Month: February 2018

Why do we do what we do?

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Matthew 6

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

So why so we do what we do?  Think about it;  why do we show kindness?  Why do we help others?  Why do we put money in the offering?  Why do we respond when the pastor asks for help?  Why do we agree to more work at work?  Why do we let someone into the line of traffic?  Why do we give gifts to people we are not close to?  Have we ever given something to someone for the praise of another man or another woman?  Do we ever do extra hoping to be seen by someone who might in turn do something good for us?  Have we ever reminded someone of a kindness we showed when they were being unkind to us?

The Pharisees were great at doing things for the praise of one another.  Jesus said that they would sound a trumpet to get the attention of all in the room when they did their good deeds or gave their big offering.  They wanted the applause of the crowd.  Then Jesus warns us not to be like them for they have the praise of men.

Jesus then gives an example of the motive of our giving.  When we give, our gift is supposed to be so private among one another that our left hand should be unaware of what our right hand is doing.  Speaking in hyperbole again, Jesus wants us to give so that God alone knows and that when God knows that we have done something in kindness, He notices and He keeps the records.

Think again, whom do you really want to notice when you show a kindness or give your money to help another?  Do you really want the passing praise of one another?  If we give for the praise of one another, when they notice our gift they have given us our reward.  However, when we give privately, when we show kindness to the glory of God, then God sees and He keeps an eternal record on our behalf.  Let God pat you on the back.  Let God make you feel good about what you have done.  Then you will know the greatest rewards.

 

We arrived back at O’Hare yesterday afternoon.  Bob brought us home, Rachel made dinner, and we were off to church last night.  We were a bit tired but made it through the evening then slept well.  Thank you for your prayers in our absence.  God did take care of us.  Neither of us got sick and we were able to minister to several people along the way.  I will tell you more about that on Sunday. 

For fun sake, I had the longest birthday of my life.  We left Jakarta at 6am on the 14th, flew seven hours to Japan, had an hour and half layover there, boarded and flew twelve hours to Chicago and landed at 2:10pm on the 14th.  The math doesn’t work but it was pretty cool to have a birthday that lasted almost two days. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

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The Claims of God 1 John 2 3-11

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From 1 John 2:3-11, Pastor Steve presents the claims of God upon those who know Him.  John makes it very clear who is and who isn’t in Christ.  Many people, from the Gnostics of the first century to people today claim to know God but are not living the commandments of love given clearly by God and lived by those who have Christ within.  In this message, you will come away with a clarity about who is and who isn’t in Christ.  This is not a message of judgment but one that seeks to understand the teaching of the Apostle John.

Pluck out your eye – Really?

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Matthew 5

27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

Yesterday we looked at Jesus’ description of anger; today we look at his description of lust.  Before we talk about how Jesus viewed lust and adultery, which is quite self-explanatory, I’d like to consider verse 29.  We have heard a lot about lust of the heart and of the eyes and how looking at someone lustfully is committing adultery with them in the heart and God who knows the heart looks at it as evil as the action.  So, in verse 29 Jesus seems to give a remedy for the situation, though a bit harsh, it would seem.  Jesus goes on to say immediately after his shocking revelation on thought-adultery, that if this is a problem for you perhaps you should pluck out your eye.

What? Pluck out your eye? Can you imagine the response of the crowd to this teaching?  First they get shocked that the look is as bad as the act then they hear that it is better to pluck out the eye. There must have been a bit of a ruckus at this point.  Some on the fringes probably left.  The Pharisees got out their quill and papyrus and wrote this one down in unbelief.  “Pluck out your own eye.” Really?????  Who in their right mind would pluck their eye out and go throughout life blind?

Have you ever spoken in hyperbole?  This is where you use the worst or strongest example possible to make a point. Moms are good at this.  To scare their kids they tell them the worst that could happen when they do something dumb.  Were you ever told that if you swallow your gum it would take seven years to digest?  I swallowed so much gum I should have been stopped up for life.  The point was, “Don’t swallow your gum!”  The hyperbole tried to make the point stronger.

Jesus never told anyone to pluck their eye out but he was making an eternal point.  Which is worse, to go through life without an eye or to spend eternity in hell because you refused to stop looking with an adulterous eye?  Eyes and minds can be trained.  Hell is forever and is eternal punishment.  With an eye focused on eternity turn away from looking at others with adultery in your heart.  We too often look at the temporary stuff with lustfulness.  When we keep an eye on eternity we realize the temporal nature of every part of this life.

Where is your eye today?  What does it focus on?  Is adultery in your eye or is eternity in your view?  Jesus said, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” It is worth denying ourselves of every immoral thought and look to follow Christ.  Colossians 3:1 says, “Set your affections, your desires, your eyes, on things above, not on things of the earth.”  Let’s have a day of keeping our eyes on Christ, His love, His purposes, and His glory.

 

Sunday’s message will be coming from 1 John 2:3-11.  Read this over before Sunday and prepare your heart and mind for the message.  I am looking forward to our time together.

Men, I would love to see a few more of you at our prayer breakfast at Denny’s tomorrow morning at 7:30 .

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Reconcile before you worship

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Matthew 5

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

So much of our life revolves around the attitudes of our hearts.  You can be at work doing your job and smiling at everyone yet in turmoil on the inside because of a situation at home.  People ask how you are and you say you are fine while your inner attitude is not fine at all.  Then there are those people to whom we smile on the outside but are throwing daggers at on the inside.  But since we never really divulge our true feelings we think that all is well.   Is it?

Jesus did not put aside the law; in fact, Jesus took the law of God to a higher level.  Just because I have never murdered anyone does not mean that I am not guilty of continual anger and inner rage leading to evil thoughts about that person.  No, I would never plot their death but I might not be upset if I heard that they died.  Jesus, knowing the abilities of our hearts, gives us a very stern warning here.  Jesus lets us know in no uncertain terms that inner anger and inner hatred are the same as outward murder.  No, you won’t go to jail for those thoughts but God is keeping a different record book.  God says that those who live with hate-filled hearts are in danger of the fires of hell.  A stern warning indeed.

So then Jesus gives a remedy.  When you come to make a sacrifice to God and on your way you remember this person or these people who fill you with anger and hateful thoughts, go to them, seek their forgiveness, and be reconciled with them.  Once reconciled then go back to your worship with a clean heart before man and God.  Notice that Jesus does not say which side of the relational page you are one, whether you are the offended or the offender, he just calls you to go and to reconcile with the one you are at odds with.

What kind of a church would it be if everyone in the church at all times of the church was committed to being at peace with everyone else in the church?  What kind of a home would it be if everyone in the family was committed to being at peace with everyone else in the family?   Church and home would be places of peace and places of worship.  God would be honored amongst us, Satan would be defeated, and the world would take notice.  Whom do you need to reconcile with before you come to worship?

Men, join us Saturday morning at 7:30 at Denny’s as we gather for breakfast, Bible study and prayer. 

Pray for our teens.  We had a strong lesson last night looking at the dark places that sin takes us and where we get our identity.  Kids are faced with identity issues that we were not faced with.  Founding their identity in the God who made them is not at all popular in their environments. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS