my demands.

·         I'm not running the universe.

·         And if I have good sense, I won't even seek to run my own life.

·         But I will commit the keeping of my life to Him.

·         I will commit my destiny to Him.

·         I will seek His guidance and His direction.

·         A man is a fool if he tries to direct God to condescend to his will, to his demand.

·         This is the problem with idolatry.

·         Idols are made to patronize to people demands and wishes.

·         What do I know? What do I understand the things that are going on around me?

·         I know only a small part of the total picture.

·         I have been so mistaken in my judgment on issues because I didn't know the whole truth.

·         And when I knew the whole truth, I was so embarrassed by what I said.

·         And so here I am so limited in my understanding and knowledge and yet I say; "All right now God, this is what I want you to do and if you want me to keep serving You, You better do it, you know. Or I won't believe in you anymore.”

·         Paul prayed; He got an answer. It wasn't the answer that he was praying for.

·         Many times, this is true.

·         God doesn't give us what we ask for because He has something better.

·         And what God had for Paul was a greater revelation of Himself. "Paul, no matter what you're going through, my grace is sufficient for you.

·         I'm going to see you through, Paul." "My grace is sufficient for you and my strength will be made perfect in your weakness."

 D.    A New Revelation

·         Now you see, this new revelation gave Paul a totally new attitude towards the thorn.

·         Rather than complaining and griping and saying, "Oh God, take it away.

·         He says, “I glory in that thorn, you know, because through it I've come to a deeper relationship with God where I know more of His power in my life than I've ever known before."

·         “So he takes pleasure in this weakness. Because when I am weak, hey, then I'm really strong.

·         The changed attitude came to Paul through prayer.

·         Many times that's the greatest effect of prayer, and the greatest answer to prayer.

·         It is not the taking us out of the circumstance, but God's all-sufficient grace taking us through the circumstance with great victory in our hearts.

·         This is a far greater witness to the world!

 Conclusion

·         As God’s people, we must maintain a happy, joyful spirit of victory in our hearts when we go through trials.

·         We must be able to see God’s great purpose for us in going through it rather than forcing God to come to our rescue and save us out of this dilemma.

·         So let’s continue to seek God’s will for us and live a victorious life.

 Mathewphilip©2012

February 27

 

Scripture: 2 Cor. 12:20-13:14

Subject: Defense of Christian Life and Service -8

Theme: Defense of His Future Ministry

 Introduction

·         False apostles in Corinth severely opposed Paul and his ministry.

·         Paul was forced to defend his life and ministry against these false apostles.

·         First of all he defended his preaching -What he preached was the very Word of God.

·         Secondly, he defended his actions - His relationship to Christ is genuine and His authority is derived from Christ.

·         Thirdly, he tried to defend his motive - His purpose was to establish them in Christ.

·         Fourthly, Paul defended his apostleship - He challenged the false apostles to follow his example.

·         Fifthly, he defended his visions and revelations he received from the Lord.

·         Then he boasts of his weaknesses and defends the power of God that manifests in his weaknesses.

·         In the previous section Paul defended his mission to the Corinthians.

·         In our text today Paul defends his future ministry among Corinthians.

 Paul’s Fear about Corinthians

·         Paul reveals his desire and plans among the Corithians.

·         What Paul says here, "I'm coming again this third time, and I'm afraid that I'm not going to find you like I would like to find you."

·         Paul is saying, "I am afraid that when I come, if things aren't straightened up, that I'm really be lamenting over you because God's going to wipe some of you out."

 ·         Actually what he's declaring, he's talking about some of them will actually be like Ananias and Sapphira.

·         You remember how God struck them dead?

·         And Paul is warning the Corinthians, "Unless you clean up your act, I'm afraid that I'm going to be standing at your funeral.

·         That the power of God's Spirit working through my ministry and my life will really come down heavy and hard and some of you will die."

·         I mean, Paul is saying, "Look, I'm going to come, and it's going to be heavy.

·         I'm going to come, not in weakness, but in the power of God's Spirit to deal with the issues that are there in Corinth.

·         And so you better examine yourselves, because this is going to be a heavy-duty thing when I arrive."

·         You remember when Paul was on the isle and ministering to the governor Sergius Paulus, and the guy was listening and this sorcerer Elymas started to say things against Paul.

·         Paul turned and said, "God smite you with blindness, man!"

·         And immediately the guy was blind and everybody feared, you know.

·         They said, "Wow, what kind of a preacher is this?" You know. And they gave greater attendance to the Lord.

·         But Paul says, "Hey, when I'm coming, I'm coming in power.

·         Even Christ was crucified in weakness, but He was raised in power.

·         And I'm weak in Christ, but hey, I'm coming in the power.

·         And so you better examine yourself to see if you be in the faith and test yourselves” (13:5).

·         As long as Jesus lives in you, you will never fail the test.

·         His prayer and hope is that they will not do anything wrong.

  ·         We read in 13:8-9:  For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection.

·         Isn't that glorious?

