April 23, 2017:       Love is….minimum? OR  How DEEP is your love?

Luke 17:7-10 “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’?  Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’?   Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded?  So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'” ESV

When we are in love with someone we are willing to “go that extra mile” to make them happy.  We will spend the extra money and time to travel across the state just to visit them.  We will buy them something just because we know they will enjoy the gift.  We may…MAY…even take out the trash or do laundry without even being asked; just because we love them.

How much more should we be willing to give to GOD and serve God out of our love for Him?

Why do we make excuses?

Why do we figure out what our minimum financial gift will be?

Why do we struggle with spending time with Him in SS, Church, Prayer meetings, ministry events, revivals, Bible readings, prayer and more?

  • We like to be served
    • We like to take advantage of those who serve us
      • We don’t know them
      • We certainly don’t love them
      • We demand and demand
        • My drink has been empty for 48 seconds
        • I cannot believe this line is so long and the checker is so slow
  • We always want more
    • We want to feel more important
    • We want to feel more special
    • We want to feel more submission from those below us
      • We are an arrogant people
    • So much of our culture seems to be focused on doing the BARE MINIMUM – just enough to get by
      • How many widgets or sprockets am I expected to make
      • How long do I have to complete this task
      • How little can I do and keep the boss happy

We FAIL when we serve God with this attitude

    • How MUCH MORE can I do for my Savior?
    • Can I reach just ONE MORE today?
    • We should always serve Jesus with our BEST – not our MINUMUM!
    • When we only DO THE MINIMUM for God we should feel ashamed.
    • When we bring that attitude to the Cross – To Jesus – to His Church….. we become much surprised
      • We find that we have responsibilities to serve
      • We learn that we have the EXPECTATION to serve
      • We find out that God has a plan for our lives that includes service
      • WE SHOULD FIND that our LOVE FOR GOD leads us to EXCEED EXPECTATIONS in serving Him!
        • How would God rate your love for Him/others?
  • This is where our REAL ATTITUDE kicks in
    • This is where we find out HOW DEEP OUR LOVE FOR GOD REALLY IS!
    • This is when our FAITH kicks in
    • This is when our HUMILITY kicks in
    • This is when our LOVE FOR GOD AND OTHERS kicks in
      • Do we really LOVE God
      • Do we LOVE OUR IDEA of God
        • What HE CAN DO FOR US
          • How can God SERVE ME?

A man was invited to a wedding of a young lady he really didn’t know, although he had great respect and admiration for her father who was his friend. When considering the gift to give to the young bride, he considered that his gift was not so much about the bride, but about honoring the father of the bride. He concluded that you cannot honor the father by throwing pennies at the bride.

  • What is our life to be AFTER we are SAVED?
    • We are not SAVED to SIT
    • We are SAVED to SERVE
    • We are SAVED to SUBMIT
    • We are SAVED TO GIVE
    • We are SAVED to GO
    • We are SAVED to LOVE – Completely & Unconditionally
  • Do your Best
  • Do your most
  • Not out of DUTY
  • Not out of LEGALISM
  • Do all you can do OUT OF YOUR LOVE!
    • EXCEED the requirements of the LAW and the WORD
    • EXCEED the expectations of your religion and your pastor
    • EXCEED the expectations of even GOD
      • God sure did EXCEED our expectations

Last week we looked very closely at how GREAT God’s Love

is for you.  The question this week is how GREAT is your love for God?

Temptations Twist

Luke 17:1-4 “And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.  Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” ESV

  • Temptation is not sin…..temptation will occur
  • Temptations to sin: Scandal, snare/trap, occasion to fall
    • Maybe illustrate with large mouse trap and cheese
      • What could the cheese illustrate/stand for?
        • Anything that tempts us
          • Pride
          • Alcohol and/or drugs
          • Lust – adultery
          • Sexual immorality
          • Gossip
          • Jealousy
          • Anger
          • Rivalries
          • Dissensions
          • Other FLESH FUELED issues

 These temptations WILL COME

    • Do not think you are somehow above them
    • There is a price to be paid for giving into them
    • The trap will snap
    • Temptation is not sin
      • Giving INTO temptations trap is our problem
      • What baits your trap?
      • What are you likely to give into quickly?
    • Jesus was tempted BUIT NEVER SINNED
    • Adam and Eve were similarly tempted but fell into the trap

Matthew 4:4 – 11 “4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone,  but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”  Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”  Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”  11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.”  ESV

