Posts Tagged ‘Joshua’


The Fullness of Christ-is it for You?

  • Colossians 1:9-10 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
  • Colossians 1:11 “Strengthened with all power, according to the might of His Glory, UNTO all patience and longsuffering with joy.”

The Proof of Fullness

The evidence of power (and therefore fullness) is always endurance in the face of trials or hardship or tests of faith. The ability to endure under continuous or intermittent pressure that tests our faith in His Word is the foremost proof of spiritual power and the “fullness of Christ”.

This was the lesson of the Book of Joshua as embodied in the person of Caleb. Caleb was one who possessed the Fullness of God, as evidenced in his strength, passion and victory of possessions. He gained everything that God wanted Him to have, and had more to give away to his children. Fullness will always reveal itself in victory in the face of trials, and will always result in an abundance of blessing, so much so that your family will benefit and inherit!

  • The fullness of Christ will reveal itself in our life through joy in the face of hardship or even suffering. The fullness of Christ is never meant to be for an individual, but is always meant to be shared to bring others into His inheritance.

The Limits of being Filled with the Fullness of Christ

Even though we are made in the image of God, we are not God, so our experience of God’s fullness does have limits.  A. B. Simpson[1] used the following analogy to illustrate the limits of being filled:

Being filled with the fullness of God is like a bottle in the ocean. You take the cork out of the bottle and sink it in the ocean, and you have the bottle completely full of ocean. The bottle is in the ocean, and the ocean is in the bottle. The ocean contains the bottle, but the bottle contains only a little bit of the ocean. So it is with the Christian.

We can be filled with the fullness of God when we immerse ourselves in his love and in his ways and in his Spirit and in his word; however “we cannot contain all of God because God contains us;  . . . we can have all of God that we can contain. If we only knew it, we could enlarge our vessel. The vessel gets bigger as we go on with God.A. W. Tozer.[2]

Our Christian walk should be a journey towards spiritual maturity that allows us to experience more and more of Christ’s fullness and enable us to share Him with others.

1. Fullness comes from Proximity

Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

  • There can be no fullness apart from a daily abiding and depending upon Jesus Christ

2. From His Fullness we receive Grace upon Grace

John 1:16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

  • Jesus illustrates the principle of grace as the means to fullness. From the fullness of Jesus we receive His grace, so that we might be filled to overflowing, thus allowing His grace to pass on to others.

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

1 Timothy 1:14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.

2 Corinthians 4:15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 8:14-15 your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”

3. His Fullness gives you Blessing

  • Paul experienced the fullness of blessing – Romans 15:29 I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.
  • We are already blessed in Christ – Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

4. His Fullness reflects the Fullness of the Earth

1 Corinthians 10:26 For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.”

  • We are to know the height, depth, breadth and length of Christ, for He is our inheritance.

5. The Church is the means of gaining the Fullness of Christ

  • The Church is His fullness – Ephesians 1:23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Ephesians 4:10-13 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

6. The church must be built up to the Fullness of Christ

  • Eph 4:12 “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ”
  • 1 Peter 2:5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
  • Colossians 2:6-7 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

7. Love is the Key to being Built up into the Fullness of Christ

Ephesians 3:17-19 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

  • Being built up in Christ requires us to be fully aware of our calling, our blessing and our inheritance, so that we might clearly see the breadth, length, height and depth of what Christ wants us to possess.
  • When we see that which we stand to gain, it should draw us deeper into love with Jesus Christ.

To continually experience Christ’s fullness we need to spend time nurturing our union with him.  We nurture our relationship with Jesus by becoming more aware of his Spirit within us, by being filled with his word (Eph 5:18b; Col 3:16a), and by being obedient to his word. But it begins with love.  Jesus promised, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”  John 14:23

8. Dependence upon Christ through yoking and learning is essential for Fullness

Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

  • If there is no decision to yoke completely our will and flesh, there can be no fullness.
  • If there is no continued decision to focus on Christ and learn of Him, there can be no sustained fullness.

Nurturing a close relationship with Jesus is easier said than done in our busy and materialistic world.  As we yoke ourselves to Christ, we must also weed out the thorns and thistles of life: the cares of this world, that may hinder our spiritual growth and prevent us from experiencing Christ’s fullness.  

In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus taught that, “The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear [the word of God], but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” Luke 8:14-15 (NIV)We must allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate the soil of our hearts to enable God’s word to flourish and be fruitful and multiply in and through* (see discussion of Ephesians 3:16-21 following)

9. The Fullness of Christ is measured in the unity of faith and knowledge of Christ in the church.

  • Fullness in Christ is Body related, not individually attained
  • Ephesians 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ[3],
  • Colossians 1:19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
  • Colossians 2:9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,

From His Fullness We Have Already Received

John 1:16 “of His fullness we have all received”

Just as God clearly marked the promised land to Joshua and the Israelites, all that we have in Christ is already been given us. Ephesians 1-3 provides every blessed boundary line of what we have in Christ. Just as Joshua knew what God had given them, it became the calling of the Israelites to GAIN all that land. This is where Ephesians 4-6 comes into view. After the calling comes the WALKING! We have the fullness of Christ, now we must learn to WALK in the fullness of Christ!

We will never walk in the fullness of Christ unless we realize that our very walk depends upon Him. If we have received Him, let us put on Him! Joshua did not have the strength of weapons and soldiers to take the land promised to him. But the Captain of the Host did! Joshua and his leaders had to learn to always “enquire of the Lord”! They had to follow the Captain if they were going to achieve victory and fullness! As Charles Spurgeon preached:

“There was not in John any good thing but what he received from his Master. There was not in the noble martyr Stephen one grain of courage but what he received from Christ. Paul, Apollos, or Cephas—these had nothing but what they took from Him. If they received everything, why should we hesitate to do the same? Of ourselves it is also true that all our Graces came from Jesus. This is true of the greatest saint and true of the least.”

Fullness of Christ is the Basis of True Ministry

Our ministry and service for the Lord is measured by the degree of Christ that we have to minister. A minister of Christ is one who ministers Christ, who is able to minister Christ because he has Christ to give, has the Holy Spirit of Christ to impart Christ. Ministry is not meant to be in an “official capacity.” Ministry is never on the basis of “office” or “position” or “degree.” Ministry is because of Christ having you and you having Christ.

Remember the Shunammite woman’s son who died in the days of the Elisha the prophet? In her distress she sent for Elisha. The prophet sent his servant Gehazi, and Gehazi went with the prophet’s rod in a professional or “official” capacity. “I am the servant of the great prophet, and I have his rod, the symbol of his office.” And Gehazi went in this “official capacity” and put the rod on the young man; but nothing happened. There is no power in what is merely “professional.”

The woman was not to be satisfied with this official effort. She clung to Elisha, and would have nothing second-hand but only himself, and when he came in what did he do? He spread himself upon the young man, hands to his hands, feet to his feet, lips to his lips, in an utter identification of himself with that death, himself being in life, and he literally, by reason of the life in him, lifted that lad, so to speak, out of the grip of death. It was life by the living, and there is no other way. “Fullness begets fullness, life begets life, grace begets grace”

The church is that which comes into contact with conditions of spiritual death and, because it has the living, risen Lord in it, breaks the power of that death, and delivers there from, and proves the testimony of Jesus, that He it is who lives, and Who became dead, but is alive for evermore. That is the testimony of Jesus.[4]

God’s Purpose as to Fullness for His People

Biblical Pictures of the Way to Fullness:

The Levites in Joshua
  • Fullness as to Sonship
  • Fullness as to Worship (type of church)
  • Fullness as to Heavenly Example (no possessions, cities of influence)
The Bronze Man in Ezekiel 40:3-4

Ezekiel 40:3-4 When he brought me there, behold, there was a man whose appearance was like bronze, with a linen cord and a measuring reed in his hand. And he was standing in the gateway. And the man said to me, “Son of man, look with your eyes, and hear with your ears, and set your heart upon all that I shall show you, for you were brought here in order that I might show it to you. Declare all that you see to the house of Israel.”

1. The Linen Cord of Measurement (line of flax)

No measurement is given unto it. We are not told how long that line was, but we do know that it was used for the greater measurement. When we come later to the river in chapter forty-seven, it is not the rod but the line that is the instrument of measurement; and we find that that river becomes too deep for man.

This clearly corresponds to what Paul said in the Letter to the Ephesians. There he spoke of “the love of Christ, which passes knowledge.” We are here in the presence of something that is far greater than human measurement. Since the Bronze Man represents the Holy Spirit, there is no measuring the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is without measure.

2. The Rod of Measurement.

These are two ways of measuring. One is what we may call the “measureless measure”, the Measure that has no limit. That is the great fullness of the Spirit. The other is that which is brought down to things in everyday life. This rod was used to measure all the details of the House of God.

The Bronze Man shows us there is great fullness of Christ (measureless); He also shows us that this fullness is applied to the minute details of the House of God. The Son of Man is the Righteous One, and He is God’s standard of measurement. God measures everything by Him…This is why the letters to the seven churches in Revelations are not simply a “dispensational thing.” They are in reality the Letters to the churches throughout all the age whereby Jesus Christ is measuring them according to His Fullness, and showing them where they are failing to overcome and attain unto His Fullness! The letters apply to every church in every age, for we will all be measured by His Fullness and whether we have gained it!

3. The Lesson of the Corinthian Church and the Fullness of Christ

1 Corinthians is an example of the fullness of Christ being diminished within the church by the intrusion of the fleshly or carnal man. Paul held up the measuring rod against the church when He said: “I determined to know nothing among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Paul brought in this Righteous Man to correct the things that were unrighteous. By bringing in the Righteous Man, he put out the unrighteous man. By bringing in the Man of the Spirit, he put out the man of the flesh. That is exactly the meaning of this Man of brass with His measuring rod, so that first of all the object in view is Christ. He governs everything.

Fullness of Christ as the Bread of Life

Exodus 16:16-21 This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you has in his tent.’ ” And the people of Israel did so. They gathered, some more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat. And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over till the morning.” But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. Morning by morning they gathered it, each as much as he could eat; but when the sun grew hot, it melted.

  • Gathered much – to give to others
  • Gather just enough – had no lack
  • Gather as much as you can eat, early and daily
  • Do not leave it lying around, it is of no use
  • This bread melted in the heat, but there is a bread that does not wither in the heat-The Word of Life

John 6:32-38 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.

A Picture of Fullness is Measured by Reaction to the Heat of Life

Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Matthew 6:10-11 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread,

  • Fullness of Christ in our life always results in Cool Shade for others in the “heated times” of their life.
  • This is illustrated in the application of the Manna to Grace Giving.

2 Corinthians 8:13-15 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”

Fullness of Christ as the Waters of Life

  • Christ is the Water of Life, and all those who abide in Him have Living Water flowing from His Fullness within.

John 7:37-38 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

  • Fullness of His Living Water comes only to the hungry and thirsty

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

  • The Living Water of Christ is never meant to be contained (filled), but to always flow outward as an eternal spring of life to others.

John 4:13-14 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

  • The Word of God is the source of the water of Life. Jesus is the Logos!

Psalm 1:2-3 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

  • The Word of God will be the River of Life for all Eternity

Revelation 22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb

  • The Living Water always produces a fullness of life and fruit!

Ezekiel 47:12 And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”

How to Gain the Fullness of Christ in your Life

Here is the Key: Ephesians 3:16-21 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

1. Inner Strength of Spirit!

If you are to take the Word of God and the indwelling Spirit and grow into the fullness of God, it begins with inner strength. You must be strengthened by His Spirit in the inner man. You must allow the Spirit to have control of your inner man.

Your inner man will be strengthened when the Holy Spirit has control of it, when you yield to Him, when you no longer are ruled by yourself, when you no longer do just what you want, but where you learn moment by moment, step by step, one day at a time, to yield control to the Holy Spirit.

