Wednesday, November 30, 2011

From Pride to Humility - Pride Defined

This outline is adapted from a booklet by Stuart Scott entitled From Pride to Humility: A Biblical Perspective. As we begin this short series "From Pride to Humility" the following commentary by Albert Barnes is worth reading:

“The proud are those who have an inordinate self-esteem; who have a high and unreasonable conceit of their own excellence or importance. This may extend to anything; to beauty, or strength, or attainments, or family, or country, or equipage, or rank, or even religion. A man may be proud of anything that belongs to him, or which can in any way be construed as a part of himself, or as pertaining to him. This does not, of course, apply to a correct estimate of ourselves, or to the mere knowledge that we may excel others. One may know that he has more strength, or higher attainments in learning or in the mechanic arts, or greater wealth than others, and yet have properly no pride in the case. He has only a correct estimate of himself, and he attaches no undue importance to himself on account of it. His heart is not lifted up; he claims no undue deference to himself; he concedes to all others what is their due; and he is humble before God, feeling that all that he has, and is, is nothing in his sight. He is willing to occupy his appropriate place in the sight of God and men, and to be esteemed just as he is. Pride goes beyond this, and gives to a man a degree of self-estimation which is not warranted by anything that he possesses. God looks at things as they are; and hence he abhors and humbles this arrogant claim. This resistance of pride he shows not only in the explicit declarations of his word, but in the arrangements of his providence and grace:

(1) In his providence, in the reverses and disappointments which occur; in the necessity of abandoning the splendid mansion which we had built, or in disappointing us in some favorite plan by which our pride was to be nurtured and gratified.

(2) in sickness, taking away the beauty and strength on which we had so much valued ourselves, and bring us to the sad condition of a sick bed.

(3) in the grave, bringing us down to corruption and worms. Why should one be proud who will soon become so offensive to his best friends that they will gladly hide him in the grave?

(4) in the plan of salvation he opposes our pride. Not a feature of that plan is fitted to foster pride, but all is adapted to make us humble.

   (a) The necessity for the plan - that we are guilty and helpless sinners;

   (b) the selection of a Saviour - one who was so poor, and who was so much despised by the world, and who was put to death on a cross;

   (c) our entire dependence on him for salvation, with the assurance that we have no merit of our own, and that salvation is all of grace;

   (d) the fact that we are brought to embrace it only by the agency of the Holy Spirit, and that if we were left to ourselves we should never have one right thought or holy desire - all this is fitted to humble us, and to bring us low before God. God has done nothing to foster the self-estimation of the human heart; but how much has he done to “stain the pride of all glory?”

-Albert Barnes 

Who are the proud? 
We are. Every person on the planet. Our hearts are bent towards self-exaltation (Colossians 2:18-19). The passion of our flesh is to puff itself up, to sit itself on the throne of our hearts—the place that rightfully belongs to our Maker, the God of heaven.

As believers, that have had to humble ourselves in order to be saved by God, God desires us to live and walk in humility. In order to do this, we must turn from pride and embrace humility. Let’s define what we mean by pride.

I. Pride: The Enemy of Humility

Pride cannot coexist with humility. They are opposed to one another. This is demonstrated in God’s reaction to pride and humility. Psalms 18:27; Proverbs 3:34; James 4:6 - God resists (battle-array against them) the proud (Isaiah 23:9 – The Lord of hosts has purposed it, to bring to dishonor the pride of all glory, to bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth. Isaiah 28:1-2), but gives grace (not just grace…more grace) to the humble. Why? Because the humble see their need of it, pray for it, and are thankful for it.

You might notice that this parallels the battle between the Spirit and the flesh. Indeed, to walk in the Spirit is to walk in humility, and to walk in the flesh is to walk in pride. Galatians 4:16-26. Notice how many of the works of the flesh have to do with pride. And note how many of the fruit of the Spirit have to do with humility.

God detests pride - Proverbs 16:5 “abomination” – a disgusting thing in a ritual sense (idolatry), and in an ethical sense (wickedness)

“…let him know that though he admires himself, and others caress him, yet he is an abomination to the Lord. The great God despises him; the holy God detest him.” –Matthew Henry

The question for us is not, Do I have it? but Where is it? and How much do I have?
Amy Carmichael – “Those who think too much of themselves, don’t think enough.”

Charles Swindoll – “The world’s smallest package is a man wrapped up in himself.”

God – “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” (Proverbs 26:12)

There are different kinds of pride. 
Pride of:
  1. Position – “Look at who I am” “Don’t you know who I am?” 
  2. Ability – “Look at what I can do” 
  3. Achievement – “Look at what I’ve done” 
  4. Wealth – “Look at the money I’ve earned/created” 
  5. Possessions – “Look at all my stuff” 
  6. Knowledge – “Listen to what I know” 
  7. Learning – “Look at my nametag” 
  8. Spiritual attainment – “Do you hear my prayers?” “I’ve read the Bible through 96 times” 
  9. Self-righteousness – “I’m glad I’m not a sinner like him” 
  10. Being esteemed or liked – “Look at all my friends” 
  11. Spiritual experiences – “I’ve had a vision…what have you had?” 
Puritan Thomas Watson says this about pride – “It is a spiritual drunkenness; it flies up like wine into the brain and intoxicates it. It is idolatry; a proud man is a self-worshiper.”

II. Biblical Terms for Pride

6 Hebrew Words all meaning: Lifting up; Highness; Magnification; Presumptuousness; Rebelliousness of self

2 Greek categories

First meaning: Straining/stretching one’s neck; To magnify; To be haughty
Second meaning: Blindness; Enveloped with smoke

Biblical synonyms “translations of these words”:
  1. Vainglory 
  2. Conceit 
  3. Boasting 
  4. Arrogance 
  5. Loftiness 
  6. Presumption
  7. Haughtiness 
  8. Being puffed up 
  9. High-mindedness 
  10. Scoffing 
  11. Self-seeking 
III. Biblical Examples - Nowhere does the Bible tell us to think higher of ourselves, or to consider ourselves more. 
  1. Satan’s deception of Eve – Genesis 3:1-5 
  2. Satan – Ezekiel 28; Isaiah 14:12-15 
  3. Nebuchadnezzar – Daniel 4:29-30, 37 
  4. King Saul – 1 Samuel 18:7-9 
  5. King Herod – Acts 12:20-23 
God warns us against pride over and over. Proverbs 16:18; Philippians 2:3-4. I believe it is talked about so much because it is a problem that each of us must address daily.

IV. Pride Defined
  1. The mindset of self (the master’s mindset): a focus on self and the service of self, a pursuit of self-recognition and self-exaltation, and a desire to control and use all things for self. 
  2. The Anthropocentric (Man-centered) Mindset – High and Blinded. All things should be: From me; Through me; To me; For me. I should be the: Source of good; Accomplisher of anything worthwhile; Benefactor of all things.
Thomas Watson – “Pride seeks to ungod God.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

To Wine or Not To Wine

There is much debate in the Christian world as to whether or not Christians should drink alcohol. Christians debate (and not always so kindly) whether or not drinking alcohol is a Romans 14 issue of liberty or if the Bible prohibits it entirely. I tend to believe that many Christians, even ones who promote abstinence from alcohol have done very little study on the matter.