Hebrews 4:`4 – 16 “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

  • ESPECIALLY if you cause another one to stumble
    • Little Ones: least, little, less, small in size, quantity, number or dignity
      • Not just talking about kids
  • Pay attention to YOURSELVES!
    • Watch what you are doing
    • Keep an eye on your hands
    • PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY TO GOD
    • DO NOT BE A TEMPTER!
  • Pay attention to others
    • Hold them accountable to God’s Word as well
      • The caution is to GOD’S WORD
      • Not yours
      • Not your interpretation that fits your needs
    • Forgive the truly repentant
      • Forgiveness is not acceptance of the bad behavior
    • Temptations Twist
      • The Grace of God
        • Even though we did not deserve His Love…
          • We were rebellious
          • We were mean
          • We were caught by evil
          • Sinners, each and every one
        • ….at Calvary Jesus stepped into our trap and took our destruction away
          • Jesus suffered, was ridiculed and debased
          • Jesus shed His Blood for our sins
          • Jesus died in our place
        • We can be set free….redeemed by the shed blood of the Lamb of God

Feb 19, 2017

Luke 16:14-17 “The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.  “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.  But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.”  ESV

What did the Pharisees here that made them so angry, jealous and petty?

They heard Jesus teach about humility, service, devotion, commitment, giving, caring, loving, yielding, stewardship, faithfulness and obedience to the Kingdom of God.

Shame on Him for teaching them to Love God and Love others

 The tried to justify their selfish, arrogant behavior by ridiculing the Son of God.

I don’t think that will go over very well.

Bullying to get your way is NO WAY to make a point

If Jesus identifies our bad behavior and we feel ashamed REMEMBER that He has don’t this to CORRECT behavior and NOT TO HARM us.

The purpose of the Law is to show us our need for Jesus, not to condemn us.  The Law shows us our transgressions against God and against our fellow man.  The Law should lead us to repentance.

We can never JUSTIFY ourselves before anyone, much less the Only One who can redeem us and justify us.

He knows the REAL US; not the FAKE US we allow the world to see and know.

Forces: force, to crowd oneself, to be seized, press suffer violence.  NLT – Eager              KJV – Presseth into

AMP – “and everyone strives violently to go in [would force his own way rather than God’s way into it]

We want the Good News without the Faith and Obedience

We want to go into God’s Kingdom on OUR TERMS

OUR WAY     OUR TIME     “JUST AS WE ARE”

We want the benefits without the costs

We don’t even want to count the cost

We are REBELS

We rebel against god’s Word

We rebel against God’s Will

We rebel against God

We have proved our rebellion all the way back to the garden.

This is a rebellion we will NEVER win

We are PARASITES

We want to pull all we want from the well

We want to LATCH ON and get all we can get

Just like the Temple Elite of Christ’s Day

We never want to serve, obey or trust

We want God to be a vending machine that responds at our demand and we are more than willing to kick, rattle and complain if we do not get our way.

The Law matters.  The Law shows us our need for God.

The 10 Commandments matter.  In our lives, in the life of our country.

We do not dispose of them, we embrace them and see how they point us to love God and others better.

If we love God we will obey His Commands.

John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

  • We forget that our obedience is a way to say “Thank You” to the One who saved us.
  • We forget that we are ill equipped to ridicule or argue with God
  • We forget that our trust is a way to say “We Believe” to the One who provides and protects us
  • We forget that our love expressed is one way we say we are connected to the One who is Love.

Marriage          May 12, 2017

Luke 16:18 “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”   ESV

Today we will look at marriage.  But before we dig into this text let’s look at the bigger picture.

  1. Marriage was always to be defined as a LIFETIME commitment
    1. Not for a set amount of time
    2. Not until it gets tough
    3. Not until you fall in lust with someone else
      1. LIFETIME
  2. We need to understand what real love is before we commit to another person for a lifetime
    1. Love is more than what we call “chemical” with is more lust than love
    2. Love is more than “convenience” because someone is close and you have similar interests
    3. LOVE IS COMMITMENT
    4. Ephesians 5:25-33 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.  However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” ESV

