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Deliver Me From Evil

Deliver Me From Evil
Revelation 16:5-7, 15

Introduction to the Scripture:
Against the insensate fury of Imperial Rome a little band of outcasts took their stand. With no weapon but the gospel and no strength but the Lord’s, they joined the battle with steadfast determination. They were ostracized, stripped of their goods and starved. They were fed to wild beasts, nailed to crosses and burned at the stake. When the smoke of the battle had cleared away, Rome was gone, but the church of God will stand for ever (Charles Coil “The Challenge of Seeking the Lost at Home” Harding College Bible Lectures: 1961).
Evil will run its course. Righteousness will reward the faithful. As the wicked oppression of Rome falls, Christians rejoice that their service to the cause has finally been vindicated.

Discussion of the Scripture:
Evil is a marvel not to behold. Rome is a blinding example of Godless morality and Godless Religion. John wrote, “When I saw her I marveled greatly. But the angel said to me, ‘Why do you marvel?'” The mystery of the woman and the beast is that the Godless religion and Godless morality “was, and is not, and isa bout to rise from the bottomless pit, and go to destruction. And the earth dwellers whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was, and is not, and is to come” (Rev. 17:7-8).
These evil instruments of the devil “are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of Lords and King of Kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful” (Revelation 17:13-14).
We are reminded again to “love not the world neither the things of the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abideth forever” (1 John 2:15-17). Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, “But if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” James 4:4 says, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

The path of the wicked reaches its destination.
Decisions lead to actions and actions lead to consequences. Rome chose a Godless morality and a Godless religion and in the end an angel having great authority came down out of heaven and called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!” (Revelation 18:1).
The wicked have fallen because they glorified themselves in luxury, sin, and oppression. A voice from heaven said, “As he glorified herself and lied in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning….For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her” (Revelation 18:7-8).
This is no place for the righteous. God calls out “come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven and God has remembered her iniquities” (Revelation 18:4-5). The Bible says, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God” (John 3:19-21).

Live to rejoice when God makes things right.
After the oppressor had fallen, John wrote:, “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….Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him small and great” (Revelation 19:1-5).
Jeremiah uttered as similar refrain when he prophesied that the Babylonian oppressors would eventually be removed by God. Jeremiah recorded God’s promise: “Behold I stir up the spirit of a destroyer against Babylon…and I will send to Babylon winnowers, and they shall winnow her,….For Israel and Judah have not been forsaken by their God, the Lord of hosts, but the land of the Chaldeans is full of guilt against the Holy One of Israel” (Jeremiah 51:1-5).
Likewise, after God led the Israelites through the parted waters of the Red Sea, Moses was able to sing a new song. Moses said, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name” (Exodus 15:1-3) The vindication of God’s people is a demonstration of his covenant loyalty and steadfast love. Moses’ closing verse says: “Till you people, I Lord, pass by, till the people pass by whom you have purchased. You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain, the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode, the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established. The Lord will reign forever and ever” (Exodus 15:16-18).

Invitation from the Scripture:
When God rewards the wicked for their wickedness and the righteous for their righteousness, will you be terrified or rejoicing? Jesus said, “Watch therefore: for ye know not on what day your Lord cometh. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what watch the thief was coming, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken through. Therefore be ye also ready; for in an hour that ye think not the Son of Man cometh. Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath set over his household, to give them their food in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, that he will set him over all that he hath. But if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord tarrieth; and shall begin to beat his fellowservants, and shall eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he expecteth not, and in an hour when he knoweth not, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be the weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:42-51).

Jesus the Marriage Therapist–Matthew 19

JESUS THE MARRIAGE THERAPIST
MATTHEW 19:1-15

INTRODUCTION TO THE SCRIPTURE:

Marriage, marriage is what brings us together today. As the subject of marriage is brought before Jesus, it is interesting to note that “large crowds followed him, and he healed them.” Jesus offers healing for our marriages. Lets see what he has to say.

DISCUSSION OF THE SCRIPTURE:

THE STRENGTH OF MARRIAGE
The Pharisees, trying to trap Jesus, ask, “is it lawful to divorce your wife for just any reason?” Jesus responds by reminding us all just how strong the marriage bond is designed to be.

Marriage is built in to our design at creation–19:4

Marriage is built to make a new family–19:5
J.W. McGarvey said, “The relation to father and mother can be dissolved only by death, yet the marriage relation is more intimate than that, and its obligations are more binding.”

Marriage is built to make 1 flesh out of two–19:6
We have seen the difficulty of separating conjoined twins. This procedure is even more difficult when these twins share vital organs. The separation of a married couple should be no less difficult seeing they are joined by God at the heart.

