Dec. 27, 2020. Philippians 3:7-11

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FROM GARBAGE TO GLORY.   Philippians 3:7-11.  12/27/2020.  #14.

Philippians 3:7-11 [New King James Version]

7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

  • Paul’s worldly wealth
    • Paul had listed his worldly credentials
      • A Jew of the tribe of Benjamin
      • A Pharisee among Pharisees
      • Trained under the famed teacher, Gamaliel
      • Perfect in following the requirements of the Law
      • Zealous for persecuting Christians, who he considered to be heretics
    • Paul believed that he held the highest status in the Jewish
    • faith & commanded the greatest esteem among the right men
      • Matthew 4 a devilish deception if measuring your worth by man’s scales (power, possessions, prestige, wealth, acclaim, & influence)
      • Worldly value is very temporary (Ecclesiastes 12:1-8)
  • Paul cashes in with a far better deal
    • Paul states that all he had previously valued in life, he now
    • counted as rubbish (lit., dung) for the cause of Christ
      • His Jewish heritage carried no weight with God
      • Being a Pharisee had no lasting value, especially when there was much error in his understanding
      • His lauded training was inadequate
      • His keeping of the Law was superficial
      • Persecuting Christians was opposing God
    • Paul counted all his achievements & status as worthless
      • This doesn’t mean he found no value in his study
      • So much of what Paul learned was wrong (Paul learned Jewish legalism & exclusivism)
    • Paul rejected his training to receive & learn of Christ
      • Nothing in Paul’s past had any value before God
      • I Corinthians 4:7 anything of worth is given be God for his glory alone (talents, accomplishments, acclaim…)
    • Paul did not consider that he had lost anything of value
      • He did not grieve over no longer being a Pharisee
      • His only grief was persecuting saints (I Timothy 1:15) 
      • Paul didn’t consider correction of his doctrines, beliefs, training, & teaching as an insult or rebuke
        • He didn’t pridefully hold onto error
        • Paul was teachable
    • Paul didn’t wallow in his past, but moved on with Christ
      • Those who are stuck in the past repeat its sins
      • Paul shed his past errors in order to gain Christ
    • Paul’s new direction completely changed him
      • Instead of the Law, Paul studied Christ
      • Paul was self-righteous; now righteous in Christ
      • Paul lived by legalism; now he lived by faith
      • He was strong in Law; now he sought the power that came in Christ’s resurrection
      • Paul reveled in authority; now he fellowshipped with Christ through sharing in his suffering
      • Paul was a servant of the Law; & now he sought to follow Christ unto death to attain resurrection
  • Without complete change there is no change
    • Paul did not mix old life with new = a complete change
    • Paul was only successful as an apostle as he gave all to
    • Christ without reservation & held onto to nothing from past
    • Jam. 1 a double-minded man has not given all to Christ
      • He wants to serve Christ & please the flesh also
      • He wants to be blessed, but hold onto the past
      • He wants to receive rewards, but wants his own way
      • He wants to live by faith, but is full of doubts

Key Verse: Ecclesiastes 12:1-8

1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,

Before the [a]difficult days come,

And the years draw near when you say,

“I have no pleasure in them”:

2 While the sun and the light,

The moon and the stars,

Are not darkened,

And the clouds do not return after the rain;

3 In the day when the keepers of the house tremble,

And the strong men bow down;

When the grinders cease because they are few,

And those that look through the windows grow dim;

4 When the doors are shut in the streets,

And the sound of grinding is low;

When one rises up at the sound of a bird,

And all the daughters of music are brought low.

5 Also they are afraid of height,

And of terrors in the way;

When the almond tree blossoms,

The grasshopper is a burden,

And desire fails.

For man goes to his eternal home,

And the mourners go about the streets.

6 Remember your Creator before the silver cord is [b]loosed,

Or the golden bowl is broken,

Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain,

Or the wheel broken at the well.

7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,

And the spirit will return to God who gave it.

8 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,

“All is vanity.”

Dec 20, 2020. Philippians 3:1-6

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ON GUARD!  Philippians 3:1-6. Dec. 20, 2020.  #13.

