Monday, June 30, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
GOING AGAINST THE CROWD
GOING AGAINST THE CROWD
INTRO - Have you ever felt a little out numbered?
I. SPECIAL AGENT CALEB - Some of my favorite shows growing up revolved around a special agent...
A. Chosen And Commissioned - Are first introduction to Caleb is found in Numbers 13.Being freed from the bonds of slavery down in Egypt, God had lead the Israelites to the doorsteps of the Promise land. Upon their arrival God had some jobs to hand out.
1. A mission for Moses - Nm 13:1-2 To Moses was given the job of picking 12 men, one from each of the twelve tribes, and sending them in to the promise land as spies.
2. People for a mission - In the following verses we are than given a list of twelve names - twelve men who would become secret agents.
3. Sent on a mission - Once chosen Moses gave the 12 special agents, spies if you prefer, their mission
a. Go into the South Country; and the hill country. (Vs 17)
b. See if the people who live in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many (Vs 18)
c. Check out the living situations, are they in open or fortified cities. (Vs 19)
d. Don’t forget to check out the crops and bring some back. (Vs 20)
B. Spying and Demoralizing
1. They fulfilled their mission. - Nm 13:21-24
2. They reported on their mission - Forty days later the spies returned with their report and the news was great or was it.
a. On the positive side they had this to say. Vs 27 “ it certainly does flow with milk and honey,.”
b. On the negative side they said Vs 28-29, 31-33 , "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us. ..."The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; ... we became like grasshoppers in our own sight,
3. The people respond to the mission - Nm 14:1-4 the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; ..." So they said to one another, "Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt." - How often do men when freed from sin want to return? Even in light of all the miracles God had done for them they wanted to return.
C. Standing Firm And Being Blessed - In opposition to the people’s desire to return to Egypt stood Caleb. After giving the report of the land we find Caleb ready to go and take it away. 13:30
1. Almost killed - Upon hearing the request of the people to return to Egypt, Caleb took the opportunity to try to convince the people that they could take the land and almost lost his life in the process.14:6-10 "If the LORD is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us ... "Only do not rebel against the LORD; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them." But all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Then the glory of the LORD appeared in the tent of meeting to all the sons of Israel. As the people were preparing to kill Caleb, God showed up. I wonder what the people were thing about then.
2. Outliving the rebellious - As a result of the rebellion, God passed judgement on the people including the spies who convinced the people they couldn’t take the land..
a. Nm 14:24
b. Nm 14:36-38
II. FEELING A LITTLE CROWDED - Caleb could have said well, God does want us to go in but you know, the rest of the spies have a good point and yeah, maybe we should go back to Egypt. But he didn’t. Caleb isn’t the only one in the Bible to deal with going against a crowd., some willfully went along while others stood their ground.
A. A Prophet And A King - In 2 Ch 18:4-12 we find the story of Jehoshaphat and Micaiah. Jehoshaphat had gone to visit Ahab and committed himself to helping Ahab in war but he wanted to get God’s input before doing anything. So, Ahab calls together 400 prophets to get an answer - Vs 4,5
1. Jehoshaphat - Even with 400 men saying go to battle, Jehoshaphat was unwilling to accept the answer they had, he was unwilling to go with the “crowd” and asked for a real prophet. Vs 6,7
2. Micaiah - Upon his summons, Micaiah was encouraged to go with the crowd. Vs 12 - Unwilling to go with the crowd, he mockingly tells the king to go and than tells Ahab the bad news.
3. 400 to 1 was not enough to get these men to go with the crowd. Like Caleb these men knew God and how He operates and could see the crowd was wrong. Sometimes we go with the crowd simply because we don’t know better.
B. Talking To A Samaritan - In the eyes of the Jews, Samaritans were the scum of the earth. If you wanted to fit in with the crowd you would have nothing to do with them. You would literally go miles out of your way to avoid them. Furthermore you would never be caught talking to a woman in public. She was both, Jesus was a Jew yet He took the time to talk to her. Jn 4:3-9 How often do we avoid someone because of what others may say about us or think about us. Many a missionary through time has gone to people groups against what the opinion of the crowds thought. God has never been afraid to go against the crowd. Jesus wasn’t afraid, should we?
