The Consumer-Driven Church

By
Chris McCurley

In an effort to reach the lost, many churches have adopted a consumer mentality. Here’s the simple model being employed: 1) Find out what the “unchurched” want out of church. 2) Customize worship to cater to their desires. It’s a simple strategy; one that has been proven effective in some areas. It’s Burger King Church. Have it your way. As a result, many churches have become businesses that measure success by the number of customers they attract. And how do you attract more customers? By meeting their demands. By making the consumer feel as comfortable as possible. You offer them the items on their shopping list.

There are some fundamental flaws with a consumer-driven strategy as it applies to the church. First of all, worship is for the saints. Where in New Testament scripture do we find that worship was to be geared toward the “unchurched?” Yes, the Church was intended to be the agency by which the story of salvation is to be told, but worship is for those “in Christ.” Although, worship can be an attraction for those who are lost in sin, the sole purpose of New Testament worship was not evangelism. The purpose of worship was to praise God and to edify His people. We would hope that our assemblies pique the interest of those who are searching for salvation, but we cannot dismiss God’s wishes for the purpose of catering to the masses. Worship is for God, first and foremost, which means He calls the shots, not us. He is the audience, not us. Therefore, He determines what takes place in worship, not us.

Secondly, a consumer-driven mentality naturally lends itself to a softer stance on sin. Take a cursory glance at the religious landscape today. Many of your mega-churches with mega-preachers have shied away from the truth of God’s word in favor of cotton candy theology. When the goal is numbers, truth often gets compromised, or ignored completely. The spiritual bar gets lowered so that everyone can jump over it. Any topic that might be deemed “offensive” or “divisive” is avoided at all costs. Everyone must be kept happy so that they will stay. But, as my good friend Phil Sanders once stated, “It doesn’t matter how big your church is if the devil runs it.” Bodies in the pew should not be the goal. Souls in the kingdom should be the goal.

A third major problem with a consumer-driven church is that it undermines the call of Christ. Worship is NOT about you! Discipleship is NOT about you! Following Christ means saying, “No” to ourselves (Lk. 9:23). Discipleship is about slavery, not consumerism. Peter, Paul, John, Timothy, Jude and James all referred to themselves as a slave or a bond-servant–terms that demand selflessness. Too many people want to follow Jesus as long as it doesn’t interfere with their lives. However, discipleship is an all-or-nothing proposition. There is no commitment without a cost, and the cost is YOU!

Are we willing to sacrifice the truth for a full auditorium? Are we more concerned about attendance than we are conversions? Are we more concerned about making consumers than we are disciples?

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Frog in Pot

A frog will jump out of boiling water. It will stay in cool water and as you raise the temperature to a boil, he will not realize it and will die.
Don’t let things creep into you life and get caught up in the world or you will also boil to death.

Copy the link below for lesson.

http://prezi.com/jyt6ecdk7vyg/frog-in-pot/

 

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What is the Gift of the Holy Spirit?

What is the Gift of the Holy Spirit?

By: Daron Hoggatt

Key Scripture: Acts 2:38, “38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

What is this “gift?”

A.      Luke 12:12, “12 For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

a.       Acts 2:4, “4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

 

B.      Acts 1:8, “8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

C.      Acts 19:1, 2, “1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

a.       Both Acts 1:8 and 19:1, 2 indicate that the Spirit was given at the time of believing.

D.      Romans 8:9, “9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”

E.       Ephesians 1:13, 14, “13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”

F.       2 Peter 1:19-21, “19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

We see that the “gift of the Holy Spirit” actually applies to several parts of our lives.

1st It gives us the guidance in what to say.  We see that the writers of the Bible did not write upon their own will, but instead, only wrote what the Holy Spirit provided the words of.

2nd We see that it provides us with redemptive power.  This means that we know the difference of right and wrong.

3rd With redemptive power we gain ownership.  The ownership allows us to make those decisions.  The Holy Spirit helps us understand both of these things.

