Posts Tagged ‘Men of God’


 “How to Make God’s Word Attractive”

And now the shift from the protection of sound doctrine to the practice of sound doctrine.

This connection between belief & behavior must be grasped by all Christians if we’re to be in the world but not of the world! Christians are called to engage the culture around them. We are to be culture changers, and that requires credible lives that have been transformed to the point that they are engaging and inviting. Christians will never impact the culture around them through distance and withdrawal. (JT)

Making God’s word Attractive! & Living differently in the Power of Grace!

Titus 2:1-3 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,

Verse one in other translations:„

  • Phillips – Titus 2:1 Now you must tell them the sort of character which should spring from sound teaching.
  • KJV Teach that which becomes sound doctrine…
  • „ NASB Teach that which is fitting with sound doctrine…

Accords or fitting is the Greek word “prépō” – To be eminent, distinguished, to excel. In the NT usually in the impersonal form prépei, it means becoming, proper.[1]

Paul describes “sound doctrine” as becoming, fitting, excellent, distinguished and I might add “elegant.” He wants Titus to teach and practice that which expresses the elegance and beauty of sound doctrine.

So Chapter two has some insights in how we are to make the Word of God Attractive to the culture around us.

I. Top down elegance (1-3)

(1)  The Older men and women set the mark for elegance of the Word.
    • Whether young or old, married or single, we are all needed in the local church.
    • Older believers are especially important
(2) Your Influence is greater than you think!
(3) The churches impact on the culture depends upon the beauty of the Older believers!

 Regardless of age, gender, occupation, or any other classification, God calls us to live differently in whatever environment we find ourselves! “All true believers are expected to have faith reflected in their conduct & to have their conduct affirm their faith!” (Kent Hughes)

A. Older Men!

(2 – Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.)

(1)  Older Men should be distinguished with the beauty of the Gospel
      • Zechariah (80) and Paul (50’s) were called ‘old man’ in Scriptures
      • This is Top down Body Life
      • Top Down Body Life is sustainable and produces Godly Impact.
(2) Sober – abstain from wine or at least from its immoderate use (always clear –headed)

“Sober” is nēphalios, “abstaining from wine, either entirely or at least from its immoderate use.”Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 190.

(3) Dignified – noble, respected and admired. They have majestic and awe-inspiring qualities that do not repel but attract people. The presence of Christ is seen.

“Grave” is semnos, “august noble, venerable, reverent.” Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 190. Semnós represents not only earthly dignity, but that which is derived from a higher citizenship, a heavenly one, which is the possession of all believers. There lies something of majestic and awe-inspiring qualities in semnós which does not repel but rather invites and attracts Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “σεμνός”.

(4) Self-controlled-self-restrained, his passions and desires are all under the cross.

self-disciplined in one’s freedom, self-restrained in all passions and desires. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “σώφρων”.

(5) Sound (Vitality) in Faith (personal relationship w/God); (You know He sees God in every circumstance)
(6) Sound in Love (relationship w/others);
(7) Sound in Steadfastness (bear up well under the stress, endurance as to things or circumstances) –Go to guy when your world is falling apart.

Q: Where are the older men? Step up to the plate!

„ The Older Men establish the benchmark for everyone in the church to attain to.

„ God always works TOP DOWN when He wants to impact the church and the community!

B. Older Women! (3)

Titus 2:3-5 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

(1)  Reverent in behavior – Becoming for they act like sacred people.
(2)  Avoiding the ugliness of gossip & drunkenness.
(3)  Teachers of Good (Phillips-examples of the good life)-training and schooling the younger (neo) mom’s and wives.
      • They should channel their energy into mentoring the new wives and mom’s.
      • Train the new moms and wives by bringing them to their right minds and
      • To know the way to love their husbands and children.
(4) Pure – not defiled
(5) Caring for the home
(6) To be under the leadership of their husbands.
(7) So that people will not treat the Word of God with irreverence or regard it as nothing of God.

1 Peter 3:1-6 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

Q: Where are the older Women?