If there is to be a change in your inner man it’s going to be by the strengthening of the inner man through the Holy Spirit. And that comes as you yield to the Spirit. Every time you yield to the Spirit a decision in your life, you strengthen the muscle of your inner man a little more and as you continue to do that your inner man gets stronger and stronger and stronger and it’s easier to say yes to the Spirit and no to sin.

Sin decreases as you yield to the Spirit because you strengthen the inner man and it becomes easier to say yes to the Holy Spirit.

2.  The Indwelling Christ

When you yield to the Holy Spirit, He controls your life then Christ settles down and becomes at home there. Verse 17; “That Christ may ‘katoikeesis’, settle down and be at home in your hearts by faith.” Christ wants to be at home in you. He wants to settle down. He wants to have a clean life. One that He doesn’t have to be running around cleaning and sweeping and chastising and chastening. The blessed Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior, the Messiah, God Himself in human flesh wants to live within the believer in fullness. He’s there because you have been born again and declared “righteous” and “just.” Christ wants to give you His fullness, His righteousness, His peace, His strength, and His power. He wants to dominate you so that II Cor. 3:18 becomes a reality.

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

You are changed into His very image. Ephesians 4:13 becomes your reality.

Ephesians 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

You come to the full measure of the stature of Christ. In other words, Christ likeness, Christ permeating every part, every fiber, every ounce of your being with His wonderful person and presence. The “imprint” of Christ is upon you, just as the “imprint” of God was upon Jesus!

Hebrews 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature…

So, as you yield to the Spirit of God, your life is under His control. You mind is set upon the Holy Spirit.  You are walking after the Holy Spirit, and Christ can settle down and be at home. When Christ is at home in your life, it is because you have yielded to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

3. Immersed in the Incomprehensible Love of Christ

a) Love is foundational

The third thing which must happen is revealed in verse 17: “In order that ye may be rooted and grounded in love.” Without being rooted and grounded in the Love of Christ, you cannot know His fullness. Love permeates all the Christ wants to do in your life. Selfishness and pride must be rooted out and replaced with His agape love.

When Christ fills us love fills us. Look what it says in verse 17; “When Christ dwells in our hearts, Christ settles down and is at home in our hearts, and so we are rooted and grounded in His love.

This is the foundation of the fullness of Christ, experiencing His love firmly in the core of your being. You can’t have a love experience unless His love is your foundation. As Christ fills your heart love rules. Love is the foundation. Love is the bottom line. Love is that which everything else is built upon.

According to Romans 5:5, “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” The moment we’re saved God’s love comes in us. His love is there and it’s expected that we love. It’s the most normal thing in the world for a Christian to live a love life. In fact, Paul wrote to the Thessalonians and said – “Nobody needs to teach you how to love, you are taught of God to love one another.”

If you don’t experience a total life of love, it is not because it isn’t there, it’s because you have never allowed it to function. Love is the most normal thing for a Christian to do. The Spirit of God comes into your life, He fills your life with love, He begins to rule your life, you yield to Him, Christ settles down, He is at home, His love permeates, and as it permeates your life you should be characterized thirdly, by incomprehensible love. And it should start by being the very root and the very foundation of your life. The very basis of your life.

b) His Love must become your own!

Not only is it the foundation, but verse 18 says you must be able to comprehend this love. In the Greek the verb comprehend is a compound verb “katalambano” which is an intense verb meaning to seize or grasp for your own. It pictures the brass ring from the old merry-go-rounds, that were there to be grabbed it you tried hard enough. For the love of Christ to be foundational in your life, you must desire it and grab hold of it! You literally seize love; you make it your own as a way of life!

The love of Christ is such a treasure because it is the gateway into the fullness of Christ. It is the most desired thing, something you want to seize, something you want to grasp. Something you want to cling to.

c) His Love can be Experienced in a miraculous way.

Ephesians 3:19 “and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge”

Paul says we can experientially know this love even though it surpasses our ability to know.

The knowledge here is the knowledge which is experienced. To live a life built on love, to live a life that grasps every possibility of love in every situation is only possible when you’re filled with the fullness of the Spirit of God who causes Christ to be at home in every dimension of your life, bringing the fullness of His own love.

If you claim to be a Christian but you don’t have love as the root and the ground of your life, the problem is not that the people around you are giving you trouble, the problem is clear back in verse 16, you have never yet yielded the control of your life to the Holy Spirit. The very first evidence of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, Galatians 5:22.

The absence of love is the presence of sin. The absence of love is the presence of iniquity. The absence of love means you’re not walking in the Spirit.

The entirety of the Law is summed up in one thing—“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” And your what? “Neighbor as yourself.” That’s the whole law, right there.

Ephesians 5:2 Paul says to “Walk in love.” What kind of love? The kind of love that gives yourself as a sacrifice. Biblical love always involves sacrifice. Humble yourself at the Cross. Yield to the Spirit of God. Let Him have control of your life so that Christ can settle down and fill your life with His love.

d) Know the boundaries of His Love

what is the breadth and length and height and depth,

We are able to grab this love in its fullness. This love extends in all directions and covers every situation.

 Jerome said that the love of Christ reaches up to the holy angels and it reaches down to those in hell. Its length covers the men on the upward way and its breadth reaches those drifting away on evil paths.

  • „ How long is this love? Eph 1:4; It began … “Before the foundation of the world.” Eph 2:7; “That in the ages to come He will show the exceeding riches of His grace…” How long is His love? From eternity past to eternity future.
  • „ How deep is His love? Eph 2:1-3; Deep enough to reach us when we were dead in trespasses and sin.
  • „ How high is His love? Eph 1:3; High enough to take us and bless us with all spiritual blessing in heavenly places. High enough, Ephesians 2:6, to raise us up together and make us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.
  • „ How broad is His love? Eph 3:12 – broad enough to build up the entire body of Christ through the ages.

Its breadth — it can reach anybody. Its length — it runs from eternity to eternity. Its depth — it reaches to the pit of sin. Its height — it takes us to the presence of God and sits us on His throne. That’s His love.

This is the kind of love we are to build our life on. This is the kind of love we are to comprehend and seize at every moment. This is the kind of love we are to experience and know. The kind of love that reaches to parties that hate each other. The kind of love that runs from one part of our life to the end of our life. The kind of love that reaches to the person in the deepest pit. The kind of love that can lift up a person to the very presence of God. That’s the kind of love we are to know. This is the kind of love which will bring us into the fullness of God.

4. Internal Fullness of God

As a Christian, if you follow this sequence you can be filled with all the fullness of God. It’s one thing for you to be filled with the Spirit in verse 16. Another thing for you to be filled with Christ in verse 17. But now to be filled with God, the eternal God, the almighty God, the creator God, the sustainer God, the God of the universe, the God who made it all, the God who fills it all can fill you?

Incredible…Incomprehensible…Inconceivable…Impossible? NO! Very Possible!

We are to be full, full, full, full. Paul says it over and over and over and over. In Ephesians 1:23 look at it, he says; “The body, the church, is the fullness of Him that filleth all and all.” The fullness of Him that filleth all and all. In chapter 3, we’ve just looked at being filled with all the fullness of God, verse 19. Chapter 4 verse 10; “That He might fill all things.” Chapter 4 verse 13; “That we might come to the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Chapter 5 verse 18, “That we would be filled with the Spirit.” God doesn’t settle for anything less than total fullness. (John MacArthur)

The word pleeroo, fullness, is a word that is used many times in the New Testament to speak of total fullness. That is its meaning. Picture a scale which reflects your life. There is to be no level balance, a little of you and a little of God. NO! The scale is to tilt totally in God’s favor. He wants all of you so He can fill all of you!

It isn’t a little bit of God and a little bit of us… it’s the fullness of God. It’s the fullness of Christ. It’s the fullness of the Holy Spirit. God wants, literally, Himself to fill us so that as Paul said to Titus, we adorn the doctrine of God. (Titus 2:10)

What Kind of God are we filled with? This is Amazing Truth!
  • „ II Samuel 22
  • „ Job 26
  • „ Job 36

5. Internal Power is the Result

Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

When all this happens the explosion takes place. The engine roars. Verse 20 is the great doxology. The great benediction. “Now unto him who is able,” …when a believer follows these paths, when you follow these sequences – “Now God is able.”

As powerful as God is you hold the trigger that determines whether He’s able in your life! You are the key to God accomplishing all that He would through you!

Now that you have inner strength, now that you have the indwelling Christ, now that there’s incomprehensible love, now that you’re filled with internal fullness, the fullness of God, now He is able to do what?

“Exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think according to the power that works in us.” That power doesn’t work in you until now. Verse 20 does not become reality until verses 16 to 19 have been fulfilled.

God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that you ask or think. Don’t ever say, Lord, I don’t know if You can use me in this situation. He can. Beyond your dreams, infinitely beyond. When the church gathers together, it gathers with the Holy Spirit, and the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. And when it separates every believer goes out of here able to do exceeding abundantly above all that he can ask or think, if he follows the pattern right here.

Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman’s tells about a man who gave this testimony at one of his meetings:

“I got off the Pennsylvania depot as a tramp. And for a year I begged on the streets for a living. One day I touched a man on the shoulder and I said -Hey, mister, can you give me a dime? As soon as I saw his face I was shocked to see that it was my own father. I said – Father, father, do you know me? Throwing his arms around me with tears he said – Oh, my son, I found you. I’ve found you. Not only a dime, but all I have is yours. And then this man said “Men think of it, I was a tramp. I stood begging my own father for ten cents when for 18 years he had been looking for me to give me all that he was worth.”

Don’t ask your heavenly Father for a dime. Take all that He’s got to give. Don’t live as a beggar on a pittance when the resources are there to live as a king to His glory.


[1] A B Simpson (1843 – 1919) was a Canadian minister, theologian and author, who had a passion for evangelism.  He founded The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA). Sourced from Sermonindex.net

[2] A W Tozer, The Counselor: Straight Talk about the Holy Spirit, 1990, p68.  Sourced from Sermonindex.net

[3]The word “knowledge” is epignōsis, “full knowledge, precise and correct knowledge.” “Perfect” is teleios, “mature, complete, full grown.” Expositors says: “The state at which unity is lacking is the stage of immaturity; the stage in which oneness in faith and knowledge is reached, is the state of mature manhood in Christ.” The words “mature man,” refer to the individual believer. The apostle has in mind the spiritual maturity of each saint. The words, “unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ,” further define what Paul means by the mature saint. The expression “the fullness of Christ,” refers to the sum of the qualities which make Christ what He is. These are to be imaged in the Church (1:23), and when these are in us we shall have reached our maturity and attained to the goal set before us. Thus the whole idea will be this — ‘the measure of the age, or (better) the stature, that brings with it the full possession on our side of that which Christ has to impart — the embodiment in us the members, of the graces and qualities which are in Him the Head.’ ” The term, “spiritual maturity,” as applied to a Christian, is ever a relative one, not an absolute one. Paul, in Phil. 3:12 disclaims absolute spiritual maturity, while in 3:15, he claims relative maturity of Christian experience. This process of conforming the saint to the image of Christ begins in this life in the work of the Spirit in sanctification and is never completed in eternity, for the finite can never equal the infinite nor even remotely approach to it. Christ’s perfections are so wonderful that the saints will ever bear but a dim reflection of them. This is the distance between finiteness and infinity.

Translation: Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the experiential, full, and precise knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of the Christ. Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 1: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 101-102.

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1 Timothy 1:18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,

KJV “This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy”

The Importance of the Charge

Paul has a charge (a set of commands) that he commits to his dear son Timothy. Picture the scene of a movie where the father is dying and his son is at his side, and the father looks into his eyes and says, son, this cross belonged to your grandfather, he wore it into battle at Normandy. He died there on the battlefield when I was a young man. When I received it, it made me so proud of my dad. I have carried it with me every day of my life. This cross has been my inspiration when things seemed impossible. I always remembered what this cross represents, and it has kept me going in difficult times. Now son, I give it to you. Wear it and remember those who have died that you might live.

