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Weekly sermons from the Raleigh congregation of the United Church of God.

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The Fruit With No Name
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fdw-A90FZ7c" width="480"></iframe><br /><br /><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God's spirit adds something to your life called Prautes. That's the word in the original language... Greek. Attempts to translate Prautes into the English language is a challenge. There is no good word in our language to convey the meaning of Prautes.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Vine's Expository Dictionary</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;defines of prautes as: an attitude toward God [state of mind], submitting one's self to God, not resisting God, confident in God's presence, authority, and power. Prautes gives calmness of spirit from mental focus which is not on self, or prioritizing personal desires.... Prautes seeks and wants what the Creator of life desires. Prautes is is confidence that God is in charge, and acceptance that God is in charge.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">A Greek writer, s such as Aristotle would use the word to describe a person who would only express anger, frustration [negative emotions] when transcendent moral principles were at stake rather than because of the petty annoyances of life. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The more I looked into prautes… the more I wanted it as part of my thinking. I hope you will too.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">English Translations</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">English words you could use to try to convey the meaning of Prautes might include: gentleness, acceptance, submission, humility, calm [show diagram]. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">None of these words conveys the full sense of the word. This is why I have been calling it "the fruit with no name". In Galatians 5:22 you will probably see it translated: gentleness. &nbsp;Depending on the context gentleness is often used to translate Prautes. In other verses you may see it translated as: meekness.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">In modern English usage, meekness has unfortunately come to take on the sense of weakness. A person &nbsp;who does not react or respond to insult, injury, or unfairness is not seen as doing so out of &nbsp;strength of character, but rather because they are powerless to do anything about it... weak willed, physically weak, or socially weak. So the English word "meek [meekness]" is not always helpful when discussing </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">prautes</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">... but as you will see when we begin looking at some relevant scriptures we are stuck with the word… meek. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Putting Attitude Into Action</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Like the other "fruits" we have looked at we begin with an attitude of mind... which then translates into action... usually involving how we treat others. Prautes is mental control and outlook which regulates how we handle life’s circumstances, and people we encounter. The mindset of meekness means we are no longer focused on always getting our own way, we &nbsp;focus on a bigger and better picture... God's way. This meekness &nbsp;then expresses itself in gentleness towards others rather than harshness, mild responses rather than extreme, calmness rather than nervous or edgy anger.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Prautes [the attitude of meekness/and the action of gentleness] lets you more calmly deal with life’s storms. Because you know God is on His throne... and you are not. You understand He has an order, process and purpose for human life in the universe and you accept that</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Question: </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">is prautes a form of apathy? Are we looking to numb our senses, feelings, and emotions as a way to heroically or tragically accept our fate?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Answer:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;No, we will see that prautes does not </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">deaden </span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">our response to life’s ups and downs… it </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">channels </span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">them to good outcomes.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">God is Gentle</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Not because He &nbsp;is weak but because gentleness is an expression of respect for life. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Human beings can be truly awful, horrible, hateful, angry and selfish. If God were not gentle we all would long ago have been destroyed, and God would be perfectly justified in doing so. But our Father Creator is the author of life not death, and gentleness is part of the mindset of life.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God plans to place you who are Christ's at His return, in positions of authority [kings, priests, judges]. In God’s way of thinking &nbsp;you cannot be focused on getting your own way... you are going to have to work humbly and cooperatively with God and others to achieve life affirming goals rather than whatever passion moves you at the moment . All that power requires a gentle spirit.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Submit yourself to the authority of Christ and the Father. Cultivate a respect for authority today so that you have proper respect for whatever authority you are given at Christ’s return. In this way you learn to respect the authority that you will be given… exercising meekness and gentleness towards those you will be responsible for. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Understanding Prautes Through Biblical Context</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Galatians 5:26 - 6:1</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the &nbsp;listing of attitudes and actions of the spirit is initially addressed to a congregation going through some doctrinal and personal disputes. In verse </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">14-15</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Paul warns them about using their new-found knowledge to bite and devour one another. Then he lists the fruits of the flesh and of the spirit… and in verse 26 we learn something about gentleness. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Conceit, envy, provoking are cited as the opposite of gentleness [prautes]. T be gentle we have to turn it around and consider what is good for the other person.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Furthermore; this gentleness is exercised for the purpose of restoring another person to right relationship with God, with yourself, with the congregation. Wanting [and acting towards] what God wants. What is in the best interests of that person in the context of God’s purpose for life.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Human nature says, let's just kick that person out. Take no prisoners. We'll be better of without them. But, if God's purpose was kicking everyone out who had a problem... you'd be gone, I'd be gone, there would be no Church of God, there would be no resurrection, there would be no future for life.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">1 Peter 3:8-12 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God's word asks us to show compassion, brotherly love, let down our emotional walls, and treat each other with friendliness and courtesy. We are presented with multiple positive emotional components and multiple positive action components. Watch your words... seek peace with others... prayer... doing of good.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We can better channel these positive emotions when we are not obsessed about ourselves, how will this affect me, how will others see me etc.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Verse 13-15 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">don’t worry,</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">have confidence in God. Don't let wicked people scare you with threats, negativity, insults. Be filled with quiet confidence that Christ is in charge... no trial comes upon you without His knowledge or His OK. If you are suffering... He knows. If He does not rescue you from your trial... there is a purpose. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Satan will ask you "how can you believe in a God who lets you suffer?... how can you trust in a God who won't say yes to your requests?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">You are able to provide and answer to doubters, mockers, antagonists ... having Prautes in your soul and respect for the other person… the mocker, the boss who harasses you, the government that oppresses. You are not concerned with winning the argument, being seen as right… focus on imparting truth.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Verse 17</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;I am willing to suffer for what is right. Because God's purpose is more important than my personal needs. I know what He is doing in my life and Why. I am willing to humbly submit myself to His will because I know where it is headed</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">To get this peace of mind you must submit yourself to God’s word… and to submit to it you have to know it.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">James 1:21</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;focus your mind on cleaning up your own life and receive His instruction for your life with meekness. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Meaning… receive it, submit yourself to it, let it give you calmness of mind. Let it fill you with the answers to the big questions: what am I, why am I alive, who is God, what is He up to.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Warning: if you are not "in" God's word how can you be receptive to it. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">James 1:19-20</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;to provide people with an answer means you have to listen to the question... quickly responding with harshness is ungodly. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Inset</span></i></b><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">: this type of gentleness will be viewed by many as weakness, exposing a fear of confrontation. But this gentleness is really strength. My human nature might want to lash out and argue, insult and demean others in the name of truth and prove I am right. Such tactics might appeal to my human nature but does not fulfill God’s purpose.</span></i><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Christ described Himself as meek/gentle [prautes]. It was not because He was weak... He had to authority to rain down lightning bolts and unleash armies of angels to destroy every enemy...but He did not. He said of Himself... I didn't come to judge and condemn people but to rescue them from a way of life that leads to death. </span></i><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Only when every opportunity for repentance and change has been offered does Christ punish or destroy.</span></i><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">A godly person is not harsh with others. Rather they are able to see every person as valuable... which is how&nbsp;</span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God sees them. God has respect for all.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">James 3:13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">meekness of wisdom</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Submit yourself to wisdom. Calm your soul with wisdom</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Wisdom is different from knowledge, or information. You might have the right information about life after death, the proper sequence of the resurrections, knowledge of the commandments, the holy days, the plan of God... knowledge can lead to wisdom… but wisdom is allowing that knowledge to change how you live. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">James 3:14-18 we are told there are 2 competing types of wisdom: </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><table border="1" cellspacing="0" class="MsoNormalTable" style="border-collapse: collapse; border: none; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid rgb(0,0,0); mso-border-insideh: 0.5000pt solid rgb(0,0,0); mso-border-insidev: 0.5000pt solid rgb(0,0,0); mso-border-left-alt: 0.5000pt solid rgb(0,0,0); mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid rgb(0,0,0); mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid rgb(0,0,0); mso-padding-alt: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; mso-table-layout-alt: fixed; width: 478.8000pt;"><tbody><tr style="height: 19.6500pt;"><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-left: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-left-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 218.3500pt;" valign="top" width="291"><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Wisdom From Above </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></td><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-left: none; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-left-alt: none; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 27.8500pt;" valign="top" width="37"><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">VS.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></td><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-left: none; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-left-alt: none; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 232.6000pt;" valign="top" width="310"><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Wisdom From The Physical</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></td></tr><tr style="height: 15.4000pt;"><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-left: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: none; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-left-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 218.3500pt;" valign="top" width="291"><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Pure, Peaceable, Gentle, Open to Reason (willing to learn), full of mercy, fair, sincere</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></td><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-left: none; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: none; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-left-alt: none; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 27.8500pt;" valign="top" width="37"><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">VS.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></td><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-left: none; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: none; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-left-alt: none; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 232.6000pt;" valign="top" width="310"><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Bitter Jealousy, self ambition, over-rides truth (false to truth)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></td></tr><tr style="height: 18.8000pt;"><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-left: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: none; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-left-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 218.3500pt;" valign="top" width="291"><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Results</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></td><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-left: none; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: none; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-left-alt: none; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 27.8500pt;" valign="top" width="37"><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div></td><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-left: none; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: none; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-left-alt: none; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 232.6000pt;" valign="top" width="310"><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Results</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></td></tr><tr style="height: 18.8000pt;"><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid rgb(0,0,0); border-left: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: none; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid rgb(0,0,0); mso-border-left-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 218.3500pt;" valign="top" width="291"><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Righteousness &amp; peace</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></td><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid rgb(0,0,0); border-left: none; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: none; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid rgb(0,0,0); mso-border-left-alt: none; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 27.8500pt;" valign="top" width="37"><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div></td><td style="border-bottom: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-left: none; border-right: 1.0000pt solid windowtext; border-top: none; mso-border-bottom-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-left-alt: none; mso-border-right-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; mso-border-top-alt: 0.5000pt solid windowtext; padding: 0.0000pt 5.4000pt 0.0000pt 5.4000pt; width: 232.6000pt;" valign="top" width="310"><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Disorder, confusion, vile practices</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></td></tr></tbody></table><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">A life spent seeking fulfillment of your heart</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">s desires has a semblance of wisdom. It appears practical to our human nature... Achieving personal satisfaction and happiness through fulfillment of desire seems the logical conclusion to the question "how shall I live my life"… for many the answer is "to please myself".</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Earthly wisdom is inferior because its short term thinking . Physical life is short [about 75 years] You have no life beyond that. Knowledge that you do not possess an immortal soul, that you rely on resurrection can help you act wisely in this life. Wisdom from above is superior because it focuses on long term [lasting] goals; eternal life, seeking the mind of God what is good for the other person.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Earthly wisdom is also characterized as demonic. It is a way of thinking actively promoted by your adversary. The one who hates you and &nbsp;wants to see you follow every dead end path… to divert you from the power of everlasting life. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The future God is working toward is filled with righteousness and peace… earthly wisdom produces discord and strife. If I live to satisfy my desires… and you live to satisfy your desires… what happens when me getting what I desire interferes with you getting what you desire? Strife… conflict.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">That is why earthly wisdom is a failure waiting to happen. Submit yourself to the meekness of wisdom… and the wisdom of humility.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Conclusion</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 11:25-30</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Submit yourself to God's burden... Get into His work of transforming your mind... the task is light in comparison to the burden of futility. Do you want calmness and rest? Jesus Christ says &nbsp;"I can give it to you". You don't have to do it all yourself. I am strong, and I can help. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Accept me with meekness, humility, submission, calmness, and confidence.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/NG7-dfmbatI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Kindness - God's Grace and Mercy in Action
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/oIh6jpf1fnw" width="480"></iframe><br /><div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Kindness: </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Mercy &amp; Grace in Action</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The English word kindness is listed in Galatians 5:22 as one of the attitudes or actions the spirit of God produces in believers. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">What does kindness mean? You might say "its hard to be too specific, but, I know kindness when I see it". Acts of kindness might include courtesy, encouragement, generosity, &nbsp;devotion of money or time… for example: offering someone who is stranded a ride home in your car.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">But isn't it possible for an action to appear kind but be nothing of the sort. A well dressed man might offer someone a ride home... if that someone is a little old lady you might say </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">that's kind</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. But if that someone &nbsp;is a &nbsp;young woman wearing hotpants and a halter top... </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">kind</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;might not be the word you would choose.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">So what we consider kind is conditional. It depends on the circumstances. What are those conditions and circumstances? What is the biblical model for kindness?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Today we are going to explore what the kindness produced by God's spirit looks like. We'll try to define it, we'll probe into kindness as an expression of God's character, and we'll consider how, where and why God wants us to put on the mindset of kindness.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-size: large; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">Do your own personal bible study on the Holy Spirit of God with this free bible study guide:</b><span style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/the-power-of-the-holy-spirit" style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #1e87f0; font-size: large; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; text-decoration-line: none; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">The Power of the Holy Spirit</a></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Defining Kindness</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">I would like to propose that the </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">kindness</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;referred to in Galatians 5:22 can be understood as: help, service, generosity, assistance, even words, rendered to another person not in accordance with what they deserve or have earned but as an active expression of mercy &amp; grace...</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">A.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">showing outgoing concern for their well-being</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">B.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Showing our own putting on of Godly character</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">That</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s my conclusion. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Now, let me back up and explain how I came to that definition.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">The Greek word </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The word Paul used the Greek word </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">chrestotes</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;in Galatians 5:22 in English you read that as kindness. The word </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">chrestotes</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;was used in the Greek language to represent that which is useful, helpful, and by extension - moral excellence. So I believe Paul was inspired to use it to carry the sense of something done to help, or serve, another person because its the right or virtuous course of action [rather than a transaction done expecting a return or reciprocity].</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">The Modern English Word</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The contemporary definition of the English word "kindness" is something like: friendly, generous helpful, considerate, pleasant agreeable. Its a pretty good choice but it does lack a bit with regard to the full biblical definition we want. How do these acts become products of God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s spirit rather than just social niceties? We’ll get there by adding the motive… which will be grace &amp; mercy. But first, more on our good old English word “kind”…</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Being Kind to Your Own Kind</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">In English, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“k</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ind</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;is also used to mean a particular class or type of thing: " a daschund is a kind of dog", "she's a special kind of person" etc. That was the original meaning of the word in Olde English. Over time it morphed to take on a larger meaning pertaining to acts and attitudes. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Human beings are more apt to treat our own kind in ways that are helpful, considerate, generous... than we are to act this way toward outsiders, those of a different class, religion, nationality, tribe, family, fraternity, friend group.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We find it easier to relate to those we consider "our own kind". We assume we understand where our own kind are coming from, and we can more easily picture ourselves in their shoes. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">This is a sort of worldly kindness… we take care of our own and hope they will do likewise. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Luke 6:32-36</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;our Father creator is calling us to something else. A form of kindness that is powered by His spirit, which imitates Him, and adopts His way of thinking.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">God</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">’s Kindness: Where It All Begins</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God is kind and our understanding of what this fruit of the spirit is begins and builds upon our understanding of God. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Ephesians 2:1-10</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;in His mercy we are saved from death, in His grace we are offered incomparable riches. In kindness He pays our debts, and He gives us gifts. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="line-height: 150%; margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Mercy is not getting what we do deserve</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="line-height: 150%; margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Grace is getting what we do not deserve</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="line-height: 150%; margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Justice is getting what we do deserve</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="line-height: 150%; margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Verse 1-3 we did not deserve God's kindness. We did not act in any way like kindred spirits with Him. We were enemies, outsiders, in no way reflecting God's kind.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Therefore, God is merciful toward our sin, gracious in offering us a seat alongside Christ.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 11:22</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;[chart]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Note: God is also just in that the well deserved penalty for sin will be paid. Either through: Jesus sacrificial death... or... permanent death for the unrepentant.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">God's Kindness </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Is </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Useful</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;&amp; Purposeful</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The Greek word </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">chrestos </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">points us towards utility, usefulness and purpose. God's kindness fits the definition of the Greek word chrestotes in that it serves a purpose... it is useful. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;kindness is performed to bring about repentance.</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;Question:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Why would a person repent if they have no hope of mercy? ... Imagine a gospel that said "repent you sinner"... "why"... "because its the right thing to do" ... </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">will repentance open up eternal life for me?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;... "well, no. You're still going to have to be permanently destroyed for your sins... but really ought to repent".</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Mercy is applied to give repentance a purpose!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Repentance means a change of mind, a change of attitude, a change of action. You change from your old kind of life to a Godly kind of life. God's purpose is to bring you into His eternal family, to build you up into into a full, complete, spiritual creation that is of the God kind.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">God See</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">’s You As One Of His Own</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Remember all that stuff I said earlier about how humans naturally treat other humans better if they see them as their own kind? &nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Your Creator, your Father, is able to see you and treat you as one of His own kind... even though at present you are not of His kind. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">You are not yet complete in the fullness of Christ</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">You are not yet raised in glory and immortality</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">You are not yet spirit, you are flesh</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="line-height: 114%; margin-bottom: 10.0000pt; mso-add-space: auto;"><br /></div><div class="15" style="line-height: 114%; margin-bottom: 10.0000pt; mso-add-space: auto;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">But God created humanity so they could attain all this.</span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">What</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s more</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">, our Creator can picture, visualize, what we can be, what we are going to be and He lavishes us with mercy, compassion, grace, consideration like beloved sons or daughters… which is what you are.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Hebrews 2:17-18</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;your Creator made the first move in bridging this gap through Jesus Christ. He was willing to become like you so He could better understand… better extend mercy, compassion and grace. He can picture himself in your shoes! And He is standing right beside the Father as you advocate every minute, advising, consulting and advocating for you. &nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">To become more like Christ you must develop more of &nbsp;this way of thinking.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Treating Others With Kindness</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God wants you to think of, and treat others who might be very different from you, as you would your own kind... with mercy, grace, understanding and compassion. This is a hard lesson because it goes against your human nature. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">To help teach you this difficult lesson God has established a special classroom… the Church of God. He has placed you in it as He sees fit and put His son [Christ] in charge. As just mentioned Christ has excellent qualifications for this position.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 15:1-3</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;congregations are made up of weak and strong. Elsewhere we read they are made up of: &nbsp;Jews &amp; Greeks [meaning different cultures], slave &amp; free [meaning different socio-economic classes], male &amp; female [meaning different genetic makeups].</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We are all very different and we cannot achieve real kindness if we don't get to know one another. How can you know the needs of others if you never fellowship with them? Therefore, spend time, energy, personal resources on one another. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Titus 3:1-8</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God wants you to treat others as you would your own. He wants you to think and act this way... because He does, and He wants you to learn to act and think like Him. To be fashioned into the full likeness of the God-kind.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Kindness Beyond The Church of God</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">To truly become like God we have to take kindness beyond the sandbox of the Church of God into the world and all the people we encounter there. Drunkards and drug users, sexually immoral representing every stripe of the rainbow, promoters of false gods... and extend kindness to them. But we must be very careful that we not get drawn into their sin. We are warned about this even within the context of the Church of God </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Galatians 6:1-2,10.</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;Learn it in the sandbox - apply it everywhere.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Warning #1</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: grace &amp; mercy must not be seen as indifference to sin! This is part of the </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“who am I to judge” trap. We dealt with that more fully in the message on goodness. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Warning #2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: grace &amp; mercy must not be seen as approval of sin! The wicked in this world want more than just your indifference... they want your approval. They want you to join them in calling what is evil good and what is good evil. Compassion, mercy, and grace can easily provide a slippery slope that leads you to explicit or implicit approval of sin.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Grace &amp; mercy without condoning, or appearing to condone, evil. Its a real challenge... you need to power of God's spirit active within you to accomplish it.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Godly Kindness is For Everyone</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Jonah 4:2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;[NKJV= lovingkindness] God's kindness is His mercy and grace in action. In this case restraint of due punishment because of repentance.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Joel 2:11-13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;God will extend His merciful, gracious, and kindness to humanity right up to the very end when Christ returns.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px;">Listen to this message on Youtube: <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIh6jpf1fnw">Kindness - God's Grace and Mercy in Action</a></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/GGjpt6wx9Fg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Goodness: A Fruit of God's Holy Spirit
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pjezJr7bS3s" width="480"></iframe><br /><div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Goodness: </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Defining Terms</span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Goodness is the quality of being good. Good is a word that has so many uses and applications in the English language that its almost meaningless. For example; we use it to express:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">l&nbsp;</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Satisfaction &amp; pleasure:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;that was a </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">good </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">milkshake</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Having necessary skills for a role:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;she's a </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">good </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">accountant</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Enjoyment</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: Everyone had a </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">good </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">time at my party</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Thorough</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: take a </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">good </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">look around</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Possessing moral virtue:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;he's a </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">good </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">person</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">When I read about what &nbsp;the holy spirit produces in believers… and I read love, joy, peace, patience, kindness... goodness. I don't feel like I understand what the scriptures are getting at unless I dig in and take a closer look. Especially so with Goodness. That is what I hope to do today.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; font-size: large; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;"><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Do your own personal bible study on the Holy Spirit of God with this free bible study guide:</span></b><span style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/the-power-of-the-holy-spirit" style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #1e87f0; font-size: large; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; text-decoration-line: none; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">The Power of the Holy Spirit</a></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">In your bible you'll see "good" used in a variety of ways [loosely lining up with the examples I just went through. But the Greeks used different words for the different meanings:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Eudokia</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- pleasing, delightful, satisfactory {good milkshake, good party]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Kalos</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- acts which demonstrate virtue</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Agathos</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- virtue, a state of mind, a quality of character</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We are going to dispense with Eudokia because it does not apply to the work of the holy spirit. Instead we are going to focus on the first two: Agathos, and Kalos which both relate to virtue. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 7:17-20 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">here we see both words [agathos and kalos] used together in a sentence. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">"every </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">good</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;tree" --&gt; agathos</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">"bears </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">good</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;fruit" --&gt; kalos</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Every peach tree produces peaches, every cherry tree produces cherries, virtuous people do virtuous things.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Agathos </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">represents the ability to tell the difference between good and evil. Whereas, </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">kalos </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">represents the doing of good rather than evil.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><br /></span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">In What Way Is Goodness of God</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">’s Spirit?</span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Go back to </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Galatians 5:22 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">where we find the listing </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness... the Godly character trait of </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">goodness</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;is from the word </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">agathos</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">, not </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">kalos</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Its referring to the good tree rather than the good fruit. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The power of God's holy spirit at work in you is so that you might know the difference between good and evil, and be convicted, or “put on notice”, that good acts are better than bad acts. But, the holy spirit does not itself produce the good works.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 16:8</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the spirit of God provides proper judgement regarding sin and righteousness!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">When I was a young man I was not living a virtuous life. One day I was with one of my comrades and I blurted out "you know... we shouldn't be doing this stuff. It's wrong". &nbsp;They gave me a funny look. I can look back now and see that as the turning point after which everything started to change. My friends started dropping off, my weekends started to become rather lonely. Not all at once but slowly, one by one, I started acting on matters I was becoming convicted of. &nbsp;I started to change who I was and what I did… I was struggling towards goodness. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">What changed? Three elements:</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Conviction given to me though God's spirit working with me [although not yet in me]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Increased contact with God's word... I found a modern English translation of the bible on a subway car. I read it. Some things in scripture were plain and obvious. But some things I found rather confusing... </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Then I found the Church of God who offered me better understanding of what the scriptures really said. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God will give you the conviction concerning what is good versus what is evil… like a seed, a little sprout, and if you respond to it… it will grow. Doing is prompted by thinking &amp; thinking is re-enforced through doing. This is one of &nbsp;His gifts to you through the spirit, through the word, and through the church. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">But your Creator will not force you to act upon your conviction. He will not force you to do the good rather than do the evil.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Analogy</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: God might turn you into a peach tree but He will not force you to produce peaches. You can say to yourself and others "I'm a peach tree, isn't that awesome!" But if you don't produce peaches on your branches people around you can say "so what, if there are no juicy peaches for us to enjoy what purpose does that serve... what GOOD does it DO?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">And so will say your Creator.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Goodness </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">is: Doing</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;God's Commandments</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The spiritual quality of goodness is existentially linked with the doing of good. Here is a quick list of scriptures where </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">agathos </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">is paired with doing.</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;Acts 9:36</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">, Romans 2:10, 2 Corinthians 9:8, Galatians 6:10, Ephesians 2:10, 3 John 3:11.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">How do we know what doing good means? How can we tell peaches from strychnine fruit? One yummy, one is deadly.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Discerning</span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;go</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">od from evil, and then </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">doing</span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;&nbsp;g</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ood and not evil, begins with the 10 commandments of God. For the most part His commands present us with a set of evil acts which we are told to avoid or not do: Idolatry, theft, lying, murder, sex outside marriage, greed. But </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">avoiding </span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">evil is not the same thing as </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">doing</span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;good.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">People have tried to avoid evil by separating themselves from civilization, by living in a cave, by cutting off parts of their bodies that lead them into sin, ultimately the ideal way to avoid all evil is to be dead. A dead person does not lie, does not steal, commit adultery, or murder. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Let's consider GOODNESS as a way to take the information we get in the 10 commandments about "not doing" and turn them into ways to express goodness:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 4.0000pt; mso-pagination: widow-orphan; text-autospace: ideograph-numeric;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Don't lie --&gt; communicate with honesty and openness</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 4.0000pt; mso-pagination: widow-orphan; text-autospace: ideograph-numeric;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Don't murder --&gt; protect and support life</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 4.0000pt; mso-pagination: widow-orphan; text-autospace: ideograph-numeric;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Don't steal --&gt; work to supply the needs of others</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 4.0000pt; mso-pagination: widow-orphan; text-autospace: ideograph-numeric;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">No adultery --&gt; develop a happy, loyal, faithful marriage and family</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 4.0000pt; mso-pagination: widow-orphan; text-autospace: ideograph-numeric;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">No idolatry --&gt; show honor and respect toward God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: 4.0000pt; mso-pagination: widow-orphan; text-autospace: ideograph-numeric;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Don't work on 7th day --&gt; gather together for instruction, fellowship and praise on 7th day</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 8:2 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">take the same information and instead of a law of sin and death… &nbsp;we have the law of life.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">G</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">oodness is </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">A</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">cting </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">L</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">ike God</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">: </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">God is Good</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Goodness is not understood [perceived] by what we don</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;do. &nbsp;You cannot become more like God, or Christ, simply by eradicating sin. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Developing Godliness involves growing the traits and habits of GOODNESS. To have good things flowing out from you. The active spirit of the Father and Christ is there to help you!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Think of yourself as a branch on a peach tree. There is sap that flows up from the roots of the tree... through the trunk of the tree... and then into you... the branch. If you cut open a branch or trunk of a tree you'll see all this wet stuff flowing out... that's the sap.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">This sap provides all the nutrients and necessary ingredients to keep you alive and to produce nice delicious peaches. These peaches are a benefit and a blessing to people who come along and are able to eat them. It is the same way with goodness.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God's presence in you through the holy spirit, is like the sap. The branch has to be connected to the tree To keep that sap flowing the branch has to be connected to the tree trunk. &nbsp;If you cut a branch off from the trunk of a tree... you'll see all the sap that should have gone to branch flow down the side of the tree on to the ground. The branch will wither and die.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">That connection is like your relationship to the church </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Ephesians 4:10-16, Ephesians 5:23</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The Church of God is a vital way in which you receive the essential ingredients for growing into the fullness of Christ. You are not designed to go it alone. That is not the model for spiritual development presented in scripture. For this reason I ask you to carefully think about your relationship with God's Church.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Are you letting the church teach you? Or are you wandering to and fro on the internet for strange and interesting interpretations... are you only interested when what you hear is new, unique, provocative, or controversial? &nbsp;Are you seeking to be entertained, or pumped up, rather than built up in Christ. Perhaps you see yourself as being a teacher of the church before being a learner. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Goodness</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;I s </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">A Light In The Darkness</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Ephesians 5:8-20</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;when you are doing good you cannot help but stand out in a crowd. When people see goodness they notice it. &nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">You stick out if you are relentlessly honest, Sabbath keeping, no adultery etc. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Goodness will actually put you at odds with people, society, co-workers.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Goodness exposes what is unfruitful [the works of darkness]. Doing good in the sight of others might pique their conscience. Speaking up for what is right. Refusing to approve of evil. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Let's back up a moment from the idea of "good works". &nbsp;Just the ability to discern, judge, evaluate, and declare what is good versus what is evil makes you standout. Our current religious, political, and educational institutions seem to have no ability to call out evil, or to promote what is good. More and more our neighbors, co-workers, extended family are willing to call evil good, and good evil. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We don't get to decide what is good. Our definition of goodness, our conviction of goodness, even our articulation of goodness come from God: His spirit, His word, and His church. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Goodness is also a willingness to take a stand against evil.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 12:17-21</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;warning, don't respond to evil with evil [don't go out and shoot up an abortion clinic as a way to demonstrate your respect for life, don't steal from the rich to give to the poor to bring about justice]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Goodness Is </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Spiritual Warfare</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Galatians 5:17</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;if you are suffering from inner turmoil about doing good, doing evil... that's an indication that you are doing battle.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Remember: at the same time as the spirit of God is giving you conviction about what is good and evil... the adversary is also at work. Sowing confusion, calling evil good or good evil. Seeking to convict you in the opposite direction. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Ephesians 6:10-13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 12:9</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Goodness is a character trait of your Father Creator, and Christ your elder brother. An unwavering understanding and conviction concerning &nbsp;what is good and evil, fruitful and unfruitful, choosing a culture of life over a culture of death. &nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Let the goodness of God reside within you, and shine forth from you.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/nbFuGk2UQgk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Helping You Find Joy - A Fruit of The Holy Spirit
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><h2><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OFiGS9gll-k" width="480"></iframe></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span></b> <br /><div style="-webkit-text-stroke: 1px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0); background-color: white; box-sizing: border-box; color: #222222; font-feature-settings: &quot;onum&quot;; font-variant-numeric: oldstyle-nums; line-height: 1.6; margin-bottom: 1.6em; padding: 0px; text-align: left; text-rendering: auto;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;"><span style="color: #888888; font-family: &quot;arial&quot; , &quot;helvetica&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: 13px;">Joy is one of the many gifts of the holy spirit. Joy is a part of who and what your Creator is... its His basic outlook. Those who are imitators of God will live joyfully through life's journey.</span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">Here is a link to a&nbsp;<span class="caps" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-feature-settings: &quot;c2sc&quot;, &quot;smcp&quot;;">PDF</span>&nbsp;version of the slide presentation used with this&nbsp;message:&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ucg.org/files/sermons/helping_you_find_joy_slides_-_simple_1.pdf" rel="nofollow" style="background-color: transparent; box-sizing: border-box; color: #346593; line-height: inherit;">https://www.ucg.org/files/sermons/helping_you_find_joy_slides_-_simple_1.pdf</a></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Helping You Find Joy</span></b></h2><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Let's Define What We Mean</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: feeling good... the opposite of joy would be feeling discouraged, depressed, fearful, worried. Let's not stop at feeling good, because there is more than way to feel good.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Feeling good because pleasant, positive things are happening to you.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 72.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level2 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">a.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">we will call this circumstantial - a reaction to what is going on around you</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 72.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level2 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">b.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">this is the easiest to achieve</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 72.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level2 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">c.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">BUT, it is mostly outside of your control</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Feeling good because of the way you think</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 72.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level2 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">a.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">we will call this spiritual - the result of your inner thought world, your priorities and outlook</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 72.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level2 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">b.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">this is harder to achieve</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 72.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level2 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">c.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">However, it is mostly within your control</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Let's call:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 72.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level2 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;courier new&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">o&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">one HAPPiness - meaning gladness about what is HAPPening. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 72.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level2 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;courier new&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">o&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the other Joy - meaning gladness about... </span><b><span style="background: rgb(255 , 255 , 0); color: red; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">???</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We are not always going to be happy. Sometimes bad stuff happens. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Ecclesiastes 3:4</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">, sometimes there is sorrow </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 11:35</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Happiness is conditional. It's an appropriate reaction to certain circumstances: getting a promotion, the birth of a child, receiving a compliment. Joy is not conditional. Joy does not require external circumstances to be "just so". Its based on an overarching viewpoint about life and its purpose. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">That understanding is the </span><b><span style="background: rgb(255 , 255 , 0); color: red; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">???</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Joy is a gift to you from your Creator</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">You are physical, made up of atoms, molecules, electrical impulses. All of these are features you share with animals or plants. But God has added a spiritual component to human beings... we like to call the spirit in man. This spiritual component is what separates you from animals such that the Father and Son declare you to be "made in our image".</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">However, you have also been designed with something missing. You have a void in you. A space which needs to be filled. You have also been designed with a yearning to fill that void with something. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The void is designed to be filled with the holy spirit of God. The addition of that last missing piece is how you become a fully complete child of God. Ready to inherit eternity and a place in the family of God. The receipt of the holy spirit gifts you with many characteristics and traits of God your Father and creator... this includes JOY.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 15:5</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;--&gt; </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 15:11</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;--&gt; </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 16:22</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: large;"><b>Do your own personal bible study on the Holy Spirit of God with this free bible study guide:</b> <a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/the-power-of-the-holy-spirit">The Power of the Holy Spirit</a></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">The Flow of Joy</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Happiness</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- based on what flows towards you. Incoming experiences, what happens to you. This is based on getting or receiving.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Joy</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- based on what is going on within you... how you think... AND shows itself in what flows out from you… what you give to life.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Acts 20:35</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;&nbsp;Jesus taught that there is a way of life that is better. A way of life that is focused on what flows out from you rather than what flows towards you. This can be expressed as generosity with material goods [the most common application]. I believe it actually encompasses that… but so much more! Such as how you spend you time, or the showing forth the fruits of the spirit, patience, kindness, gentleness.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Growing in Joy </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">[chart]</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">To grow in Joy you have to resist the fleshly nature of the mind which is to focus primarily on yourself. If you want to increase the joy in your life focus more on others. Avoid &nbsp;self pity -- self centeredness -- self absorption.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Consider this list of negative traits as self oriented:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Resentment (what I think I deserve)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Greed (getting more stuff so I can feel more secure)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Complaining (how I would run things if I were in charge)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jealousy (I should have gotten that, not her)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Pride (If only people would acknowledge how awesome I am)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Anger &amp; fear</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Replace them with --&gt;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo4; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Gratitude ( I want him to know I appreciate this)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo4; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Humility (my way isn't the only way to do things)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo4; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Forgiveness ( I deserve my pound of flesh but I'd rather have reconciliation peace)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo4; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Patience (I'm going to give them more time to sort it out)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo4; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Faith &amp; hope</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Make this swap out and the result is --&gt; JOY!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Joy Is Spiritual &amp; Supernatural</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Supernatural</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The idea of tending to the needs of others as a way "to feel good" ourselves… doesn't flow naturally out of the human mind. &nbsp;Granted, some people figure this out through trial and error. They live life one way... them they live life the other way... then they compare the results and reject selfishness. People are able to figure out certain truths without becoming a follower of Christ. That spirit in man put in us by our creator gives us the capacity to figure some things out on our own.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">However, God would like to give you joy as a gift. He would like &nbsp;to put joy in you [along with a lot of other traits]. &nbsp;All you have to do is opt in and let Him fill that void in you with His holy spirit. With the receipt of the holy spirit you are gifted with many &nbsp;wonderful spiritual traits. These of the holy spirit are the traits of the Father and the Son. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Joy is a Trait of God</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The Father is most often portrayed as a stern and somber old man, kinda grouchy with a long white beard. God can be somber, stern, even wrathful. Why???… &nbsp;because He must judge sin. Otherwise, there is no justice in the universe. [do you really want to live in a world where bad deeds are not punished and good is not rewarded?].</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">I put it to you that God should be understood as primarily cheerful, sunny, with a positive outlook and a sense of humor. He made all things... He called them good... He is enjoying His creation!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Psalm 68:3</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;true imitators of God will be joyful</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">1 Thessalonians 1:6</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the joy of the holy spirit</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Galatians 6:22-23</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;ranked 2nd among the traits of the holy spirit [which are the traits of God]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Is Sorrow Bad?</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Feeling sad, acting solemn or sober, even righteous anger are legitimate emotions.</span></u><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></u></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">But, I don't think we should want to have them as our natural disposition and default outlook on life. Very much like we just discussed regarding God; sadness, solemness, anger</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;are all appropriate reactions to sin. But where there is no sin these would serve no purpose [chart]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">2 Corinthians 7:8-11</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;sorrow and regret are appropriate reactions to sin and error... but don't wallow in it. Sorrow from a Godly perspective leads to change, repentance, forgiveness, salvation. These then lead to hope which leads to joy!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Your "set point", your fundamental outlook, should be gladness and anticipation </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 8:18-21. </span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">There is sorrow over suffering, but there is joy in knowing God's plan provides answers and solutions. </span></u><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></u></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 26:37-39</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Hebrews 1:8-9 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">[quote of Psalm 45:6-7]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Grief is a healthy response to death.</span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;But, the truth of the resurrection means there is something to look forward to </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">1 Thessalonians 4:13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;suggests that grief is more painful for those who have no hope. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Joy in Trials</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God's character trait of joy flows even in circumstances of trial. We are not happy about falling into a trial or suffering. But we can still have joy.Because joy is not the product of what happens to us but a product of how we think, how we react, and our perspective. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Biblical perspectives on trials:</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l4 level1 lfo5; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Revelation 21:4</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;trials and suffering are limited to this age</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l4 level1 lfo5; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 5:2-5</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;trials and suffering are part of the process that moves us forward to permanent goals. They produce, strengthen, and build in us some of the other character traits of God.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 72.0000pt; mso-list: l4 level2 lfo5; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;courier new&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">o&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 8:28-29</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;we can have joy because of trials because we understand the purpose of trials. Which is, to build the character traits of the Father and Son in us. We do not see ourselves as a punchline in some cosmic joke.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 72.0000pt; mso-list: l4 level2 lfo5; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;courier new&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">o&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 5:11-12</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;applies to trials and troubles we experience because of our adherence to God's truth. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Acts 13:52</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;[don't be obnoxious with God's truth - example of Fred or Tony] </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">God's Spirit</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Joy is a part of who and what your creator is... its His foundational outlook. His wrath, His anger... these are reactions to sin. His rules, regulations, restrictions... these are to help us identify sin and avoid it. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">If you want one more way to increase the joy in your life try putting your phone away and spend time seeing the joy in God's creation. The birds sing, the animals play, the flowers bloom... learn to see the joyful things God has put all around you. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The beginning steps to finding joy --&gt; </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Acts 2:38 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Psalm 16:11</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;knowing the path to life is a source of JOY</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 16:24</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;ask for the understanding that brings joy</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 17: 13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Jesus wants to share His joy with you</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/sPIRneYk9ns" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Passover Is Only The Beginning: Go Forth Into The Days of Unleavened Bread!
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1XvgPMJZ4wM" width="480"></iframe><br /></div><br />Jesus Christ is our Passover and His death saves us from the penalty of death. But, that is not the end of the story! Its actually the beginning of an amazing and astounding sequence of transformation:<br /><br />➤Salvation from death<br />➤Growth into the fullness of Christ<br />➤Resurrection to life everlasting spirit born life<br /><br />These are the steps of God's plan for humanity. A plan that begins with the Passover... but then followed up with the holy days that come afterwards and picture what comes next.<br /><br />There are some basic errors that keep us from fully appreciating each of the holy days as a separate and distinct event. In this video we will look at how the distinction between the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread has been blurred AND why it is important to keep them separate and distinct.<br /><br />If you are listening to the audio version of this message… here is a link to the info graphic used in this presentation - <a href="https://www.ucg.org/files/sermons/exoduspassover.jpg">https://www.ucg.org/files/sermons/exoduspassover.jpg</a><br /><br />Learn More about the 7 annual holy days of God. Request our free bible study guide. <br />➤ <a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/gods-holy-day-plan-the-promise-of-hope-for-all-mankind">God's Holy Day Plan - The Promise of Hope For Humanity</a><br /><br />Find a UCG church near you: <br />➤ <a href="http://ucg.org/congregations/">http://ucg.org/congregations/</a><br /><br />View this message on YouTube - <br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XvgPMJZ4wM">The Passover is Only The Beginning</a><br /><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/ywCtpzWSb5w" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Peacemaking And Reconciliation Among The Sons of Jacob
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">The Sons of the Covenant</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HtQgKe_9oX8" width="480"></iframe></span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jacob had 12 sons who would share the role of God's covenant people. However, what we read about these men is a mix of violence, immorality, jealousy and deceit. The family of Jacob had a lot of problems. You might then wonder… how does our record of their exploits offer any kind of guidance or spiritual instruction? </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: large;"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px;">****************************************</span></span><br /><span style="color: red; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: large;">Subscribe on Youtube: use the top left icon on the video!</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px;">****************************************</span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">You can apply that same questioning approach to most scripture. God's word is not an exposition of exemplary behavior from great men and women put on display for us to emulate. Instead, the record we have of men and women in the bible is of people with problems... BUT people who work through their problems with God's helping guidance... so that they might achieve something greater than their appointed days in the flesh.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We are going to examine the lives of the sons of Jacob as they work through all that violence, jealously, and deceit to arrive at reconciliation… making peace with one another... reconciliation is not only pleasing to God... but essential to eternal happiness. You will not enter into eternal life if you do not take to roll of peacemaker and learn to resolve differences.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span> <span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">****************************************</span><br /><span style="font-family: calibri; font-size: large;">Get a FREE bible study guide:</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: large;"><a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/transforming-your-life-the-process-of-conversion">Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion</a></span><br /><b>*************************************</b></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Jacob's Sons</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jacob had been tricked into marrying Leah. He then worked out a deal to also marry his true love, Rachel. Jacob</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;was off to</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;a bad start that would cause a lot of hard feelings among his sons. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Leah was fruitful and gave birth to Reuben, then Simeon, then Levi, then Judah. After many years wait Rachel gave birth to Joseph and Benjamin. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 37:1-4</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the source of trouble is Jacob's flagrant favoritism for the children of Rachel over the children of Leah and the concubines. Joseph makes things worse by acting as a tattle tale on the other brothers. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Then Joseph has a dream in which all the others bow down to him. The brothers are angry. Even Jacob is a bit put out by it. The brothers devise a plot to murder Joseph. They grab Jacob in the open field and are working on their alibis when Judah gets the brainwave to sell the boy so they make a profit on their efforts. Joseph is sold to slave traders who take him off to Egypt. The brothers go home and tell Jacob that Joseph was torn apart by wild animals. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Joseph Goes To Egypt </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">(Genesis 37-41)</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Joseph is a household slave to Potiphar (the captain of the guard who was also in charge of the prison). Potiphar's wife starts making sexual advances towards Joseph. Joseph refuses and she accuses him of attempted rape. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Normally a rapist would have been executed but Potiphar may have suspected his wife's honesty. However he has to do something… so he puts Joseph in the prison and uses him as a sort of prisoner administrator. &nbsp;Joseph remains close to God and eventually his reputation as a dream interpreter lands him an interview with the Pharaoh. The Pharaoh is so impressed he makes Joseph his second in command over Egypt. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Judah in Canaan (Genesis 38)</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Judah separates from the family. He marries a Canaanite woman and has three sons. He gets a woman named Tamar as a wife for the eldest son. That son dies. He demands the second son take Tamar and raise up children for the dead son's inheritance. The second son refuses. The second son dies. Judah tells Tamar to wait until the third son is old enough to take her. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Tamar realizes Judah is going to go back on his promise. So, she dresses up as a prostitute with a veil, entices Judah into sex, and finally conceives twins who will carry on the line of Judah.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Question: </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Why put in all this salacious material about Judah? </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Answer:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;it shows us that Judah had gone off the rails with regard to the family, and the covenant. It also sets us up for Judah's later transformation into a man God can work with... a man willing to reconcile and make peace.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Famine in Canaan</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The family situation is bad. So, God throws a stink bomb into the mix. Rain stops and a famine strikes Canaan. This crisis will cause the sons of Jacob to come face to face and to reconcile with one another. God does not force their reconciliation but He certainly sets up the ideal scenario for it to happen. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 42:1-3</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Jacob sends the brothers to Egypt to buy food. However he keeps Benjamin back home because he clearly loves this other son of Rachel better than the rest. I guess Jacob figured the other sons were expendable. He clearly thought of them very differently than the sons of Rachel. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 42:6-7 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The 10 brothers go to Egypt and end up appearing before Joseph who had charge over the grain stores. In spite of all they had done to prevent it… they end up bowing down before Joseph. However they do not know this man is really the boy they kidnapped and sold into slavery all those years ago. But Joseph does know!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Joseph asks about their family… and if they have another brother. Joseph was probably wondering if they had killed, or sold, Benjamin as well. Joseph says "you must stay her as prisoners unless one of you goes back to fetch that younger brother". He throws them in prison for 3 days then says "OK, you can go back with food for your family but one of you must stay behind as a hostage until you produce the youngest brother".</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 42:21-26 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the brothers begin connecting the dots and openly recognize their guilt... &nbsp;they acknowledge that they deserve of punishment for what they did.Joseph hears this, he wants to cry but he held himself together. He is going to play out the drama much further. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Application: </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;if you are the offending party admitting your error, sin, or offense, is the first step towards reconciliation. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">I think Joseph is making things hard for them because he wants to to know : "have these guys really changed or will they abandon the brother they left behind as hostage?" He is setting them up... testing their loyalty and love for their brother. Considering Joseph's political power it would have been easy for him to lash out at these men in vengeance... but Joseph is a godly man and is aiming for something better... reconciliation and restoration of their family relationships. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Application:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;if you are the party who has been offended: do not focus on getting what you think you deserve (vengeance, vindication, emotional satisfaction). Focus on making peace.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The brothers go back to Canaan and the famine is still bad. They will need to go back and when they do the y will have to take Benjamin along. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 43: 6-14 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jacob is angry with them but he agrees to let Benjamin go.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jacob is more concerned about the prospect of </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">maybe </span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">losing Benjamin than the </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">certainty </span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">of his other son, Simeon, wasting away in an Egyptian prison. Jacob</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">favoritism is clearly on display. In earlier days his other sons became so jealous they were ready to commit murder. But now we see Judah... one of the unloved sons... taking the first step toward reconciliation.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Judah display three traits of one who reconciles</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Judah appears to have accepted the unfair realities of the family. He and his brothers never deserved Jacob's indifference... that was the byproduct of Jacob's own bad decisions (Application: recognize you can't change people, you can only change yourself).</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Judah takes personal responsibility for the situation (Application: do your part without expectation they will return the favor).</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Judah shows loyalty to the family and devotion to his father rather than using the opportunity to settle old scores, grudges, and grasp at vengeance (Application: seek what is good rather than what is emotionally satisfying).</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Return to Egypt</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The brothers return to Egypt along with Benjamin. They come before Joseph once again.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 43:26-34</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;they share a meal and Joseph gives Benjamin 5 times as much as the other brothers.once again he tests to see if the brothers still show that same raging jealously towards the sons of Rachel.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">The Big Set-up</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Joseph</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s servants</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;load the brothers up with grain to take back to Canaan. Joseph tells his servants to secretly put the silver back in the sacks... and secretly put Joseph</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">s personal silver cup in the sack that goes with Benjamin.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The brothers head back to Canaan. Joseph send out his men to apprehend them and accuse them of stealing. The brothers say "search our stuff, you will not find anything". Joseph's men search the bags and… voila… find the silver cup with Benjamin. The brothers are hauled back to Egypt as thieves!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Joseph has set them up to find out what he wants to know: when their own freedom and lives are in the balance... will the brothers abandon Benjamin (the other son of Rachel)? Will they leave him to be a slave in Egypt like they did to Joseph himself so many years ago?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 44:16-20</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;for Judah this was probably a painful admission and acceptance that their father loved the sons of Rachel best. But now instead of hatred and jealousy he accepts the fact, he focuses on respect and concern for his father.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 44:21-29</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;another painful acknowledgement of the favoritism that tormented their family.... but now the attitude is different.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 44:30-34</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;this is Judah's shining moment in scripture... Judah is willing to offer himself, his life, his freedom, his dignity, for the sake of his brother Benjamin. It is a foreshadow of the role the line of Judah will play in the fulfillment of the covenant.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Application:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;to reconcile and &nbsp;make &nbsp;peace means you have to be willing to give up things. Most often a measure of pride, desire for vengeance, and to be proven right. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Judah could have chosen to let the chips fall where they may… he could have reasoned: "its not my fault Benjamin got caught with the cup"... "serves the old man right"... "he deserves to have his heart broken, just like he's broken mine all these years". But he didn't.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Instead we see a change of heart in Judah. He has come a long way from the man who sold his brother, the man who got off track during the Tamar years. Now we begin to see the man through whom the greatest promise of the covenant will pass. The promise that through he sons of Abraham all nations will be blessed. The promise of the Messiah who would give his life as ransom for others. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">The Big Reveal</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Having witnessed this Joseph finally reveals himself to his brothers. There is a lot of crying and hugging. The family of Jacob has been restored and reconciled to one another. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Joseph arranges to bring the whole family, including Jacob, to Egypt so he can care for them. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 46:1-4</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the sojourn in Egypt will last 400 years. The Egyptians practiced a form of apartheid and would steadfastly refuse to mix with foreigners. Israel would have their own territory and would grow into a large nation biologically and socially separate from the people around them. When the time was right God would return them to Canaan. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Jacob Passes on the Covenant Blessings (Genesis 48-49)</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Before he dies Jacob formally passes the blessings of the covenant people to his sons.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">To the firstborn son Joseph he gives all the physical blessings of wealth, land, and multitude of offspring - Israel does this by directly laying hands on the grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The primacy of firstborn passes over Reuben because he had sex with his step-mother</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The primacy of firstborn passes over Levi and Simeon because they used the sign of God's covenant (circumcision)deceitfully to violently murder the entire village of Shekem.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The primacy of the firstborn goes instead to the fourth born son of Leah: Judah.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 49:8-12</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Judah receives the portion of the covenant that promises authority, ruler ship and most important: &nbsp;from the line of Judah will come the Messiah, king of kings and lord of lords. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The Messiah who will give his own life to reconcile all humanity to God.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The Messiah who will create peace between man and God. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Let this Passover season be a time when you renew your own dedication to being a maker of peace… with your fellow man… and with God.</span><br /><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/uaHP7r4Po1E" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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How Did Jesus Prepare Himself for the Passover? Self Examination, Strength, and Weakness
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Yy-HDi1cFtU/WNPcdgeZj8I/AAAAAAAAAcY/zfMcWy-xdqUSD2ByB_jq-RptomEqt5ZqQCLcB/s1600/examine%2Byourself.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="265" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Yy-HDi1cFtU/WNPcdgeZj8I/AAAAAAAAAcY/zfMcWy-xdqUSD2ByB_jq-RptomEqt5ZqQCLcB/s400/examine%2Byourself.jpg" width="400" /></a></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b><br /></b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Start off by reading Matt 26:31-35 </b></div><h2 class="western">Setting the Scene:</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus had just inaugurated the New Covenant with the 12 and gave them the new signs of the Passover (the bread and the wine) as a remembrance of His blood which would be shed and His body which would be broken. The Old Covenant would be finished out within the next 24 hours with the execution of Jesus in Jerusalem. <br /><br />*********************************<br />You can listen to this message on <b>YouTube</b><br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lwD_41JY44">How Did Jesus Prepare Himself for the Passover?</a><br />*********************************</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">After the Passover meal Jesus promised them gifts of peace, joy, contentment, and comfort. He told them about the coming of the Holy Spirit, the very power of God, that would come to each of them to strengthen and guide them along with the word of scripture. He warned them of persecution, but promised their ultimate deliverance from it. He prayed with them for their unity, and for the unity of those who would come later. <b>(John 14-17)</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Then they sang the traditional hymn and went out from the upper room. It’s here that we picked up the verses we read earlier. Perhaps this is what they discussed walking down the festive streets of Jerusalem, out the gate, across the Kidron brook and then up the Mount of Olives to a private (probably walled) garden called Gethsemene or (The Olive Press).</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus’ conversation during the Passover meal had been mostly positive, encouraging filled with promise… now, He began to discuss some of the harsh realities of the dark hours that were just ahead. Let’s use this section of scripture to create an outline for personal self examination prior to the Passover this year!<br />-----------------------------------------------------<br />🙋‍♀️<span style="color: #274e13;">Learn More about the Passover as it applies to followers of Jesus Christ. Request our free bible study guide</span> - <a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/gods-holy-day-plan-the-promise-of-hope-for-all-mankind">God's Holy Day Plan - The Promise of Hope For Humanity</a><br />----------------------------------------------------</div><h2 class="western">1. A Lesson About Weakness &amp; Strength</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Why talk about weakness and failure at such an hour? You would think an exhortation to bravery and courage would be more in order…</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To go forth and carry the message of truth into the world they would have to be strong. But to be strong, it first helps to realize where you are weak so you can work on building strength. USE EXAMPLE OF BODY BUILDING.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Verse 35</b> – they <u>all</u> thought they had sufficient love of God, commitment to His way, self control and courage to face the accuser… they thought they were strong. BUT when a group of 600 heavily armed men trudged up the hill to arrest Jesus they all ran away. Jesus was right, He knew. <b>(verse 55-56)</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>So, examine yourself. Take a good look at yourself… where are you weak? What areas do you need to strengthen?</b></div><h2 class="western">2. A Lesson About Ignorance Vs. Knowledge</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The disciples didn’t realize their weakness compared to the power of the adversary, Satan. They did not know he had entered into Judas, that Judas was leading the soldiers and priests to them in the garden, they did not know how the Priests would act… AND they did not know how to interpret the prophecies of the Messiah in Zech 13:9… without the help of the Holy Spirit.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus by contrast knew what was going on behind the scenes and most important He knew the prophecies and how they would apply. He knew He was walking through the steps of the Father’s will and appointed plan.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Zech 13:7</b> prophecy was not obvious to the casual observer. It was difficult to interpret. But being filled with the Holy Spirit Jesus knew that the verses were not talking about the untrustworthy shepherds of Judah but rather were about the shepherd sent by God, the mighty man who is at my side (my associate)… in hindsight, obviously the Word, the Messiah, Jesus. He would be put to death, they would all scatter.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Because Jesus knew scripture He had the bigger picture in mind. He had the prophetic picture in mind. He knew that the power of God would raise Him from the grave, from death to life, to lead His people. So, confident in God’s plan and power of life that He was already making an appointment to meet them later after He was resurrected.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">These things about to happen were not initiated by Judas, the priests, Pilate, or Herod… they were the next steps in the plan of God for that salvation of mankind.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>So, examine yourself. Take a good look. Do you know the plan of God? Can you explain it to others? Do you meditate on it? Do you know it well enough to draw strength from it in troubled times?</b></div><h2 class="western">3. A Lesson About Fear Vs Courage</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The words “<i>be offended</i>” or “<i>fall away</i>” [in verse 31] is from the Greek word <i>Skandalizo</i>. It means “to entrap” or “to trip up”. What would entrap them? What entraps you or me? Isn’t it the fear of what others might think of us, and what others might do to us?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">I think they were expecting Jesus to rise up in power when the soldiers came to arrest Him. BUT, when He would not raise a hand to defend himself… would He… could He defend them? </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Many have stood firm in times of battle or danger, but going down for a noble cause is one thing… going down for a cause where you will be considered a traitor, a lowlife, a nutcase, a heretic… by your own people, everyone who knows you… that’s harder to swallow.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Meanwhile, Jesus headed steadfastly forward with great courage to His execution, facing death, pain, temptation so that others might receive salvation. Knowing He was fulfilling the plan of God and knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt the Father could and would raise Him up. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Hebrews 2: 13-15</b> The disciples were afraid of death. They had no power to overcome death of themselves. Whereas, Jesus in human form and filled with the Holy Spirit… sets the example for us, not trusting in his own power… but in the power of the Father.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>So, examine yourself. Are you holding back because you are worried what others might think of you… because you are trying to fit in?</b> </div><h2 class="western">4. A Lesson About Pride vs. Humility</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">We already read where Peter boldly contradicted Jesus and proudly claimed to be the most reliable disciple of all <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span>“all others may be skandalizo… but I never will”. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Where did Peter get such false confidence? He seems to have put a lot of stock in his own courage, knowledge and commitment. Let’s see how Jesus approached the exact same circumstance?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Luke 22:31-33</b> Jesus understood what was at stake and turned to the one who had the power to help Peter… God the Father</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus knew they would all abandon and deny Him. Yet he was still willing to sacrifice himself for them in all their weakness, ignorance, and false pride. He put their well being and need for salvation above Himself. He submitted Himself to insult and indignity toward His holiness, and His place in the family of God. He was willing to drink the full cup of God’s terrible wrath against sin… so they could have life in the family of God.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">So, examine yourself. Where are you showing pride? [chase it down the rabbit hole]</div><h2 class="western">5. A lesson About Preparation &amp; Prayer</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 26:36-46</b> even in the middle of personal agony and struggle with temptation Jesus was their teacher. He was giving them a living breathing lesson in how to prepare and deal with temptation and trial.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This Garden area was a private place away from the bustle of Jerusalem at Passover. It was probably walled with a gate. Jesus had some of them stay by the gate to protect the seclusion… and based on His later comments expecting they too would pray. And He took Peter, John and James along with Him into the garden area to provide an object lesson in spiritual vigilance in trying times. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">BUT… the disciples did not pray. Perhaps they thought… they had given their word, they had accepted the signs of the New Covenant. What could possibly go wrong? It was past midnight, they had eaten a big meal, drank wine, walked all the way from town up the mountain… they were tired. So, they slept.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus did not need their help. He was there to connect with the Father, the one who had the power to help. Jesus did not ask the disciples to pray for Him… <b>verse 41. </b>He told them to pray for themselves!</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus was there in the weakness of flesh too. He knew pain, sorrow, temptation, grief, tears. But He had the understanding to know that strength and power to do great things would come from the Father.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">At the beginning of His ministry He faced three waves of temptation from Satan with fasting and the word of scripture. Here He meets three waves of terrible temptation and turmoil with prayer… is this that opportune moment? Luke 4:13</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><i>You’re the Son of God, why put yourself through this ordeal, this affront to your dignity and majesty? For what… for them?</i></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus was filled with incredible sorrow and deeply troubled. He could see it all before Him… betrayed by Judas, abandoned and denied by His closest friends, rejected by Israel, to suffer the injustice of men, to be mocked, to bear the full cup of God wrath toward sin… and to be abandoned by the Father. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">So intense that Jesus appears to have suffered from <b>Hematidrosis</b>! According to <i>WiKiPedia</i>:</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Symptoms:</b> Blood usually ooze from the forehead, other skin surfaces, nails, and umbilicus (caused by a bursting of the subcutaneous capillaries), note: mixes with sweat and thus appears more as a blood tinged secretion</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Etiology (cause):</b> Very rare but may occur when a person is suffering extreme levels of stress, for example, facing his or her own death</div></li></ul><h2 class="western">6. A Lesson About Submission to God’s Will</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus personal example of prayer here is less about changing God’s design and will. Its more about getting ourselves in line with His will for us… <b>verse 39, 42</b>. To realize, accept and believe that His will for us may not be what we want… but it is the best way to get us from where we are to where He wants us to be. To fulfill His plan to bring us into His family filled with glory.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>So, examine yourself. Are you submitting to the will of God or resisting?</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">While Jesus was preparing Himself the disciples were… sleeping. Present and ground zero of the most important even in cosmic history and they couldn’t keep their eyes open. AND when Jesus said “rise, let us go forth to meet what’s coming” <u>they were not prepared</u>.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 26:47-56 (mention Peter’s denials)</b></div><h2 class="western">7. A Lesson About Restoration</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The disciples were not worthy of Jesus love. They let Him down in his hour of need. They simply did not yet have the spiritual resources that would come to them on Pentecost. The next step in God’s plan. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">He met them later in Galilee as promised [John 21] and re-commissioned them to the task He had called them to in the beginning. He called to them on the lake where they were fishing. Once again He miraculously filled their nets with fish and called them to be fishers of men just like He had 3 years earlier. He personally restored Peter three times commanding him feed and take care of the church… once for each of the three denials. </div><h2 class="western">Did The Disciples Change?</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Acts 5:41-42</b> now fully restored and filled with the Holy Spirit they were prepared to face all things.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Identifying yourself with Jesus means risking the disapproval, the distain, the mockery of others. To be “skandalizo” “tripped up” or “trapped by fear” of what others might think, what they might do to us, what they might not do for us. Is a powerful source of temptation we must face. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">So, examine yourself. Will you face the world with knowledge, courage, confidence, humility, preparation and prayer? Will you let yourself be restored by Him to serve Him better? </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Or would you rather sleep…<br /><br />📖 Read this message on our blog<br /><span style="background-color: #edf4ff; color: #888888; font-family: &quot;arial&quot; , &quot;helvetica&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: 13px;">https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/03/examine-yourself-take-good-look.html</span></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/mfp0Kj00rIU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Passing on the Covenant to the Next Generation
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Oo99_qKlRDA" width="480"></iframe><br /></span><br /><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><br /></span></span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><span style="background-color: white; font-family: &quot;arial&quot; , &quot;helvetica&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: 13px;">God's covenant blessings and promises would pass to Jacob but not Esau. What was the difference between these two men? What does it mean for you?</span></span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><span style="background-color: white; font-family: &quot;arial&quot; , &quot;helvetica&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: 13px;"><br /></span></span></span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><span style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255 , 255 , 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-size: medium; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;"><span style="background: 0px 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14.6667px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">****************************************</span></span><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><span style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255 , 255 , 255); border: 0px; color: red; font-size: medium; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">Subscribe on Youtube: use the top left icon on the video!</span><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><span style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255 , 255 , 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-size: 11pt; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;"><span style="background: 0px 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14.6667px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">****************************************</span></span></span></span><br /><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Now... lets cover the action and events leading up to the section of scripture I am going to take a look at:</span></div><div><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><br /></span></b></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Sarah dies, Abraham purchases a tomb for her in Canaan</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Abraham plans for family succession. He arranges for a suitable wife for the son who will carry forward the covenant. He does not want him to marry into the Canaanite people. He understands that God wants the descendants of the covenant to remain separate.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Abraham's servant goes back to the land they came from to find a wife from among the extended family. He returns with Rebecca.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Abraham dies, we get a wrap-up of all his descendants. But the only one we are hereafter concerned with is Isaac. God's blessing pass to Isaac.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span> </span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><div class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent: 0px;"><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: calibri; font-size: 11pt;">****************************************</span><br /><span style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: calibri; font-size: medium;">Get a FREE bible study guide:</span><br /><a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/transforming-your-life-the-process-of-conversion" style="background-attachment: initial; background-clip: initial; background-image: initial; background-origin: initial; background-position: 0px 0px; background-repeat: initial; background-size: initial; border: 0px; color: #1e87f0; font-family: calibri; font-size: large; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; text-decoration-line: none; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion</a><br /><b style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">*************************************</b><br /><b style="font-family: calibri; font-size: 11pt;"><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Jacob's Sons</span></b></div><div style="text-align: left;"><b style="font-family: calibri; font-size: 11pt;"><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><br /></span></b></div></div></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"> </div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 25:19-23</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;two sons are conceived and born into the covenant family. But the blessing of the covenant would only pass along to one of them. Why?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We know from later on in the record that Jacob has 12 sons. The blessings and promises of the covenant pass along to all of them. Why wouldn't both of Isaac's sons share in the covenant?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Answer</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: because one of them </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">despised </span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">it. Despise: means to regard as unworthy of one's notice or consideration, to look upon with contempt, aversion, to consider worthless. It suggests an emotional response ranging from strong dislike to loathing.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God knew one son would grab hold of the blessings and promises of the covenant, and the other son would be indifferent. God didn't force the older son to feel that way. He just knew in advance that's how it would go.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 25:24-34</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Esau didn't care about what he was born to, and what might have been his. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Hebrews 12:15-17</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Esau was interested in hunting, fishing, chasing pretty women. He was a man's man, his dad loved him best, but that wasn</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t what</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;mattered to God.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Esau knew abut the birthright, the promises, the covenant... he offered them as payment for a bowl of soup. He knew the truth and he didn</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t care. Esau</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;made his own decision, he chose poorly.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Some people grow up knowing the truth, knowing God's plan, knowing our potential to have a place in it... and yet treat it as no big deal, they never really commit or buy in. I have watched many such people end up rejecting the truth, or resenting it because it interferes with the cares of &nbsp;life they become attached to. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’ll see that Esau wanted to settle down among the Canaanites. He didn’t want to stand apart from the world around him. He wanted to fit in, be one of them, and enjoy what life had to offer.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><h2><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Action &amp; Events (Genesis 26)</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></span></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">A famine hits the land. God talks Isaac into staying in the Gerar (Gaza) instead of Egypt </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 26:2-6</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Isaac prospers but the people of the area get jealous and keep taking his wells forcing him to move from place to place. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 26:23-24</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Isaac returns to Canaan and God reiterates the covenant promises.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 26:34-35</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Abraham had been very concerned that his son not marry Canaanite women. He knew that if they went down that path they would become absorbed into the Canaanite people and cease to be a special and unique covenant people before God. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Hebrews 11:8-10, 13-16</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Go</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">d’s people must remain separate. &nbsp;Which means you are going to stand out… people will think you are strange.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Esau's starts cavorting with Canaanite women. He ends up marrying not 1 but 2 of them. He seems unconcerned or outright rebelliousness toward the whole idea of living as a separate &nbsp;covenant people. God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s prophecy is starting to unfold.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">But, Isaac doesn</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t want to face the facts. He is grieved by Esau’s actions but he still wants Esau to be the one to receive the covenant promises even though Esau has shown nothing but contempt for it. That’s not the sort of person God wants.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 27:1-13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Isaac's intentions are suspect... he appears to be side-stepping Esau's behavior and God's revelation!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">In old testament times a dying man normally gathered ALL his sons around him to bless them publicly, and lay out the succession in an orderly manner. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Why does he want to only bless Esau and not Jacob?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Why does he appear to be doing it on the sly? Rebecca only finds out by spying on him...</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Isaac knows Esau is flouting the families wishes regarding not intermarrying with the Canaanites. Why put the covenant at risk like this? Isaac knows the prophetic pronouncement about Esau. Surely that should have put him on alert regarding Esau's bad behavior and attitude regarding the covenant.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Why use vague language about his impending death (even though Isaac has decades left to live)... unless he's trying to do the deal ahead of time, sneak it in while no one is expecting it... so Jacob doesn't know.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Not only is Isaac physically blind he is blind to the heart of his own son… that he is unfit to be the one God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">’s promise can work.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 27:27-40</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;and so the covenant is passed along to Jacob. Isaac and Esau tried to pull a fast one on Jacob, in turn Jacob and Rebecca proved &nbsp;even sneakier. Scripture doesn't explicitly condone or condemn what Jacob and Rebecca did. However they do reap as they have sown. Jacob must flee... Rebecca never sees her favorite son again... and soon Jacob the deceiver will himself be cruelly deceived.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">What Was The Difference Between Jacob &amp; Esau?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Both men had their sins… BUT, God can deal with sin, transgressions can be forgiven, consequences of sin can lead to repentance, lesson learned and growth in understanding. What God can</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t work with</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;is indifference. The idea that a person could have opportunity for great gifts and blessings and simply not care, not go for it, not lay hold of what is being offered.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Esau didn't care... that's why God didn't want him. Jacob cared, he was going to do what it took to lay hold of the blessings God had to offer. Jacob would make a lot of mistakes along the way... but Jacob wanted it. That's what God wants to see in the heart of a person </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Revelation 3:14-20</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 27:46-28:4</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Jacob is sent out to find a suitable wife who is not a Canaanite, and to get away from Esau who wants to kill him. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 28:10-15</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;God confirms the succession of the covenant to Jacob... the man passionate enough to want it. Note: Jacob is willing to act. he vows to tithe as a way of acknowledging God, he is willing to travel to a foreign land to seek out a wife who is not a Canaanite.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><h2><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Action &amp; Events (Genesis 29-</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">31</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">)</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></span></h2><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jacob meets Rachael and falls in love which is going to make what happens next extra painful!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jacob the deceiver is deceived by Laban into marrying the older sister Leah first. Jacob then makes a deal to marry both women... again multiple wives is going to lead to lots of family tension and strife later on down the road, scripture does not condone or condemn the act, but clearly shows them reaping bad results.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jacob fathers 12 sons over the years... and becomes very wealthy</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jacob realizes he needs to get away from Laban and return to the land God has promised</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jacob prepares to meet Esau after all these years and wonders what will happen</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><h2><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Jacob Heads Back To the Land of Promise</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></span></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 32:1-12</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Jacob never got the wealth from Isaac. He went out with nothing. But God blessed him with wealth and children. Nether Isaac's willfulness, Esau's anger, or Jacobs obvious shortcomings could render God's blessing and promise null and void. The covenant plan of God was about to get back on track</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 32:22-30</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;we are all called to struggle with God and with man... and to overcome. Verse 28 is a key scripture for understanding what scripture tells us about Jacob. How God could work with such a deeply flawed person. Jacob was not perfect, but he wrestled with God, he was going to hold on no matter what until he got the blessing. God is pleased by that kind of attitude and desire for what He has to offer. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Sin can be dealt with. Indifference is a much more serious problem in God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s eyes</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Jacob wanted the promises and blessings of God's covenant! How do you feel about the covenant God has made with you? That new covenant?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">(don</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t read </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">)Genesis 33:1-5 Jacob finally meets and reconciles with Esau</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">(don</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t read </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">)Genesis 33:8-11 Jacob offers to restore to Esau the material blessings he took by deceit</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">(don</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t read </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">)Genesis 33:12-19 Esau offers to travel with Jacob... but Jacob diplomatically opts to stay separate and goes to set up his own place. Jacob wants to reconcile with Esau but not to take up his ways and become one people with him. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Note: in the same way we should seek peace with the world as much as we can but not to embrace it.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><h2><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Dinah &amp; The Canaanites</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></span></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">This final episode in this record of Isaac's sons we see yet another situation arise where integration with the people of Canaan becomes an issue.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Dinah is one of the daughters of Jacob's wife Leah. She decides to go hang out with the Canaanite women in the area. Note: we shouldn't assume Dinah's intentions are pure here. She gets in over head and is raped by a local Canaanite man. Jacob and then his sons hear about it.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 34:8-10</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;The Canaanite ruler of the area says "my son loves this girl and wants to marry her, why don't you move into our town and we can all be one big happy family". </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God does not want any of the covenant people to integrate with the Canaanites. The Canaanites are going to be punished and removed from the land and the land will go to the descendant of Abraham instead. A clean break with the abominations of Canaan are fundamental to the covenant of promise. God wants His covenant people to remain separate from the Canaanites.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The sons of Jacob deceitfully </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">OK, as long as you become circumcised</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Then when the men of Canaan are still recovering from the procedure and unable to fight, Dinah's full-blood brothers Simeon and Levi swoop in and kill the all Canaanite men.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">They rescue Dinah who was being held, and they loot the town carrying off all sorts of plunder. The sons of Jacob don</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t intend to integrate but Jacob is not pleased by how they are going about it.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><h2><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Renewal </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">of</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;Worship &amp; Purity</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></span></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 35:1 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God says leave this place and go back to the location where I first appeared to you when you were fleeing from Esau. Let's get back to basics.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 35:2-5</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Jacob gets the message. There is going to be a renewal of worship and commitment to YHWH. We are going to get rid of all the idols and other junk we picked up from the Canaanites. We are going to declare a fresh start.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">In the same way God wants all of you who partake of the new covenant to remain separate and get rid of all the debris from the world around you that you have picked up. Let</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s use this year’s Passover remembrance stir us up to do just this!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 35:6-13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;this re dedication to the covenant by Jacob and his family is followed by a reaffirmation that the promises and blessings granted to Abraham are indeed passed along to his grandson Jacob.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">AND, Jacob's name is changed... Jacob which means </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">the grabber and deceiver</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;is now to be called Israel which means </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">he who struggles with God</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><h2><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Conclusion</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></span></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Desire and contend for the promises of God</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Grab hold of what is offered to you in your covenant with God and don</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t let go.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Maintain purity </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">- do not become absorbed into the world around you. Remain separate and remain a special people called by God for His purpose.&nbsp;</span></span></div></div><script data-dojo-config="usePlainJson: true, isDebug: false" src="//downloads.mailchimp.com/js/signup-forms/popup/unique-methods/embed.js" type="text/javascript"></script><script type="text/javascript">window.dojoRequire(["mojo/signup-forms/Loader"], function(L) { L.start({"baseUrl":"mc.us17.list-manage.com","uuid":"42a7ee88449a01c2085c19d73","lid":"3acbe82180","uniqueMethods":true}) })</script><br /><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/72wyjO7bPr8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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God's Covenant With Abraham
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><span style="font-size: 14.6667px;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FM-QXGAbDI4" width="480"></iframe></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Each year we grow in our understanding of what our covenant with God means... our growth and expansion of understanding is pleasing to God. &nbsp;Today we will look at how God used the process of covenant review in the life of Abraham.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span><span style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: calibri; font-size: medium; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;"><span style="background: 0px 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14.6667px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">****************************************</span></span><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><span style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: red; font-family: calibri; font-size: medium; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">Subscribe on Youtube: use the top left icon on the video!</span><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><span style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: calibri; font-size: 11pt; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;"><span style="background: 0px 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14.6667px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">****************************************</span></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">God</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">’s </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Covenant With Abraham</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 12:1-3</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;this is the covenant Paul refers to in Galatians 3. It is a covenant graciously offered by God and based on faith… &nbsp;a willingness to believe what God says and then to act upon it. It is a covenant we now know had blessings built in for all people on earth (not just Israel). It is a covenant that looks forward to the coming of the Messiah... so that by faith in Him we might receive the promise of the holy spirit... the power of everlasting life... and share in the better promises of the new covenant.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">You could say the new covenant is built on the foundation of this covenant of faith.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">However, much time and many events take place between Genesis 12 and Galatians 3. God's covenants and promises unfold, are expanded, and head in new directions.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Physical Blessings For A Physical Nation</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Abraham received his calling not long after the tower of babel incident. The people of the earth had a plan to pool their resources and challenge the authority of the Creator... to declare themselves a great nation and a mighty people. God put an end to that by confusing their languages... then proceeded to roll-out a plan to create a TRULY great nation based on BETTER priorities and ways... the nation established by God… would be called Israel.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God begins by calling this man Abram. Abram was 75 years old at the time but still had many years of living to go. He left his father, people, culture, religion, and false gods to follow the living God.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 12:4-7</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Abraham demonstrates his willingness to step out and act on faith. God responds by expanding (or building upon) the basic promise of blessing by saying "this great nation you are to become will be given this choice land". God adds concrete realities to the previous statements.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-size: 11pt; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">****************************************</span><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><span style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-size: medium; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">Get a FREE bible study guide:</span><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><span style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-size: medium; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;"><a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/transforming-your-life-the-process-of-conversion" style="background: 0px 0px; border: 0px; color: #1e87f0; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; text-decoration-line: none; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion</a></span><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><b style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">*************************************</b></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Action &amp; Events in Abrams Life</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;(Genesis 13-14)</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">There is a drought in the land. So, Abraham travels to Egypt for the duration. While there he has some questionable interactions with the Pharaoh. Pharaoh tries to appease God's anger by giving Abram all kinds of livestock, servants (great wealth) and then kicks Abram out. The upshot is: Abram is now rich.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Abram goes back to Canaan. Friction builds up with his nephew Lot. Abraham suggests they separate to different territories to keep the peace. Lot goes to Sodom where he gets into some serious trouble. Abraham comes to the rescue. &nbsp;After the conflict and settling of accounts we are introduced to Melchizedek.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Summary: Abraham has had some hits and some misses… &nbsp;all this is i</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">nteresting and exciting... but Abram is getting old by now. The situation is looking bleak. What good is God's promise of land and a great nation if Abram doesn't have a child? </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 15:1-4</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">God Reaffirms The</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">ir</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;Covenant</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">So... when Abram is having some doubts, questioning the plan... how does God respond? He says “let’s go over our covenant again”. (Note: deal with doubt by going back to the basic NC promises, if you believe God’s promise of eternal life everything else falls into place).</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 15:5-7</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;God reaffirms his promise of a child to whom all the promises and inheritance of the land will flow. He adds a promise that they will be a huge number of people (more concrete detail). Abram believes God can deliver on His promise, This is a big deal. Why? God wants people to believe what He says… its even more important than obedience!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Consider this: If obedience was all God wanted He could force you to obey! You could have no choice. But, God wants you to have freedom. He wants you to believe His words are life and then desire to walk in them. This is what Paul means when he says... by this faith we uphold the law Romans 3:31.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">If you believe what God says, then you act in faith, you will obey... because you want to (from the heart).</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 15:8</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Abram believes but still needs reassurance from God, which God provides by giving Abram a vision related to the covenant. &nbsp;Remember: Abram didn’t have a set of scriptures to read.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 15:9-21</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;In this vision God adds details and builds upon the previous promises of the covenant. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">I will walk among your descendants after you die (the sacrificial animals; heifer, goat, ram, dove... represent Israel, Abram's future children whom God walks between).</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God provides a prophecy that the children will become slaves in Egypt... but He will rescue them and Egypt will give them all kinds of riches on the way out. (probably more for future generations benefit than Abram’s)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Provides a more detailed description of the land they will receive. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Action &amp; Events in Abram's Life</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;(Genesis 16)</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Sarah assumes she is barren. She gets desperate and comes up with a plan to get child through her maid, Hagar. She tells Abram to marry Hagar as a second wife and thereby conceive a child which Sarai can then raise as her own. This was a common procedure in the culture at the time (like surrogate motherhood)... Sarai and Abram are following social norms here rather than any directive from God. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Multiple wives goes outside boundaries of God’s original intent for the family. This creates tension and trouble. They work their way through it and Ishmael is born. But, Abram has made some miss-steps. How does God respond?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">God Reaffirms Their Covenant Again</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 17:1-2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the covenant is based on faith but presumes that this faith will be demonstrated by action! The Hagar/Ishmael episode was badly done... I want you to walk blamelessly... </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Note: the word blameless here is </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">taw-meem</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">; it means complete, whole, with integrity. For example; Moses used it to describe the counting of the 50 days of Pentecost (count until it is complete). Most often Moses used it to describe animals suitable for sacrifice (they are to be without blemish, no missing eyes, or limbs, no defects etc.).</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">So, God is saying "keep living your life under my watching eyes and be complete, whole, and without defects. You've made some mistakes... let's review the covenant again. Note: if you have had some miss-steps, go back to the promises of your covenant with God. Remember why this stuff matters.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">First, </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">God's Part of the Covenant</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">:</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 17:3-8</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;OK, here's what I (YHWH) am going to do. Goes over the main points: lots of descendants... lots of land. I want you to change your name to Abraham to provide a constant reminder of this. Also, God adds some additional information... this covenant with your descendant will be everlasting. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Abraham's Part of the Covenant</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 17:9-14</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;God already reiterated to Abraham that the goal is to live blamelessly. God now adds circumcision to the covenant. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Abraham and all his male descendants are to be circumcised. The covenant with its blessings and its expectations is not simply between God and Abraham... but also with all his descendants.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Circumcision is also a sign of the everlasting nature of this covenant (verse 13)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="line-height: 114%; margin-bottom: 10.0000pt; mso-add-space: auto;"><br /></div><div class="15" style="line-height: 114%; margin-bottom: 10.0000pt; mso-add-space: auto;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">But wait… didn’t God put an end to His covenant with Israel?</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">430 years later God would enter into a covenant with Israel at Sinai. That covenant was do be based on the condition of obedience rather than God’s grace. It is a very detailed agreement: huge amount of info about what was expected of Israel, lots of detail about the blessings they could expect, lots of detail of the consequences they would face if they disobeyed. We read about that covenant in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We know from history that Israel failed to obey, broke the covenant, reaped the consequences. That covenant is no longer in force... it has been replaced with what we generally call &nbsp;“the new covenant”. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Galatians 3:15-18</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the previous commitments and promises God made to Abraham (and his descendants) still stand. &nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">These covenant promises made to Abraham and sons are not conditional… they are not “if you obey”… then… X. God wanted to see obedience… He wanted Abraham to practice blameless living... becoming complete and mature spiritually. An individual could opt out of the covenant by refusing circumcision.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 11:28-29 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the descendants of Abraham are still a special people with a special role and a special future in God's plan. They still mark themselves by circumcision.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;However, the covenant promises God made to Abraham didn’t contain the promise of eternal life. That better promise is accessed by entering into the new covenant in Christ... being baptized into His death… receiving the holy spirit. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Spiritually speaking &nbsp;Israel are in the dark during this age of the Church. But after Christ's return Israel will be the first among nations to gain access to the spiritual blessing of that new covenant. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Jeremiah 31:31-37, Jeremiah 32:40</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Israel will be the first of the nations to be judged by tribulation when Christ returns… and the first to be restored when Christ establishes the rule of God on earth. God will once again establish Israel as a model nation through whom He will teach all peoples. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">God remains true to the everlasting covenant!</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Actions &amp; Events</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;(Genesis 18-21)</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God reiterates His promise that Sarah will bear a son for Abraham, Sarah laughs in disbelief</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Abraham carries out the instructions to circumcise. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Abraham pleads for Sodom and Gomorrah - demonstrates mercy in the face of judgment (in my opinion the shining moment of his walk with God)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">There are some dubious dealings with Abimelech (similar to Abram’s dealings with the Pharaoh)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Finally, Issac the son of promise is born - which leads to more family tension</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">More ups and downs... Abraham shows great spiritual maturity, he finally receives the promise of an heir. But still has some of the same bad habits as before. How does God respond?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">God Re-affirms His Promises... and Tests Abraham’s commitment.</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 22:1-2</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God plucked Abraham and offered him purpose, blessings and hope. Abraham believed and responded in faith, he did what he was asked. But he also had his lapses. There were times when he relied on his own craftiness, or what seemed right in his own eyes. Perhaps these played into the long-drawn-out timeline through which the promises were revealed and fulfilled... perhaps they played a part in this final recorded episode of Abraham's life. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 22:3-14</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;verse 8 - Abraham had faith that whatever it was God could work it out. Verse 12 - God learned what He wanted to know… “are you all in?” Can you lose something, someone that &nbsp;you love and believe My power to restore them once more at the appointed time?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">James 2:21-26 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Abraham got through it by maintaining the same faith that got him there in the first place</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Hebrews 11:17-19</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;Abraham got through this trial by faith in God’s ultimate power over life. The mental anguish was not worthy to be compared with what God has in store for those who love and obey Him. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">How did God respond? </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 22:15-19</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Conclusion</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">You may have been tested and tried with unanswered prayer, a long delay of a hoped for blessing, you may have experienced lapses, moments of doubt, perhaps you have been asked to give up someone. Or something, you love. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">In all these things believe that God can, and will, provide you with that which is even better... the promise of life. Respond in faith, seek to walk in a manner that is blameless. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God has entered into a covenant with you that is bigger and better that what was offered to Israel. But He still uses the technique of recalling, rehearsing and reaffirming. He calls you once again this year to reaffirm and rehearse the promises of that covenant at the Passover.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></div><br />Read this message at our blog 📘 <br /><a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2019/03/gods-covenant-with-abraham.html">God's Covenant of Faith With Abraham</a></div><br /><script data-dojo-config="usePlainJson: true, isDebug: false" src="//downloads.mailchimp.com/js/signup-forms/popup/unique-methods/embed.js" type="text/javascript"></script><script type="text/javascript">window.dojoRequire(["mojo/signup-forms/Loader"], function(L) { L.start({"baseUrl":"mc.us17.list-manage.com","uuid":"42a7ee88449a01c2085c19d73","lid":"3acbe82180","uniqueMethods":true}) })</script><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/NXai5IruB5k" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Jesus Teaches About Greatness in the Kingdom of God
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-xHDZdUTcbHs/WUQWEi6-bDI/AAAAAAAAAgE/804wyt_OvlsFpy02HIKraCSZ1v8rjw1LQCLcBGAs/s1600/runningfastasIcan.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1068" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-xHDZdUTcbHs/WUQWEi6-bDI/AAAAAAAAAgE/804wyt_OvlsFpy02HIKraCSZ1v8rjw1LQCLcBGAs/s320/runningfastasIcan.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">In a previous post we took a look at Jesus instructions to the disciples about the establishment of the church. </div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The bedrock and foundation of faith…. that Jesus is the son of the living God</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">His coming death and resurrection… which meant He would soon be leaving them</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">They would receive the keys of administration to manage the functions of the church… with authority to make decision about applying the law etc.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">They too must take up their cross putting to death the old person and becoming a new person. </div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus ended that session of teaching with a promise… that some of them would see Him in the power and glory of the Kingdom before they tasted death.<br /><br />View this message on YouTube - <br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0H2B4C0DHfg">Jesus Teaches About Greatness in the Kingdom of God</a></div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Matt 17: 1-13 A Glimpse of Jesus as He Will be In the KOG</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus took his three closest disciples (Peter, James, and John) up the mountain… while there they are allowed to see Him in His glorified state… very similar to what we read in the first chapter of Revelation… shining with bright light like the sun etc. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This amazing vision would have provided much needed reassurance from the Father to strengthen Jesus’ resolve to go to Jerusalem and face crucifixion. The vision includes Moses and Elijah who talk to Him about His upcoming death Luke 9:31 (presumably they represent the law and the prophets urging Him on). Also, the voice of the Father speaks affirming Jesus is on the right path… poof then it’s over.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">No doubt the memory of this would also help the disciples get through the troubles and trials the church would face after Jesus’ death… likewise we too should think about the glory that awaits as a way to get through the daily grind of trial testing and suffering.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Once again He tells them not to speak of what they have just seen until after He has risen from the tomb. They still do not understand the true nature of the messiah and are not ready to start teaching others about it (<i>Mark 9:10 - They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what "rising from the dead" meant</i>).</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">They also had questions about Elijah showing they are still thinking in terms of national restoration and the conquering victorious messiah. The disciples still did not really understand what Jesus was telling them about the path to glory that comes through enduring trials, suffering and even persecution… they seem to be aware that He is telling them that He is establishing some sort of new community of chosen ones… but how will this community of chosen ones interact with the world? What will their status be? Are they about to become Kings and Priests? What will they have authority over? Who will be in charge?</div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Matt 17: 14-23 Jesus Example of Patience and Compassion</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">As soon as Jesus and the three disciples arrive back from the mountain they meet a large noisy crowd. The disciples who had remained behind had tried to heal a demon possessed boy… but they had failed. Scribes and naysayers were disputing with them and then the father of the boy runs up to Jesus seeking His help.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">What a way to come off a great spiritual high… But, as always Jesus is patient and compassionate… a perfect example of the principles of loving authority and true greatness He is about to begin teaching at length in chapter 18.</div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Matt 17:24-27 - Is The Church Subject To Worldly Authority?</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Before jumping into the main body of what Jesus has to say about greatness in the KOG Matthew records an interesting interchange with the Jews who collected the temple tax… interesting because it makes a point about the present authority of the church… and its relation to human government.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The temple tax was not a law recorded in OT scripture. It was a law of the Jews (base on an obscure interpretation of Exodus 30:13). Jesus’ point to Peter is… the children of God are not commanded to pay this tax (it’s not required by God’s law)… but so as not to offend we will pay it. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Even though we are children of the most high… we submit ourselves to worldly authority (except where it requires us to disobey God). Jesus has given authority to the church “<i>the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven</i>”... yet the church subjects itself to worldly authority just as He did… waiting for God’s appointed time.</div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Authority &amp; Greatness in the Kingdom of God</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 18:1</b> – the disciples argue among themselves who was going to be the greatest (ref parallel)… </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">They believed Jesus was the Messiah who would usher in the KOG… He had talked to them about great authority to come their way… they knew He was on His way to Jerusalem for a showdown with the power that be… that He would be killed but be miraculously resurrected to life… three of the 12 had just seen Jesus revealed in His divine glory… it was enough to make anyone’s head swim with ideas of grandeur… surely the time had come!</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">But their arguing shows that the disciples do not yet share the mind of God on matters of authority and greatness… perhaps even to the point of eagerly anticipating lording it over others as the kings of the gentile do… a way of thinking Jesus would warn the disciples about again at the final Passover meal (Luke 22:25)</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus’ answer to their question “who will be the greatest in the KOG?” takes up the entirety of chapter 18… He first instruct them to redefine “greatness” away from a focus on hierarchy, status, privilege, etc, toward a standard based on how you treat others. Furthermore, this KOG standard was to be the standard for His church.</div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Jesus teaches using 2 scenarios for how you should treat others:</span></h3><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Warning against offending “one of the little ones” verses 1-14</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Instructions on how to deal with those who wrong you verses 15-35</div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Jesus first warns those who would be great against offending others.</b></div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Matt 18:2-4 Humility</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">You have to change your way of thinking…. If the Word of God was willing to empty himself and come in the form of a working class carpenter, humbling himself in obedience even unto death… what does that mean for us?... those who are to follow in His footsteps, namely the Church of God.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Children don’t naturally act humble… rather they <u>are</u> humble… of lowly status, utterly dependent upon their parents… not self sufficient. Likewise, we must realize that we are completely dependent… we no power to save ourselves from death… we are 100% dependent on the mercy of our Father in heaven. We must <u>turn away</u> from preoccupation with status and humble ourselves as if we were a child… and trust our Father. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>How does this affect human relationships?</b> Simple: those who think highly of themselves tend to treat others as lowly… a scenario with great potential to create a stumbling block for others in the church.</div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Matt 18:5-7 Responsibility</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">You are responsible for the effect you have on the spiritual lives of others. On the positive side we welcome newcomers who hear and obey our Father in heaven. On the negative side God is very dis-pleased with those who mess up the spiritual lives of others. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">If you are reading the NKJV or the NIV you read the phrase <i>cause to sin</i>. Dubious translation… the word is <i>scandalizo</i> which is usually translated “offend”, “offended” but also “cause to fall away” or “stumble” (very often the result of someone being offended is that they fall away, leave the faith, leave the church)</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">How do we avoid causing that?</div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Matt 18:8-9 Self-Denial</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">If there are parts of your personality that cause stumbling… offense… falling away… you must get rid of them… vanity, love of gossip, playing fast and loose with God’s commands, wrangling over the minutia of scripture, lording it over others, coldness and indifference… etc. These have a very negative effect on others and on you.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This is what Jesus means when He says “whoever loses his life for me will find it”… to be crucified with Christ… to put the old person to death… to walk in the newness of life. </div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Matt 18:10-14 Respect Kindness and Concern For Others</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Care for the individual members not just for the flock… (concept vs. reality) “I love humanity… I just don’t like people very much”... what good is it to say I love the Brethren (in theory)… I respect the Brethren (in theory)… but not love or respect the individual members you come across in the Church.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Remember Jesus is talking to the disciples, the founding members of His Church… He is answering their question about who would be the greatest… <b>Answer:</b> greatness was to be measured in their treatment of others, especially the little ones… the small, the weak, the naïve. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Jesus now addresses our treatment of those who have done wrong to us! </b> </div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Matt 18:15-17 Discipline</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Note the use of the word <i>brother</i>… this is directed toward relationships within the Church. Also, the word translated as sin in the NKJV or the NIV is not the <i>scandalizo</i> we discussed earlier… its <i>harmartano</i>… which truly does mean SIN. We are no longer talking about things that can cause doubt, offense or even falling away. We are talking about when someone has done you wrong.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Some people are hyper-sensitive and seem to find offense everywhere. People might have a quarrel in which both parties share in the blame… That’s not what is being addressed here. This is a trespass where the fault is on the other side.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Question:</b> Isn’t it better to overlook such a sin… to forgive and turn the other cheek?</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Forgiveness is too often used as a disguise for weakness or indifference in the face of sin. Notice the phrase “you have won your brother” or “you have gained your brother”. The motive here is not to be correct, or to prove yourself right. The motive is to <u>restore</u> a fellow disciple. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">When a person repents, forgiveness is available; but without repentance, forgiveness is not given. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>But Christ extended forgiveness to people who had not repented. Why?</b> Because they didn’t know any better “forgive them for they know not what they do”… However, these instructions are given to the Church… for people who <u>do</u> know better… and so forgiveness is handled a bit differently.</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;">It’s a simple 4 step plan (the first three steps all seeking repentance):</div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Go to them alone</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Go to them with reliable people as witnesses</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Take it to the Church (in hope they may submit to authority &amp; judgment)</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Excommunicate (forgiveness withheld where there is no repentance)</div></li></ol><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Matt 18:18-20 Unity</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Christ has given the church authority to discipline. However, discipline administered in the name and authority of Christ must also be administered in the spirit of Christ… with unity of mind and purpose. Not at the whim of a powerful individual (the greatest). Only with this unity do we have any confidence that our decisions are acceptable to the Father. <i>Caveat: this principle relates to matters of reconciliation as is not meant to be applied to matters of law or doctrine etc. Nor does it mean we can gather together and successfully ask for whatever we want. </i> </div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Matthew 18:21-22 Forgiveness &amp; Restoration</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Based on the record we have Jesus never actually mentioned forgiveness but it was clearly implied. Peter realizes this and he has a question about the limits of forgiveness.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Traditionally the Rabbis had a three strikes and you’re out policy. So, Peter probably thought he was being very generous here… double that and add one more for good measure… 7 times!</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus reply: UNLIMITED forgiveness is available. Always forgive, unless the person refuses to repent (which implies a change of behavior). If there is no repentance, the principle of verses 15-17 come back into play.</div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Matt 18:23-35 A Parable of Forgiveness</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">For those who repent God eternally and unconditionally forgives a huge debt against Him. It’s hard to understand believers (fellow servants) who would refuse to grant forgiveness to each other over matters that are trivial in comparison to the mountain of debt God has forgiven us.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">By accepting God’s unlimited forgiveness of us… and our sins… we are therefore expected to extend the same forgiveness to others. Not just from the lips but from the heart</div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Who would be great in the Kingdom of God? </span> </h3><br /><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">One who learns humility, is soberminded about their responsibility, ready to put away anything in themselves that causes harm, respectful, kind and concerned about others… willing to apply discipline where necessary, working in unity with their brothers, and eager to forgive the repentant person.</div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/e6ZqJ3N4vbU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Jesus Teaches in Parables