  • „ Older women get involved in discipling younger women.
  • „ Discipling young moms in matters of family & Christian lifestyle.
  • „ Focus on their responsibilities to live out the Word of God toward their husband and their children, and bringing the power of the Word of God into their home.
  • „ You have a command to be “Titus Two-ing!”

Where have we gone wrong in the 21st century church? The same way they went wrong in the 1st century church. When each one became self-focused instead of body-focused, the church declined in spiritual power, families broke up and churches became divided. The culture looks at the church as says, “you have nothing for me.” Your families are messed up, your children are just like mine, your full of strife and worry and stress, just like me.

Church becomes a show, a form of godliness, a feel-good assembly, but there is no community, no power to build Godly marriages  and families.

So discipleship and community and mentorship become foreign phrases, and we focus on the speaker of the music or the facilities or the children’s ministries. Church becomes a convenience that we fit into our busy, hectic, stressful lives.

For a church to be set in order and effective according to Paul, there must be leadership from men and women who pour their lives into the young people who will follow them. There should be a personal investment in regular fellowship, disciplined worship, & church community life! The Older Christians are to make the Word of God ATTRACTIVE through inviting lives! (Not judgmental lives)

 C. THE YOUNGER SAINTS! (4-8)

(1) Younger Women! (4,5) (READ)

a.  They should learn how to love their families & live godly lives.

b.  Paul says to young wives make family your highest priority!

(2)  Younger Men! (6-8)

Titus 2:6-8 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

URGE is Parakaleo – come alongside them and work with them on being sound-minded, in touch with the realities of life, the importance of family. Life is not about money!

a.  They should display sensibility.

Sober-minded – sound-minded, to exercise self-control, to have one’s total life under control of the mind.

b.    They should be a positive role model! People are watching their lives

One pagan said after receiving a gospel tract from a zealous missionary, “Thank you for this tract, now I will watch your tracks and decide about becoming a Christian.”

Years ago the communist government in China commissioned an author to write a biography of Hudson Taylor with the purpose of distorting the facts and presenting him in a bad light. They wanted to discredit the name of this consecrated missionary of the gospel. As the author was doing his research, he was increasingly impressed by Taylor’s saintly character and godly life, and he found it extremely difficult to carry out his assigned task with a clear conscience. Eventually, at the risk of losing his life, he laid aside his pen, renounced his atheism, and received Jesus as his personal Savior.

c.   Teaching must be with integrity (not for gain or position, but with genuine concern)

d.  Demonstrate dignity

e.  Sound Speech (that cannot be condemned)

f.    No one opposed to the Gospel can say anything evil about you.

D. All four groups have this same word – self-control!

(1) Freedom in Christ doesn’t give believers the liberty to cast off all moral restraint.
(2) Nor does it call for a withdrawal from life & its temptations.
(3) It calls for a self-disciplined life following Christ’s example of being in the world but not of the world.
(4) It calls for Christians to live sensibly & reasonably!

a.   The Christian Church effects the community only as it functions as a caring, discipling community of growth into the reality of the Life of Jesus Christ

b.  Our actions must be considered in light of their effects upon others!

c.   Seek the others good!

E. THE BONDSERVANT SAINTS! (9-10) (EMPLOYEES)

Titus 2:9-10 Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

(1)  Slaves were to be examples
      • They should not revolt but submit to their masters, work hard to please them, avoid arguing with them, resist stealing from them(“I deserve this since he isn’t paying me enough!”)
(2) They adorn the Gospel through their behavior
      • They must work in good faith so that, “so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive”(NIV).

It was a custom among the Greeks as well as the Jews not only to erect, but also to repair and adorn the monuments of those who had merited them or who had suffered an undeserved death[2]  – ADORN THE CRUCIFIED CHRIST WITH YOUR LIFE

Q: Do you adorn the doctrine of God our Savior? (i.e. make it attractive with your life?)

(3) (vs 10) Not pilfering – thieving, to embezzle.
(4) What happens here? – Paul doesn’t tell them to rebel??? No, but he does remind them now that they have salvation & their Master doesn’t…
      • they are master of their superiors future!
      • This is how lowly slaves can impact their culture!

