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Making Good Use of What You Have PDF


1 Timothy 6:17-19

The last time we were together in this passage we read Paul’s doxology regarding the Supreme Motive for why Timothy should go to the trouble to fulfill the charge Paul has given to him. It was not an easy task to get the church back in line, especially those who were teaching deviations from the Gospel. As he is closing out his letter, Paul reminds Timothy that the motive is really God Himself, the Universal Lifegiver and the Incarnate Redeemer who has given Himself for us, and the Returning King. There is every reason to remain faithful to the mission God has given to us because of the God we serve. There is no reason to turn back from it.

The Supreme Motive—God Himself

·      Universal Lifegiver

·      Incarnate Redeemer

·      Returning King

Paul goes back to the doxology to describe who God is:

·      Because He is the only Sovereign, we serve one true King, not lesser powers.

·      Because He is the only Immortal One, we have everlasting hope, not just temporary joy.

·      Because He is invisible, we live for spiritual realities, not temporal materialism.

·      Because He is worthy forever, we direct glory to Him, not ourselves.

Those huge theological truths that Paul gives to us are like the truths that we expect to hear in choir anthems. They are actually between two very practical charges: (1) for Timothy to be true to God in making sure that people stay on track doctrinally, and (2) for people to use the material wealth they have in a way that is consistent with the God that they serve and with the Gospel that they preach.

17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

He said “charge them” (present tense) meaning to keeping charging them. This is something that Timothy is going to repeatedly remind them of, just as Paul had given Timothy solemn direction for him to be faithful in fulfilling his mission in the church—seeing  to it that there was no deviation from the biblical truth of the gospel. In that same way, God wanted those with material wealth not to deviate with the purpose of that wealth.

Theological realities create practical obligations, and one of the challenges of our lives is to connect the two.  Just as we saw in David’s life, part of the trouble he was getting into had to do with that failure to connect theological realities with practical obligations. Being part of the household of God dictates how we ought to behave (1 Timothy3:15).

No part of our lives, whether we are working or worshiping or acquiring or giving, individually or corporately ought to remain untouched from theological reality. That is what we are trying to stress when we say “Life by the Book.” We are not just saying it to keep the rules. We are saying the Bible teaches us reality and gives us mandates. We need to live that out. The Scriptures introduce us to a God who gives us the life energy to do that – Life by the Book.

Paul has warned about the troubles wanting to be rich produces in our lives. That is probably the most common malady because there are more people who are not rich than people who are. Now he addresses those who already are rich in this world.

“Rich in this world”—in the now age. Paul uses that phrase in other places. For instance, Demas forsook Paul, having loved the now age. He was time bound (earth bound) in his focus, and it seduced his heart from that which was important. There is an age to come that lasts forever, so be wise in the now age by keeping the forever age in mind.

All believers have amazing wealth in the age to come by virtue of their relation to Jesus Christ—joint-heirs. It is wealth beyond imagination, and it is difficult to get our minds around it. We will someday enjoy a world we could never afford with positions of honor and responsibility that we could never earn or attain. There are some believers who are also rich in the now age.

The term “rich” is a comparative term. What rich means when you are age 13 is different from which rich means when are 43. What rich means in America is different from what rich means in the Yucatan Peninsula. What rich means in the 21st century is different from what rich meant in the fifth century. So rich is comparative. While few of us would consider ourselves to be rich compared to fellow Americans or western Europeans, nearly all of us would be considered rich compared to many in the history of the world or in other parts of the world. Even if we are cash poor, our lifestyles enjoy the benefits of technology that make our lives easier. We enjoy what only the wealthy people used to be able to enjoy. For instance, remember the first mobile phones. Only a few people could afford to have them, and they were in big, bulky bags, and you had to have an antenna on your car to use them in a vehicle. Today practically everyone has a cell phone! The same is true with computers. At first they were gigantic, filling huge rooms and no one had a computer at home. They were limited to business use. I recall hearing someone say that someday everyone would have a computer in his home, and I thought “yeah, right.” (I was thinking of their huge size and complexity of use.) Today they are common, and the power of the computer in my phone has much more memory than my first computer. It cost much more than what you can buy today at a moderate price. That’s what I mean when I say that we today enjoy things that only the rich could afford a few decades ago.

When you drive across town you can generally identify in what decade a community of homes was built – the 1940’s and 1950’s, the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. How? Because the homes get larger and larger. (The Biltmore House is an exception.)