C. Passing The Buck - Have you ever “passed the buck”? In this story the crowd won.
1. Jn 9:1-7 A blind man is healed and everything sounds great - so far.
2. Jn 9:18-23 The people didn’t want to believe what happened and they called his parents who didn’t want to give answer lest they get kicked out of the synagogue - Time and time again people have been afraid of the crowds when it comes to openly acknowledging Jesus Christ. Caleb was not afraid to stand up and say God can do it even in the face of being stoned. Stephen even gave his life while professing Christ.
III. WHEN THE PRESSURE’S ON - Through out our lives we will find our selves in situations that put us up against the crowd. And there’s more than one reason we may feel we need to go with the crowds.
1. Ignorance of what the crowd stands for or if we should be in the crowd
2. Desire to fit in and be accepted - It’s not man we need to please but God.
a. Afraid to make a scene
b. Afraid to stick out or being kicked out
A. Some Verses To Think Upon
1. Rm 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect
2. 1 Co 15:33 Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals." - We’ll become like the crowds.
3. Hb 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, - The crowd is sitting on the sidelines.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Here's an old poem I wrote to use in a sermon I gave around the 4th of July. I hope you enjoy it.
FREEDOM AT LAST
Down into Egypt did the Israelites go,
Walking into bondage if you care to know.
For four hundred years, Pharaoh they would serve
In bitter hard bondage to a guy without nerve.
Making bricks out of straw and other fine stuff
Till one fine day, God said, That's enough,
Moses, go and tell them I've heard their cry,
Freedom is coming from their God on high.
YES! FREEDOM AT LAST! NO!
Now Pharaoh wouldn't listen and let the people go
And made their tasks harder, could he stoop that low.
Changing water to blood and putting frogs in his bed
Next lice and flies and now his cattle are dead;
Boils on the skin and hail in the air
Locusts in the fields and darkness everywhere,
Now all that Pharaoh needed was his firstborn dead
Before he'd say, Go, I'll do as God has said.
YES! FREEDOM AT LAST! NO!
Laden with jewels, and silver and gold
They were on their way just as God had told.
Headed for the red sea wide and blue
Pharaoh and his army decided to pursue.
Down at the red sea Pharaoh coming fast
Pass on through, his army wont last.
Thought Pharaoh and his men we'll do the same.
Then God said, No, and put them to shame.
YES! FREEDOM AT LAST! NO!
Now on their way to the promise land
God gave the Israelites a helping hand;
Manna from heaven six days a week
Water from a rock and Moses to speak.
Now at the mountain, the mountain of God
Moses was called to the top he did trod.
When he came down in his hands he did hold
God's ten commandments for all to up hold.
BONDAGE AGAIN! NO! FREEDOM AT LAST!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS
FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS
INTRO - Some people are remembered for the good that they have done. Some are remembered for the bad.
• 2 Pt 2:1-3,15-16. forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam,
• Jd 1:4,11 for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam,
• Rv 2:12-14. 'But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam,
As we look at his story this morning, I think we may see a bit of Balaam in ourselves, a bit of a man who was doing things for all the wrong reasons.
I. A PROPHET FOR HIRE - The story of Balaam is found in the book of Numbers during the 40 years that Israel found themselves wondering in the wilderness. .
A. An Intro To Balaam - Nm 22:1-6
1. Israel was camped near Moab
2. Balak and the Moabites were afraid of them Vs 4
3. Balak sends for Balaam to curse the Israelites.
4. It appears from this intro that Balaam had a reputation - a reputation of being able to place curses or blessing on people that came to be. A reputation that was know over 300 miles away. I believe he couldn’t do that if he wasn’t a prophet of God.
B. Balaam Goes To God - Nm 22:7-14
1. Balaam takes the time to do some consulting - Vs 8 "Spend the night here, and I will bring word back to you as the LORD may speak to me." - Notice two things here
a. He goes to consult God and doesn’t claim to do his wok on his own.
b. He goes to Yahweh and not some false god.
2. God responds
a. God asks who the people are
b. Balaam responds as if it was natural.
c. God tells Balaam he can’t go curse them for they are blessed.
d. Balaam returns God’s answer - Vs 13 "Go back to your land, for the LORD has refused to let me go with you."
C. Balak Tries Again -.
1. He sends even more important people
2. Offers great honor and riches
3. Balaam claims he can not go against God - Vs 18 "Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything, either small or great, contrary to the command of the LORD my God. Notice that Balaam calls Yahweh his God
4. Balaam talks to God again and is told he could go but is warned - Vs 20
D. Balaam’s Blessings - After listening to complaints from Balak for not arriving sooner, Balaam reminds Balak he can only say what God allows him to.