The first step is to see what the Bible actually says about wine. Granted, it would take time to look at the context of the verses below, but just reading the verses that contain the word 'wine' will give you an idea of what the Bible teaches about alcohol. I would also like to note that there seems to be a difference in a few verses between 'wine' and 'strong drink.' This means that not every appearance of the word 'wine' is talking of an alcoholic drink. Take some time and read through the following verses:

Genesis 9:21 -  Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent.

Genesis 9:24 -  So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him.

Genesis 14:18 -  Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High.

Genesis 19:32 -  Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father."

Genesis 19:33 -  So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.

Genesis 19:34 -  It happened on the next day that the firstborn said to the younger, "Indeed I lay with my father last night; let us make him drink wine tonight also, and you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father."

Genesis 19:35 -  Then they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.

Genesis 27:25 -  He said, "Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son's game, so that my soul may bless you." So he brought it near to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank.

Genesis 27:28 -  Therefore may God give you Of the dew of heaven, Of the fatness of the earth, And plenty of grain and wine.

Genesis 27:37 -  Then Isaac answered and said to Esau, "Indeed I have made him your master, and all his brethren I have given to him as servants; with grain and wine I have sustained him. What shall I do now for you, my son?"

Genesis 49:11 -  Binding his donkey to the vine, And his donkey's colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, And his clothes in the blood of grapes.

Genesis 49:12 -  His eyes are darker than wine, And his teeth whiter than milk.

Exodus 29:40 -  With the one lamb shall be one-tenth of an ephah of flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of pressed oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine as a drink offering.

Leviticus 10:9 -  "Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations,

Leviticus 23:13 -  Its grain offering shall be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to the LORD, for a sweet aroma; and its drink offering shall be of wine, one-fourth of a hin.

Numbers 6:3 -  he shall separate himself from wine and similar drink; he shall drink neither vinegar made from wine nor vinegar made from similar drink; neither shall he drink any grape juice, nor eat fresh grapes or raisins.

Numbers 6:20 -  and the priest shall wave them as a wave offering before the LORD; they are holy for the priest, together with the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the heave offering. After that the Nazirite may drink wine.'

Numbers 15:5 -  and one-fourth of a hin of wine as a drink offering you shall prepare with the burnt offering or the sacrifice, for each lamb.

Numbers 15:7 -  and as a drink offering you shall offer one-third of a hin of wine as a sweet aroma to the LORD.

Numbers 15:10 -  and you shall bring as the drink offering half a hin of wine as an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD.

Numbers 18:12 -  "All the best of the oil, all the best of the new wine and the grain, their firstfruits which they offer to the LORD, I have given them to you.

Numbers 28:14 -  Their drink offering shall be half a hin of wine for a bull, one-third of a hin for a ram, and one-fourth of a hin for a lamb; this is the burnt offering for each month throughout the months of the year.

Deuteronomy 7:13 -  And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you.

Deuteronomy 11:14 -  then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil.

Deuteronomy 12:17 -  You may not eat within your gates the tithe of your grain or your new wine or your oil, of the firstborn of your herd or your flock, of any of your offerings which you vow, of your freewill offerings, or of the heave offering of your hand.

Deuteronomy 14:23 -  And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.

Deuteronomy 14:26 -  And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household.

Deuteronomy 18:4 -  The firstfruits of your grain and your new wine and your oil, and the first of the fleece of your sheep, you shall give him.

Deuteronomy 28:39 -  You shall plant vineyards and tend them, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them.

Deuteronomy 28:51 -  And they shall eat the increase of your livestock and the produce of your land, until you are destroyed; they shall not leave you grain or new wine or oil, or the increase of your cattle or the offspring of your flocks, until they have destroyed you.

Deuteronomy 29:6 -  You have not eaten bread, nor have you drunk wine or similar drink, that you may know that I am the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 32:14 -  Curds from the cattle, and milk of the flock, With fat of lambs; And rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, With the choicest wheat; And you drank wine, the blood of the grapes.

Deuteronomy 32:33 -  Their wine is the poison of serpents, And the cruel venom of cobras.

Deuteronomy 32:38 -  Who ate the fat of their sacrifices, And drank the wine of their drink offering? Let them rise and help you, And be your refuge.

Deuteronomy 33:28 -  Then Israel shall dwell in safety, The fountain of Jacob alone, In a land of grain and new wine; His heavens shall also drop dew.

Judges 9:13 -  But the vine said to them, 'Should I cease my new wine, Which cheers both God and men, And go to sway over trees?'

Judges 13:4 -  Now therefore, please be careful not to drink wine or similar drink, and not to eat anything unclean.

Judges 13:7 -  And He said to me, 'Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. Now drink no wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.' "

Judges 13:14 -  She may not eat anything that comes from the vine, nor may she drink wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean. All that I commanded her let her observe."

Judges 19:19 -  although we have both straw and fodder for our donkeys, and bread and wine for myself, for your female servant, and for the young man who is with your servant; there is no lack of anything."

1 Samuel 1:14 -  So Eli said to her, "How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!"

1 Samuel 1:15 -  But Hannah answered and said, "No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.

1 Samuel 1:24 -  Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bulls, one ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD in Shiloh. And the child was young.

1 Samuel 10:3 -  Then you shall go on forward from there and come to the terebinth tree of Tabor. There three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin of wine.

1 Samuel 16:20 -  And Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine, and a young goat, and sent them by his son David to Saul.

1 Samuel 25:18 -  Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep already dressed, five seahs of roasted grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys.

1 Samuel 25:37 -  So it was, in the morning, when the wine had gone from Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became like a stone.

2 Samuel 13:28 -  Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, "Watch now, when Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, 'Strike Amnon!' then kill him. Do not be afraid. Have I not commanded you? Be courageous and valiant."

2 Samuel 16:1 -  When David was a little past the top of the mountain, there was Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth, who met him with a couple of saddled donkeys, and on them two hundred loaves of bread, one hundred clusters of raisins, one hundred summer fruits, and a skin of wine.

2 Samuel 16:2 -  And the king said to Ziba, "What do you mean to do with these?" So Ziba said, "The donkeys are for the king's household to ride on, the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat, and the wine for those who are faint in the wilderness to drink."

2 Kings 18:32 -  until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive groves and honey, that you may live and not die. But do not listen to Hezekiah, lest he persuade you, saying, "The LORD will deliver us."

1 Chronicles 9:29 -  Some of them were appointed over the furnishings and over all the implements of the sanctuary, and over the fine flour and the wine and the oil and the incense and the spices.

1 Chronicles 12:40 -  Moreover those who were near to them, from as far away as Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, were bringing food on donkeys and camels, on mules and oxen—provisions of flour and cakes of figs and cakes of raisins, wine and oil and oxen and sheep abundantly, for there was joy in Israel.

1 Chronicles 27:27 -  And Shimei the Ramathite was over the vineyards, and Zabdi the Shiphmite was over the produce of the vineyards for the supply of wine.

2 Chronicles 2:10 -  And indeed I will give to your servants, the woodsmen who cut timber, twenty thousand kors of ground wheat, twenty thousand kors of barley, twenty thousand baths of wine, and twenty thousand baths of oil.

