INESCAPABLE LOVE

Posted by Perry


Hosea 1:1-1:10
CBC 8/15/10 SN
Hos 1:1 The word of the LORD that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.
Hos 1:2 When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, "Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD."
Hos 1:3 So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.
Hos 1:4 And the LORD said to him, "Call his name Jezreel, for in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel.
Hos 1:5 And on that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel."
Hos 1:6 She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the LORD said to him, "Call her name No Mercy, for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all.
Hos 1:7 But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the LORD their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen."
Hos 1:8 When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son.
Hos 1:9 And the LORD said, "Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God."
Hos 1:10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, "You are not my people," it shall be said to them, "Children of the living God."
Hosea: “most shocking book of OT”
• Jerry Springer material
o “I Married A Prostitute.” “Clergyman’s wife cheats on him.
o His children belong to three other men.
o After selling herself to everyone in town, Gomer ends up as a slave.
o Her husband, Hosea, eventually buys her back for $12.50.
o He claims that he knew she would be unfaithful to him in the beginning, but God told him to marry her.
o God also told him to buy her out of slavery and love her again.”
The first message from the life of Hosea is: God’s love is unreasonable.
Who can explain love?
If love always made sense it would not be love.
It does not always respond to logic.
The thing that God had asked Hosea to do did not make sense.
But then, God’s love for Israel did not make sense either.
The question of the book is not why God would ask Hosea to marry Gomer, but why God would marry Israel.
Why would God commit himself to a group of people he knew would not be faithful to him?
It doesn’t make sense.
If God was going to make a commitment to a nation why wouldn’t he choose a nation he knew would be faithful?
Why wouldn’t he choose people who would be grateful for his love and thankful for his blessings? Why wouldn’t he select those who would be inclined to follow his laws and appreciate the wisdom of his ways?
According our way of thinking, God is unreasonable.
We would choose to love someone who loved us.
We would look for someone we thought would be faithful to us.
But God chose the cast of the Jerry Springer show.
Listen to this outrageous verse from the Bible:
“If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).
When God enters into a covenant of love with us, the covenant does not depend on our faithfulness, but on the faithfulness of God.
We keep thinking that God only loves good people, but God loves sinners.
He pursues them like he asked Hosea to pursue Gomer.
In his pain he goes looking for them.
He is betrayed but he longs for them. When they become enslaved by their sins, he buys them back.
The Bible describes our predicament: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.
All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Romans 3:10-12).

But in spite of that, God did something completely irrational
— he loved us and sought for a way to buy us out of our slavery to sin.
The Bible says, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18-19).
That is why the Bible can say, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Singer Steven Curtis Chapman said it well: “In The Gospel, we discover we are far worse off than we thought, and far more loved than we ever dreamed.”
It doesn’t make sense.
second message that the life of Hosea teaches us is: God’s love is tough love.
Hosea never minimized the nature of the wrong Gomer had done to him.
The pain was real and raw.
His love had been betrayed.
He did not gloss over the situation.
He took it seriously.
And when Gomer insisted on being unfaithful to him, he let her go.
He understood that it was to her own detriment.
He knew what was ahead of her.
She no longer wanted anything to do with him, so she would no longer have his help.
She was on her own.
It was what she wanted, but she could not see the mistreatment she would suffer. She would be used and abused.
She would be called names by those who were supposed to love her.
She would be beaten and treated like an animal.
There would be many things that Hosea could not protect her from since she had run away from him.
She would learn the lessons of life the hard way, and live out the consequences of her poor choices.
As Hosea would later write about people like her: “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7).
In the second chapter of Hosea, God describes what he will do to his unfaithful people:
“Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now’” (Hosea 2:6-7). As with Gomer, many times we have to learn the hard way that God’s way is the best way.
We waste our lives and our love on many other things until we have been abused long enough that we say, “I will go back to my God, for then I was better off than before.”
Many people have quoted William Ernest Henley’s poem entitled “Invictus,” which praises the indomitable human spirit:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul....
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
That’s a fine poem.
There is only one problem:
it is not true.