That is why I chose to call our study “Making Good Use of What You Have.”  We are not so much thinking about how this passage applies to “those rich people” as thinking how this passage applies to us.

I. Beware the Pitfalls (1 Timothy 6:17)

17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.

Pride of Possessions

The first pitfall is the pride of possessions. The word “haughty” literally means high minded; to think highly of yourself in comparison to others. The reality is that it is a temptation for us to think we are superior people to people who have less than we do. Paul calls us to never engage in that faulty self-assessment. When he says, “Don’t be haughty,” the language he uses has the idea of “continue not to be haughty.”  To live that way is to live in self-deception.

Why is this so easy for us to do? I think because much of our success in the workplace is rewarded in financial terms. The better work you do, the more you do, the more you make. Therefore, the more you have, the better you must be. It is very easy for us to think, “I’m really good at my job and, therefore, I make a lot of money, so people who do not have as much must not be as good.” We don’t say it aloud, but thinking of ourselves as superior comes naturally.

But what are we measuring? Is material wealth the only measure of my worth? Is it even the best measure? Some work gets high pay not because it is more difficult or even more significant, but because more people are willing to pay more for it.

How many are trapped into lifestyles and ways of making a living that are corrupt simply because they make more money than in doing less glamorous but more honorable labors?

We don’t want to assess people by how much they make. How many have made much for good reason, but because they live in a volatile world plagued by the curse have lost it all—a market crash, a serious illness, a crooked business partner, a flood or fire or some other kind of disaster. Riches come and riches go. Were they as persons any less valuable after they lost it than before they lost it?

What should be my response to having much? Gratitude is a better response than pride. Gratitude will spare me from the covetous attitude of wanting more and always being dissatisfied. Gratitude puts the credit where the credit is due. It is God who gave you the gifts. It is God who gave you energy and opportunity and protected you from the disasters. It is God who has given you everything that you have. Pride gets in the way of using your wealth for the benefit of others—that’s a large part of what it’s for.

What is a person’s worth? A person’s worth is like the worth of any common object:  consider who made it, who owns it, and who claims it. For example, a silver tea set made by Paul Revere is worth far more than an ordinary silver tea set. A wing back chair owned by Thomas Edison is worth more than other wing back chairs of the same time period. Sometimes the worth of something has much to do with who made it, who owned it, and who wants it. The thing itself may have little intrinsic value. Increased demand drives the price up, like you see at an auction.

Jesus ransomed us out of the slave market of sin with His own precious blood. That is priceless. We were made by God in His image. We are owned by God for His purpose. We are redeemed by God -- His valuation. When we think of other people in these terms, their value goes way, way up. If these things are true of others, I can’t look down on them; if they are true of me, I can’t consider myself of no worth. It’s not my intrinsic worth but my worth in relation to God. This is bringing theology to bear with reality and not letting the world system dictate the value of things or people.

Misplaced Trust in Things (instead of the God who gives them richly for our enjoyment)

It is foolish to set our hopes on the riches of uncertainty.”  “Financial security” is a phrase we use that is a contradiction of terms. Riches take wings; they come and go. Don’t tie your security to them.

Proverbs 23:4-5: Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eye light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven.

Why do you labor? It needs to be for more than just your pay because that will be gone quickly. Money gets spent or stolen. Food gets eaten. Clothes grow threadbare. Cars break down. Houses fall apart. They all require a lot of time and effort to maintain as long as possible. Not a bit of it has value for you one second after you die.

Our security has to be in something—in Someone—more substantial, the One who supplies us all things richly to enjoy. He’s like an ever-flowing stream from which we dip the water of our daily supply for our needs. Riches help us cope with many things—increased ability, but they do not help us with the greatest things. The state of my own heart, my spiritual growth, my true benefit to others, and my happiness are not related to possessions.  

II. Seize the Opportunities (1 Timothy 6:18)

18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,

It is interesting how the previous verse tells us that God gives us all things to enjoy, and this verse implies that these are some of the best kinds of joy you can pursue. There is joy in living this way: doing good, being rich in good works, and being generous and ready to share. These are present tense indicating they are constant duties or a way of life. Use your wealth for doing good to others (not just for self). Things that are noble, praiseworthy deeds – be rich in these! Build your portfolio of noble deeds done to the benefit of others.

John Kitchen, 288: “Good works do not save us (Titus 3:5), but they do fairly represent the reality of our salvation (Titus 2:14; 3:8).”

Be rich in good works. Be ready to share. “Share” is from the word commonly translated fellowship, meaning to have in common. It reminds us of the communion we have together in Jesus. It was used of the northern Greece churches, Macedonians, whose generosity was displayed toward the saints in Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 8).

  • How would others rate you in terms of generosity? How would you rate yourself?
  • What could you do to cultivate greater generosity?
  • Think throughout this week, what possessions do I have?  How can I use those things for the benefit of others? It all belongs to God, and none of it is going to belong to you a second after you die. So how can I use these things for the benefit of others?

In our church family our mission has to do with benefiting others—our ministry focus; our facilities are to facilitate; whatever we have is to advance the mission. It requires constant assessment to make sure we are devoting what we have to the most important concerns; the things have no value apart from how they benefit people and honor Christ.

III. Invest in Eternity (1 Timothy 6:19)

19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

Storing up treasures for themselves! We are tempted to think that if we give our stuff away we are harming ourselves. That’s not true. The only way to make temporal treasure eternal is to use it for the good of others. Everything you keep you lose; it is what you give you gain. Paradoxically, it pays you well to give your stuff away for good cause.

Jesus tells us not to lay up treasure on earth. Why? Moths, rust or thieves will get it. Instead, lay up treasures in heaven where there are no moths, rust or thieves. Why? For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Your heart follows your treasure. Wherever you invest your treasure, that’s where your heart will focus. If you invest in the stock market, you will start checking it because you have investments there.  Jesus tells us to invest our things in a heavenly portfolio. Put your investments there, and your heart will follow.

It is deadly to be earthbound in your focus. You are more important than anything you have. Don’t let what you have destroy you. Make good use of it for your own spiritual health. This is a good foundation for the future—this is only the beginning! The best is yet to come. It is taking hold on what is really life (a life that is not dying, passing away and temporal).

To live this way you have to believe in the promises of God to live for the life to come. You have to believe in spiritual realities to devote material possessions toward them. It is living out Hebrews 11:1: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith lives for spiritual realities. Faith helps me make good use of what I have.

·       In what ways does your use of what you have reveal you believe in the life to come?

·       How are you keeping your focus on what is really life, and what are you finding steals your heart away?

·       What does your “retirement fund” look like? How is your eternal portfolio coming along?

I think of the parable of the unjust steward who used the mammon of unrighteousness to gain friends who would welcome him in when he didn’t have a place to live. We don’t get to live here forever. We want lots of people we have served with our earthly goods to welcome us into heaven.

This can start when you are really young. Over the past few months I have talked to two men that God has blessed materially. They are some of the most generous men I know. One talked about when he was a child using peanut butter jars to categorize his income: a jar for spending, a jar for saving, and one for God. However little or much came in went proportionately into those jars. Seeing God’s jar build up for the sake of using it for others was an awesome thing, and God blessed it from the beginning. There are some adults who need to learn what some children learn quite young.  God gives to me not just for me but to give to others for His glory. Jesus lived this way. He came not to be served but to serve. Though He was rich He became poor for our sake so that we may become rich in Him. When we follow our Master, we live the same way. Love with His hands; see with His eyes. Love – bind it around you. Let it never leave you. They will know you by your love.

Love gives to God and to others. Make good use of what you have.

Making Good Use of What You Have

·         Beware the Pitfalls (1 Timothy 6:17)

·         Seize the Opportunities (1 Timothy 6:18)

·         Invest in Eternity (1 Timothy 6:19)

LifeGroup Questions

1.     Why is it so tempting to value others and myself in terms of material possessions, and what helps you see through such deception?

2.     What are ways you fight trusting in things rather than God the Giver?

3.     What helps you cultivate generosity?

4.     Of the possessions you have, what could you use to benefit others?

5.     How do you keep your focus on what is really life, and what have you found tends to steal your heart away?

Pastor Drew Conley

Hampton Park Baptist Church

Greenville, SC

April 27, 2014

 
The Risen Lord Revealed PDF

 

The Risen Lord Revealed

Revelation 1:4-18

The apostles and hundreds of others bear testimony that Jesus Christ is risen indeed. As you read what they have written, you see that their interest is not just in the historical fact of the resurrection but in the significance of that fact not just in terms of Christ’s future coming again but also in terms of the present power available to those who know Him.

As I meditated on the significance of Christ’s resurrection from all the other biblical accounts of historical persons who were raised from the dead, what struck me was that Christ’s resurrection has power for me today. The widow’s son of Nain was raised. While this account teaches me that Jesus Christ has this power, that resurrection from the dead does nothing for me. The Shunamite woman’s son was raised by Elijah through the power of God, but that son being raised has no power for me today. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is altogether different. We have presented for us in the Gospels the days of His humiliation. He came fully man, took our place, and helped us see who God is and what He is like as we look into the face of a man and actually see God. God, the Living One, could actually suffer our death as the God-man.