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-E4rUYudFPM0/WdEE-y8MK6I/AAAAAAAAAk4/XZv8KeANEmwjuWss_XZxwWDZr1iEH8c_gCLcBGAs/s1600/hans-peter-gauster-252751.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1069" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-E4rUYudFPM0/WdEE-y8MK6I/AAAAAAAAAk4/XZv8KeANEmwjuWss_XZxwWDZr1iEH8c_gCLcBGAs/s320/hans-peter-gauster-252751.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>Over the past several months we have taken a look at segments of the book of Matthew and today I would like to take a look at another section.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The focus of the past 4 sermons from Matthew has been the ministry of Jesus… </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Jesus ministry of teaching </b>– Matthew 5-7 which we dealt with in 2 parts. Matthew provides us with an example of how Jesus taught about the law of God, standards personal behavior, thoughts &amp; actions, as well as good works.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Jesus ministry of healing</b> – Matthew 8-9. Matthew grouped together a number of examples of Jesus healing illustrating His compassion, care for the outcast, His authority over body life forces of spirit realm… and over sin and death.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Jesus ministry of proclamation</b> – Matthew 10 Jesus send for the church to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom of God. Jesus sermon grants authority, gives some limitations, tells what to say… along with some practical instruction on dealing with rejection and opposition.<br /><br />View this message on YouTube - <br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xg6ex1he-p0">Jesus Teaches in Parables</a></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The next section of extended teaching from Jesus is <br /><a name='more'></a>found in Matthew 13… which for those of you who know your bible is the first major section of parables from Jesus. </div><h3 class="western">Why did Jesus begin using parables?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">You’ve probably heard that Jesus was a great story teller… that He used stories to get the attention of His listeners and to drive home a particular spiritual or doctrinal point. Jesus was indeed a good story teller and His parables do drive home particular spiritual and doctrinal understanding… but not to everyone!</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus frequently spoke quite plainly to the people about who He was and what He was up to. Some couldn’t take it in because they expected the messiah to act a certain way… and Jesus didn’t do and say what they expected the messiah to do and say.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">the gospel records indicate that what really drew the crowds was the miraculous displays of His power … healing, driving our demons, feeding vast crowds from a few loaves of bread and so forth.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Let’s back up and look at the two chapters of Matthew leading up to chapter 13. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Chapter 11 shows that even John The Baptist… the one who pointed to Jesus and said “behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”… after seeing how Jesus was operating… teaching… healing… and sending forth the disciples to proclaim the KOG… John was confused and he sent some messenger to ask “are you really the messiah? Or should we keep looking?”… Jesus reminds John of the prophecies that are being fulfilled and coaches him to hang in there.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">After a brief explanation to the crowd gathered around Him that John is the last of the OT prophets and the Elijah to come… Jesus begins to criticize their fickleness… John comes with a somber message of self denial, spiritual discipline and repentance before God and they say John is possessed by a demon. Jesus comes with a message of mercy, joy and restoration and he’s called a glutton, drunkard and friend of sinners… </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">He also criticizes the cities He had been preaching and teaching in because they had not responded to the plain teaching and instruction they have gotten from both Himself and from John… The words went in one ear and out the other… they have not changed their lives at all!</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 11:25-27</b> He talks to the crowd about humility as a prerequisite to receiving God’s truth</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 11:28-30</b> He offers them relief from their burdens and oppression</div><h3 class="western">Two Examples of Burdens to Be Relieved</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Traditions of Men and false religious beliefs</b> – read this section on the <i>Lord of the Sabbath</i>… and I think you’ll see that here we have an example of Jesus confronting the burdensome traditions of men. Specifically, the traditions regarding Sabbath observance: it’s ok to eat on the Sabbath… it’s ok to lift food to your mouth from a bowl or a plate… but it’s not ok to pluck a head of grain and lift it to your mouth? It’s ok to pull a stranded animal out of a hole on the Sabbath but it’s not ok to heal a suffering person on the Sabbath?</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Don’t lecture me on what’s allowed I’m the creator of the Sabbath!</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>And what is the reaction?</b> After that the Pharisees began to plot how to destroy and kill Him. <b>Verse 14</b></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Spiritual Oppression</b> – next Jesus demonstrates His power and authority to drive away spiritual oppression by casting a demon out of a man.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>And what is the reaction?</b> They accuse Him of being in league with the prince of demons</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">People were hearing plain spoken true teaching about repentance from dead works… they were witnessing with their own eyes the fulfillment of the prophesied Messiah with supernatural power over human life, sickness, and the spirit realm… <u>and they were rejecting it</u>.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Instead… they ask Him to prove Himself with some magic tricks… He refuses and instead offers them a soon to be fulfilled prophecy of His death and resurrection. (God’s miracles have purpose)</div><h3 class="western">Jesus Begins to Speak in Parables</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">His parables and stories were filled with truth about the coming Kingdom of God but were not easy to understand without help and instruction. And the key to accessing the truth embedded in the parable was humility… a willingness to ask “what does this mean?”… a willingness to listen… and a willingness to act upon what you have heard. Humility in this case means to put aside your own ideas about truth, life, reality… and to listen to God your creator.</div><h3 class="western">The Parable of the Sower - Matthew 13:1-9</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Verse 1 “that same day”… so the crowd was listening to what Jesus had to say but what had attracted them was the dramatic healings, casting out of demons and so forth… but what did they take away from these parables? </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><i>That Jesus guy said some pretty deep stuff… Not sure I really understand but it sounded profound… Those miracles were pretty cool though, weren’t they?</i></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">In contrast, a small group of disciples approached Jesus and asked Him to explain why He was speaking in parables and what did the parables mean. <b>Verses 10-17</b>.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">For those whose hearts are already hardened parables obscure and confuse… but for those with a willing heart… willing to humble themselves and be taught parables can provide valuable insight. There are aspects of the truth which are hidden… mysteries… to understand them you need a guide. The disciples had Jesus (God in the flesh) there with them, later the Holy Spirit would take this role… but I submit to you that along with the Holy Spirit you need the church of God.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">I do not come to you each Sabbath with messages based on stuff I figured out myself… I come to you with messages based on the things I have been taught by others.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Often people come to understand something basic and fundamental on their own… like the keeping of the Sabbath. But an understanding of God’s plan of salvation, the truth about judgment, the resurrections or what sonship in the KOG really means… these things are taught and passed along by the Church of God together with the Holy Spirit.</div><h3 class="western">The Explanation of the Parable of the Sower – Matt 13:18-23</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Ironically, the parable of the sower is about perceiving and accepting truth. Jesus present 4 ways the message of the Kingdom can be responded to. The seed is the message, the soil is the human heart. Some are hard, some are superficial, some idolize wealth and the world, and some are good.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Even an enthusiastic response to the truth is insufficient... what counts is standing the test of time, perseverance in difficulty, avoidance of focusing on wealth or the worries of the world AND most of all… hearing and doing… doing the good things which prove the response is genuine. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To hear the truth… admit you’re wrong and change as a result takes <u>humility</u>. Humbling yourself before God.</div><h3 class="western">The Parable of the Weeds Matt 13:24-30</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus parable of the weeds is also about possible responses to the message of the kingdom of God. But we wouldn’t know that unless He explained it to the disciples later. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>What parts of it would they have understood?</b> The word weed is actually <i>zizanion</i>, a type of weed also called a darnel… or “false grain”. In its early stages you could not tell it apart from a real wheat plant. Only later when both plants grew up could you tell them apart… wheat would bear fruit or a kernel of grain while the <i>zizanion</i> would have nothing to offer. Even when it did become apparent you could not pull up the <i>zizanion</i> without disrupting the wheat… their roots systems were too intertwined.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Today we understand the spiritual analogy Jesus is making but only because He later explains it.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">But first we have:</div><h3 class="western">The Parable of the Mustard Seed Matt 13:31-33</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus does not explain this parable… so even today we are left with some doubt as to how it applies. What is clear is that God’s plan and purpose in the world begins with something very small that grows larger. This could refer to faith, understanding, and the work of the Holy Spirit within you… it could refer to church growth… it could refer to the spread of knowledge and truth in the Millennial rule of Christ… we are not sure.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Verse 34-36</b> once again we see the crowd left in a kind of daze… not really understanding what they were hearing… but in contrast we see the disciples come to Him and ask. The same principle applies today… ask God for understanding and He will answer… ask God for wisdom and He will supply. Humble yourself before God and admit that you don’t have all the answers.</div><h3 class="western">The Explanation of the Parable of the Wheat Matt 13:37-47</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">God permits the existence of good and evil side by side in this world for His purpose of testing the hearts of men and women as mentioned in the previous parable. But He <u>will</u> judge them and separate them.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The workers in the field (people like you and me) want to start pulling up the weeds right away. You know and accept the truth of God… wouldn’t it be better to punish evil doers… why can’t we act now? But the workers are not equipped to judge… like Jesus said to James and John when they wanted to call down fire from heaven… “you do not know what manner of sprit you are of” (Luke 9:55). Before God will give you power and authority in the KOG He wants to see what you are made of… will you put on the mind of Christ. In the 1,000 year rule of Christ will you deal with dissent and rebellion with firmness… yet patient and not willing to see any perish? </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">I know I’m not there yet… </div><h3 class="western">The Weeds And the Wheat Grow Side By Side</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">No one is fit to judge and purify human society from evil without also potentially doing harm to those who are good at the same time. That judgment of separation is in God’s hands. The delay we experience now is His patient and gracious opportunity for repentance (1 Peter 3:9).</div><h3 class="western">The Parable of Hidden Treasure Matt 13:44-45</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The remainder of Jesus teaching on this occasion is a private session with the disciples alone the. The crowd is gone. Jesus starts to wrap up with two simple parables which make the same point: that the knowledge of the KOG is so valuable that it’s worth sacrificing everything to gain it.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The first is an example of a person who stumbles across the truth by accident. The second is an example of a person who is actively seeking it. God calls both types.</div><h3 class="western">The Parable of the Net Matt 13:46-51</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">A simple parable reiterating that God will judge between good and evil… something His beleaguered followers must always keep in mind. </div><h3 class="western">Jesus Conclusion Matt 13:51-52</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">I find it interesting that Jesus refers to them as future teachers of the law. That distinction will soon be taken away from the Scribes and Pharisees (the spiritual leaders of the day) and given to those who are willing to humbly seek wisdom and understanding from God… to accept it and to act upon it.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">As the new teachers of the law the disciples, the apostles, the Church of God will be drawing out the meaning of the OT scriptures (the truth delivered from the very beginning) while showing how they are applied in the new covenant age.</div><br /><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This is a task the Church of God is still working at to this day until His return.</div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/4qglkmRaA6A" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Jesus Sends Forth The Church Matt 10:1-42
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><h3 style="text-align: left;">Matt 9:35-38 A Message of Truth &amp; Hope</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/--qgjgWoYu7U/WdEGywKEygI/AAAAAAAAAlE/QPZgfwuQ3YoR87_XKHBmC9AchLiTTn4owCLcBGAs/s1600/aaron-burden-43435.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1202" data-original-width="1600" height="240" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/--qgjgWoYu7U/WdEGywKEygI/AAAAAAAAAlE/QPZgfwuQ3YoR87_XKHBmC9AchLiTTn4owCLcBGAs/s320/aaron-burden-43435.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>*********************************<br />You can listen to this message on&nbsp;<b>YouTube</b><br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qO6uyIMSdbI">Jesus Sends Forth The Church</a><br />*********************************<br /><br />Jesus heart went out to the people He encountered. Without the truth of God their lives and minds were filled with all sorts of false ideas that gave them little hope and little purpose in their lives… mostly just burdens and fears. Jesus responded emotionally. He wants people to hear the truth, He wants people to have hope, and He wants His disciples to continue His ministry after He is gone and feel about it the way He did. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This introduction to Jesus sending forth of His followers to carry on His work tells us about the heart of our Lord plus it contains a practical instruction for our prayer life so we might have that same emotional engagement … Jesus tells us part of ourprayers to the Father should concern the continuation of Jesus ministry through the church, with an emphasis on those who are specifically sent into the field to proclaim the truth.</div><h3 class="western">Matt 10:1-7 The Commission And The Authority</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">There are three elements to Jesus’ command to “go forth”:</div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Grants them authority</b> – not a blank check so they can do whatever they want however they want… they cannot draw upon the authority He has given apart from faith and prayer – <b>Matt 17:20, Mark 9:29</b></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Gives them some limitations</b>: go only to Israel </div><ol type="a"><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">conforms to God’s general pattern Rom 1:16 – an expression of God’s unfailing love and commitment to Israel even to the very end when Christ returns <b>Romans 11:26-28 / Zechariah 8:23</b></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">the disciples were from a Jewish background – they were ill equipped to deal with the sophisticated and cynical people of the Greek and Roman world… it would take a person like Paul to go toe to toe with the philosophies of the Greeks</div></li></ol></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Tells them what to say:</b> The Kingdom of God [KOG] is near – the word near can refer to either time or proximity and is used both ways interchangeably in NT… they were near Jerusalem, or the time to leave was near…</div><ol type="a"><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Time</b> – the idea of time is problematic for us today because the KOG clearly has not come. Trying to reconcile the time idea with reality leads some to say that the KOG is a spiritual event that takes place in the hearts of people who accept the H.S. Thus the KOG began in 31 AD when the spirit was poured out. This also leads to the idea that the KOG is the church.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Proximity</b> – the KOG is close by in the person of Jesus who is the king of the kingdom… He is also the embodiment of everything the KOG stands for. Note: subsequent scriptures show us that Jesus will leave and later return to bring the rule of God / Kingdom of God to earth at a future time. That is why we (UCG) proclaim the KOG as something coming and not yet here (Jesus makes this understanding very clear in several of His KOG parables) Note: the KOG is referred to as a future event in Acts and the Epistles by the leaders of the church.</div></li></ol></li></ol><h3 class="western">What Did The Disciples Think The KOG Meant?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Acts 1:3-6 – right up until the moment He leaves them the disciples were still thinking of the nearness of the KOG in terms of time.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Also, at the time the disciples received these first instructions to go forth and preach the KOG they still considered the Messiah and His kingdom to be a Jewish thing (restore the kingdom to Israel)… they did not know that the Messiah was a universal savior and a universal ruler.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Later on they got a much more developed view of what the KOG was all about. For now they had only the most basic understanding of what the KOG meant. Their purpose at that moment was to proclaim the presence of the king among the people. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Perhaps it was the healing of sicknesses and driving away of evil spirits would teach the people about the KOG in ways the disciples were no yet prepared to do… providing an objective demonstration of the power of the king and His kingdom and its spirit of mercy and compassion.</div><h3 class="western">12 Are Selected</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Christ had quite a number of followers but here He selects 12 from among them and sets these 12 apart and sends them forth to do the work of preaching and proclaiming (apostello). </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Eph 4:12</b> we see this principle at work in the church at Ephesus today where some are specifically tasked with the unique roles within the ongoing ministry of Jesus Christ. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">We are also asked to pray for workers that the Lord of the Harvest sends into the field –<b> 2 Thess 3:1-2</b>.</div><h3 class="western">Do The Rest of Us Simply Pay &amp; Pray?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The Church of God has always made the distinction that some are set apart specifically to go forth and proclaim the coming of Christ the King and the establishment of the rule on God on earth… and we still have those who are set apart yet today. But does that mean because you are not ordained and set apart for that purpose you have no role in bringing the truth to people in this world? No.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The scriptures clearly teach that we are to train and prepare ourselves that we might talk about our faith “give an answer” to others. We are also to train and discipline our lives so they reflect the values of the kingdom… that some might even be won over by our example… <b>I Peter 3:15 / Col 4:6</b></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">A key phrase here is “train and prepare”… study the work of God so that you can talk to others about what you believe. The negative spin on this is that If you are untrained or unskilled in the word you run the risk of misrepresenting Christ the King.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The 12 who were selected had spent time in Jesus presence. They were part of the inner circle who had received training and preparation for the task at hand. Now Jesus was sending them forth as His representatives on what could be seen as a trial run or practice drill before the beginning of the MAIN EVENT… the beginning of the Church in Acts 2-3.</div><h3 class="western">Matt 10:9-14 Practical Instruction On Dealing With People</h3><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">How they will be supported</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">How to deal with rejection</div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Financial Support: the workers sent forth by Christ are to be supported by the people they are laboring among. They don’t finance the work themselves… they take no bag of money etc. Jesus tells the disciples to give freely and not charge money for access to the truth… but He very much expects those receiving the message of the KOG… to value it enough that they support those who are preaching it.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">I think the practical non-supernatural manner God provides for His workers is a stumbling block for some that causes them to doubt the divine power behind the work. (fed by ravens?)</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Rejection: As heralds / ambassadors of the great King their presence in someone’s home was a great honor to that person. Some would recognize it as such and others would not. The manner in which the disciples were instructed to respond was to withdraw with dignity… not begging or pleading with the person to give them another chance… but to consider that they had performed the duty God required. The person had not rejected them but had rejected the king. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">These instructions would remind them that they were not going forth in their <u>own name</u>… but as ambassadors and representatives clothed with the authority, armed with the power, and vested with the rights of the King of kings.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Verse 15 – the people of Sodom are the biblical poster children for sin and depravity… but one who hears and rejects the truth, his ambassadors… Christ solemn judgment is that they are worse. He will deal with them. (that is another sermon)</div><h3 class="western">Matt 10:16-23 Jesus Predicts the Opposition They Will Face</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus predicts there will be great cost exacted of those who go forth in His name. Those who go forth in His name must expect trials and troubles… Jesus suffered why not you?... Jesus was rejected why not you?</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Verse 19-20</b> persecution is a means whereby a witness of the truth and the message of the Kingdom can be made before public representatives.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Also, “you will be given what to say” – not to be used as an excuse for not preparing to give an answer through study of God’s word. As we read earlier we are to prepare ourselves… the spirit works by bringing to recollection what we have already put in there.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Verse 23</b> – be courageous in the face of opposition and trouble… When the path of duty is clear don’t shirk it… but don’t walk into trouble… flee the city… remove yourself from the source of trouble (caveat: unless fleeing would undermine the teaching and proclamation of the truth).</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Cities of Israel – This verse is perhaps too eagerly looked at as only referring only to the second coming of Jesus. If we stick to the immediate context we see that Jesus is sending them out before Him to prepare for His arrival… literally He was coming to the towns and villages of the land… but especially He was coming to the city of Jerusalem… where He would pass sentence upon the city for rejecting (and killing their King at His appearing).</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This judgment upon Jerusalem is also a type of foreshadow of His second coming when He will return to pass a judgment of condemnation on the governments and rulers of the earth and replace their rule with the rule of God.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Note: UCG interprets this verse to indicate that the disciples (ie the church) will never have finished delivering the truth and proclamation of Christ’s return and the KOG before the time of the end… that we will never have reached all the cities of the 12 lost and scattered tribes of Israel (let alone the whole world) before the second coming of Christ right up to the very end. Therefore we will be proclaiming the KOG up to the very end… as long as we are able.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">I say this because some in the COG argue that the taking of the message of the KOG to the world was completed by HWA sometime in the 1980s and that the church should turn inward and focus on preparing themselves spiritually for the immanent return of Christ.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">UCG says that there is still work to be done and we will continue to do it. (see also <b>Matt 28:20</b>)</div><h3 class="western">Matt 10:24-33 Have Courage… Fear God Not Man</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus never sugar coated the trials and troubles the disciples were in store for. Although Jesus is directly speaking to those appointed to go forth and preach the principle applies to each of us within the church. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">His advice: in all circumstances place total confidence in the power of Jesus Christ. You are His servant and chosen representative… nothing that happens to you goes unnoticed… no suffering that you undergo for the sake of His name that will go unrewarded.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Knowing this we are to focus on God who holds true power in his hand. What power is that? … the power of life and death… permanent (or eternal) life… or permanent (or eternal) death.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Verse 28</b> – To me this is a verse that is referring to the permanent destruction in the lake of fire. The word soul = <i>psuche</i>, meaning that spark of life that is in you. It is translated as “life” or “soul” in scripture. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This scripture is saying don’t be afraid of people and how they judge you, or trouble you, or punish you. They at most only have power to kill your body… which simply causes you to sleep until the time of your resurrection. Be concerned with how God judges you because He has the power to permanently establish you or eliminate you as a living thinking being… no hell… nothing.</div><h3 class="western">Matt 10:34-39 Where Do Your Loyalties Lie?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Loyalty to Jesus Christ will cause friction with those who also lay claim to your loyalty. You can be a good son, daughter, father, or mother… but loyalty to Christ and your role in His commission comes first. You can be a good citizen… but loyalty to God comes first.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Again, we are not looking for trouble… we are not trying to pick a fight… but when duty calls we know where our loyalty must be. Maintaining this loyalty may bring trouble… we may suffer loss… and may be a burden or cross we must bear.</div><h3 class="western">Matt 10:30-42 Reward</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Not everyone is appointed to personally go forth in the name of Jesus Christ to preach the KOG… some work behind the scenes providing financial support, help, food &amp; lodging, prayers and more. As we have noted in previous sermons… preaching the gospel is a work with a reward… and here we see that providing support functions (a cup of cold water) is also a work with reward.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The Work of Jesus Carries On In The Church Today</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">In His “sermon” Jesus prepares His followers for the future. So He would be gone but they would still have the commission to preach the message of the KOG. After His death they would continue on as His representatives, the ambassadors of a coming King of Kings. How people would respond to this message will be accounted as how they would receive Jesus Himself.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The disciples have long since died but the commission to go forth as His representatives continues within the Church… and you are part of it. </div><br /><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Let us go forth, be courageous, stay loyal, and keep working.</div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/SFs9TgJtQSM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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The Healing Ministry of Jesus Christ
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-QM1kVwQN0-0/WdEID7cJvRI/AAAAAAAAAlQ/EzLvda_4R8MREC1LTwr6gdW9zL5pQI-pwCLcBGAs/s1600/lukas-bornhauser-131196.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-QM1kVwQN0-0/WdEID7cJvRI/AAAAAAAAAlQ/EzLvda_4R8MREC1LTwr6gdW9zL5pQI-pwCLcBGAs/s320/lukas-bornhauser-131196.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>A couple a months ago we reviewed the <i>Sermon On The Mount</i> which is Matthew’s overview of a typical sermon from Jesus on ethics and behavior. <br /><br /><span style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px;">*********************************</span><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><span style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px;">You can listen to this message on&nbsp;</span><b style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">YouTube</b><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBSy5PfbBFI">The Healing Ministry of Jesus Christ</a><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><span style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px;">*********************************</span></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Yet there was more to Jesus ministry just words about how we ought to live, or prophecy or judgment. A large part of His ministry involved walking among people like you and me… healing the sick, casting out demons, restoring eyesight to the blind and hearing to the deaf. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">In chapters 8 &amp; 9 Matthew has grouped together a number of examples of Jesus healing ministry interspersed with short examples of how people reacted and responded to what the saw and experienced. There are a number of different themes running through these examples… such as his compassion, His care for those who were outcast. But I would like to draw to your attention to healings as examples of Jesus authority over body, life, forces of nature, forces of the spirit realm, authority over sin and authority over death… and talk briefly about what that authority means for us today.</div><h3 class="western">Matt 8:1-4—Jesus heals a leper </h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The Jews had lots of man-made rules about leprosy that went way beyond scriptural rules of quarantine. The leper was not just exiled from the community… he was hated, he was sin personified, people would throw stones at them not just to keep them away but to show contempt. Just by getting within 6 feet of a leper Jesus was breaking the regulations of the Jews… let alone touching the man. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">But with the theme of authority in mind notice two features in the record:</div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The leprous man worshipped and addressed Jesus as <i>Kurios</i> – the supreme authority. He knew Jesus had the power to cleanse him if He desired. Which of course Jesus did. </div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">After cleansing him Jesus sent him to the priests to be officially recognized as cleansed according to the rites outlined in Lev 13. This healing would go on record as a testimony of the cleansing and of Jesus power and authority to cleanse.</div></li></ul><h3 class="western">Matt 8:5-13—Jesus heals a gentile soldier’s servant</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This man had a military background… a Centurian understood authority and he knew it when he saw it. This section is the most obvious recognition of Jesus act of healing as an expression of His authority. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">However, let’s never consider that Jesus did what He did to show off His power (however this is the effect they have)… these are acts of love… Jesus’ heart went out to these people in their needs… remember the people came to Him beseeching Him for help… after all He had spoken to them of love, care. Compassion… how could He respond other that how He did? </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Without the healing part of Jesus ministry all we would have would be a rather cold lesson in ethics and proper behavior. Here we see the emotion of our creator in action.</div><h3 class="western">Matt 8:14-17—Jesus heals many</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Not only does Jesus heal the outcasts and the unclean gentiles… He also heals those within his inner circle of disciples and followers. Plus, here we get the first mention of casting out of demons. But what we want to take some time looking at here is the quotation of Isaiah 53:4 which reminds us that the healing ministry of Christ is a fulfillment of prophecy. But there is more…</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Isaiah 53:4-5</b> also introduces a connection between Christ’s sacrifice as being for our sins/transgressions as well as that which makes possible our healing. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">In case you were thinking that making such a connection is reading too much into a poetic analogy… Here are several NT verses that connect sin and sickness: <b>James 5:14-16 / I Cor 11:24-32 / 1 Peter 2:24</b></div><h3 class="western">Is Our Sickness Caused By Some Sin In Our Lives?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">These verses lead some to conclude that <u>all</u> illness is caused by sin… and that repentance from that sin is necessary for healing. I think from scripture we can say that illness caused by sin is always a possibility but we cannot say that every (or even most) sickness is caused by personal sin. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">For example: Paul had an ailment he begged God to heal multiple times which was never healed… but there is no record of any sin either repented of or unrepented of. In <b>John 9:3</b> we have Jesus own testimony regarding a man who was blind that there was no sin associated with it. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">So, when seeking God’s healing you should definitely consider that sin <u>may</u> be involved… but not assume that there has to be some be some sin… and that you need to keep searching until we find it.</div><h3 class="western">What Then Is The Connection Between Sin &amp; Sickness?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>One:</b> The physical is an analogy for the spiritual. Sickness pictures our broken and dysfunctional spiritual state… healing pictures our restoration and redemption to a state of spiritual wholeness and wellness. This is that manner I think 1 Peter 2:24 intends.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Two:</b> Healing, or specifically, the request for healing, is act of faith on your part as well as an act of submission &amp; acceptance of God’s authority. This second point is the connection I want to expand upon for the rest of the healings in Matthew 8 &amp; 9… </div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>James 5:14</b> a person seeking healing comes to the elders (authority) who pray and anoint in the NAME of the Lord (Kurios)… when you do something in the name of you are calling upon their authority.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>1 Cor 11:24</b> people fall sick and even die when they do not show proper respect for the body of the <i>Kurios</i> … the master and supreme authority.</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>Q:</b> if I come to the elders in faith and submission to God’s authority will I be healed?</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>A:</b> God clearly does not heal everybody… consider again the example of Paul</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>Q:</b> if I am not healed is it because I lack faith? Or, am insufficiently submissive to God’s authority?</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>A:</b> No, again refer to the example of Paul. God had a greater purpose in mind for Paul and his ailment had a part to play in it. </div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>Consider this:</b> submission to God’s authority means we accept His decision with faith… meaning we believe it is for our greater good and moving us toward His goal of creating His mind and character in us so that we may be perfected and raised in glory . </div><h3 class="western">Matt 8:18-22 People respond to Jesus</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Each set of healings is followed by examples of various peoples and mindsets responding to what they see happening around them. </div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Over-eager/impulsive</b> – Jesus had the ability to read and discern the hearts of people… seems He knew this man’s was getting swept up in the emotions of what was going on and not counting the costs… seeing only the glory and power in Christ’s healing and not considering the sacrifices that following Jesus words would require… not a good combo for the long haul.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Under-eager/hesitant</b> - wants to tend to family business first (clearly sees that sacrifices are being called for)… interestingly Jesus coaxes him to go for it, follow me… but you have to be all in… totally focused on developing the mind of God… don’t put it off for a better day.</div></li></ul><h3 class="western">Matt 8:23-27—Jesus heals/calms the storm</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Extension of Jesus authority over nature “the wind and waves OBEY Him”… obey His authority</div><h3 class="western">Matt 8:28-34—Jesus heals two demon possessed gentiles</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Extension of Jesus authority over spirit realm. Notice the demons speak of the “appointed time”. They know they have only the set allotted time that God the supreme authority has allowed them. Satan knows that at some point his allotted time to exercise authority over the world will be up. What authority them have is subordinate to greater authority of Christ and the Father.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">So, we have seen Jesus supreme / divine authority over health, body, the forces of nature, the forces of the spirit realm… what’s left? Two biggies… SIN and DEATH.</div><h3 class="western">Matt 9:1-8—Jesus heals a paralyzed man</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">In verse 6 we read yet another pointed comment about Jesus authority. This time, it is His authority to forgive sins… something highly important to each and every one of us.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">An important little piece of social context adds some oomph to what’s going on here. The Jewish people firmly believed that sickness was caused by sin (refer back to <b>John 9:3</b>). When they saw someone who was sick they just assumed there was sin involved.</div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus sees the man’s faith but instead of healing him Jesus forgives the man’s sin. Jesus knew the hearts of people so perhaps He could see this was a case where sin was involved… or perhaps He knew the man was worried about what sin he might have committed to cause his paralysis.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus knows the Pharisees do not accept that He has the authority to forgive sin. So to show that He does have this authority He heals the man of his sickness.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">It could be that Jesus was saying “If you believe that sickness is caused by sin… then how could I heal this man unless I had the authority to first forgive the sin?”</div></li></ol><h3 class="western">How Do People Respond To What They Are Seeing And Hearing?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">One reaction is to start comparing Him to what they are expecting a religious person to act like… </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 9:9-13</b> Having demonstrated His authority to forgive sin… and heal sin… Jesus shows how this can be the beginning of a new life. He calls a man who would by all the popular definitions of the day be considered a big time sinner… Matthew a tax collector… to begin a new life.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Matthews response is different from the two we read earlier in Matt 8:18-22… Jesus could know Matthew’s heart and mind as much as those other two men. I assume therefore that Matthew had considered what was at stake, perhaps he had listened to Jesus public preaching, seen the healings and was wondering… should I? could I? simply get up and walk away from my life and start anew? And when Christ came to him (not the other way around as previous examples) and said follow me Matthew did not hesitate.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Vs 12</b> similar to salt and light teaching – if I am going to help sinners I have to be willing to talk with them. If I am to persuade them I have to engage in conversation with them. Note: Jesus did not dine with drunkards and sinners and get drunk along with them. The Pharisees policy was to shun such people and avoid all contact with them… and comparing Him to themselves they asked “how can Jesus be righteous if He does not act likewise?”</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 9:14-17</b> next Jesus is compared to John. “why don’t you act like religious people such as John? You know… that good old-time religion we are used to?” … Answer: solid religious discipline will not go away, but right now is a time of joy rather than sorrow… Furthermore with my ministry we are heading into new territory…. and then He gives them two analogies about flexibility during a time of transition from the old to the new. (wine fermenting in wineskins)</div><h3 class="western">Third Set Of Healings</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The issue of Jesus authority comes up again and again we see differing responses. The crowds appreciate and rejoice in His compassion and His power. But the leadership of the Jews is growing increasingly antagonistic towards His authority… probably feeling threatened and judged… they are unable to deny the power… so, they denounce the source of His authority as demonic. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 9:18-26</b> resurrects a dead girl extending His authority over death and life… </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 9:27-34</b> Jesus heals a blind man and a mute man <b>vs 34</b> they acknowledge there is a power and authority there but they denounce it as demonic.</div><h3 class="western">Matt 9:35-10:1 Jesus Intends to Pass Authority On To His Followers </h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">In the flesh Jesus was finite… God’s purpose is to work through humans to continue ministering to the world… Jesus grants authority to the disciples… this authority to heal is later passed to the church as seen in the book of Acts… and finally to the church today as seen in James 5:14-16</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Healing in the church is still a matter that focuses our attention <u>on the authority of Jesus Christ</u>… except that now we bring our sicknesses to the elders of the church who offer prayer an anointing in the NAME (meaning in the authority of) Jesus Christ… the Kirios… the Lord. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">We are not submitting ourselves to the elder himself but to him as a representative of Christ. Our submission to God’s authority means we accept His decision with faith… like the leprous man we know He has the power if He is willing… and if He is not willing it is because He is working us toward His goal… creating His mind and character in us so that we may be perfected and raised in glory. </div><h3 class="western">Jesus Offers Us Meaning &amp; Purpose In Life</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">When we read through the records of Jesus’ ministry we see that He did not just talk. He did more than give sermons about God, KOG, righteousness or prophecy. He spent a great deal of His time healing… putting His compassion and out-flowing love into real actions. Seriously, if He had not done so would His words of instruction have been as powerful?</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">He met people in pain / in sorrow / outcast and lonely / deceived and in the grip of demons… the Pharisees offered them nothing, offering only burdens, guilt and fear. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus met people desperate for meaning in life, wanting hope, and He gave it to them. This task of offering people hope, purpose and meaning for life He has also passed on to the Church of God. May we serve Him well.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><br /><br /></div><br /><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><br /><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/EEn46S-Lek0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Lazarus & The Rich Man - What Happens When You Die