2 Chronicles 2:15 -  Now therefore, the wheat, the barley, the oil, and the wine which my lord has spoken of, let him send to his servants.

2 Chronicles 11:11 -  And he fortified the strongholds, and put captains in them, and stores of food, oil, and wine.

2 Chronicles 31:5 -  As soon as the commandment was circulated, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of grain and wine, oil and honey, and of all the produce of the field; and they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything.

2 Chronicles 32:28 -  storehouses for the harvest of grain, wine, and oil; and stalls for all kinds of livestock, and folds for flocks.

Ezra 6:9 -  And whatever they need—young bulls, rams, and lambs for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the request of the priests who are in Jerusalem—let it be given them day by day without fail,

Ezra 7:22 -  up to one hundred talents of silver, one hundred kors of wheat, one hundred baths of wine, one hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribed limit.

Nehemiah 2:1 -  And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before.

Nehemiah 5:11 -  Restore now to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also a hundredth of the money and the grain, the new wine and the oil, that you have charged them."

Nehemiah 5:15 -  But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God.

Nehemiah 5:18 -  Now that which was prepared daily was one ox and six choice sheep. Also fowl were prepared for me, and once every ten days an abundance of all kinds of wine. Yet in spite of this I did not demand the governor's provisions, because the bondage was heavy on this people.

Nehemiah 10:37 -  to bring the firstfruits of our dough, our offerings, the fruit from all kinds of trees, the new wine and oil, to the priests, to the storerooms of the house of our God; and to bring the tithes of our land to the Levites, for the Levites should receive the tithes in all our farming communities.

Nehemiah 10:39 -  For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the grain, of the new wine and the oil, to the storerooms where the articles of the sanctuary are, where the priests who minister and the gatekeepers and the singers are; and we will not neglect the house of our God.

Nehemiah 13:5 -  And he had prepared for him a large room, where previously they had stored the grain offerings, the frankincense, the articles, the tithes of grain, the new wine and oil, which were commanded to be given to the Levites and singers and gatekeepers, and the offerings for the priests.

Nehemiah 13:12 -  Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain and the new wine and the oil to the storehouse.

Nehemiah 13:15 -  In those days I saw people in Judah treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and loading donkeys with wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them about the day on which they were selling provisions.

Esther 1:7 -  And they served drinks in golden vessels, each vessel being different from the other, with royal wine in abundance, according to the generosity of the king.

Esther 1:10 -  On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus,

Esther 5:6 -  At the banquet of wine the king said to Esther, "What is your petition? It shall be granted you. What is your request, up to half the kingdom? It shall be done!"

Esther 7:2 -  And on the second day, at the banquet of wine, the king again said to Esther, "What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request, up to half the kingdom? It shall be done!"

Esther 7:7 -  Then the king arose in his wrath from the banquet of wine and went into the palace garden; but Haman stood before Queen Esther, pleading for his life, for he saw that evil was determined against him by the king.

Esther 7:8 -  When the king returned from the palace garden to the place of the banquet of wine, Haman had fallen across the couch where Esther was. Then the king said, "Will he also assault the queen while I am in the house?" As the word left the king's mouth, they covered Haman's face.

Job 1:13 -  Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house;

Job 1:18 -  While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house,

Job 32:19 -  Indeed my belly is like wine that has no vent; It is ready to burst like new wineskins.

Psalms 4:7 -  You have put gladness in my heart, More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.

Psalms 60:3 -  You have shown Your people hard things; You have made us drink the wine of confusion.

Psalms 75:8 -  For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, And the wine is red; It is fully mixed, and He pours it out; Surely its dregs shall all the wicked of the earth Drain and drink down.

Psalms 78:65 -  Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, Like a mighty man who shouts because of wine.

Psalms 104:15 -  And wine that makes glad the heart of man, Oil to make his face shine, And bread which strengthens man's heart.

Proverbs 3:10 -  So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.

Proverbs 4:17 -  For they eat the bread of wickedness, And drink the wine of violence.

Proverbs 9:2 -  She has slaughtered her meat, She has mixed her wine, She has also furnished her table.

Proverbs 9:5 -  "Come, eat of my bread And drink of the wine I have mixed.

Proverbs 20:1 -  Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

Proverbs 21:17 -  He who loves pleasure will be a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not be rich.

Proverbs 23:30 -  Those who linger long at the wine, Those who go in search of mixed wine.

Proverbs 23:31 -  Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it swirls around smoothly;

Proverbs 31:4 -  It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Nor for princes intoxicating drink;

Proverbs 31:6 -  Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to those who are bitter of heart.

Ecclesiastes 2:3 -  I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.

Ecclesiastes 9:7 -  Go, eat your bread with joy, And drink your wine with a merry heart; For God has already accepted your works.

Ecclesiastes 10:19 -  A feast is made for laughter, And wine makes merry; But money answers everything.

Song of Solomon 1:2 -  Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth— For your love is better than wine.

Song of Solomon 1:4 -  Draw me away! We will run after you. The king has brought me into his chambers. We will be glad and rejoice in you. We will remember your love more than wine. Rightly do they love you.

Song of Solomon 4:10 -  How fair is your love, My sister, my spouse! How much better than wine is your love, And the scent of your perfumes Than all spices!

Song of Solomon 5:1 -  I have come to my garden, my sister, my spouse; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat, O friends! Drink, yes, drink deeply, O beloved ones!

Song of Solomon 7:9 -  And the roof of your mouth like the best wine. The wine goes down smoothly for my beloved, Moving gently the lips of sleepers.

Song of Solomon 8:2 -  I would lead you and bring you Into the house of my mother, She who used to instruct me. I would cause you to drink of spiced wine, Of the juice of my pomegranate.

Isaiah 1:22 -  Your silver has become dross, Your wine mixed with water.

Isaiah 5:11 -  Woe to those who rise early in the morning, That they may follow intoxicating drink; Who continue until night, till wine inflames them!

Isaiah 5:12 -  The harp and the strings, The tambourine and flute, And wine are in their feasts; But they do not regard the work of the LORD, Nor consider the operation of His hands.

Isaiah 5:22 -  Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink,

Isaiah 16:10 -  Gladness is taken away, And joy from the plentiful field; In the vineyards there will be no singing, Nor will there be shouting; No treaders will tread out wine in the presses; I have made their shouting cease.

Isaiah 22:13 -  But instead, joy and gladness, Slaying oxen and killing sheep, Eating meat and drinking wine: "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!"

Isaiah 24:7 -  The new wine fails, the vine languishes, All the merry-hearted sigh.

Isaiah 24:9 -  They shall not drink wine with a song; Strong drink is bitter to those who drink it.

Isaiah 24:11 -  There is a cry for wine in the streets, All joy is darkened, The mirth of the land is gone.

Isaiah 27:2 -  In that day sing to her, "A vineyard of red wine!

Isaiah 28:1 -  Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, Whose glorious beauty is a fading flower Which is at the head of the verdant valleys, To those who are overcome with wine!