Do you think that son will remember those words? Do you think he will wear that cross the rest of his life? Sure you do! He will wear it with honor and humility.

This is what Paul was saying to his son Timothy. or a command that he is to treat as the most valuable and precious thing in his life. It is to be always before him or at his side. It is never to be out of his sight. Son, I will be gone soon, but I want you to remember my words, and keep them ever before you, for they are more valuable than gold. Keep them beside you, in front of you, always in sight.

The word paratithemi is a word for a deposit you put in a bank, it’s a valued deposit. Paul gave to Timothy a valued deposit…a valuable deposit. [1]

This charge was a valuable deposit made in the life of Timothy.

It echoed a charge given to Joshua…

Nearly two thousand years earlier, a young man suddenly found himself leader of an unruly mob of people called Jews. His job was to lead them into a land called Cana, filled with the most vile and wicked people you can imagine. There were 31 separate Kingdoms, all armed, all hostile, all seemingly invincible. As he was contemplating how he was to lead them, God appeared and said

Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. (Joshua 1:6)

I can just imaging Joshua thinking, “that’s easy for you to say, because all you deal with are angels. But Lord, have you seen these people? How are they going to conquer anything?”

God knew what he was thinking, and he said to him:

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:8-9

God made a deposit in the life of Joshua, a valuable deposit that Joshua was to keep ever before him, and that deposit would make his way prosperous.

What was this valuable charge that Paul gave to Timothy?

The Message of Reconciliation (Gospel):

  • 2 Corinthians 5:19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
It is a Deposit of Truth as opposed to ‘babble’ and false ‘knowledge’
  • 1 Timothy 6:20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,”
It is so important it is guarded by God & the Holy Spirit
  • 2 Timothy 1:12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.
  • 2 Timothy 1:14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
It is the Word which Paul taught and preached
  • 2 Timothy 2:2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
It is the means of fighting a good warfare (military campaign)
  • 1 Timothy 1:18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
  • 2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
  • (there are good wars and there are bad wars. The difference is how they are fought. A bad warfare is bitter, emotional, heated, personal and destructive. A good warfare is not of the flesh, but is spiritual, fought with the Gospel, and brings men closer to Christ.

The Primary reason for the Charge is to Overcome!

So we come to 2 Timothy, and we know that Paul is going to reinforce the importance of this Charge committed to him. The reason this charge is so important, is that it must be taught to others so they can be Overcomers in Christ! So, how does Paul want Timothy to carry out this charge?

A. Disciple Makers are Children of Promise

2 Timothy 1: 1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,

Timothy, realize we are all children of God through the Promise of life in Christ Jesus. He is our focus, He is our life!

B.Disciple Makers Foster Children of Promise

  • 2 To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Each one of us should have ‘foster’ children in the Lord, children we are praying for, caring for, just as if they are our children. You may be miles apart, but there is a bond in the promises of God. It is like that son, growing up and wearing that cross around his neck. He will be close to his Dad because of the reminder of the Cross.

How did Paul want Timothy to approach fostering children to growth in the Lord?

1.  Realize you are in Partnership with God

  • Grace
  • Mercy
  • Peace

All from God and Christ our Lord.

2. Exercise Constant Care as if their Life depended upon it.

Disciple Making is not a time to just throw them into the lake and hope they learn to at least dog-paddle to safety. Disciple Making in focused and intentional. You are handling a precious deposit off to someone in your care. The success of their life depends upon the exchange.

a.  Be in constant prayer

3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.

As you get to know them, you will groan and agonize in prayer over their struggles and heart aches. You will be the one coming along side in a visible role of the Holy Spirit. It is vital that He be with you!

b.   Be present in hurts

4 As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy.

You must get to know them so well that they will reveal their hurts, their struggles, and you will long to see them grow and mature that you may be filled with joy.

c.  Be encouraging

5-7 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

    • Remind them of their heritage – from man and from God
    • God gave us the Spirit of Power, Love & Self-Control

3. Live in Power

6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

    • So Fan into flame the Gift
    • Don’t allow fear to put the flame out
    • Do not take this gift for granted, or it dies from lack of use.
    • Fear of using this gift is no excuse.

4. Be honest about the Christian life

8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,

    • Expect suffering
    • Don’t sugar coat following Christ
    • We must learn to obey and walk in the Spirit.

5. Have Faith in the power of Grace

9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

6.  Always look to Jesus

10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,

7.  Look for ways of ministry

11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher,

8.  Know whom you have believed and know that the exchange of truth is important to Him.

12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

C. Disciple Makers Know the Value of Making Deposits

13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

You are teaching, praying and working to see your disciple grow in the faith and love in Jesus Christ. You must be growing into Jesus as well, and imparting those sound words to those you disciple.

D. Disciple Makers Guard the Deposit

14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

1.  We have received a valuable deposit

a.  Promise of Life in Jesus

      • 2 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,

b.  The Word of God is a valuable deposit

      • 13: Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me

2.   Guard this treasure through the Holy Spirit

      • 14: By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

Paul trusted further:

  • 2 Timothy 1:12 …for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

c. We need to guard the Word of God and deposit it in the lives of others.

When we see the power of the Gospel in our own lives, we will see the value of it in the lives of those around us. When we value it, they will see how valuable it is. If we treat it as only a Sunday thing, they will regard it as nothing. Our children always tend to excess.

Guard the Word of God in your lives. Believe in the power of the Word for your life, and then entrust it to others.

3.  Expect Casualties

15 You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.

4.  Celebrate Victories

16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, 17 but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me— 18 may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.

As we look at all we have “Because of the Cross”, we need to remember three Principles of the Cross:

1. The Cross is the Wisdom & Power of God.

  • The Cross reveals the Heart of God, His delight in mercy, justice and righteousness.
  • At the Cross we partake of the unfailing love of God, the justice of being made right with God, and the Righteousness that is in Christ whereby we have victory over sin, over Satan and over death.

2. The Cross is opposed to the wisdom and power of man.

  • The cross requires humility. The cross strips man of all rights and powers. The Cross reveals the foolishness of man’s attempts at standing and self-righteousness.
  • Man says to love yourself first, seek for yourself first. Instead of submitting to God’s love, We are our own person, we are OK as we are, we can do as we please as long as we don’t hurt anyone. Instead of submitting to God’s Justice, Man emphasizes your own accomplishments, your own standing, your own right to live as you see fit. Instead of depending upon God for our righteousness, Man emphasizes works, riches, possessions as justification for the way he lives.

3. The Cross represents the Perfect Blood Sacrifice required by God

  • God declared that life is in the blood. The only way for sinful man to enjoy life with Holy God is through a blood sacrifice for our sins. The Cross is that perfect blood sacrifice.

We have seen the Principle of the Cross with Adam and Eve, and how Cain quickly established Man’s wisdom in opposition to the Cross. That Opposition grew until we read:

 Genesis 6:5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

So God called Noah to build an ark. God saved His creation by a worldwide flood, and the earth was transformed, and Noah and his family went forth to re-populate the earth. This new world was established with the Principle of the Cross, for Noah took of the clean animals and sacrificed them to God.

Kingdom of Man Rears its Sinful Head (NIMROD)

In the Dispensation of Noah it did not take long for the wisdom and power of man to rear its ugly head in opposition to the Cross. Mighty men came along, led by Nimrod, the mighty hunter of men, and directly opposed God. They built a Tower that was reaching to the heavens, so they could worship themselves and insure a place of refuge should God ever decide to flood the earth again.

God confounded the wisdom and power of man, and the languages of the earth were born, and the kingdom of man became fragmented.

In the face of God’s wisdom and power, man corrupted the Principle of the Cross, and began to sacrifice to gods of their own making. They worshipped ‘idols’ and engaged in religious worship in opposition to the Creator God Jehovah. They offered sacrifices as He demanded, but with hearts devoted to the kingdom of man. They created god’s of their own design, god’s whom they could worship as they chose. The altar of sacrifice had been corrupted by man to honor the god’s of their making, instead of the Making God!

It was among these idol worshippers in the “Ur of the Chaldees” that Jewish tradition has a young man named Abram working in his father’s idol merchant shop. This young man was about to receive a special call for Creator God. This is the beginning of the Patriarch Dispensation.

The Calling of Abram

Genesis 12:1-9 Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran (best meaning ‘to tarry’). And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar (mizbeah) to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD. And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb.

We know Ur of the Chaldees was a ‘hotbed’ of idolatry for two reasons:

1. Abraham’s father, Terah according to Joshua 24:2, worshiped idols. Jewish tradition refers to Terah as an idol maker. Ur was an idolatrous city worshiping many different Gods such as the god of fire, moon, sun and stars. Sin was the name of the chief idol deity of Ur. Ningal, was the wife of the moon-god, Sin, and was worshiped as a mother God in many other cities. Ur was a evil and sinful city as can be seen in the worship practices of the moon-goddess, Ningal.[1]

Joshua 24:2 And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods.

2. Ur ‏אור‎, which means flame or fire of the Chaldeans, from the worship practiced there. Scholars say the people of this area were worshippers of fire, and there is evidence of fire sacrifices to various gods.[2]

Abram rejected the many god’s of his father’s, and followed the call of the one and only True God. Abram’s journey to Canaan was marked by humility resulting in the altar of sacrifice. At the Oak of Moreh God appeared to Abram and told Him, “To your offspring I will give this land.”

So which is it: Plains, encampments, oaks or terebinths? Different translations have served to obscure the great truth of this passage.

Plains and encampments, I think, can be dismissed immediately. They do not fit other passages using this expression. They cannot possibly be the correct translation of elonei mamre. That leaves oaks and terebinths. I’ll take oaks.

Here’s why. In the first place, while “oaks” is the oldest translation we have of elonei, “terebinths” is the most recent. The Septuagint rendition may represent a genuine tradition passed down from the time the book of Genesis was composed. Moreover, terebinths, whose small leaves indeed smell a bit like turpentine when crushed, may have an impressive-sounding name, but they are not very impressive in appearance. The terebinth is an evergreen shrub that rarely grows to more than 7 or 8 feet and is found all over Israel. The common Palestinian oak, on the other hand, develops into a tall, stately tree. A whole forest or grove of such trees, now seen in only a few places but less rare in Abraham’s time, is an impressive sight indeed. Certainly these could be a landmark worthy of mention in God’s Word.

Would the Bible have bothered to point out that Abraham was sitting by some perfectly ordinary shrubs? In my thinking, the mighty Oak wins this match against the insignificant terebinth.[3].

Evidently there was a significant tree in a grove of trees at Moreh near Shechem. The Hebrew moreh is derived from the verb yarah, “to teach,” “to direct,” and indicates one who directs, or gives oracular answers.[4]  Picture a place known for receiving direction or oracles from God.

Now it was here that God first appeared to Abram, and confirmed to Abram that this was the land that God was giving him. No doubt Abram had seen the Canaanites, and had seen their vileness and fierceness. Perhaps he doubts were running rampant in his mind, doubts about the voice he had heard calling him. In the midst of those doubts, Abram saw God by that majestic tree. There God renewed His promise to Abram. As soon as God went away, Abram built an altar (place of sacrifice) unto God.

Can you picture Abram, a former idol worshipper, seeing Jehovah God? This was no wood carving, no stone object. Abram saw the Living Creator God. In the presence of God there are no doubts, there is only hope, there is only His love. Abram was so in awe of God that his first reaction was to build an altar and offer a sacrifice to God. Sinful man had met Holy God at the tree. At the tree Abram offered himself to God.

Does that sound like anything familiar to you?