F. (5,8,10) “That”

Each occurrence begins a clause that expresses the goal or purpose of the behavior that is encouraged.

(1) Vs 5 – (that the Word) Proper Christian behavior has a significant impact on pagan attitudes toward Christianity!
(2) Vs 8 – (That as opponents) It silences its opponents by correct Christian teaching.
(3) Vs 10 – (so that you may adorn) It attracts a lost world to Christianity.

Poor Testimony – During the Spanish conquest of Mexico under Hernando Cortez in the early 1500s, a resistance leader named Hatney was captured after a fierce battle and sentenced to be burned alive. After tying him to the stake, his captors urged him to become a Christian so that at his death his soul might be given an entrance into heaven. He asked his tormentors if they expected to go to this place. On being told that they did, he cried out, “Then I will not be a Christian, for I would not again go to a place where I would find men so cruel!” – H.V.L. Our Daily Bread, June 18

  • How we live either blasphemes the word (vs 5) or beatifies it!
  • Adorn = your life is decoration and tribute to the crucified Son of God. You can be an enticement to folks sick of the culture.

Back in 1985 a 40’, 45-ton, Humpback whale made a wrong turn during his migration along the California coast. Well-wishing friends affectionately named the humpback whale Humphrey. The wayward mammal became a national celebrity when he turned into San Francisco Bay, swam under the Golden Gate Bridge, and managed to navigate 70 miles up river. For more than 3 weeks, Humphrey defied all efforts to get him back to salt water. Finally, marine biologists tried to lure him with the recorded sounds of feeding humpbacks. It worked. Humphrey responded to the “happy humpbacks” and followed “them” back to the Pacific.

  • Everyone has the role of making God real to someone else!

II. LIVING DIFFERENTLY, IN THE POWER OF GRACE! (11-15)

A. The Grace of God not only saves us but also teaches us how to live the Christian life.

Jesus saved us not only so we’d belong to Him, but also so we would live like we belong to Him!

(1) Vs.11 & 14 show what God has done for us!
(2) Vs.12 & 13 show what we should do for God!
      • We should live for Him & look for him!
(3) The Grace appeared in Jesus so that we can bring His Grace to our friends and neighbors.

B. Why We Are Different? – (PAST!-11) – because Grace has Appeared

Rom.5:10 “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

“Only as we grasp the significance of God’s grace can we eagerly do what is pleasing to Him!”[3]

C. Our PRESENT is different (12)

Q: What reasons does Paul give on why a Christian should live differently?

  1. What he should give up
  2. How he should now live.
(1) Say NO to ungodliness!
(2) Say YES to setting God before you in everything!
  • We are surrounded by a world that doesn’t say “no” to anything!
  • In fact, this world says yes to everything

A story is told of a young girl who accepted Christ as her Savior and applied for membership in a local church. “Were you a sinner before you received the Lord Jesus into your life?” inquired an old deacon. “Yes, sir,” she replied. “Well, are you still a sinner?” “To tell you the truth, I feel I’m a greater sinner than ever.” “Then what real change have you experienced?” “I don’t quite know how to explain it,” she said, “except I used to be a sinner running AFTER sin, but now that I am saved I’m a sinner running FROM sin!”

  • „ Godlessness – Ignoring God’s authority over your life and decisions.

So what will ultimately make us holy?…not willpower, not guilt, not an inspiring message, but deep apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ.

The Puritans taught this truth w/the image of the live oak, a variety of trees whose leaves – though dead – stuck to their branches through the winter. What eventually forced the leaves from the tree was not the abuse of the cold or the beating of the wind, but the new life of springtime welling up w/in the branches & forcing out what was dead.

We are the same!

Our evil affections are replaced by Jesus Christ and all that He is. We don’t just talk about Him, we live with Him, through Him and because of Him. Just as the Ark of Testimony was not simply talked about, but was carried with you. It was at the center of the community. As the Grace of Christ works in your life it will bring Christ into your life.

D. LOOK AT OUR FUTURE! (13)

  • What begins with grace will always lead to glory!