Philippians 3:1-6 [New King James Version]

1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. 2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship [a]God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

  • Ever vigilant
    • Believers tend to be trusting people
      • Not looking to be scammed, deceived, or manipulated = expected others to be honest & sincere
      • Even when violated believers assume that such cases are rare & untargeted
    • Paul states that treachery is common & must be guarded against (deceivers & persecutors are on the prowl)
      • I Peter 5:8 if Satan is on the prowl, so are his followers (2 Cor. 11:14-15)
      • Believers are particularly vulnerable to attack due to their beliefs & trusting nature
    • Paul states that we are to rejoice in the Lord, but we must still remember that we are in the world among evil people
    • Paul said that he is not annoyed, irked, or bothered by having to warn the church about the ensnarement of evil men in this world
      • Safety warnings need to repeated & heeded
      • The safety of the church is too important to take lightly or to put off (be lazy about)
      • Most tragedies happen when we let our guard down (Adam, Abraham, David…)
    • It is easy to ignore warnings, but hard to recover from failure
  • Paul lists the enemies of the saints
    • Dogs = the impure, irreverent, & impertinent
      • The image of vicious packs of dogs which roamed through cities & villages, attacking people & animals
      • Beware of those who actively seek to bring you down morally, spiritually, & mentally
      • Dogs = easier to recognize than subtler enemies
    • Evil workers = these could be either those who are false believers within the church body or those who try to manipulate or destroy from outside the body
      • II Timothy 4:14-15 Paul warned Timothy of Alexander the Coppersmith who strongly opposed the Gospel
      • Evil men are always nearby, opposing all that is godly: Abiram, Korah, & Dathan + Haman + Judas
    • The mutilated = the Jews who opposed Christians (much more prevalent in 1st century than today)
      • Christians have replaced the circumcised (Jews)
      • Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of the Law
  • Pedigree, position, & power mean nothing in eternity
    • Paul tells the Phil. to have no confidence in the flesh
      • Heritage & celebrity status or reputation are not to be trusted (no man is infallible)
      • Too many believers trust everything their favorite famous TV preacher says
    • Paul states that if anyone could have confidence in the flesh, he could
      • A Jew circumcised on the 8th day, from the tribe of Benjamin, a Pharisee, zealous to point of persecuting the church, & the very model of a faithful Hebrew
      • Paul followed the letter of the law perfectly
    • Romans 7 only after Paul came to Christ did he realize that all his works were based upon arrogant self-righteousness
      • Isaiah 64:5-9 when we compare ourselves with others, we may seem righteous & pure by our own standards
      • Isaiah 6 compared to holiness of God, we are evil
    • If Paul can’t claim holiness ŵ his credentials, no one could

Key verse:  Isaiah 64:5-9 [New King James Version]

5 You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness,

Who remembers You in Your ways.

You are indeed angry, for we have sinned—

In these ways we continue;

And we need to be saved.

6 But we are all like an unclean thing,

And all our righteousnesses are like [a]filthy rags;

We all fade as a leaf,

And our iniquities, like the wind,

Have taken us away.

7 And there is no one who calls on Your name,

Who stirs himself up to take hold of You;

For You have hidden Your face from us,

And have [b]consumed us because of our iniquities.

8 But now, O Lord,

You are our Father;

We are the clay, and You our potter;

And all we are the work of Your hand.

9 Do not be furious, O Lord,

Nor remember iniquity forever;

Indeed, please look—we all are Your people!

Dec 20, 2020. II Samuel 3:22-39

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JOAB SLAYS ABNER. II Samuel 3:22-39. 12/20/20. #08.