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Lazarus &amp; The Rich Man</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">You may have gone through all the verses proving humans do not possess an immortal soul. You may have gone through all the scriptures that clearly show that after death humans don't resume conscious life until they are resurrected... either in the resurrection of the just at the return of Christ... or in the resurrection for the rest of the dead who do not come to life until the 1,000 rule of Christ on earth are ended.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">At the end of all that sound biblical teaching someone says "what about <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syV0A6603Oc">Lazarus and the rich man</a>"? Doesn't the parable of Lazarus and the rich man clearly depict the blessings of heaven or the torments of hell as what lays ahead? Either the scriptures are contradictory, or you are wrong!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Today I would like to take an in-depth look at the parable of Lazarus and the rich man and walk through the parable to demonstrate that it is perfectly in-sync with the biblical teaching that death is like a long period of unconscious sleep after which we will be resurrected </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 5:28-29.</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Let's Read The Parable</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Luke 16:19-31.</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Who Is Jesus Talking To?</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-RNVhPniw84Q/XF3WPhS4JdI/AAAAAAAABDM/HeA4eV5g2moJPmkGFQ2QmBZq58P7ViJpQCLcBGAs/s1600/matt-lamers-679313-unsplash.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1068" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-RNVhPniw84Q/XF3WPhS4JdI/AAAAAAAABDM/HeA4eV5g2moJPmkGFQ2QmBZq58P7ViJpQCLcBGAs/s320/matt-lamers-679313-unsplash.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Luke 16:1 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jesus is talking to the disciples. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Luke 16:9</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;He teaches them through the parable of the "unjust steward" that we should use our worldly wealth in a way that will build up good favor and reward for our eternal future [dwellings = tabernacle or tent referring to spirit bodies see 2 Peter 1:13-14 for use of tent as metaphor for body].</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Luke 16:14-15</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Jesus is teaching His followers, but He does it in a public setting where what He says can be heard by a larger group of onlookers… including some Pharisees… who laughed at what Jesus taught. They might have said something like "wealth is God's blessing upon the righteous</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”, or, “</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">My riches are a proof that I am leading a good life and have God's favor".</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jesus tells God sees matters differently. To expand upon that point He tells them what we now know as the parable of </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Lazarus and the rich man</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">What is the purpose of a parable? </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">A parable is a colorful story used to teach about a spiritual concept. Parables use symbols and metaphors to depict types of people, or situations in an indirect or enigmatic way. They illuminate truth for some and obscure truth for others. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jesus</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;parables were most often not meant to be understood unless they were explained by Him. He did not explain them to just anyone. Jesus only explained His parables to those who were sincere, willing to listen, wiling to act on what they learned, and those who actually asked. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 13:34-36</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Note: &nbsp;in verses 9-13 Jesus explained the meaning of the parable of the unjust steward to disciples to whom it was directed. However, He did not offer an explanation of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man the the Pharisees to whom it was directed.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Changing Your Paradigm</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">What you see is greatly affected by what you expect to see. What you expect to see can be greatly influenced by what you are told to expect.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">[slide 1] Here is a silhouette of a fancy wine goblet</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">[slide 2] Here is a silhouette of two people facing one another</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">What you see first is affected by what I lead you to expect.</span><span style="font-size: 12pt; letter-spacing: 0pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">So… let me tell you what to expect in the parable: </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The rich man is like the Pharisees enjoying their wealth and the praise of others for their righteousness. Lazarus is like the followers of Christ who build character through what they &nbsp;suffer and are despised. Both of them, rich and poor alike, die in the flesh.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The believer [Lazarus] is gathered together among those who are Christ's at His return and participate in the inheritance promised to the faithful, eternal life in the family of God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The rich man is resurrected to physical life after the 1,000 year rule of Christ. He is very distressed to learn he is now under the judgment of God and could end up in the lake of fire. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Scripture warns you of this in advance and shows you what to do in this life to affect your circumstances after death.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">That</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">s the biblical paradigm to have in mind when you read the parable.</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;But why is it so hard?</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The challenge with this parable is that presuppositions from people, tradition, and translation bias precondition you to expect the "go to hell" doctrine in these verses. Even the suggestion that the parable is a proof of the </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">go to hell</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;doctrine preconditions you to see it that way.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Let</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">’s Go Through The Parable With the Biblical Constructed Paradigm</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Luke 16:19-21</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the rich man represents those who think of themselves as spiritually rich but were really pitifully naked and blind. Being clothed in fine, or white, linen is frequently used to depict righteousness and good works... the Pharisees were esteemed for their long prayers, strict &nbsp;Sabbath observance, rigorous fasting, any avoidance of unclean people or things.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Then we have Lazarus who must endure suffering, trials, and hardship in this life. He is not esteemed by others &nbsp;[unclean dogs lick his unclean sores]. But, his suffering is building in him righteous character, pleasing to God.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Luke 16:20-21</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;both men die but what happens to them after death is very different.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Remember this is a parable; a short pithy story meant to convey a spiritual lesson or warning. Parables often breeze through years or centuries in a single sentence. Because of the preconceptions folks have when they read this parable they presume Lazarus is whisked off to Abraham</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s side [in heaven] </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">minutes after his last breath. But, this timeline would be a contradiction to other scriptures that clearly say otherwise. &nbsp;</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Which scriptures?</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We have two clues to indicate the scriptures that show us there is a huge time gap:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The phrase, Abraham's bosom (at Abraham</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">s side)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The phrase, Lazarus is carried away by the angels</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">When do the angels gather up and carry away those who have died? </span></i><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 24:30-31</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Lazarus is gathered together with God's chosen/elect at the time of Christ's return... so they may be raised to life.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Who are the chosen/elect?</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Galatians 3:7-9, 14</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;those who through faith overcome the trials, tests, hardships, and suffering of life to enter into the family of God. The children of faith, the children of Abraham are the chosen and elect. Note: Lazarus is depicted as being placed in a close intimate relationship with Abraham. The old rendering "Abraham's bosom" indicates this closeness.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Where was Abraham when Jesus delivered this parable?</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 8:52</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Abraham was dead, not living in heaven </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 3:13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Abraham has not yet received the promise. Along with all the faithful who have died over the centuries and millennia, Abraham and the faithful await the receipt of the promise as a FUTURE event </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Hebrews 11:39-40, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Lazarus is in the first or better resurrection!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">What about the Rich Man?</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Luke 16:23-24</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;here is another instance where there is a huge time gap covering thousands of years but in the format of the short pithy parable could be presumed to occur right away. The time of the rich man's resurrection is at the end of the 1,000 years of Christ reigning on earth.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Revelation 20:4-5</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;since the rich man was not among those gathered by the angels for resurrection at the time of Christ's return he must therefore be part of the "rest of the dead" who are raised to life much later. This is a resurrection back to life in the flesh for a time of judgment before the great white throne of God. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Hell or Hades</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The KJV used the word hell in this verse which allows people to throw this parable in your face and say LOOK, SEE, ITS RIGHT THERE! Most modern translations back away from this and more accurately use the word </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Hades… </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">because they know it has a very different meaning</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Hades is a Greek word meaning the state of the dead, not the place of the dead but rather the state of the dead. The spirit is separated from the body, it has no body, it cannot be seen, it has no meaningful existence... we would add to that: it has no thoughts, it is in a state much like sleep </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Daniel 12:2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Acts 2:31</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the word </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Hades </span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">is only used 7 times in the NT depicting the state of the dead not a place for the dead. For example: Jesus' spirit did not go to some subterranean torture chamber called hell after He died in the flesh. But He entered the state of the dead. He was in the tomb... not alive in some other place (either heaven or hell). His spirit was not conscious, or what we would call alive, because it had no living body.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Torment &amp; Fire</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Torment - in verse 23 the word is </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">basanos</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- which literally means a touchstone, a type of stone you would rub gold of silver on to test its purity. The rich man is raised to his time of judgment before the God. &nbsp;He will be put to the test using the touchstone of God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s word </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Revelation 20:24-25</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Basanos came to be used to mean inflicting pain in order to get at the truth... also as the mental and emotional stress associated with pain, trial, and loss:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">people brought their sicknesses and pains (basanismos) to Jesus for healing</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">demons cried out "</span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">why are you tormenting/basanizo me</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">?" when they knew Jesus was going to cast them out of a person. The mental torment of impending doom.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Revelation 9 shows God allowing people to be tormented/basanizo by Satan with pain and plagues so they might repent</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">When the rich man is resurrected he will see the tables turned, he has missed out on the resurrection of the just... and he is going to be tormented or distressed by the idea that he could permanently destroyed in the lake of fire. Note: i</span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">n this fire</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;could also be translated </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">by this fire</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Will he perhaps experience physical as well as emotional trial and tribulation at that time? Jesus indicates people who rejected him in this life are going to have a harder time when they rise up n the resurrections than those who never knew any better. I expect God will try an test them before writing them into the book of life.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">A Drop Of Water</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Water is often used to depict the holy spirit of God. The rich man wants what Lazarus has. He asks that Lazarus be allowed to give him just a drop of that living water to ease his distress. &nbsp;But can he have what Lazarus has? </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">The answer is NO.</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Luke 16:25-26</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;there</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s a</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;great divide between these two men; one &nbsp;is of the flesh, one is of the Spirit… &nbsp;and flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom of God. People like the rich man may find themselves written into the book of life and presumably receive eternal life when this judgment is complete... but they will not have a part in the better resurrection... and they will not share in the special status of the bride of Christ seated with Him in positions of authority and judgment over the universe.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">I believe such people have good things to look forward too... but not those two things.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">A man who thought himself spiritually rich and in need of nothing... righteous and chosen... now finds himself to have missed out on the greatest opportunity every offered to a created being.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Luke 16:27-31</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;when the rich man arises doesn't seem be aware that thousands of years have passed and everyone he ever knew is also dead. He proposes that the sight of Lazarus returning from the dead to warn his family would get their attention so they don't end up in the same predicament he finds himself in.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">The answer: No.</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;The only warning people get is the warnings, instructions, inspiration and promises found in God's word. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Conclusion</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The story of Lazarus and the rich man is actually a story that fits squarely and comfortably within the resurrection sequence and the great white throne judgment spelled out in multiple other places in scripture. Read it with the right paradigm... Read it with the goal of harmonizing into the larger picture clearly spelled out in your bible.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Do this and the parable of Lazarus and the rich man will not be a confusing conundrum but a powerful warning and call to action.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></div><br /><br /><br /><script type="text/javascript" src="//downloads.mailchimp.com/js/signup-forms/popup/unique-methods/embed.js" data-dojo-config="usePlainJson: true, isDebug: false"></script><script type="text/javascript">window.dojoRequire(["mojo/signup-forms/Loader"], function(L) { L.start({"baseUrl":"mc.us17.list-manage.com","uuid":"42a7ee88449a01c2085c19d73","lid":"5e80cb9591","uniqueMethods":true}) })</script><br /><br /><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/GZuHwZtunOY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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The Fourth Commandment: Face Time With God
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-WP1fCh5DQ-I/XEIEg6TE8-I/AAAAAAAABCs/9I0SiUvz4Vsb6N2lvPVyEXBA7Tqm9wGrQCLcBGAs/s1600/blake-richard-verdoorn-15549-unsplash.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-WP1fCh5DQ-I/XEIEg6TE8-I/AAAAAAAABCs/9I0SiUvz4Vsb6N2lvPVyEXBA7Tqm9wGrQCLcBGAs/s320/blake-richard-verdoorn-15549-unsplash.jpg" width="320" /></a><b style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Exodus 20:8-11 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt; text-align: left;">God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt; text-align: left;">’s</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt; text-align: left;">&nbsp;4th commandment presents us with a very tangible, task oriented way to express our love for Him: spending time together. Loving God implies some sort of relationship, and I think we can all agree; good relationships take time together to develop and grow.&nbsp;</span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Our Father Creator</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;4th commandment sets apart a specific day of the week, so that we can spend time together, and develop our relationship. It is last of the first four commandments which offer &nbsp;us guidance on what it means to love God with all our heart, mind, and being.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><span style="background: 0px 0px white; border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">*********************************</span><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><span style="background: 0px 0px white; border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">You can listen to this message on&nbsp;</span><b style="background: 0px 0px rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">YouTube</b><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEdBx4kGz1o">The Fourth Commandment: Face Time With God</a><br style="background-color: white; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s;" /><span style="background: 0px 0px white; border: 0px; color: #5e5e5e; font-family: Poppins; font-size: 14px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; transition: all 0.3s ease 0s; vertical-align: baseline;">*********************************</span></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Let's </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">review</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;the first four commandments in terms of a relationship:</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">1st commandment</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- to make this relationship your top priority; compare to a courtship where each party wants to be the other person</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s top priority. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">2nd commandment</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- to have a true image of who and what God is; in human relationships we consider it important that the other party </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“get us”… the understand who we are and what we are all about</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">3rd commandment </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">- to show respect and honor towards God; in healthy human relationships you want the other party to treat you a certain way</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">4th commandment</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- to spend time together: you want the other party to spend time with you</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">The Sabbath is </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Time Set Apart By God</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 2:1-2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the day in question is the 7th day of the weekly cycle</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Leviticus 23:32</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;in God's word a "day" is reckoned &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;from sunset to sunset</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The Sabbath is actually very simple and straightforward. Yet, it is the most consistently undermined and confused by ridiculous arguments like:.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">All days are equal.</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;The 7th day Sabbath is merely a ceremonial observance. Commonly expressed "we should spend time &nbsp;with God every day not just on a single day of the week".</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Any day will do</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. we are adhering to the spirit of the commandment if we set aside one day out of seven. The Sabbath doesn't have to be on Saturday it can be on Sunday, or Wednesday. And its actually better to change the day since we don't want to be confused with the Jews.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Imagine yourself in a relationship where you are rich and powerful and the other party has nothing. Everything they have they owe to you, past and present. You love them and you want to spend time together. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">You say </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“you can come and see me any time, but I would like you to always come to see me every Saturday”. They reply “I appreciate all you do for me but I think I’d rather be the one to pick when we meet. I’ll let you know what days I’ll come”. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">What would their words tell you about your relationship with that person?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Disinformation and Confusion About The Sabbath</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The battle over the Sabbath is a war of deception and misinformation. Few people grasp how deeply and fundamentally humanity, society, and culture are indoctrinated by Satan.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Revelation 12:9 --&gt; 1 John 5:19</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Satan's objective is to undermine, divert, and destroy the development of that relationship between you and the true God who is your Father. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The fallen archangel Lucifer's great sin was to declare himself God's equal. It was Lucifer who first said "I will make myself like the most high". Lucifer, want3ed to be equal (or above) YHWH. He wanted to Rule over all the &nbsp;created beings (stars of God)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Isaiah 14:12-14</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;this Lucifer (Satan, evil one) is insanely jealous, angry, and resentful that God is creating in humanity a new class of spiritual beings who will be of greater importance than angels.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Hebrews 1:5-7, 13-14 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the angels are beneath the spirit born sons of God. This is not only a subordination of angels to Jesus but a subordination of a angels to the spirit born children of God.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Hebrews 2:6-7, 11-13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;while we are yet in the flesh we do not rank above angels, but that is our destiny. We are to be raised to spirit life with the full rights of son-ship in God's family. No longer </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“a little lower than the angels”.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">This is why Satan hates you. He hates your relationship with the Most High. He hates the Sabbath and its important role in strengthening your relationship with the Father.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Another Deceptive Argument Against</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;The Sabbath</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">:</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Some say that Jesus broke the Sabbath commandment (Matthew 12, John 5:18) thus setting the example for us and freeing us from the burden of observing it. But saying Jesus broke the Sabbath command is a foolish, deceptive and illogical argument.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jesus and the disciples kept the Sabbath, </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Luke 4:16</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. In addition to affirming His observance of the weekly Sabbath He is pictured using it for its intended purpose: helping people develop their relationship with the Creator through reading and instruction in God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s word</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jesus did not violate the Sabbath commandment. He made some judgment calls about what was acceptable on the Sabbath which violated Jewish tradition, such as healing on the Sabbath, and food procurement. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">If Jesus had broken the commandment how could He also say "I have kept my Father's commands"? How could He be considered to have live a perfect sinless life? How could He then be the perfect sacrifice for the sins of humanity. If Jesus broke the command then He could not be your savior.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The very same people often like to say Jesus fulfilled (or kept) the commandments in your stead. Then this righteousness on His part is bestowed upon you… </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“Jesus is our righteousness”. But if Jesus broke the Sabbath command… then He didn’t really fulfill the commandments for you…. Whichever way you slice it, the Jesus broke the Sabbath is a circular and illogical proposition.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Decades after Jesus</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’ death i</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">t was Paul's custom to gather together with others on the Sabbath &nbsp;</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Acts 17:2, 18:4</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">It wasn</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t until about </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">300 years later... 301 A.D. that Sunday was substituted for the 7th day. On the surface this change was a political decision in an attempt to create social and religious unity between Christians and worshipers of the sun. Underneath the surface this was further deception and coercion from Satan the prince of the powers of this world.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jesus didn't make this change. The 1st century apostles didn't make or even initiate this change. Who gave the Roman government (and the Roman Church) &nbsp;the right to make such a change? They gave it to themselves... therefore, regarding the 4th commandment they too declared "We will be equal to God"!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">The Sabbath Is </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">A Reminder That YHWH is the Creator</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Exodus 20:11</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;The Sabbath shapes the way we perceive and worship the Most High: He is our creator and as such </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">supreme in all things</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. The Sabbath is not only baked into the foundational instructions from God know as the 10 Commandments, the Sabbath is an integral part of the Creation account itself. Long before we are warned not to lie, steal, murder, or covet, we are presented with the Sabbath as a memorial of creation..</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">In the Creation account of Genesis 1 God is establishing some ground rules:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">I set the boundaries: light and dark, land and sea, earth and sky...</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">I establish and maintain life: plants, animals, and humanity</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">I set aside the 7th day to remind you of all this</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">The Sabbath is a Day To Focus on God's Ongoing Spiritual Creation</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We are given the Sabbath as a day of rest. That does not mean it is a day to &nbsp;sit around and do nothing... the Sabbath is not intended as a time for us to lounge around in our pajamas drinking hot chocolate without a care in the world. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The rest we are given is a day t &nbsp;o set aside the daily grind of our routine activities, our jobs, housework, shopping etc. ... not so we can do nothing... but so we can experience a change of focus </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Isaiah 58:13-14</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. We focus on building our relationship with our Father Creator.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Building relationships take time spent getting together, talking together, doing stuff together. Without these there really is no relationship. We see this with courtships, marriages, friendships, teams etc.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">A Day For Sacred Assembly</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;&amp; Instruction</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">’s ongoing spiritual creation (the development of Godly character in you) is advanced and directed through instruction on the weekly Sabbath.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Leviticus 23:3</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;God's instructions regarding the Sabbath are for us to participate in a holy assembly. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The Hebrew word translated assembly/convocation is </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">mikraw</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;which carries the meaning of both a public meeting and of a public </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">reading</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. Therefore, this sacred assembly is a public meeting for the purpose of instruction.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Numbers 10:2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;trumpets used to call the people together, therefore PUBLIC, a group activity</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Nehemiah 8:8</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;specific reference to instruction from the book of the law [bible] when the people are all gathered together for a reading… the word reading in this instance is </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">mikraw.</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Leviticus 23:2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;The word "festival" is a misleading translation. &nbsp;The original word here is moed meaning appointed time. There is a separate and distinct word for festival: </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">khag</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. That word does not show up in Leviticus 23 until verse 6 when it is used to describe the festival of unleavened bread. &nbsp;A festival is always an appointed time, but an appointed time is not always a festival.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">A more literal rendering of verse 2: </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Speak to the people of Israel, and say to them, these are the appointed times of YHWH, proclaim them to be sacred assemblies. These are my appointed times</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">: The first of these appointed times to be addressed is the weekly Sabbath (the Sabbath is not described as a festival).</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The weekly Sabbath is an appointment with God. You are summoned by Him to present yourself as part of a group for the purpose of receiving instruction from His word. To facilitate this God has given you a "day off" from your work routine so you can focus on this meeting.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Your </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">priority</span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;on the Sabbath is not lounging around in your pajamas eating waffles, or to catch up on your napping... although a more relaxed routine is a side benefit of the Sabbath!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Your </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">priority </span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">is not fellowship, catching up with friends, even personal bible study, or personal prayer… although the altered routine of the Sabbath allows you extra time to do all these good things!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Yes, do these relaxing and refreshing things on the Sabbath... </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">but</span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Your </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">priority</span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;on God's appointed times is to set aside your work and appear before God as part of a body of people for group instruction!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">The Sabbath Advances His Ongoing Work of Salvation</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The Sabbath is more than a memorial of God's past creation of the material universe. It is a weekly reminder of God's ongoing and present work of spiritual creation. Bringing into being children who will transcend the material universe.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 4:22-24, Colossians 3:10, Philippians 2:13</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;This is God at work in you, writing His laws and attitudes on your hearts and minds. A work which the weekly Sabbath moves forward!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">I believe this concept is also built into the wording of the commandment.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Deuteronomy 5:12-15</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the weekly Sabbath is also a remembrance of God's act of salvation in your life. You have been called out of darkness, you have been called out of slavery, you have been called out of sin... and called into righteousness, truth, and eternal life. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">This transformation comes about through your ever growing relationship with God your Creator. To make this happen God has commissioned the Church: to baptize for the receipt of His holy spirit; to proclaim and facilitate His holy assemblies. The church provides a safe meeting place with restrooms, running water, a sound system, we provide hymnals and music for singing, and most of all we provide instruction from God's word. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We provide instruction that is inspired, but also instruction that is regulated. We teach as we have ourselves been taught, we are careful about doctrine so that you do not come here and find strange exotic, highly personalized interpretations of scripture, tantalizing speculation, or human philosophy.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The laws of God are written on your heart through sound instruction. This new spiritual creation of God is channeled, regulated, and pointed in the right direction by group instruction.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Speaking to the followers of Christ God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s word says -</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Hebrews 4:9</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Love God with all you heart, mind and soul. The first four commandments tell us how to make this happen. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo4; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Set Him as your #1 priority</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo4; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">A</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ccept no false images or interpretations of Him</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo4; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">G</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ive Him your honor and r</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">respect, and </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo4; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">4.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">S</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">pend time with Him gathering together before Him on His appointed day of meeting.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span> <br /><div style="text-indent: 0px;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">This message is part of a 4 part series covering the 1</span><sup style="font-family: &quot;Trebuchet MS&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="vertical-align: super;">st&nbsp;</span></sup><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">four commandments. The commandments which outline what it means to love God with all our hearts, all our minds, and all our being. Here are links to all four -&nbsp;</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent: 0px;"></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo4; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><div style="text-align: left; text-indent: -28.3333px;"><span style="text-indent: 0px;">▶&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlZR8E1iqFk" style="color: blue; font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 10.5pt; text-indent: 0px;">The 1st Commandment: Right Priorities</a><br /><span style="text-indent: -28.3333px;">▶&nbsp;</span><u style="text-indent: 0px;"><span class="15" style="color: blue; font-size: 10.5pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMRdhfadiqQ">The 2nd Commandment: No False Images</a></span></span></u><br /><span style="text-indent: 0px;">▶&nbsp;</span><u style="text-indent: 0px;"><span class="15" style="color: blue; font-size: 10.5pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nc8ekf8mMb0">The 3rd Commandment: Show Some Respect</a></span></span></u><br /><span style="text-indent: 0px;">▶&nbsp;</span><u style="text-indent: 0px;"><span class="15" style="color: blue; font-size: 10.5pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEdBx4kGz1o">The 4th Commandment: Face TIme With God</a></span></span></u></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo4; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><ol style="text-indent: 0px;"></ol></div></div><script data-dojo-config="usePlainJson: true, isDebug: false" src="//downloads.mailchimp.com/js/signup-forms/popup/unique-methods/embed.js" type="text/javascript"></script><script type="text/javascript">window.dojoRequire(["mojo/signup-forms/Loader"], function(L) { L.start({"baseUrl":"mc.us17.list-manage.com","uuid":"42a7ee88449a01c2085c19d73","lid":"bda1c22f95","uniqueMethods":true}) })</script><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/s9HOVgPGlCs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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The Third Commandment - Show Some Respect
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">The Third Commandment: Show Some Respect</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Exodus 20:7 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The third commandment addresses how we communicate our feelings and thoughts about our Creator to others... and how we communicate those things to Him. It warns about our speech, &nbsp;behavior, and attitudes regarding the Father of all life... The 3rd commandment says: </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">show some respect!</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Respect Definition:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;&nbsp;t</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">o feel admiration for (someone or something) : to regard (someone or something) as being worthy of admiration because of good qualities : to </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">ACT</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;in a way which shows that you are aware of (someone's rights, wishes, etc.)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We easily grasp the need for respect when meeting someone important or powerful... like the Don Corleone, you fear his power to hurt you, so you show respect; or your boss... who has the power to give you a raise or get you fired, so you show respect.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Yet disrespecting the Creator God. He is patient, slow to anger... but the commandment says "He's taking names". If you've been disrespectful to God, turn around, change your ways, move forward... He is happy to put the past in the past. But the day is coming when the allotted time of His patience comes to an end.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Respect is essential for a good relationship. We see this in marriage, business, communities. Expressing respect in ways that others notice and see is necessary. If I say "I respect you" but then ignore you, talk badly about you to others... then you know I don't respect you.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Respect is a way we demonstrate our love for God.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">What Does </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">“</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">In Vain</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">” Mean?</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The 3rd commandment warns against using the Creator's name in a manner that is rude, frivolous, degrading, expressing an attitude of carelessness... disdain... or antagonism. All this is summed in the word vain: which means deceptive, empty, worthless, meaningless.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">What Is Covered By The Phrase </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">“</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">My Name</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">”?</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">A name is a set of syllables, pronounced a certain way, used to refer to a person. But a person's name also carries with it the idea of their whole person, their reputation, their character, what they stand for etc.. For example, "that person has slandered my name"... meaning they have attacked your reputation or standing in the community.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Our Creator's name represents His character and what He stands for. Which is every good &amp; perfect thing we could ever hope for… it</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;the hope and promise of everlasting life &nbsp;filled with joy, contentment and completeness.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Profanity in Speech</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-PY7n5EjsKos/XDQWd9dX0nI/AAAAAAAABCg/_SZ9pOXvjSoYZ-194Rrgg5Vt-obPfi2qACLcBGAs/s1600/surprise-square.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1160" data-original-width="1280" height="181" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-PY7n5EjsKos/XDQWd9dX0nI/AAAAAAAABCg/_SZ9pOXvjSoYZ-194Rrgg5Vt-obPfi2qACLcBGAs/s200/surprise-square.jpg" width="200" /></a><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Exodus 3:13-15</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Our Creator tells us His name is YHWH, Yahweh, Yehovah. In English that would be, the I AM, the self existing one etc. This name is also a description, a description of a being that is life itself. English bibles tend to follow the Jewish practice of using a substitute word LORD in place of the name YHWH. In our writing we tend to refer to Him as God (capital G)... these are also descriptive but one step removed from YHWH. &nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The idea is that we avoid using the proper name YHWH so we don't run the risk of profaning it. However for practical purposes, if you say LORD, or God, everyone knows you are referring to YHWH. Using substitute words does not protect you from violating the spirit of the 3</span><sup><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt; vertical-align: super;">rd</span></sup><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;commandment.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Using "God" in a phrase like "Oh My God, that was amazing","Good Lord, that was a great martini","thank God the bus was on time", are examples of using the Creator's name, reputation, and character in a way that is frivolous, careless, or overly casual. I have omitted examples that are abusive, or dirty. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">You shouldn't say </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">“</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Oh My God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;unless its part of a prayer, or a song of praise. This also applies to euphemisms like gosh, golly, geez. These may seem innocent but unwittingly announce to all who hear that God isn't really special or set apart in your way of thinking. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">The Importance Of</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;Jesus</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;Christ's Name</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Philippians 2:9-11 t</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">he character of Jesus and all that He stands for is wrapped up in His named and should not be taken in vain either. It is through Jesus Christ that we know the Father Creator. It</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s through </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Jesus Christ that our path to eternal life is opened up. This is important stuff.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Jesus is the Greek rendering of Yeshua/Joshua</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;meaning salvation in English; </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Christ</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;is a Greek word meaning anointed one in English, the Hebrew equivalent is messiah. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Many people say the name Jesus a lot... but don</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;properly represent Him. Many use His name to convey a message that betrays and opposes what He stood for.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 5:17-19</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;people use Jesus name to teach against obeying God's commands... at least the commands they disagree with. This is a misuse of His name.