The Old Man and the New Man

22 06 2020

McKee Road Baptist – June 17, 2020 Wednesday Evening – Coronavirus Emailed

Colossians 3:9-11 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with
his deeds; (10) And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the
image of him that created him: (11) Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision
nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

You can tell a lot about people in our society by the way they dress. People wear the
uniform of their profession. Professional athletes to nurses, from firemen to policemen;
all wear the uniform of their profession. Our uniform is an identifier, it identifies us.
That is precisely Paul’s point through verse 17 of this chapter. Christians must dress
themselves ethically in accordance with their new identity. They have died with Christ
and risen to new life.

Colossians 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his
deeds;

As believers, we are called to be truth tellers. God does not lie but is “the God of truth”
Isaiah 65:16, as his children, we are to be like him. Lying simply does not belong
among God’s children. Society may have plenty of room for the lie, but that is because
society does not know God.

The figure of the “old man” and “new man” is common in Paul’s writing. The
expressions “old man” and “new man” occur in basically four places in Paul’s letters:
Romans 6:6; Ephesians 2:15; 4:22-24; and our text, Colossians 3:9-11. In order to
understand this important expression, we will examine the four passages in which Paul
uses it. In each passage the “old man” is the same expression in Greek. The expression
“new man” is the same in Ephesians 2:15, Ephesians 4:24 and in Colossians 3:10.
Romans 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin
might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Matthew Henry says of Romans 6:6, “The body of sin must be destroyed. The
corruption that dwelleth in us is the body of sin, consisting of many parts and members,
as a body. This is the root to which the axe must be laid. We must not only cease from
the acts of sin (this may be done through the influence of outward restraints, or other
inducements), but we must get the vicious habits and inclinations of weakened and
destroyed; not only cast away the idols of iniquity out of the heart. That henceforth we
should not serve sin.” Paul’s is saying, “No” to the reign of sin, and, “Yes” to life in God.

Ephesians 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of
commandments contained in ordinance; for to make himself of twain one new man, so
making peace;

Ephesians is a letter dedicated to unfolding the mystery of the gospel as it relates to the
unification of Jew and Gentile in “one new man.” The focus in Ephesians 2:15 is on the newly created community in Christ. These are believers where hatred and division were the order of the day but now are joined together in Christ.

Ephesians 4:22-24 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man,
which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; (23) And be renewed in the spirit of
your mind; (24)And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in
righteousness and true holiness.

Paul urges the Ephesians to the fact that they have received a certain calling.

Ephesians 4:1 I therefore the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of
the vocation wherewith ye are called,

They are to walk or live in a way commensurate (in agreement) with their new calling
and privilege. Believers are not to live as the Gentiles do, those who are separated from the life of God. The Gentiles lived to fulfill their senses and lust. The believers of Ephesus were
not to live like that.

The “old man” refers to their former life as Gentiles and the sin that so consumed their
lives. They were taught to lay this aside and to put on the new man. The figure “put on”
and “put off” is one of exchanging clothes and refers to a change in character in light of
a change in identity, having moved from the old sphere of existence (without God) to a
new sphere of existence (with God).

In Ephesians 4:22-24 the “old man” refers to a lifestyle consistent with sin, but
inconsistent with being in Christ, while the “new man” refers to a lifestyle, “to walk” in a
way consistent with being in Christ and truth.

Ephesians 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not
as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind.

Colossians 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his
deeds;

Paul reminds his readers that they have been raised with Christ, and, therefore, should
seek things above and set their minds on things above, not on earthly things. Since they
have died with Christ, they are put to death “whatever in their nature belongs to the
earth” Colossians 3:5; referring to such things as, “fornication, uncleanness, inordinate
affection, concupiscence and covetousness which is idolatry.” The Colossian believers
are to put off all such things commensurate with their former life; such as “wrath, malice,
blasphemy and filthy communication…”

The reason the Colossian believers are to do this is because they have put off “the old
man” and have been clothed with “the new man.” They have put off the old man and
have been clothed with the new at conversion.

The “new man” in Colossians 3:10-11 refers to the new community that erases all
racial and social lines. Where there is “neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor
uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” Paul is
telling them they are to be clothed with the new man.

The “old man,” by contrast, is the body of people still under its old head Adam, and the
old clothing of sinful deeds is worn by all. The expression “image of God” refers to Christ Himself so that the renewal involves progressive conformation into the likeness of Christ himself.

Thus the “new man” in Colossians 3:10 not only applies to each believer, but rather the
new community in Christ, the church, and together we reflect the image of God. It is for
this reason, since we are the “new man” corporately, that we are not to live like we once
did. The “old man” refers to people in solidarity with Adam under the old age of sin, death,
and judgment.

The crucifixion of the “old man” refers to a definitive break with the past in Adam, and is
something God reckons to be true of us. The sinner is separated from the community of
Adam and the relationships that exist there. Paul is reminding us that the “old man”
must be continually put off.

Colossians 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his
deeds;

The words “put off” means: “to take off or strip off clothing – to undress, to disrobe,
stripping off.” This term is used in Colossians 2:11 & 15, and in both places, it refers to
the effects of the cross. This word carries the idea of “strip off from oneself.”

The Greek indicates that this stripping off from oneself took place at the cross. That is
where the great change took place. This principle is the basis for all spiritual life in the
New Testament.

Notice the end of verse 9, “…with his deeds.” The word “deeds” is from the Greek word
praxis, which means: “practice.” “Deeds” is function, implying sustained activity and/or
responsibility. Because the “old man” was stripped off, so should the sins that are
connected with him. We are to stop acting upon our old life and start acting upon our
new life.

Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after
the image of him that created him:

Every believer is a new man:

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things
are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

We are new, because we hold the same status that Jesus does before God. We are
new, because we possess the life of Christ. We are new, because of our position before
God.

In reference to the new man Paul says, “…which is renewed in knowledge…”
The word “renewed” means: “to cause something to become new and different, with the
implication of becoming superior. It means to make new, to renew, to cause a change to
a previous, preferable state.” This word comes to mean: “to restore, to bring back, to
make new; not in the sense of recent, but different.”

Notice what Paul says about this “new man.”

Colossians 3:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor
uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

This clearly demonstrates the nature of the “new man.” In the body of Christ there are
no class distinctions. The Greek here for “no distinction” is: “Where there is neither,”
Greek nor Jew.”

We must remember that people are not born equal. We have different IQs, physical
beauty, strength. There is no such thing as true equality in this life. Members of the
human race are not born equal. But regeneration brings true equality to people.
The terms “Greek nor Jew” are national differences. “Greek” represents a person who is
a Gentile, a non-Jew. The Roman world classified a “Greek” as a person who
participates in Greek culture and, in so doing, would speak the Greek language, but not
necessarily a person of Greek ethnic background. A “Greek” was equivalent to a
civilized person.