4th By receiving the “gift” we became a temple of the Lord.  “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”

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INTRODUCTION TO EZEKIEL

Simple Outline:

a. Doom – reason for captivity – (1:1-24:27)

b. Hope – restoration assured – (25:1-48:35)

Expanded Outline:

a. The call of Ezekiel (ch. 1-3)

b. The preaching to the exiles (ch. 4-24)

c. Attention to various nations about what God is going to do (ch. 25-32)

d. God’s intentions to restore Israel (ch. 33-37)

e. God and may God (ch. 38-39)

f. Vision of God with His people (ch. 40-48)

Themes:

1. Holiness (uniqueness) of God – the foundation

2. Sinfulness of Israel

3. God will not tolerate sin – will punish

4. Individual Responsibility

5. God will restore

Who was Ezekiel:

1. Means: Ezekiel = God Ezekiel = Strength (God strengthens)

a. 34:16 “strengthens the sick” – builds up the weak

2. He was a priest (1:3) – unique from other prophets

3. He was in exile (vs. 1-3)

4. He was God’s spokesman for 22 years, from age 30-52 (in captivity at 25, called by God at 30)

5. He was one of the most striking characters in Israel’s history. (very powerful – influential)

6. He was influenced by the preaching of Jeremiah. He also knew Daniel (14:14, ,20). A lot of similarities to Jeremiah’s writings – both address proverbs

7. Ezekiel has been called, “neurotic, a victim of hysteria, a psychopath, paranoid schizophrenic (like laying on 1 side for 390 days and the other side for 40 days)

Characteristics of Ezekiel:

1. Convicted of God’s hand upon him

2. Deep and thoughtful – one who meditated; everything had meaning

3. Harsh and blunt in condemnation of sin – in word and action

4. Fearlessly determined. Hard headed to deal with hard headed people

5. A strict moralist – zealous for righteousness – never ate unclean food

6. Uncompromising (and unpopular) – provided what they did not want to hear

7. Sympathetic towards his people in captivity – he still loved them – did not share in sinful nature

Some key words:

Blood – 50 x’s

Bring (brought) – 52 x’s (Hebrew – brough)

Sword – 84 x’s

Son of man (Ezekiel) – 92 x’s

Idols – 37 x’s

Abominations – 44x’s

“Shall know that I am the Lord” – 64 x’s

“The word of the Lord came unto me” – 49 x’s

The methods used:

a. Symbolic visions (Apocalyptic)

i. Greek APOKALUPTO which means “to reveal” (cf. 1 Cor. 14:6)

ii. Hidden (secret) until God chose to reveal it)

1. Books that used Apocalyptic language

a. Isaiah

b. Jeremiah

c. Ezekiel

d. Daniel

e. Joel

f. Amos

g. Zechariah

h. Revelation

iii. Suggestions to why God used apocalyptic language

1. Trying to encourage His people – to see the greatness of God

2. See things in a visual form not just physical

3. Need to be compared to one another (books)

Note: Do not lose self in symbols – illustrations of the Truth

b. Imagery (visual aids)

c. Allegories

d. Parables

e. Acted Symbols

f. Riddle/Proverbs

g. Prophecy

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Childrens Church/Bible Hour

What is the value of having children in the worship assembly of the church?

4 problems with Bible hour:
1. It divides the assembly.
• I Cor 11:20; 14:23 – “come together in one place.”
• When the children are separated for the worship, this divides the assembly!

2. Prevents some Christians from worshiping God
• John 4:24; Eph 5:19
• If some Christians have to leave the assembly to take care of children in a separate classroom, they cannot participate in worship, which is a direct violation of God’s will. Not only have we unscripturally divided the assembly, but some people have been unable to worship, and actually have forsaken the assembling of the saints (Heb 10:25), which is a direct violation of the will of God.

3. It is not overseen by the elders.
• Heb 13:17
• The elders cannot be in 2 places at once

4. Missing prime opportunity for the children to be taught how to act in worship.
• Eph 6:1-4
• Told to rear children “in the nature and abmonition of the Lord.”

• Missing An Opportunity to Worship. While there are many times we can (and should) offer ourselves to children in order to teach them spiritual truth on their own level, there are some serious problems with doing this at the time the church has come together to study God’s word. The adults who conduct these “Bible Hour” sessions are missing an opportunity to worship God as they ought. When a congregation assembles to worship, the elders attempt to offer to the congregation the spiritual nutrition which they need to live in Christ (see Acts 20: 28). They do this by their appointment and oversight of those who lead the worship, and their specific direction regarding the order and content of worship. When a system is set up (no matter how well intentioned) which routinely deprives the adults who lead these “Children’s Churches” of the spiritual nutrition the elders offer to them it is bound to have an effect upon their own spiritual life.

Bible Hour also teaches the children that it is ok to dance, clap,
and that “worship” is entertainment!