We are not the master of our own fate, or the captain of our soul.
There is another who claims that right. And to fail to recognize that God is the master of the world, and your fate as well, or worse, to rebel against the true Captain of your soul, is to do so at your own peril. If you do so, God will give you your own way, but you will not like it.
His love is a tough love.
The third message that the book of Hosea is giving us is: God’s love is unconditional.
We often give up on people.
Some even write others off, or count them as dead, when their love or trust has been betrayed.
But God is different.
In chapter three, Gomer’s sin has worn her out, and now she is stripped and being sold as a slave on an auction block. None of her former beauty remains. Perhaps she is diseased.
It may be that she is being sold by a house of prostitution, or a slave owner who no longer finds her desirable. Whatever the case, Hosea does the unthinkable.
He buys her for himself.
The price was very low — less than half an ounce of silver and some barley, a grain inferior to wheat.
It was half the price a female slave would normally bring.
Apparently, she was not worth much to anyone at this point, and they were just glad to get rid of her.
In the beginning she was a beautiful woman.
The name Gomer means “perfect,” possibly a reference to her appearance and desirability.
But now her beauty is gone — ruined through hard living, and no one will have her except one man.
Hosea will make her his wife again, a living symbol of God’s unconditional love for faithless Israel.
The Lord said to Hosea, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites” (Hosea 3:1).
It would have been one thing for Hosea to excuse a foolish, even sinful mistake by his wife, but even after he confronted her she continued brazenly in her sin.
She flaunted it.
She mocked him and forgot everything he had ever done for her.
But God told him to buy her back out of slavery.
God asked him to do this because it is what God does.
Hosea was acting like God.
God’s love is unconditional.
King David wrote “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7). The question is:
why would we want to go away from God? Why would we want to run from him?
The answer is that it is part of who we are.
It is our nature to run from God, and it is God’s nature to pursue us
— even when we are at our worst.
You can never run so far that you outrun God’s love for you.
No matter what you have done, no matter where you have been, he wants you and sees you as his beloved bride.
God doesn’t throw us on the garbage heap when we fail.
There is God’s unconditional, inescapable love.
We see ourselves as we are, but he sees us for what we can become.
The apostle Paul asks this amazing question:
“Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” (Romans 2:4).
That is the way God’s unconditional love works.
His kindness leads us to come home.
The Bible says, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).
Perhaps you have been unfaithful to your heavenly Lover.
You may have wandered far away.
You may have disgraced yourself.
Perhaps you think that it is too late, or that what you have done cannot be forgiven.
But all you have to do is say, “Lord, I want to come back.
I want to come home.
I will no longer live in unfaithfulness.
I give my myself totally and completely to you.”
When you do, you will find his arms open wide.

BECOMING A PERSON OF INTEGRITY

Posted by Perry


1 Chronicles 29:17
CBC 8/8/10 SM
What is the “Value” of our church?
What makes our church valuable?
• Bank account?
• Property Value?
• # of yrs in existence?
• What we contribute 2 community?
What makes a “church”?
• People!
Value of a church directly related to the value of the people.
• So what are U & I worth?
$20 bill illustration: This is a $20 bill. Crumple it up, step on it, roll it around and then hold it up again and ask, is this still a $20 bill?”
value remains no matter what the item looks like on the outside –
• no matter how scarred, bruised or beaten,
• value is still the same.
• That is integrity.
Becoming a person of integrity means:
"Deciding to integrate my heart’s value into my daily actions" ~ John Maxwell
John 10:25 - Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me”
• HE says, what I say and do testify as to who I am.
• A person of integrity is validated by their words and their deeds.
• If we are pure in heart we can be pure in action.
• Integrity is making my daily actions line up with my heart’s values.
Our “actions” & “communication” reveal our hearts value (integrity)
• Progressive or non-progressive?
o Jesus was progressive
• Open to new ministry tools or anchored to personal preferences?
o Jesus exposed Pharisees…
• Great Commission minded or “us 4 and no more” philosophy of the frozen chosen?
We must value Benefits of Integrity
Let’s be realistic – none of us will change unless we understand the value of change.
Integrity provides me with Protection (less fear)
Psalm 25:21 - May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you.
• Less stress
• No “cover-ups”
• What U C is What U get
• Same on Sat. nite as SM
Integrity provides me with Security (greater confidence)
Proverbs 10:9 - The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.
• CBC to be a “Lighthouse”…
• Giving “true” guidance 2 community
• “Hope” 4 the hopeless
o Spiritual/eternal life
o Relational
o Financial
Integrity provides me with Guidance (better decision)
Proverbs 11:3 - The integrity of the upright shall guide them; But the perverseness of the treacherous shall destroy them.
• Innocence of the straight will transport them
• Distortion of covert will ravage them
• Following Jesus & His Word is innocence
• Promoting personal preference (sin nature) is distorted & perverse
Integrity provides me with Hope (future rewards)
Job 4:6 - “Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?
• Complete trust of God will never fail us
o Eternal life/after death
o Stewardship/finances
o Relationship decisions
o Ministry tools for church to use to reach community
• How God Speaks
o Still small voice
o Confirmed by His Word (Bible)
o Circumstances (open & closed doors)
o Counsel of friends who “walk with God”
PERSONAL INTEGRITY CHECK
1) ASK GOD TO TEST MY HEART
o What R my values
o His values or my preferences?
2) STUDY TO KNOW WHAT IS TRUE
o What does Bible say?
o Is God blessing & giving an increase to our “planting & watering” (procedure & programs)?
3) APPLY GOD’S WORD TO YOUR DAILY ACTIVITIES / WORK
o Practice what Jesus preached
4) REMAIN FAITHFUL IN SPITE OF CIRCUMSTANCES
o When things don’t go “our way”
5) REFUSE TO BE PERSUADED BY OTHERS
o Not just Teen-agers that battle “peer-pressure”
CONCLUSION
Is CBC built on “rock” of Jesus Christ?
• Proper view of scripture?
• Emphasis on Bible
• Doctrinal soundness
• Doctrinal practice
Does CBC have correct Church Gov’t?
• NT principles as blueprint
• Christ the head of the church
• Evidence of order
• Functional goals & objectives
Does CBC have correct purpose?
• Worshipping God
• Evangelism
• Discipleship
• Love
• Promote God’s design for family
Does CBC have the proper environment?
• A high view of God
• A sincere faith
• A spirit of sacrifice
• A proper attitude toward church leadership
• A spirit of unity
Does CBC have members that are faithful?
• Exercise their spiritual gifts
• Contribute time, talent, treasure, energy & prayer for church success

THE FINER POINTS OF "WORSHIP"

Posted by Perry


ISAIAH 6:1-9
CBC 8/1/10 SN
Isa 6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple.
Isa 6:2 Above him stood the seraphim: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
Isa 6:3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is Jehovah of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
Isa 6:4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
Isa 6:5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of hosts.
Isa 6:6 Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
Isa 6:7 and he touched my mouth with it, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin forgiven.
Isa 6:8 And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said, Here am I; send me.
Isa 6:9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.
Does Worshipping God take a back seat to other “more important” activities in our life????
• What motivates us to worship over
o Trip to mall
o Recreation
o Spending time w/ family away from church service
• Habit?
• Struggling w/ life…God…etc?
• Here against your will?
• If you are a “spectator” instead of a “participant” it’s easy to miss…
TRUE WORSHIP IS NOT AN ESCAPE FROM REALITY
• Worship happens in the course of life
In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord
• In yr Japan bombed Pear …
• In yr Kennedy assassinated…
• In yr hurricane Katrina…
o In middle of life
o Good & bad I worshipped
• Worship in “Sanctuary”
o Must bring in w/ you all the baggage of what’s happening in the world
Psa 86:6 Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace.
Psa 86:7 In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.
• Natural part of worship to bring your concerns with you
o Fears
o Worries
o Burdens
We have so many concerns we need an opportunity to bring them to God.
TRUE WORSHIP FOCUSES ON GOD
Many make a mistake at this point
• Assume worship focuses on us and our preferences
• Hear a lot about what “people” are not getting…
o Not getting fed
o Not being nurtured by worship
o Struggling with our worship
o Not getting anything out of worship service
• What About God?
o Is He getting anything out of it?
o Is He being blessed
o Is He enjoying our worship?
• Until God gets something out of our worship…WE NEVER WILL!
• We treat worship service as “entertainment”
o That’s why when something better comes along it’s easy to miss… we’re used to “changing channels”!
• It is the presence of God that fills true worship
I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple.
TRUE WORSHIP ALWAYS BEGINS WITH AN AWARENESS OF GOD’S HOLINESS
There was a time when people were “aware” of the Holiness of God
• Stood for reading of Word like standing when American Flag comes by
• There was awe & wonder
• We’ve almost reformed God into our “little buddy”
o We can worship or postpone till it’s more convenient
• Our God is an “AWESOME” God
Isa 6:4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
Isa 6:5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of hosts.
• Moses was afraid before the burning bush
• Jacob afraid and filled with awe as he saw staircase to heaven
• God’s holiness demands our attention
TRUE WORSHIP HELPS US SELF-EVALUATE & SEEK GOD’S FORGIVENESS
• Cannot come into worship w/out being aware of God’s holiness
• Can’t be aware of God’s holiness w/out being aware of our sinfulness & shortcomings
• Confession results in forgiveness
TRUE WORSHIP WILL RESULT IN OUR LIVES BEING DIFFERENT
• We will want to “serve” more
Isa 6:8 And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said, Here am I; send me.
God challenges us to do something
• Isaiah had to “speak a message” to the people
• What is God calling you & me to do “this week”?
• Look around, who’s not here
CONCL:
What do we do “after” we worship???
Isaiah said, “Here am I send me”