The terms “circumcised nor uncircumcised” refer to a religious difference. The Greek
and Jew, one circumcised and the other uncircumcised, were separated by seemingly
insurmountable racial and religious barriers. They had nothing to do with each other.
Jewish people refused to enter a Gentile house. They would not eat a meal cooked by
Gentiles, nor buy meat prepared by Gentile butchers. When they returned to Israel, they
showed their disdain (to think unworthy of notice) for Gentiles by shaking off the Gentile
dust from their clothes and sandals. Even the apostles were reluctant to accept Gentiles
as equal partners in the church Acts 10-11. But the gospel broke down those barriers,
and Jew and Gentile became one in Christ.

The terms “Barbarian, Scythian” are cultural differences. “Barbarian” properly means:
“one whose speech is rude, or harsh.” It signified one who speaks a strange or foreign
language, I Corinthians 14:11.

The “barbarian” came to represent anyone ignorant of Greek or its culture, a person not
participating in Greek culture and civilization. The focus is on culture rather than on
language, I Corinthians 14:11.

“Scythians” were uncultured, nomadic people from north of the Black and Caspian seas.
They were fierce barbarians who offered human sacrifices and scalped their enemies
and used their skulls as drinking cups. The Jewish historian, Josephus, added, “The
Scythians delight in murdering people and are little better than wild beasts.”

The terms “bond nor free” refer to economic or social distinctions. The “slave” in Roman
times was not classified in law as a human being. His master could maim or kill him at
his pleasure. The slave had no rights. The slave was viewed, in the words of Aristotle,
as “a living tool.” He did not even have the right of marriage.

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is
neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

The meaning here is that all are on a level; that there is no distinction. All are to be
regarded and treated as brethren, and that, therefore, no one lie to another.

There is no place for racial barriers or cultural snobbery in the body of Christ. God has
united all believers in Christ Jesus. This was a startling, unbelievable revelation for the
first-century world. The racial, religious, cultural, and social barriers separating people
were as deep-seated and formidable as any in our day.

There is no place for manmade barriers in the church since Christ is all, and in all.
Because Christ indwells all believers, all are equal. He breaks down all racial, religious,
cultural, and social barriers, and makes believers into one new man.

Pastor Don Thomason





To Whom Do You Yield

8 06 2020

McKee Road Baptist – May 31, 2020 Sunday Worship – Coronavirus Emailed

Introduction: We have seen who Christ is, and what He has done. We have seen
that as believers we share in all that Christ is and has done. Since this is true, Paul
declares that you are no longer to live in the way you used to. The command to the
believer is that we are to “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the
earth.” Our union with Christ is the heart and soul of Paul’s gospel. Believer, since
you have been united to Christ, live like it! Or to put it simply: Be who you are in
Christ!

Colossians 3:5-7 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication,
uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is
idolatry: (6) For which thing’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of
disobedience: (7) In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

“Therefore” on the basis of your position in Christ (1:1-3:4), “Mortify therefore your
members which are up the earth.” Paul is saying to kill the members of your earthly
body (not just to consider them as dead). Did you know that life of the believer involves
putting sin to death?

Colossians 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world,
why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

“Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ,” or since we have died with Christ. At the moment
we believed, God finally and forever forgave our sins by the death of Christ. Our
position before God is perfect forever. The death Christ died He died to sin.

Romans 6:10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth
unto God.

You died with Christ; therefore, you died to sin as well. Sin has no more power over you
than it has over Christ! So why, then, does Paul tell believers to put sin to death?
Because our positional reality must be worked out in our practical living.

Paul has just spent two chapters telling believers who they are in Christ, talking about
the permanent, perfect position they possess in Christ. Now he tells those same
believers to “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth.” As believers,
we are responsible to deal with sin. We are responsible to put it to death.

We are to kill the members of this body. The word “members” is the Greek word melos,
which means: “a limb or part of the body.” It is used of the literal parts of a body:

Matthew 5:29-30 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for
it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole
body should be cast into hell. (30) And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it
from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that
thy whole body should be cast into hell.

We see here that melos is used of the eyes and hands; parts of the body.
People have often misinterpreted Jesus’ words here in much the same way as they do
Paul’s words in Colossians 3:5. Taking those passages literally, many have physically
injured themselves.

When Paul speaks of killing bodily parts or members, Paul is actually referring to the
sins associated with those members. We are not to put to death our hands and eyes
and tongue. Notice what he says:

Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication,
uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is
idolatry:

The members they are to put to death are fornication and other sins.
“Mortify” means: “to cease completely from activity, to stop completely.” The phrase
suggests decisive and urgent action. Kill them, as you would weeds or rodents that
carry disease which spread and destroy, or as you would kill an enemy who fights
against you seeking to destroy you. This is a call for practical holiness. God’s purpose
for our lives is that we live holy:

1 Peter 1:15-16 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of
conversation; (16) As it is written, Be ye holy: for I am holy.

We are to be holy in our daily conduct:

1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye
should abstain from fornication: (4) That every one of you should know how to possess
his vessel in sanctification and honour: (5) Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the
Gentiles which know not God: (6) That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in
any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have
forewarned you and testified. (7) For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto
holiness.

This is God’s will for our lives: practical sanctification, holiness.
Note, in that day, other religions said little or nothing about personal holiness. (Much like
other religions of our day.) A person could bring sacrifices, say prayers, and go away
from the altar to commit terrible sins, and nobody would think he or she was
inconsistent. Not so with Christianity! The new life within demands a new life without.
Since we have died with Christ, we should put sin to death.

Paul’s call for believers to “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth” is
a call for practical sanctification, practical holiness. Your practical holiness will become a reality through three basic steps. Those steps are laid out for us in a parallel passage in Romans 6.

They are: knowing, considering, and yielding. We looked at Romans 6 when we were studying Colossians 2. Just as we got insight into Paul’s meaning of Colossians 2:11-12 from Romans 6:1-10, we get insight into what Paul means by “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body” by looking at Romans 6:1-13. In this text we see three steps to dealing with sin:

1. Knowing – This is the theme of the first 10 verses in Romans 6. The thing we are to
know is the doctrine of our union with Christ. We are identified with Christ. We share all
He is and has.

Romans 6:6-7 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin
might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (7) For he that is dead is
freed from sin.

“Knowing this” The question is, how do we know this? We only know it because the
Scripture teaches it. The “old man” is the man that I used to be in Adam. The word
“crucified” is a compound verb meaning: was crucified with, Christ. That man that was
joined to Adam was crucified together with Christ. Because of our union with Christ in
his crucifixion, we are dead to sin; we have been set free from sin. We are no longer
slaves of sin. We must know this!

2. Consider – Consider means: “to regard something as true.” We must keep on
counting as true that we are dead to sin and alive to God. We are “in Christ,” and
because of this, we share his righteousness.

Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive
unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Let me illustrate this truth. In 1982 an unusual thing happened on the island of Guam.
A Japanese soldier came out of the jungle. He had been living in the jungle for 37 years
after the end of world war II. Why? Because when the news came at the end of the war,
he could not believe that Japan had surrendered, and the war was over. For 37 years,
he lived in the jungle.

Let me ask you a question. During those 37 years, was he free? Absolutely.

At any time, from 1945 until 1982, he was completely free to come out of the jungle. He was
completely free, on a theoretical basis. But because he did not believe it, he lived in
self-imposed bondage in the jungle for 37 years.

Was he free? Yes. Did he experience his freedom? No, because he chose to stay in bondage, in hiding, in fear in the jungle.

Many Christians are still living in the jungle of sin. The war is over, Christ has won, but
they refuse to believe it. They live in self-imposed bondage to sin. They are still in the
jungle spiritually, because they refuse to believe that Christ has set them free.

3. Yielding – This is the third principle in putting sin to death. Know deals with
understanding the truth, consider deals with believing it, and yield deals with the will,
acting on what we know and believe.

Verse 12 of Romans 6 brings us to the practical application of the doctrine Paul has
been expounding in the first 11 verses of chapter 6, just like verse 5 of Colossians 3
does.

Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in
the lusts thereof.

The word “reign” is from the Greek verb basileuo, which means: “to exercise kingly
power, or to exercise uncontrolled authority.” The word “reign” is simply the word for
“king” in a verbal form. Paul is saying, stop allowing sin to reign as king in your mortal
body.

When Paul writes, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body,” He is addressing
believers. It would be pointless to tell this to unbelievers. What does this tell us? It tells
us that sin can reign in the life of a believer if permitted to. Sin wants to reign in your
mortal body. As long as we live in the physical realm, we will battle with sin.

Paul goes on to say, “that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” It is through the desires
of the body that sin wants to take control. The desires of the body are conceived as
demanding obedience.

Practical sanctification is a process, we will never be rid of sin, while we are in these
physical bodies. The life of the believer is a constant battle, while we are in the physical
body. We, as believers, are not to permit sin to reign in our bodies through its desires.

Why are we not to let sin reign? The word “therefore” at the beginning of verse 12
answers that question. The prohibition (the action of forbidding something, especially by
law.) in verse 12 is based upon all that Paul has been saying from Romans 5:12 – 6:11
that deals with our position in Christ. Paul is saying, “Because of your position in Christ,
do not let sin reign as king in your body.”

Our position in Christ is that we are dead to sin and alive to God. We are to consider
this as true, because it is true. Contrary to our experience, we are dead to sin. Now on
the basis of our position, we are not to allow sin to reign in our body.
How do we stop sin from reigning? Verse 13 gives us some help in answering that
question.

Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto
sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your
members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

The word “yield” is the Greek word paristemi, which means:” to put at one’s disposal.”
We are not to place ourselves at the disposal of sin or unrighteousness. We are to place
ourselves at the disposal of God.

Practical holiness becomes a reality through the three steps of: knowing, considering,
and yielding. We must know the truth about ourselves, then we must believe it. Once we
know it and believe it, we are to act upon it. This command to yield deals with our will.

The Nature of the Human Will. The will is the basis of choice, it is the immediate cause of all action. You think about something, and then you do it.

In every act of the will there is a preference; the desiring of one thing rather than another. To will is to choose, and to choose is to decide between two or more alternatives. But there is something else which influences the choice. The will does not decide the choice, something causes it to choose. What is it that determines the will? What is it that causes you to make a choice?

Let me illustrate. Say that your boss comes to you and says, “You are going to
California. You do not have a choice.” But he says, “Would you like to drive or fly?” He
is giving you a choice.

What determines which option you choose? What determines your choice is the strongest motive power which is brought to bear upon it. For one person, it may be the logic of reason, If I drive, they say, it will take me five days, and if I fly, it will only take me about five hours so, I choose to fly.

With another person, it may be the impulse of emotion. You think there are a lot of plane crashes and I am not ready to die, so choose to drive. What you think, causes you to will.

Whichever of these presents the strongest motive power and exerts the greatest influence upon us is that which impels (the driving force) the will to act. On a normal Sunday morning, you have to make a choice: will I sleep in or will I get up and go to church? Your choice was made by what exerted the greatest influence upon you, your desire to worship or sleep.

In other words, the action of the will is determined by the mind. The will is not free but is
in bondage to the heart. The Word of God teaches that the heart is the dominating
center of our being:

Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Our choices are determined by our desires. When we have conflicting desires,
whichever desire is greater at the time of decision is the desire I will choose.
Question. What causes a teenager to take drugs? Remember, your thinking will
determine your choice. The Bible tells us that Daniel “purposed” in his heart not to defile
himself with the King’s meat. Daniel had made a conscientious decision beforehand not
to eat the king’s meat.

If a teenager desires to honor and obey God and his parents, and if he believes that
drugs are wrong, he will say, “No” to drugs. But if he is really undecided if drugs are
wrong, and he wants to please his friends, he will say, “Yes.” This is why we are to train
up our children, and this is why we are to guard our thinking. The condition of our
hearts will determine our choices. Jonathan Edwards defined the will as: “The mind
choosing.”

This is why practical sanctification starts in the mind, know who you are. If you believe
that it is normal for a believer to sin all the time, how are you ever going to stop sin from
reigning in your life? We must know and believe that we are dead to sin.
How do we stop sin from reigning in our bodies?

Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto
sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your
members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

We are told in this verse to “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of
unrighteousness unto sin.” The “members” are part of your mortal body. They are the
various parts of the body; the eyes, ears, hands, feet, tongue, mind, and emotions. This
is the same Greek word melos that Paul used in Colossians 3:5. These members
become instruments of unrighteousness when we put them at the disposal of sin.
The word “instruments” is the Greek word hoplon. This word is only used six times in
the New Testament; twice in this verse and four other times. In the other four uses it is
translated “armour” or “weapons.”

John 18:3 Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief
priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.

Believers, your bodily members are weapons. Are you putting them at the disposal of
righteousness or sin? Your tongue can be used to speak the truth of God, or sing
praises to Him, or to build up another believer. But it can also be used to back-bite,
gossip, slander, and cause division and strife. The tongue is a weapon that is often
used to beat our spouses or children and attack others. Look at how Peter used his
tongue:

Matthew 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou are the Christ, the Son of
the living God.

Here Peter is using his tongue to bring honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. Then a
few moments later, when Jesus begins to talk about his death, Peter uses his tongue to
rebuke the Lord:

Matthew 16:21-23 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how
that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests
and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. (22) The Peter took him,
and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
(23) But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me Satan: thou art an offence
unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

When we put our members at the disposal of sin, they become weapons of
unrighteousness; and as they become weapons of unrighteousness, sin moves in to
rule and reign as king in our body.