2 Samuel 3:22-39 [New King James Version]

22 At that moment the servants of David and Joab came from a raid and brought much [a]spoil with them. But Abner was not with David in Hebron, for he had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. 23 When Joab and all the troops that were with him had come, they told Joab, saying, “Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he sent him away, and he has gone in peace.” 24 Then Joab came to the king and said, “What have you done? Look, Abner came to you; why is it that you sent him away, and he has already gone? 25 Surely you realize that Abner the son of Ner came to deceive you, to know your going out and your coming in, and to know all that you are doing.” 26 And when Joab had gone from David’s presence, he sent messengers after Abner, who brought him back from the well of Sirah. But David did not know it. 27 Now when Abner had returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him privately, and there [b]stabbed him in the stomach, so that he died for the blood of Asahel his brother. 28 Afterward, when David heard it, he said, “My kingdom and I are [c]guiltless before the Lord forever of the blood of Abner the son of Ner. 29 Let it rest on the head of Joab and on all his father’s house; and let there never fail to be in the [d]house of Joab one who has a discharge or is a leper, who leans on a staff or falls by the sword, or who lacks bread.” 30 So Joab and Abishai his brother killed Abner, because he had killed their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle. 31 Then David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, “Tear your clothes, gird yourselves with sackcloth, and mourn for Abner.” And King David followed the coffin. 32 So they buried Abner in Hebron; and the king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept. 33 And the king sang a lament over Abner and said: “Should Abner die as a fool dies? 34 Your hands were not bound Nor your feet put into fetters;

As a man falls before wicked men, so you fell.” Then all the people wept over him again. 35 And when all the people came to persuade David to eat food while it was still day, David took an oath, saying, “God do so to me, and more also, if I taste bread or anything else till the sun goes down!” 36 Now all the people took note of it, and it pleased them, since whatever the king did pleased all the people. 37 For all the people and all Israel understood that day that it had not been the king’s intent to kill Abner the son of Ner. 38 Then the king said to his servants, “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? 39 And I am weak today, though anointed king; and these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too harsh for me. The Lord shall repay the evildoer according to his wickedness.”

  • A king not in charge
    • David agreed that Abner would put Israel under David’s rule
      • David provided a royal feast for Abner
      • Abner brought Michal back to David
      • David then sends Abner away in peace
    • Joab had been away on a raid, securing wealth for the king
      • Joab had no idea that David had made this pact
        • One of key leadership principles is to keep key people informed of organ. plans
        • Joab was, shocked, incensed, and angry
      • Joab felt betrayed by David’s actions
        • Abner was the head of the enemy army
        • Many Jews died in battle fighting Israel
        • Abner had killed Joab’s brother, Asahel
        • David had not informed Joab of this pact
    • Joab sends a messenger to call Abner back to Jerusalem
      • Joab takes Abner aside as if to talk to him, but he kills Abner instead
        • Joab doesn’t fight Abner in personal combat (he slays him like killing an insect)
        • Joab avenges his brother’s death in a shameful act as the revenger of blood
      • David knows nothing about Joab’s plan or act
    • When David hears about the betrayal of trust, he is grieved
      • His subjects will assume David ordered the attack
      • David does nothing to punish Joab
    • Unless a king is in charge of his government, he is weak
      • Joab was David’s cousin (Aunt Zeruiah’s son)
      • For some reason, David seems powerless to either control Joab or punish him
      • Joab knows that he can get by with murder
    • When those who you are in charge of know that they can get by with wrongdoing, you are powerless to impact their lives
  • David grieves
    • David is beside himself with grief and anguish when he hears of the horrendous betrayal
      • David had guaranteed Abner’s safety
      • To violate the king’s oath was treasonous
    • David shows a great display of mourning and contrition
    • David showed his displeasure with Joab in Abner’s eulogy
      • This great man should not have been struck down like a fool
      • Joab’s betrayal was cowardly and loathsome
      • David declares that Abner had been struck down by wicked men (referring to Joab)
      • Abner was not a prisoner awaiting execution, and he did not fall in honorable combat
    • In Joab’s mind he had merely revenged his brother’s death
      • Even though Asahel died in battle, Joab blamed Abner
      • Abner was an enemy, a rival to Joab’s position, and he needed to be eliminated (no honor involved)
    • David declares that the sons Zeruiah were too strong for him
      • Joab had powerful support among Judah, and David did not dare challenge him
      • When supporters are more powerful than the leader chaos must follow
  • Joab was a mixed bag
    • He wins battles for the king and helps defeat Absalom
    • He kills Abner, Amasa, and Absalom against king’s will
    • He helps David cover up Uriah murder, but David knows that Joab can use this against him
    • Eventually, David tells Solomon to kill Joab

Dec 13, 2020. Matthew 2:16-18

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DIAMOND IN THE MUCK.  Matthew 2:16-18. Dec, 13, 2020.