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 15:7-9 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">People despise the Sabbath but then wallpaper Christ</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">’s </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">name all over idolatrous worship traditions like Saturnalia and pretend they are pleasing to God.</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">People use God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">’s name to validate their political ideologies and leaders, people send their young men to war shouting God is with us. In so many ways we use God’s name to justify our own stupid ideas. The misuse of God’s name causes confusion, doubt, disbelief… which is why its a big deal!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">In this world, God is evaluated based on the people who claim to act in His name.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">What About Members of God</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">’s Church</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">?</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Colossians 3:17</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;- this is all encompassing. &nbsp;Anything we do that brings reproach, disrespect, or shame on the name of God or Christ is &nbsp;a violation of the 3rd commandment by misrepresenting the God we claim to serve.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">1 Peter 2:9-12</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;While you are yet in the flesh God makes you part of a people. He considers you His representatives in this. You honor God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s name through</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;your example. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">D</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">ishonoring God By Your Example</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">That calling to represent God on this earth was originally assigned to the nation of Israel. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Deuteronomy 4:5-7</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Moses wanted their conduct to so honor God that all nations would gain respect for Him... and want to learn more.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The nation of Israel failed this task. Instead they profaned God's name among the nations surrounding them. G God was patient with them... He gave them lots of time... He gave them lots of warning... He was slow to anger... but there came a day when the time was up. They paid a high price.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Ezekiel 36:16-32 </span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">To profane means (among other things) to treat His name as a common thing. Not special, not holy, not revered, not respected... just common... like a block of cheese... or a brush you use to scrub the toilet... handy, useful when you need it... but nothing special.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">At first the nations could say:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Israel has these commandments, laws, statutes from their God... but they don't live by them. Such a God must be weak, unable to convince them to obey. Why would I worship weakness?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Or the nations could say:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Israel say they stand for justice and fairness but they are no different than us. These "chosen people</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;a just a bunch of hypocrites. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Then God punished Israel because unrepentant sin must be punished. God is just and He will show Himself just by His acts...</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Then the nations would say:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Israel has this God YHWH but He allows them to be over-run and enslaved by the Assyrians, then the Babylonians. Their God must either be unable to protect them or doesn't care. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">It is useless to follow such a God!</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">So, for the sake of His name on the stage of world history God pledged to restore Israel. Not because they are especially worthy, but for the sake of His reputation… as a demonstration of His character and His purpose. For His name's sake. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Israel was restored during the days of Ezra &amp; Nehemiah. That restoration lasted another 400 years until the coming of the Messiah, and the better way of the new covenant. This restored &nbsp;Israel provided a suitable environment where the Messiah could be born, grow up, and live by the commandments and laws of God (even though the Jews around Him did not necessarily do so themselves). How would Christ have lived a sinless life if He had been born in a villa in pagan Rome?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">But, once the Messiah had come and fulfilled His mission... Israel soon ceased to exist as sovereign nation.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">However, the true restoration of Israel happens when Christ returns and establishes the rule of God on earth. At that Israel is restored as a model for the surrounding nations </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Isaiah 2:2-4</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;(this time it will work, holy spirit, absence of Satan, visible presence of Christ and the resurrected saints etc.). This prophetic fulfillment is also done for the sake of God's name.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">B</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">ad Co</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">nduct</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;In God</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">’s Name is Blasphemy</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Romans 2:21-24</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Paul says this to his fellow Jews</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">1 Timothy 6:1</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;a message for the servants of God. Your conduct among non-believers reflects upon God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s good name.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">2 Corinthians 5:20</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;you represent the Most High. Any discourteous, disrespectful conduct by you dishonors Him in the eyes of others... rudeness, arrogance, disobedience etc.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">One of the biggest reasons people give for turning their back on God is the conduct of people who claim to be His followers. The most common charge made is "Christians are hypocrites". They say one thing and do another. Furthermore, their God does nothing about it. If such a God even exists… how is He worthy of my worship?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Jesus Condemns Hypocrisy In God's Name</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Matthew 23:27-28</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Promoting God on one hand, while finding ways to work around obedience on the other. Happy to praise and call out His name as long as they can continue to follow their own way... unwilling to give up their own traditions, and their own lusts.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">How We Should Honor God</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Avoid using his name foolishly. Whether that means frivolous stuff like saying "oh my God", or using His name as an expression of anger and frustration... </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Don</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;connect His name and reputation to promote false teachings like ever burning hell, or Christmas… </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Don</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’t</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;set a bad example in the eyes of non-believers who know you as a follower and servant of God.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Instead, in all you do or say, &nbsp;hold your Creator in highest regard. Admire and seek out His wisdom, love, fairness. Stand in awe of His power. Always be mindful that your life depends upon Him...both present and future.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Show respect, honor and obedience to Him in the presence of others. Honor Him by loving Him so much that you want to become like Him and accurately represent His character to everyone who sees or knows you. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Show respect to Him in prayer. Give thanks... give praise... express appreciation for what He gives. Tell Him you want to become more like Him. Request the power of the Holy Spirit to help you obey and serve this great purpose.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">If that is our attitude we will never knowingly use His name in ways that are </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">rude, frivolous, degrading, carelessness, disdainful, antagonistic, deceptive, empty, worthless, meaningless.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">M</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">utual Respect</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Our Creator wants more than fine sounding words. He wants a positive healthy relationship with us. As &nbsp;relationship built on a foundation of respect. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">I believe God has respect for you as a person. I know He sees all your weaknesses and sins... He doesn't respect that or course... but sins, uncleanness, evil can be dealt with and flushed down the memory hole through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Our Creator can see beyond all that and envision what you CAN BE… what you are going to be!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;Respect is a facet of the mind of the Creator. His laws, commands and statutes are designed to protect and promote the dignity of humanity and respect their honored place in the creation; the future sons and daughters of God sitting at Christ</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s side as He rules the universe.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">He loves you, love Him back by showing some respect.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Trebuchet MS&quot;, sans-serif;">This message is part of a 4 part series covering the 1</span><sup style="font-family: &quot;Trebuchet MS&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="vertical-align: super;">st&nbsp;</span></sup><span style="font-family: &quot;Trebuchet MS&quot;, sans-serif;">four commandments. The commandments which outline what it means to love God with all our hearts, all our minds, and all our being. Here are links to all four -&nbsp;</span><br /><div class="MsoNormal"></div><ol><li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlZR8E1iqFk"><u><span class="15" style="color: blue; font-size: 10.5pt;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The 1st Commandment: Right Priorities</span></span></u></a></li><li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMRdhfadiqQ"><u><span class="15" style="color: blue; font-size: 10.5pt;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The 2nd Commandment: No False Images</span></span></u></a></li><li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nc8ekf8mMb0"><u><span class="15" style="color: blue; font-size: 10.5pt;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The 3rd Commandment: Show Some Respect</span></span></u></a></li><li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEdBx4kGz1o"><u><span class="15" style="color: blue; font-size: 10.5pt;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The 4th Commandment: Face TIme With God</span></span></u></a></li></ol></div></div><script type="text/javascript" src="//downloads.mailchimp.com/js/signup-forms/popup/unique-methods/embed.js" data-dojo-config="usePlainJson: true, isDebug: false"></script><script type="text/javascript">window.dojoRequire(["mojo/signup-forms/Loader"], function(L) { L.start({"baseUrl":"mc.us17.list-manage.com","uuid":"42a7ee88449a01c2085c19d73","lid":"bda1c22f95","uniqueMethods":true}) })</script><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/tSZgAdMynfw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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The Second Commandment - A True Image Of God
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tPNuCrBw1EY/XDJHKD6Q6sI/AAAAAAAABCU/vr9EP0TbnjUAk23KNqoRPgNI021gnfjyQCLcBGAs/s1600/jaddy-liu-1220709-unsplash.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1068" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tPNuCrBw1EY/XDJHKD6Q6sI/AAAAAAAABCU/vr9EP0TbnjUAk23KNqoRPgNI021gnfjyQCLcBGAs/s320/jaddy-liu-1220709-unsplash.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">The 2nd Commandment: How Do We Perceive God?</span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Exodus 20:4-6</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">l</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">How do we perceive God? Is it through our senses... eyes, ears, fingertips, etc.?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">l</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">How do we explain Him to ourselves and/or to others?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We commonly think of the 2nd commandment as a prohibition of strange carvings of Dagon (the fish god), or Molech, or a human figurines with the head of a wolf. But the prohibition of false deities is already covered in the first commandment... "</span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">have no other gods besides me</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">". If you obey that first command you wouldn't need this subsequent warning against idolatry. It would be redundant.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The second command must therefore also refer to the use of pictures, statues, and other false representations of the true Creator God. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span> <span style="background-color: #fce5cd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: large;">👍👍👍 Request a FREE copy of our eBook <a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/the-ten-commandments">The Ten Commandments</a></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">The 2nd command says</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;make no pictures or carvings as representations of Me.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Lifeless inanimate objects could never properly represent the living God. In this same spirit there should be no false theories or explanations of who and what I am (for example; the trinity teaching, which is an attempt to explain the living God that is not what has been revealed in scripture and disobeys His directive to "</span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">not add to what has been given</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">").</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The Creator will explain and reveal Himself to humanity as He sees fit.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Did You Know: </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">God Has Provided A</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">n "Approved"</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;Likeness Of Himself</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Genesis 1:27 --&gt; Genesis 5:1-2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;perceiving the likeness of God begins with human beings. We are living images of a living God. We are a representation that is superior to lifeless pictures, objects, or abstract theories.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The Creator of the universe is active, thinking, feeling, planning, affectionate. He is not creation of human ideals, nor an impersonal "force" within the universe like fertility, strength, logic, math.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Lifeless pictures and statues distort and diminish our understanding of the living God and also limit our understanding of our relationship with Him. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Of all things in the physical realm only living beings could begin to picture the living God. And of all the living things on earth only human beings are designated as the beginnings of a reasonable likeness of God.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">I say beginning because it is only through Jesus, the "Son of Man"... (the Son who came in the likeness of a human being) that we have a worthy image of God. Through Him we see how God approaches life. We see Jesus following the lead of God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;spirit and seeking God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">’s</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;will. In Jesus we are presented with the most complete image of the Father (of God) available to the flesh &amp; blood mind. &nbsp;An image of God that is meaningful and has purpose because it also points to our own personal, spiritual, and eternal destiny.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The Creator will make this likeness complete in us. Beginning in the flesh and completed in the spirit.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">How then are flesh &amp; blood humans like God?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">How are flesh and blood humans not like God?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">How do we to become more like Him?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">How </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">We Are</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;Like God</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God gives us creative abilities, leadership abilities which are similar to Him but on a greatly limited scale. Of all the physical creation only human beings have this power of mind. We reason, analyze, plan, visualize the future... We create literature, art... we design and build. We organize, manage, supervise both things and other people. In this way we are LIKE the living God.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">How </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">We Are</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">&nbsp;Not Like God</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Humans are created in the image of God... yet in many ways we are NOT LIKE Him. We treat each other badly, we have limited grasp of spiritual realities, we are biased, opinionated, unjust, selfish, and quickly get into conflict.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">How Do We Become More Like God?</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Human beings have the the capacity to consciously choose and actively develop qualities of character. Fore example we might decide we need to be more self assertive and develop strategies and habits to make it part of our personality. We might decide we need to be more positive, more thrifty, more serious, more mindful, etc.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">When this capacity to make a decision about who and what we want to be is applied to spiritual matters then we move toward being a more complete image of our Creator.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Colossians 3:1-10</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;... the spiritual qualities that define this new man are found in:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Galatians 5:19-24</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">... the fruits of the flesh and the fruits of the spirit show themself in our lives by a very different processes.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">The fruits of the flesh</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;come naturally without any effort on our part... selfishness requires no effort. Fighting is our default setting unless we exert self control.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">The fruits of the spirit</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;&nbsp;require considerable effort to live by. We have to exert our mental emotional strength and determination of will to practice and learn humility, justice, service, and purity. These are aspects of God's true image which we lack and must put on.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The likeness of God found in flesh and blood humans is only a beginning! We must add to it to get the full picture, or image of God. We get this additional information from:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God's word</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the presence of His holy spirit in us</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Jesus Provides The Perfect </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Human </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Example</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">God's word presents us with the person, the teaching, the example, the life of Jesus Christ. In Him we receive example and instruction on what it takes to complete this likeness of God.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Christ who has been raised and is alive is present in us. This is the holy spirit which convicts, counsels, strengthens and helps us judge ourselves.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 14:6-11</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the likeness of God we have is living, and it is active in us.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Colossians 1:15 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">where I have gone you too will go</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Our Creator's goal is to transform us... our nature and our character... into Christ's image... who is complete in the likeness of God... our creator... our Father. This process will be complete upon your resurrection unto spirit.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">1 Corinthians 15:45-53</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">1 John 3:2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;the completeness and maturity of Christ</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Living In Obedience To His Commandments</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Exodus 20:4-6 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">the second commandment actually has two parts. The first part says no images, the second part warns of accountability. We must answer for our words and deeds because it is through these that we complete the image of God.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Kneeling, bowing, praying, before a picture or an object (</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">yes, I would include in this an image of a cross</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">) might look and feel like an act of devotion and submission... but true worship is demonstrated through the keeping of our Creator's commands.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">John 4:23-24</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;knowledge and understanding of God's truth are essential for growing holy righteous character... and filling out, or completing, our image of God.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Proverbs 2:1-5</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Once you gain understanding of truth (which is received from God through His word and spirit) then you are held responsible and accountable for what you know.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">James 1:22-25 --&gt; 1 John 2:4-6</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">We worship of God by obeying Him, by emulating Him, by learning through practice to think and live as He does. We honor and show respect for Him by living this way.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Negative Effects of Creating False Images Of God</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Pictures, objects, and all false representations of God keep us from seeing Him in the multifaceted reality of His being. He acts with gentleness and mercy, He can also act with wrath and judgment. The living God can not be limited to any 2 dimensional, or even 3 dimensional depiction. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">His presentation of Himself to us is active, alive, and moral in nature. BY moral I mean that our understanding of Him is based on the quality or character of His actions; just, merciful, faithful, affectionate, self controlled etc. Anything less is a deceptive.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;">Use Of Images &amp; Objects As Aids In Worship Are A Diversion</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 13pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Reduction of the fullness of God's truth and incomplete presentation of God's truth are highly effective strategies of Satan. It is one of his tactics to get folks to visualize Jesus Christ as a lifeless inanimate picture, statue or object... this subtly diverts our attention from the fullness of the living Christ. It dulls undermines our perception of the vibrant, perfect, living God and gets us focused on created things (the first step towards violating the 1st commandment - have no other gods before me).</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">2 Corinthians 3:18 - 4:1-7</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;this image of God is not so much seen, not so much heard, not so much touched, as it is experienced in the quality of life lived in obedience to our Creator's commandments.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Conclusion:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The 2nd commandment is a warning to keep our eyes and attention on the living God who is known and perceived through His works. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11pt;">Deuteronomy 4:15-20</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">&nbsp;you know me not through any image, or object, or even my own appearance… but through the nature of what I do. I am the God who brought you out of Egypt!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The ultimate of God's works is the life of Jesus Christ, the perfect or complete spiritual representation of our heavenly Father. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">The 2nd commandment protects our special relationship with our Creator... we are made in His likeness... yet, destined to become even more fully like Him... fashioned into His spiritual image... and raised to a special place in His own family.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;">Our Creator is greater than anything we can see or imagine. His likeness is truly perceived through living and doing... and this understanding is built upon the foundation of obedience to His commandments and putting on His spiritual outlook; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, loyalty, gentleness, mercy, and justice.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div></div><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;Trebuchet MS&quot;, sans-serif;">This message is part of a 4 part series covering the 1</span><sup style="font-family: &quot;Trebuchet MS&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="vertical-align: super;">st&nbsp;</span></sup><span style="font-family: &quot;Trebuchet MS&quot;, sans-serif;">four commandments. The commandments which outline what it means to love God with all our hearts, all our minds, and all our being. Here are links to all four -&nbsp;</span><br /><div class="MsoNormal"></div><ol><li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlZR8E1iqFk"><u><span class="15" style="color: blue; font-size: 10.5pt;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The 1st Commandment: Right Priorities</span></span></u></a></li><li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMRdhfadiqQ"><u><span class="15" style="color: blue; font-size: 10.5pt;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The 2nd Commandment: No False Images</span></span></u></a></li><li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nc8ekf8mMb0"><u><span class="15" style="color: blue; font-size: 10.5pt;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The 3rd Commandment: Show Some Respect</span></span></u></a></li><li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEdBx4kGz1o"><u><span class="15" style="color: blue; font-size: 10.5pt;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The 4th Commandment: Face TIme With God</span></span></u></a></li></ol></div><script type="text/javascript" src="//downloads.mailchimp.com/js/signup-forms/popup/unique-methods/embed.js" data-dojo-config="usePlainJson: true, isDebug: false"></script><script type="text/javascript">window.dojoRequire(["mojo/signup-forms/Loader"], function(L) { L.start({"baseUrl":"mc.us17.list-manage.com","uuid":"42a7ee88449a01c2085c19d73","lid":"bda1c22f95","uniqueMethods":true}) })</script><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/jsirb0Gb9kA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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The First Commandment: Setting Right Priorities
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Sp-4kRNT-h4/XClGczYiUAI/AAAAAAAABCI/w6tAj-7HWSgstsfLIbt4DclBEbMH5E3fgCLcBGAs/s1600/freestocks-org-187367-unsplash.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Sp-4kRNT-h4/XClGczYiUAI/AAAAAAAABCI/w6tAj-7HWSgstsfLIbt4DclBEbMH5E3fgCLcBGAs/s320/freestocks-org-187367-unsplash.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><h2><span style="font-size: small;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Matthew 22:35-38 </span></b><span style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">when Jesus was asked what is the most important thing in life He answered to </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">“</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">love God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">. Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 6:5. In Deuteronomy, the verse comes directly after the second proclamation of the 10 commandments in the 5th chapter. In its original context the verse served the same purpose Jesus used it for... establishing love towards God as your top priority.</span></span></span></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">It is very common for folks to quickly jump to the second greatest command which is </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">“</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">love towards your fellow human beings</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">. But think about Jesus' answer... He did not place love toward other people as your top priority He said love for fellow man was only your 2nd priority.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Ask for a FREE copy of our ebook <a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/the-ten-commandments">The Ten Commandments</a>. Its a great way to begin your personal study of all God's commandments.</span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">The 10 commandments give us the broad outline of what it means to love God and love other people. Commandments 1 though 4 provide the essentials of love towards God. Commandments 5-10 provide the essentials of acting out love towards our fellow human beings. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Notice the prioritization... love toward God is spelled out first... it is the top priority. Then comes showing love towards other people. These first 4 commands address:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">How do we think about God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">How do we represent God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">How do we talk about God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">4.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">How do we come into His presence</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><span style="font-size: small;"><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">The 1</span></b><b><sup><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; vertical-align: super;">st</span></sup></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">&nbsp;Commandment Establishes Right Priorities</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></span></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Establishing and maintaining a positive, lasting, satisfying relationship with God is the primary focus of scripture and the primary focus of the commandments.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Exodus 20:3</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">&nbsp;The supreme being who caused these words to be recorded &nbsp;is our ideal, He is everything we consider worthy, He is what we aspire to be like. We desire to be in His presence and feel His love towards us. Nothing less is enough.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">The beginning of right thinking about God is to acknowledge Him as creator of all things. That's how the bible begins in Genesis 1.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">"Hi, I'm the creator of everything you see around you. I made all this. I made you as well".</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">&nbsp;He wants you to know this and acknowledge it, privately and publicly (Sabbath keeping is a public acknowledgement of the act of creation).He wants you to know that as creator He has power and control over all things, He knows all there is to know, and He cares for you and has plans for you.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Isaiah 40:26-31</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">&nbsp;If we have this outlook and understanding we should trust Him and honor Him. Only the creator can promise you an eternal future and ensure that it comes to pass.The only reliable secure future we have is with our Creator... He is living, thinking, creating, feeling... He is real, and He is the only one. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><span style="font-size: small;"><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Worshiping the Creation Over God</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></span></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">God made the planet which supplies our needs, He made our bodies. All are good for what they are designed to accomplish IE. survive until our allotted days are complete. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">This whole thing we call "life" is really nothing more than a classroom. It is a temporary and passing state designed for the purpose of preparing us for real life... which we don't receive until resurrected unto spirit. Your Creator wants us to graduate from this school and take up a place and position within His family.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Who wants to stay in school forever! God wants us to learn, grow and become mature, like a child who becomes an adult, and then moves on to a life of their own!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Problem:</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">&nbsp;Some people (many?) fall in love with the temporary, with nature, the creation, the planet, the stars, planets... with our own bodily processes like sex or eating. This exaltation of nature has formed the basis of idolatrous religion in ancient times and in our own time.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">God drew Abraham and later Israel out of cultures which had messed up priorities. Egypt, Sumeria (Babylon), Hittites, Canaanites.... all of these had religions that worshiped elements of the world around them rather than the one who made their physical environment.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">On some levels such an approach makes sense. Humans see the wonder in the physical world, the intricacy, the interlocking systems and they become enthralled by it. Captivated by its amazing beauty which can be seen and experienced. For example; </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0000pt; margin-left: 20.9000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo2; mso-pagination: widow-orphan; text-autospace: ideograph-numeric; text-indent: -20.9000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">The ancients obsessed over the climate (Baal was first and foremost a rain god), are we that different today? </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0000pt; margin-left: 20.9000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo2; mso-pagination: widow-orphan; text-autospace: ideograph-numeric; text-indent: -20.9000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">The ancients obsessed over the food they grew and ate... does our culture do similar things? </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0000pt; margin-left: 20.9000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo2; mso-pagination: widow-orphan; text-autospace: ideograph-numeric; text-indent: -20.9000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">They worshiped images of their own sex organs... are we really that different? </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0000pt; margin-left: 20.9000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo2; mso-pagination: widow-orphan; text-autospace: ideograph-numeric; text-indent: -20.9000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">They looked for meaning in the stars and the vastness of the universe... ever heard of the quest for the unified theory?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0000pt; mso-pagination: widow-orphan; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-autospace: ideograph-numeric;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">We in the 21st century see ourselves as to attribute divine powers to storms, or planetary bodies, or biological processes like fertilization. But isn't the theory of evolution just that? To believe that portions of the universe have developed the will to live on their own. Little globs of atoms banded together to form molecules... to form complex creatures... that by the force of their own will to live and survive they dragged themselves out of the primordial mud... to one day build the Taj Mahal or the International Space Station.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">The theory of evolution is a modern instance of granting divine power to physical and created things. In this case power of will and creation.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><span style="font-size: small;"><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">What You Prioritize Becomes</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">&nbsp;Your God</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></span></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Romans 1:21-25</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">&nbsp;Attributing intelligence or will to the physical creation is only &nbsp;the beginning of superstition and religious blindness. It is a path that cuts human beings off from the true Creator, and cuts humanity off from all the creator has to offer. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">The 1st commandment is a warning not to accept any system or religion, or philosophy that teaches life comes from anything other than God. Or that our on going well-being comes from any source other than God. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><span style="font-size: small;"><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">But.. Does This Affect Members of God's Church?</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></span></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">If you are sitting here today you have probably accepted God as creator. So you might wonder "why is he going on about this stuff to us, we believe".</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Even God's people can fall prey to setting elements of this physical life above God and His purpose for us. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">maybe a person reaches the point where satisfaction of their desires becomes the most important thing... addiction to some substance like drugs or alcohol... or maybe just good old sexual desire.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">maybe wanting to achieve financial or professional success leads you to make decisions that go against what you know of God asks of you.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">maybe an expectation of health and long happy life surrounded by loved ones is your top priority... and when the suffering of life comes along you turn your back on God because He is not giving you what you want.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot;;">l&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">maybe you think the Church of God should be focused more on helping you cope with your day to day life... money problems, marriage issues, career advice, stress, emotional issues... and when when the answer keeps coming back to keeping your eyes on the big picture, focus on God's plan and purpose... you feel let down.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 21.0000pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo2; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.0000pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Philippians 3:7-21</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">&nbsp;the first commandment is a reminder and a warning to not set your heart on earthly things. The flesh and blood life you now live is meaningless, all the happiness you experience, all the houses you build, the money you save, the children you have... mean nothing except for the character you build along the way.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Don</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">’t hate life… e</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">njoy life, but use it for the purpose God has intended it for. The end of the matter is this: </span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">fear God and keep His commandments</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">. Make this your top priority and you will find satisfaction, you will find contentment, you will find peace and you will find joy.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><span style="font-size: small;"><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Making God Real</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></span></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">’s word says</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">&nbsp;the created world and its experiences are a way to discern, appreciate, and then emulate the character and personality of the Creator </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Psalm 145:5-9 --&gt; Psalm 107:8-9 - Deuteronomy 10:18</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Matthew 5:43-48 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">God is concerned for the well being of ALL people... even those who are ignorant of, or deny, His existence and His supremacy! Suppose you were to say to God </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">“</span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">I am good to my friends</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">”, He will say “</span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">big deal… anyone can do that. But can you be good to everyone</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">”?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Why seek to understand these aspects of God's character?</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">2 Peter 1:4</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">&nbsp;because He wants to create in you this same character. Because that</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">’s an example of the kind of character it will take to sit beside Christ as He rules and administers the entire creation.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Developing this character involves a major shift in our mind, your attitude and YOUR PRIORITIES &nbsp;</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Romans 12:2; </span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Philippians 2:5</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">God’s priority is not to set up a wonderful physical life for you. The physical life serves no lasting purpose except to prepare you for your future role in God’s family. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><span style="font-size: small;"><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Getting to Know God Better</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></span></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Another way you get to know your Creator better is through do the things He has asked you to do!</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">&nbsp;1 John 2:3-5</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Another way to get to know your Creator better is to study His word. God has caused His commands to be written down for you, He has provided plenty of commentary and elaboration on what obeying them means, He has provided real world scenarios for you to apply to your life. Your creator has put all this before you... BUT you have to do your part. He is not going to do the work for you!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Deuteronomy 8:3 (quoted by Jesus in Matthew 4:4) --&gt; 2 Timothy 3:16-17 --&gt; 2 Timothy 2:15</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><h2><span style="font-size: small;"><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">A Family Relationship</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></span></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Your Creator’s top priority is to have a relationship with you. His desire is that you make that relationship your top priority. He tells you to make if as important to yourself as it is to Him. Set nothing else as a priority over this.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">2 Corinthians 6:18</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">&nbsp;He wants you to appreciate Him as your Father. The relationship He wants is a family relationship. Its a way of thinking about; the Creator, and His universe that is unique among all other belief systems (religions, philosophies or science). All other attempts to describe life, reality, the universes, or eternity are cold and sterile by comparison. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">This family relationship with your Creator is your purpose for living... and its the reason God made the universe. Os don’t all in love with the physical world.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">This family relationship with your Creator is the reason Jesus Christ came as savior and redeemer.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Hebrews 2:9-11</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Your Creator has a future planned for you; that you may sit beside Christ forever assisting and helping preside over all creation.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">He has given you this lifetime to prepare for such a full and abundant future.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Don't worship this life or make any aspect of it a greater priority. He says, “have no other God’s before me”</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;">Give you love, honor, respect, and attention to your Creator... your Father... and prepare for what lays ahead.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 11.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"><br /></span> <span style="font-family: &quot;Trebuchet MS&quot;, sans-serif;">This message is part of a 4 part series covering the 1</span><sup style="font-family: &quot;Trebuchet MS&quot;, sans-serif;"><span style="vertical-align: super;">st&nbsp;</span></sup><span style="font-family: &quot;Trebuchet MS&quot;, sans-serif;">four commandments. The commandments which outline what it means to love God with all our hearts, all our minds, and all our being. Here are links to all four -&nbsp;</span><br /><div class="MsoNormal"></div><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;;"></span><br /><ol><li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlZR8E1iqFk"><u><span class="15" style="color: blue; font-size: 10.5pt;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The 1st Commandment: Right Priorities</span></span></u></a></li><li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMRdhfadiqQ"><u><span class="15" style="color: blue; font-size: 10.5pt;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The 2nd Commandment: No False Images</span></span></u></a></li><li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nc8ekf8mMb0"><u><span class="15" style="color: blue; font-size: 10.5pt;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The 3rd Commandment: Show Some Respect</span></span></u></a></li><li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEdBx4kGz1o"><u><span class="15" style="color: blue; font-size: 10.5pt;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The 4th Commandment: Face TIme With God</span></span></u></a></li></ol></div></div><script type="text/javascript" src="//downloads.mailchimp.com/js/signup-forms/popup/unique-methods/embed.js" data-dojo-config="usePlainJson: true, isDebug: false"></script><script type="text/javascript">window.dojoRequire(["mojo/signup-forms/Loader"], function(L) { L.start({"baseUrl":"mc.us17.list-manage.com","uuid":"42a7ee88449a01c2085c19d73","lid":"bda1c22f95","uniqueMethods":true}) })</script><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/_GcMpR_e18E" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Sermon on the Mount: A Look Into The Ministry of Jesus Christ (Part 2)