Paul is telling the Roman Christians and us, to stop presenting your members to be
used for unrighteousness. The basis for me not presenting my members to sin is my
position in Christ, my identity, who I am.

It is not that we do not like sin, because we do. But we understand and believe our
position in Christ, and on the basis of who I am, I do not present my members to sin.

By way of illustration: Suppose someone from China immigrates to the United States,
and he becomes an American citizen. He is a scientist, and in a few years, he works his
way to a high position in the U.S. government’s field of science.

Then suppose an undercover agent of the Chinese government approaches him and asks him to function as a spy for China. This man must make a choice. Suppose he decides not to let his former government rule over him, and he will not put his talents and abilities at the disposal of China. Why should he not allow the Chinese government to rule over him?

Some might say because he loves America, but the fact may be that he loves China
more than America. He was raised there, his family is there, and he has many fond
memories of China. If his love determines his decision, he might become a spy. But his
basis for not letting China rule over him is his position.

He is a citizen of the United States of America, and he will not put his talents and abilities at the disposal of China. This is a similar situation of the believer. We once lived in the kingdom of darkness, and sin ruled over us, it was our master. But we were translated into the kingdom of God.

Now sin still wants to rule in your body, you know that. But we are not to permit it to
reign or to let it use our members. Why not? It is not because we do not like sin. The
basis for our opposition to sin is our position in Christ, our identity. As we understand
our position in Christ, we will by God’s grace say, “NO” to sin.

In verse 13, he first gives us the negative and then the positive:

Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto
sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your
members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

“But” here is the positive side: we are to present ourselves and our members as
instruments of righteousness. The word “yield,” is the Greek word paristemi, is a once and for all action; a completed action. A one-time presentation. Therefore, verse 13a it says, “Neither yield.” And 13b is saying, “But yield yourselves unto God.” This would be as a husband and a wife does when they take their marriage vows.

The believer is to put himself and all that he is at the disposal of God. Why? Again, it is
because of our position. This is emphasized in the phrase, “as those that are alive from
the dead.” This is our position, and based upon our position, we are to yield ourselves to
God. Before you can follow the exhortation of verses 12 and 13, you must understand
verses 1-11. You must understand your identity before you can yield.

The word “yield” means, to put at the disposal of God your members are to be used for
righteousness sake. This includes your tongue, eyes, ears, mind, hands, and feet. We
do not do this in our own strength but in dependence upon God, as Paul put it in:
Romans 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do
mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

It is “through the Spirit” that we are to put to death the deeds of the body. This means
that we do it in dependence upon the Lord. In Daniel chapter 3, we have the story of how king Nebuchadnezzar tried to get the Hebrew children to present their bodies in the worship of an idol. When they refused, he threatens their lives. Look how they responded:

Daniel 3:16-18 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O
Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. (17) If it be so, our
God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning firey furnace, and he will
deliver us out of thine hand, O king. (18) But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that
we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

Notice that they call God, “our God.” That is identity, they knew who they belonged to,
and they knew that their purpose in life was to worship Him, so they were willing to be
burned alive rather than dishonor their God. Nebuchadnezzar responded to this by
throwing them into the furnace, but the fire did not hurt them. Notice Nebuchadnezzar’s
response:

Daniel 3:28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that
trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they
might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

Notice carefully what he says, “his servants that trusted in Him,” and because of that,
they “yielded their bodies.” They would not allow their bodies to be used as weapons of unrighteousness. They presented their bodies to be used of God even if it meant their
death.

David yielded his body to be used as a weapon of righteousness when he went out to
fight Goliath. Then later in his life, he yielded his body as a weapon of unrighteousness
when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and killed her husband, Uriah. We do this
same thing. At times, we are using our members as weapons of righteousness, and at
others, we are using them as weapons of unrighteousness.

Let me illustrate. A ship with a very rich cargo sets sail. While the ship is at sea, the
owners of that ship discover that the captain is a crook, and he has plans of stealing the
cargo. The owners get a message to the ship saying that the captain is to be removed,
and the first mate is to be put in charge.

As a crew member, you have two options; you can submit to the captain or the first
mate. What will influence your decision? Will it be your like or dislike of the captain or
first mate? Or their position?

The crew is employed by the owners of the ship, they are paid by the owners. Their position is that they are employees of the owners. As the crew reflects upon their position, they must refuse the captain any right of rule over them, and they will do that by refusing to put at his disposal their strengths and abilities.

On the other hand, they shall acknowledge the right of the first mate, and put at
his disposal all of their time and talents and abilities. They will do that on the basis of
their position. They will make a negative and positive decision.

When God makes your position in Christ clear to you and gives you the faith to believe
it, you will present yourself to God and not present your members to sin. Believer, do you know who you are? You are; a saint; a son of God. All Christ is and has, you are and have. You are dead to sin and alive to God.

Practical sanctification comes as we stop yielding to sin and start yielding to God. As we
do this, we put to death our earthly members. How about your eyes: Have you been
looking at things this week that you should not be looking at?

What about your ears: Have you been listening to gossip, slander, filthy talk and coarse humor? How about your lips: Have you used your lips this week for swearing, for anger, slander for bitterness? Are your lips yielded to God? What about your hands? Are your hands yielded to God, or do you use your hands to grasp more of the goods of this world?
What about your feet? Are your feet yielded to God, or are they constantly taking you
where you should not go? Are all your members yielded to God, or are you using them
for sin?

The only way we will be able to put to death our members is to:
1. Know your position in Christ.
2. Believe what God says about you.
3. Do not yield your members to be used for unrighteousness, but yield them to be used
for righteousness.

Pastor Don Thomason





Jesus Came to Bring Violence — but What Does That Mean for Us?

29 04 2020

A good episode of Ask Pastor John with John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist Church and Desiring God. If you don’t listen to this podcast I wholeheartedly recommend it.

 





Peace- Things to Remember and to Consider

18 04 2020

Be certain to pray as a family, sing praises to God and read all the scripture noted in this attachment. Discuss the scripture. Grow in Christ together.

1 Peter 5:14 “Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are
in Christ Jesus. Amen.”

Introduction:  We live in a troubled world. Consider the turmoil that we are experiencing
with the Coronavirus Pandemic. This pandemic is virtually at the heart of almost every
conversation you hear or are a part of today. If the child of God is not aware, before too
long they will find their heart to be troubled as well, but God has promised peace to His
children.

There are some things we should remember.

First, remember God promised to give us peace. John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my
peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be
troubled, neither let it be afraid.” God provided us His Holy Spirit, the Comforter. He has
made provision of peace for us in this troubled world.