Isaiah 28:7 -  But they also have erred through wine, And through intoxicating drink are out of the way; The priest and the prophet have erred through intoxicating drink, They are swallowed up by wine, They are out of the way through intoxicating drink; They err in vision, they stumble in judgment.

Isaiah 29:9 -  Pause and wonder! Blind yourselves and be blind! They are drunk, but not with wine; They stagger, but not with intoxicating drink.

Isaiah 36:17 -  until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards.

Isaiah 49:26 -  I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh, And they shall be drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine. All flesh shall know That I, the LORD, am your Savior, And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."

Isaiah 51:21 -  Therefore please hear this, you afflicted, And drunk but not with wine.

Isaiah 55:1 -  "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price.

Isaiah 56:12 -  "Come," one says, "I will bring wine, And we will fill ourselves with intoxicating drink; Tomorrow will be as today, And much more abundant."

Isaiah 62:8 -  The LORD has sworn by His right hand And by the arm of His strength: "Surely I will no longer give your grain As food for your enemies; And the sons of the foreigner shall not drink your new wine, For which you have labored.

Isaiah 65:8 -  Thus says the LORD: "As the new wine is found in the cluster, And one says, 'Do not destroy it, For a blessing is in it,' So will I do for My servants' sake, That I may not destroy them all.

Jeremiah 13:12 -  "Therefore you shall speak to them this word: 'Thus says the LORD God of Israel: "Every bottle shall be filled with wine." ' "And they will say to you, 'Do we not certainly know that every bottle will be filled with wine?'

Jeremiah 23:9 -  My heart within me is broken Because of the prophets; All my bones shake. I am like a drunken man, And like a man whom wine has overcome, Because of the LORD, And because of His holy words.

Jeremiah 25:15 -  For thus says the LORD God of Israel to me: "Take this wine cup of fury from My hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send you, to drink it.

Jeremiah 31:12 -  Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, Streaming to the goodness of the LORD For wheat and new wine and oil, For the young of the flock and the herd; Their souls shall be like a well-watered garden, And they shall sorrow no more at all.

Jeremiah 35:2 -  "Go to the house of the Rechabites, speak to them, and bring them into the house of the LORD, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink."

Jeremiah 35:5 -  Then I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites bowls full of wine, and cups; and I said to them, "Drink wine."

Jeremiah 35:6 -  But they said, "We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying, 'You shall drink no wine, you nor your sons, forever.

Jeremiah 35:8 -  Thus we have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, or our daughters,

Jeremiah 35:14 -  "The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, which he commanded his sons, not to drink wine, are performed; for to this day they drink none, and obey their father's commandment. But although I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, you did not obey Me.

Jeremiah 40:10 -  As for me, I will indeed dwell at Mizpah and serve the Chaldeans who come to us. But you, gather wine and summer fruit and oil, put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that you have taken."

Jeremiah 40:12 -  then all the Jews returned out of all places where they had been driven, and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, and gathered wine and summer fruit in abundance.

Jeremiah 48:12 -  "Therefore behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "That I shall send him wine-workers Who will tip him over And empty his vessels And break the bottles.

Jeremiah 48:33 -  Joy and gladness are taken From the plentiful field And from the land of Moab; I have caused wine to fail from the winepresses; No one will tread with joyous shouting— Not joyous shouting!

Jeremiah 51:7 -  Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD's hand, That made all the earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; Therefore the nations are deranged.

Lamentations 2:12 -  They say to their mothers, "Where is grain and wine?" As they swoon like the wounded In the streets of the city, As their life is poured out In their mothers' bosom.

Ezekiel 27:18 -  Damascus was your merchant because of the abundance of goods you made, because of your many luxury items, with the wine of Helbon and with white wool.

Ezekiel 44:21 -  No priest shall drink wine when he enters the inner court.

Daniel 1:5 -  And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king's delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king.

Daniel 1:8 -  But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

Daniel 1:16 -  Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.

Daniel 5:1 -  Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand.

Daniel 5:2 -  While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them.

Daniel 5:4 -  They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.

Daniel 5:23 -  And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified.

Daniel 10:3 -  I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.

Hosea 2:8 -  For she did not know That I gave her grain, new wine, and oil, And multiplied her silver and gold— Which they prepared for Baal.

Hosea 2:9 -  "Therefore I will return and take away My grain in its time And My new wine in its season, And will take back My wool and My linen, Given to cover her nakedness.

Hosea 2:22 -  The earth shall answer With grain, With new wine, And with oil; They shall answer Jezreel.

Hosea 4:11 -  "Harlotry, wine, and new wine enslave the heart.

Hosea 7:5 -  In the day of our king Princes have made him sick, inflamed with wine; He stretched out his hand with scoffers.

Hosea 7:14 -  They did not cry out to Me with their heart When they wailed upon their beds. "They assemble together for grain and new wine, They rebel against Me;

Hosea 9:2 -  The threshing floor and the winepress Shall not feed them, And the new wine shall fail in her.

Hosea 9:4 -  They shall not offer wine offerings to the LORD, Nor shall their sacrifices be pleasing to Him. It shall be like bread of mourners to them; All who eat it shall be defiled. For their bread shall be for their own life; It shall not come into the house of the LORD.

Hosea 14:7 -  Those who dwell under his shadow shall return; They shall be revived like grain, And grow like a vine. Their scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

Joel 1:5 -  Awake, you drunkards, and weep; And wail, all you drinkers of wine, Because of the new wine, For it has been cut off from your mouth.

Joel 1:10 -  The field is wasted, The land mourns; For the grain is ruined, The new wine is dried up, The oil fails.

Joel 2:19 -  The LORD will answer and say to His people, "Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil, And you will be satisfied by them; I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations.

Joel 2:24 -  The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, And the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.

Joel 3:3 -  They have cast lots for My people, Have given a boy as payment for a harlot, And sold a girl for wine, that they may drink.

Joel 3:18 -  And it will come to pass in that day That the mountains shall drip with new wine, The hills shall flow with milk, And all the brooks of Judah shall be flooded with water; A fountain shall flow from the house of the LORD And water the Valley of Acacias.

Amos 2:8 -  They lie down by every altar on clothes taken in pledge, And drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their god.

Amos 2:12 -  "But you gave the Nazirites wine to drink, And commanded the prophets saying, 'Do not prophesy!'

Amos 4:1 -  Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, who are on the mountain of Samaria, Who oppress the poor, Who crush the needy, Who say to your husbands, "Bring wine, let us drink!"

Amos 5:11 -  Therefore, because you tread down the poor And take grain taxes from him, Though you have built houses of hewn stone, Yet you shall not dwell in them; You have planted pleasant vineyards, But you shall not drink wine from them.

Amos 6:6 -  Who drink wine from bowls, And anoint yourselves with the best ointments, But are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.

Amos 9:13 -  "Behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, And the treader of grapes him who sows seed; The mountains shall drip with sweet wine, And all the hills shall flow with it.

Amos 9:14 -  I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them.

Micah 2:11 -  If a man should walk in a false spirit And speak a lie, saying, 'I will prophesy to you of wine and drink,' Even he would be the prattler of this people.

Micah 6:15 -  "You shall sow, but not reap; You shall tread the olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; And make sweet wine, but not drink wine.