·         Here the guys are giving Paul a bad time speaking against him and all, and yet his heart towards them is that they might be perfected.

·         So he doesn’t want to come with the power of destruction.

·         His whole desire is build them up.

·         That should be the desire of all of us in our life and service – to build others up in their life and service

 Conclusion

·         As we conclude the study of this epistle here,

·         It is my prayer that the good Lord help us to walk in truth, to grow and to become fully matured.

·         May the Lord help us to walk in unity, to walk in love, and to live in peace!

·         Let’s experience the all-sufficient grace of God so that we will learn to withstand criticisms and to rejoice in tribulation.

·         Let’s continue to hope and pray that we will live a life that Jesus lived and do our service with the attitude of Christ.

·         Paul is only an example, but Jesus is our model.

·         With our life and service, others must be blessed and God’s name must be glorified.

·         May god help us! Amen!

  Mathewphilip©2012

 

February 19, 2012

Scripture: 2 Cor. 12: 11-19

Subject: Defense of Christian Life and Service -7

Theme: Defense of His Mission

 Introduction

·         False apostles in Corinth severely opposed Paul and his ministry.

·         Paul was forced to defend his life and ministry against these false apostles.

·         First of all he defended his preaching -What he preached was the very Word of God.

·         Secondly, he defended his actions - His relationship to Christ is genuine and His authority is derived from Christ.

·         Thirdly, he tried to defend his motive - His purpose was to establish them in Christ.

·         Fourthly, Paul defended his apostleship - He challenged the false apostles to follow his example.

·         Fifthly, he defended his visions and revelations he received from the Lord.

·         Then he boasts of his weaknesses and defends the power of God that manifests in his weaknesses.

·         In our text today Paul defends his mission to the Corinthians.

 A.    An Apostolic Mission

·         Paul was really doing an apostolic mission among the Corinthians.

·         In the previous sections of his letter he defended his visions and revelations and also boasted about his weaknesses.

·         He begins this section saying,

·         You have made me act like a fool—boasting like this.”

·         “You are forcing me to commend myself, but I should have been commended by you."

·         “Hey, I am not at all inferior to these "super apostles," even though I am nothing at all.”

·         We are all nothing.

·         You know that is the good quality of a child of God.

·         May God help us to realize that!

·         When we think we're something, then we've deceived ourselves and we're in a dangerous position.

·         The moment we think that we are something. God says, "My grace is sufficient for you.”

·         Whatever God does for us, He does on the basis of His grace, not because we deserve it.

·         Because He is so loving and kind, and thus, each of us can experience the all-sufficient grace of God.

·         Now Paul here declares that a mark of the apostle was really the gift of miracles.

·         There were signs and wonders and mighty deeds.

·         This is a part of the credentials of an apostle in those days.

·         That's one of the things that they were looking for in an apostle.

·         No doubt, Paul’s was really an apostolic ministry among them!

 

B.     A Profitless Mission

·         What made Paul different from all those false apostles?

·         We see that in v. 14: “I don't want what you have—I want you.”

·         "I'm not here because I want to be enriched. I'm here because I love you. I don't want your possessions, I want you."

·         After all, children don't provide for their parents. Rather, parents provide for their children.

·         So he says, I shouldn't be inheriting from my kids. They should be inheriting from me. I should be laying up for them.

·         I shouldn't go and say, "Look, Alan, I really need some money this week. Can you help this old man out, you know?"

·         No! But children follow this. They believe this scripture. They come and say, "Hey dad, can you help me out?" That's the way it should be and I love it.

·         There’s nothing wrong, when children are grown up and being on their own, to help their parents in time of need.

·         You know that Paul is not talking about it in the context of family, but in the context of those false teachers who tried to take advantage of sincere believers.

·         Paul continues to say that he is glad to spend and be spent for them.

·         “As a parent, I want to lay up for you. You don't need to lay up anything for me. I will very gladly spend and be spent for you."

 

C.    A Mission that brings spiritual edification

·         Paul’s mission was to build them up.

·         But the mission of those false apostles was to take advantage of them, to eat them up and destroy them both materially and spiritually.

·         Paul’s whole desire was to build them up spiritually.

·         There is a refined philosophy of ministry that is extremely important.

·         Many people don't catch it.

·         There are many ministries that exist for the purpose of being enriched instead of enriching others.

·         Such ministries are always presenting their needs and they are seeking to get people to minister to their needs.

·         They exist to be ministered to by the people.

·         That was not Paul's mission.

·         Paul's whole purpose was to minister to the people.

·         Not to take from them, but to give to them.

·         That should be the philosophy upon which our church should function.

·         We should never ask people to give.

·         But we must give them the opportunity to give.

·         I don’t personally like the clichés like, "People of God, we ask you not to give from the top of your purse but from the bottom of your heart,"

·         We must give people opportunity to give cheerfully and freely without any binding and catches behind it.

·         We're here to minister. We're not here to receive. We're here to give.