Second, remember to surround yourself with other children of God. Isaiah 48:22 “There
is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.” When we have conversations with those
that do not know God as their Savior, we sometimes allow the premise of their thoughts
to fashion our thoughts.

Third, remember we are at peace with God because of the blood of Jesus. Colossians
1:20 “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all
things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”
As hard as we may try, we can not produce lasting peace in our life. Only Jesus can do
that.

Fourth, remember the peace of God depends upon you. Colossians 3:15 “And let the
peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye
thankful.” Make note of that little word “let”. We have an all-powerful God that has
provided peace to us if we just access it. But many times, we are guilty of carrying a
burden or trouble that God intends to carry for us. Let the peace of God rule in your
heart.

Consider: Could it be we do not experience peace because we do not believe God? –

Romans 15:13 “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye
may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

As you discuss this virus with others, the underlying theme is a hope that it will soon be over. But this hope is based in a hope of mankind. Child of God, either we believe Him or we do not. He has promised to fill us with all joy and peace, in believing. This believing will cause us to be full of His hope. Not the hope of the world.

We are quick to believe His hope of salvation. Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call
upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” It was a wonderful thing to learn that God
would save us. Many were quick to grab hold of this truth. It takes others longer to
receive Him but most hope against hope that it was true.

Consider: We will have the peace of God once we realize that He is in control.

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the
world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

As humans we naturally are aware of the troubles of this world. The storms of this life, if you will. But remember, the same God that calmed the sea wants to calm your soul. He is in control. This virus did not catch God by surprise.

Consider: The peace of God comes through keeping our mind stayed upon Him.

Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he
trusteth in thee.”  

(Stayed – to lean upon or to rest in – not in self; not in circumstances.)
What do you think about all day long? How much time do you spend thinking of Him and
meditating on His Word?

Consider: That the peace Of God comes through spiritual mindedness – 

Romans 8:6 “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

And this is what you should have your mind set on, Philippians 4:8  “Finally, brethren,
whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good
report; if there be any virtue, and if[there be any praise, think on these things.”

Consider: That the peace of God comes through making peace –

2 Corinthians 13:11 “Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.”

How are things with your brothers and sisters in Christ? Is there any division between you? That ought not be for the Child of God. Make peace with one another.

Consider: That the peace Of God comes through prayer –

Philippians 4:6-7 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

How much time do you spend in prayer? Every thought and every concern, all of our requests should be made known unto God. How is this done? It is done by prayer. The result is we shall possess the peace of God that goes beyond all human comprehension.

Finally, consider: That the peace of God comes through obedience to Scripture –

Philippians 4:9 “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and
seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Romans 15:4, ready begin…quote it. How in the world do we expect to experience the peace of God that He promises us if we do not read and hide His Word in our hearts?

Conclusion:

Isaiah 32:17 “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect
of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.”

Have peace! Be at peace in God!

A Sermon by Don Thomason, Pastor of McKee Road Baptist Church in Bakersfield, California.





Do What I Can-Pray

10 04 2020

My Pastor’s sermon for Wednesday April 8, 202 during the lockdown.

Be certain to pray as a family, sing praises to God and read all the scripture noted
in this attachment. Discuss the scripture. Grow in Christ together.

Coronavirus Numbers Update
Last week’s numbers are in red. This week’s numbers are in blue. At the time of my
writing this to you last week more than 400,000 (932,760) (1,495,051 today’s total)
people worldwide have been infected with the Coronavirus. At least 18,000 (46,840)
87,469 today’s total) people have died. The death rate per persons infected varies from
3.5% to 4.5%, depending upon your source. Italy has the highest number of deaths at
6,077 (13,155) (17,669). In the United States there have been 43,214 (212,980)
(425,107) reported cases with 533 (4,759) (14,262) deaths. This means that 1.23%
(2.23%) (3.35%) of all those infected in our country die.

Above is the updated Coronavirus update as of today. Please forgive me as I am one of
those number people. Like many of you I am constantly running calculations in my mind.
Now, I have only listed this information to keep you informed. Do not allow them to
frighten you. Remember, whether you what to know what the numbers are or not, they
are what they are. I just happen to be one of those people that thinks in numbers.

“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” (Luke 18:1)

Introduction:

From the beginning of time, men have prayed,

“And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.” (Genesis 4:26)

In all types of places, at all times and in every conceivable situation, men have prayed. All people,
saved and lost have spent massive amounts of time in the pursuit of prayer. However,
only a small percentage of people have made prayer their priority. It is easy to recognize
that have as they stand out as bright lights in a dark world.
Many have chosen to pray when it was convenient, or when they were undergoing a time
of great stress and trial. Yet, it is clear from this verse that Jesus wants prayer to hold a
preeminent place in our lives. God expects us to be in constant contact with Him.

What is prayer?

1. Prayer Is an Invitation to God – Not coercion, not coaxing, but simply inviting God to
take over. It is me admitting my weakness and His power. Read about Jairus, Mark 5:
22-23.

And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.”

2. Prayer is Work – True prayer may require you to get up early, or stay up late, 1
Thessalonians 5:17.

“Pray without ceasing.”

3. Prayer Is A Battle – Satan does not fear nor withstand our prayerlessness, but he will
bitterly oppose our prayer efforts. Prayer is our greatest weapon in the battle between
good and evil, Ephesians 6:12.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

4. Prayer Is Power – Consider as examples, Moses, Daniel, The Three Hebrew Children,
Elijah, Paul and Silas. Prayer is the greatest power we have upon this earth.

I. PRAYER MUST BE A PRIORITY

A. This theme is repeated throughout the Bible, Luke 18:1 and Romans 12:12. We are to
remain in a constant spirit of prayer.

B. There are many examples of those that made prayer a priority.
1. Job – Job 1:5; 42:10.
2. Abraham – Genesis 12:7-8; 13:4-18; 22:9
3. Moses – Psalm 90:1-17
4. David – The Psalms are filled with many references to David’s prayer life. One
example is Psalm 86:1-17. Consider how David spoke to God.
5. Elijah – 1 Kings 17:1; 18:36-38
6. Daniel – Daniel 6:10
7. Jesus – Matthew 26:36-39; Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12, 9:18, 29. Jesus relied on prayer.

Consider, if the Son of God had need to pray, how much more do we?

C. Jesus takes it for granted that His people are going to pray – Matthew 6:5

D. Is prayer a priority in your life? It should be, for it is your lifeline to the Father.
Matthew 11:25-26.

II. PRAYER MUST BE A PREREQUISITE

A. We should do nothing in any area of life without first taking the time to saturate the
matter in prayer.

B. Even Jesus preceded His activity with prayer.

1. Before feeding the 5,000 – John 6:11
2. Before raising Lazarus from the dead – John 11:41
3. Before His trial and crucifixion – Luke 22:41-45
4. Before becoming sin on the cross for us – Luke 23:34

III. PRAYER MUST BE PRACTICED

A. To make prayer truly effective, we must practice prayer. We must get ourselves busy
in the business of prayer! There are too may needs and too little time!