Habakkuk 2:5 -  "Indeed, because he transgresses by wine, He is a proud man, And he does not stay at home. Because he enlarges his desire as hell, And he is like death, and cannot be satisfied, He gathers to himself all nations And heaps up for himself all peoples.

Zephaniah 1:13 -  Therefore their goods shall become booty, And their houses a desolation; They shall build houses, but not inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards, but not drink their wine."

Haggai 1:11 -  For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands."

Haggai 2:12 -  "If one carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge he touches bread or stew, wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy?" ' " Then the priests answered and said, "No."

Haggai 2:16 -  since those days, when one came to a heap of twenty ephahs, there were but ten; when one came to the wine vat to draw out fifty baths from the press, there were but twenty.

Zechariah 9:15 -  The LORD of hosts will defend them; They shall devour and subdue with slingstones. They shall drink and roar as if with wine; They shall be filled with blood like basins, Like the corners of the altar.

Zechariah 9:17 -  For how great is its goodness And how great its beauty! Grain shall make the young men thrive, And new wine the young women.

Zechariah 10:7 -  Those of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, And their heart shall rejoice as if with wine. Yes, their children shall see it and be glad; Their heart shall rejoice in the LORD.

Matthew 9:17 -  Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."

Matthew 27:34 -  they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink.

Matthew 27:48 -  Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink.

Mark 2:22 -  And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins."

Mark 12:1 -  Then He began to speak to them in parables: "A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a place for the wine vat and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country.

Mark 15:23 -  Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it.

Mark 15:36 -  Then someone ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink, saying, "Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down."

Luke 1:15 -  For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.

Luke 5:37 -  And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined.

Luke 5:38 -  But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved.

Luke 5:39 -  And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, 'The old is better.' "

Luke 7:33 -  For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.'

Luke 10:34 -  So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

Luke 23:36 -  The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine,

John 2:3 -  And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine."

John 2:9 -  When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom.

John 2:10 -  And he said to him, "Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!"

John 4:46 -  So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum.

John 19:29 -  Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth.

John 19:30 -  So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

Acts 2:13 -  Others mocking said, "They are full of new wine."

Romans 14:21 -  It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.

Ephesians 5:18 -  And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,

1 Timothy 3:3 -  not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;

1 Timothy 3:8 -  Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money,

1 Timothy 5:23 -  No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities.

Titus 1:7 -  For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,

Titus 2:3 -  the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things—

Revelation 6:6 -  And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine."

Revelation 14:8 -  And another angel followed, saying, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."

Revelation 14:10 -  he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.

Revelation 16:19 -  Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.

Revelation 17:2 -  with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication."

Revelation 18:3 -  For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury."

Revelation 18:13 -  and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men.
Certainly, some of these verses speak of wine in a positive sense--a sense of blessing from the Lord. And some of these verses are indifferent in the way that mention wine. But some of these verses clearly condemn the drinking of wine. Let me point out two:

Proverbs 20:1 -  Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

1 Timothy 3:3 -  not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;

Wine is a mocker. Strong drink is a brawler. Whoever is led astray by it is not wise. Let me pose a question: What is the only way to ensure that you are not led astray by wine or strong drink? Never drinking it.

Secondly, when Paul lays out the qualifications for the elders of the church in 1 Timothy, he says that they should be not given to wine. Let me pose another question: How much wine? Not given to wine.

I could also note that in Ephesians 5:18 Paul instructs not to be drunk with wine. Let me pose one last question: What is the only way to ensure that you do not get drunk? Don't drink any.

I believe that alcoholic drink is forbidden by the Bible. You can disagree with me and, admittedly, I might be wrong. But in this instance, I would rather err on the side of caution and risk being wrong. It seems to me that the excuses that many give for permitting the drinking alcohol have to twist what the Scriptures actually say, and go against even the principles laid out in (gasp) Romans 14 regarding Christian liberty.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Revival in the Book of Jonah

There is something needed in the church today. It is something that has never been more needed than right now. It is something that has happened time and again throughout church history, something that will continue happening until the return of Jesus Christ. But it is something that we can’t create or start on our own. It is something that God must do among us. This thing that is so needed today is REVIVAL.

Revival is an interesting word. It means to bring back to life again, to restore vitality and strength, to awaken. There have been many revivals throughout history, more recently, the revival under St. Francis in the 1200’s, the Florentine Revival, the revival under Luther in Germany, the Swiss revival under Calvin, the revival in Scotland under John Knox, the evangelical revival under John Wesley, the Great Awakenings, and more. If you don’t know, or haven’t heard of these revivals, look them up. You will not find a more encouraging topic to read about than the revivals. Understanding the revivals of days gone by will help you understand why the church is in the state it is in today and why the church needs revival today.

Revival is something that most would say is necessary, but few would admit they actually need it. Everybody wants revival, but nobody really likes it. Listen to the words of James Burns as he describes why the church doesn’t like revival:

‎"For to the Church a revival means humiliation, a bitter knowledge of unworthiness, and an open and humiliating confession of sin on the part of her ministers and people. It is not the easy and glowing thing many think it to be, who imagine that it fills the empty pews, and re-instates the Church in power and authority. It comes to scorch before it heals; it comes to condemn ministers and people for their unfaithful witness, for their selfish living, for their neglect of the Cross, and to call them to daily renunciation, to an evangelical poverty, and to a deep and daily consecration. This is why a revival has ever been unpopular with large numbers within the Church. Because it says nothing to them of power such as they have learned to love, or of ease, or of success; it accuses them of sin, it tells them that they are dead, it calls them to awake, to renounce the world, and to follow Christ."

Very few want to admit the need for revival. We don’t like to admit that things are not ok. We don’t like to admit that we haven’t read the Bible in weeks, or had a devoted time of prayer in months—if ever. We don’t like to admit that our spiritual flame, which once burned so hot and was once so alive and vibrant, is now nothing more than a few coals slowly cooling with each passing day. What we like to do is to go about our lives ignoring the fact that there is sin permeating our lives and pretending that we have arrived at some sort of perfection. We ignore the fact that our sin keeps us from fellowship with God—keeps us from effective prayer—keeps us from fellowship with other saints—keeps us from having an effective witness in the world—keeps us from being obedient in even the simplest matters of faith—keeps us from cleansing ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit—keeps us from perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

We like to be comfortable, and to admit that we need revival will make us so uncomfortable that we can no longer be the same. Admitting we need revival will drive us to our knees before a holy God because he is the only one that can bring revival to our hearts. Revival will humble us and prepare us for the work of God’s Spirit in our sinful hearts of stone. A spiritual revival will rock your world, turn it upside-down and move you from your comfortable place of spiritual laziness to a place of spiritual hunger. Revival shows us our sin for what it really is. It sheds light on the darkest, most hidden corners of our lives. It reveals the most disgusting practices of our hearts and minds. Revival shows us our need for God.

We have recorded for us in the pages of Scripture a number of different revivals. Each one is equally worthy of our study, but perhaps none is as clear as the book that is devoted to revival—Jonah. From each revival, we learn that there are certain characteristics that are common to all revivals. I’d like to look at three from the four chapters of Jonah.