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.” ESV

It is FAR PAST TIME we begin to put THESE attributes INTO our relationships

  1. What breaks the covenant bounds of marriage
      1. Romans 7:2-3 “Thus a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.” ESV
    1. SIN
      1. Adultery
        1. They physical act
        2. The cultivation
        3. The loving/lusting of anyone else EXCEPT GOD more than your spouse
      2. Addiction
        1. Same problem as adultery except instead of a person of the opposite sex your heart becomes devoted to a drug or alcohol.
        2. Family resources are stripped away in order to supply the desired FIX of the addict
        3. If your lustful intent is directed at a thing or substance at the cost of your relationship with your wife or family the love covenant is broken
  • Both adultery and addiction often fester into a third reason:
  1. Abuse
    1. We are commanded to love and submit one to another
      1. Abuse breaks the love covenant
      2. God does not expect you to be belittled, beaten or buried
        1. There is no love there
        2. Colossians 3:18-19 “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.”   ESV
      3. All of these place the fleshly desires and pride of one person ahead of their spouse and their children
        1. Love NEVER demands its own way
        2. If supporting your habit for another person or substance leaves your family hungry and homeless YOU HAVE BROKEN YOUR MARRIAGE COVENANT
      4. What about getting remarried
        1. If your spouse dies you are free to be biblically remarried
        2. Other than that, if your spouse is still breathing air you remain bound together.
        3. God’s Standards are higher than ours
      5. Marriage is to be held in honor among all
        1. God will judge those who do not
      6. Marriage is supposed to be a human relationship that mirrors our relationship with God
        1. Love
        2. Grace
        3. Mercy
        4. Patience
        5. Permanence
        6. Helpful
        7. Protecting
        8. Nurturing

The Father……Luke 15:11  32…..The Parable of the Prodigal Son

We are a strange and unique people

We knowingly do things we know are bad for us to do to ourselves and/or others.

We eat and drink unhealthy “stuff”

We PROCRASTINATE and suffer the consequences

We “FORGET” to make time for God in prayer and Bible Study

We skip going to God’s House for any number of reasons

The wonder why we are weak

We pay the price for bad decisions  – daily

We will leave God, leave His church and leave our relationships with God and His church behind because of some personal reason.

We will often “stick to our guns” or ride our habits all the way down the proverbial drain, all the way to rock bottom.

  1. We allow our sin to separate us from God as we seek to fulfill the desires of our flesh
  2. We need to remember that, much like the Prodigal Brother, we do not have to physically leave to have separation from the Father
    1. Staying put/attending church IS NOT ENOUGH
    2. Serving the father/Serving God IS NOT ENOUGH
    3. Knowing our inheritance is secure IS NOT ENOUGH
      1. NOTHING IS ENOUGH without LOVE
      2. 1 Corinthians 13
    4. We so desperately need to come to the end of ourselves
      1. Subdue the flesh
      2. Break the hardness of our hearts
      3. Yield it all to God
    5. We call this brokenness
      1. It begins by God revealing to us that we are spiritually broken
        1. Wisdom and understanding where we really stand in GODS VIEW not ours or the worlds view.
      2. In our text the Prodigal Son comes to this understanding at his lowest point of life
        1. From the son of the Wealthy Landowner
        2. To the filth of the pig lot
          1. Lonely
          2. Hungry
          3. Broken
        3. Luke 15:17-19 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” ESV
          1. “But When he came to himself”
            1. He woke up
            2. He figured out that HIS PLAN WAS NOT WORKING
            3. God showed him the status of his soul
              1. It was filthy
              2. It was hurting
              3. It was hungering for God
            4. Whatever he thought about his LIFE DIRECTION; he finally figured out that he had messed up and CHANGE WAS REQUIRED
              1. He came to the end of himself
                1. He RETURNED to his father
                2. Biblically we call this REPENTANCE
                  1. We are given the wisdom to see our way is not working
                  2. The Holy Spirit shows us that we are heading in the wrong direction
                  3. God’s Word shows us how God sees us
                  4. We CHANGE OUR DIRECTION
                    1. 180 degrees
                    2. We stop going our way and RETURN TO OUR FATHER
                      1. Trusting He will make it better
  1. What we find WHEN WE FALL INTO GOD’S ARMS amazes us
    1. He has been waiting for our return
    2. He embraces us deep in His arms
    3. He restores our position as His Child
    4. There is celebration
      1. Luke 15:10 “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
    5. We find that our Father loved us all along
      1. When we repent He forgives us
      2. When we repent He restores us
  • When we repent He saves us
  1. Yes, we find out that we were dead
    1. Dead in our sins
    2. Lost from the Father
  2. But, we find out that there is a death that is not permanent
    1. There is a death that we can recover from
    2. There is a death that can die
      1. Killed by ETERNAL LIFE
      2. Resurrection
    3. Failure does not need to be fatal
    4. You can be BORN AGAIN
    5. John 3:4-7 “Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”   ESV
    6. God is BIGGER than LIFE and DEATH
  3. This parable is not about a Prodigal Son…or Brother
    1. This is what we want to hear
      1. Its all about us
    2. Yes, they are there
      1. Running away from their relationship with the Father
      2. Staying close to the Father but not in a close relationship with him