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“BEHOLD THE PATTERN”

By: Tommy Haynes

• When a person makes an article of clothing, they do so by following a pattern. Follow it exactly, and you have the same article of clothing that is shown on the cover of the pattern.

• Researchers look for patterns in behavior of physical objects, diseases, or human beings. These patterns tell them if they are on the right track to finding the truth about a particular aspect of their research.

• Men like the Haldanes in Scotland, Robert Sandeman and John Glass in Britain, the Campbell’s and Barton Stone in the U.S. all came to a similar conclusion: The Bible presents a discernable pattern of obedience to God through His New Testament.

• This is what we propose to study today.

RESTORATIONISTS SPEAK OUT ABOUT PATTERNS

• To have any concept of the kingdom, we must explore what the Bible says about that pattern.

• This was one of the major areas of focus by past and present restoration leaders.

• Thomas Campbell, Article 4 of the Declaration and Address: “…yet as to what directly and properly belongs to their immediate object, the New Testament is as perfect a constitution for the worship, discipline, and government of the New Testament Church, and as perfect a rule for the particular duties of its members…”

• Alexander Campbell said, “The Bible alone must always decide every question involving the nature, the character, or the designs of the Christian institution…The foundation of apostles and prophets is that projected and ordained by the Lawgiver of the Universe. On this, and only this, can we safely found the Church of Jesus Christ, whether we contemplate its doctrine, its discipline or its government.

Nothing less authoritative and divine can fully satisfy the conscientious of all parties, or withstand the assaults of the adversaries of our most holy faith.”

• Moses E Lard said, “…the reformation consists in an effort to induce all the truly pious to become perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment, by accepting as doctrine, precisely and only what is either actually asserted or necessarily implied in the Bible; to speak the same things by speaking what the Bible speaks, and to speak them in the language of the Bible; and practice the same things by simply doing the will of Christ. Thus it is proposed continually to construct the body of Christ after the Divine model, to unitize completely its constituent members, to imbue them with a new, divine life, and to pervade them with the peace of Christ, and a warm*  pure, fraternal affection. Such is the great and good work in which we are now engaged (Restoration).

• “Raccoon” John Smith in 1832 stated: “Let us, then my brethren, be no longer Campbellites or Stoneites, New Lights or Old Lights, or any other kind of lights, but let us come to the Bible, and to the Bible alone, as the only book in the world that can give us all the light we need.”

• These men, along with thousands of others, laid their practices on top of the original pattern, and discovered their mistakes. Such we must also do.

• Paul’s arrival in Ephesus describes pattern theology (Acts 19:1-7). He asked about the Holy Spirit. The brethren there had not even heard of the Holy Spirit, and so Paul questioned them about their baptism and discovered they had been baptized with John’s baptism. You see, these brethren laid what they/had done on top of the true biblical pattern and found they had not been baptized into Christ. This is the same as was experienced by restoration leaders. A. Campbell upon the birth of his first child began to research infant baptism and found it to be a foreign subject to the Bible. This led to his whole family being baptized into Christ and no longer practicing infant baptism.

THE CONCEPT OF PATTERNS

• To restore anything you have to know what it looked like in the beginning. That is a pattern. In Joshua 22:28 those on the east side of Jordan had made a replica of the original altar of the Lord.

When those in the west attempted to attack them thinking they had started worshipping idols, they said to them “…Behold the pattern of the altar of the Lord…” (KJV). They had copied it exactly as a reminder to the rest of the nation that those east of Jordan were as much Israelites as those west of the Jordan.

• God expected His people to follow His commanded patterns throughout history:

Cain failed to follow the pattern God had given for sacrifice (Gen.4).

Noah followed God’s pattern for the ark and he and his family were saved: Gen. 6:22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.

Moses followed God’s pattern for the tabernacle and every item in it.

Uzzah broke the command of the Lord for touching the ark and died instantly (2 Sam.6:6-8).

• The apostles taught a single pattern for the establishment of the church in every city. There is never any mention of denominationalism, but simply of THE CHURCH.

• Acts 11:22 “The church in Jerusalem…”

• Acts 11:26 “And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”

• Acts 18:22 “And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up and greeted the church, he went down to Antioch.”

• Looking for patterns is common in everyday life.

• Successful businesses use business models that work – that is patterning.

• Exercise programs, following the directions on a label, construction projects, all require we follow a pattern.