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-UE2JOGoN9z0/WdOms_3r3oI/AAAAAAAAAl0/HQfEJkkNpYgp3tJkEJrmef1U3iiOguzxACLcBGAs/s1600/davide-ragusa-24118.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1063" data-original-width="1600" height="212" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-UE2JOGoN9z0/WdOms_3r3oI/AAAAAAAAAl0/HQfEJkkNpYgp3tJkEJrmef1U3iiOguzxACLcBGAs/s320/davide-ragusa-24118.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>In the previous portion of Jesus Sermon we discusses 6 illustrations of greater righteousness that showed Jesus teaching the spiritual application of laws, statutes, judgments etc. and showing how they were to be written upon our hearts and minds. I called this the sermon’s core…</div><h3 class="western">Sermon’s Core II: 3 Illustrations of Greater Righteousness in Good Works (done towards God)</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus now teaches about good works…<br /><a name='more'></a>namely giving to the poor, prayer, and fasting. This is not meant to be a complete list of good works. Rather, like the previous section they are a sampling used to illustrate how good works are to be offered up to God rather than used to enhance our status.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">In each of these three illustrations Jesus describes the all too common hypocritical approach and contrasts it with an approach that is from the heart. And in this He offers a very simple technique for testing your own motivations. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The Greek word <b>hypocrite</b> literally means an actor, so we have the idea of one who plays a role that is not reflecting his own character. In Jesus’ examples this person plays his role to be seen doing it by other people. Perhaps it feeds his or her vanity or perhaps it improves their social status. They may be deceiving themselves that these righteous acts tip the scales of judgment in their favor… making up for unresolved sin in other parts of their lives…</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">As an antidote to hypocrisy and mere role playing Jesus proposes the idea that we do these in private or secret… an act that takes place between you and God… a spiritual matter. God can tell a lot about you by what you do when there is no one there to see you. Neither I, nor anyone else here can ever know that part of you. I might fool you, I might fool everybody else here. I might deceive myself… which is a bit harder, but I cannot fool God. He knows what’s really going on.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Notice that each of these examples ends with the phrase “<i>and your Father </i><i><u>who sees in secret</u></i><i> will reward you</i>”.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Vs 6:1-4</b> <b>Generosity &amp; Giving</b>—To the Jews charity to the poor was huge… in the fact the word for charity is the same word used for righteousness. They tended to view this and other good works as a means to gain merit with God… and often as a way to publically demonstrate their superior status economically and spiritually. Jesus instructs us to test the compassion in our hearts by <u>continuing to do this good deed</u> … but to do it in secret, before God alone.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Vs 6:5-15 Prayer</b>—Jesus describes the wrong way to pray and then offers guidance regarding the right way to pray. Prayer was top priority for the Jew… They had formal prayers to recite when they got up, they had prayer before and after each meal; there were prayers in connection with the light, the fire, the lightning, new moons, comets, rain, storms, at the sight of the sea, lakes, rivers, on receiving good news, on using new furniture, on entering or leaving a city… They also had set times for prayer 9am… 12 noon… 3pm. So, if you were at a busy street corner at noon you would simply begin to pray with your head bowed and your hands up in the air… hmm Mordecai certainly seems to just happen to be on the street corner at the stroke of 12 an awful lot… wow that guy can pray! I’m sure God hears him… I certainly can.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">There is a time for public and communal prayer but Jesus instructs us that our prayers are primarily to be unto God with a sincere heart… where there is no one to show off for (I would think if we were trying to show off to God in prayer we’d feel pretty ridicualous). Jesus then gives us an example of a heartfelt personal prayer (more of an outline) commonly called the Lord’s Prayer. There is a good balance of intimacy with our creator who loves us as children… with respect and reverence for Him as supreme head of all that exists… and acknowledgement of His sovereign will… and a special emphasis on forgiveness and reconciliation.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Vs 6:17-18</b> <b>Fasting</b>—is a good thing for drawing close to God but not if you are doing it to show off how spiritual you are. The Jews had semi-official days of fasting on Monday and Thursday. These were also market days, and people would come in to town from the country. This meant a bigger audience for those who were ostentatiously fasting… a bigger audience to see and admire their righteousness. Some took deliberate steps to see that others could not miss the fact that they were fasting. They walked through the streets with hair deliberately unkempt and dishevelled, with clothes deliberately soiled and disarrayed”.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Again Jesus says… yes, fast unto God… not to an audience.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Note: these rules, obligations, expectations Jesus was slashing and burning His way through were the traditions of men. God’s word doesn’t give rules about how often to fast, how long to pray, how much to give. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">All this is interesting background explaining why Jesus would criticize them… but assuming everyone in this room is indeed doing these things privately before God… tooting your own horn doesn’t really seem to be a problem among God’s people… our key take-away from this itemizing of bad behavior is to remain humble and reverent before God who knows our hearts and motivations.</div><h3 class="western">What About Legitimate Spiritual Discipline?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">You can make rules for yourself and proactively try to develop habits of righteousness (examples)… But when we start thinking that following our own rules makes us righteous, then we have a problem… when we start judging others based on how well they measure up to our rules we have a bigger problem… when we try to force others to follow our rules and expectations… you get the picture…</div><h3 class="western">Is Seeking A Reward Godly?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus ends each of these three examples with this phrase… “<i>and your Father who sees in secret will reward you</i>”. But isn’t the whole idea of doing something for reward… ungodly? Shouldn’t we simply do good for the sake of doing good itself or the love of God? <b>Short Answer:</b> not according to Jesus Christ. He talks about reward frequently. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The idea of doing something with no thought of reward sounds noble but shouldn’t be applied to the rewards that God has promised… without them life is without purpose or goals, without joys to be obtained, with nothing to anticipate and look forward to… all action is meaningless, every day the same as the next… in the end who cares? That is not how God thinks. God has purpose, He has plans, he has goals and He has rewards in mind. The key is…</div><h3 class="western">What kinds of rewards are we looking forward to? </h3><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Satisfaction</b> (the joy &amp; happiness of knowing you have done well)</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Increased responsibility</b> - Matt.25:14-30 parable of the talents (the brilliant student gets harder assignments, the talented musician gets harder, not easier music to learn, the athelete who does well playing on second string gets moved to the more challenging first string… and so it is with the disciple of Christ… so it is with the firstfruits.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>To see God</b> (to be in his presence without fear but with joy)</div></li></ol><h3 class="western">Contrasting Earthly Riches (Rewards) with Heavenly Reward</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Vs 19-22</b> back before the days of cash, credit cards, 401k plans, people had to stash their wealth in the form of things… fine clothing, homes, jewelry and so forth. These all fade and wear out (compare inflation to a moth or rust)… and even if you care for them and keep them in mint condition… you wear out… you die and none of your stuff goes with you.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">What goes with you is the Godly character you have developed… how you have written His law upon your heart and mind, how you have developed to the fruits of the Holy Spirit, how you have walked in the good works He has prepared in advance for us to do.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Vs 23-24</b> Money can cloud your vision and get you off track (eye as window metaphor… if its clear and unclouded the light can get in). The solution is generosity and godly stewardship of the blessings God has given you.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Vs 25-34</b> Why do people care about money so passionately? There are plenty of reasons… power, vanity and pleasure come to mind… but I think the one most common to all humans is fear (worry). Wanting to know where is my next meal coming from… Can I pay the mortgage this month? What will happen to me? What can I do to control events? Etc. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Fear and worry is the opposite of faith. Trust in money is incompatible with trust in God.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus uses a classic rhetorical technique to compare the two… “if so in the lesser case (animals plants), how much more so in the greater case (the children of God).</div><h3 class="western">Everything Leads to Judgment Before God</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus now begins to wrap up His sermon with a nice conclusion: the point of pursuing this greater righteousness is to prepare yourself to be judged (and rewarded) by God. But along the way He makes some key points about how we treat one another with regard to judgment and compares human judgment with God’s.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 7:1-5</b> <i>Krinos</i> – means discernment, analysis (which are good), it also means condemnation and vengeance (which are not… as Jesus discussed in His teaching on the spirit of murder). Condemnation and vengeance are God’s job… </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The goal of this teaching is not to get us to all just shut up, but to actually fix our own lives so we can legitimately help others. That’s part of what you were designed to do. Judgment is hardwired into humans… it’s a God level function… you were designed to judge righteous judgment.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Gal 6:1</b> you cannot help your brother or sister without the ability to discern and makes judgments on the basis of God’s word. But it is not your role to condemn.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Verse 6</b>… a warning, even constructive criticism from a pure heart and a clear eye will likely be rejected by those who are outside the brotherhood… those who are ungodly, unspiritual and/or deceived by false teaching.</div><h3 class="western">How Does God Treat Us?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 7:7-11</b> When we think about how to approach other people a good place to start is to remind ourselves of how God treats us. Of all people you know the problems in your life… and hopefully you are aware of the great patience and gentleness an generosity God shows you.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 7:12</b> Summary: The Golden Rule (as Jesus explained earlier to be forgiven you must be forgiving, to be treated with kindness you should be kind etc.). Someone might say… “<i>I’m hard on myself so I can be hard on others</i>”… back up to the previous point, consider your dealings with your creator, consider how kind He is to you.</div><h3 class="western">There Are Only 2 Ways You Can Go… Life or Death (3 Illustrations)</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The choice is the same as it was in the beginning… I set before you life and death, choose life! Your decision before God’s truth and way is binary… its on or off, up or down, in or out… there is not third way.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Vs 13-14</b> true disciples will always be few. Our success in preaching the word of God cannot be measured in numbers or percentages. Writing the law of God on your heart and mind is challenging.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Vs 15-23</b> here and elsewhere we are warned that people will come into the church with bad ideas… perhaps some new tradition of men they have cooked up… perhaps some outrageous heresy. For our own sake we will have to judge them based on the fruits of their lives… are they pursuing the will of the Father. How do we know the will of the Father? The Sermon on the Mount is a good place to start.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">You may have said all the right words… you may be in the right place at the right time… but is it your personal goal to write the laws and commandments of God on your hearts and your mind? What about the fruits of the Holy Spirit? Do you have a plan to walk in the good works He has prepared in advance for you to do? Are you preparing yourself for your place in the family of God and the Kingdom of God.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Need guidelines?</b> <b>A to-do list?</b> The Sermon on the Mount is a great place to start.</div><br /><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Vs 24-27</b> just read it</div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/alPAtM_WZQM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Sermon on the Mount: A Look Into The Ministry of Jesus Christ
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-VuhYU9GIRhY/WdEM7yEvFuI/AAAAAAAAAlk/eXm5Qd2QsjcYfsRnSNC-iPPmiGJ2LgctQCLcBGAs/s1600/joao-silas-72563.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-VuhYU9GIRhY/WdEM7yEvFuI/AAAAAAAAAlk/eXm5Qd2QsjcYfsRnSNC-iPPmiGJ2LgctQCLcBGAs/s320/joao-silas-72563.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>The most well known sermon of all time… even those who deny Jesus was God in the flesh recognize the wisdom of His words here… 5 sermons in Matt on evangelism, the nature of the Kingdom, prophecy etc. this one is on ethics. Ethics in the purest sense of the word… how you think affects what you do.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 4:17</b> Prepare yourself for the coming kingdom... an overview of His message<br /><a name='more'></a></div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Calls disciples to train and prepare them to carry the message after He is gone</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Heals the sick… cast out spirits… to display His authority</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">And <u>many</u> people come to hear Him teach and speak (we’re talking thousands at a time)</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 5:1-2</b> What was Jesus teaching like? Matthew now follows with an example. Jesus speaks about law, and works. He speaks with great authority. He magnifies the law, expands upon it, he does not diminish it. He explains how the new covenant will work… writing the commands upon our hearts and our minds.</div><h3 class="western">Vs 2-12 Intro: the characteristics of those who will be in the KOG</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Blessings</b> come from your response to the message and teachings of Jesus. Blessing is a joy which is not dependent on the circumstances of physical life, sickness or health, poverty or wealth, etc.</div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Poor in spirit</b> – that you realize it is not in yourself to know the way to walk (to determine what is right and what is wrong), you look to your creator and the power of His Holy Spirit to reveal the spiritual principles that lead to righteousness and eternal life in God’s family. </div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Those who mourn</b> – that you are filled with Godly sorrow when you look upon your own sin and the sin in the world… Godly sorrow that leads to repentance and a strong desire for Christ’s return to right the wrongs of the earth… which you will see!</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>The meek</b> – that you are humble before your fellow human beings but especially humble before your God… willing to be trained in righteousness and Godly character… controlling your passions, impulses, your desires and submitting every thought to Jesus Christ… <i>tearing down the mighty fortresses of rationalizations and arguments we build in our minds against the knowledge of God, taking captive every thought and making it obedient to Christ. </i><b>Why?</b><i> </i>That you might inherit the earth and take your place within the God Family that rules it.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness</b> - "How much do you want the goodness of God for yourself and for the world? Do you want it as much as a starving man wants food, and as much as a man dying of thirst wants water?" How intense is your desire for <u>total</u> goodness? Or are you content with a sloppy mixture of good and evil like we have in this world?</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>The merciful</b> – Christ’s teaching is insistent that to be forgiven we must be forgiving… to pursue mercy it helps to get inside the other person’s situation, to consider their circumstances, their baggage, their background… <u>why</u> are they doing the stupid things they do? Which if you reflect upon it is what Jesus did himself… <i>God allowing himself to be made fully human in every way that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and make atonement for the sins of the people. </i>Jesus does not condone evil, He rejects it and will judge it against the high standard of Godly righteousness… but He gets it, He’s been inside your skin, and He extends mercy… that we might take the opportunity to repent.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>The pure in heart</b> –you are willing to examine yourself… your motives, your actions, and to let God search your heart through trial, through His discipline, through the conviction of the H.S… purge out the old leaven, eradicate that which is unclean because no uncleanness will come before God.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>The peacemakers</b> – (The blessing is on the peace-makers, not necessarily on the peace-lovers) not passive, accepting evil, willing to look the other way… but active righteousness… seeking to establish right relationships between you and your fellow man… Because this is what being a member of the God Family is all about.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>The persecuted</b> – Jesus never sugar coated it… He did not come to show you how to make peace with the world around you. When you accept and internalize His teachings you will find yourself at odds with this world. <i>“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”</i> </div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">These blessed attitudes are rejected by this world and if not outright rejected held in low esteem as foolish and weak. At your job, at school, your social life, perhaps within your family, these attitudes of mind and going to bring you into conflict with the world around you. And at some future time the disciples of Christ will be subject to state sanctioned violence once again.</div><h3 class="western">Vs 13-16—The Here-And-Now Purpose of Those Who Are Preparing for the future</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Considering how different we are to be from the society around us you could conclude that we are called to separate ourselves… live in a monastery, a religious compound in the desert, be like the Amish. But no, we are expected to interact with others in the world to achieve a secondary, God ordained purpose. Like salt we are to act as a preservative, maintaining purity in a world of corruption. We are to be a light that shines into dark places… exposing evil and offering the truth of God in its place. </div><h3 class="western">Vs 17-20—Sermon’s SPS: God’s Law Is To Be Written On Your Heart</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Jesus made it clear that He not contradicting the law or getting rid of it… BUT He is going to change the way it functions in our lives and our world. Prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-34<b> </b>quoted in<b> Hebrews 8:7-13</b></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Some aspects of the law were going to be accomplished, for example a couple that are explicitly spelled out in scripture… a sacrificial system will no longer be needed once He offers himself as a sufficient sacrifice for all sins... the priesthood along with all its regulations will be replaced beginning with a new High Priest, Jesus Himself. Both institutions are still part of the plan but they are very much changed.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Some aspects of the law are to be magnified in a way that calls for <u>greater righteousness</u> than even the Pharisees or teachers of the law… expanded in a way that internalizes the law/concept making it part of how you think and feel… or, if you will, no longer written on stones, or scrolls, or paper, or an LCD screen but written on your heart.</div><h3 class="western">Sermon’s Core: 6 Illustrations of Greater Righteousness (not exhaustive)</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">With each of these illustrations Jesus contrasts the letter of the law and its traditional interpretation with His more exacting requirements. He uses a formula: <i>“You have heard… but I say”</i>. In doing so He is not contradicting the law, or replacing it. He is teaching a new way to apply commandments that requires digging down to the level of thoughts, motivations, and emotions… a project which is ultimately beyond the ability of language to express. If Jesus were merely offering a more complete list of do’s and don’ts it that we could carve on new stones He would not address the core issue of internalization… the Holy Spirit writing the laws of God on your heart and mind.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Gal 3:21</b> If you could put righteousness into words or regulations… then the law of God was it. Holy, righteous, good.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">So, the laws and commandments remain… a guide to life and a starting point for a more intense spiritual project. <b>Putting on the mind of God through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in you!</b></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Vs 21-26 Murder</b>—by OT definition not referring to killing in self defense, manslaughter, holy war, capital punishment after due process. Murder is the ultimate act of hatred and anger and surely comes about by harboring and feeding those emotions. Its that spirit and emotional component Jesus is getting at. Notice that the examples he uses are between brothers and sisters, what they say to one another… judgment, contempt. What does He say? Don’t just offer prayers or gifts of penance, go fix the relationship and do it quickly before the emotions fester and grow.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Vs 27-30 Adultery</b>—An example that’s applicable to all sexual sin. Thoughts allowed to linger in the heart and mind are a sexual sin and lead to greater sexual sin. The thoughts will come… no doubt… but how do you deal with them? The solution offered here is that you remove yourself from situations that lead to sin, sexual or otherwise. And sins left unaddressed lead to judgment and death.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Vs 31-32 Divorce</b>—Here Jesus appears to be forbidding a practice that the OT permits… <b>Deut.24:1</b>: <i>"When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a bill of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house."</i> The problem was the Jews played games with the word <u>indecency</u> such that it could mean anything from sexual sin to being a bad cook or just ugly… in other words they could divorce her for any reason. Jesus says this should not be so.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">What’s the heart issue here? Something God hates… faithlessness, selfishness, hardness of heart. The letter of marriage is legal rights… the spirit of marriage is love, commitment, unity, faithfulness.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Vs 33-37 Oaths</b>—the Jews had created an elaborate hierarchy of oath taking. To swear an oath on the gold of the altar was very serious… you wouldn’t want to break that one. An oath on the tassles of the levite’s robes would be less so... breaking that one wouldn’t be good but there was some wiggle room. So oath taking, or truth telling, was not <b>YES</b> or <b>NO</b> it would be shades of grey… Others should be able to trust you and count on your word being truthful in everything… large or small. That is what is in the heart of a disciple!</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Vs 38-42 An Eye For An Eye</b>—referring to Ex 21:24, Lev 24:19-20, Deut 19:21… the law is generally interpreted as seeking to limit the escalation of retaliation and revenge. In <b>Genesis 4:24-25</b> Lamech says <i>“I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.”</i> God’s law sought to limit that… yes there were to be consequences for such things but they needed to be appropriate for the actual crime or misdeed. So, the OT law allows retaliation or punishment… in like kind. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">But, Jesus says the real answer to retaliation (and implicitly reconciliation) is… let it go. If someone insults you (slapping a person on the cheek with the back of your hand was a big time insult) don’t respond in like kind. Let it go. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">On the flip side avoid the downward spiral of grudging resentment of tasks and duties. If you are legally required to do something don’t approach it resentfully… doing the bare minimum required. Go above and beyond with graciousness and good cheer. That’s the way to go about life’s many tasks great and small.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Vs 43-48 Love For Enemies</b>—there is no specific command in the OT to love your friends and hate your enemies. But it’s definitely the way we as people tend to operate. Everybody loves their own. But the <u>greater righteousness</u> is to go above and beyond… showing love for “others”… those outside our family, our group, our race, even to those who oppose us and don’t like us, criticize and mock us. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To do so is to be like our Father. He gives rain and sunshine to all His creation… the righteous and the unrighteous. He loves you even when you are not especially lovable. He judges, He disciplines, but He always loves.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Be perfect as your Father is perfect</b> - according to the definitions and meanings of English words a call to perfection is obviously an impossible task. It’s a weakness of our desire to have a word for word translation of scripture rather than to discern the concept. The original word doesn’t necessarily mean perfection as we mean perfection today.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Dig in with a word study here and you see that the concept/idea Jesus is voicing here is to become complete, mature, tempered and tested, well developed for the purpose you were designed for… which is to become like God… a creation in His own image and likeness… as it has been from the very beginning. Paul fleshes out the idea well in Eph 4:13-16. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Putting on the mind of God, developing the character of God means having the commandments of God written on your heart, to become your way of thinking, your motive, and your actions. So…</div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Know the commands of God</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Discern the spirit behind them </div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Practice them in a way that conforms to the spirit</div></li></ul>________________________________________________________<br /><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><br />Read this message at our blog 📘 <br /><a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/10/sermon-on-mount-look-into-ministry-of.html">Sermon on The Mount Part 1</a><br /><br />View this message on YouTube - <br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Upriwyzq6CM">Sermon on The Mount Part 1</a><br /><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/8XkILCvlR5s" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Hospitality... A Way Of Life God Wants Us To Live
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Hospitality is not just a nice idea… it’s actually a requirement</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-19ao_F3RYP4/WKoK-g0x30I/AAAAAAAAAY4/WPQa-pDghi8ltjAiUoUAnTeH4B3kkneQQCLcB/s1600/brooke-lark-93583.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="426" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-19ao_F3RYP4/WKoK-g0x30I/AAAAAAAAAY4/WPQa-pDghi8ltjAiUoUAnTeH4B3kkneQQCLcB/s640/brooke-lark-93583.jpg" width="640" /></a></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><br /></div><h2 class="western">3 common approaches to interpreting scriptural requirement of hospitality:</h2><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Hospitality was a reflection of middle-eastern culture of the day therefore not necessarily relevant for other cultures and other times. Hospitality was embedded in the culture, however, we shall wee that the hospitality commands are universal instructions related to Christ-like living not just an accommodation of Jewish, Semitic, Greek or Roman culture but a part of walking in the way of God.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Hospitality was a requirement limited to accommodating travelling ministry in order to further the gospel. On this point I believe we shall see that accommodation of itinerant ministry is <u>part</u> of hospitality but not the full breadth of what God expects in regard to hospitality.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Hospitality was (and is) a practical application of <u>brotherly</u> <u>love</u> among the members of the body of Christ. This is the approach we will be taking today looking at the hospitality “<i>commands</i>”: Romans 12:13 <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span>I Peter 4:9 <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> Hebrews 13:1-2</div></li></ol><h2 class="western">Hospitality as a requirement for: </h2><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Position of leadership I Timothy 3:1-2, Titus 1:7-8</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Receiving church support: I Tim 5:10</div></li></ol><h2 class="western">The First Hospitality Command Romans 12:13</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">It’s easy to breeze through this straightforward instruction to “practice” hospitality and consider it a minor point on a checklist of things to do. But let’s zero in on hospitality and see how it fits into the larger context of Romans 12 and provides a practical application of the spiritual principles discussed.</div><h3 class="western">Immediate context read vs. 9-13<span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span>devotion to one another in brotherly love</h3><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Let’s pull this set of verses apart and see what’s packed inside</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Vs. 9</b> Godly love (agape) has to be for real, not faked</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Vs. 10</b> the word “devoted” means to have deep affection like parents have towards children, the type of affection found in families… </div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Brotherly love is translated from the word “<i>philadelphia</i>” which in the Greek language was used only to describe the intimate relationships of a family such as brothers or sisters might have. The church took this word and used it to describe love between members of a spiritual brotherhood <b>Hebrews 2:10-15</b></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Honoring one another… showing preference for one another (loving or preferring the fellow members of the body of Christ over others)… NIV unnecessarily adds “over yourselves” making it about humility which I don’t think is the case (although we do touch on humility in the verses that follow verse 13. Instead we are talking about holding other members in high esteem knowing who and what they are in the eyes of God</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Vs. 11-12</b> work hard, don’t be lazy, be fired up. Points out that what we are talking about here takes effort, mental and emotional work to accomplish and we do it as if serving the master Himself… we’ll come back to that concept again later</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Vs. 13 </b>the phrase “practice hospitality” or “given to hospitality” comes across as passive but it shouldn’t. The original word is “doikos” which means to strive for, to vigorously pursue and seek opportunity for. <i>I Tim 6:11 </i><i><u>pursue righteousness</u></i><i>! or I Cor 14:1 </i><i><u>pursue love</u></i><i>!</i></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Sharing time and breaking bread with others is a real and visible example of affection, brotherly love and even Godly love and is activity we should strive for.</b></div></li></ul><h3 class="western">We Have Joy, hope, patience in trials, faithful in prayer…. But why hospitality? … seems mundane</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Broader context <b>read vs. 4-8</b><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> hospitality is part of a discussion of spiritual gifts… one of which is to serve. We talk a lot about service, but what does it really mean to serve others, to have the heart of a servant? Isn’t one of the most obvious, practical, <i>boots on the ground</i> examples of serving others to invite them into your home for fellowship and food? </div><h3 class="western">Larger context vs. 1-3<span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span>becoming a “living sacrifice” who understands the will &amp; mind of God</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">And we all know… hospitality towards others involves personal sacrifice… of your time, of your wallet, of your carpets and furniture, of your personal space and privacy etc. In this larger context we see hospitality offered as a concrete, tangible example of the deep spiritual principle of sacrificial living. <b>An antidote to the fleshly pulls of selfishness!</b></div><h3 class="western">Postscript<span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span>hospitality isn’t just hanging out with friends</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Read verses 14-16 godly hospitality involves humility and not being a respecter of persons.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The original word translated hospitality is “philonexia”. It’s made up of two parts 1) Philos meaning love and 2) Xenos meaning alien, stranger or guest. This is why some choose to interpret the scriptural instructions on hospitality to concern the ancient customs of providing lodging for travelling strangers, or travelling ministers… a very literal application of the word. And people did do that back in the day… but I think what we are looking at here based on the context (and as we will see in the second hospitality command) is an expression of love, service and sacrificial living among members of the body of Christ. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Philadelphia – literally meant love between kin, but the church took it and used it to describe the spirit of brotherhood that should exist among the body of Christ.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">In that same way philonexia which literally means “love of strangers or aliens” can be interpreted as love toward those who are different from you, alien to you… but who are also brothers in Christ.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">My experience in the Church has been one long trip of breaking bread with people who are very different from me, racial, intellectual, class, education, habit, political views… you name it. People I might never have become friends with were it not for the calling of God to be part of His family. It was no different in the beginning where Paul had to constantly remind his congregations that there is no Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, rich nor poor… and yet all these people, so very different, were to learn to love one another, serve one another, and sacrifice for one another. </div><h2 class="western">The Second Hospitality Command I Peter 4:9</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This second “command” regarding hospitality is also part of a larger context that includes the practice of love and use of spiritual gifts… but throws in a several additional thoughts for us to consider.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><b>The close connection to love</b></span> is established in the preceding verse… read verse 8. In Romans the exhortation to love one another was supplemented by affection, and honoring one another as a spiritual family. Here love is amplified with the word <i>ektenes </i>which you may find translated <i>fervently</i> in NKJV or <i>deeply</i> in the NIV both of which make us think in terms of intensity. However, <i>ektenes</i> which is similar to words like extensive/extensively make us think in terms breadth or duration (without ceasing/longlasting). So fervent love could be “love without ceasing” or perhaps more to the point… “love without giving up”.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">But wait, there’s more! We are told that this kind of persistent, persevering love comes with a blessing in that it “covers a multitude of sins”. Note: not that god allows sin to be hidden, rather it is covered in the sense that sacrificial blood covers over sin. (see also <b>James 5:20</b> and <b>Proverbs 10:12</b>).</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;"><b>Hospitality’s connection to the spiritual gift of service</b></span> is found in the following verse… <b>read verse 10</b></div><h3 class="western">What are the New concepts this verse 9 introduces</h3><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Hospitality is to be pursued “one to another” which really nails down the idea that hospitality for the church is not lodging travelers or seeking out strangers on the street to invite into our homes. </div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Hospitality is to be pursued without complaining. Refer to the story of Mary &amp; Martha <b>Luke 10:38</b>. Besides the issues of cost, time, privacy there is one other complaint that comes up… “we used to invite others over but we stopped because nobody ever invited us back”… <b>this is not fair I’m doing all the work.</b> Let’s remember the context here is persistent, persevering, extensive love… because love never gives up. <b>John 12:1-3</b></div></li></ol><h3 class="western">What does the larger context of Peter’s letter teach us?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The larger context here is suffering and persecution… summed up nicely in the phrase “insulted (reproached) for the name of Christ” found in verse 14. These people were facing bitter trials, humiliation from friends, family, neighbors, employers because of the change they had made in their lives. Fervent love, fellowship, togetherness would help them through the storm. AND the same applies today.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Hospitality that expresses love, service and sacrifice won’t make people stay in the body… nothing takes away freedom of choice… but it certainly helps to strengthen others when they are weakened or weary.</div><h2 class="western">The Third Hospitality Command Hebrews 13:1-2</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Here the majority of English translations render the word “philonexia” as <i>entertain strangers</i> even though it is translated hospitality everywhere else (RSV &amp; ASV trans. hospitality). This change in approach is most likely due to the intriguing idea introduced here regarding “entertaining angels”… obviously making reference to the experience of Abraham &amp; Sarah, Lot, Gideon and possibly the parents of Samson who ended up playing host to actual angelic being come in the guise of men.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Is the intent of this admonition that we expect supernatural wonders at any moment from strange passers by we invite into our home? Certainly such things could happen, but are there other lessons for us in this idea? </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Once again the context provides understanding and clarity. And once again “philonexia” or hospitality is closely associated with or and expression of, brotherly love. Again hospitality is “among one another”, among those we consider spiritual brothers and sisters. So, if I ask <b>you brother</b>, or <b>you sister</b> over to my home after Sabbath this week should I expect that you are really an angelic being? Or is Hebrews using a well known, dramatic, attention grabbing, biblical event to get us thinking about a broader principle?</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Perhaps the idea presented here is that we appreciation that pursuing hospitality opens up the potential for <u>unexpected</u> blessings and rewards. For example: sharing the wisdom of others, encouragement, new perspectives, humor, fellowship etc. Consider the example of Jesus who was often a guest or recipient of hospitality and was a blessing to those He visited with… Mary, Martha, Matthias etc.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">We don’t pursue hospitality for immediate reward in the flesh (quid pro quo)… “I’m going to invite someone over so something good happens to me”… but they <u>can</u> happen. But most certainly we should pursue hospitality for the spiritual rewards. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Matt 25:34-40 – Jesus taught that hospitality shown toward “the least of these brothers of mine you have done it to me”</div><h1 class="western">A few helpful hints regarding hospitality</h1><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Have a plan, spur of the moment is good but often times things will work out better if you prepare in advance… especially if you are doing something Sabbath afternoon or evening</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Have some goals, make a list… look at the church directory, think about who might benefit or be uplifted by time spend fellowshipping</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Become interested in people’s lives, ask interesting questions about life, faith, experience etc.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Pray that God will help you to overcome whatever it is that hinders you, money, pride, shyness</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Don’t try to be Martha Stewart, hospitality is different from “entertaining”. It’s not about showing off your home, your fine food or your awesome decorating skills… its about sharing yourself with others in love, service and sacrificial living. <b>Go For It!</b></div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Recap of Main points:</b></div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>We are told to pursue (seek opportunity for) hospitality (one to another) among the body of Christ</b></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Hospitality is an expression of Godly love (agape)</b></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Hospitality is an expression of Brotherly love (phildelphia)</b></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Hospitality is an expression of the spiritual gift of service</b></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>The sacrifices involved in hospitality are part of being a living sacrifice</b></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Hospitality gains us spiritual rewards</b></div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><br /><br /></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">View this message on YouTube - <br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKBXX9CoVDc">Hospitality</a><br /><br />Read this message at our blog 📘 <br /><a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/02/hospitality-way-of-life-god-wants-us-to.html">Hospitality</a><br /><br /></div><script type="text/javascript" src="//downloads.mailchimp.com/js/signup-forms/popup/unique-methods/embed.js" data-dojo-config="usePlainJson: true, isDebug: false"></script><script type="text/javascript">window.dojoRequire(["mojo/signup-forms/Loader"], function(L) { L.start({"baseUrl":"mc.us17.list-manage.com","uuid":"42a7ee88449a01c2085c19d73","lid":"8c3d5ce9d7","uniqueMethods":true}) })</script><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/bNA8g4q36Ug" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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How To Honor Your Parents & Why