The return of Christ for His people is more than a blessed hope…

  • „ it is a joyful hope(Rom.5:2);
  • „ it is a unifying hope(Ep.4:4);
  • „ it is a living hope(1 Pet.1:3);
  • „ it is a stabilizing hope(Heb.6:19);
  • „ it is a purifying hope(1 Jn.3:3).[4]

Glorious appearing – to appear suddenly upon the scene.

A tourist who visited an exquisite garden on a lovely estate in Italy spoke to the caretaker: “How long have you been here?” he asked. “25 years.”
“And how often has the owner been to see the estate?” “4 times.”
“When did he come last?” “12 years ago.”
“Who comes then to look after things?” “I am left pretty much alone.”
“Yet you keep the garden so beautiful and spotless that one would think you were expecting the owner tomorrow.”
“Today, sir, today! replied the caretaker.”

E. THE REDEEMED! (14,15)

The highest & purest motivation for Christian behavior is not based on what we can do for God, but upon what God has done for us…& will yet do!
(15) Again Paul tells Titus to declare these things, to exhort and rebuke.

Let no one disregard you, “think around” you, act as if what you are saying is not important.

In all your ways make Christ known, and you will never be ignored or though past.

With Jesus Christ as your life, you are not one whom people can disregard.

SAMSON

Samson made a mess of his life. He took His eyes off God and so God took his eyes. But Samson once again set God before him and impacted the culture.

Judges 16:28 Then Samson called to the LORD and said, “O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.”

They could not ignore the power within Samson through God! You must not allow people to disregard the Power of Christ living in you!


[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “prepo”.

[2]. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “kosméō.”

[3] Ibid; pg.77

[4] Warren Wiersbe; With the Word; pg. 807,808.

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Fathers Men of GodBelieve it or not, God thinks Fathers are important. God will never allow test tubes to replace Fathers. Fathers are absolutely essential in God’s overall plan of providing an inheritance for His Son. We are in a tragic Cultural War, one which relegates the Father to the role of bumbling idiot. God sees Christian Fathers as a Fighters, Infantry Soldiers in the Battle for the Inheritance for His Son, Jesus Christ.

“Wish You Were Here”

Kendall Phelps will never forget the morning when a picture popped up on his computer in his Silver Lake, Kansas, high school classroom. There stood Chris, his oldest son, in desert camouflage in front of a bombed-out building in Baghdad. He was holding a sign written on the back of a discarded MRE carton: “DAD, WISH YOU WERE HERE. SEMPER FI!” Kendall, a retired Marine, rushed across the street to the elementary school where his wife, Sherma, teaches fourth grade. She had already received the same photo via e-mail and, in a spasm of giddy relief, was printing out copies to post at the church and all over town. Chris had not been heard from since just after the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom a month earlier. Kendall’s elation that his son was all right momentarily erased his disappointment over not being in Baghdad himself. “Kendall is a Marine and a dad,” explains Sherma. “He could not stand it that he was not over there with Chris, fighting side by side, protecting his son.”

In January 2005, against all odds, Master Gunnery Sgt. Kendall Phelps, 58, and Maj. Christopher Phelps, 35, deployed to Iraq together for a seven-month tour in the newly formed 5th Civil Affairs Group based in Fallujah. Ever since the five Sullivan brothers from Waterloo, Iowa, tragically died when their cruiser was sunk in World War II, the U.S. military has been reluctant to deploy immediate family members in the same company. No one can remember a Marine father and son serving together. The mission of the 5th Civil Affairs Group is to facilitate the reconstruction of Al Anbar province, an area riddled with suicide bombers and insurgents. Chris, a team leader, is working with the Iraqi police, firefighters and contractors on rebuilding the infrastructure. His dad will use his 30 years of teaching experience to help establish new schools. They both know it won’t be easy. “It will be hot and nerve-racking and people are going to die,” says Chris. “My buddies say civil affairs is the most dangerous job in the Marine Corps right now. But I also think it’s going to be gratifying to get that grid system up and water pumping.”

“When I asked him why,” says Chris, “he said, ‘I want to make a difference. I’m a Marine.’ For me, there were no more questions. I understood. As a Marine, you feel your time is never over.”