B. Pray at every decision. The time will come when you will find yourself in desperation
and must hear from God.

C. Remember, weak praying begets weak living! We must be diligent in our praying if we
want to be effective for the Lord.

Romans 15:4 (Quote it.) Tonight, I wanted to remind you all that our greatest power
source is through prayer. Do not allow the comforts we experience living in this great
country dull you to the fact that God provides our very heart beat.

As we continue this strange walk and strive to do what we can to keep our selves and
our loved ones safe, remember do not be afraid, 2 Timothy 1:7. Remember, He has
given us power, love and a sound mind.

Do what you can, pray!





Return

5 04 2020

This is my pastor’s Sunday Morning sermon for quarantine this Sunday April, 5th, 2020. Read it together as a family and read all the Scripture.

“Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread. Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah. And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept. And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me. And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her. So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi? And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full and the Lord hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me? So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.” (Ruth 1:6-22)

One preacher said, “It is possible to know God and yet be far from Him.”
I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home. My parents loved “the boys.” There were
four of us. Dad worked hard at the factory producing cooling towers.

After coming home from work Dad would either work around the house or he would rebuild an engine on a car he had purchased to resell and supplement the family income. Mom would purchase food to feed us. Oh, how I loved that fried chicken and fried “taters.” We always had enough to eat. I never remember ever going hungry. We did not get many new clothes, unless you count the Nehru Jackets. But that is a story for another time. Mom would shop at the thrift stores and somehow always seemed to come home with nice, new-looking, clothes. Both my Mom and Dad instilled in us the value of hard work. I can still remember Dad saying, “If a job is not done correctly, it is not done.”

You would think that with all the love, provision and protection they provided us that we
would never disagree or disobey them, but we did. This was evidenced by the choices
that we made. These choices were signs that we were walking away from the safety of
their influence. While our choices created distance from the influence of our parents, we
were never far from them. We were never very far from them but we were very far apart
from their influence.

Similarly, that is how we are as children of God. Most of us have had the experience of
drifting away from God. We never planned for it to happen, but along the way we made
some wrong choices. Before you knew it, we were not as near to God as we had once
been. He had not left us as he promised, “…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor
forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5).

There are two things to remember; no one is exempt from this and we all come by it
naturally. This will happen to you no matter who you are. You might be the preacher or
a deacon and still be a long way from God. You might be a Sunday School teacher or
an usher and still be a long way from God. You may have grown up in a Christian home
but have rejected the teachings of that home. Perhaps something was said by another
believer and it broke your heart and crushed your spirit. Instead of making things right
with that person, somehow our relationship with God suffered. (This happens when we
choose to place blame where it does not belong.)

Something like this happened to Naomi. Several years have passed since she, her
husband and two sons left Bethlehem for the country of Moab. They left because there
was a famine in the land (a reasonable decision). They planned on staying just through
this difficult time and would then go back home. They had good intentions but nothing
worked out as they had hoped. Naomi’s husband, Elimelech died first and then her two
sons; Mahlon and Chilion died.

What do you do when the dreams of your life are shattered and you find yourself alone
and broken-hearted? That brings us to today’s passage of scripture, Ruth 1:6-22. There
is one word that appears repeatedly in these scriptures, the word “return.” In our
passage it has at least two meanings. One to physically return somewhere and second
to spiritually return back to the Lord.

When Naomi began her journey from Bethlehem she traveled west to east. Now ten
years later she is returning, traveling east to west. Her journey is both literal and
spiritual. After living in this Pagan land for a decade she is now returning to her
homeland but also in a spiritual sense she is turning her life around and returning to the
God of the Bible. She stepped out in faith with her family and is now returning battered
and bruised in her faith walk.

I believe this is a timely message for us as we are in the midst of uncertainty with the
Coronavirus pandemic. We need to practice Godly caution as we daily make decisions
that will impact us for the rest of our lives. Let me encourage you to walk more closely to
God than you have ever done before. You will discover that you must do it on purpose.
Here are three things to consider in your return.

1. Go Home

Naomi had a decision to make. Should she continued to dwell in Moab? If she does,
she will be a stranger in this land. If she makes that choice Orpah and Ruth will most
likely remarry Moabite men. Should she take her daughters-in-law with her to another
land? Or should she return to Bethlehem to be with her own people. Her decision
seemed to be an easy one to make when news arrived that the famine in Bethlehem
was over.

“Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the
country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited
his people in giving them bread. Wherefore she went forth out of the place where
she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on their way to return
unto the land of Judah.” (Ruth 1:6-7).

The famine was over, for Naomi the decision was easy. I shall return to my homeland.
But what of her two daughters-in-law? What would Orpah and Ruth decide to do? Life
as a Jewish widow in Bethlehem would be difficult at best, but it would be much worse
of young Moabite widows. Who would feed these women? Who would clothe and
provide them shelter?

Naomi did not have the wherewithal to take care of these young widows. The natural
thought process would be for them to live in Moab, the land of their people. Naomi was
attempting to give the best advice she could. She was not being unkind. It was natural
to consider that Orpah and Ruth would have a better chance of survival in Moab. It was
a difficult conversation to have to say the least. Consider the bond that these women
had made over the past several years. Naomi wanted what was best for her daughters-
in-law.

For Naomi, the decision had been made. She was going home back to the place of
blessing. But Orpah and Ruth wanted to stay with Naomi. They too intended to go to
Bethlehem and start over in a new land. Naomi wanted Orpah and Ruth to consider
what it would mean to live in a land that was new to them. Naomi pleaded with them
saying she was too old to have more sons they could marry. When Naomi encouraged
them to go back home, she said, “…Go, return each to her mother’s house: the Lord
deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.” (Ruth 1:8). I am told
that this is an Old Testament way of saying, “As you showed grace to the dead and to
me, may God now show grace to you.”

It is probable that the main reason Naomi encouraged Orpah and Ruth to go is found in
verse 13 when she said, “…that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me.” She is
telling them to not stay with her because all that she had loved is now gone. She was
saying that the Lord had brought her nothing but trouble. First, it was famine in
Bethlehem and second, all the men in her life died. Without saying it she believed that
the Lord had become her enemy. (Have you ever felt that way before?) All hope seems
to be lost. There does not seem to be, “a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Orpah took Naomi’s advice and returned to Moab. That is the last we ever hear of her in
Scripture. One can only imagine the heaviness of the hearts of those two as they
separated; Orpah to Moab and Naomi to Bethlehem. Naomi must have felt similar to the
Prodigal Son as he made the walk back to his father’s house. Recall he said, “And am
no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.” (Luke
15:19).