1. Blessing #1 - In Nm 23:1-12
2. Blessing #2 - Starting in vs 13-26
3. Blessing #3 - Starting in vs 27 - 24:13
E. Balak Get’s His Curse - After being told to go home, Balaam goes on to tell Balak what’s going to happen to his people and what he has to say is not good. What Balaam has to say turns out to be a curse to the Moabites - Vs 17
II. BALAAM’S PROBLEM / OUR PROBLEM - Ek 33:13-16 Despite all the good recorded of this prophet, something was wrong, very wrong, for he is not remembered for good but for bad.
A. Some Missing Links - At first glance it is hard to see how Balaam was such a bad guy. So what went wrong? Lets take a look at the missing parts of the story
1. Balaam’s Donkey Ride - One of the famous stories in the Bible is that of the talking donkey - but why?
a. Balaam saddles his donkey and goes
b. God is angry with him for going
c. Three times the donkey sees the angel and turns away from him
d. Balaam starts to beat the donkey
e. The donkey talks back
f. Balaam’s eyes are opened to the angel with the sword
g. The angel responds - Vs 32 Behold, I have come out as an adversary, because your way was contrary to me. - God sees the heart. It appears at this point that Balaam’s reasons for going were not in line with God’s. Further conversation with the angel makes it appear that he was going so he could curse the people for he was warned in vs 35
2. Balaam’s advice - After Balaam supposedly leaves we find trouble taking place among the Israelites.
a. Nm 25:1-3
b. Nm 31:15-16.
c. Apparently, Balaam was still eager to earn some cash even though God would not allow him to curse the people, so he gave the Moabites some advice. It appears that Balaam suggested that the Moabites use their women to seduce the Israelite men into sin and it seems to have worked.
3. New Testament Links
a. Peter when speaking of false teachers compares them to Balaam who he says in 2 Pt 2:16 loved the wages of unrighteousness
b. Jesus Himself tells us more in Rv 2:14 where he says Balaam kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality.
c. Balaam was motivated by wealth
B. Wrong Motives Motivate - Ulterior or wrong motives have surfaced more than once in the Bible.
1. For the wrong reason, Simon wanted the Spirit and was rebuked - Ac 8:21-22
2. For the wrong reason people have worshiped and sacrificed to God - Mt 15:8
3. Saul disobeyed God thinking he could sacrifice the flocks he should have destroyed
4. The Pharisees did many so called religious things for wrong reasons. They prayed and they fasted and they tithed simply to be seen of men.
5. Even the gospel is preached under false motives - Pp 1:17
6. The list could go on for many things through out history have been done for the wrong reasons
C. We Often Have Wrong Motives
1. Jm 2:4
2. Jm 4:3
3. From The Lamplighter, Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations - Some Go To Church...
a. Some go to church just for a walk,
b. Some go to church to laugh and talk,
c. Some go there the time to spend,
d. Some go there to meet a friend.
e. Some go there for speculation—
f. Some go there for observation,
g. Some go there to doze and nod,
h. Some, how few, to worship God.
4. Even if Balaam wanted to do the right thing, it seems clear that he wanted the money and this was his undoing
D. God Knows Our Inside Thoughts
1. Pv 16:2
2. Ps 44:21
3. 1Sa 16:7
4. In Mt 7:15, Jesus issued a warning to be on the lookout for wolves in sheep’s clothing. People with ulterior motives. Every action we participate in is fueled by motives.
E. Pure Motives Should Be Our Goal
1. 1 Tm 1:5
2. Ps 51:10
3. Ps 119:9
4. Heb 4:12.
5. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Most people start off saying, "I can not do anything contrary to the command of the Lord", but like Balaam they end up on the side of the devil. We must never underestimate the power that our desires have to lure us away from what is right. Balaam wanted money, but he also wanted to do God's will. On this occasion the two desires were in conflict. Balaam said he could not be bought for all of Balak's silver and gold, but he ended up being bought for a sum considerably less than that and payed for it with his life.
CONCL - So what motivates us? What are the reason that are behind what we are doing. Are they selfish or Godly / righteous / pure? Whatever they may be, God knows - lets get them right so we can do the right things for the right reasons.