|Posted on 24 March, 2016 at 15:45||comments (1)|
... I feel like a hypocrite.
Every week, I speak no fewer than five times about the Lord. There's my Sunday School class, the Sunday morning sermon at Grace Pointe, two small group Bible studies, and a radio show. Then, every other Sunday, I preach at the Market Place apartments.
Each sermon includes warnings against sin, encouragement to have faith in the Lord, exhortation to center one's life around the Lord, and a commission to serve the Lord. I am sincere in my belief of these things. I honestly believe that God blesses those who live their lives for Him. But preaching the Word, and practicing what I preach are two completely different things.
Monday rolls around, and I tend to fall back into the same routines as everyone else. My life becomes about making a living, paying bills, and being frustrated that my wildest dreams have yet to come true. When your focus drifts from the Lord and into the day-to-day routine, you lose that Spiritual connection to the Lord, and He begins to seem distant. When this happens, we become susceptible to temptation. Such is the case with me.
I'm not going into a confessional here, but there are times that I misrepresent Christ. There are times that I fall short of the Biblical mandate to let my light shine. There are times that I betray my faith, and my Lord. And when my eyes are opened to my fall, I begin to wonder if all this is a facade, and if I am really a rotten human being. You may have experienced the same.
How can we reconcile our salvation and our lives in Christ with the sin that "so easily besets us?" (Hebrews 12:1).
We begin by recognizing that we are not alone in this struggle. Romans 3:23 says "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." We are all sinners, we all fall short. We all fail. Romans 3:9 says we are all under sin.
Scripture also lists examples of the great heroes of the faith who fell short of God's glory. From the depiction of David's adultery with Bathsheba, to the acknowledgement in James 5:17 that "Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are." Yet, David and Elijah did great things for the Lord. Romans 7:15-17 describes the same struggle that the Apostle Paul had.
The lesson we take here is that our struggle neither defines us, nor limits us.
We continue by recognizing what this struggle reveals in us. There are times that you overcome, and there are times that you fail. Through each time of temptation, you learn more about your Spiritual maturity, and where you stand with the Lord. However, failure is not as devastating as you think.
Romans 7:15-17 says:
For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
In Romans 7, the Apostle Paul confessed that he knew what he should be doing, and what he shouldn't be doing. He then confessed that he found himself doing the things he shouldn't (For that which I do I allow not.) He found himself doing the very things he preached against. He also confessed that he found himself not doing the things he should. (For what I would, that do I not).
Despite the disconnect between what he believed and what he preached, and what he actually did, Paul steered the conversation back to God's word. He didn't justify what he did. Rather, he promoted God's law, and declared its truth despite his failure. (I consent unto the law that it is good.)
So, if Paul knew God's law, agreed with God's law, and promoted God's law, why was he sinning? Simple. Paul understood that he was still infected with the sin nature. (Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.) This is not an excuse. He's not saying that he can continue in sin, as it's just in his nature. He is merely explaining his failure.
When we struggle with sin, we are reminded that we still have the sin nature. It's the flesh within us that desires sin, that desires the things that are forbidden. It's the same nature that wants to abdicate personal responsibility and live for the pleasure of the moment.
When we recognize the role that the sin nature plays in our struggle, we are able to move away from the notion that somehow we are just flawed, and not as good as everyone else, and we see our struggle as part of the human experience. When we understand this is a struggle everyone faces, this helps us see the struggle that others endure, and it helps us to be graceful to others when they sin.
The other thing that recognizing the role of the sin nature accomplishes is that it reminds us that conquering sin is not something we can do on our own. We need the Lord. Which brings us to our next point.
We return to our roots of faith in Christ. In Romans 7:24-25, Paul exclaimed, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
In verse 24, Paul declares his inability to overcome sin, and turns to the Lord for deliverance. In verse 25, Paul trusts the Lord for that deliverance.
If you know Jesus Christ as your savior, there was a time that you surrendered, and called out to Him for salvation. At that point, you were exactly where Christ wanted you. In the days and weeks that followed, the Lord was able to lead you through a time of exponential Spiritual growth because you had total faith in Him. But, as time moves along, we drift away, and we wind up in the boat we're in today.
When you struggle with sin, and you recognize that it's part of life, and that you cannot overcome it yourself, the proper course of action is to surrender, ask God for deliverance, and trust the Lord to deliver you from that struggle. When you reach that point of surrender and faith, you are right where Christ wants you. When you reach that point of surrender and faith, God is then able to do great things in your life.
When I struggle with sin, I feel like a hypocrite, but I am not. I am a child of God, redeemed by the blood of Christ, who has not finished his race here on earth. I remember that I stand on the shoulders of giants, that others have faced these same struggles, and that the struggle with sin comes as a result of my sin nature.