Matthew 2:16-18 [New King James Version]

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,

Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,

Rachel weeping for her children,

Refusing to be comforted,

Because they are no more.”

  • The popular view of the Christmas story
    • Christmas to most believers is full of angels, wise men, shepherds, a manger, a star, a babe, and a young mom
    • We like the image of God coming to earth as a man
      • God uses a peasant girl as a vessel to introduce the incarnate son to the world
      • We romanticize a long journey, a filthy stable, and a humble family
    • The Christmas story has become cozy, adventuresome,  and without context
  • The context of the Christmas story is less romantic than legend
    • Israel was under the cruel whip of Rome and direct rule of the paranoid tyrant, Herod
    • Life was not easy for the poor of the land
      • A struggle to live and danger lurked everywhere
      • Taxes were oppressive and both Roman soldiers and Herod’s officials took advantage of them
    • As when Israel were slaves in Egypt, the people cried out for deliverance
  • The wise men brought gifts and trouble
    • We think of the wise men making the long 700-mile trip to Israel on camels covering many weeks of travel
    • The Magi were astrologers in southern Persia
      • They probably were familiar with Daniel’s prophecy concerning the “Prince” of Daniel 9
      • They were obviously divinely led
    • Obviously, the image of the wise men arriving on the night of Jesus’ birth is incorrect
      • They came to see the young child (not a baby), who was in a house
      • From Herod’s calculation, Jesus was a toddler
  • Light burst into extreme darkness
    • The visit of the wise men precipitated the death of several boy babies and toddlers (20-30)
    • To kill Jesus, Herod killed all the small boys
      • God sent his son into Egypt for safe keeping
    • These were real babies and boys who died
      • Real mothers and fathers grieved
      • These families and children did nothing wrong
      • This was a shock – a sudden unexpected attack
    • The coming of Christ highlights the wickedness he came to overcome (real babies dying due to the cruelty of a paranoid tyrant is the beginning)
      • Jesus came to bring peace to a world of war, disease, cruelty, crime, and evil of all manner
      • The contrast between the mission of the Lord and the wickedness of the world is highlighted by the wanton murder of helpless children
    • It is the darkness of the world that needed the light
      • We offer the world a Christ who was born to give his life for cheaters, liars, adulterers, thieves, murderers, extortionists, and blasphemers
      • The baby in the manger is the offering for the sins of the world
    • Christ came with purpose and destiny
      • To remember only the babe in the cradle and not the lamb of God on the cross is to miss the point
      • To many in the world, the baby Jesus is all they see (cute, romantic, helpless, endearing…)
    • To miss the Christ slain for us is to still be lost in our sins
      • There is no cross without the cradle
      • There’s no meaning of the cradle without the cross
    • Christmas must always be set in its context to be real

Dec 6, 2020. Philippians 2:25-30

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Philippians 2:25-30 [New King James Version]

25 Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; 26 since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27 For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. 29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; 30 because for the work of Christ he came close to death, [a]not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.

Dec 6, 2020. II Samuel 3:12-21

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ABNER MAKES A DEAL. II Samuel 3:12-21. 12/06/20. #07.

II Samuel 3:12-21 [New King James Version]