Marriage is built by God himself–19:6
Hebrews 13:4, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”

THE ENEMY OF MARRIAGE
Divorce is a common problem in our age and it was in the 1st century as well. If marriage is so strong, the Pharisees asked, “why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” Jesus says that there are some things that will be enemies to your marriage, and we must guard ourselves against them.

Public enemy number 1–“the hardness of your heart”
1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” 1 Corinthians 13:13, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three: but the greatest of these is love.”
“The withholding of love is the negation of the spirit of Christ” (Batsel Barrette Baxter “The Analysis of Love”). We are to have the personality of Christ. The Bible says, “For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).

Public enemy number 2–“sexual immorality”
Trust is the avenue to love

The song to preserve your marriage.
“Have Thine Own Way Lord, Have Thine Own Way”

THE CHALLENGE OF MARRIAGE
Jesus agrees that his law for marriage is a difficult one to carry out. But he challenges us to meet the test. Jesus says that marriage is only for those who are willing to live up to these standards.
It is a challenge to do greater, not permission to do worse.

Not everyone can receive this saying–marriage isn’t for everyone.
Some refrain from marriage for physical reasons, social reasons, and spiritual reasons.
Some choose to take the path of marriage.

INVITATION TO THE SCRIPTURE
There are no coincidences in the way the Scriptures are arranged. Matthew began this discussion on marriage with Jesus healing (from the word for “therapy”) the crowds. After the discussion on marriage we see Jesus say, “Let the little children come to me and od not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:14).
We need Jesus marriage therapy. We need to run to him as little children would run to their parents. We also need to consider our children as we maintain our marriage

QUALITY TIME

WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
How do you spend your time? What controls your day? Write down everything that you do on a regular basis on an average day. You probably spend 8 hours a day working, around an hour driving; at least an hour eating; watchig t.v (?); 6-8 hours sleeping; and all the other things that make up our days.

Now make a list of things that are important in your life. I imagine that the list will look something like this: 1) God, 2) Family, and 3) Health. How much time do you devote to these things? Did they really even make your list? Why are the important things in our life receiving no scheduled time?

WHAT SHOULD WE BE DOING?
Jesus said, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6.33). Martha and Mary illustrate this principle perfectly. In Luke 10.38-42 Jesus entered a village and was a guest in the home of a woman named Martha. Martha’s sister was Mary. Mary was hard at work taking care of the guests while Martha “listened to his teaching” (10.39). Mary couldn’t listen to Jesus because “she was distracted with much serving” (10.40).

Mary thought Martha should stop listening to Jesus and help serve, but Jesus saw things differently. Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (10.41-42).

Jesus also said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven…for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6.19-21).

WHAT WILL YOU DO
What can we do if our daily routine doesn’t reflect what is important to us? First we must examine our heart to make sure that the things we say are important really are important to us. Then we must reschedule our lives to accommodate our true priorities. That will take some time and it will be difficult. If we are going to put God first, our daily routine must reflect that decision.

Gospel Meetings, VBS, regular worship opportunities, and Christian service will begin to dominate our schedules when we make God’s priorities our priorities. Work, t.v., sleep, and monotony will dominate our schedules if we allow the world to become our true god.

Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God and All These Things Shall be Added unto You

SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Proverbs 3

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness. And all these things shall be added unto you.” The great blessings of seeking and knowing God are displayed in very practical terms in this 3rd chapter of Proverbs. The study of truth leading to wisdom is commended to all. This pursuit of God is commended to the reader in light of the destinies of the wicked and the just.

Wisdom is Rooted in Sound Teaching
Proverbs 3.1-4
The wise Solomon longs to direct his reader to the wisdom he has gained through God’s blessing, God’s Word, and God’s providential care. This wisdom is found in the commandment which Solomon is teaching. The commandments of Solomon carry authority because they are from God (Titus 2.15).
The teaching is seen to be Heavenly by its benefits. Submitting to God’s path leads to a long life (symbolic physical blessing describing the true spiritual blessing), and peace (peace with both God and man).

Wisdom Rests in Trusting God
Proverbs 3.5-6
Heavenly submission leads to the Heavenly destination. This key verse of the chapter admonishes the reader to trust in the Lord and to put the Lord first in every decision. Yielding to God’s will in precept and principle will keep us in the safe way of wise Christian living.

Wisdom Rewards Those Who Trust in God
Proverbs 3.7-10
Investing ourselves in Heavenly treasures results in physical folly. The wisdom of the world is often foolish in the eyes of God. We are fool’s (in the purely physical mindset) for Christ’s sake–1 Corinthians 4.10. 1 Corinthians 1.26-31 presents God as using true spiritual wisdom to make the world’s wisdom known as true foolishness. However, those who are wise in the world’s wisdom will scoff at spiritual wisdom.
Entrusting ourselves to God demands yielding our possessions to God’s service (Prov. 3.9-10). Our trust in God is demonstrated by our willingness to worship Him through giving, our eagerness to further His Kingdom financially, and our desire to serve Him by serving others.