IT'S IMPORTANT WHERE U LOOK

Posted by Perry



COLOSSIANS 3:1-11
CBC 8/1/10 SM
3RD chapter of Col. About “How To”
How To Break Free From UR Past
• Jesus is supreme over
o Creation
o Church
o Christian
Paul says we are set free from “powers” around us
• Set free for living live above moral reproach
God’s Plan
• Make us new
• Challenges us to live as new people
• We don’t have to be like we’ve always been
• We can break free from the past…if we know where to look
Col 3:1 You have been raised to life with Christ. Now set your heart on what is in heaven, where Christ rules at God's right side.
Col 3:2 Think about what is up there, not about what is here on earth.
Col 3:3 You died, which means that your life is hidden with Christ, who sits beside God.
Col 3:4 Christ gives meaning to your life, and when he appears, you will also appear with him in glory.
Col 3:5 Don't be controlled by your body. Kill every desire for the wrong kind of sex. Don't be immoral or indecent or have evil thoughts. Don't be greedy, which is the same as worshiping idols.
Col 3:6 God is angry with people who disobey him by doing these things.
Col 3:7 And that is exactly what you did, when you lived among people who behaved in this way.
Col 3:8 But now you must stop doing such things. [LIST #2] You must quit being angry, hateful, and evil. You must no longer say insulting or cruel things about others.
Col 3:9 And stop lying to each other. You have given up your old way of life with its habits.
Col 3:10 Each of you is now a new person. You are becoming more and more like your Creator, and you will understand him better.
Col 3:11 It doesn't matter if you are a Greek or a Jew, or if you are circumcised or not. You may even be a barbarian or a Scythian, and you may be a slave or a free person. Yet Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.
LOOK UP! Vs 1-4
Col 3:1 You have been raised to life with Christ.
• We have a new “STATUS”
o New way of life
o Power source for living
Now set your heart on what is in heaven…2 Think about what is up there, not about what is here on earth.
“Set”-seek something out w/ desire to possess it
• A “daily” activity
o 1st set heart on things of heaven
o 2nd set mind on things of heaven
o Thoughts influence actions
Php 4:8 Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don't ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.
Col 3:3 You died,
• Positionally in Christ
• No obligation to live like we used to
• Old nature is put to death!
which means that your life is hidden with Christ,
• Security & satisfaction
o Pic-treasure stored in a secure place
who sits beside God.
Col 3:4 Christ gives meaning to your life,
• w/out Him we’d be dead in sin
Joh 14:6 "I am the way, the truth, and the life!"
• b/c Christ is our life we have new attitude about anything that happens to us
o if He is our “life” we have nothing to fear!
and when he appears,
• fact of His return is certain
• time is indefinite
• keep looking up
you will also appear with him in glory.
• Make visible what was invisible
• Real “position” of the believer
• We will be “transformed”
1Jn 3:2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
• Outlook determines Outcome
LOOK OUT! Vs 5-9a
Col 3:5 Don't be controlled by your body. Kill every desire for the wrong kind of sex. Don't be immoral or indecent or have evil thoughts. Don't be greedy, which is the same as worshiping idols.
• we have spiritual power to slay those desires that want to control us
• HOW????????????
Phinehas of Numbers 25 shows us…
Num 25:1 While the Israelites were camped at Acacia, some of the men had sex with Moabite women.
Num 25:2 These women then invited the men to ceremonies where sacrifices were offered to their gods. The men ate the meat from the sacrifices and worshiped the Moabite gods.
Num 25:3 The LORD was angry with Israel because they had worshiped the god Baal Peor.
Num 25:4 So he said to Moses, "Take the Israelite leaders who are responsible for this and have them killed in front of my sacred tent where everyone can see. Maybe then I will stop being angry with the Israelites."
Num 25:5 Moses told Israel's officials, "Each of you must put to death any of your men who worshiped Baal."
Num 25:6 Later, Moses and the people were at the sacred tent, crying, when one of the Israelite men brought a Midianite woman to meet his family.
Num 25:7 Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron the priest, saw the couple and left the crowd. He found a spear
Num 25:8 and followed the man into his tent, where he ran the spear through the man and into the woman's stomach. The LORD immediately stopped punishing Israel with a deadly disease,
Num 25:9 but twenty-four thousand Israelites had already died.
Num 25:10 The LORD said to Moses,
Num 25:11 "In my anger, I would have wiped out the Israelites if Phinehas had not been faithful to me.
Num 25:12 But instead of punishing them, I forgave them. So because of the loyalty that Phinehas showed, I solemnly promise that he and his descendants will always be my priests."
• Slay them w/ passion of Phinehas
• Don’t push them aside
• Don’t wound them
• Don’t ask them to leave
• Don’t experiment or play w/ them
• Don’t rationalize
• Thrust the “spear” clean thru
WHY??????????????????
• Sexual sin different that any other sin
o No prophylactic for the soul
o Sexual expression not just something we do…
o IT REFLECTS WHO WE ARE!
• Sexual sin was & is everywhere
o Sex outside of marriage was big in Paul’s day
o Wrong then, Wrong now
• Sexual sin destroys people
o One of Satan’s favorite tools
o Trip up almost anyone
o David wiped out for period of time
o Marriages destroyed on regular basis
o Samson’s downfall…sex
DO WHAT????????????????
• Don’t do it! Stop right now!
• Confess to God & whoever you are wronging!
LOOK IN! vs 9b-10
You have given up your old way of life with its habits.
• Looking “in” we realize “we can stop” what we once did (Freedom)!!!
Wiersbe – “We were formed in God’s image, and deformed from God’s image by sin. But through Jesus Christ, we can be transformed into God’s image once again.”
LOOK AROUND vs 11
• See others as Christ sees them
• In Christ there are no barriers
o Nationality
o Race
o Education
o Social standing
o Wealth
o Gender
o Religion
o Power
• Paul says these must not be in the church
o Racial distinctions
o Religious distinctions
 Acts of surgery give no advantages in Christ
o Cultural distinctions
CONCL:
Stop looking “down”…