• Even obedience to the laws of the land has to do with patterns. The entire governmental structure is a pattern and leads to legislation and laws.

• The words “tupos” and “hupogrammos” appear together several times in the N.T. Roy Deaver wrote in his biblical notes:

“The Lord is our ‘example.’ This is not the word tupos,…rather, this is hupogrammos. This word means underwriting. The Lord is our underwriting. Consider: A stencil; the letters of the English alphabet , posted over the chalk board, which the child is to strive to imitate; the letters of the Greek alphabet, which the little Greek boy was obligated to strive to imitate.

Research on this word suggested the thought that if and when the student would do the very best that he could to imitate the posted letters, that the teacher would take the student by the hand and help him or her to do a better job in writing the letters.” (Vol.15, May 1981, pages 1,2).

• To throw out the pattern concept in spiritual matters is foolish and reckless. It fails to recognize that there is logic and sense in God’s way of doing things.

• Milton Jones (New Leaf Books, pg.20): “How do you fit Christianity into a post–modern world?” The answer is that we don’t. Romans 12:1,2. Men come to Christ and change, not the other way around.

• James Woodruff (The Church in Transition –pg.21) states, “Our burning desire to be biblical has blinded us to the need to be tolerant toward others…” Of what value is tolerance if we do not have a biblical model of salvation to which we can bring people?

• Tim Woodruff in “A Church That Flies” calls us to “discover unconventional forms for refreshed religious expression.” (p.138). The only place to find “unconventional forms” for Christianity are outside of the bible. Otherwise, they would “conventional” forms.

• Consider the logic of these passages:

• Matthew 16:18 Jesus predicts His church, that it will be built on Him as the foundation, and death will not destroy it. Jesus is inferring that we must follow that pattern to have His church.

• John 8:32 implies there is a pattern of truth that can be known.

• Romans 6:17 Clearly states that there is a pattern. “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.”

Implies that we are not delivered from sin if we do not follow the pattern.

• The leaders of the restoration movement in America followed the biblical pattern in order to restore the New Testament church. When they failed to do so, there was a rupture in fellowship, and damage to the cause of Christ. Men who did not have any knowledge of the works of other men, came to the same conclusion at the same time as to how to establish the church in America – follow the Bible.

THE RESTORATION PLEA FOR THE NEXT GENERATION

• Simply stated, the restoration plea is to do bible things in bible ways:

• John 14:15

• Col. 3:17: This means by the authority of the Lord, not just attaching His name. Matt.7:22-23.

• 1 Cor. 4:6

• 2 Tim. 1:13-14

• Titus 2:6-8

• Heb. 8:5-6

• We must teach these principles to the next generation by – –

• Being consistent in our practices. Never let opinion rule.

• Actively teaching these principles as parents. Eph.6:4 “But you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” 2 Tim.4:2.

• Being transparent about how decisions are made. Elders must be able to biblically justify decisions they make and the direction they lead the church.

Conclusion:

• H. Leo Boles – May 3, 1939 to a unity meeting in Indianapolis: “There is but one pathway to unity among God’s people; there is but one rule that can make us one in Christ Jesus; only one way that can bring salvation to the world. All must exalt the supremacy of the word of God and keep opinions private; no one should propagate his opinions in "the areas of silence," but acknowledge the leadership of Christ and love each other as brethren in order to enjoy Christian unity. So let each one lay aside all opinions, ways, inventions, devices, practices, organizations, creeds, confessions, names, manner of work, except those plainly presented and clearly required in the New Testament. Let all determine to do nothing in religion, save that plainly taught in the scripture and ask his brother to accept nothing that God has not required. Let all do faithfully just what God has required, and let all do this in the way approved by God, and unity is the inevitable result and no "conference" or "unity meeting" is needed. This will reduce all religious worship and service to its original divine simplicity and purity, and will restore to it its original efficacy and power to save. In this simplicity and purity of worship, and in perfect harmony with the will of God, the richest blessings of God will be ours. Faith unites men to God and one another; opinions sever them from God and one another; opinions are the occasions of endless strife and bitterness.

Brethren, let us not be deceived; let us not have a misguided zeal for unity that blinds us to the only way which leads to God and unity. When Martin Luther was summoned by imperial authority before the Diet of Worms and asked to recant what he had said, he closed his speech with these immortal words: "Unless you confute me by arguments drawn from the scripture, I cannot and will not recant anything; for my conscience is a captive to God’s word, and it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. Here I take My stand- I can do no otherwise. So help me God Amen!"