     1.       The Word of God – Jonah 1:1-2 – The book of Jonah starts with the word of the Lord. We learn here that the word of man cannot start a revival. Only the Word of God has the power to change a life. Each revival of history begins with the word of the Lord. As the Word is proclaimed, the Spirit works in our hearts to stir revival.

a.      A specific people – 1:2 – “Go to Nineveh” - God wanted Jonah to go and preach to the city of Nineveh. What was so unique or difficult about this? First of all, they were Gentiles. For Jonah to be sent to the Gentiles is a unique thing. In that day and age God was dealing with Israel as His chosen people. Secondly, think about Nineveh for a moment. Nineveh was the capital city of the Assyrian Empire. Its population nearly 750 thousand people, making it one of the largest settlements of the day (2x the size of Babylon). The Assyrians were a wicked people. They were known for using the military tactic of fear. They were notorious for their brutality and they made sure that their enemies knew how fierce they were. They had powerful bows, battering rams, and archers on horseback. They mutilated their prisoners, skinned people alive, piled skulls of the dead as a warning to others, decimated entire populations, and even bragged in stone about their atrocities. It is no wonder that Jonah fled the opposite direction. He probably feared for his life. On top of that, Jonah wanted to see Nineveh suffer for the evil that they had done, especially to his own people.

b.      A specific purpose – 1:2 – “cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” – The word of the Lord that came to Jonah was very specific. He was to proclaim to Nineveh that their wickedness had come up before God. It was time for God’s judgment. God, in His mercy, patiently endures sin. Romans 3:25 tells us that in His forbearance, He passed over the sins that were previously committed. Despite God’s forbearance, there is coming a day when all people will stand before Him to be judged. We need revival to come from the word of God in order to experience God’s mercy.

     2.       The Servant of God – 1:1-3:4 – The word of the Lord came to Jonah. This message didn’t come to Elijah, Elisha, or any other prophet. It came to Jonah. God has his man picked out. We learn through this that in every revival, there is a man chosen by God to lead the way. He is a man that has been chosen, molded, and commissioned by God to be a spiritual leader and to lead people to God. In Italy, it was St. Francis. In Switzerland, it was Calvin. In England, it was Wesley. In Scotland, it was John Knox. In Wales, it was Evan Roberts. In America, it was Jonathan Edwards. God always has a man picked out to lead His people to revival. God always starts a revival in the heart of one; and He uses that one to bring about change in others.
a.       Being used by God takes preparation – 1:3-2:10 – Jonah wasn’t ready to go to Nineveh when God first told him to go. He ran the other direction. He rebelled against the command of God. But God used Jonah’s rebellion to bring him to the place of obedience. God used a mighty tempest and a great fish to humble Jonah and to teach Jonah that he could not hide from God.

By the way, the storm and the great fish were prepared by God. In fact, all the storms and trials of your life are prepared and appointed by God. That means when you face life’s many difficulties it is for a purpose. God has specifically designed each trial and tribulation for your good, not for evil. God’s servant is molded and fashioned by God through those storms.

b.      Being used by God takes submission – 2:9 – “I will pay what I have vowed” – Jonah couldn’t be used by God at first because of his rebellion. God’s preparation led Jonah to the point of submission. There is an easy way to submit or a hard way to submit. Jonah took the hard way. Think about how much easier it could have been if he had just submitted to God in the first place.

All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give

This is the attitude of submission. Humble yourself under the Mighty Hand of God. Submit therefore to God. It is not a question of preference; it is a matter of principle. Are you going to submit or not? Many want to follow God without doing what He says. Jesus addressed that in Luke 6. “Why do you call me Lord, and do not do the things that I say?”

c.       Being used by God takes obedience – 3:2-4 – “Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you." So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD.”

An attitude of submission is useless without taking acts of obedience. Submission isn’t enough. The servant of God must obey Him. Jonah’s submission led to obedience. He obeyed the commission of the Lord.

Revival can be measured by obedience. A lack of obedience proves a lack of submission, regardless of what our lips are saying. One of the trends in churches today is an obsession with feelings--even feelings of conviction. Christians like to read books that convict them, but they never do anything about it. We watch Christian films that challenge us to strengthen our marriages or to be better dads, but we never do anything about it. We listen to songs like “What if His people prayed” and “I have decided to follow Jesus”, but we never do anything about the words that we are listening to. I don’t mean that reading good books, watching good, convicting movies, or listening to convicting music is bad. And I don’t mean that conviction is a bad thing. Conviction is what is needed to stir hearts towards revival. But conviction has become the end all to be all instead of being a motivator for obedience. We must be obedient to the will of God if we want to be used by Him.

     3.       The Work of God – 3:4-4:11 – God worked in the people of Nineveh and in Jonah
a.       A change of heart – 3:4-10 – The people’s response to Jonah’s message shows the genuineness of their heart. From the greatest to the least, they did whatever they could to show their remorse and repentance from their sins.  

God brings about revival by working in the hearts of individuals. That change is the result of the living God giving life to those who were dead.
b.      A change of attitude – 4:1-11 – Jonah hated the people of Nineveh. It is evident by his response to them. He went outside of the city to watch it be destroyed by God. But God wanted to teach Jonah something. So God prepared a plant to give Jonah shade, and a worm to destroy the plant. Jonah got mad because of the plant. God was trying to teach him something about Grace, Mercy, and Love. I like to think that Jonah learned the lesson. Why else would he have written it down?

Revival needs to begin within the church. We need a change of heart and a change of attitude. Think about the attitude that the church has toward the lost—or toward others in the church. Sometimes we have a hard enough time just liking each other, let alone loving each other. We say that we are concerned for the lost, yet we never mention the name of Christ outside the four walls of the church. Our actions show that we don’t really care for the lost. We care about ourselves, our comfort, our possessions, our building, and our church. We’ve taken the purpose of the church and flipped it upside down. Instead of living for the glory of God by making disciples of all nations we live for the glory of self by taking care of self. Truly we need a change of heart and a change of attitude.

There is a revival coming. There is always a revival coming. Like the tide coming in one wave at a time, so God is bringing revival one wave at a time. Each one is followed by a recession of sorts.

How will God bring about revival?

“Revivals are not usually preceded by the awakening of the Church to a sense of need, but by the awakening of devout souls here and there, who, feeling the need, begin to entreat God in prayer for a revival. Gradually this deepens and spreads until the sense of need becomes a burden, until the cry, ‘How long, O God! How long?’ becomes an agony. This is the cry which God cannot deny. It is for that cry that we must intently listen. For until the need becomes vehement the answer is not given. Not until the kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence comes there the divine response.”

The church needs individuals to listen the word of God, submit and become obedient to the will of God, and allow the work of God to change their lives. Only then is the church ready for revival.

What will the coming revival look like?

“Whatever form the coming awakening may take, we may be certain, at least, that it will bring us back to essentials, to concentration on the vital issues of the spiritual life, for every true revival does this. It cuts through all the trappings until it gets at the center of life. It leads men back to glowing certainties, and to simplicity, for simplicity is one of the great characteristics of a revived spiritual life. When the heart earnestly seeks God, it goes to Him by the shortest route. Above all, it will bring us back to Christ, back to discipleship that will be something more than name, back to the Cross, and to bearing it.”