It is before this significant tree that an altar is made, sacrifice performed, and Abram’s life, family and possessions are committed to God’s Promise. Here we see the principle of the Cross in establishing Abram’s possession of the Promised Land.

This appearance of God was significant, for just as God walked with Adam in the cool of the evening, so now God appeared to Abram in the coolness of the shade of the Oak Tree of Moreh. When ever God begins something new, His presence is all over it!

The Oak Tree of Moreh was near Shechem

There are 3 references to the Oak tree(s) of Moreh at Shechem in the Bible. Plus there is one more subtle reference worth noting.

1. Genesis 12:6-7

“Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him.”

God called Abram out of the kingdom of the wisdom and power of man. He called Abram out of the land of idols and manmade gods. He called him to a new land, to form a new nation that followed Jehovah, their Creator God. He called Abram to follow God’s wisdom and power, and submit to the principle of the Cross. When Abram saw God, he submitted and sacrificed.

You are familiar with his life. Along this journey Abram made mistakes. He lied, he resorted to following the wisdom and power of man in having a baby boy Ishmael. Still, God blessed him, for God had set His Name upon Abram. Instead of being Abram, his name became Abraham, father of a great nation.

Finally, God gave him that promised son, Isaac. As we will see in later writings, the Principal of the Cross was upon Isaac, and upon Jacob. But for today, we are camping under the Oak of Moreh, near Shechem.

Abraham’s grandson had returned to the idol loving land of his great-grandfather. There he met his wife(s) and labored for his uncle, Laban. Jacob was a man who fit in well with the kingdom of Man. He was crafty, deceitful, proud and boasting. God still blessed him, because God had promised Abraham. God issued a call to Jacob to return to the Promised land, and face his estranged brother Esau. God was there when the brothers met. Jacob and his family were spared the wrath of Esau. And Jacob continued on, making a stop in Shechem.

Genesis 33:18-20 Now Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan-aram, and camped before the city. He bought the piece of land where he had pitched his tent from the hand of the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for one hundred pieces of money. Then he erected there an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel. (Meaning “El, the God of Israel”)

Even though Jacob offered sacrifices to God, the God of Israel, he was still living in the kingdom of man. He was still living by his own wiles. His heart was divided. (Notice he did not say “My God!”) Jacob had to learn a costly lesson before he could go on to the House of God (Bethel). Chapter 34 sees the chastening hand of God upon his Jacob and his family. At Shechem, his daughter Dinah was raped by the prince of the land (Shechem). What follows is deceit upon deceit, as Jacob’s sons plot to avenge their daughter, and the leaders of of Shechem plot to take Jacob’s livestock and possession. In a clever plot indicative of the treachery of their father, the sons of Jacob murder the men of Shechem, plunder their riches and livestock, take the women and children, and bring dishonor upon the house of Jacob.

Genesis 34:30-31 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me odious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and my men being few in number, they will gather together against me and attack me and I will be destroyed, I and my household.” But they said, “Should he treat our sister as a harlot?”

In Genesis 35 we see that Jacob makes a decision to wholly follow God. Once again, the Oak Tree at Moreh plays a significant role.

2. Genesis 35:4

Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments; and let us arise and go up to Bethel, and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods which they had and the rings which were in their ears, and Jacob hid them under the oak which was near Shechem.

God spells out the problem He had with Jacob. Sure, Jacob professes belief in God, even honoring Him with an altar and sacrifices. But Jacob’s heart was divided. He loved the Kingdom of Man, with its idols and riches. He was a “double-minded” man. His life in the land of idolatry had tainted his already flawed soul. Jacob and his sons were even dressing like the idol loving people of the land, thus the reference to the “rings in their ears” and their garments.

Bethel was the “House of God” Bethel was the place of God that Abram pitched his tent, built an altar of sacrifice to God, and where he called upon the Name of the Lord! There is salvation in the House of God!

Genesis 12:8 Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD.

God appeared to Abram, and he sacrificed to God. He continued on to Bethel, in the heart of Canaan, and pitched his tent, and called upon the Name of the Lord. You can almost see the progression of his heart. He answers the call of God, yet decides to tarry a while in Haran. After the death of his father, he decides to move to Canaan, and stops at Shechem. There he sees his Creator God. He submits and sacrifices. But you get the feeling he is not all in yet. But he travels further into Canaan, and decides to pitch his tent on a hillside at Bethel, the House of God. Abram has made a decision. He is all in. There is no turning back. His tent is pitched, and He cries out to God!

We see the Principle of the Cross at work in his life, and we will see why he did what he did with Isaac next week.

As with Abram, God called Jacob to come to a place of decision. What will Jacob do? Will he come to God with everything, depend upon God for everything? Is he ready to forsake the crafty kingdom of Man and give himself 100% to Jehovah God? There is no use going to Bethel if your heart is divided. God is a jealous God. He wants all of us. Jacob can’t deceive God like he did his father, like he did Laban. God could see Jacob’s heart, that it was divided.

He can offer as many sacrifices to God as he wants, but unless his heart is given 100% to God, it does no good. This is what God means when He says it is better to obey than to sacrifice.

Here at Shechem, in spite of the pain of his heart over Dinah and his sons, Jacob makes a decision to follow God fully. He and his household obeyed God and put all of the idols and their precious possessions at the foot of the Oak tree.

This is what we do at the foot of the Cross!

Fast forward a few hundred years. Jacob died in Egypt, and the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob escaped the slavery of Pharaoh. It had been 400 years since they had been in the promised land. God used a meek man to lead his people from Egypt. Now in Deut. 11 Moses is addressing the people.

3. Deuteronomy 11:29-30.

“It shall come about, when the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, that you shall place the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. “Are they not across the Jordan, west of the way toward the sunset, in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Arabah, opposite Gilgal, beside the oaks of Moreh?

Moses has shared the Law of God with his people. He has detailed all the blessings God promises to those who wholly follow the Lord. He instructs them to go to the Oaks of Moreh, and stand upon the two mountains there, Ebal and Gerizim. There they are to dedicate themselves to following God and His Word completely, and they are to acknowledge the blessings and cursing associated with that commitment.

The account of that event is given in chapters 27 and 28 of Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 27:4-8 And when you have crossed over the Jordan, you shall set up these stones, concerning which I command you today, on Mount Ebal, and you shall plaster them with plaster. And there you shall build an altar to the LORD your God, an altar of stones. You shall wield no iron tool on them; you shall build an altar to the LORD your God of uncut stones. And you shall offer burnt offerings on it to the LORD your God, and you shall sacrifice peace offerings and shall eat there, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God. And you shall write on the stones all the words of this law very plainly.”

One by one the Levites read the Blessings and Curses of the Law

Can you hear them:  ‘Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.’ (Deuteronomy 27:26)

And all the people shout, ‘Amen!’

The vibrating, thundering chorus of two million of voices shouting ‘Amen’ in unison to the terms of the covenant, from hill to hill, echoed powerfully in the streets of Shechem below. The Oaks of Moreh were shaking in response. They were witnesses to this momentous occasion.

The Jordan river signifies death to the wisdom and power of man. When Israel passed over the Jordant, they were symbolically announcing that they were dying to life in the wisdom and power of the flesh, and were now living in the wisdom and power of God and His Word. They were embracing the Principle of the Cross. This was so important, that at the end of Joshua’s life, he had the people return to this spot and reaffirm their commitment to following God’s Word.

Covenant ratified one more time…

At the end of his life, Joshua called for Israel to assemble again — at Shechem. The solemnity of the occasion cannot be expressed better than by its simple yet inspired biblical description:

Joshua 24:1 Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel. And they presented themselves before God.

Joshua recounted God’s faithfulness from the time of Abram’s calling until He gave them the Promised Land. He solemnly impressed upon them the importance of keeping faithfulness with God and his covenant. Listen as Joshua brings the point home:

Joshua 24:14-15 “Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

The people responded that YES! They would serve the Lord! Joshua tried to tell them they were not able to serve the Lord:

Joshua 24:19-21 Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the LORD. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.” But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the LORD.”

So Joshua told them: “Now then, throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.” (Joshua 24:23)

So Joshua took a large stone and placed it under the Oak by the sanctuary of the Lord (in Shechem). That stone represented their decision to yield their hearts totally to God! This is what Abram had done! This is what Jacob had done! This is the Principle of the Cross!

Joshua 24:24-27 The people said to Joshua, “We will serve the LORD our God and we will obey His voice.” So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God; and he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the LORD. Joshua said to all the people, “Behold, this stone shall be for a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the LORD which He spoke to us; thus it shall be for a witness against you, so that you do not deny your God.”

That stone was not the only witness. The Principle of the Cross was there at Shechem in the form of the Oak tree of Moreh. Eight hundred years had elapsed since Abram first built an altar under the Shechem oak tree. The original oak tree had probably given way to an offspring. But the mention of the ‘sanctuary of the Lord’ confirms this Oak tree was probably near the altars built by Abram and Jacob, and was now taken to be the official substitute.

I can see Joshua pointing to the altars and the tree as he recounts their stories to his people. I can hear him tell them that God appeared to Abram at this very spot. I can see him pointing to the ground and saying, “somewhere down there are the pagan gods your father Jacob buried; do the same, bury your false gods, and serve the one true God only.”  On that day, under Abram’s tree of promise, Israel ratified her covenant with God, the covenant she had made at Sinai nearly one hundred years earlier.

Treason at the Cross

Everyone remembers the story of Gideon and the way God used him in a miraculous deliverance of Israel from the Midianites. After that victory, the men of Israel wanted to make Gideon King.

Judges 8:22-23  Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the LORD will rule over you.”

Now Gideon (Jerubbaal) had seventy sons, for he had many wives. One son was Abimelech, born of a concubine who lived in Shechem. After Gideon died, Abimelech schemed to become King over the land. He got the leaders of Shechem on his side, got them to pay him money with which he hired thugs. Then he murdered 70 sons of Gideon with one stone. One son, Jotham, got away.

Immediately, “all the leaders of Shechem came together, and all Beth-millo, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar at Shechem.” (Judges 9:6)

At the very spot where, under the very tree where, next to the very pillar where, three hundred years earlier, all Israel had sworn faithfulness to God and His covenant, where one thousand years earlier God first made the covenantal promises to Abram, where Jacob later buried the vestiges of his false gods, the populace of Shechem declared that a mere, evil man, was now their king [6].

Rebellious men refused to humble themselves to the Cross, and so rejected God in favor of man’s wisdom and power. Shechem erected the Kingdom of Man in opposition to the Kingdom of God.

The outcome was utter disaster, perhaps even greater than that which had occurred in the same city hundreds of years earlier when Simeon and Levi slaughtered the entire male population.

Read the entire account for yourself in Judges 9:1-20. In short, the honeymoon between Abimelech and the Shechemites was short-lived. God set animosity between them, resulting in Abimelech’s massacre of the entire population. One thousand people perished in one incident when Abimelech set fire to the temple of Baal in which they were cringing in fear. That one thousand people could fit inside testifies to its considerable size.

Why did this disaster occur? Listen carefully to what Jotham, Abimelech’s lone surviving brother, had to say to the citizens of Shechem days before the massacre:

Jotham told a parable, about the trees wanting someone to reign over them as a King. The tried the Olive Tree, the Fig Tree, a Vine, and each one refused. Finally they went to a lowly bramble bush, and he accepted.

Jotham warned the people:

Judges 9:16-20 “Now if you have acted faithfully and honestly in making Abimelech king, if you have done well by Jerubbaal (Gideon) and his family, and if you have rewarded him appropriately for what he did— for my father fought for you, risked his life, and delivered you from the hand of Midian, and now you have attacked my father’s house today, killed his 70 sons on top of a large stone, and made Abimelech, the son of his slave, king over the lords of Shechem ‘because he is your brother’— if then you have acted faithfully and honestly with Jerubbaal and his house this day, rejoice in Abimelech and may he also rejoice in you. But if not, may fire come from Abimelech and consume the lords of Shechem and Beth-millo, and may fire come from the lords of Shechem and Beth-millo and consume Abimelech.”


Twice in one short message Jotham tells the people to judge themselves, whether or not they have acted faithfully and honestly. Understand, the Cross is a divider of men. It divids the children of God from the children of the world. It divides Spirit-filled believers from fleshly pretenders, or worldly Christians. There is Blessing at the foot of the Cross. There is Cursing at the Foot of the Cross. You can bear the curse yourself, or you can realize that Jesus became cursed for you upon that Cross. Yield your heart to the Cross, and enjoy the Blessings of Jesus Christ!

We have a tree that rules over us. It is the Cross of Jesus Christ. We do not worship the Tree, for it is but a principle. We worship the one who was crucified upon that tree. He is our King, He is our Lord. The principle of the Cross must be applied to our lives if He is to reign!


[1] Halley’s Bible Handbook, Henry H. Halley, Zondervan Pub. House, Grand Rapids, page 95.

[2] Adam Clarke, A Commentary and Critical Notes, (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1826), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Genesis 11”.

[3]“Oaks or Terebinths?” Philologos, http://forward.com/articles/11956/oaks-or-terebinths-/

[5] Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1-17, 1990, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, p. 389.


VATICAN CITY, Oct 24 (Reuters) – – Pope Benedict called on Monday for sweeping reforms of the world economy and the creation of a ethical, global authority to regulate financial markets as demonstrations against corporate greed continued to spring up in major cities across the globe.

Caritas in Veritate,” or “Charity in Truth,” is Benedict’s third encyclical since he became pope in 2005. He said the financial downturn had revealed behaviours like “selfishness, collective greed and hoarding of goods on a great scale,” adding that world economics needed an “ethic of solidarity” among rich and poor nations.

Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday Oct 26th 2011 called for a radical rethinking of the global economy, criticizing a growing divide between rich and poor and urging the establishment of a “true world political authority” to oversee the economy and work for the “common good.”

The Vatican called for the establishment of “a supranational authority” and a “true world political authority” with worldwide scope and “universal jurisdiction” to guide economic policies and decisions and work for the common good.

Such an authority should start with the United Nations as its reference point but later become independent and be endowed with the power to see to it that developed countries were not allowed to wield “excessive power over the weaker countries”.

This startling announcement brought back to my mind teaching I heard in the late 60’s that the Pope was the Antichrist. Then I started thinking “ What if this idea gets traction, and the Pope succeeds in getting the world leaders together to put this plan into action. Then some of what is written in the Book of Revelations would make perfect sense.

Revelation 13:17 (ESV) so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.

How easy would this be if we have only one world bank and money?

Then what happens in Revelations 18 would make sense as well:

Revelation 18:1-3 (ESV) After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast. For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.”

Many teach that the Antichrist will come from ‘Babylon’. Revelation 17 says he will carry Babylon, but then he will carry out its destruction.

I can see the world’s financial collapse leading to such a plan as the Pope is proposing. One of the great supporters of it will be the Antichrist. But after the plan is in place and he comes to power, he will turn on the religious power of Babylon, destroying it (Rev 17) and then turn on the political power of Babylon (Rev 18). This is because all power will belong to him!

So much for conjecture…

Regardless of who or what Babylon is, it plays a prominent role in the events of the Revelation of the end times.  This brings me to the deeper issue…

I.   What Does Babylon Represent in Scripture?

To understand Babylon, we need to go way back, to the time just after the Great Flood. As we examine Babylon’s place in history, we will find that it represents the Best that Man can do and be. Babylon is man exalting himself to God, and even above God.

Babylon represents man’s efforts to replace God with himself!

A. The First Sin of Babylon

The First Corporate Sin that Manifested itself after the Flood took place on the planes of Shinar, the sight of Babylon. Here a mighty ruler named Nimrod built a tower that reached to the heavens.

Genesis 10:8-10 (NIV) Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.” The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh, in Shinar.

The Sin of Nimrod and his subjects was seeking to Minimize God’s place in their lives.

  • They were seeking to exalt themselves above God.
  • They were seeking to take God out of their lives. They were also seeking a guarantee that God could never destroy them by a flood again. They would simply go into their ‘tower’ of escape!

Genesis 11:4 (ESV) Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”

Babylon represents Man’s efforts to MINIMIZE God. They wanted a God whom they could control. The attitudes revealed in their actions indicate how they sought to accomplish this.

What we glory in reveals the god(s) of our lives.

  1. Glory in Splendor – a beautiful city
  2. Glory in Status – the tower that reached to the heavens
  3. Glory in Success – make a name for ourselves

Man wanted to make a name for himself, through the work of his hands. He wanted recognition for what he could accomplish. So man built a tower on the plains of Shinar, at Babylon. The very first place in the post-flood world that man exalted himself above God was at Babylon. Indeed Babylon became a symbol for the greatness of man!

In his book, Structures or why things don’t fall down (Pelican 1978–1984), Professor J.E. Gordon considers the height of the Tower of Babel. He wrote, ‘brick and stone weigh about 120 lb per cubic foot (2,000 kg per cubic metre) and the crushing strength of these materials is generally rather better than 6,000 lbs per square inch or 40 megapascals. Elementary arithmetic shows that a tower with parallel walls could have been built to a height of 2.1 km (1.3 mi) before the bricks at the bottom were crushed. However by making the walls taper towards the top they … could well have been built to a height where the men of Shinar would run short of oxygen and had difficulty in breathing before the brick walls crushed beneath their own dead weight.”[1]

This desire to rob God of His glory is so entrenched in mankind, that no matter what God does to mankind in the tribulation, mankind will curse God and refuse to repent and give Him glory!

Revelation 16:8-9 (ESV) The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.

Indeed, Psalms 2 reveals this intrinsic attitude toward God in the heart of man:

Psalms 2:1-4 (NIV) Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. “Let us break their chains,” they say, “and throw off their fetters.” The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.

God had the last laugh:

Genesis 11:6 (ESV) And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.

Where Does Man Get this desire to rob glory from God?

SATAN

What man was saying was eerily similar to something Satan (Lucifer) had said centuries before:

Isaiah 14:13-14 (ESV) You said in your heart,

  • ‘I will ascend to heaven;
  • above the stars of God I will set my throne on high;
  • I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;
  • I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
  • I will make myself like the Most High.’

We all know what happened to Lucifer: Luke 10:18 (ESV) And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven”.

B. The First Sin of the Promised Land

The first Sin that spoiled the Promised Land for the Jews was the pride of wearing a Babylonian Garment.

Joshua 7:21 (KJV) When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.

Achan just had to have that babylonian garment…

Joshua had warned the people

Joshua 6:17-19 (ESV) And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord.”

Jericho, an evil city, full of evil inhabitants, so evil that Lindey Lohan could have been a priestess, was dedicated to God for destruction. It was so evil that everyone in it was to be destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah. The silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron was to be given to the treasury of God.

Achan cheered at Joshua’s decree. Yeah! Everything is wicked! We’ll destroy it all!

But there he was, checking out the spoil of one of his victims, and his eye was attracted to this snazzy Babylonian garment. The material was so soft, the design was so intricate. The beading and jewels adorning the garment took your breath away. This garment took a year to sew.  He had seen something almost as nice in the latest issue of Babylonia Today! If his friends would see him wearing such a garment, they would be so jealous! He could go anywhere in the Kingdom wearing such a garment. It was fit for a King!

Actually, that garment was fit for destruction. It represented Man’s Pride in his accomplishments, accomplishments made apart from God!

Achan was seduced and brought trouble upon Israel:  “then I coveted them and took them”.

The life of Achan ended in a heap of stones.

Joshua 7:25-26 (ESV) And Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord brings trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his burning anger. Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor.

C. The First Sin of the Church

Acts 5:1-4 (NIV) Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.”

Ananias, in lying to the church, embraced all the sins of Babylon. He wanted the splendor that the money could by him. He wanted to status of appearing to be such a giving saint. He wanted to appear successful in the eyes of the church and his friends. Satan filled his heart with the spirit of Babylon. Ananias tried to minimize God, and exalt himself. God had the last laugh once again.

D. What is the Danger of Babylon?

  • Nimrod built one tall building
  • Achan took one fancy robe
  • Ananias told one little lie

Yet their small act of sin represented a danger to what God wanted to accomplish.

  • Nimrod looked at the Tower of Babel reaching to the sky and said, wow, look what we did!
    • God saw the Tower and changed the course of Mankind!
  • Achan looked at the Shiny Robe and said, Wow wouldn’t I look like somebody in the Robe?
    • God saw the robe hidden in his tent and changed the course of Achan’s life! (In a dramatic fiery heap of stones!)
  • Ananias told a partial truth but still gave the church a lot of money
    • God saw his heart and startled the church

What is so dangerous about Babylon? What dangers was God wanting to protect His people from?

The Best Way to understand the danger of Babylon is to understand what the Babylonian Garment represented. This garment pictures Babylon far better than the silver or gold that Achan also took. That is why it was mentioned.

This Babylonian Garment represents Three Things that are a Danger to our love for God. They are seemingly innocent things, things that we all need and appreciate and even desire. But the Seduction of these three things will work their way into our lives until they minimize our need for God.

The Babylonian Garment Represents:

1. Splendor

We all appreciate beauty. We are drawn to it. Whether it is a car, a woman, even a horse, we love beautiful things. Advertisements shout this loud and clear. Television shows, even reality TV shows, shout this. Women (and men) spend billions of dollars to make themselves beautiful. Architects design buildings, even stadiums, to display the splendor and beauty of their imagination.

King Ahasuerus, reigned from India to Ethiopia, and in the third year of his reign, he gave a feast for all of his officials and servants and nobles and governors that lasted 180 days. All the days of the feast he displayed the riches of his royal glory and the splendor and pomp of his greatness.

We love to display our splendor and glory-whether in our clothes, our car, our home, our possessions.

America is a land of BLING! We even do it with teeth fillings, piercings and tattoos! We trick out our trucks, our cars, our motorcycles, we wear our jewelry and accessorize!

a) Even Satan was all about BLING!

According to Ezekiel 28:13, a probable reference to Lucifer, we learn that he is an amazing being to behold: “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created”.

Splendor is seductive. It lured Lucifer into rebellion. It lured David into deep sin. It lured the wisest man on the earth into committing unspeakable acts against his God, whose very wisdom he possessed.

b) Nebuchadnezzar:

Daniel 4:29-30 (NIV) … as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?”

God Had the Last Word. Immediately a voice came from heaven:

Daniel 4:31-32 (NIV) “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.”

c) Israel:

Hosea 2:11-13 I will stop all her celebrations: her yearly festivals, her New Moons, her Sabbath days –all her appointed feasts. I will ruin her vines and her fig trees, which she said were her pay from her lovers; I will make them a thicket, and wild animals will devour them. I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot,” declares the LORD.

God and Splendor

1. Inner beauty and splendor matters to God

    • 1Pet. 3:1 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.

2. God Looks on the Heart

    • 1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV) But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

3. God Must be our Splendor

    • Psalms 96:9 (ESV) Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!
    • Psalms 104:1 (ESV) Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
    • Psalms 111:3 (ESV) Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.

4. We are to make Known His Splendor to our Children

    • Psalms 145:12 (ESV) to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

5. In the End Times, Men will seek to hide from the splendor of God!

    • Isaiah 2:19 (ESV) And people shall enter the caves of the rocks and the holes of the ground, from before the terror of the Lord, and from the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth.

6. The Splendor of Babylon will be no more

    • Isaiah 13:19 (ESV) And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the splendor and pomp of the Chaldeans, will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them.