12 Then Abner sent messengers on his behalf to David, saying, “Whose is the land?” saying also, “Make your covenant with me, and indeed my hand shall be with you to bring all Israel to you.” 13 And David said, “Good, I will make a covenant with you. But one thing I require of you: you shall not see my face unless you first bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see my face.” 14 So David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, saying, “Give me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to myself for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.” 15 And Ishbosheth sent and took her from her husband, from Paltiel the son of Laish. 16 Then her husband went along with her to Bahurim, weeping behind her. So Abner said to him, “Go, return!” And he returned. 17 Now Abner had communicated with the elders of Israel, saying, “In time past you were seeking for David to be king over you. 18 Now then, do it! For the Lord has spoken of David, saying, ‘By the hand of My servant David, I will save My people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and the hand of all their enemies.’ ” 19 And Abner also spoke in the hearing of Benjamin. Then Abner also went to speak in the hearing of David in Hebron all that seemed good to Israel and the whole house of Benjamin. 20 So Abner and twenty men with him came to David at Hebron. And David made a feast for Abner and the men who were with him. 21 Then Abner said to David, “I will arise and go, and gather all Israel to my lord the king, that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may reign over all that your heart desires.” So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.

  • Abner’s betrayal
    • Four basic types of betrayal:
      • PURPOSEFUL – a spy from another country or group infiltrates another entity in order to betray them (Hushai; Mati Hiri, Nathan Hale)
      • REACTIVE – (an offended party takes revenge by betraying his sworn cause – Abner, Ahithophel, Benedict Arnold)
      • JUDICIAL – (when a state or entity violates its sworn purpose, the faithful often oppose that entity – John the Baptist, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Am. Revolution)
      • COVETOUS – (seeking one’s own gain – Judas, Balaam, Jezebel/Naboth)
    • Abner was offended at being accused, so he switched sides
      • Many in Israel were already pro-David
      • David had been popular with army and people
      • Ishbosheth was not an inspiring man
    • Abner proposes a meeting with David to give him Israel
  • David agrees to meet with Abner
    • David is thrilled Abner’s proposal
      • David agrees to meet with Abner if he would bring his wife, Michal, back to him
      • David send Ishbosheth a messenger demanding that Michal be sent to him
    • Michal was a woman between two worlds
      • She love David and was loyal to him
      • She was given to David after David brought back 200 Philistine foreskins from battle
      • She saved David’s life when Saul sought to kill him
      • In anger, Saul took Michal from David and gave her to Paltiel (a young nobleman who supported Saul)
        • Michal had no say in the matter (no choice)
        • Michal still loved David, but had to perform the duties of a wife to Paltiel
      • Now, she was happily going back to David
      • The men in her life caused her to be adulterous, spiritually polluted, and disgraced (Dt. 24, Rm. 7:1-4)
    • David wanted his wife back
      • He had earned the honor of marrying her through dangerous heroic deeds
      • Being Saul’s daughter, she provided a means to legitimize his claim to the throne
      • David truly loved Michal
    • Abner fetches Michal from Paltiel’s house
      • Paltiel follows after her, weeping and pleading, until Abner orders him to go home
      • Michal is obviously a very desirable woman
  • Abner seals the deal
    • Abner secures the transfer of power through lobbying the elders and leaders of Israel to accept transfer of the kingdom to David
      • His main difficulty would be to convince the tribe of Benjamin to agree to this arrangement, since Saul was from their tribe (only about a century after the tribe was decimated at the end of Judges)
      • After Benjamin realized that the rest of Israel was agreeable to have David as their king
    • David puts on a feast for Abner and receives him as a royal guest
      • After the feast Abner goes, promising to deliver Israel to David
      • It seems that God’s promise to David was being fulfilled
    • All things are not always what they seem to be
      • Abner had not delivered Israel yet
      • Abner had earned a bitter enemy in Joab when he killed his brother
      • We can never predict the paths the Lord will take us
        • Often, God teaches us lessons by not doing what we anticipate him doing
        • Important to not depend on what we think should happen and be alert to follow God’s lead

Nov. 29, 2020. Philippians 2:19-24

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A MAN NAMED TIMOTHY  Philippians 2:19-24. 11/29/2020. #11.

Philippians 2:19-24 [New King James Version]

19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. 23 Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. 24 But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.