Wisdom Reproves in order that Submission Can be Perfected
Proverbs 3.11-26
God helps us to be more like Him through discipline. This verse is cited again in Hebrews 12.5. It is also alluded to in Job 5.17 and in Revelation 3.19. This is a very powerful principle that helps us understand the appropriate response to God’s actions and Words so that we can grow in faithfulness. God disciplines us so that it may “yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12.11). Peter said, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1.6-7).
Wisdom may be costly, but wisdom is the only true foundation for life (3.19-26). Although no discipline seems pleasant at the moment, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Proverbs 3.19-26 reveals that perfect peace which God supplies to those who yield to spiritual wisdom.

Wisdom Rescues her Neighbors
Proverbs 3.27-35
As we strive to walk in wisdom, we must do unto others as Christ would do to them. “We have beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1.14). When Jesus, the embodiment of wisdom walked the earth, the hurting were healed and the outcasts were brought in. The wise are helpers.

We might start a new verse to the old song “Trust and Obey”: Trust and obey, for there is no other way, to be happy in life, but to trust and obey.

Reasons Why We Grow

3 REASONS WE GROW

V.P. Black listed three reasons the church has grown rapidly: 1) they stood for something; 2) they knew what they stood for; and 3) they had the courage to carry out their convictions. The Bible says, “Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1.17). It is our duty to be missional (to carry out the mission of God)–Matthew 28.19-20. In order to carry out His mission, we must stand on God’s Word and stand up for God’s Word.
We must stand for something. The Bible tells us that Peter and John were “commanded not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.” However, “Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4.18-19). Our society of political correctness cannot dictate the message of God and the practice of God’s laws. We should know we will encounter persecution if we stand for God. If we have not encountered any persecution, perhaps it is because we are not standing tall enough.
We must know what for what we are to stand. We are not to stand for the doctrine of any church, the practice of any family, or the thoughts of the intellectuals. We are to stand for the truth of Christ. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (John 8.32). Only the truth of Christ can do that.
We must also have the courage to carry out our convictions. Paul had the courage to fulfill the mission God gave. When he was saying goodbye to the Ephesian elders for the final time the Bible records that: “He kneeled down and prayed with them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him. Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more” (Acts 20.36-38). We must be willing to leave friends, family, position, and safety when we are presented with an opportunity for God which demands sacrifice.

Consider God’s Word and practice God’s Word. People need the Gospel. People need Jesus. People need to be saved from their sin. We need to help. We need to carry the Gospel to every person. We need to bring every person to the Gospel. “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith” (Romans 1.16-17).

Studying the Scriptures

STUDYING THE SCRIPTURES

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the door posts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6.6-9.

The study of God’s Word must be at the forefront of our lives. Ignorance of God’s will is no excuse for setting it aside–Romans 1.18-23. If we are to live for God, we must know how. If we are to avoid the snares, traps, and destruction of worldly living, then we must devote ourselves to the learning of spiritual truths–2 Timothy 3.14-4.2. Deuteronomy 6.6-9 gives us some principles for Bible study that will enrich, direct, and safeguard our lives.
First we see that the commandments are to be in our heart. To have these words in our hearts means that we have spent a significant time with the words. We have studied the words. We have meditated on the significance of the words. We have memorized the words. We have sought the application of the words to our lives in this world. This requires time and effort. Thinking is a difficult business. It is the time and energy consuming study of Scripture that leads to the effect in our hearts. Without the knowledge of the word, we can have no true love for the one who is described as the Word–John 1.1-14. Christianity involves both our head and our heart.
Secondly, as we study the Scriptures, we will want to teach the Scriptures. There is no excuse for hiding the priceless treasures of God within our own hearts. The value of God’s word only increases as we share it with others. When we have studied the Scriptures, then we will see how profitable it is and demand our children be familiar with and love these words as well. Our children will love the words and know the words if we know and love the words first. We will be the model for their Bible study and for their life.
Finally, we see that the study of God’s Word is to be a common theme of our lives. Discussing God’s Word is no rare occurrence. Rather, the Word of God is the theme of our conversation as we are sitting, walking, going to bed, and getting out of bed. Not only is God’s Word dominating our thoughts, but our homes are adorned with it. We do not necessarily need to plaster the walls with Scripture, but we are expected to have our personal life and home life decorated with God’s Word.