Christian Fathers, your time is never over. We are always at war, a war that impacts Eternity. God Needs us to make a difference. God needs us to be different. God needs us to focus on Eternity, on the inheritance for His Son.

An Army brat was boasting about his father to a Marine brat:

“My dad is an engineer. He can build anything. Do you know the Alps?” “Yes,” said the Marine brat. “My dad built them.”
Then the Marine kid spoke: “And do you know the Dead Sea?” “Yes.” “My dad killed it!”

The Fathers of Israel were Fighters. They were fighting to take possession of a land they could call their own. After centuries of wandering, being enslaved, they wanted to provide their families with a permanent home, a place they could settle down and start spreading roots.

Their Fathers Made the Wrong Decision

Their fathers before them had witnessed a mighty miracle in the parting of the red sea and the destruction of Pharoah’s army. They had witnessed the victory over the Amalekites. They had seen God miraculously provide manna from heaven, water from a rock. Yet their fathers failed to give their hearts and minds to the awesom God who worked these mighty acts. In fact their fathers all perished in the wilderness, as God told them they would. They were fighters, but failed to become Mighty Men of God because of their heart belief.

FightingFathersFaceDecisionNow the sons were fathers, and these fathers too were witnessing mighty acts of the awesome God known as Jehovah. They witnessed the mighty miracle of the parting of the Jordan River. They witnessed the walls of a mighty city fall down with just the blowing of Rams horns and shouting of God’s people. They shared in the foolish defeat at Ai, and then the mighty victory over both Ai and Bethel. Joshua knew that the time was right for turning these Fighting Fathers into Mighty Men of God. Only as Mighty Men of God would the total inheritance be claimed. SO Joshua led them to the Valley of Decision at Shechem.

BY NOW THE MESSAGE WAS RINGING LOUD AND CLEAR IN THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS. THEY MUST MAKE A DECISION, A DECISION THAT WAS TO MARK THE REST OF THEIR LIVES, A DECISION THAT WAS TO MARK THE LIVES OF THEIR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN. That decision involved their HEARTS.

THEIR FATHER’S FAILED TO HAVE A HEART BELIEF IN THE TRUE GOD

FathersWrongBeliefSystemWhen it came time for their fathers to make such a decision, here is what they said:

  • Exodus 24:3 (NASB) Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the Lord has spoken we will do!”

In fact they said it again:

  • Exodus 24:7 (NASB) Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!”

But they were just mouthing words without embracing them in their hearts and lives. Look what happened a month or so later:

Exodus 32:1-6 (NKJV) Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” And Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!” So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.” Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

Instead of obeying this awesome Jehovah who had done these mighty miracles, they fashioned their own god, and blasphemed the true God by saying this golden cow had led them from Egypt. Then they made an altar to this new god, and made sacrifices and feasted before their new god. Their fathers rejected the God of Creation and worshipped a god of their own making. As a result, many died that day, but they all died in the wilderness over the next 40 years.

Hearts_farfromGodTHEIR HEARTS WERE FAR FROM GOD:

Isaiah 29:13 (NLT) And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.

JESUS SAW THE SAME IN THE PHARISEES:

Mark 7:6-7 (NLT) Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’

The Hebrews wanted a god they could see and follow, so they quickly abandoned the God of Moses for a golden calf. The God of Moses was invisible, powerful, but scary and impersonal. The Golden calf they had seen in Egypt, they could see it and admire it, it wasn’t scary, it was a lot of fun. They could be themselves around it. It wasn’t too demanding. Men are constantly fashioning gods they like, gods that fit their lifestyle. This is why Jesus came into this world, to show us that god is not found in something we make, something we do, or some place we attend. God is found in Jesus Christ.

JEWISH WORSHIP BECAME DEAD & IMPERSONAL -THE TRADITIONS OF MEN.