  • Faithful Timothy
    • Paul had gathered a number of helpers around him (Luke, Titus, Aristarchus, Silas…), but none were as faithful as Timothy)
    • Timothy became Paul’s favorite companion
      • Paul considered himself Timothy’s spiritual son
      • Paul mentions Timothy more than other co-workers
      • Timothy = Honoring God
      • Timothy was the son of a pagan Greek father and a devout Jewish mother (Acts 16:1), named Eunice (2 Tim. 1:5) from Lystra (even grandma Lois was a faithful believer)
    • Timothy joined the second missionary journey with Silas
      • Paul had Timothy circumcised (so not the offend the Jews – Jesus paid taxes not to offend Jews)
      • I Timothy 4:14; II Timothy 1:6 Paul then participated in the laying on of hands, ordaining Timothy to ministry (I Timothy 4:1-16)
    • Timothy accompanied Paul into Europe
      • When Paul was expelled from Thessalonica after only three weeks, Paul sent Timothy back to strengthen them
      • Timothy was with Paul in Ephesus, Macedonia, and Corinth
      • Paul now sent Timothy to check on the Php. Church while he waited for him at Troas
      • Timothy was in Ephesus at the time of Paul’s death
  • Rare Timothy
    • Paul paid Timothy his greatest tribute: no one else is as like-minded (as Paul) who will care for the Philippians’ needs
      • This included Titus, Luke, Silas…
      • Timothy approached ministry the way Paul wanted him to do so (Paul counted on him to be diligent and to minister in the correct manner)
      • Timothy did not have the same bold persona as Paul, so Paul had to encourage him to be bold and courageous (II Timothy 1:7)
      • “For all seek their own, not the things of Christ Jesus”
    • A most profound observation
    • Most people, even believers seek their own will
      • There are pastors who treat their churches as their own private fiefdoms
      • It is rare to find believers consistently seeking and doing the will of the Lord
    • Even those who worked with Paul had a tendency to seek their own will and not God’s
    • A whole litany of believers seeking their own way: Moses resisting going to Egypt, Jonah left for Joppa, David lusted after Bathsheba, Jeremiah refused to speak, Paul went to Jerusalem, Peter backed away from the Galatian saints…
    • Timothy’s character was so stellar that it was proven
      • He was consistent in faith, service, and dedication
      • Timothy did not struggle with obedience, but he did wrestle with his own fears
    • Timothy proves that absolute dedication is possible, even for believers who wrestle with personal limitations
  • We need more Timothy people
    • All believers have the potential to be like Timothy in devotion, service, consistency, attitude, and perseverance
    • Those who fail to live up to Timothy’s example do so because “they seek their own way and not that of Christ Jesus”
      • Failure to obey is a victory for pride and rebellion
      • Two aspects: What do you seek? Who do you serve?
    • Timothy’s testimony was not in what he did, but being dedicated to what he was called to be (no let down or deviation)

Key Verse:

1 Timothy 4 [New King James Version]

1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 6 If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. 7 But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. 8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 11 These things command and teach. 12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

Nov. 29, 2020. II Samuel 3:6-11

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SHOWDOWN IN SAMARIA. II Samuel 3:6-11. 11/29/2020. #6.

II Samuel 3:6-11 [New King James Version]

6 Now it was so, while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, that Abner was strengthening his hold on the house of Saul. 7 And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah. So Ishbosheth said to Abner, “Why have you gone in to my father’s concubine?” 8 Then Abner became very angry at the words of Ishbosheth, and said, “Am I a dog’s head that belongs to Judah? Today I show loyalty to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers, and to his friends, and have not delivered you into the hand of David; and you charge me today with a fault concerning this woman? 9 May God do so to Abner, and more also, if I do not do for David as the Lord has sworn to him— 10 to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul, and set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan to Beersheba.” 11 And he could not answer Abner another word, because he feared him.