 This parable is about a Fathers Love for His Children

    1. Only the father could give the youngest son his inheritance before his time
      1. Knowing what the impetuous young man would do to philander it all away
    2. Only the Good Father would hurt, mourn and LOOF FOR his wayward child’s return
    3. Only the Father could accept the wandering child back
    4. Only the Father had the power and authority to forgive and restore his son
    5. The Father owned the robe, the ring, the fatted calf and everything else
      1. Only the Father could bestow them on the repentant, returning child
    6. Only the Father could declare a celebration feast
  1. Only the Father is able to destroy death and take away deaths sting and power.
  2. ONLY the Father can declare “My child was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”
  3. This is a parable about God’s Love for US!
    1. YES, we NEED to return to God
      1. As the Prodigal did
      2. QUICKLY – before we find ourselves at life’s bottom
    2. The parable teaches that God is always looking, expecting, waiting for YOUR RETURN to Him!
  4. Where do you stand with God?
    1. Are you running away?
    2. Are you in His house today but so far away?
    3. Have you “Come to yourself?”
      1. Figured out your need for God?
      2. Matthew 5:3 “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” NLT
    4. Break out of yourself
      1. Repent of your sins
      2. Return to God
      3. Receive the blessing of repentance

The Marriage Ship

Marriage is not like a vacation cruise where you are to be pampered and served.  You can sleep as late as you want, someone prepares and serves you food, everyone wants to make sure you are happy and entertained and there is a captain that you might get lucky and meet before you disembark.

Marriage is like working on one of those Bearing Sea Alaskan King Crab ships.  There are times when you can rest and enjoy the journey and beautiful scenery BUT most of the time it is hard work for everyone on board.  Work that must be done together, done properly and done in the right order so everyone remains together safely.

Marriage can be dirty, sweaty, bruising and exhausting work!

Oh, like the crabbers on TV, there are times of fair skies and smooth seas, and those times should be cherished!  But there are times of freezing cold, high seas, busted equipment, busted bones and empty nets; these are all part of the same reality and must be dealt with TOGETHER.

The work is tough and the opportunities for crisis are numerous. Things break, sometimes the nets are bare or full of trash and your partner sometimes messes up – big time.

If one is overworked, overlooked or overburdened someone is getting hurt or the ship is going down into the cold grasp of the sea forever.  When someone gets hurt the entire venture is in danger.

If one thinks they are a king or lord to be served they will quickly learn failure.  If someone is a primadonna there is a wakeup call coming.

If one thinks they can slack off the whole team suffers. Crabbers do not tolerate the lazy, the privileged, the arrogant or the lone rangers; neither should marriages.

If someone gets mad and leaves the deck the other must work harder until they return.  Sometimes one must leave the deck and go after the one who left, deal with the issue and return to work together.  No problems can be dealt with in separation.  Deal with them the only way they can be dealt with – together.

On the crab boats we watch on TV there is much passion, stress and sometimes anger.  They argue and sometimes they fight.  They can be passive-aggressive; or just plain aggressive.  A good argument is tolerated but physical violence is strictly forbidden by the boar owners; there is too great a chance of danger, injury and death.

There are times when the biggest and sturdiest ships sink.  Maybe the storm was too big, the necessary maintenance was not done or the crew just gives up.  Many times the sinking ships could have been saved with a little work or some wisdom to not head out in dangerous times.

Abuse, Addiction and Adultery have sank many relationships.  They didn’t have to though.  A little maintenance, some humility, hard work and a little wisdom may have prevented the tragedy. Especially the wisdom to stay away from dangerous activities to begin with while remaining faithful and devoted to your spouse and family.

Sometimes there will be times of passionate disagreement in marriage; issues that must be dealt with properly and safely; and without physical and/or emotional violence.  There is too great a danger of injury and/or death from allowing or accepting any type of violence in a marriage.  This cannot be tolerated and must be dealt  with quickly.  On a crab boat the offender is punished legally (demotion, share cut, etc) or terminated.