As a side note, the Prodigal Son did not make any deals with his father. He came
back home with no conditions. He demanded nothing. (That would have been pride
speaking.) The Prodigal Son was so embarrassed about the way he had lived that he
was saying that I am not worthy to be called your son. Pride has no part in repentance.
In fact, real repentance does not make deals with God.

But like the Prodigal Son who underestimated his father’s heart, so did Naomi
underestimate her Heavenly Father’s heart. As we live in these uncertain times, if we
are not careful, we could find ourselves in this condition. It begins with the unwise
choices that have taken us far from God.

Many of us have lived within these poor choices for a long time. That in and of itself could cause us to doubt God’s willingness to take us back. If you are thinking that, ask God to remove that thought from your mind. Someone said, “Regret means you have learned from your mistakes.” If you regret your past, you know you messed up and if like Naomi you have tired of living with the pagans, you can return home. You do not have to stay in Moab. You can go home.

2. Commit to the Trip

Well Orpah has left but Ruth is refusing to leave her mother-in-law. Naomi attempts one
more time to convince Ruth to stay in Moab. Naomi knew how the Jews and the
Moabites hated one another.

Not only would it be difficult for Ruth to go there but it could be dangerous for her as well. One writer said that if Ruth went to Bethlehem, “She would be as welcomed as a ham sandwich at a bar mitzvah.” Naomi knew that it could potentially cost Ruth something to go to Bethlehem. Similarly, Jesus warns the disciples of the cost of following Him, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear hi cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27).

Naomi is warning Ruth. She is doing her best to make her understand that this will not
be an easy life. But Ruth had made up her mind. Listen to her response in Ruth 1:16-
17, “And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for
whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my
people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried:
the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.”

Many times, these words are quoted in wedding ceremonies but they first applied to a
daughter-in-law committing herself to her mother-in-law. Not only is she committing
herself to Naomi but also to Naomi’s people and Naomi’s God. Ruth’s commitment is
personal, it is voluntary and it is complete.

This is something when you consider that Ruth had nothing to gain by going to
Bethlehem. She seems like an intelligent person and certainly knew that she was
probably looking at a life of poverty and rejection. The only thing that Ruth is thinking at
this moment is her connection and attachment to Naomi. (Oh, that we could attach
ourselves to God and allow Him to sort out our future.)

It would seem that Ruth was displaying more faith than Naomi. This is amazing when
you consider that the faith being displayed was that by an “outsider” of the faith. After
Ruth’s proclamation to Naomi, verse 18 tells us that, “…then she left speaking unto
her.” There was no reason for anymore talk. Ruth was going to be by her side.

3. Go to the Place of Blessing

Naomi and Ruth arrive in Bethlehem. In those days Bethlehem was a tiny village.
Everyone knew everyone. The questions the town folk must have had. Where is
Elimelech? Where are the boys? Certainly, they were pleased and surprised to see
Naomi at the same time. Here is how Naomi sums up her time in the country of Moab,

“And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt
very bitterly with me. I went out full, and Lord hath brought me home again empty:
why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty
hath afflicted me.” (Ruth 1:20-21).

Do not call me Naomi (Pleasant) but call me Mara (Bitter). One preacher said, “Ruth is a
bruised believer, and those bruises take a long time to heal.” Naomi was saying God
made me very bitter. God brought me back empty. He opposed me. He afflicted me.
The bitter pain that Naomi experienced in Moab had bruised her faith, but it has not
destroyed it. If God is sovereign, then I must deal with God.

Naomi has no idea what is going to happen next. (Just like us when we come back from
our Moab.) She is not thinking of Boaz and how he will someday marry Ruth. We are
looking at a bruised and battered woman that has come home in utter defeat. It seems
that God has dealt harshly with her, or so she believes. She cannot see the bigger
picture. (We are no different today. We walk into the next day as the sun comes up after
experiencing great defeat. You see, we are all a Naomi at sometime or other in our
Christian walk. Are you walking back from your Moab now?)

Someone said, “Can we return to God and still harbor feelings like this? If we answer
no, it means we have not suffered very much.” For those that have suffered great loss,
you can understand Naomi’s heart. She is a battered and bruised believer and those
bruises take a long time to heal.

It was a difficult trip for Naomi to make, returning home without her husband and
sons. But she was determined to return to the place of God’s blessing. Some
might read this story and say that Naomi was a bitter woman. This is a true statement
but there is more to consider. As long as she stayed in Moab, she was out of God’s will.
At least she had the faith to make the long journey home. (How about you?)

We all make foolish choices that put us in bad situations. All of us, at one time or
another, have tried to sojourn in Moab. Perhaps we have done it by entering into an
incorrect relationship. Perhaps we moved when we should have stayed. Maybe we
gave up too soon. Perhaps we attempted to try a shortcut that got us into trouble.
Maybe we were thinking we could become involved in sin convincing ourselves that it
would not hurt us. We tried all these only to end up in defeat.

How about you today? Have you journeyed to Moab as the result of a sinful decision?
You see the question is not, “Have we sinned?” Of course, we have sinned. The
question is, “What will you do about it?”

Remember God’s grace exceeds our sin. One man said, “God does not consult your
past to determine your future.” Thank God that is true, and it is just as true for us as it
was for Naomi.

A footnote:

As we have discussed we are living in uncertain times. The Coronavirus has
provided far more questions than answers. I just want to remind you that while these are
uncertain times to us, they are not uncertain times to God. Remember what Charles
Spurgeon said about those that trust in the material things of the world,

“Every now and then, in order to enforce this distasteful truth upon us (that God is in control), the God of Providence gives the world, in some way or other, a warning shake. The Lord only has to lay one finger upon the world, and the mountains are carried into the midst of the sea, where the waters of the ocean roar and are troubled until the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.”

God is using this uncertain time to drawn people to Himself. Let’s join Him as He does.





Come and See

10 01 2020

I preached this message at McKee Road Baptist Church on 1/5/20 for the Sunday Morning Service

 





What was God Doing in the Christmas Story? (Part 2)

13 12 2019

The place of His youth. (Matthew 2:23)

“And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.”

Now this is an interesting verse. It’s often used by enemies of Christ to prove the Bible is wrong. The reason is that there is no verse in the Old Testament that predicts the Messiah will be a Nazarene. Let me tell you what I believe this means.

The town of Nazareth comes from the word netser which means branch or sprout. Now follow me on this. Matthew didn’t say it was spoken by the prophet singular, but the prophets plural. The other prophecies were by a single prophet but this one was by more than one prophet.

Where is it spoken that the Messiah would be a netserene or a branch or sprout. It was spoken by several prophets, plural.

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” (Isaiah 11:1)

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.” (Jeremiah 23:5)

“In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.” (Jeremiah 33:15)

“Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch.” (Zechariah 3:8)

“And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord.” (Zechariah 6:12)

He is a yes to the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zechariah.