Revival doesn’t mean the discovering of new truths. Revival means we get back to the basics. It means we keep the main thing the main thing. It means we rid ourselves of all those secondary things of life and practice that have got in the way. So the natural question is what are the basics? Burns outlined it for us in the previous quote: glowing certainties, discipleship that is more than a name, and back to the Cross and to bearing it.

Is your heart ready for the next revival?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Commands of Christ - Matthew 19:14

"Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." -Matthew 19:13-14

To whom is this command spoken?

The disciples

What does this command require?

Let the little children come to Jesus.

What truths do we learn here?

Jesus is interested in ministering to little children. He desires to be near them and to allow them to come near to Him. Jesus wanted to lay hands on them and pray for them. The disciples were wrong to rebuke those who were bringing the children to Jesus.

Children's ministries are often neglected in churches. Children are left to themselves, or given some second-rate ministry to attend. We ought to be investing in children and discipling them in the way of the Lord. Children can teach us something about ministry. I am a firm believer that if you can't teach and minister to children, you probably won't be very effective teaching and ministering to adults. I knew a young man that wanted some opportunities to teach. We had a need in one of our children's ministries, so we offered him those opportunities. He told us that he didn't want to teach children, he wanted to teach adults, and he passed up this chance to minister. Children could have taught him a lot as a young man starting out in ministry. But he passed it up because he wanted that greater sphere of influence with adults.

Jesus says something significant here. He says, "of such is the kingdom of heaven." I don't think this means that there are only little children in the kingdom of heaven. I believe Jesus was talking of the faith of the little children, just has He had in another place. Those who enter the kingdom of heaven must have the faith of a little child. Children don't question the truth, they just accept it. Children don't try and find a better way, they just take the way that is shown them. We must have this sort of faith to enter the kingdom of heaven.

What are the consequences for disobedience?

Failure to see what the kingdom of heaven is really like.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Commands of Christ - Matthew 18:21-22

"Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven." -Matthew 18:21-22

To whom is this command spoken?

Spoken to Peter.

What does the command require?

Forgive your brother up to seventy times seven times.

What truths do we learn here?

Peter must have thought he was doing well with the suggestion of forgiving seven times. The Pharisees taught to forgive three times. So what Peter did was double that, then add one just for good measure. Jesus knocked Peter's socks off with His response.

Not seven times, not even seventy times, but seventy times seven. This is an inconceivably high number to forgive someone. Many times I struggle even reaching the seven times. But Jesus desires that we forgive until we don't feel like it anymore, then keep on forgiving. The number here isn't important. Jesus is not saying that we forgive 490 times and then we're free to do whatever we want to the offender. The person that can forgive like that is not keeping track. The person that can forgive like this is modeling the forgiveness of God.

Think about it. How many times do you sin in a day? a week? a year? Yet every time we come to God and confess our sins to Him, He forgives us. He has even given us a promise that He will forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness if we confess our sins to Him.

How forgiving are you? Do you model God's forgiveness to your brothers and sisters in Christ? Do you model God's forgiveness to unbelievers? Do you have to think about it each time your brother asks for forgiveness? or do you just forgive as soon as it is asked of you? "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you." -Ephesians 4:32.

What are the consequences for disobedience?

Bitterness, relational conflict, spiritual drought, judgment from God,

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Commands of Christ - Matthew 18:10

"Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven." -Matthew 18:10

To whom is this command given?

Jesus is speaking to the disciples (18:1).

What does this command require?

Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones (referring to the one who becomes like a little child, a Christian).

What truths do we learn here?

God places a high value on His disciples. In fact, God values Christians so much that a few verses earlier Jesus pronounced woe to the man who causes one of His disciples to sin. Crimes against Christians are especially heinous. Don't get me wrong, God views all sin as equally sinful, but Jesus says in Matthew 18:6 that whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. That is a serious statement. A few verses later, Jesus says, "Even so it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish." God values His children. He doesn't want to see even one perish. Praise God that He will complete salvation for each one who believes in Him (Phil 1:6).

The second part of this verse is difficult to understand. Just looking at the plain sense of words seems to make sense, so we'll stick with it. It would seem that each one of 'these little ones' (Christians) has an angel in heaven. William MacDonald and other commentators refer to Hebrews 1:14 regarding guardian angels. This verse means what it says. Christians have angels who always 'see the face of My Father who is in heaven.' This is throne-room speech. The angels have access to God's throne-room, it seems, in connection with bringing issues regarding God's little ones before Him.

These last two commands are hard sayings to fully understand. Pray with me for understanding of these deep things of God.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Commands of Christ - Matthew 18:8-9

"If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire." -Matthew 18:8-9

To whom are these commands spoken?

Matthew 18:1-2 indicate for us that Jesus is speaking to the disciples, and at least one child is there.

What do these commands require?

If your hand or foot or eye causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you.

What truths do we learn here?

First off, as we noted in Matthew 5:29-30, Jesus is not advocating self-mutilation as an acceptable practice to rid yourself of sin or to gain favor before God. Jesus is teaching here that it is of more value to avoid everlasting hell-fire maimed and mutilated than to be cast into eternal hell-fire with both hands, both feet, or both eyes.

Eyes and hands and feet are all valuable. We take them for granted each and every day. Think about how detailed and complex your eyes are--instant auto-focus, lightning-fast maneuvering, full HD. Your eyes are incredibly valuable. But Jesus says that it would be better for your to enter into life with only one eye than to keep them both and be cast into fire.

Think about this phrase for a minute: the everlasting fire. In Greek, the phrase is 'to pyr to aionion', which literally means 'the fire without end.' This is serious stuff. This is a phrase that we don't like to accept. But it is written in the Word of God and is therefore true. There is a very real everlasting torment of fire for those who do not put their faith in Jesus' death and resurrection. A hard truth to accept, yes, but it is a truth, nonetheless. Thankfully, this truth about hell is countered by a truth about life. Life--zoe--that Jesus speaks of here must also be referring to a life with no end. Indeed, Jesus is speaking to men who are already alive here on earth and He tells them that they can enter into life. Praise God there is a heaven where we can experience life as God intended it. Let us be careful to rid ourselves of those things which would cause us to sin, even if they are important to us now.

Is this warning of avoiding Hell to those who are already His? If so, does this create problems for the doctrine of eternal security?
I think this warning is for both believers and unbelievers. For believers, to spur us on to continue in our life of faith and good works and for unbelievers to call them to repentance and eternal life. This doesn't create a problem with the doctrine of eternal security, for we know that believers cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom 8). It does, however, create a problem of authenticity for each individual. What sort of person am I? The writer of Hebrews describes 3 types of people: Those who never grow - 5:11-14; Those who go on - 6:1-3; and Those who go back - 6:4-8; and then gives a similar warning/exhortation in 10:39 - "But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul." So believers should heed these warnings of avoiding Hell as motivation to keep following Jesus and rid ourselves of all things that might cause us to sin. "It is better to enter life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire." I think also of Hebrews 3:12-14 - "Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: "Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Commands of Christ - Matthew 17:24-27

"When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, "Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?" He said, "Yes." And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?" Peter said to Him, "From strangers." Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free. Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you." -Matthew 17:24-27

To whom is this command spoken?


