Monday, October 31, 2016

Lessons from the Fall

Sin. It's all around us. It's been all around us for thousands of year. Everyone does it, and no one can't NOT do it (except for Jesus).
Yesterday, we kind of covered what sin is, but I wanted to expound on where it came from, and where it's taking us as human beings.

In the beginning, everything was "very good" (Genesis 1:31). God created man and woman in His own image, and gave them dominion over the animals and plants, to take care of them and rule them. All creatures were subject to them (Genesis 1:26). But "the serpent" tricked the woman, and she fell into temptation, and disobeyed God's command to not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and then her husband shares in the same rebellion.

That day, the world was changed. The first death occurred when God had to slay a lamb to cover Adam and Eve's shame, but this was merely a foreshadowing of the ultimate sacrifice in order to cover our shame. 

Four Lessons from the Fall
In Genesis 3, God's Word is distorted, denied, and defied. This rebellion is responsible for all of our problems - past, present, and future. Our alienation from God, our self-deception, our broken relationships, everything that is wrong in this world started that day, when Adam and Eve rebelled against God.

Man doubts, distorts, and defies God's Word - reducing it to an alternative viewpoint, while man is the judge of what is "true for me."

1. The Standard is God's Word
God's Word is the standard by which we are to live our lives and resist temptation. Jesus (the "Last Adam," 1 Corinthians 15:45) fended off temptation by affirming God's Word (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). The first Adam compromised God's Word; the Last Adam elevated its authority.

2. Sin is our Problem
In contrast to the claims of modern social engineering, we should not blame sin on our childhood or environment. 
Adam and Eve experienced no childhood trauma; God was gracious enough to give them all they needed to live fulfilling lives, yet they rebelled against Him. Even in a perfect environment, we would still choose to sin.

3. Suffering is Because of our Sin
Sin ultimately led to the suffering we see around us daily. Physical pain due to disease (natural evil) and emotional pain due to sinful choices (moral evil). 
There is no such thing as "innocent" suffering, except for One. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21) The death of Christ is the only case of a genuinely innocent person suffering, and He did so to reconcile us to God.

4. Christ is our Solution
God promised to provide a way of escape from the consequences of sin. 
When He gave Himself as a sacrifice on the cross, the Son of God freely provided new life for us, if we will but “take and eat” (John 6:47–51; Matthew 26:26–29).
Jesus came on a mission to rescue His creation. He had to pay for our sins so that one day He can end evil without ending us. 

Without Genesis 3, we wouldn't even begin to understand the evil that blankets the earth. It is one of the most important chapters in the Bible. With it, we can catch a glimpse of the light which shines in the darkness.

Have you seen the light?
-Elizabeth

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sin - Foundation Series

What's the worst thing that has ever assaulted your sense of smell? Rotting fish? A dirty diaper?
Well whatever it is, it's the worst thing that you have ever smelt. 

Now let me ask you another question. 

What does sin smell like to God?

1. What is Sin? 

Sin means "To miss the mark, to err."
1 John 3:4
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.
Sin means failing to do and to be all that the perfect nature of God requires. Sin is failing to acknowledge the perfections of God and live according to those perfections.

"God necessarily and eternally hates sin. It is in essence the contradiction of the excellence of His moral character. It contradicts His holiness and He must hate it."  Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology


2. Who Sins?

James 3:2
For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.
1 John 1:8
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
Romans 3:10
as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one;



Everyone sins - why is that?

Psalm 51:5
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Romans 5:12, 18
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

3. Sins's Fruits

Our sin may have some appearance of desirability, but it will smell nonetheless, and the smell is the smell of death.
Genesis 2:17
but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."


Sin brings death, and death may come in a variety of ways.

Revelations 20:14
Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

Our own dullness may prevent us from feeling the full weight of death attached to our sin but we experience elements of death any time we sin.

4. Jesus and our Sin
As believers we may say, "Yes, but... my sins are all forgiven." But still, what do we make of our sins and our times of moral pollution?

The truth of the Gospel speaks as much to saints as it does to sinners when it comes to our view of personal sin.

Do my responses to temptation reflect the fact that my sin is what Jesus bore on the cross?

5. Confessing and Forsaking
Genesis 3:12-13
The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

It's confessing our sin, first to God, and then to others as may be needed, that allows us to get free of sin's guilt and shame and retain a clear, functional conscience.


Our conscience is like our sense of pain and it is meant to tell us when something is wrong.

Romans 2:15
They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them

Sin is a radical betrayal:
James 4:4-10
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, "He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us"? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Friendship with the world is enmity with God.

God is emotional about sin - are we? God hates sin, it's a repugnant stench, it elicits His wrath and anger, he calls is moral adultery. The next time you are tempted to enjoy the pleasures of sin, tell yourself you're committing adultery. 

Conclusion: To become more aware of sin in our lives, don't look within, look at Christ.
Job 42:5-6
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
Luke 5:8
But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord."

Self-Test:
-Have I acknowledged my sinfulness before God and embraced the cleansing and forgiveness offered me in Jesus Christ?
-Am I growing as a child of God in the Scriptures, prayer and the fellowship of other believers so that my knowledge of God and His perfections is growing?
-Am I confessing my my sins to God when I am aware of them?
-Am I acknowledging my sin against others when appropriate and doing what I can to restore any broken fellowship?
-Do I have at least one or two others I can share my temptations and sins with so that I'm not alone in the dark?
-Is sin losing its savor? Am I gaining a holy revulsion for those things that used to delight me?
-Is my love and appreciation for Christ growing?

The more we know of Christ, the less appreciation we have for sin.

Tomorrow I will expound a little more on this topic...