·         And that's the basic philosophy behind the ministry, and it was borrowed from Paul. We seek to build you up.

 Conclusion

·         Many individuals and Ministries exist today with the mission of “He must decrease, but I must increase” which is opposite to John’s intention.

·         As God’s people, our mission in life is to build up others and to minister to others.

·         We should not go after signs and wonders and miracles, but those sings must follow our life and ministry.

·         We are here not to be enriched, but to enrich others so that many become rich in Christ Jesus.

·         God help us! Amen!

 Mathewphilip©2012

March 04

 

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 1:1

Subject: The Christian Church

Theme: What is a local Church?

 Introduction:

A.     Authorship

·   Apostle Paul wrote both letters of First and Second Thessalonians to the church in Thessalonica.

 B.     The City of Thessalonica

·   When Paul and his companions visited Thessalonica in AD 49/50, it was already a well-established city with a long history.

·   Cassander, one of the army officers of Alexander the Great, had founded the city in the 4th century BC.

·   He named it after his wife, Thessalonica, who was Alexander’s half sister.

·   It became the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia.

·   Today as Thessaloniki, it is the second most important city of Greece.

 C.     How Thessalonica was evangelized?

·   Luke tells us in Acts 17 how Thessalonica was evangelized.

·   It happened during Paul’s second missionary journey.

·   Silas was his chief missionary partner from the beginning.

·   In Lystra, he invited a young man called Timothy to join them.

·   In Troas, Luke was added to the team.

·   So Paul, Silas, Timothy and Luke were the four missionaries who went to Europe.

·   After a remarkably successful mission in Philippi, Paul, Silas and Timothy moved on to Thessalonica while Luke stayed back.

·   Paul, Silas, and Timothy, as a missionary team, evangelized Thessalonica.

 

D. The Church in Thessalonica

·   The Church in Thessalonica was only a few months old.

·   Its members were new born Christians, freshly converted from either Judaism or Paganism.

·   Their Christian convictions had been newly acquired.

·   Their Christian moral standards had been recently adopted.

·   They are tested by persecution, but Paul was very much confident because he knew that it was God’s church.

 E. Why both the Letters are important for us today?

·   Both letters to the Thessalonians are very important for us because of three things.

1.They reveal the authentic Paul – We can hear his heart-beat and see his tears.

2.They address a local church – ekklesiaChurch is the community of called out people. 

-Jesus himself made the promise that he would build the church and the gates of hell shall not prevail over it.

-The church is central to the historical purpose of God.

-These letters throw valuable light on different aspects of the church, such as, its continuous evangelism, pastoral care, ethical standards, reciprocal fellowship, public worship, obedience to apostolic teaching, and future hope.

3.These letters set the church in a theological, specially, an eschatological context.

-One can almost hear the three-fold acclamation:

(a) Christ has died   (b) Christ is risen   (c) Christ will come again.

·   So we see it is the Gospel that shapes the Church, just as it is the Church that spreads the Gospel.

What is a local church?

·   Paul here explains what a local church is; what God intents for the church.

·   What kind of a people are we as the members of Christ’s Church?

 

1. The local church is a community of believers who lives in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (v.1a).

·   The real source of church’s life is God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ together.

·   Paul quiet often relates God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ together.

·   If Jesus was not God, such a relationship and relating their names together constantly would be blasphemy.

·   Some people say, "But why doesn't he also include the Holy Spirit?"

·   Well, we know that Paul's epistles are actually inspired by the Holy Spirit.

·   Jesus said, "When the Holy Spirit is come, He will not testify of Himself, but He will testify of Me."

·   And so, it is sufficient that in the inspiring of this writing by the Holy Spirit that there is joined those two persons of the Godhead: the Father and the Son.

·   What does it really mean to say that the church is in God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ?

·   Two New Testament metaphors explain this usage:

The first developed by Jesus and the Second by Paul

·   Jesus used the example of vine and the branches in John 15.

·   Paul used the example of limbs and the body in 1 Corinthians. 12:12.

·   That is the kind of relationship with God

·   Just like branch remains in the vine and bear fruit, we remain in Christ.

·   Just like the limbs join together and make one body, we are different parts, but make one body of Christ.

·   1 Corinthians. 12:12 says, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body.  So it is with Christ.”

·   We are united in Christ Jesus and therefore there is much importance for unity in the local church.

 3  Application:

·   The Church must live in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

·   The growth and development of a local church do not depend up on skill and the ability of the pastor and the committee.

·   We must acquire our life, strength and stability from the true source.

·   Jesus said, “I give not life, but abundant life.”

·   John says in 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

·   So let’s remain in Him and Him alone.

·   The church is not asked to remain in pastor or the present leadership.

·   If the local church truly remains in Christ, its members will be Christ-like.

·   The surrounding people will be able to see Christ in and through the life of the church.

·   Let other people say that here is a community that reflects and represents Christ.

·   The Church with all its people, programs and activities must remain in Christ since He is the head of the Church.

  Mathewphilip©2012

 

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