John 5_40 refuse to come to JesusBy the time of Christ, the Jews had made the worship of God an impersonal. Lifeless, burdensome affair. It did not require heart belief, only tedious attention to rules. Obeying tradition was enough to affirm you were a child of Abraham. Tradition alone was enough to give you the hope of God’s Blessing. So Jesus cried out on the steps of the Temple:

John 5:38-40 (ESV) and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

God desired His People to walk before Him in the Power of a Real Relationship with a Real and Living Eternal God. In order for that to happen they had to believe His Word Gives LIFE (BLESSING). Joshua had been charged by Moses to renew the people’s covenant with God as soon as they were able to in Canaan. Joshua was charged with making sure these Fighting Fathers gave their hearts over to God’s Way of Life.

HEART BELIEF SYSTEM

Heart Belief System1HeartBeliefSystem_2God realizes that our actions are influenced by our Heart beliefs. This Covenant is a foundational commitment to embrace the Sayings of God as our belief system. His expectation is presented in Deuteronomy 6:1-9. Embracing those beliefs marked the day that the Hebrews became the children of God most high.

The Day The Jews Became God’s Chosen People.

Day Jews Became Gods PeopleDeuteronomy 26:16-19 (NKJV) “This day the Lord your God commands you to observe these statutes and judgments; therefore you shall be careful to observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. Today you have proclaimed the Lord to be your God, and that you will walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments, and His judgments, and that you will obey His voice. Also today the Lord has proclaimed you to be His special people, just as He promised you, that you should keep all His commandments, and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, in praise, in name, and in honor, and that you may be a holy people to the Lord your God, just as He has spoken.”

The Basis for them being the people of God was their HEART belief in God’s Belief System, as expressed in His Law. They were to walk in His ways, obey His statutes and commands, and listen and obey His voice. If they embraced God’s Belief System, He would set them high above all nations., and make them a holy people unto Himself.

The decisions we make as to Who’s word we follow and believe in will effect our life, our future, and our families future. It will effect our eternal inheritance. If say you will obey God, but don’t build your life upon and around His Belief System, your heart will be far from God. You will perish in the wilderness. You will not enter into His Rest, His inheritance. You may even go to church, tithe, pray, but your heart is far from Him. You do your own thing through the week because you don’t have His Belief System in your heart!

THE WINNING HEART BELIEF

Winning Heart BeliefIn order to become Winners, Conqueror’s of Canaan, these Fighting Fathers must embrace the Winning Heart Belief. So Joshua led these Fighter Father’s to embrace God’s Belief System. Here is how He did it: He Took them on a 20 mile march to Mt Ebal & Mt Gerizim.

COMMANDED BY GOD & MOSES

While Moses was still with the people, before they crossed the Jordan, it had been commanded that they should meet at Ebal and Gerizim when they came into the land. (Deut. 11:29-32) It had also been commanded by Moses (Deut. 27) how great stones should be set up in Mount Ebal and plastered with plaster and on them should be written all the words of the law – the Ten Commandments (R. 662) -very plainly. These very stones or others set up near by should form an altar on which sacrifices should be offered. Six tribes had been named which should stand on either mountain, and curses had been given which the Levites should recite to the people with a loud voice. To each curse the tribes on Mount Ebal should answer, Amen; and as blessings were recited, the tribes on Mount Gerizim should say, Amen.

MT EBAL AND GERIZIM

Gerizim Ebal AmphitheaterStanding by the altar, Joshua or the Levites read the law with a loud voice, and the people answered from the mountain sides. “Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of his way,” and from the people on Mount Ebal came, “Amen.” And so with other curses. And after each blessing, came “Amen” from the people on Mount Gerizim. It was very solemn and sacred, for the people were promising the Lord that they would keep His laws in the land that He was giving them.

The place appointed for this meeting is most remarkable. Ebal on the north and Gerizim on the south stand facing each other. Shechem lies in the valley between as it slopes westward. At the highest point in the pass, east of Shechem, there is a hollow like an amphitheater in the face of each mountain. They seem made by nature for the tribes, six on either side. Joshua, with the elders, officers, and judges, stood by the ark, probably in the valley between. There he read the law, and the tribes from one side of the valley and the other responded to the blessings and the curses. You probably wonder how all those people were able to hear the words of Joshua. Wonder no more:

An article on bibleplaces.com refers to an experiment conducted in the 19th century by J.W. McGarvey, during his tour of the Holy Land . He describes how these two mountains face each other with their slopes being about one mile apart, with the Biblical city of Shechem lying between them. On the side of both mountains there is a deep semicircular recess, which form two natural amphitheatres, where voices can carry for considerable distances. For his experiment, McGarvey stood between the two mountains, in the place where the Levities and the people of Israel would have stood. He said that there would have been enough space for 600,000 Israelites and their families. One of his two companions climbed halfway up Mt. Ebal , and another climbed halfway up Mt. Gerizim . Each evidently stood within the two natural amphitheatres, where they could each represent six tribes for the blessing and the curse.

The author read the blessings and the curses, and his two companions responded with, “Amen”, as Moses had instructed. The companion on Mt. Gerizim could hear the author clearly, and his response could also be heard clearly. The companion on Mt. Ebal could hear the voice of the author, but had difficulty distinguishing the words because of trees and terracing on the mountainside, which affected the acoustics. McGarvey suggested that if Joshua had a loud voice, he could have easily been heard by the whole the whole people of Israel , even without the Levites repeating his words.

This experiment shows that God chose the best place in the land to conduct this ceremony of renewal of the covenant, so all the congregation of Israel could hear the words of the Law clearly, and agree to them. The natural amphitheatres do not work so effectively today because of recent building development, but still show clearly in photographs and aerial mapping.

blessingorcurse1Imagine the scene as over two million people responded to Joshua:

‘Cursed is the one who makes a carved or molded image, an abomination to the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’
And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen!’ ‘
Cursed is the one who treats his father or his mother with contempt.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
‘Cursed is the one who moves his neighbor’s landmark.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
‘Cursed is the one who makes the blind to wander off the road.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
‘Cursed is the one who perverts the justice due the stranger, the fatherless, and widow.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
‘Cursed is the one who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s bed.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
‘Cursed is the one who lies with any kind of animal.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
‘Cursed is the one who lies with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
‘Cursed is the one who lies with his mother-in-law.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
‘Cursed is the one who attacks his neighbor secretly.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
‘Cursed is the one who takes a bribe to slay an innocent person.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
‘Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’

joshua altarAccording to Deuteronomy 27-28, the altar was built on the mountain of cursing, Mount Ebal.  We need the covering sacrifice exactly at the point where our sin and failures are revealed and God’s curse is pronounced on our sin.

LIFE OR DEATH

There is a Principle that rings throughout the Bible, and we see it come to the forefront when Joshua leds these Fighting Fathers to renew their covenant with God. There is no middle ground with God, there is only Life or Death. And as far as God is concerned, you are either dead in sin, or dead to sin, but alive to God. There can be no life without death. You must die to sin and what you want, and Live to what God wants. It’s either God’s belief system or your whatever belief system you make up on your own. You chose what you want to have upon your life. On this day they were acknowledging the Power of God and His Word, His Belief System. They were embracing His Word for their lives, to be their belief system for life.

  • They were professing their death to the way of the world, the way of the flesh, and confessing that they were alive to the Life of God.
  • They were acknowledging the Rewards that come from Living unto God!
  • They were also acknowledging the  Penalties that come from turning you back on God’s Belief System.
  • That Word and how they obey it will determine either blessing or cursing upon their life, their children’s lives.

What Turns a Father into a Man of God?

What Makes a Father a Man of GodGod wants Fathers who will be Men of God, Men whose Hearts are firmly planted in God’s Word. Joshua’s actions revealed why God chose him to lead these Fighting Men to become Mighty Men of God. From his actions in JOSHUA 8:30-35, we see what makes a Father a Man of God.

Men of God Incorruptible1 Corinthians 9:25 (KJV) And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

Men of God are Sound2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (Self control, disciplined)

Titus 2:1-2 (NKJV) But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience;

2 Timothy 1:13 (NKJV) Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

Men of God are CompleteJames 1:4 (ESV) And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Revelation 3:2 (ESV) Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.

Men of God are SacrificialOur Eternal Father loved us so much that he gave the ultimate sacrifice-His Son.