7. The Church will be presented to Christ in Splendor

    • Ephesians 5:25-27 (ESV) Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

2. Status

Tradition has it that this robe was a priestly robe, used in worship to the Canaanite gods. This robe not only was beautiful, it represented power. It represented standing. It represented status.

Whoever wore this robe was always on the “A-List” party invitations. This robe granted its wearer access to the power people of Jericho and Canaan. The wearer was somebody. Nobody messed with whoever wore this robe. If they did, they found themselves being sacrificed to Baal!

Status is very important in our world.

  • Satan began it all by saying “I will be as the most high”. He wanted the status of God himself.
  • Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit because they wanted to be like gods.
  • Lot chose the well watered plains of Sodom and Gomorrah, and instead of hating the sin, he became enmeshed in it, even becoming a man of ‘status’ a judge at the gate.
  • Judas followed Jesus for the status he thought it would bring him. When it became apparent that Jesus was not going to become King, he set out to betray the Son of God!
  • Aaron and the Levites set out to worship God in the Tabernacle. But by the time of Christ, the High Priest had become a perverted, corrupt institution motivated by power and status.
  • Ministry today is often corrupted by a pursuit of ratings and donations and status. Pastors focus their efforts on the Four “B’s” – Building Size, Budget Size, Number of Baptisms, and Number of Bodies. Spiritual growth and Character growth are not emphasized, because they do not build the churches ‘status’ as far as the world is concerned.

Focus upon STATUS is PRIDE!

There is no room for Pride in God’s Kingdom: Mark 9:35 (ESV) And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

3. Success

Nothing says success like Excess. Or a Rolex, Cadillac, or ___________.  You name it, we’ll wear it or drive it as long as it makes us look successful!

I can just see Achan trying on that shiny robe. Oooh he felt so good. He couldn’t wait to be seen wearing it. Everyone would be jealous of his apparent success!

Daniel 4:4 (ESV) I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace.

Look at America. We are swimming in debt, but we still consume and charge and buy our way into success. Just a few months ago the politicians were encouraging us to consume more to get this economy going.

We trade our souls for stuff. Stuff to show our success. Stuff to make us feel secure at night. Possessions, Money, those are things we can rely on. Our future is secure if we have money. We don’t have to worry about growing old, or caring for our loved ones, if we have money in the bank.

Man’s Success is Failure before God

Mark 8:34-36 (ESV) And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

Revelation 3:17 (ESV) For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

 This is God’s Plan for Success:

Joshua 1:8 (ESV) This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

E.The Splendor of Babylon Will Vanish

  • Revelation 18:10 (KJV) Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
  • Revelation 18:14 (NLT) “The fancy things you loved so much are gone,” they cry. “All your luxuries and splendor are gone forever, never to be yours again.”

When Babylon Falls, there will be the greatest Hallelujah ever!

Revelation 19:1-3 (ESV) After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.” Once more they cried out, “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

F. The Solution for A Heart Infected with Babylon

Joshua 7:19 (ESV) Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord God of Israel and give praise to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.”

To counter the effects of the Babylonian Garment, Joshua told Achan to give glory to the Lord God!

When we do what we want, when we go our own way, when we place our confidence in splendor, status and success, we are robbing God of His Glory. God wants His people to give all praise and glory to Him. Everything in our live depends upon God!

We are Losing a Generation of Young People because we are wearing Babylonian Garments

The Millennial Generation or Generation Y consists of young adults born after 1980. The latest research from Barna indicates that this generation is growing up without a Biblical Foundation of Jesus Christ. Only 15% of Millennials profess faith in Jesus Christ. Yet their parents, the Baby Boomers, profess a 65% Christianity.

What happened?

The Garment of Babylon is what happened. We have put on our Sunday Faces and Clothes at Church, but throughout the week we wear our Babylonian Garment. We pursue our splendor, our status and our success.

We embrace the spirit of Babylon in our homes and work. We display a MINIMAL DEPENDENCE upon God in our homes, our work and our lives.

Jude 1:11 (ESV) Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion.

We have danced with Cain, we have partied with Balaam and we have colluded with Korah. And so Babylon has infected the hearts of our families and children.

  • Cain wanted to seek the God in his own way. He thought his splendor was good enough.
  • Balaam was divided between pleasing God and having the status of the King’s Prophet. So he corrupted the message of God, and gained the status of the King, but lost his soul to the ways of Babylon.
  • Korah wanted to make his own success, apart from Noah and God. He had enough of Moses, and told him, everyone is holy enough. He wanted to go his own way and be successful apart from Moses and God.

We have two choices…

Allow Babylon to Steal our Love for God or

Give Glory to God in everything,  Seek His Glory through Everything and most importantly, allow our lives to display His Glory to those around us!

We Can Live Hallelujah Lives or Crying Lives!

  • The World cried at the downfall of Babylon. It had become their life!
  • Those Saints in Heaven Shouted Hallelujah!

Revelation 19:1 (ESV) After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,

When we seek satisfaction in the Splendor, Status and Success of this world, we will end up miserable, dissatisfied, on medication for depression.

Or you will come to the Salvation that only Jesus Christ offers, accept the misery of sin, and fall into the Love and Hope that Jesus Christ alone offers.

When Jesus Christ becomes your Savior, then God can say to you:

Jim, you are the most wretched and hopeless man, and in yourself you will never be anything else. But I have looked upon you through your faith in My Son as though you never sinned at all. I chose to see you in my Son by your faith!

Glory! God alone is worthy of Glory! My Joy, my happiness, my accomplishments are all in Him!

What Does that Babylonian Garment offer me that could even compare? It is temporary, it is fading, it will be soon eaten or destroyed or lost!

We need to embrace Christ with our children. We need to quit putting emphasis on the Babylonian Lifestyle of self effort and success, and focus on the splendor, the standing and the success that come from putting on the Lord Jesus Christ!

Isaiah 43:7 says we are created for God’s Glory! Isaiah 48:9 says God will not give His glory to another.

So God did not create us so that He would become more glorious, for His beauty and perfection are complete. He is already Glory defined. God cannot become more God by making something that is not God.

No, God created us to display His Glory! This world is to KNOW God’s Glory by our lives! We are not to seek our own glory through splendor, status or success. No, in all our lives we are to display God’s glory to the world, not our own glory!

Babylon is man-centeredness. It can be in our churches, our worship, our work, our families, our lives.

God will give His glory to no one. We cannot make God more glorious by accumulating stuff and bringing it to Him. But we can bring our lives and all we have to HIM and ask Him to use it to bring glory to Him.

Never hold on to stuff if it starts to become more important than God or worshipping Him! We are to display God’s Glory to the world with all our lives, with all our being, with all our STUFF!


Importance church covenantA mere two months after the Los Angeles Dodgers inked a new, two–year, $45 million guaranteed deal with power hitter Manny Ramirez, the slugger got hit with a 50–game suspension for using a banned performance–enhancing substance. The reason, a “Behavior” clause written into his contract. The 50 game suspension will save the Dodgers 8 million dollars.Manny Rameriz

Earlier this year Kellogg’s backed out of an endorsement deal with Michael Phelps because of a “Behavior Clause” they had written into the contract. You know them as “Morality Clauses”, but because of changing morals, they have become specific “behavior” clauses.

There was once a time when an advertiser could get an agent to agree to the following clause: “If [Celebrity] has committed any act that offends the community or any segment thereof and/or public morals and decency, such behavior shall be considered a material breach of this Agreement incapable of cure, and if in [Advertiser’s] sole judgment such breach is likely to cause a diminution in the value of the [Advertiser’s] commercial association with [Celebrity], then [Advertiser] shall have the right, in addition to any other rights [Advertiser] may have as a result of such breach, to immediately terminate this Agreement on written notice to [Celebrity]. In such event, there shall be no further compensation payable to [Celebrity] and such termination shall not limit or effect any other rights [Advertiser] may have against [Celebrity] under this Agreement on account of such termination.”

Phelps breaks Behavior ClauseHowever, society’s views of morality have changed, so contracts have gotten to be very specific as regards the “behavior” of the celebrities. With Michael Phelps, public drug use was clearly prohibited.

These behavior clauses have even entered the world of Big Banks and Big Business. The latest banking crisis underscored the importance of not appearing greedy in the face of massive government bailouts at taxpayer expense. The government refused to give “Bailout Funds” unless certain behavior standards were met. Corporate executives lost their jobs and had their pay cut because of lavish extravaganza’s and exorbitant bonuses while Americans saw Billions of dollars in savings wiped out. Now the excessive compensation and perks of CEO’s is under scrutiny of enraged shareholders.CEO Behavior Clause

In the sports world, in the corporate world, in the banking world, how we behave and act is very important, so important that people lose millions when they fail to live up to certain standards.

AIG Bailout and BonusesEven in the church, our behavior is important.  George Barna has become well-known because of the extensive research and surveys he conducts. He has noticed some alarming trends in the church, particularly in regards to our “Biblical World view”. A Survey published in March of this year produced these results:

For the purposes of the survey, a “biblical worldview” was defined as believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today. In the research, anyone who held all of those beliefs was said to have a biblical worldview.Biblical Worldview

The same questions were asked of respondents in national surveys by Barna in 1995, 2000 and 2005. The results indicate that the percentage of adults with a biblical worldview, as defined above, has remained unchanged for more than a decade. The numbers show that 7% had such a worldview in 1995, compared to 10% in 2000, 11% in 2005, and 9% now. Even among born again adults, the statistics have remained flat: 18% in 1995, 22% in 2000, 21% in 2005, and 19% today.

Varying numbers of Americans embrace the different aspects of biblical worldview thinking. The survey found that:

  • One-third of all adults (34%) believe that moral truth is absolute and unaffected by the circumstances. Slightly less than half of the born again adults (46%) believe in absolute moral truth.
  • Half of all adults firmly believe that the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches. That proportion includes the four-fifths of born again adults (79%) who concur.
  • Just one-quarter of adults (27%) are convinced that Satan is a real force. Even a minority of born again adults (40%) adopt that perspective.
  • Similarly, only one-quarter of adults (28%) believe that it is impossible for someone to earn their way into Heaven through good behavior. Not quite half of all born again Christians (47%) strongly reject the notion of earning salvation through their deeds.
  • A minority of American adults (40%) are persuaded that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life while He was on earth. Slightly less than two-thirds of the born again segment (62%) strongly believes that He was sinless.
  • Seven out of ten adults (70%) say that God is the all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the universe who still rules it today. That includes the 93% of born again adults who hold that conviction.

troubling change in churchesGeorge Barna, who has directed this tracking research since the early Nineties, pointed out, “There are a several troubling patterns to take notice. First, although most Americans consider themselves to be Christian and say they know the content of the Bible, less than one out of ten Americans demonstrate such knowledge through their actions. Second, the generational pattern suggests that parents are not focused on guiding their children to have a biblical worldview. One of the challenges for parents, though, is that you cannot give what you do not have, and most parents do not possess such a perspective on life. That raises a third challenge, which relates to the job that Christian churches, schools and parachurch ministries are doing in Christian education. Finally, even though a central element of being a Christian is to embrace basic biblical principles and incorporate them into one’s worldview, there has been no change in the percentage of adults or even born again adults in the past 13 years regarding the possession of a biblical worldview.”Biblical_Worldview

Now why would any born again, saved child of God be anything less than 100% when it comes to a Biblical Worldview? I would guarantee that even in our church there are some members who would not score very high on Barna’s poll.

Why have Christians become so watered down when it comes to standards and behavior? Today you have more divorces in the church than in the world; you have believer’s living together; you have leaders of the church struggling with pornography and even getting divorced; you have homosexuality as an accepted behavior, even in many churches.

Should the church be held to higher standards of behavior? Should a church have a “behavior” clause for their members? Or should we concentrate only on our beliefs?