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-59YBUdcphvA/WaWMuid0PNI/AAAAAAAAAhY/cYDU_XgloZgSG_N59AHgLYJFWPXgOQ4zwCLcBGAs/s1600/age.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1600" data-original-width="1065" height="200" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-59YBUdcphvA/WaWMuid0PNI/AAAAAAAAAhY/cYDU_XgloZgSG_N59AHgLYJFWPXgOQ4zwCLcBGAs/s200/age.jpg" width="132" /></a></div>God our Father has placed the principle of honoring our parents within His 10 commandments Exodus 20:12, <b>Deuteronomy 5:15</b>. So we know it’s a highly important matter to Him. Yet its sometimes hard to be certain of exactly what is expected in fulfilling God’s 5<sup>th</sup> commandment.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We’re going to look at what is expected under ideal circumstances... and why. Also, we’ll look at what might be expected under less than ideal circumstances, even rotten circumstances… and why.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a> If one’s parents are among those who live according to the principles of Godly living and we get along well with them, the idea of honor toward parents is more straight forward. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">When we are young we should obey our parents and pay attention to their instruction and discipline. Later, when we are older, we leave and set up our own household. We then make our own choices and are responsible for those choices. When we marry and have children we then assume the role of parents ourselves. But that does not mean we have no further responsibilities toward our own parents.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">If our parents become incapable of taking care of themselves through sickness, disability, or the natural decline of old age, we should help and assist them.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Whether we are young or old we should never strike our parents in anger or frustration. We should not speak harshly to them. We should not speak about them to others in a manner that is hateful, dismissive, or demeaning. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">An affectionate, harmonious relationship with your parents certainly makes following God’s command to show honor to parents seem a lot more natural. However, it still requires self control and sacrifice even when you both share the same faith towards God.</div><h3 class="western">Related Scriptures:</h3><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Do</b> obey them – <b>Colossians 3:20, Ephesians 6:1-2</b></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Do</b> submit to their discipline – <b>Hebrews 12:9, Proverbs 13:1</b></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Do</b> provide for them – <b>1 Timothy 5:4, Matthew 15:3-7</b></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Do Not</b> strike or verbally abuse them – Matthew 15:3-7, <b>Exodus 21:15,17</b></div></li></ol><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Note: some people point to this as an example of the impracticality and harshness of the scriptures: “if you try to follow this literally every child would end up dead”. How among us has not violated this command in some form as children?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Exodus 22:18-21</b> </div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">this is not a punishment for a single infraction rather it is for one who is habitually disobedient.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">the parents do not take such action into their own hands… they submit the charge to the legal authorities of the community. In that way the act could not be one based on emotion or momentary rage, rather it would have to be a deliberate decision based on evidence.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">the parents fulfill the role of the 2 witnesses who bring the evidence forward. By law a person who was ever found to be a false witness would bring upon themselves the very punishment they sought to bring upon the accused. </div><ol type="a"><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Both parents would have to agree that this was the only course of action</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">By the laws of witnessing in a court case if the parents were ever found to be lying they would be the ones put to death instead of their child</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">As the accusing witness(es) the parent would have to cast the first stone only then would the rest of the community also cast their stones. This would be highly emotionally painful and culturally shaming. It would not be an action lightly taken.</div></li></ol></li></ol><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">However, God views habitual disobedience towards parents to be a form of cultural rot that should be cut out of the community like a cancer. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 1:29, 1 Timothy 3:2</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Clearly honoring your mother and father is a big deal to God. The instructions and consequences we have just gone through are based on a scenario involving parents who are themselves leading godly lives and who follow God’s instructions.</div><h3 class="western">What About Parents Who Make Bad Choices?</h3><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Lots of parents out there do not live godly lives. Even parents who try to live according to God’s way can make terrible mistakes. Some people’s parents are abusive, some are neglectful, some are addicts, selfish, foolish, lazy or unfair. Under such circumstances following God’s command to honor parents can seem strange and difficult to do.</div><h3 class="western">God Wants Us to Respect His Authority</h3><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Malachi 1:6</b> honoring parents is analogous to honoring God [see also Hebrews 12:9, Ephesians 3:14]</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God’s command to honor our parents establishes a root concept of respect for, and honor towards authority in what we say and do. All authority whether in heaven or on earth begins and ends with God. For now, we experience this authority as it has been delegated to others both spiritual and human.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The command to honor parents is given to begin teaching us this attitude from our earliest formative years. It is built around the most fundamental and universal of all human relationships… parent and child. In other areas of scripture God expands His expectations regarding our approach to authority such that we also have respect for and show honor to human government, officials, kings, rulers, etc. God requires us to show respect for authority whether the person wielding it is righteous or not.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Peter 2:13-18 </b>in the world <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> <b>Hebrews 13:17 </b>in the church [also Romans 13:1-7, 1 Timothy 5:17-18]</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God’s program is that we learn to show honor toward fallible and flawed human authority. These situations can be difficult and trying. However, our efforts show Him we can be trusted to respect God’s own authority if and when we are granted eternal life within God’s own family. Challenging and questioning God’s authority disrupts peace and harmony and has no lasting place in eternity.</div><h3 class="western">Showing Honor &amp; Respect in Difficult Situations</h3><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">A favorite example of showing honor for human authority that is not acting in an honorable manner is David’s dealings with Saul, the king of Israel. For no good reason Saul declared David his enemy, called David an enemy of the state, and tried repeatedly to kill David. Yet, David continued to speak and act with honor and respect towards Saul because of Saul’s position as king of Israel. While he showed respect and honor toward Saul David wisely kept away from the man and removed himself from harm and danger. </div><h3 class="western">Honoring Parents in Difficult Situations</h3><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Showing honor and respect does not demand that we subject our self to abuse, violence, or harm. Like the practical example of David mentioned previously you may find that for various reasons you need to practice respect and honor toward your parents from a distance in order to protect yourself emotionally or physically.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">As a young person still under your parents control your responsibility to obey your parents does not require you to do anything that is contrary to the express will of God. If you are ever compelled to do anything disobedient to God the responsibility for such actions will be upon your parents not you. Neither should you feel compelled to obey parental instructions that put you in danger, or are exploitive. If you find a way of escape from such situations you should take it. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Be careful you don’t use this as a clever argument to avoid legitimate requests made by parents [refer to Matthew 15: 3-7 Corban etc]</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Ezekiel 20:18-19 </b>you do not have to follow your parents in their disobedience toward God.</div><h2 class="western">Healing the Breach Through Forgiveness</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">When you reach the point of adulthood and have established your own household you may find yourself still struggling with how to show respect and honor towards your parents. Emotional scars may run deep, bad parenting may have left you bitter, or deep divides in respective lifestyles may divide you. The only effective solution begins with forgiveness. Forgive your parents for whatever mistakes they have made. Let go of the condemnation you feel in your heart and mind and leave the matter with God.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Forgiveness does not mean you must agree with or approve of whatever your parents have done, or do. Your forgiveness is not for their benefit… its for yours. Forgiveness means you are willing to put the past behind you and move on to a better future. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You may be able to repair a damaged relationship with your parents through gestures of kindness and a gentle humility. You may find that for your own well being you still need to keep some distance between you and your parents. Restoring an affectionate relationship with parents is a desirable goal but not necessarily the same as showing respect and honor.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You can show honor to your parents by taking care of their needs if they become incapable of taking care of themselves through sickness, injury, or old age.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You also show respect and honor towards your parents by what you do not do. Do not treat your parents harshly. Do not speak of your parents, or speak to your parents, in a manner that is disrespectful, insulting, demeaning, dismissive, or impolite. In this way you will avoid showing contempt for the authority God has delegated to parents. </div><h3 class="western">A Commandment With a Reward Attached</h3><br /><div align="left" class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Work to overcome the negative elements of your relationship with your parents and follow God’s command to honor your mother and father. You will be rewarded for it by God your true Father and creator, <b>Ephesians 6:2</b>. With this promise of reward, the 5<sup>th</sup> command is unique among the 10 commandments God has given us to live by. Honor toward parents is a fundamental principle of God’s way of thought. Respect and honor toward parents leads to more harmonious relationships within human families but most important it will lead to harmony within the eternal family of God. &nbsp;</div>View this message on YouTube - <br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTlXV_VQMfA">How to Honor Your Parents</a><br /><br />Read this message at our blog 📘 <br /><a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/08/how-to-honor-your-parents-why.html">How to Honor Your Parents</a><br /><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/wlpLkYPuoec" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Grief is Part of the Human Experience
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-MMBqH4j2wpw/WhTRgFWmTkI/AAAAAAAAApo/YbhqO5Coz3E-HcFIbnAXPIHuIDLd3GDKACLcBGAs/s1600/ben-white-194220.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1068" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-MMBqH4j2wpw/WhTRgFWmTkI/AAAAAAAAApo/YbhqO5Coz3E-HcFIbnAXPIHuIDLd3GDKACLcBGAs/s320/ben-white-194220.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><b>1 Thessalonians 4:13-18</b> does this mean we should not allow ourselves to be sad when faced with the loss of a friend, comrade and brother? </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We know they have a future. We know they will be resurrected. We know we will see them again. Why are we still sad? Is our sadness a weakness of faith… a pull of doubt against our confidence?</div><h2 class="western"> What is Grief?</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Grief can be hard to explain. It’s a powerful emotion – often it’s a set of emotions which can be simultaneous and conflicting. We may experience feelings of relief and great sadness at the same time.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">For example: In the case of someone who has passed away only after a long stretch of sickness or pain… we may feel <u>relief</u> that they will no longer have to suffer. At the same time we are <u>sad</u> because the inevitability of death has confronted us in an undeniable way.<br /><a name='more'></a></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Familiar patterns, behaviors, interactions we have grown accustomed to will no longer be possible. We are left to adapt with a new reality. The world we have known will now never be the same. We feel loss knowing that we will never again be able to reach out for that person who has always been there before.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Grief can be our reaction to other events, a friend moves away, or we find ourselves an empty nester. More negative situations include divorce, loss of a job… and then there is death.</div><h2 class="western">Grief is Part of the Human Experience</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God’s people grieve just like all people. We have records in scripture of the grief experienced by people like: Job, Naomi, Hannah, David who experienced great loss and sadness. We also have record of Jesus weeping in grief for Lazarus His friend.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>John 11:32-38 </b>Jesus was moved by their grief but also by the fact of Lazarus’ death. He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. He had perfect faith that the Father would answer His prayer for Lazarus to be restored to life. He could have simply said “have no fear” but instead He shared in the grief of the situation.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Hebrews 4:15</b> This is an example of how Jesus is a high priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Grief, weeping and sorrow is natural and normal. Its not a demonstration of any lack of faith. We do not want to be overcome by our grief as if we had no hope. </div><h2 class="western">Grief Serves a Purpose</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Ecclesiastes 7:2 </b>grief can refresh and inform our understanding and perspective on our life. While we do not want to be obsessed with a fear of death we should use it as an occasion to remember that our own days are numbered and finite. Grieving over death is a time for us to ask “what am I doing with the days of life that I have left”?</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Psalm 30:5 </b>grief and sadness serve a purpose. But grief also has its limits and it will come to and end. We do not forget those who have died but in time we adjust to our new reality.</div><h2 class="western">God is Beside Us in Our Grief</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God is our master, our creator, our father and friend. God is faithful and we can count on Him to walk with us in our sadness. Jesus used His days in the flesh to show us what God is really like in human terms that would add depth to our understanding. His grief for Lazarus was a demonstration of God’s emotional solidaity with us… even in grief and sadness. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Psalm 23:1-4 </b>we will walk through valleys of darkness and death. Through it all He is with us as our guide and protector.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Psalm 56:8</b> God sees our grief. When we grieve He does not think of us as weak, lacking in faith. Like we saw with the example of Jesus mourning for Lazarus… God enters into our grief, He feels it. Yet He also wants to reassure us that all is not lost <b>Psalm 46:10, Psalm 91:1-2, Romans 8:28.</b></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Consider: </b>If God engages with our grief and seeks to appreciate what it means. Perhaps the flow of understanding should also flow in the other direction as well. We are grieved by loss, separation, death. What causes God grief… can we enter into and share His emotional reactions.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We are hardwired for grief. It’s a natural and normal reaction. It may be there as a learning tool so we can understand how God feels about being rejected by those He has created and loved… His reaction when we willingly separate themselves from Him through the terrible choices we make.</div><h2 class="western">Processing Our Emotions</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">An important part of working our way through grief is expressing it to God. The Psalms are filled with any examples of opening up raw emotions of pain, doubt, anger and sharing them with God. However, the psalmist never ends up where he began. He may begin with an outpouring of grief but works through the emotions applying a God focused perspective, putting the emotions of the moment into a larger perspective. For Example Psalm 13 or Psalm 30:11-12, or Psalm 56.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Another important step in working our way through grief is to share it with others. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Galatians 6:2</b> the body of Christ is designed to ease the burdens of its individual members</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 12:15 </b>fellow believers have the ability to mourn with you</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Often grief makes us want to stay apart from others to hold our emotions close to us and not let others know about them. Everyone processes their emotions such as grief in their own way. However, shutting ourselves off from others physically, mentally, emotionally can have the effect of increasing feelings of isolation and sadness.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">When we share our stories with God and others our grief is lessened. 1 Thessalonians 4:18 “<i>therefore encourage one another with these words</i>”.</div><h2 class="western">Focus on the Hope</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a> Grief is a part of the human experience that is almost impossible to avoid. Loss is a part of life and grief is a natural response to it. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Through God’s word and the faith He has planted in us you have hope. You have confidence He is with you as you carry your heavy load… willing and able to help you with it along the way. Open up our heart to Him and trust Him because He cares for you <b>1 Peter 5:7</b>.</div><br /><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">His spirit is alive and in you… speaking to you of hope and visions tommorow… encouraging you with confidence and faith for today. Cast your burdens on Him, rely on the community of the church, dig into the truth of the word and experience hope. <b>Hebrews 6:17-19</b></div></div>Read this message at our blog 📘 <br /><a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/08/grief-is-part-of-human-experience.html">Grief</a><br /><br />View this message on YouTube - <br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAuGVhlS1wA">Grief</a></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/WQzRSGsfEMM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Tithing is an Act of Worship
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Our world has some serious problems. Humanity seek to solve them through better technology, better distribution of material goods… and lots of wishful thinking. The real answers to humanity’s quest for meaningful and joyful living are spiritual not material. Those answers are available within the message of the kingdom of God and Jesus Christ.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The creator makes that knowledge available in a written document [bible]. Understanding of what that document is actually there to teach us is darkened, confused, seemingly contradictory, seemingly discredited. God has allowed it to be so.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God has provided a beacon of right teaching, true doctrine, and spiritual understanding to cut through the fog. That beacon of light in a darkened world is the church. Not a nation, not an organization… a spiritual organism drawing from all humanity. A body of people commissioned as servants of Jesus Christ to take the message of the kingdom an of Christ to the world. Matthew 28:18-20.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">It is God’s will and purpose to work through humans as partners. At one time He worked through a physical entity… a nation, Israel. At present He works through a spiritual entity… the church of God. A spiritual entity operating in a very material world. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-_LT6FUijw6E/WaWJkpsTi3I/AAAAAAAAAhA/il0PGMxKfwkkiRrFoAULd9UXmOHsiirBQCLcBGAs/s1600/the-poor-shall-be-with-you-always_1.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="251" data-original-width="350" height="228" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-_LT6FUijw6E/WaWJkpsTi3I/AAAAAAAAAhA/il0PGMxKfwkkiRrFoAULd9UXmOHsiirBQCLcBGAs/s320/the-poor-shall-be-with-you-always_1.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>God provides for this very spiritual work in this very material world through tithing. When you tithe you not only honor God with your possessions, you partner with Him is accomplishing His spiritual goals for this world.</div><h2 class="western">A Tithe is a 10<sup>th </sup>of Your Increase or Net Gain</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Leviticus 27:30-33</b> a tenth part</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Deuteronomy 14:22 </b>on the increase, gain, or profit</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The reality of life on earth is that everything belongs to the Creator. God just lets you use it for a while. When you are gone it passes to another. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Deuteronomy 8:17-18 </b>we are wrong when we think it belongs to us</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Deuteronomy 28:47</b> we are to serve Him willingly, which includes showing honor towards Him with our material goods by giving 10% back to Him [of what is really His anyway].</div><h2 class="western">Tithing is a Form of Worship</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Tithing is a form of worship that exists outside the bounds of the covenant God made with Israel. Abraham tithed hundreds of years before the covenant was put in place with Israel. Abraham gave 10% of what he gained. He gave it to the high priest of God… which at that time was Melchizadek. Abraham honored God with his material goods and gave thanks for the blessing from God [the blessing of victory]. <b>Genesis 14:18-20</b></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Genesis 28: 20-22</b> when God reaffirms the covenant He made with Abraham through Jacob [Abraham’s grandson]… Jacob responds with a declaration of loyalty and a dedication to tithing… I will worship you through titihing. [to Melchizadek?]</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Tithing is part of the covenant of faith that began with Abraham and which remains today for the people of God.</div><h2 class="western">Tithing in the Sinai Covenant</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God established Israel in the land of Canaan to perform His great work in the world. To act as a living demonstration of His way of living among the nations which they could admire and imitate. With this new method of revealing Himself to humanity there was also a change in the administration of the priesthood. Instead of the order of Melchizadek the tribe of Levi were set apart to do the priestly work of God on earth [the role of high priest was delegated specifically to the family of Aaron].</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Numbers 18:21-24 </b>the priests would not work the land to make a living, they would do the work of God… temple service… sacrifices… teaching the word of God to the people. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Numbers 18:26-28</b> they in turn tithed to the High Priesthood</div><h2 class="western">Tithing Badly Neglected in Israel</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">When Judah was expelled from the land for violating the terms of the national covenant they were condemned by God to 70 years of exile in Babylon and Persia. Once the 70 years were up a small group headed by Ezra and Nehemiah were sent back to re-establish the nation.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Neglecting God’s commands had become a way of living and thinking for these people and it would take some hard work to get the people set back on the right path. A lot the responsibility for making this restoration happen would depend upon the priesthood.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Things were going badly… the people seemed to be slipping back into the same old habits of neglect that had caused their national defeat and exile. Toward the end of the book named after him Nehemiah puts his finger on why the program was falling apart.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Nehemiah 13:10-13</b> the priests were not doing their job… the people were not funding the work of the priesthood with their tithes. Instead of properly managing the temple service, administering sacrifice and teaching the people from God’s word… the priests were out plowing in the field to earn a living.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The need for steady funding for the work of God was not a surprise to Nehemiah. He had planned a system for collecting, storing and distributing the tithes… and written it into a legal agreement with the remnant settlers.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Nehemiah 10:37-39 </b><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> <b>Nehemiah 12:44</b></div><h2 class="western">The Same Principles [and Expectations] Are At Work Today</h2><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Personal worship </b>– honor God with our material wealth</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Acknowledgment/Thanks</b> – recognize and appreciate God’s authority over, and ownership</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Funding</b> – God allows us to partner with Him in the work He is doing on earth</div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We saw Nehemiah’s view about the importance of tithing and the bad results from neglecting to tithe… what is God’s view?</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Malachi 3: 7-12</b> failure to tithe is a serious issue with God</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 23:23 </b>Jesus reaffirmed the need to tithe</div><h2 class="western">Tithing in the New Covenant</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">After Jesus’ death and the establishment of the new covenant there was once again a change in the administration of the work of God on earth. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God would no longer perform His work through a physical nation… Israel. The new covenant would be established with people from all nations and backgrounds whom He would call to form a spiritual nation… the Israel of God… the church of God.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Galatians 6:16 </b><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> <b>1 Peter 2:9-10</b></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">With this new administration the institutions of sacrifice, priesthood, and temple were not done away with… they have been re-aligned and re-applied to a world forever changed by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">In Ephesians Paul spoke of himself as a servant of God within this new administration but in the same epistle also confirmed that it was built on the foundation of the Old Testament writings yet with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 15:4</b> this should be our attitude toward the OT writing and instructions</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Many of the changes in the administration of God’s work in the world under the new covenant are explained in the book of Hebrews. The high priest is now the risen Jesus Christ… the office is not done away with it is completely changed and improved. This change in the administration of the priesthood is discussed from many angles [sacrifice, temple] and in chapter 7 the change in the administration of tithing to the priesthood is addressed.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You now tithe to Jesus Christ the High Priest of the new covenant.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Hebrews 7:1-10 </b>Abraham [the father of the faithful] gave his tithes to Melchizadek [who was the one who later became Jesus Christ the son of man]. Levi is the lesser by comparison.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Hebrews 7:11-12 </b>there is a change in the administration of the priesthood and therefore a change in the instructions on tithing. They are still to be given to the priest of God but the administration of the priesthood is forever changed.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Hebrews 7:15-22</b> Jesus is that new High Priest which is to the Melchizadek administration. Although it too is better and improved since it now also encompasses the perfect and complete sacrifice for sin. The following verses 22-28 discuss that in greater detail.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Under the new covenant administration you tithe to the living Jesus Christ your high priest. The living Jesus Christ is also the head of the spiritual organism… His church. The work of God in the word is now performed through that church. As head of the church Jesus Christ delegates to those who minister. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Corinthians 9:13-14</b></div><h2 class="western">Tithing is an Act of Worship</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Through tithing you honor God with your material goods.</div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Teaches you the attitude of thankfulness, humility, and giving</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Funds the work of God on earth and allows you to partner with Him in what He is working to accomplish</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">As befits an act of worship… tithing is something you do willingly. The church does not check up on you or attempt to enforce tithing [nor lying, adultery, theft etc for that matter]. In the new covenant administration the assembly of God has neither power of enforcement or of punishment. Those prerogatives are left to the nations and states in which we live to whom God has given the power and authority of government. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The worst the church could ever do is say we don’t want to associate with you. </div><h2 class="western">Is There a Penalty For Not Tithing?</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">As just mentioned the church does not enforce nor punish. But disregarding God’s instructions does have personal consequences. Failure to tithe could:</div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Diminish your potential for effective service to God through godly stewardship of your wealth. You are effectively saying “I love you God… but I don’t want to help you perform the work you are doing”.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Neglect to tithe and you will probably miss out on the blessings God promises</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You may bring God’s curse upon yourself</div></li></ul><h2 class="western">Tithing is an act of Faith</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You may think you only have enough for yourself. You earn so little that whatever you give would be a drop in the bucket. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a> All I can say is step out on faith. God has promised He will bless those who act upon their faith. God does not evaluate based on hoe much you give but on how faithfully you give. Your tithe is not a drop in the bucket.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Do not ignore you opportunity and calling to partner with God in the work He is performing on earth. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Worship you creator through tithing!</div>View this message on YouTube - <br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rHJqhekJJU">Tithing: A Form of Worship</a><br /><br /><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Read this message at our blog 📘<br /><a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/09/tithing-is-act-of-worship.html">Tithing is an act of worship</a><br /><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/GXDQfjhxFEM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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How to Love Fellow Members in God’s Church
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-iWvpLevVsn0/WiWWkmKQCOI/AAAAAAAAArA/egJ7hto-5H0u84FQJHWCO5xrmFJWDGtCgCLcBGAs/s1600/phil-coffman-161251.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><span style="font-size: large;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-iWvpLevVsn0/WiWWkmKQCOI/AAAAAAAAArA/egJ7hto-5H0u84FQJHWCO5xrmFJWDGtCgCLcBGAs/s320/phil-coffman-161251.jpg" width="320" /></span></a><span style="font-size: large;">Can one person make a difference in our congregation?&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span> <span style="font-size: large;">Can one family make a difference in our congregation… setting an example that inspires others?</span><br /><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: large;"><b><br /></b></span> <span style="font-size: large;"><b>The answer is yes.</b></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">When a person begins really trying, and making an effort there may be some snags long the way:</span></div><ul style="text-align: left;"><li>they may feel self conscious [this isn’t really me, I’m a fake]</li><li>others may put them down or make fun of them [they are just trying to impress people, they just want to impress the ministry, they are trying to exalt themselves]</li></ul><ul></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">Also, a person’s enthusiasm might outweigh their wisdom [their efforts may be clumsy]… but if they are</span><br /><a name='more'></a><span style="font-size: 11pt;"> trying to please God He looks at their attitude more than on their accomplishments. We are pleasing to god when we are committed to Him, to His Church, and to one another. And to be committed means to be involved.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>Romans 13:8 </b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">we owe it to one another.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">We all need to change an to grow in the ability to love one another, serve one another, to help and to give. You may not have thought about it this way but all these Godly goals revolve around FELLOWSHIP.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">We are going to talk about what god expects of us. We will see that one person can make a difference. You can make a difference. And a biblical understanding of fellowship will guide us.</span></div><h1 class="western">1. To have fellowship with one another we must begin with our fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>Definition:</b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"> fellowship means a community, an association, a group in which we participate. Our place within that group is based on what we share, what we have in common.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>1 Corinthians 1:9</b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"> you have been brought into fellowship with Jesus Christ. We share things in common with Jesus the messiah. We have a close relationship with Him based on our mutual interest. We also have a family relationship with Him… He is our elder brother.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>2 Corinthians 13:14</b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"> we hold to the same convictions through the power of the Holy Spirit in us. </span> </div><ul><li> <div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">There is a particular quality of fellowship we share because of the holy Spirit</span></div></li><li> <div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">There is a power of love and concern for others that flows into us through the Holy Spirit. Be we have to act upon it.</span></div></li><li> <div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">Because of our common conviction and spirit we can understand the trials others go through a bit better. So we share those trials and tests with one another.</span></div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>1 John 1:1-3 </b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">John wrote to the church about his personal experience with Jesus so that they might all have joint participation in the knowledge of all that Christ did, who He really was, and what He taught.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">Fellowship with God means we have such understanding in common… we have are to share the outlook and attitudes of God through Christ. </span> </div><h1 class="western">2. We have fellowship with one another</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>Acts 2:42 </b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">fellowshipping has always been important to the church from the very beginning. Such things as the humble potluck… or perhaps praying with someone about a situation.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>1 Corinthians 10:16 </b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">we share the participation in the symbols and signs of God’s process for bringing us into his family. Beginning with Passover all the way through to the last Great Day. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>2 Corinthians 8:1-7</b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"> “fellowship” or sharing in taking care of the needs of God’s people. Note that the people asked “can we be part of this project”? They accomplished this through giving. The Good Works projects we have around the world are just this kind of projects. Where a collection is made to help out God’s sanctified people… back then it was Jerusalem, today it might be Guatemala.</span></div><h1 class="western">3. God wants us to serve to benefit others</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">All too often we only serve for selfish reason, or to impress, or only when it is convenient for us. But serving for the benefit of others will work for our own good… in that we will grow into a person patterned after Jesus Christ. A person who has the capacity to enjoy eternal life.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">Take every opportunity for personal growth through service. You might say, “I don’t have the energy for that”… but this type of personal growth takes effort. Our default setting seems to be to think of ourselves rather than others. God wants to turn that way of thinking around. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">When we make that change of orientation and serve within the body we benefit the church, our family, our marriages, and ultimately ourselves.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>1 Corinthians 12:4-7 </b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">God gives us all certain gifts and wants us to work together harmoniously for the common good. Not comparing our gifts with others and trying to raise ourselves above others or draw attention to ourselves. [read the rest of chapter 12]</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>Romans 12:3-4 </b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">we do not all have the same function. [verse5-9] Paul then follows with a list of doing…. Because in God’s word love is experienced by doing. [verse 10-13] </span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><i>Philadelphia</i></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">, brotherly love, which focuses on our dedication to one another, and by what we do.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>James 2:15 </b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">you could just as easily substitute the word “love” in the place of faith here.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">Other needs to consider, the sick need caring for, the elderly need company, widows and single parents need assistance. Share with others and share yourself </span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>Romans 12:15-16</b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>Philippians 2:1-2</b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"> It sometimes seems it is the same one who volunteer time and time again. We should all help to bear the burdens. Lets all be on the same page on this… with common cause… fellowship.</span></div><h1 class="western">4. We are told to visit one another</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">We tend to think of visiting as a social call. The word here is </span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><i>episkeptomai</i></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"> - means to look in on one another, to check up on, in order to help or benefit, to look after to have a care for, to provide for.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>Matthew 25:34-36 </b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">[expand on what prisons were back then]</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>James 1:27 </b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">to look in upon the weak members of the body in order to help them, to encourage, and to benefit. There are some logistic concerns that hold us back from doing a better job at this… distance, time.</span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b> Idea: circle principle</b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"> – visit with those within a radius of 25 minutes. If everyone were doing so then few people would be neglected.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">What about visiting at church services or on Sabbath afternoons? To be friendly, make strangers feel comfortable. Are we trying to benefit and build the church of God? Or, are we merely looking after our own group or circle. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">This is a form of visiting, but lets not have it be the only way we practice fellowship. If that’s all we do them we are being weak. </span> </div><h1 class="western">5. We are to practice hospitality among one another</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">Hospitality means “love of strangers”, “interest in people other than our circle”. Extend yourself, get to know new and different people. </span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>Romans 12:13</b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;"> says “actively seek out opportunities to express interest and love to new and different people” [diokos, philoxenon]</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>Hebrews 13:1-2</b></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>1 Peter 4:8-10 </b></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">use hospitality! It is one of God’s methods for drawing people closer together. It is an active demonstration of Godly love. </span> </div><h1 class="western">What do all these points have in common? </h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">They are the active practice and doing of what you all say you believe. We have to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">Maybe you are waiting for someone else to do it. Maybe you’re afraid of feeling fake or put on, maybe you’re worried other will look at you as a goody-goody. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">One person, one family can make a huge difference.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;">Ask yourself: how much of a benefit am I&nbsp;to God? How much of a benefit am I to His church? Am I really taking full advantage of what God is revealing to me?</span><br /><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span><span style="font-size: 11pt;">You might like this free ebook as a bible study guide&nbsp;</span><br /><table style="border-collapse: collapse; height: 19px; width: 57px;"><colgroup><col style="width: 43.25pf;" width="57"></col></colgroup><tbody><tr height="19"><td class="et1" height="19" style="color: black; font-size: 10.0pt; font-style: normal; font-weight: 400; height: 14.28pt; mso-protection: locked visible; text-align: general; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: bottom; width: 42.77pt;" width="57" x:str="">https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/the-church-jesus-built</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/yB5roIcsQ7g" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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