Ephesians 5:1-2 (NKJV) Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

1 Peter 2:5 (NKJV) you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

RENEW YOUR COMMITMENT

Fathers Renew You Commitment to GodFathers, every so often we need to renew our commitment to having God’s Belief System in our heart. We need to check out our heart to see who and what we love. We need to examine it for false god beliefs, selfish loves. DO WE LOVE OUR GOD? We need to see if we are still standing firm in one spirit with Jesus Christ, with one mind locked sude by side for the faith of the gospel of our Savior.

Lance Corporal Jeffry Nashton – Terrorist Attack 1983

WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 2008 – Twenty-five years ago, Marine Lance Cpl. Jeffrey Nashton lay broken, burned and blind in a military hospital bed in Germany, the victim of a brutal terrorist attack that nearly killed him.

(a terrorist slammed a truck loaded with explosives into a Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, Oct. 23, 1983.)

Faithful Fathers Godly MenGeneral PXKELLEYGeneral P.X. Kelley, Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC), went to the hospital in Wiesbaden, Germany to visit wounded Marines. One Marine, LCpl Jeffrey Nashton, USMC, was wired up for sound, covered by tubes, unable to speak, fighting to stay alive. The general came to pin on the Purple Heart. Nashton could not see or speak, and could barely hear. General Kelley knelt beside his bed, and Nashton reached out with his hand and rubbed over the general’s stars. Counting four, he managed a grin. He motioned for something with which to write. He received a pen and paper, and wrote, “Semper Fi,” and gave it to General Kelly. The general is reported to have wept.

Kelley would later send the four gold stars Nashton touched to Nashton along with a special commendation. You might recall I mentioned LCpl John L’Heureaux earlier who was working as a forward observer on the roof when it crashed down. He was in the bed next to Nashton when General Kelley came. Mike Toma, whom we mentioned earlier as one of the first to be rescued, was under the debris next to Nashton. A mutual friend, LCpl. Bill Sanpedro was dug out and flown to Germany, but died on the way.

lebanon PostAttackHNashton suffered a fractured skull, shattered cheekbone, eyebrow and right eye orbit, crushed arms, a broken left leg, bruised right leg, two collapsed lungs, burns on his arms and back, and internal bleeding, not to mention the psychological impacts. Incredibly he survived and returned to active duty in January 1984, just two months later.

The two Marines, now both retired, met again yesterday, this time on a grassy knoll under a clear, blue fall morning sky at Arlington National Cemetery’s section 59. The section is dotted with the white headstones of those who died in the terrorist attack.

Nashton, Kelley, and about 100 friends and family members, along with a handful of survivors, gathered at the cemetery for the White House Commission on Remembrance’s 25th annual tribute to the 241 Americans, mostly Marines, who died that day. The attack was part of a coordinated attack in which another suicide bomber crashed into a French military compound at the same time. Fifty-eight French soldiers died.

Faithful Men 2 Timothy2Nashton was one of three Marines in his unit to survive the attack that morning. His unit was part of the 1,800 Marines serving in Lebanon as part of a multinational peacekeeping mission.

Kelley, who traveled to Beirut in the aftermath of the bombing, said he later took off the four stars that Nashton touched that day. He had them mounted in a shadow box inscribed with the Marine Corps motto, and he presented them to Nashton as he recovered at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

“In my heart of hearts he deserved those four stars more than I did,” Kelley said.

SEMPER FIDELIS-ALWAYS FAITHFUL.  These words come from a heart belief, a belief that does not change regardless of the circumstance. Just as Chris said:

“When I asked him why,” says Chris, “he said, ‘I want to make a difference. I’m a Marine.’ For me, there were no more questions. I understood. As a Marine, you feel your time is never over.”

So too, Christian Fathers who have become Men of God because of their HEART BELIEF will be ALWAYS FAITHFUL. Their time is never over. Once you give your heart to God, there is no turning back. The battle for God’s inheritance will ever be before you.

SemperFiCling_largeMighty Fathers of God need to adopt the motto of Semper Fi. We need to be ALWAYS FAITHFUL to Jehovah God, and to His Son Jesus Christ. Semper Fi.