I thought it would be important as we consider the resurrection to know Christ not just as He was but Christ as He is, not Christ just in His humiliation but Christ in His exultation. Just as we have sung great songs of exultation on this Easter morning, crowning Him, rejoicing and celebrating what He has done, it is important for us as a church body to know that we serve the risen Christ and to know that risen Christ.

Our prayer is to know Christ and the power of His rising. 

4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood 6and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

9 I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

This passage is obviously more than we can cover in a Sunday morning worship service, and we will focus on the earlier verses. I want us to see the risen Christ as He is revealed – to know Him as He is. Consider with me first that John tells us who He is.

I. Who He Is (Revelation 1:5)

He is the Faithful Witness.

John describes who Jesus is. He describes the Trinity – the Father who was and is and is to come; the Holy Spirit and the seven perfections, and the Spirit before His throne; and Jesus Christ whom he describes as a Faithful Witness. A faithful witness is someone who has had a firsthand experience and then shares that experience with others. We speak of eyewitness testimony, which is valuable in the courtroom. When we hear the word eyewitness, we probably think of a news report or an historical account. The fact is that all we know is based on the testimony of others or what we have experienced. What we experience firsthand is a small slice of it. We must take others’ word for it for most things. The question is how reliable is the testimony? Courtrooms have false witnesses. Newsrooms spin reality. Textbooks have mistakes that are more than typographical errors. Witnesses sometimes lie. Even if they are trying to tell the truth, their perception of what actually happened is limited and can be mistaken. But Jesus Christ, the Faithful Witness, has testified to us what is absolutely so. He revealed to human beings what they could not otherwise know.

John 3:11: Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen. These were His words to Nicodemus in that night time interview. He spoke not only of earthly things but of heavenly things.

John 3:31-33: He who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard. . . . Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true.

Christ said during His trial before Pilate (John 18:37): For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice. Everyone who is of the truth listens to His voice. He was a faithful witness to the death. In fact, the word martyr, which we use to describe those who have gone to their death for the sake of Jesus Christ, is this word witness. He was the Faithful Witness. He faithfully witnessed before Pilate, before the Sanhedrin, and before the world. He is the Word that was with the Father in the beginning, the Word that is God and that was with God, the Word that was made manifest to us, full of grace and truth.

In fact, Revelation 19:11 speaks of a vesture dipped in blood that He wears when He returns in glory and brings His saints and angels. On that vesture is written “He is called Faithful and True.” He is the Word of God. (v. 13)

The writer of Hebrews said (Hebrews 1:1-2), “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” If you want to know truth you must listen to Jesus. Think about the things He said and the things He promised and realize that when He says it, it is so. Heaven and earth will pass away, but His words will not pass away. Every person you know will die and will fail, but Jesus will not. He is the Way and He is the Truth. He is the Faithful Witness.

He is the Firstborn of the Dead.

He was not the first to rise from the dead, but the first in rank and authority with the power and authority to raise others from the dead. That is exactly what Paul writes from prison to the believers in Colossae.

Colossians 1:18:  And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

Think about the power that men wield. There is not a one who has the power over death except Jesus. John tells us why in John 5: 24As the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will . . . 25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.

When we talk about the resurrection of Christ, we are talking about an historical event, but we are also talking about an historical event that continues to have impact because He is the Firstborn of the Dead.

That’s why John when He sees Him and falls at his feet…. 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

Who wouldn’t fear to see Christ on His throne? Who wouldn’t fear to see this majestic One who is stronger than death itself? Who would not fear knowing that he himself is a sinner as he looks into the face of One who has eyes like fire? Deep in the recesses of our soul, who would not fear? Yet Jesus, this perfect One, lays His hands on John, an imperfect human being but one who believes in Him, and says “Fear not.” Why not? Because I am the first and the last and the Living One! I died and behold I am alive forever more (You will never lose me again), and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

It is one thing to know that someone is powerful, but it is another thing to know that the power will be exercised in love toward you. Gather together the richest, the wisest, the most powerful and not one nor all put together can unlock the prison house of death. Nobody is rich enough, smart enough, or strong enough. Peasant and king, fool and wise man, beggar and billionaire are all gathered to the grave to waste into dust. Death conquers all. But Jesus has the keys of both death and Hades. Christ has conquered death; he has opened the escape route from the grave—not merely for Himself but for all who will put their trust in Him as Savior from sin and death.