Enjoy the last days of October! See you next month! ;)
-Elizabeth

Thursday, October 20, 2016

God - Foundation Series

Imagine a fish in an aquarium. It is fed, it's tank is cleaned and maintained by someone outside. Now imagine if it thought "I don't think there's any such thing as human. I don't believe they exist." 

Absurd, you think? Yes. Very absurd. How is the tank cleaned? Where does the food come from, if not from a human? 

This cosmos is a fishbowl God made. We're the fish swimming inside His world. We live, move and breathe "in Him", and in His world.

1. In the beginning
Genesis 1:1 - In the beginning, God...
Everything that has it's existence has it because of God. Because He is.

Psalm 90:1-2 - God is not bound by space, time or matter.

Job 12:10 - In His hand is the life of every living thing.

Acts 17:24 - He gives everything to all mankind.

2. Acknowledging our Maker
Psalm 14:1 and 53:1 - The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."
Fool: one without moral intelligence; one who has rejected the knowledge of God they should have embraced. I'm not saying these people are stupid. Quite the contrary, actually. They are some of the brightest, most brilliant human beings out there - they just aren't willing to admit there IS a God. Cause if they do that, then they are accountable to Him.

Daniel 5:23 - Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin meaning, "God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end. You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting. Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.

Romans 1:20-22 - He is eternal power, divine in nature. Every man knows that there is a God - they are without excuse. Just look around. That chair in which you are sitting didn't just *poof* appear. That fishbowl didn't just come about. Everyone knows that any creation has to have a creator. 

Called to live in "the Fear of the Lord."
Some of us live as if God is irrelevant - He doesn't effect our lives.
Some of us live as if God is our servant, or Santa Claus - He's there when you want something from Him, like a genie in a lamp.
Some of thank God occasionally - saying grace at meal times, and then moving on, living the rest of the day on our own.


The life built on a rock is lived with the conscious attitude of submission to our Creator.

3. God's Worth
God is not only the Power and Person who created us, but He is the source of all that is ultimately desirable.


He is nothing that He should not be.

-He is Self-existent 
Genesis 1:1
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Psalm 90:1-2
Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

-He is Holy; Morally Perfect and Absolutely Unique
Leviticus 11:44-45
For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground. For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.
Psalm 92:15
to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

-He is Good 
Life is hard, and God is good.
Psalm 119:68
You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.
Psalm 145:9
The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.

-He is Just
He can't be anything less than just. But He can be more than just.
Deuteronomy 32:4
The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.
Psalm 9:7-8
But the Lord sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness.

-He is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent
No power in the universe can keep you out of God's hand.
Daniel 4:35
All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, "What have you done?"
Isaiah 43:13
Also henceforth I am he; there is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back?"

-He is Loving, Gracious and Kind
Out of love, we get His mercy.
1 John 4:8
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Ephesians 2:4-8
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

You are a trophy that displays God's love, grace, kindness and mercy.

All of God's attributes work perfectly together in all that God is and does.

4. Jesus is God
Not just true of Yahweh, but also of Jesus.
John 1:1-3
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
John 14:8-11
Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
1 John 2:23
No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the 
Father also.

5. The Holy Spirit is God
You have the very breath of your Creator - the Living God - inside you.
John 14:16-18
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 
2 Corinthians 13:14
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Ephesians 1:13
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
1 Corinthians 2:12
Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.

Self-Test:
-Have I admitted God is? I draw my breath at His pleasure and owe my existence to Him.
-Have I accepted that God has revealed Himself in the Person of Jesus?
-Have I been reconciled to the Father through Jesus Christ the Son?
-With the apostle Thomas, have I confessed of Jesus, "My Lord and my God?"
-Am I asking the Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus to me?
-Am I living submitted to the truth, by the Spirit so as not to grieve Him through sin (Ephesians 4:30), or to quench His impulses (1 Thessalonians 5:19) through pride or fear?
-Do I give God thanks for the innumerable ways He blesses me every day?
-Do I praise God for the perfection of His person and works?
-Do I worship God by humbly committing to Him my will and my works?

What truth do I need to embrace, what habit do I need to give up, what practice do I need to begin in order to more fully set my life on the Rock that is the Father, 
the Son and the Holy Spirit?

Since God is unchanging, we can rest assured that if we have our foundation in Him, we'll not be shifted by life's storms and raging floods.

Have a lovely rest-of-the-week!
-Elizabeth

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Foundation

A splendid evening to you all! And I hope you're having a lovely autumn. 

I wanted to give you a little sneak peak at the next few posts that I would like to bring your way.

Our church has started a "Foundation Series" to cover the next few weeks, and after the message this morning, I decided I wanted to bring it to computer screens near you.



Foundation: an underlying basis or principle for something.

Foundations are important. If you were to build your house on shifting land, it would not hold up very well. It could be a perfectly good house, inspector approved, and everything, and still be destroyed. Because if the foundation isn't stable, neither is the house. I heard about a house that was built on a hill that was sliding down. One inspector noticed this, and warned against putting a building there. He was ignored, and a week after the house was finished, it slid right down the hill.

In the next couple of days, I will give you the first in the Foundation series - God - which will look at God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

But until then, I thought I'd give you a recipe for one of my favorite fall drinks... Make your day a little better with this:

Ingredients:
Milk (however much you want in your mug)
1/2 Tbsp. of honey
1/2 Tsp. of ground cloves
1/2 Tsp. of cinnamon

Directions:
Heat the milk on the stove, until it is about 185 degrees Fahrenheit
Pour into mug
Mix in the honey
Sprinkle cloves and cinnamon on top
ENJOY!

It is absolutely fantastic! You might want to put a couple marshmallows in it too.

Goodnight, and God bless!
-Elizabeth