My Experience at Prairie Baptist Church.

Prairie Baptist churchI mentioned last week that my parents marriage was probably saved because they got involved and became members of a Bible teaching and preaching church. It was American Baptist and it was the early 1960’s. But by the time I was in ninth grade (1967) we started to have interesting discussions in youth group. Drug use – is it really wrong? The Bible – is it always right? Hell – is it literal or figurative? Sex before marriage – it it OK. But didn’t really try to present the definitive answer from the Word of God.

The one on Hell really was the last straw for my parents, plus the type of behavior our older youth we getting involved in. My parents became very concerned about what I was learning, but even more so for the type of behavior some of our youth were allowed to engage in. Standards were lacking, not even taught. The Bible was watered down and not taught as absolute.

James warns us that “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless” (Js 1:26).

In other words, if you profess to be a Christian, but you don’t live a changed life, you should take no comfort in your faith. In fact, the reality is that your faith (religion) should influence your behavior. If it does not, it is a sham, it is powerless. The reason the churches must demonstrate the power of Jesus Christ to transform lives is evident in what is really happening in America.

Seven Faith Tribes: Who They Are, What They Believe, and Why They Matter

Seve  Faith TribesIn this new book by George Barna, Mr Barna sees seven different faith groups that are influencing America. The two largest are of the Christian ‘tribe’. He distinguishes the tribes in this way: Casual Christians represent 66% of the adult population of the U.S. (The percentage of the adult population represented by the other half-dozen tribes included 16% who are Captive Christians, 2% Jews, 2% Mormons, 2% Pantheists, one-half of 1% Muslims, and 11% Skeptics.) Here are some of his answers to questions some have posed:

Question: You describe the Casual Christian tribe as spiritually middle-of-the-road, perhaps even ambivalent about their faith. Why, then, are they so important to the nation’s future?

Barna: Each of the seven tribes is important to our nation’s future because they include millions of American citizens. The Casual Christian tribe is especially significant because it represents a huge majority of the nation’s population – two out of every three adults. This particular tribe is comprised of significant proportions of minimally active born again Christians and moderately active but theologically nominal Christians. If a catalyst were added to this mix to deepen this tribe’s integration of faith and lifestyle, or even to simply create a more extensive sense of community and purpose within the tribe, unprecedented changes could occur.

Question: What have you found to be the appeal of Casual Christianity, as opposed to what draws people to the Captive Christian or even the Mormon tribes – that is, other tribes that are much more fervent about their faith?

Barna: Casual Christianity is faith in moderation. It allows them to feel religious without having to prioritize their faith. Christianity is a low-risk, predictable proposition for this tribe, providing a faith perspective that is not demanding. A Casual Christian can be all the things that they esteem: a nice human being, a family person, religious, an exemplary citizen, a reliable employee – and never have to publicly defend or represent difficult moral or social positions or even lose much sleep over their private choices as long as they mean well and generally do their best. From their perspective, their brand of faith practice is genuine, realistic and practical. To them, Casual Christianity is the best of all worlds; it encourages them to be a better person than if they had been irreligious, yet it is not a faith into which they feel compelled to heavily invest themselves.

Causual Christian vs Captive ChristianBarna: The lives of Captive Christians are defined by their faith; their worldview is built around their core spiritual beliefs and resultant values. Casual Christians are defined by the desire to please God, family, and other people while extracting as much enjoyment and comfort from the world as possible. The big difference between these two tribes is how they define a successful life. For Captives, success is obedience to God, as demonstrated by consistently serving Christ and carrying out His commands and principles. For Casuals, success is balancing everything just right so that they are able to maximize their opportunities and joys in life without undermining their perceived relationship with God and others. Stated differently, Casuals are about moderation in all things while Captives are about extreme devotion to their God regardless of the worldly consequences.

Why is it imperative that we reach out to casual Christians and impress upon them to become Captive Christians, (I CALL THEM COVENANT CHRISTIANS)?

Here is the Real World the Church is facing:

Sex Profanity Steal Lie Gossip Moral SinsAmerican society has become more intrigued by moral issues in recent years, as evidenced by the fact that 55% of adults discuss moral issues with others during a typical week. But a nationwide survey by The Barna Group indicates that Americans have also redefined what it means to do the right thing in their own lives.

A 2008 survey by The Barna Group asked adults which, if any, of eight behaviors with moral overtones they had engaged in during the past week. The behaviors included looking at pornography, using profanity, gambling, gossiping, engaging in sexual intercourse with someone to whom they were not married, retaliating against someone, getting drunk, and lying. Of those surveyed:

  • Twenty-eight percent had used profanity.
  • Twenty percent had gambled.
  • Nineteen percent had viewed pornography.
  • Twelve percent had gossiped.
  • Twelve percent had gotten drunk.
  • Eleven percent had lied.
  • Nine percent had engaged in sexual intercourse with someone to whom they were not married.
  • Eight percent had retaliated against someone.

One of the most stunning outcomes from the Barna survey was the moral pattern among adults under 25. The younger generation was more than twice as likely as all other adults to engage in behaviors considered morally inappropriate by traditional standards. Their choices made even the Baby Boomers – never regarded as a paragon of traditional morality – look like moral pillars in comparison.

For instance, two-thirds of the under-25 segment (64%) had used profanity in public, compared to just one out of five Boomers (19%). The younger group – known as Mosaics – was nine times more likely than were Boomers to have engaged in sex outside of marriage (38% vs. 4%), six times more likely to have lied (37% vs. 6%), almost three times more likely to have gotten drunk (25% vs. 9%) and to have gossiped (26% vs. 10%), and twice as likely as Boomers to have observed pornography (33% vs. 16%) and to have engaged in acts of retaliation (12% vs. 5%).

According to George Barna, who directed the survey, the results reflect a significant shift in American life.

“We are witnessing the development and acceptance of a new moral code in America,” said the researcher and author, who has been surveying national trends in faith and morality for more than a quarter-century. “Mosaics have had little exposure to traditional moral teaching and limited accountability for such behavior. The moral code began to disintegrate when the generation before them – the Baby Busters – pushed the limits that had been challenged by their parents – the Baby Boomers. The result is that without much fanfare or visible leadership, the U.S. has created a moral system based on convenience, feelings, and selfishness.

“The consistent deterioration of the Bible as the source of moral truth has led to a nation where people have become independent judges of right and wrong, basing their choices on feelings and circumstances. It is not likely that America will return to a more traditional moral code until the nation experiences significant pain from its moral choices.”

  • Head Belief is no good. Being a Casual Christian is NO GOOD! Only a Heart Belief that changes your heart and produces right behavior does good.
  • This is what Jesus taught was the foundation for building you life, building the church.

Wise man and Foolish ManLook at Luke 6:45-49

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great. Luke 6:45-49MATT_7_24C

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. Matthew 7:21-27

Morality Rooted in Heart BeliefsJesus says it doesn’t matter what you believe in your mind. Your belief will only produce change when it comes from a changed heart. But a changed heart will always bring forth a changed life. Belief’s only have power if they change the way you live. The reason there is so little difference between sinners and saints is because the great majority of believers that think they are born again are not!

You can stand up here and confess your belief that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, that he died on the cross for your sins, that he was buried and rose again. You can even go forward and confess Jesus before men, be baptized, but if your heart isn’t changed, and that change starts to show in the way you live and obey the WORD of GOD, you are still in your sins, you are still on your way to Hell.

John says “We know that we have come to know him IF we obey his commands” (1 John 2:3).

In Short, How We Live Matters. How We As A Church Lives Matters.

By  the way, we do have a behavior clause in our Church Constitution.. It is called our “Church Covenant”

WHAT IS A ‘CHURCH COVENANT’?

What is Church CovenantBrethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Galatians 3:15

Purpose of CovenantThe Purpose of a Church Covenant is Five-Fold

  1. A CHURCH COVENANT IS A PROMISE – a promise made to God, to a local church, and to one’s self.
  2. A CHURCH COVENANT IS A SUMMARY OF HOW WE AGREE TO LIVE.  While our statement of faith is a good summary of what we believe, our church covenant is a summary of how we agree to live – more importantly, it is a summary of how God would have us live.  It does not include every explicit command regarding obedience, but it does give a general summary of what it means to live as a disciple of Christ.
  3. A CHURCH COVENANT IS A SIGN OF COMMITMENT – a commitment to God, to His church, and to personal holiness.
  4. A CHURCH COVENANT IS AN ETHICAL STATEMENT.  Historian Charles W. DeWeese writes, “A church covenant is a series of written pledges based on the Bible which church members voluntarily make to God and to one another regarding their basic moral and spiritual commitments and the practice of their faith” (Baptist Church Covenants, p. viii).   One theologian calls church covenants the “ethical counterpart to confessions of faith.”  A church covenant can be an important part of applying a Christian worldview to every aspect of our lives.  Inherent in the purpose of a church covenant is the understanding that church membership involves being held accountable to live in a manner consistent with a common understanding of Scripture.
  5. A CHURCH COVENANT IS A BIBLICAL STANDARD. A church covenant is helpful in a church that is practicing Biblical church discipline.  As members of a church, we exhort one another to live holy lives, and we challenge brothers and sisters persisting in sin.

WHERE DO COVENANTS COME FROM?

Now that we know what church covenants are, where do they come from?  Well, not from the Bible – not, at least, in the sense of being able to turn to the Book of Covenants chapter 3.  But we do see examples of covenants both in the Old and the New Testaments – covenants between God and man, and between man and man.  Moses gives a covenant from God to the people of Israel.  Ezra and Nehemiah do so as well.   And in the NT we find that “Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, which is the new covenant in Christ’s blood”.   Primarily, church covenants come from the understanding that churches are to be composed of people who are truly born again.  This is what we call regenerate church membership.

In the 16th century, men and women of deep conviction broke away from the Roman Catholic Church to form congregations who understood the importance of the doctrine known as justification by faith alone in Christ alone.  No longer did baptism or membership bring supposed new life.  Joining and being part of a church was no longer a civic duty or just part of growing up.  It was becoming what it was always intended to be – a response of faith to the truth of the gospel.  And in this response of faith we gain the most amazing callings: children of the living God, ambassadors of Christ, a royal priesthood; we become the bearers of God’s name in the world.  Listen to God’s word on this issue.  “I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them.  Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the sovereign Lord, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes” (Ezek 36:23).  We are called to be living witnesses of God’s holiness!

How Important is Keeping Our Church Covenant?

church-covenantA friend of mine was called to pastor a Baptist church in a small town south of Oklahoma City in 1989. Not long after he was there an acquaintance in the community pulled him aside at a restaurant and asked him if he knew. He said “knew what”. His acquaintance said “Did you know the chairman of the deacons is a homosexual?” He confessed his surprise and then went to the deacon, who confirmed what evidently everyone in town knew. When he then brought it before the deacons, they said they knew, but didn’t see the problem.  He then approached the entire church, and they were OK with it. So, he resigned.

In the last church I pastored, we had developed a nice worship team lead by a couple of talented gals. One day I went and visited with a family that had been there the Sunday before. They enjoyed the church, but they wanted to know why one of these gals was leading the music. The reason was that he confessed going into the local bar (Wally’s) and this gal was a bartender there. He just thought it strange that she could be a bartender and lead church music on Sunday.

I told him that I would check into it. Sure enough, it was the truth. I talked with her and pointed out our church covenant, and said that she would have to chose what she wanted to do, serve liquor or serve on the praise team. She said she considered the bar her mission field, really enjoyed what she was doing, and so she resigned from leading music. Of course her friends resigned as well. They eventually left the church. Did it cause some pain? Yes. Was it necessary? Yes. O, by the way, this same gal had wanted to meet with me to see if I thot it was ok to divorce her husband, simply because he didn’t communicate with her very well.