The only answer is to ask God for forgiveness, and trust Him to deliver me from these temptations. When I reach that point, God brings a revival in my life. He will yours as well. Keep the faith, God is on your side.
|Posted on 22 March, 2016 at 17:15||comments (0)|
Today I got to sleep in a bit, my lovely wife got up and took the kids to school. Then as I was up and catching up on FB, I saw a lot of statuses saying 'Pray for Brussels'. I finally got a chance to turn on the news and saw the attacks that had happened. A short time later a famous or infamous mayor from Toronto, Rob Ford, died after suffering with cancer. What came to my mind was that all these people had plans, hopes and dreams for tomorrow. Now Rob Ford was ill and he had been through a lot of treatments, but I did not realise the iminency of his death. But the people who left their homes this morning in Brussels for sure did not know that this would be there last day on earth and that today, this day they would be giving an account to God. The Bible says that 'it is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgement', Hebrews 9:27. Death is our enemy in this life for sure, BUT for those of us who have put our faith and trust in the death, burial and ressurection of Jesus, the power of death has been destroyed. Jesus took my death and he has covered my sin(s) (and there are a multitude) in His blood. So let me ask you, if today was the day when cancer took your life or a suicide bomber was next to you, would you meet Jesus as a sinner saved by His Grace, thankful for His death on the cross, or would you meet Him as your Holy judge and have no hope because you rejected His gift of salvation. I know that you know the message because even in this progressively pagan world, the story of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection is still front and center in the midst of this turmoil.
|Posted on 8 March, 2016 at 11:55||comments (0)|
In Exodus 16 we find the account of when God brings the people of Israel out to the wilderness and there He sets about to show them that He will feed them and take care of them. The people began to complain because they were hungry and had no food. They accused God of bringing them out to the wilderness to kill them, verses 3. But God was about to show His glory, He brought them bread in the form of Manna each morning, and then in the evening He brought them Quail. In the book of Numbers 1, we find that there were 603,550 men who could go to war, with each one being married and having at least one child we could see a population of close to 2,000,000 people. So God had to feed about 2,000,000 people each day for the 40 years that they travelled in the wilderness. I looked up the current price of Quail, I found a price here of $1.12 per pound. Using just $1, and allowing just a pound of Quail per person, that would mean that in today's money God brougnt in $2,000,000 of Quail each day for 40 years. Let that sink in. That is $720,000,000 of quail each year for 40 years. Now one of the dear sisters at church pointed out that God fed their livestock as well. This of course does not include the Manna, the water and any other provisions that He made. Our God is a BIG GOD, one whose resources cannot be exhausted, ever. My God shall supply all of your need. He is able. Let Him supply your need. Psalm 46:10, Be still and know that I am God.
|Posted on 4 March, 2016 at 10:20||comments (0)|
There is an old story of a Muslim who became a Christian in Africa. Some of his friends asked him, “Why have you become a Christian?” He answered, “Well, its like this. Suppose you were going down the road and suddenly the road forked in two directions, and you didn't know which way to go, and there at the fork in the road were two men, one dead and one alive — which one would you ask which way to go?”
Perhaps the greatest spiritual truth of all is this: Jesus Is Alive! The women who went to the tomb early that first Easter morning heard these astounding words from the angels, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.” (Luke 24:5-6) Jesus finished what He set out to do from the very beginning — He paid for my sins and yours on the Cross! The empty tomb is a visible reminder of His victory and the fact that He is still alive today. The disciples were distraught when Jesus died there on the Cross, but three days later everything changed. That same Jesus that changed their lives forever, is still in the life changing business today. Place your trust in the Risen Lord now and you will never be at a loss for which way to go when you too reach your fork in the road !!!
Joshua said in Joshau 24: 15, 'choose you this day whom you will serve'. If God is the Living Almighty God, then choose Him. Turn from your pride and self-righteousness and false gods.
|Posted on 29 February, 2016 at 10:10||comments (0)|
All too often we take this life forgarnted. We assume that we will always have tomorrow. I am reminded of the Parable of the Rich Fool that we find in Luke 12. Jesus tells us that this man's fields did well and that he had so much food and wealth that he was going to take it easy for a while. But Jesus tells us that the man would die that very evening. Then he woukd have to give an account to God and there his riches would have no power and value. We cannot buy our way into heaven. Jesus paid the price for our sins on the cross of Calvary. It is so easy for us, myself included, to get down about our financial situations, to think that we have it hard because we don't have all the money we need or think we need. We look at the people around us and imagine that they have it so much better. But let me assure you that if you are save by the blood of Jesus, and you are allowing God to transform you through his Holy Spirit and Holy Word then you are rich. Take your eyes off the others and keep looking to Jesus.
|Posted on 23 February, 2016 at 20:15||comments (0)|
Welcome to our new website. We at MMBC love the Lord Jesus Christ and it is our desire to share Him with you through various means. We invite you to worship with us. We invite you to get our weekly Bible studies, send and email request through the home page and we will begin sending lesson each week. You can also see these lesson on raptureready.com