On a crab ship the safety of the crew is first and formost, then the safety of the vessel and then the financial gain of the harvest.  Marriages need to be properly prioritized as well.  God first, Spouse second, then the family, finances and everything else.

Marriages begin to sink when one or both “crew members” begin to prioritize their own desires and addictions above everything else.  I think that is one reason the Bible teaches us that “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”   ESV     1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is not about you.  Love never demands it’s own way.

Everyone is a greenhorn at the beginning, but if we stick with it and work hard in unity while we learn we will soon become grizzled veterans who can survive anything.

“Deckhands” learn to trust each other with their work, enjoy their time at work and at rest, build humor and accountability into their relationship and share the fruits of their labor.

There is always a boat captain, but his focus is keeping everyone and everything working together so all finish the journey safely and obtain their reward.  His is the greater responsibility. He must answer to the boat’s owner about everything that happened on the boat under his watch.

The reward of a hard-working team is immense, if everyone pulls their own weight and worked hard.  The feeling of working hard and accomplishing a goal, personal fulfillment, the respect of your co-laborer and the reward from the ships creator and owner.

No, marriage is never a cruise ship!  It is a working vessel, provided by God for the Family.

Marriage is definitely a “All Hands on Deck” adventure that requires every ounce of strength, courage and patience they have!  Marriage is not “50-50” – divorce is “50-50”; marriage is 100%+100%X100% of the time!

Ephesians 5:22-33 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”   ESV

What’s it worth?

1 Corinthians 13;13 “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  ESV

We have heard this scripture often and like the warm squishy feeling we get when reading the Word of God tell us what eternity will bring God’s Children.

Faith, Hope and Love are eternal.  Love is the greatest.

Jesus spoke often about the necessity of love in our world.  Love God first and foremost; love your neighbor as yourself.  Love is the greatest commandment.

Yet, we know that our world desperately lacks love.

Why?

Galatians 5:19 – 21  “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,  idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,  envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  ESV

This is a list of the things that will keep us out of God’s planned eternity for us.  They find their roots in the Ten Commandments.

Have no false gods, have no fake gods, don’t use the real God’s name as a curse and remember to set aside a day for God.  You remember the first 4 right?  Their basic lesson is to LOVE GOD, while the next 6 speak of LOVING YOUR NEIGHBOR.

Pride of the flesh, pride of the mind and pride in your spirit.  The common denominator, and greatest of these, is PRIDE!

  • Loving yourself more than you love God.
  • Loving yourself more than you love others.
  • Loving what you have and want more than anything else.

Selfish, arrogant pride is the very opposite of faith, hope and love.

It is this pride that got Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden.                                                       It is this pride that brought great destruction to our planet in the Flood.                                       It is this pride that sent shadrach, meshach and abednego and  into the fiery furnace.           It is this same pride that keeps people separate from God today.

What do you hold most dear? What would you stubbornly hold onto if you knew it would be a destructive force in your life or worse, your eternity?

Substance abusers choose to hold on to their desire for the substance that makes them feel good for a short time while they allow that same substance to destroy their families, friendships and even their own health and life.  They know the problem but they like the problem more than they like anything or anyone else, including their selves.

The arrogant are willing to stomp on anyone and commit any act to climb their desired ladder to their perceived success.  The ones that do rise to the top find only loneliness, sadness and disappointment.  They sold their soul for flesh pleasing achievement.

Mark 8:34 – 38   “And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.  For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?  For what can a man give in return for his soul?  For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”   ESV

The good news is that God loves you and wants to deliver you from self and sin; from the pride that prevents us from humbly receiving the gift of faith, hope and love that God has for us all.

John 3:16 – 17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”  ESV

We have all fought prides grasp, the good news is that Jesus is not here to condemn you, but to provide you a pathway to salvation and eternal, life.  He wants you to have faith, hope and love forever.

To repent simply means to change your direction, from your way or the way the world has you traveling; and turn to God’s way and plan for your life.  In doing so you find peace, joy and safety; the results of faith, hope and love.  Trust God with your everything.

What is your soul worth?

What value do you place on the simple gifts of faith, hope and love?

God sent His only Son.

Jesus was the only person to walk the earth without sin, yet freely gave His life, shed His blood, so you could be forgiven.

There has been a great price paid for what can be received without cost to you.  Receive.