The trip to Egypt. (Matthew 2:13-15)

“And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.”

Herod hears from the wise men that the King of the Jews had been born. Fearful for the loss of power he tries to destroy the child. He kills all the male children 2 years old and under. Joseph is warned to go to Egypt until the king dies and it’s safe to return.

Why Egypt? The reason is that it was prophesied by the prophet Hosea.

“When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.” (Hosea 11:1)

This was based on a historical event that served as a type of the coming Christ. Everything in the Old Testament points to the coming Messiah even the Exodus from Egypt. We also see God using normal means to accomplish prophecy.

Just like He used a tax to bring them to Bethlehem, God uses the evil desire of the King as a means to take them to Egypt so that He can call them back out.

Also note that Egypt had once been a place of death for Israelite males but now it serves as a place of refuge for the holy child Jesus. God can make a river in the desert and bring calm in the midst of a storm.

He is a yes to the prophet Hosea.

The Rage of the King. (Matthew 2:16-18)

“Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.”

The King orders the murder of all males 2 years old and under. This fulfills a prophecy about Rachel weeping for her children. Rachel here the mother of Israel weeping for her children. This refers back to Jeremiah 31.

Jeremiah is writing about the carrying away of Israel into captivity by the Babylonians.

“Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.” (Jeremiah 31:15)

As the captives marched past the tomb of Rachel she is said to be weeping over them but not just about the captivity. Many of them would return this was looking forward to this event when the children of Rachel would be slaughtered.

In that same chapter Jeremiah talks about the new covenant that God would make with His people and here we have not only the fulfillment of this prophecy about Rachel weeping but it’s at the birth of the Messiah who would initiate this new covenant with His on blood.

He is the yes to the prophet Jeremiah.

I could go on and on. At the death of Jesus and throughout the ministry of Jesus we see many more fulfilled prophecies. We have many examples of the yes that Jesus is to all of God’s promises.

What God was doing in the Christmas story was showing that His word was trustworthy and that He could be trusted to fulfill His promises. He kept His word about the coming of Messiah so they could trust Him about the sacrifice of Messiah.

We can look back and see that He kept His promises about the death of Christ and trust that all He promised us in Christ He will likewise fulfill.





What was God Doing in the Christmas Story? (Part 1)

5 12 2019

I love the story of Christmas. It’s a beautiful story that only God could tell. It’s a story that only God could write. We know the basics of the story, it’s all very familiar to us. I don’t want to hit on the basics I want to dwell for a few minutes on the facts less talked about.

I don’t have a single text because we will be all over the place but if I had to have a set text from which to jump into the subject it would be Galatians 4:4-5:

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”

What we have in the Christmas story is the middle chapter a longer story. It’s kind of a bridge between the types and shadows and the fulfillment. The story began in Genesis 3:15 with the prophecy from God Himself that a Savior would be coming.

From there a foundation is laid throughout the Old Testament with types and figures of the fulfillment of this great promise. How could such a Savior come to fulfill these types that we see played out in story form across the Hebrew Scriptures?

It’s clear you would need a separate story to bridge the promises and the fulfillment. Certain prophecies were written into the story hinting at what that bridge would look like. Prophecies hinting at how such a Savior would come.

Then we get to the birth of Jesus and we begin to see these prophecies played out in real life. God was doing more in the birth of Jesus then giving the world a Savior. He was keeping His word and demonstrating that He was faithful to bring this Savior.

Have you ever noticed the emphasis God places in the Old Testament on His previous works? The Psalms which were the songs sung in Israelite worship constantly recount the mighty acts of God on behalf of His people.

God over and over again tells the people of Israel remember when I parted the Red Sea, or delivered you from the house of bondage, or gave your fathers manna in the wilderness. His keeping of his word became the evidence that they should trust Him in the future.

This is what Christmas is about. Jesus and the events of His birth are the proof that God keeps His word.

“For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20)

All the promises of God are yes in Jesus because in Jesus we find the great fulfillment of all that God promised. So let’s look at the Christmas story with the eye to see the the Word of God to His people fulfilled.

1. The nature of His birth. (Matthew 1:18)

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”

After going through a list of this father begat this son Matthew comes to Jesus and he is like the birth of Jesus the Messiah was in this way. In other words not the normal way. He was born of a virgin.

This was promised by God through the prophet Isaiah 700 years before His birth. This was in Isaiah 7:14. If Jesus was born in the normal course of things then God’s promises would be void but they are yes in the birth of Jesus.

“Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matthew 1:22-23)

We see these events play out in Luke 1:26-35.

“And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

2. The place of His birth. (Luke 2:1-4)

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David.”

The place of His birth is vital because the prophets spoke of it long before it happened. The Jewish leaders understood this, in fact even the Roman authorities knew it had been foretold.

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.” (Matthew 2:1-6)

Where are they quoting from? They are quoting the prophet Micah.

“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2)

He had to be born in Bethlehem and then God used ordinary means to bring it about. A census was taken in order to tax the population. We often forget that God uses mundane day to day activities to accomplish His purpose.

God tells the king to take a census and the king thinks it’s his decision and doesn’t realize that God is using him to bring the Savior in the world. He is the yes to the prophet Micah.

To be continued…





Prayer Letter: August/September 2019

4 10 2019

Greetings:
We greet you in the name of the Lord and hope this letter finds you well. I apologize for getting this letter out so late but September was an extremely busy month.

Street Ministry:
We had a hot summer in our street ministry. I can’t complain I suppose because the Lord blessed us with a short summer. Our hot months typically stretch from May to October but this year they only lasted from June to August with a few warm days in September.

Our usual spots are the Courthouse, the bus station and the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. We were able to proclaim the Gospel at all of them over the summer.

Prison Ministry:
The Lord has been stirring the hearts of men in both prisons. The men in Lancaster are seeing tremendous answers to prayer including several of the brothers having life sentences reduced. A few men have been released and are serving the Lord with their families now.

The men in North Kern are being stirred with a particular desire for holiness and a desire to share the Gospel on the yard. I was able to minister to a man at our county prison over the summer as well. I hope he continues to seek the Lord.

Prayer Requests:

*Financial support
*A home repair financial need of $3,200 to be met
*Upcoming outreaches in December: PAC 12 Championship outreach; Fiesta Bowl Outreach; Christmas revival at Lancaster prison
Please consider supporting us financially as well as with your prayers. You can give a tax deductible donation.

Giving Instructions:
Give online at http://www.gospelbeacon.org

To give by check simply make the check out to Revival USA with Lighthouse Gospel Ministries in the memo section. You can mail it to us at:

Lighthouse Gospel Ministries
400 McKee Road
Bakersfield, Ca. 93307

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” C.H. Spurgeon








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