What does this command require?

Go to the sea, cast in a hook, take the fish that comes up first. When you have opened its mouth, take the coin you find and give it to the temple tax collectors for Me and you. All this so we don't offend them.

What truths do we learn here?

The temple tax was a half-shekel tax that was imposed to pay for the expense of running the temple. Jesus' question to Peter must be understood in the customs of that day. A king would tax his subjects, but not members of his own family. For Jesus to pay the temple tax would be to pay a tax to Himself. Remember, the temple was God's house.

Jesus is omniscient. He knows everything. He knew already that Peter had been questioned about the temple tax. He knew the answer Peter gave. I wonder if Peter answered 'yes' to the tax collector to save face. Jesus also knew exactly which fish Peter would catch, and that the fish would have a coin in its mouth. Jesus is omnipotent. He has power over all things. I can't help but think that this fish was prepared by God, just as the great fish in the book of Jonah was prepared by God.

Jesus teaches Peter here to pay the temple tax even though he really shouldn't have to. It was more important that Peter not offend these tax collectors than for them to have something to accuse Jesus and His disciples about. Paying the tax was not a question of morality. Jesus seems indifferent to the issue. I think we learn here that if there is an issue like this that has no moral weight, we can conform in order to avoid senseless criticism and abuse.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Commands of Christ - Matthew 17:14-18

"And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him." Then Jesus answered and said, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me." And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. -Matthew 17:14-18

To whom is this command spoken?

Spoken to a man who brought his demon-possessed son to the feet of Jesus.

What does this command require?

Bring him (the demon-possessed son) to Jesus.

What truths do we learn here?

The situation here is a bit interesting. The man had brought his sick son to the disciples. But they couldn't heal him. So the man brings his son to Jesus, hoping that He could heal his son. Jesus replies with "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you?" I wonder if Jesus was rebuking the multitude, the disciples, the man, or all three. He was probably addressing everyone, because He uses the word 'generation' which would imply a larger category of people. The point is, they had no faith and were thus called perverse. 

Needless to say, Jesus commanded that the son be brought to Him. The man obeyed, Jesus rebuked the demon, it came out of the boy, and the boy was healed from that very hour. 

Jesus has power over demons. He has power over all things. His disciples couldn't cast the demon out because of their unbelief. Jesus explains that if they just had a little faith, even as small as a mustard seed, they could say to the mountain 'Move from here to there' and it would happen. We serve an omnipotent God--a God that specializes in doing the impossible. If we would just believe a little in a big God, we could see many miracles.

What are the blessings of obedience?

This man's obedience brought healing to his son.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Where Is Your God?

 Where is Your God? (Psalm 42)

  • He is above us. Deut. 4:39, Josh. 2:11, Is. 55:8-9

God is above every person, everything, every obstacle, and anything that could be against us. Eph. 1:19-23, 1 Chr. 29:11
You can’t understand Him, you can’t see Him, you can’t touch Him, and you can’t be in His presence without recognizing that God is above you.
  • He is around us. Ps. 125:2, Ps. 34

Wherever you go, God will be there. There is no problem that is greater than God.
  • He is before us. Ex. 13:21

Verse 22: God isn’t going anywhere. He won’t leave us! Deut. 1:30. We don’t have to fight alone. We just need to keep going forward. God is before us, fighting for us. Don’t give up! God guarantees the victory.
  • He is behind us. Ex. 14:19

God is always watching our backs. 1 Cor. 10:4.
  • He is beneath us. Deut. 33:27

When we fall, God will always hold us up. Ps. 37:24, Jude 24-25
  • He is with us. Is. 41:10, Mat. 28:20

Genesis 28:15 We all go through hard times in life. We worry so much about things we cannot control and we are busy complaining and drowning in our problems and we completely forget about God. God loves you and if you are saved, He is with you in every moment.
  • He is within us. Jn. 14:16-17

Unlike believers in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit lives in each one of us that has received Jesus as our Savior.

It is sad that there are so many Christian people that are discouraged and worrying about stuff. It’s sad because there is a God above them, around them, before them, behind them, beneath them, with them, and within them. Isaiah 43:2. When we say or think we don’t have the strength to go on, it’s because we’re not depending on God. Matthew 11:28

                Psalm 42. Where is your God?

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Commands of Christ - Matthew 17:1-13

"Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. But Jesus came and touched them and said, "Arise, and do not be afraid." When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, "Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead." And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?" Jesus answered and said to them, "Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands." Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist." -Matthew 17:1-13

To whom are these commands spoken?

Peter, James and John

What do these commands require?

Arise and do not be afraid. Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.

What truths do we learn here?

Jesus did not want this vision to be revealed until He had risen from the dead. I believe this is another instance that if people knew what had happened, they would have wanted to crown Him as their King right then and there. But most people, not even the disciples, understood that He had to die as the sacrifice for sin. Peter even said, "This will never happen to You!"

Jesus told things to this 'inner circle' of disciples that He did not tell the rest. It seems that He spent more time with Peter, James and John than the rest of the disciples. He spoke to Peter more than any other. Even in the number of disciples that Jesus had, it seems that He focused His time on just a few more than the rest.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Commands of Christ - Matthew 16:24-27

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works." -Matthew 16:24-27

To whom is this command spoken?

Spoken to Jesus' disciples, but the command is for anyone who desires to come after Me.

What does this command require?

Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus.

What truths do we learn here?

First, we learn that if anyone desires to follow Jesus, there are some ground-rules. This is contrary to popular thinking. There are many today that desire to follow Jesus, but they want to do it on their own terms. They don't want to acknowledge that there are some basic principles to following Jesus. They will deny things like church attendance, church membership, church discipline, tithing, and anything else that would bring just a little too much commitment to their lives. Jesus teaches us here that there are some fundamental things to following Jesus.

Let's break this down into the three basic parts:
1. let him deny himself - This goes back to the dialogue that Jesus and Peter have just had. Peter rebuked Jesus because he didn't like that Jesus was going to have to die. Peter needed to get his own desires out of the way. Peter was mindful of the things of men. He needed to deny himself.
2. let him...take up his cross - The follower of Jesus must acknowledge that life is on the line. The cross is an instrument of torture. Its as if Jesus is telling Peter, "I'm going to be crucified, and you all can expect to be killed for following Me as well."
3. let him...follow Me - Again, this command comes up. Followers of Jesus must keep following Him. Every moment of every day we must follow Jesus.

The Christian life is a paradox. Whoever desires to save his life will lose it. But whoever loses his life for Christ's sake will find it. Following Christ doesn't always make a lot of sense to our human minds. It doesn't make sense to the world around us. But Jesus teaches that following Him is the only real way to save your life in the long run.

What are the consequences for disobeying this command?

If you miss this command, you miss it all.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Our Precious Little Doll!

 Bright, blue eyes

Sleepy after a good meal!

Kendra Lynn McKeen

6 lbs 9 oz; 20 1/4 in. Cute as a button!