She no longer works at the bar, and we are still friends, and she is still married. By the way, Dennis Queen a few years later was able to lead that deacon to the Lord. He just this year preached his funeral.

All across the country church denominational leaders are being attacked by people pushing to allow homosexual pastors. Several denominations have split because they decided to allow such as pastors.

Churches must make a choice as to how they will believe and act towards each other and the world. Any church can act like a church, can talk like a church, but in their heart, there is no Power of God to live godly lives in the dark, in the areas where people aren’t looking.

Jesus cares that we live Holy Lives, that we walk in the Power of the HOLY Spirit.

Christianity is about living a different kind of life, not just talking about different kinds of concepts.

The church is called to live and act differently.  In agreeing to a church covenant, one is agreeing to be held accountable by a body of believers.  Likewise, one is agreeing to hold a body of believers accountable.  To hold accountable simply means “to take responsibility for.”

A CHURCH COVENANT, VOID OF THIS RESPONSIBILITY, IS A WORTHLESS DOCUMENT.

Scripture highlights our need for accountability.

  • Read Matt 18:15-17 – We do not have a license to sin.  More than that, if we do keep on sinning, we risk proving that we have not been given new life from God.  Matthew 18 gives us instruction about what to do with a persistently unrepentant sinner.
  • Read 1Cor 5 – If the Corinthian congregation allowed this man to remain a member of the church, he (and others) may get the wrong impression that his sexual immorality is consistent with what it means to be a Christian.  Weaker members of the body will be confused and hurt as well.  And the church will risk losing her reputation in the local community.

There will always be sin in the church because we all sin.  What we are talking about is how to deal with people whose lives are characterized by sin, people who agree with their sin against God and His Word, and who try to rationalize their sin instead of pleading before God for forgiveness.  The purpose of such accountability is not to judge people worthy of hell-fire – that’s never been the church’s role.  It’s to protect them from deceiving themselves about their own spiritual state, to protect the corporate witness of the church from being smeared by the non-Christian behavior of professing believers, and to restore the disobedient person to right relationship with God and warm fellowship with the church.

What then should we expect out of a church covenant?  Expect it to be Biblical – based 100% upon Scripture.  Expect it to be focused on the whole body of believers – it should be corporate not private.  And expect it to be clear and easy to understand by all who desire to join this fellowship.

The church covenant is equal parts promise, summary of expectations, ethical statement, and biblical standard. We summarize how we promise to live together in the covenant. It forms the ethics, or the moral principles, of our worldview and holds out a biblical standard by which we live.Joshua renews covenant

Why is this important? Just as Joshua led his people to affirm their following God’s Word, so I believe church’s should regularly affirm their allegiance to their Church Covenant. I believe a church should periodically have a Covenant Service. I believe it should be read at every communion service. The Covenant should be the binding and empowering force of every church.

Whenever people want to join our church, they should be willing to affirm our Covenant.

By featuring the covenant in our life together, we strive to protect ourselves from individual and corporate sin. Of equal importance, we spur one another on to live in light of a greater covenant, one initiated by love, sealed by sacrifice, and kept for eternity by our Savior, Jesus Christ.

There are just two final points to make about our church covenant.

  • First, our church covenant should be a challenge.
  • Second our church covenant should be a comfort.

1. Our church covenant is a challenge simply because there are times when living a godly life is hard. It is also a challenge because each member of the church now bears responsibility for the lives of other believers – this is that “accountability goes both ways” part.  This is serious responsibility.  Not the kind of responsibility you have just because you are somebody’s friend, but the kind of responsibility that comes from saying, before God, “I care for you and will work to encourage you in your discipleship.”  This challenge is a serious thing.

2. This covenant isn’t just about us challenging each other to be better Christians.  Our church covenant is also a comfort. A comfort to know you’ll be cared for and prayed for, not perfectly, but faithfully.  The comfort is that by joining a church and covenanting with other believers, you now have Christians who are going to build you up when you are down.  You have Christians who are committed, before God, to walk with you, pray with you, serve you.  You have Christians who are so concerned about your spiritual walk, that if they see you break the covenant you have made as a disciple of Christ, they will exhort you to turn back; and if you don’t, they’ll do all they can to make the gravity of your sin clear.  This is our ideal, our vision, what we strive for.

“A new command I give you: love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Here is the “Champions Covenant” for our church. The numbers correspond to verses listed at the end:

The Champion’s Covenant

Introductionchampionscovenant_

B elieving that Jesus Christ is the head of the church, and the church is the body of Christ, and that only by the Holy Spirit is one made alive to God and placed “in Christ” and believing further that the local church is the extension of the Body of Christ and can only be joined by those already “in Christ”, I make the following two affirmations:

  • I have been born again by the Holy Spirit, having personally repented of my sin before God, sought and received His forgiveness, believed upon the Lord Jesus Christ—crucified, buried, and resurrected—as my one-and-only Savior and Lord.
  • I have identified myself publicly as a Christian and have followed my Lord in baptism in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The Promises

Having given ourselves to God by our faith in Jesus Christ, and having adopted the Word of God as our rule of faith and practice, and as members of this local Body of Christ, we now give ourselves to one another in this solemn covenant. We hereby promise:

  • To be committed to each other in seeking to love and obey Jesus Christ1,5; and for His sake love2, accept3, and forgive4 each other with affectionate care and watchfulness.
  • To join with fellow members to seek God’s will in our common decision-making; to allow every member the privilege of seeking to influence the church in its pursuit of God’s will6; to accept congregational decisions without grumbling7; and to work to prevent division in the body8.
  • love_one_another_To help one another grow in Jesus Christ by building up one another 9, bearing one another’s burdens10, encouraging one another11, exhorting one another12, praying for one another, confessing our sins to one another, speaking the truth in love to one another, admonishing one another, , teaching one another, comforting one another, submitting to one another, serving one another, patiently bearing with one another, being hospitable to one another,  being kind and tenderhearted to one another.13
  • To work together for the continuance of a faithful evangelical ministry in this church, as we support and sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines. As we are being built up we will reach out to the lost and to the fallen, and through our love and service seek to bring them into fellowship with Jesus Christ. Through self-denial, faith and good works we endeavor to grow together in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.14-21
  • To practice Biblical stewardship22 of our resources, and to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel to all nations.
  • To seek, by God’s grace, to live carefully in the world, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to be an example in our speech and conduct24,25, purposing to lead new and holy lives in the power of the Holy Spirit, especially with regard to the following:
  • To use chemical substances such as alcohol and drugs only as informed by the teachings of the Bible26, wise medical counsel, and the dictates of the law.
  • To flee sexual immorality27; to shun pornography28; to reserve sexual activity solely for one man and one woman united in the covenant of marriage30;  to not initiate a divorce, unless the spouse decisively and physically deserts the relationship, commits repeated, unrepentant adultery, is guilty of protracted, unrepentant life-endangerment, or is guilty of physical and/or sexual abuse of a child or minor.31
  • To protect and defend the lives of our children from the moment of their conception; to bring up those in our home in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and by a pure and loving example seek the salvation of our family, teaching and encouraging them to love, follow and serve God.
  • To practice justice and compassion toward all people, especially the poor, the sick, the disabled, widows, and orphans.
  • To conduct all business in honesty and integrity32, counting it our chief business in life to extend the influence of Christ in society33.
  • To submit to the leadership of the Holy Spirit and pursue the fruit that He brings forth34and to work and pray for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, that the Kingdom of God may come, and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

The Protection:

We enter into this covenant voluntarily and affirm the ambitions of this covenant as our own. We realize that we can only fulfill this covenant through the power of Jesus Christ living in us. We invite fellow members to pray for us, teach us, correct us and rebuke us, if necessary, in a spirit of gentleness and humility should we stray from the Lord’s commands. We voluntarily submit ourselves to one another and to the biblical authority of this church35. If we fail to live up to this covenant, we commit to yield to correction with meekness, to seek forgiveness and reconciliation, and to turn from our sin, relying on God’s grace to lift us up. Should church discipline ever be required, it will always be undertaken for the purpose of restoration to fellowship with God and with this covenant community – and it will always be done in accordance with Scriptural procedures in Matthew 18:15-22 and Galatians 6:1. We further commit to never refuse forgiveness and reconciliation in the face of Godly repentance.36

If we find ourselves unwilling to try to fulfill this covenant, we commit to remove our self from this congregation. If relocation outside the community prevents us from fulfilling this covenant, we commit to unite with another congregation and to continue to pursue growth as a Christian.

The Blessing

May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God, and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit Be With Us All. Amen.37

PPBC-Champions Covenant

1brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1-2

2and this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 1 john 3:23

3 to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. Ephesians 1:6

4and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as god for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

5if ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the father hath loved me, so have i loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my father’s commandments, and abide in his love. John 15:7-10

6hard waybut now hath god set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: and those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but god hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked: that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 1 Corinthians 12:18-27

7neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 1 Corinthians 10:10

8that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 1 Corinthians 12:25

9but ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the holy ghost, Jude 1:20

10bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

11not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10:25

12but exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13

13And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

14 for we are the circumcision, which worship god in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Philippians 3:3

15 and they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:42 confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16 I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. 1 Timothy 2:8

16study to shew thyself approved unto god, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 timothy 2:15 till I come; give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 1 Timothy 4:13

17not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:25

18I speak as to wise men; judge ye what i say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. 1 Corinthians 10:15-17

19now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, i would not have you ignorant. 1 Corinthians 12:1

20go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father, and of the son, and of the holy ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:19-20

21for, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. Galatians 5:13 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Luke 19:10 But  grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory both now and to the day of  eternity. Amen. 2 Pet 3:18

22moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. 1 Corinthians 4:2 as each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of god’s varied grace: 1 peter 4:10 Jesus said to them, “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to god the things that are god’s.” And they marveled at him. Mark 12:17

23then came peter to him, and said, lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times? Matthew 18:21

24when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 1 peter 3:2 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Titus 2:8 let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:6 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 2 Peter 1:4

25for this is the will of god, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor; not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the gentiles which know not god: that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For god hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but god, who hath also given unto us his holy spirit. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8

26not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 1 timothy 3:3 deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 1 timothy 3:8 (no longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.) 1 timothy 5:23 older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, Titus 2:3 and be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the spirit; Ephesians 5:18 for a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of god; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; Titus 1:7 who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contentions? Who hath babbling? Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Proverbs 23:29-33 or do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy spirit within you, whom you have from god? You are not your own, 1 Corinthians 6:19

27flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the lord out of a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22

28for out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone. Matthew 15:19-20

Focus on the Family studies that have found that 43% of families say pornography is a problem in their home. And while she acknowledges that the spot has some fun at the porn-consumer’s expense (the last joke in the ad is about the porn-buyer’s mom finding out what he’s purchasing), she says that “many of these people’s experiences with pornography is not funny. Some of their families have been devastated by it.”

29likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 1 Timothy 2:9

30now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “it is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:1-5

31and Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore god has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” Matthew 19:3-9 now as a concession, not a command, I say this. I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from god, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. To the married I give this charge (not I, but the lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife. To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? 1 Corinthians 7:6-16 then said he unto the disciples, it is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Luke 17:1-2 husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Colossians 3:19

32in the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

33and as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. Luke 6:31

34so then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the spirit of god are sons of god. Romans 8:12-14 but the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Galatians 5:22 if we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the spirit. Galatians 5:25

35obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. Hebrews 13:17 giving thanks always and for everything to god the father in the name of our lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:20-21 watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity. I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) that ye submit yourselves unto such, and to everyone that helpeth with us, and laboureth. 1 Corinthians 16:13-16

“If your brother sins against you go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Then peter came up and said to him, “lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. Matthew 18:15-22

36For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. 2 Corinthians 7:10-11

37The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. 2 Corinthians 13:14