  • Abner, the king maker
    • Abner kept growing stronger in Israel
      • Ishbosheth was very weak
      • Ishbosheth would not have been on the throne had it not been for Abner, who needed one of Saul’s sons to legitimately to reign
    • Abner had become the power behind the throne
      • He could do whatever he wanted to do
      • Without Abner propping him up, Ishbosheth would fall
  • The accusation
    • After Saul’s death, all of his wives and concubines would have been put in seclusion in the palace or near it
    • One of Saul’s concubines was Rizpah
      • Later, when David gave seven sons for execution to the Gibeonites to atone for Saul’s attack on them, file came from Princess Merab and two from Rizpah
      • Rizpah spent three days keeping birds away from the corpses of her sons until David had them properly buried
    • Ishbosheth accused Abner of being intimate with Rizpah
      • Abner vehemently denied the accusation
      • Abner may have committed the offense
        • It is unlikely that timid Ishbosheth would challenge the general with a false accusation
        • Abner controlled the house of Saul
        • Abner doesn’t directly deny the charge
    • Abner seemed to be more offended that Ishbosheth dared to challenge him (Abner was the power behind the throne & Ishbosheth was to obey and stay quiet)
  • The remedy
    • The accusation against Abner was a turning point in the history of Israel
      • Abner decides to seek revenge for his wounded honor by seeking revenge on Ishbosheth
      • Abner will now support David over Saul’s house
    • Abner recognizes God’s blessing on David
      • Abner states that his loyalty to Saul & his household is repaid with a scurrilous accusation
      • Abner will not support David, to whom the Lord had sworn to give the throne of Israel (the promise to David must have been generally known)
    • Abner had the power to transfer Israel to David
      • Much of the army would follow Abner
      • Without a strong military leader, Ishbosheth was doomed
    • Ishbosheth was cowered into silence, for he feared Abner
  • God superintends history
    • God both manages events & uses events to accomplish his will, even though men do not recognize his providence
      • Abner had planned to continue to prop up Ishbosheth
      • A wound to his pride (perhaps, because he was found out), changes the dynamic of the situation
      • Had Abner been dedicated to the house of Saul, this personal affront would not change his loyalty
      • Abner may have enjoyed his position of power
    • God uses this event to move Israel to unite under David
    • God’s will cannot be thwarted, no matter what man does
      • Abner couldn’t maintain Saul’s legacy against God
      • If we know God’s will, we need to submit to it

Nov 22, 2020. Philippians 2:17-18

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LIFE OFFERING ON GOD’S ALTAR. Philippians 2:17-18. 11/22/20. #10.

Philippians 2:17-18 [New King James Version]

17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.

  • Not my own
    • Major theological concept: Our lives do not belong to us
      • Genesis 2:7 God created man in His image (Genesis 1:26-28)
      • Ecclesiastes 12:6-7 all spirits return to God who gave them
    • Believers owe service to God and not to self
      • I Corinthians 6:19-20 our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and we do not belong to ourselves
      • Hebrews 9:27 everyone will give an account before God
    • Freewill was given to us so that we could freely choose to worship and submit to God
      • Genesis 3 Adam used his freewill to rebel against God
      • I Corinthians 3:12-15 those who use their freewill to serve him he rewards them for choosing to do so
    • The list of the rebellious in the Bible is nearly interminable: Adam, Cain, Nimrod, Saul, Ahab, Samson, Solomon, Jeroboam…
  • A living sacrifice
    • Romans 12:1-3 Paul saw himself as a living sacrifice for God
      • His life was to given over to the Lord for whatever purpose God would have for him
      • II Timothy 2:1-10 at the end of his life, Paul declared that he had fought the good fight and endured all things for the sake of God’s church
    • Paul realized that he had to lay his plans aside to follow the will of God
      • When Paul disobeyed God to go to Jerusalem, the results were disastrous
      • When Paul argued with Barnabas over taking John Mark with them, he later had to acknowledge that Mark was “profitable to me for the ministry”
    • Paul described himself as a “drink offering”
      • His life was poured out on God’s altar for service
      • A drink offering was used to offer dedication to the Lord (a solemn vow to serve and obey)
      • II Timothy 4:6 Paul moves from “am being poured out” to “already being poured out”, referring to his sacrificial death as a martyr (pouring is complete)
    • Paul’s life was poured out with purpose (well spent)
      • He performed the Lord’s will
      • The object of his offering was serving the Philippian believers and believers in other churches
      • Paul’s entire life was dedicated to serving others for the cause of Christ
    • What we want and what God calls us to do are often radically different (Moses, Jonah, Jeremiah, Job, Elijah…)
    • Often God allows us to live comfortable lives and does not demand the extreme sacrifice of a Paul, Jeremiah, or Elijah
      • Luke 16:10 do we even do what small amounts that he asks us to do (Romans 8:18)?
      • Are we willing and ready to follow his lead no matter what he calls upon us to do?
  • A time for rejoicing
    • Paul was not bitter, sad, or disappointed in his life
      • He counted the sacrifices as minor inconveniences compared to bringing people to Christ
      • Romans 8 as Christ counted it a joy to sacrifice himself to bring many people to glory (Hebrews 2:10; 2:12), so Paul = glad + rejoiced for being poured out for church
    • Many have poured out their lives for themselves to a miserable end (Abiram, Pharaoh, Solomon, Judas, Demus, Ahab…)
      • The rich man enjoyed his life until judgment
      • Many carnal saints suffer loss of rewards (I Chronicles 3)
    • Paul wanted the Php. to be glad and rejoice with him
      • Even though suffering and death are times of grief, they yield the fruit of salvation and reward for faithful
      • Paul is not asking Php. to rejoice in his suffering, but to rejoice in the fruit of his suffering = their gain
    • The faithful are called upon to rejoice while also suffering