• Like Paul, we should give thanks to God that our forefathers and others have “…obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered” Rom.6:18.

• When we follow that biblical form, the pattern, we will become what they were – New Testament Christians.

Nothing more, and nothing less.

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Patience

The Patience of Abraham

Text: Genesis 22:1-19

Introduction: Rom. 2:7 “eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality;”

1. We see in our text the importance of patience. It is a must.

2. We also see times in our lives when we fail to exhibit patience.

1) Stopped praying, 1 Thess. 5:17 “pray without ceasing,

2) Grew weary in well-doing, Gal. 6:9 “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

3) Some even fail to remain faithful, Heb. 6:11 “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,”

3. We know we don’t always have patience, so how do we develop it? How do we acquire patience?

Gen 17:16-19 – God told Abraham and Sarah that they were having a child. They were both up in years (Abraham was 100 years old).

Think about how special Isaac would have to be.

READ GENESIS 22:1-19

I. The Patience

a. Abraham was 75 years old (Genesis 12:4). God promised to make Abram the leader of a great nation.

b. When Abram was 100 years old, God promised him he would be the father of many nations

c. Abraham and his wife, Sarah, had waited patiently for many years, but they still did not have a child. Abraham did not stop believing God’s promise. He knew he had to be very patient and wait until God fulfilled His promise.

d. But as time passed, God kept His promise. Sarah became pregnant and had a baby boy the next year just as He had promised. Abraham named his son Isaac. Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born.

e. James 5:8 “You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”

II. The Sacrifice

a. In Gen 22:1-19 we see a very disturbing request from God to a parent. God instructed Abraham that he needed to sacrifice his only child. Abraham did not question God. He just followed through with the instruction. Can you imagine the thoughts and feelings that had to be going on?

b. Gen 21:14 Isaac was a “boy.” Hebrew “boy” was someone at the age of a young man.

c. Vs. 5 Abraham says “we” will return

Patience begins with obedience.

III. 1. We make a decision to be patient

IV. 1) They continued stedfastly, Acts 2:42 “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

V. 2) In order to gain the victory we must be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding…, 1 Cor. 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

VI. 3) We must be faithful unto death, Rev. 2:10 “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

VII. 2. Obedience is coupled with a promise, Rev. 3:21; 21:7 “21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” “7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things,[a] and I will be his God and he shall be My son.”

Patience continues with edification.

VIII. 1. Paul’s example edifies us.

IX. 1) Look at what he went through and remained patient, 2 Cor. 11:24-28 “From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.”

X. 2) His attitude, “crucified with Christ, Gal. 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

XI. 3) His expectation having been patient, 2 Tim. 4:6-8 “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

XII. 4) Paul says it’s up to us because nothing else can separate us from the love of God, Rom. 8:35-3935 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “ For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

2. Christ’s example edifies us. We are to run with patience, “looking to Jesus” who ran with patience, Heb. 12:1-31 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”

3. Our brethren today edify us.

Patience finishes with trial.

Abrahams trials

a. God tempted him, not to draw him to sin, so Satan tempts (if Abraham had sacrificed Isaac, he would not have sinned, his orders would have justified him, and carry him out), but to discover his graces, how strong they were, that they might be found to praise, and honor, and glory, 1Peter 1:7 “For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”

b. In vs 1 “after these things” speaks of some great crises that Abraham had faced. 1) country and relatives (Gen 12:1); 2) His nephew, Lot, (Gen 13:1-18); 3) His own plan about Ishmael (Gen 17:17-18); 4) Isaac.

1.Christians ARE going to be persecuted, 2 Tim. 3:12 “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

2. It takes trial to make a Christian perfect or complete in Christ, James 1:2-42 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

1) No “father Abraham” without “get thee out of thy country … unto a land that I will shew thee” (Gen. 12:1) or “Take now thy son … and offer him there” (Gen. 22:2).

2) No “prophet Moses” without standing before Pharaoh (Exo. 5:1) or the wilderness wanderings.

3) No Joshua without the battles in Canaan.

4) No David without Goliath and his flights from Saul.

5) No Daniel without the lions.

6) No apostles without persecutions.

7) No Jesus without the cross.

Conclusion: How to acquire patience?

1. By obedience.

2. By edification.

3. By trial.

James 1:3-4 (Faith produces patience; Patience=perfect {maturity})

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