He is the firstfruits of them that slept—the first sampling of the good harvest. As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. In Christ.

He is the Ruler of Earthly Kings.

Rulers come and go; dynasties develop and disintegrate; nations rise and fall. But Jesus reigns forever over an everlasting kingdom. There is no boundary to His authority: There is no language nor tribe that does not owe him homage. “All authority is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Therefore, make disciples of all ethnicities. I love the way Seiss (commentator), put it: He “presides over the destinies of nations.” He presides over the destiny of the United States of America and every president, every Supreme Court justice, and every congressman, and every governor. Everyone who wields any authority at all will one day cry out that He is Lord to the glory of the Father. They will bow the knee and confess Him.

Psalm 2:8-12:

8 Ask of me (God the Father talking to the Son), and I will make the nations your heritage,and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
    be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Jesus Christ owns the USA. Jesus Christ owns Asia. That’s where the churches were – in modern day Turkey. Jesus Christ owns Africa. Jesus Christ owns Australia. There is no place in heaven or earth that is not rightfully His. God says to Him, “You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” They are like a clay pot trying to fight a human being with a clay pole. They have no chance against Him, so the Psalmist says, “O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath is quickly kindled.” Then He ends with this upbeat conclusion: “Blessed (happy) are all who take refuge in Him.”

Revelation chronicles how Christ Jesus will destroy every enemy that dares resist Him. The devil himself and even death will one day be His footstool. That is who He is, but what has He done?

II. What He Has Done (Revelation 1:5-6)

He has freed us from our sins by His blood.

“Freed” means He has loosed us, released us – once for all, finished, done. This is the word that Jesus used of Lazarus as he came forth from the tomb bound in grave clothes (John 11): “Loose him.”

You and I are tangled and bounded in our sin. We cannot break free, but He has freed us. He did it by His blood. His innocent life given for our guilty lives, the means by which sins are remitted (declared paid in full, debt satisfied). “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission (forgiveness).” (Hebrews 9:22)

We cannot purge our sin stain and our sin record so as to stand free and clear before God. We cannot get through one day or even one hour without sin. Someone who has no debt must pay ours. There is only one human being so capable—the God-man Jesus Christ. It is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

He has freed us. Live free!

It’s not just that our sins are purged, we are changed. We are born again with divine life. We are indwelt and empowered by His Spirit. We become living temples of the Holy Spirit of God. We are His body to carry out His will with His power.

He made us a kingdom of priests to God.

He made us not just subjects and citizens of His kingdom, joint-heirs of that kingdom, those who will reign with him, bearing responsibility in his kingdom. What all that will include we do not fully know, but even now we have received authority to be His ambassadors, to declare sins forgiven or retained on the basis of the gospel message He has entrusted to us. Who among us has the right to say what God will do in the future at the Great Judgment if He has not authorized us to speak for Him? Who among us has the right to say that if you believe in Him, your sin debt is wiped clean before God? Who among us has the right to predict that every single believer will one day stand complete and glorified before Christ – not one taint of sin remaining. Immortal. Incorruptible. No man has the right to say that unless He is a joint-heir of Jesus Christ, unless He is an ambassador with the credentials of the Gospel.

This is what the Bible talks about from cover to cover. Daniel 7:13 talks about this everlasting kingdom of saints (people who belong to God). “And behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all people

The saints of the most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever. Here you have someone who looks like a man because He is a man – coming from Heaven. Men don’t come from Heaven. Men want to get to Heaven. This man came from Heaven and to Him was given dominion and a kingdom that all people could serve Him. The saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and possess it forever!

Israel in the Old Testament—Exodus. 19:5-6: “Now therefore, if you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

1 Peter 2:9-10:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Why did God not only forgive us from our sins but also change our identity and make us a Kingdom of Priests? That “you may proclaim (shout it out like in the town square) the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness….” You can’t free yourself from your sins and you cannot change your identity.

He keeps on loving us.

Notice this is in the present tense. He loves us still; He did not stop loving us after He died and rose again.

John writes at the end of the first century some 60 years after Christ ascended to heaven. He addresses people many of whom were not even born when Christ walked the earth, yet have believed in Him through the testimony of the apostles. He writes to people like us. Jesus loves His own—from every place, every century.

John 17: He prayed for those who would believe in him through the word of his apostles that they all may be one so that he world may believe that the father sent him.