Key verse:

2 Timothy 2:1-10 ]New King James Version]

1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. 7 Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. 8 Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Nov 22, 2020. II Samuel 3:1-5

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DAVID’S WOMEN. II Samuel 3:1-5. 11/22/20. #5.

1 Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. But David grew stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker. 2 Sons were born to David in Hebron: His firstborn was Amnon by Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; 3 his second, [a]Chileab, by Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite; the third, Absalom the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur; 4 the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; 5 and the sixth, Ithream, by David’s wife Eglah. These were born to David in Hebron.

  • Long war
    • Much of biblical history is just a summary
      • Many details in lives of biblical characters are not recorded (we just have tidbits of pertinent events)
      • Some people we do not even have their names (Manoah’s wife, Mrs. Naaman’s slave girl, the I Kings 13 prophet, Jonathan’s armor bearer…)
    • A summary statement: long war between house of Saul & house of David
      • Even though Israel had a larger population, Judah piled up victories due to God’s blessing on them
      • David slowly gained the upper hand
        • God did not allow David to take all at once
        • Israel began to understand that God was with David & not Ishbosheth
  • The original order
    • What became the norm was not the original divine plan
    • God’s order in Genesis 1-2
      • Mankind was to have dominion over the earth (resources, plants, animals, & sea life)
      • Adam was to tend the garden, but was given freedom of movement & action
      • Adam had only one restriction: not to eat from one tree
      • Adam was given a wife & instructions that each man was to cling to his one wife
    • When these norms were broken after the fall, chaos, death, destruction, & lust for forbidden things resulted
  • Multiple wives
    • Starting with Lamech, men began to take more than 1 wife
      • Polygamy made move complicated an already complex dynamic in human relationships
      • Abraham & Hagar, Jacob marrying 2 sisters, Elkanah’s 2 wives, Solomon’s wives…all became issues that led to snares
    • Six of David’s seven wives are listed here (Michal is still with Palti in Israel)
      • Ahinoam apparently was David’s favorite wife since she is usually listed first
      • Abigail was the wise widow of Nabol, who had interceded to spare the lives of her family
      • Maacah was a princess (often political marriages were arranged to form alliances)
    • Several observations about multiple wives:
      • Adding more wives does not solve the lust issue in men (David kept adding more wives)
      • Even with 7 beautiful wives, David went after Uriah’s wife (lust does not end at the marriage altar)
      • Opportunistic illicit affairs catch even the most vigilant off-guard if they do not stay alert
        • It only takes a moment to fall
        • Always praying & being on guard
      • Multiple wives lead to multiple problems: Hannah’s conflict, David’s family, Solomon’s wives turn him
  • Doing it God’s way
    • When God’s principles are compromise, there is loss
    • Stay focus on purity; choose to honor spouse; keep self away from compromising situations; be diligent always
    • Ephesians 6:11-18 all of life is spiritual warfare