“Give me the Bible all my steps enlighten, teach me the danger of these realms below; That lamp of safety o’er the gloom shall brighten, that light alone the path of peace can show. Give me the Bible holy message shining, Thy light shall guide me in the narrow way; precept and promise, law and love combining, till night shall vanish in eternal day.”

Suffering, Sin, and Salvation

LUKE 13.1-9

Why do bad things happen? We should also ask “why do good things happen?” The problem of suffering demands that we prove God is righteous in this world as we know it.
First, we must understand that the world as we know is not the world as God wants it. When God created a home for mankind, it was described as “very good”, a “garden”, and in that home for man there was everything mankind needed to thrive and nothing that would cause mankind to suffer–except his own choices.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they chose to leave that Garden. They chose to leave God’s perfect world and to enter into the world which was infected by sin. God said that because of sin, “Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3.17-19). Paul expounded on this idea saying, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8.20-21).
We have all been born into the world that is infected with sin. Being in this world we bear many of the consequences of Adam’s sin. We will never know what that Garden home was like. We will never know what it was like to hear God walking in the cool of the morning. We will never know what it was like to be outside the curse of sin. We only look forward to the hope of glory that will supersede the Garden home.
Therefore, we will all suffer. God knows we suffer, and God has acted on behalf of our suffering. He sent Jesus to share in our sufferings (Heb. 2.18, 4.15). Not only did Jesus share our experience of suffering, but he has defeated the cause of suffering–sin and the champion of suffering–death. “For God has done what the law, weakened by flesh, could not do. By sending his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8.3-4).
While we try to understand the great victory over sin, we still cannot help but to wonder why God allows suffering to persist. Jesus addresses the problem of suffering in this world and gives us a very practical application in Luke 13.1-9. In this Jesus shows us that suffering is actually beneficial to our eternal life.

Suffering comes by the free will of others–Luke 13.1-3
Suffering sometimes occurs because of free-will decisions. Some of those present with Christ give a report of some Galileans who had been executed by Pilate. Pilate also mixed their blood with the blood of their sacrifices. We do not know much more about this historical event, but we understand that in some way these individuals had chosen to rebel against Pilate and Pilate had chosen to punish them in the grotesque way.
Suffering came about because of the decisions of two groups–the people and the governor. God is not to blame here. He allows people to make decisions. If we were to intervene in this decisions on every occasion, that would negate free will. What’s so good about free will? Without free will we can never have the best relationship with God that God wants. Jesus came so that “all who believe on him can have the right to become the children of God” (John 1.12). Faith gives us the right to be God’s children. Faith does not force us to become children. God does not force us to become children either. God gives us the opportunity to become children through faith. Free will makes John 3.16 the Golden Text of the Bible. “For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Without the presence of free-will, John 3.16 is a rather dull declaration of God’s predetermined will. God must allow us to choose our fate by allowing us to choose our actions.
Jesus looks to this terrible event and reminds the people that those Galileans were no worse spiritually than anyone else. They had not suffered because they were particularly sinful. In their suffering we do see God cry out in warning that there will be a time of unexpected judgment for which we must all be prepared.

Suffering comes by accidents–Luke 13.4-5
Jesus himself introduces another question which is more difficult to answer. The Galileans suffered because of their own decisions, but “the 18 on whom fell the tower in Siloam and killed them” were seemingly innocent. This highlights the fact that suffering doesn’t come simply by our own choices but by the conditions of the world in which we live.
See the immediate link Jesus brings up–“Do you think that they were guilty above all the people living in Jerusalem? No, I say to you, but except you repent you all will also be destroyed” (Lk. 13.5). They suffered, not because of the immediate result of their own decisions, but because they lived in a world infected with sin. We live “in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8.21).
While academic, philosophical, or theological defenses of God allowing suffering to exist may help us emotionally, we recognize that academic answers mean little to those who are in the midst suffering. The ultimate answer to suffering is not in reason. The ultimate answer to suffering is found in the unreasonable suffering of our perfect Savior so that we can be saved from this condemned world.

Suffering comes by refusing to repent–Luke 13.6-9
Jesus unmistakably linked suffering with sin. Now he shows us one reason God allows us to suffer. He allows us to suffer to point us to move to a place of comfort. The parable begins with a certain man who had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. He said to the gardener, Behold three years I came seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground? But he answered and said to him, lord let it alone (afes) this year also. I will dig around it and put manure on it. The mediator asks for more time. Here is beautiful description of grace.
However, judgment must surely come. Even though the owner permits another year of mercy for the plant to prove itself fruitful, the time for judgment must come (Heb. 9.27). Even though Christ gives us opportunity to submit to God and serve God, we must still fulfill our responsibility. Will we bear fruit for God? Will we be found as we should when Christ returns again?