John 20: Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.

The favorite way the apostles addressed believers was to call them Beloved. Beloved—the loved ones; accepted by God in the Beloved Son. It was not just that Paul or Peter loved them, God loved them.

This Mighty One knows your name, the labyrinth workings of your heart, your silent pain, your doubts, your sins—and keeps on loving you. He loved you while you were a total rebel against him. Now that you are a child of God, shall He love you less?

He did not forsake us after we received the truth of the Gospel. He ever lives to intercede for us as our High Priest. Nothing can separate us from His love.

III. Why It Matters (Revelation 1:6-7)

He deserves glory and dominion forever.

Glory—shining splendor

Dominion—controlling strength

There is no way you or I can give Him greater praise that He deserves. Glory is His. Complete controlling might is His. We are at our best when we freely and joyfully affirm the reality.

We were created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We best fulfill who we were created to be when our hearts and voices lift up adoration and praise.

God has exalted His name above every name. Every knee will bow. Every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father.

He is coming to the earth in judgment.

7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Wail on account of him--Because of their unbelief—their refusal to receive Him for who He truly is; includes those who actually participated in his crucifixion—crying out Crucify him! Wagging their heads and mocking him—He saved others. He cannot save Himself. Carrying out the execution—pounding the spikes into his hands and feet; driving the spear into his side. (Tenebrae service—to take part in what they said was sobering. I did take part. My sin drove the bitter nails. My rebellion mocked His rule. My life required His death.)

How many have mocked him since. How many have spurned His blood their ransom price. How many have called Him a liar, a phantom, a fraud. In that day they will all wail in abject terror. He is coming.

The day of Christ’s judgment is inescapable. No place to hide. No free passes. No plea bargaining. No legal loopholes. Only those whose sin debt has been paid by Christ Himself are safe. Those who refused to rely on Him must pay for themselves.

These descriptions of the risen Christ are overwhelming, but there are revealed for a present purpose that meets every day needs of His people right now.

He is empowering His churches with grace, peace, and truth.

4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ

Grace—favor/kindness/goodness that is not merited or earned

Peace—reconciled to God and to one another; peace of mind; end of worry and unrest, conflict and doubt

Truth—honest confrontation; heavenly counsel

11 “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

Real churches in real cities with real problems—like us—all with one solution—Jesus Christ. His grace. His peace. His truth.

 

I. Who He Is (Revelation 1:5)

·         He is the Faithful Witness.

·         He is the Firstborn of the Dead.

·         He is the Ruler of Earthly Kings.

II. What He Has Done (Revelation 1:5-6)

·         He has freed us from our sins by His blood.

·         He made us a kingdom of priests to God.

·         He keeps on loving us.

III. Why It Matters (Revelation 1:6-7)

·         He deserves glory and dominion forever.

·         He is coming to the earth in judgment.

·         He is empowering His churches with grace, peace, and truth.

 

LifeGroup Questions

1.    How does Jesus’ being the absolutely reliable witness to reality, the One with authority to set others free from death and the grave, and the Sovereign Ruler of all earthly kings shape your thinking about your life and its challenges?

2.    How does Jesus’ having freed you from your sins impact your day-to-day living?

3.    In what ways do you show that you understand Jesus has made you a king and priest to God?

4.    Why is it sometimes hard to grasp that Jesus loves us still, and how does knowing He does affect our outlook?

5.    In what ways do we need to better live out the reality as a church family and as individual members of it that Jesus is coming in judgment and that He currently empowers His churches? (Consider the commendations and rebukes of the seven churches in Asia in Revelation 2-3.)

Pastor Drew Conley

Hampton Park Baptist Church

Greenville, SC

April 20, 2014

 
For Me to Live Is Christ PDF

Text: Philippians 1:21

Our speaker this evening is Reverend Jurgen Matthia. Jurgen is a member of Hampton Park Baptist Church and has served, along with his wife Joanie, as a missionary in Germany for over 40 years. Although retired from full-time service on that field, he still goes back several times during the year to help with camps and other aspects of the ministry where his son is now serving.

 

Rev. Jurgen Matthia

Greenville, SC

April 13, 2014

 
The Infinite Superiority of a Devoted Heart PDF

I.    In the distractions of life (Luke 10:38-42)

II.   In the devastations of life (John 11:1-45)

III. In the devotions of life (John 12:1-19)

 

Dr. Thurman Wisdom is a member of Hampton Park Baptist Church and is a retired professor from Bob Jones University.

Greenville, SC

April 13, 2014

 
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